[Thunderdome]


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This is Thunderdome, the unmoderated open thread on Pharyngula. Say what you want, how you want.

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  1. Nick Gotts says

    For Nick Gotts and consciousness razor. This is going nowhere. If you want to ask me specific questions, I’ll answer. However, you both have been dishonest, willfully obtuse, and refused to engage in particulars and specifics. – Enlightenment Liberal@497

    You’re both a fool and a liar: I have been highly specific; what both consciousness razor and I have refused to you is follow you up the blind alley you are insistent everyone should trap themselves in. I will just summarize my position – not for you, the head-in-the-fundament sogmatist, but for third parties – once more:
    1) It is impossible to “justify” all our beliefs in terms of other beliefs simultaneously and without circularity.
    2) In this sense, the “infinite regress problem” EL is so bothered about is insoluble.
    3) There is no point in trying to solve an insoluble problem.
    4) EL’s position is that the “solution” is to declare a small subset of general beliefs “axioms” or “presuppositions”, to adopt these without justification, and to derive everything from them and “first person experience”.
    5) This is, in fact, not possible (a) because there is no way of making these “axioms” or “presuppositions” into anything resembling an actual set of axioms as used, for example, in mathematics – as indicated by EL’s failure to do so; and (b) one cannot derive any specific information from them without additional specific beliefs about the world. Saying you will use “first person experience” gets you nowhere, because there is no such thing as “first person experience” uncontaminated by beliefs – something that is a consensus among those who have actually studied perception scientifically over the last century.
    6) Even if EL’s “solution” were possible, it would be entirely pointless. Since the “axioms” are, explicitly, adopted without justification – that is, arbitrarily – anything derived using them inherits this arbitrary quality. EL has not, in the terms they themself defined, justified anything at all. They also leave it a complete mystery why anyone should choose their particular “axioms” over, say, those of Sye Ten Bruggencate, whose axiom is that God has given him a completely reliable method of arriving at the truth, so that anything he believes confidently enough is true. (Formerly, although I think they may have resiled from this particular idiocy, EL announced that their axioms were “true by fiat” – exactly as with Bruggencate’s system, but with EL taking the place of God.)
    7) Now, given that EL’s approach leads into such complete failure in thier own terms, and such ridiculous contortions – claiming that failure to adopt their axioms is irrational, while simultaneously proclaiming that adopting them cannot be justified – perhaps it is worth looking at how people actually arrive at beliefs, and in particular, improve the accuracy of their beliefs over time.
    8) What they do not do, notably, is to arbitrarily adopt a set of axioms, which they then declare to be beyond the possibility of revision, and try to derive everything from that set and their “first person experience”.
    9) Instead, they start from beliefs that they cannot – at least initially – help holding, use those to interpret their sensory input, and thus induce (because they cannot help doing so), beliefs about the world around them, and how they can affect it. These beliefs generate expectations, but sometimes, these expectations are violated. At such points, they are inclined (and again, this tendency is built into them – they cannot help doing it) to modify their beliefs. This modification is not, of course, guaranteed to be an improvement, but it may be; and if it is not, further violation of expectations may reveal the fact. (People, of course, learn a lot from others. It’s telling that EL’s epistemology, while not actually denying it, does not pay any explicit attention to this fact at all; but one of the remarkable aspects of human knowledge is its social and cumulative properties.)
    10) This process, at both individual and societal levels, has been going on for millions of years. That it works quite well – not perfectly – is evident from the fact that we successfully rely on its results every day.
    11) Now I know EL will say you have to assume that “the methods of science” work in order to justify believing that. But that “the methods of science” work is a conclusion from particular facts about the world – that bridges stay up, the internet works, planes fly, antibiotics save lives, predictions of eclipses are confirmed. If we are asked to “justify” the belief that a bridge has not fallen down, then we point at the bridge, we walk or drive over it. If we are asked to justify the claim that it was built using the methods of science, we point to the plans, and to textbooks of civil engineering. We don’t – because it achieves nothing whatever – add that we assume that we can actually detect whether a bridge has fallen down. Suppose that we do add such an assumption. Does it in any way justify greater confidence in the conclusion as to whether the bridge is still standing, or improve our understanding of the fact that it is (or is not)? Of course not: it does no logical or epistemological work whatsoever.

  2. Nick Gotts says

    I accidentally called EL a “sogmatist” in my #1 above. But I think the term fits rather well, as a portmanteau of solipsist and dogmatist. Of course EL is not a solipsist in the conventional sense – one of their – ahem – “axioms”, is that others have minds like theirs (poor unfortunates). But the attemt to reduce all belief, knowledge and science to a handful of arbitrarily chosen axioms plus “first person experience” – rather than intersubjectively checkable observations of and reasoning about the world – has a distinctly solipsistic flavour.

  3. Grewgills says

    Ben Carson might have just made his most ignorant and bigoted statement yet,

    Asked whether being gay is a choice, Carson responded: “Absolutely.”
    “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question,” Carson said.

    That argument, Carson said, “thwarts” the notion that homosexuality isn’t a choice

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/politics/ben-carson-prisons-gay-choice/index.html

  4. says

    Mano Singham has a commenter who said stupid stuff not once:

    What really bothers Lefties is that they don’t have the monopoly on the major electronic news media they did in the “50’s,60’s,’70’s and large part of the ’80’s.
    Come on ABC,CBS.NBC,CNN,PBS,and NPR are all leftist.
    Thank God ( if there is one, or two or…) for Conservative talk radio and Fox !!

    not twice:

    Admittedly Brian ,it’s a matter of perspective.
    For me there isn’t a true conservative party in the U.S.
    Politically I”m a Reactionary.
    I think the past was better in most respects than the present, and the future that appears to be emerging.
    Traditions are the wisdom of the ages.We ignore them at our peril.
    But for the current crop of opinion makers in the West at least, they’re largely the product of silly superstitions, or sanctified means of dominance over and exploitation of some group(s) by another.
    It is probably true that we know more about certain aspects of reality than earlier generations. or maybe we just have a different mythology.
    But I believe we are more ignorant concerning ourselves.
    So many modern Westerners believe humans can cease to be what we have always been, social,territorial,tribal mammals.
    Just educate them,give them jobs and food and we’ll all live happily ever after.
    Humans have a basic need to belong to some group, to feel loyalty to it ,to need and be needed.by it.
    These groups be they racial,ethnic,religious,political or whatever need the “other” to define themselves against.
    Americans need Russians,Indians need Pakistanis,Chinese, the Japanese,Leftist, the Right.
    We humans are aggressive and altruistic.We cooperate and compete.We love and hate.
    Who am I or any of us to question the wisdom of the nature that has made us, or the traditions that have tamed us,at least in part.
    Let’s not let the Best ,become the enemy of the Good.

    not three times, but four fucking times.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nick Gotts
    That’s better. I don’t think I saw anything blatantly dishonest.

    1) It is impossible to “justify” all our beliefs in terms of other beliefs simultaneously and without circularity.
    2) In this sense, the “infinite regress problem” EL is so bothered about is insoluble.
    3) There is no point in trying to solve an insoluble problem.

    I’m with you thus far.

    4) EL’s position is that the “solution” is to declare a small subset of general beliefs “axioms” or “presuppositions”, to adopt these without justification, and to derive everything from them and “first person experience”.

    I don’t like describing it as a solution to an insolvable problem. Rather, we agree that the problem is insolvable. Then the question becomes “Ok, if you cannot have a non-circular justification for all of your beliefs, then what kind of justification scheme should one aspire to?”. Again, I rather like identifying the core principles which one can and does adopt, which when combined with first first experience, leads to the rest of your knowledge. All of these core principles are subject to some degree of interplay, aka Foundherentism and not pure Foundationalism.

    5) This is, in fact, not possible (a) because there is no way of making these “axioms” or “presuppositions” into anything resembling an actual set of axioms as used, for example, in mathematics – as indicated by EL’s failure to do so;

    Let me use “why do I believe the sun will rise tomorrow” to exemplify how my position is quite workable, and to make fun of consciousness razor for not being able or willing to do the same.

    Imagine I woke up tomorrow on a desert island alone, with all of my knowledge of language lost, and all of my specific scientific knowledge lost, but I retained my core principles, part of which are instinctual as a matter of facts, and some of which are learned.

    There I am, sitting on a beach. I have the experience of seeing that bright thing above. Over the course of the next several days (assuming I survive), I will experience that bright thing going over me, rising from one direction, and setting the other direction, with relatively fixed directions, and relatively fixed time intervals. As Hume would say, this experience of seemingly regular events conditions me. It conditions me to have an expectation that this pattern will continue. On this basis, I thus have the expectation, the belief, that the sun will rise tomorrow.

    I need no culture to do this. I don’t need language either. I just need the (not perfect and error prone) ability to recognize patterns, and the related values and beliefs that I want to know about the future, I want to accomplish my goals, I want to choose plans which will be effective, and I can find patterns in the past which will allow me to discover plans which will probably be effective in the future.

    Over time, if I managed to develop mathematics (no easy task at all), but supposing I were much smarter than I actually am, from this basic primitive kind of induction, I would be able to derive that Bayesian reasoning is really quite reliable, much more reliable than the primitive kind of induction, but also much more costly to compute. So, I would then develop heuristics, partially consciously, partially unconsciously, to (partially consciously and partially unconsciously) determine what tools are appropriate to deploy in a particular scenario.

    Now, at my leisure, I may choose to fully examine my beliefs to see if they are justified. This is what we call “critical thinking”. Unfortunately, we cannot be perfectly critical thinkers all the time, because that would lead to analysis-paralysis.

    and (b) one cannot derive any specific information from them without additional specific beliefs about the world.

    And bullshit. I just did.

    Saying you will use “first person experience” gets you nowhere, because there is no such thing as “first person experience” uncontaminated by beliefs – something that is a consensus among those who have actually studied perception scientifically over the last century.

    I agree. I disagree that it completely shuts down my approach. I am not perfectly rational. Sometimes my cognition and my sensory apparatus makes mistakes. A classic example is “optical illusions”, those carefully sketched two-dimensional drawings which can confuse you and sometimes appear as weird three-dimensional shapes. I agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson that really should be called “brain failures”. Here is an example of where my cognition and/or sensory apparatus has made a mistake. However, by using other senses, by doing careful examination, etc., I can come to the correct conclusion in spite of this momentary lapse of accurate cognition and sensory experience.

    Furthermore, I agree with Thomas Kuhn in the structure of scientific revolutions. In short, Kuhn argues that we do not and cannot examine scientific hypotheses in a vacuum. For example, physics might have been held back for a long time during the discovery of relativity and quantum mechanics because the physicists had these beliefs regarding how the world works, what we might call classical physics. It took a while, longer than a “perfectly rational person” would take to overturn classical physics and embrace the new quantum physics and relativity. But it happened. It took longer than ideal, but it still happened. This is a problem which one should be aware of, but it’s not a fatal problem.

    I would remind you that Kuhn was not a complete epistemological relativist. IIRC, in a later postscript or something, Kuhn did clearly spell out that quantum mechanics and relativity are much closer to being right than classical physics, and that this is an objectively determinable fact, in spite of the problem that we can only examine theories in the context of other theories.

    At a more primitive level, I even agree that my “qualia” or first person experience is colored by the beliefs I already hold. Depending on the beliefs one already holds, you probably do experience different “qualia”. But again, this is not a fatal problem to my approach. The experience is not fundamentally different. No matter what your beliefs about the world, your religion, your politics, etc., you are going to have mostly consistent experiences of watching a hammer fall to the ground when I release the hammer at a height in normal household conditions. This problem of inaccurate perceptions is a real problem which one needs to be constantly wary of, but again it’s not a fatal problem.

    Even if EL’s “solution” were possible, it would be entirely pointless. Since the “axioms” are, explicitly, adopted without justification – that is, arbitrarily – anything derived using them inherits this arbitrary quality.

    And disagreed. This is simply not true. You are fooling yourself with a trick of language.

    Consider a very related example. There is no such thing as “morality” as an objective, material substance or property in our shared material (or super-material) reality. Mass, size, shape, color, smell, to differing extents are actual real properties of real material things in our shared material world. Morality is not. Morality is something we impose on the world. There is no measuring device you can make which can measure “morality”. There is no sensory experience of the outside world which is “morality”. Rather, we start with some – as you put it – completely arbitrary values. Almost all of us start with the “arbitrary” values of humanism. As Sam Harris puts it, human well-being.

    I can simultaneously deny moral realism / moral platonicism, and also not be a moral relativist. I can and so assert that the values of humanism are the right answer, but I also say that I have absolutely no reason to give why we should value human well-being. I hope you can agree, but if you do, I think you shoot your earlier argument in the foot, because the other argument is exactly the same thing.

    Unless you’re going to argue for moral realism. That should be amusing. I don’t know if you’ll go there.

    11) Now I know EL will say you have to assume that “the methods of science” work in order to justify believing that. But that “the methods of science” work is a conclusion from particular facts about the world – that bridges stay up, the internet works, planes fly, antibiotics save lives, predictions of eclipses are confirmed. If we are asked to “justify” the belief that a bridge has not fallen down, then we point at the bridge, we walk or drive over it.

    And you’re still not understanding the basic flaw of that argument. When you use the fact that the bridge is currently standing to support the use of the methods of science and inductive reasoning, you are implicitly assuming that the bridge is probably not going to fall down one second from now. What kind of an argument would you have if the bridge actually did fall down one second later, and the internet stopped working, and planes started falling from the sky, etc.?

    You are assuming that some malicious Cartesian demon is not going to appear one second from now, cause the bridge to fall, cause the internet to fail, cause planes to fall from the sky, etc. That’s a coherent possibility. It’s logically consistent, and thus you need some reason to disfavor it or some reason to favor the alternative.

    This unjustified and unjustifiable value of using inductive reasoning, aka thus unjustified and unjustifiable expectation that the world is going to continue along mostly in the same way it always has, is the lynchpin of that argument. You seem ritually bound to refuse to recognize or admit this patently obvious fact, in a similar manner to how a fundamentalist Christian is bound to always deny even the most patently obvious errors and contradictions of their holy book. It’s like a simple willful dogmatic refusal to engage with reality.

  6. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    Regarding morality.
    I guess you could take an approach similar to Richard Carrier. I admit his position seems most mysterious. As best as I can determine, his approach is to basically deny the existence of moral truth categorically, and he argues that normative language is merely a description of efficacy with an implied goal. As best as I can tell, Carrier argues for a sort of sophisticated normative egoism. I’m not sure if I have any response to that position. It’s quite baffling. I hope you don’t take it, because I really think that’s a conversation stopper.

  7. says

    @EL

    Ya, I’d guess there’s some complexity type thing involved. I remember reading something about that complexity thing you mention somewhere. Maybe it was in a thread a long time ago in a different argument about how science works :P

    For your first example, 10 data points, one thing that occurs to me is that 2nd order (or higher) systems can curve either up or down at certain unknown points. But if you don’t know which they will do, the possibilities cancel out, and so you should guess right in the middle (a line).

    Also, measurement error happens.

    @ your #8 post on this new page

    Uh oh, now you’re delving into morality! Sparks may really fly.

    Carrier has written a chapter called “Moral Facts Naturally Exist (And Science Could Find Them)” so i’m not sure how you come to think that he denies the existence of moral truth. He does the opposite.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For your first example, 10 data points, one thing that occurs to me is that 2nd order (or higher) systems can curve either up or down at certain unknown points. But if you don’t know which they will do, the possibilities cancel out, and so you should guess right in the middle (a line).

    Actually this one is easy. How many variables do you have? You can’t have a higher order than the amount of variables. If you have three variable, only a cubic equation or lower can be used.

  9. consciousness razor says

    Let me use “why do I believe the sun will rise tomorrow” to exemplify how my position is quite workable, and to make fun of consciousness razor for not being able or willing to do the same.

    What a pathetic liar. What is your presupposition supposed to be in your sunrise example? What do you think I would’ve said differently, would’ve failed to say, or would’ve been unwilling to say?

    Mass, size, shape, color, smell, to differing extents are actual real properties of real material things in our shared material world. Morality is not. Morality is something we impose on the world.

    How are color and smell not “imposed by us” on the world? Do you think that perceptions of “blue” exist outside of a sentient being’s head? You’ve said much stupider things in the past week (or even today), so unfortunately that’s not a rhetorical question.

    Here’s another question for you. If we exist and are real things, what the fuck do you think you mean when you say that what is imposed by us is “not real” by virtue of being imposed? Because you can’t literally mean what you’re saying, since what you’re actually saying is total nonsense. It doesn’t exist? It’s an illusion? It’s magic power that human beings have, of being able to impose non-real things on the world? Exactly which kind of fucking idiocy should I expect, if you keep blathering about this? And if you don’t even know what you mean, then absolutely no one cares about your sophistry.

    Do you have anything for us other than lies, nonsense, trolling, and other such garbage?

  10. ChasCPeterson says

    How many variables do you have? You can’t have a higher order than the amount of variables. If you have three variable, only a cubic equation or lower can be used.

    What?
    Not following the discussion, but that makes no sense.
    In any 2-dimensional Cartesian graph there are 2 variables, conventionally x and y. You can fit a polynomial curve of any order to any such set of data.

  11. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @brianpansky
    Why do I think Carrier is an ethical normative egoist? This blog post of Carrier.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4498
    I think that Carrier would argue that moral facts and truths do exist, but that definitionally moral truths reduce down to mere statements about what plans of action are the best to achieve personal satisfaction. Obviously, I disagree.

    @Nerd
    Take a refresher of some high school math. Consider a set of data which is 2 points (with different x values). There is one unique 1-degree polynomial which fits the data. An infinite number of 2-degree polynomials also fit the data. You’re confusing this for the fact that 2 points of data are not enough to define a 2-degree polynomial. That’s a consequence of the fact that there are an infinite number of 2-degree polynomials which fit any 2 data points (with different x values).

    @consciousness razor
    If you want to take your informal defense of why the Sun will rise tomorrow and fill in the missing gaps, then I’m game. However, you already refused to do so, and when I tried to fill the gaps and ask if that’s what you meant, then you again refused. Your reasoning is not distinct, not precise, and thus my reason cannot act on it. When I tried to make it precise, you resisted and refused. I’m not a mind-reader, and if you want to stay purposefully ambiguous, then the ending of the conversation is your fault, not mine. You’re welcome to rectify the situation by fully explaining what you meant by your lengthy informal arguments. Otherwise, not interested anymore explaining why you’re wrong. I’ll still respond to direct questions, but that’s about it.

    You asked some direction questions, so I’ll give some direct answers.

    How are color and smell not “imposed by us” on the world? Do you think that perceptions of “blue” exist outside of a sentient being’s head? You’ve said much stupider things in the past week (or even today), so unfortunately that’s not a rhetorical question.

    Yes, I think the wavelengths that correspond to the perception of “blue” are an objective property of our reality. I am sorry for being imprecise in my language. I will still argue that morality is a fundamentally different beast, and that there is no objective material property behind morality.

    Here’s another question for you. If we exist and are real things, what the fuck do you think you mean when you say that what is imposed by us is “not real” by virtue of being imposed? Because you can’t literally mean what you’re saying, since what you’re actually saying is total nonsense. It doesn’t exist? It’s an illusion? It’s magic power that human beings have, of being able to impose non-real things on the world? Exactly which kind of fucking idiocy should I expect, if you keep blathering about this? And if you don’t even know what you mean, then absolutely no one cares about your sophistry.

    I’m not sure what you’re asking. The context of where I used the word “impose” was to describe precisely the opposite. I argued that humans impose morality onto the outside world. Morality is not real like a chair is real. Morality is not real like how mass or length are real properties of real things. My use of the word “impose” was precisely to point out that morality is not real, and this does not change no matter how much humans attempt to pretend otherwise. I have no idea how you could read what I wrote and come away with the conclusion that I stated the imposition of ideas on reality make them real. I have been arguing against that position. Again, I think you need to try again, and this time read for comprehension.

    Do you have anything for us other than lies, nonsense, trolling, and other such garbage?

    Say what you will, but I have been fully honest in this conversation, and I have been earnest in my attempts to understand your position. You cannot honestly say the same.

  12. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ack. I fear that someone will misunderstand me again about morality.

    Just to be clear: Morality is not a real and discoverable property of our shared material (or super-material) reality. In other words, morality is not a substance or property of our shared material (or super-material) reality. It’s like beauty. There is no substance or property which is beauty. Beauty exists in the mind of the beholder. So does morality. In a specific sense, without a mind to behold beauty, there would be no beauty, and without a mind, there would be no morality.

    I do argue that moral truths exist, but I also argue that moral truths are not a discoverable substance or property. Rather, moral truths arise from the presuppositional values of humanism. As Sam Harris occasionally argues (when he’s having a clear and lucid day, which is rare), you just have to grant me the one premise that the hypothetical universe where every mind suffers as much possible, and as long as possible, is bad. In informal terms, humanism follows from this one premise. This one premise is acknowledging that morality is about the well-being of conscious creatures.

    Morality is still not real in the same sense that mass, weight, length, wavelength, distance, etc., are real. Morality is in a different category. It’s in its own category.

    Of course, one you start with a moral premise, then plenty of moral facts are discoverable. Hume’s is-ought distinction only prevents conjuring a moral statement out of thin air. It’s totally ok to use a moral premise plus material facts to derive additional moral facts.

  13. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I realize that the conversation has moved on, but I have a small quibble (bold is mine).

    EL 497:

    From a certain naive perspective, there are an infinite number of polynomials that are a good fit to this data. Consider the set of good fit polynomials of all degrees. I bet the average of the degree of polynomials of this set goes to infinity. Yet, we seem to favor the 1-degree polynomial. Why? From that certain naive perspective, shouldn’t we give equal weight to every curve that matches the data? But we don’t.

    Technically, one should only favor the 1 degree polynomial if the improvement in fit of adding additional free parameters is not outweighed by the estimation problem that adding free parameters induces. This is the logic behind the model-test criteria that are most familiar to me (likelihood ratio, Akaike Information Criterion, Bayesian Information Criterion, and the like).

    I also believe that the Bayesian reasoning method is also the most formal and is the actually correct approach, and the “least Kolmogorov complexity” approach and the “most parsimonious approach” is merely an approximation of the correct Bayesian approach.

    I think this requires further justification. I am not sure that I see the relationship. Parsimony, as far as I know, has never been robustly justified from a probabilistic perspective. The justification for parsimony is that most parsimonious explanations have the highest explanatory power—they explain the most while assuming the least. Kolmogorv complexity provides a metric for assessing how parsimonious an explanation is. They provide best explanations given a set of observations and competing hypotheses. Bayesian methods on the other hand, are ways of incorporating uncertainty into parameter estimations…if you were to use Bayesian methods exclusively to choose among polynomial functions as explanations for the data, you would need to invoke a parameter* that defined the probability of functions of different order, and would then marginalize over the parameters that define those functions to obtain an estimate of the posterior distribution of polynomial functions of varying order. I suppose that you could use parsimony as a starting point for selecting priors on that parameter, assigning higher density to first order polynomials than higher order polynomials. Nonetheless, I’m not sure that there is an objective way to do this (although I’m sure Harold Jeffreys or some other objectivist probably specified one at some point).

    Just my opinion here: Just as Popper can be accused of being naïve about falsification, I think that many who espouse Bayesian methods are naïve about how complicated and subjective those approaches can be, especially when applied to difficult inferences. Nonetheless, it seems to be in vogue to call oneself a Bayesian while only offering the very simplest of examples of how the Bayesian approach can be objective. I don’t suspect that Carrier is a subjective Bayesian from what little I’ve read.

    *And a prior distribution of that parameter.

  14. consciousness razor says

    I’ll still respond to direct questions, but that’s about it.

    I directly asked you which presuppositions you used in the example. Which are they?

    If you can’t understand that question, then you could not have understood your own repeated and insistent claims about needing them for something.

  15. says

    @15, EnlightenmentLiberal

    @brianpansky
    Why do I think Carrier is an ethical normative egoist?

    no, my question was “how you come to think that he denies the existence of moral truth.” Very different. And I’m well aquianted with his post you linked to. I’ve read a lot of his thinking on the subject.

    humanism…morality is about the well-being of conscious creatures.

    Well yes. And you get their “well being” if you talk in terms of their satisfaction. Unless you think that a dissatisfied state can be “well being” or a satisfied state can lack “well being”. At which point I’d just dismiss you concept of “well being” as irrelevant to conscious creatures.

    Also……I really think that word “pressupositon” is dubious. Especially since it seems like a contradiction to say that humanism is a presupposition but also to say that it follows from a premise. And that premise is actually empirically based.

  16. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Antiochus Epiphanes in 17

    Agreed about the fitting of 1-degree curves.

    I agree that I might be underselling how ridiculously hard it is to use formal Bayesian reasoning in anything but contrived examples. That’s why Frequentist reasoning was so popular, because it was computationally tractable. Of course, with modern computation power, Bayesian reasoning is making a comeback.

    I think I agree with everything you wrote.

    @brianpansky

    Also……I really think that word “pressupositon” is dubious. Especially since it seems like a contradiction to say that humanism is a presupposition but also to say that it follows from a premise.

    Sorry, I’m letting my Foundherentism show. I’m going between what I see are equivalent formulations. You can describe the starting principle as all of humanism, or you might be able to get away with the starting principle that the universe of worst possible suffering is bad. The idea of Foundherentism is that the starting collection of principles is a little vague, a self referential, self supportive and circular. It is hard to really pin down and fully formalize the starting principles. (However, the starting principles are small in number compared to one’s total beliefs, and you can derive the rest of your beliefs from the starting principles and evidence.)

    @consciousness razor

    I directly asked you which presuppositions you used in the example. Which are they?

    Sorry, I thought I was clear.

    In the desert island hypothetical, I experience the sun rising every day at mostly fixed intervals. According to the starting principle of induction, I form an expectation that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and the day after, etc.

    Morality isn’t relevant to this example.

    I’m the only human on the desert island in this example, and so the anti-solipsism principle isn’t relevant.

    I suppose I am using logic and reason to the extent that I’m trying to maintain logically consistent beliefs. However, I don’t need to do any deductive reasoning – or any reasoning at all except for the basic induction.

    The example is so simple, I think it might just be primitive induction.

  17. consciousness razor says

    The idea of Foundherentism is that the starting collection of principles is a little vague, a self referential, self supportive and circular. It is hard to really pin down and fully formalize the starting principles.

    Why would you complain when you think others are being vague or informal?

    Sorry, I thought I was clear.

    If you were being consistent, you would have said you thought your example was “hard to really pin down and fully formalize,” not that it’s clear, that reason can act upon it, that it should therefore not be ridiculed, etc.

    In the desert island hypothetical, I experience the sun rising every day at mostly fixed intervals. According to the starting principle of induction, I form an expectation that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and the day after, etc.

    You don’t need a principle. You just do it, in fact. If the sun rose only once or didn’t happen “at mostly fixed intervals,” that kind of experience would not induce in you a belief that it will likely be the same way again. No such presupposition needs to tell you that, nor should it tell you otherwise, because we don’t need anything like that.

    That is a conclusion you reach after such experiences happen — after there is some kind of data or sensory input to even think about. And the general concept of induction in epistemology is something philosophers only cooked up recently, long after vast numbers of people accumulated lots and lots of experiences like that, noticing the pattern-matching itself can even be said to follow a certain kind of pattern.

    Anyway, if you did not realize that a priori principles (i.e., “pre-suppositions”) are not like that at all, because that’s just what those words mean as technical jargon, then you can say you’ve learned that now (should’ve been over a week ago), so you’ll gladly stop confusing everyone with your ignorant bullshit. I will accept that. But we can’t have a productive conversation if you just keep abusing language like this. Even if we agreed on substantive matters, it would be pointless until you get that through your thick skull.

  18. says

    Posting a response to a comment by Enlightenment Liberal to avoid going off topic in that thread.

    EL:

    @Galiell [sic]
    I’m also still a bit unsure why “small government” is supposed to be something we should aim for in and on itself.

    Well, government is almost by definition violence (necessarily relies on taxes), and I generally dislike violence. Thus, I think that “small government” should be a goal, but not at the cost of other goals. We should avoid obviously wasteful program implementations when better implementations exist. We should avoid pork barrel programs that are not for the common good – e.g. don’t tax everyone just to give it to the already rich.
    Of course, the Republicans are willing to sacrifice other goals on their altar of small government, and that is bad.

    Government is almost by definition violence? How did you come by this bizarre definition of government?

  19. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Tony!

    More to the point, how did EL come to this bizarre definition of violence?

  20. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    @ Tony & CD

    Many people have speculated that, if we knew why EL had thought [XYZ] we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.

    :D

  21. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Daz:

    It’s bizarre because most of us take contractarian ethics for granted. Defining the government as “violence” negates the validity of the contractarian enterprise. You can’t call the negotiated agreement for self-government “violence” without illegitimating the negotiated agreement for self-government.

    If all government, including any and all governments created under a negotiated agreement for self-government, is violence by definition, then EL must be adamantly opposed not merely to the current form of the US constitution but to all constitutions, period.

    Yet, if you have no constitutional government no path to mutually agreed government (because it is by definition violence and thus by definition illegitimate government) how can you have “limited government”. What you get isn’t “limited government” it’s either Somalian anarchy of open violence (which could hardly be worse) or a dystopian exaggeration of Russian plutocracy.

    To say both that one wants government (albeit small, small is still extant) AND that all governments are violent by definition is fucking bizarre, unless you love violence which the libertarians profess to hate.

  22. says

    Crip Dyke

    You can’t call the negotiated agreement for self-government “violence” without illegitimating the negotiated agreement for self-government.

    I disagree. In a self governing society, force is used on the behalf of and with the permission of those entering the contract, against those who renege on the contract. (If you don’t pay your taxes, you’ll be forced to. Break laws and you’ll be forced to pay damages, or forced into incarceration, etc.)

  23. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Responding to
    @Tony! The Queer Shoop

    and
    @Crip Dyke

    If all government, including any and all governments created under a negotiated agreement for self-government, is violence by definition, then EL must be adamantly opposed not merely to the current form of the US constitution but to all constitutions, period.

    I’m not adamantly opposed to all governments. I’m simply not a pure pacifist. I recognize that sometimes violence is the least evil possibility.

    As Penn Jillette once put it, if you do not pay your taxes for long enough (and depending on the discretion of the IRS and how exactly you didn’t pay your taxes), eventually a person will come to your house with a gun and take you away to jail. Taxes are violence, and you cannot have government without taxes.

    One of the primary roles of government is to solve the freerider problem, and again the only way to do that is with violence, such as in the form of taxes.

    Now, I recognize this blatantly obvious fact just like Penn Jillette, but I take a completely different course. Where Penn Jillette is an asshat libertarian, I am much more socialist or communist in bent. For example, I think that wage slavery is a very useful concept and a very apt description of our modern capitalist economy. The only way that wage slavery makes sense is in the context of this philosophy where taxes are violence.

    However again, just like I recognize the fundamental critiques of Penn Jillette regarding taxes as violence but disagree with his suggest course of action, I also recognize the critiques of many radical socialists and communists but I disagree with their suggested course of action. (And yes, I know Penn Jillette is not the first to say it. However, I’m taking enough of his phrasing that I fear I might be plagiarizing without giving proper attribution.)

    The social contract is one nice way to look at the problem and justify the violence inherent in government. I very much like that phrasing. However, it is foolish to view “the social contract” of government to be just the same like any other mundane contract. There’s plenty of things in conventional contract law which makes the comparison inapplicable. For example, normally entering into a contract while underage is non-binding, but it totally is for the social contract. Similarly, being forced into a contract under duress is generally not legally binding, but it is for the social contract.

    The best way I can put it is to attack the John Locke’s defense of social contract theory, and especially his labor theory of property. In short, Locke argued that if you go into the woods and collect apples, then they are your apples, even if you let them go to waste. Locke argues that hoarding apples, even letting them go to waste, does no harm to your neighbor, because the neighbor is free to go into the woods and get his own damn apples. Locke correctly notes that even at his time, all of the land is owned, and so it is actually illegal to go into the woods and get your own apples, but Locke had a convenient dishonest excuse – he said all the free land you could possibly want exists for you in America. Never mind the expense of getting there. Never mind the real social costs of leaving your friends and family to move there. Never mind the great differences in security, in social services, etc. Never mind the huge problem that there are people already there who basically own the land, Native Americans.

    However, today, even that flimsy excuse is no more. All land is owned. You do not have a choice except to sign on to one of the social contracts that is government, and in the world of normal contracts being forced with violence to choose one of many when they all suck is a choice made under duress.

    As an aside, I argue that all private property rights are violence. Private property rights are a fiction created by the social contract and the government. No one has a metaphysical connection to their house or car. The only reason that it’s yours is because of the consensus of the social contract to make it yours. I generally think private property is a great way to improve well-being. However, I don’t see private property rights as anywhere near inviolable or important as right to bodily integrity, right to food, right to free speech, etc. Especially when it gets to the ridiculous extremes of filthy richness at the cost of their neighbors like in basically every country today, I do want the proletariat to rise up, through peaceful means, elect new legislatures, and pass some damn heavy progressive death taxes and heavy progressive income taxes. Maybe even do something like pass a law to effect a guaranteed minimum wage.

    @consciousness razor

    And the general concept of induction in epistemology is something philosophers only cooked up recently, long after vast numbers of people accumulated lots and lots of experiences like that, noticing the pattern-matching itself can even be said to follow a certain kind of pattern.

    I didn’t know “thousands of years” was “recently”. The Stanford entry correctly notes that this was the consensus, near unanimity position of all philosophers for literally thousands of years. Only in the last 50 years or so has there been a large break from this consensus. Even now, there’s a very strong contingent in my camp. Again, such as Matt Dillahunty. I’m not taking some obscure-ass position.

    EL: In the desert island hypothetical, I experience the sun rising every day at mostly fixed intervals. According to the starting principle of induction, I form an expectation that the sun will rise again tomorrow, and the day after, etc.

    cs: You don’t need a principle. You just do it, in fact.

    And as I’ve been saying, I do need a principle. I want to practice critical thinking. I want to be able to identify good thinking from bad thinking. I want to be able to examine my beliefs and find beliefs which are not properly justified, in order that I can throw them out. I want to be able to exmine my beliefs and find circular reasoning, in order that I might throw them out. That’s what it means to think critically. It means to examine your own beliefs, looking for flaws.

    It’s simply ridiculous to say it’s ok to not examine this fundamental basic reasoning that we all do. We invented science and critical thinking because our basic reasoning skills are flawed. We know that just ignoring it as you propose to do leads to more errors. We have found that looking closely at it, and formalizing it, and putting it through rigorous analysis and critical self examination, is a much better way to find flaws.

    No such presupposition needs to tell you that, nor should it tell you otherwise, because we don’t need anything like that.

    When someone asks me “Why do you believe that”, I think “because it’s an instinctual behavior” is an incredibly pisspoor answer. It’s an incredibly pisspoor answer because I know I have many instinctual behaviors which are bad. I need to and want to figure out which are the good instinctual behaviors and which are the bad instinctual behaviors, in order that I might suppress the bad instinctual behaviors.

  24. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    One more specific point. It really bugs me when fellow liberals like yourself argue wrongly against libertarians. It makes us liberals look foolish and ignorant, and it makes the liberal position look foolish. You are foolish when you argue that taxes are not violence. You are foolish when you quietly acquiesce to the horrid core doctrine of libertarianism that is the non-aggression principle. That’s the fundamental mistake.

    Modern US libertarianism is IMHO a combination of two principles: the non-aggression principle and a deep undying respect for private property rights. Both positions are fundamentally mistaken.

    Sometimes the right thing to do is to use violence to force your neighbor to do the right thing. That’s what taxes are (that’s what taxes should be). That’s what jury duty is. Again, almost by definition, government is a violation of the non-aggression principle. Don’t just give up this point to the libertarian when it’s the fundamental flaw of their position (or at least one of the two fundamental flaws).

    Similarly, it is wrong to provide a blanket defense of private property. We can and should have wealth redistribution as an official government policy. Offhand, I strongly favor heavy progressive death taxes and progressive income taxes for the expressed purpose of ensuring that the filthy rich no longer exist, or at least greatly decrease in number and wealth.

    PS:
    The odd part of modern US libertarianism is that there is a strong incompatibility with the two central tenants of libertarianism. You need the apparatus of the state to use violence to enforce private property rights, and this is an aggression under the non-aggression principle. When someone walls off a piece of land, and says that they’re shoot anyone who comes on their land, or that they’ll get a ticket for trespassing, that is initiating violence contra the non-aggression principle. In my experience, most libertarians are so dogmatically wed to these positions that are physically incapable of realizing this simple true, and instead they adopt some weird metaphysical ideas regarding property.

  25. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PPS:
    One last thing before I go to bed. I want to emphasize the reason I took this name is because I identify most strongly with the philosophy of the European Enlightenment, and especially John Stuart Mill. I wrote the section on him at rationalwiki, and it’s still around now. In there, I note that Mill’s Harm Principle is not modern libertarianism and quote supporting passages. I fully endorse and embrace the Harm Principle as one of the bedrocks of morality and humanism.

    tl;dr
    The Harm Principle != modern US libertarianism. Completely different beasts.

  26. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    Tony @ 25

    That’s pretty cool. Honestly though, Seven should have just had a normal crew person’s uniform exactly like all the other former Maquis on the ship who aren’t actually Academy graduates. In fact, IMO, a better change than simply redesigning Seven would be to put all the female crew members in practical shoes.

    There’s also the fact that they made her live in the damn cargo bay for the entire time with anyone and everyone able to march right into what was basically her bedroom.

  27. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    You are foolish when you argue that taxes are not violence. You are foolish when you quietly acquiesce to the horrid core doctrine of libertarianism that is the non-aggression principle.

    I didn’t acquiesce to it.

    I fucking described it.

    And as a rape victim and a payer of taxes, arguing that taxes is violence makes YOU look idiotic. Daz’s more limited “taxes are force” is arguably correct.

    Taxes are violence is bullshit. I believe that you can tell the difference between rape and taxes, and that you choose not to reflects on you about as well as the DOJ report reflects on the government of fucking Fergusson.

  28. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    By the by:

    PS:
    The odd part of modern US libertarianism is that there is a strong incompatibility with the two central tenants of libertarianism. You need the apparatus of the state to use violence to enforce private property rights, and this is an aggression under the non-aggression principle. When someone walls off a piece of land, and says that they’re shoot anyone who comes on their land, or that they’ll get a ticket for trespassing, that is initiating violence contra the non-aggression principle. In my experience, most libertarians are so dogmatically wed to these positions that are physically incapable of realizing this simple true, and instead they adopt some weird metaphysical ideas regarding property.

    I already made this point in my #27. Since you failed to read and/or acknowledge it, I’ll repost it here as the essence of my critique of libertarian theories of government:

    To say both that one wants government (albeit small, small is still extant) AND that all governments are violent by definition is fucking bizarre, unless you love violence which the libertarians profess to hate.

    Try criticizing me again, but using my actual positions next time.

  29. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Daz, #28:

    In a self governing society, force is used on the behalf of and with the permission of those entering the contract, against those who renege on the contract. (If you don’t pay your taxes, you’ll be forced to. Break laws and you’ll be forced to pay damages, or forced into incarceration, etc.)

    Um, yeah. In case you missed it

    force NOT EQUAL to violence.

    Should I say it again?

    F != V

    V != Ft/m

    Ooops, lapsed into physics. For real now:

    FORCE IS NOT FUCKING VIOLENCE. NOT ALL COMPULSIONS ARE VIOLENCE. EVEN THREATS CAN BE DISTINGUISHED FROM VIOLENCE (though there are sometimes good reasons to groups them together) – THAT’S WHY WE HAVE A SEPARATE WORD FOR THREATS!

    Moreover, if you give your fucking consent, it’s not violence. Libertarians deny the existence of contractarian ethics to arrive at a government = violence. Which would be absurdly limiting in their attempts to persuade a populace that relies on contractarian ethics all the time but NOT inherently absurd if they didn’t want a social contract that provides a force backup to private contract. But denying contractarian ethics as a method of arriving at a philosophy which requires general acceptance of a social contract?

    Bizarre is what I said. It’s what I stand by.

    Also?

    Government is not fucking rape. Don’t be a republican jerk.

  30. says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden #35:

    Um, yeah. In case you missed it

    force NOT EQUAL to violence.

    The use of force in order to achieve an aim is indeed violence. How can it be anything else? This definition would appear to be the crux of our disagreement.

    FORCE IS NOT FUCKING VIOLENCE. NOT ALL COMPULSIONS ARE VIOLENCE. EVEN THREATS CAN BE DISTINGUISHED FROM VIOLENCE (though there are sometimes good reasons to groups them together) – THAT’S WHY WE HAVE A SEPARATE WORD FOR THREATS!

    And the threat of force in order to achieve an aim is the threat of violence.

    Moreover, if you give your fucking consent, it’s not violence.

    That is not what’s under discussion. Criminals rarely consent to go to jail.

    I give my consent to my government’s use of force (strictly limited) in my name, in order to make people who break laws stop breaking laws, and people who do not pay taxes, to cough up their taxes. That is, I consent to the use of (strictly limited) violence in my name.

    Government is not fucking rape.

    I have never claimed it is, and nor would I.

    Don’t be a republican jerk.

    Eh? I’m quite happy to allow this limited force to be used in my name, and to admit what it is I am agreeing to. Where I differ from, say, a republican (in US terms, that is—in terms of the actual meaning of the word, and as a Brit, I totally am a republican) or a libertarian is in how much force I am willing to countenance, and for what purposes it should be applied.

  31. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    When a parent carries a 2 month old to bed, force is used.

    Violence isn’t.

    Criminals rarely consent to go to jail.

    Criminals consent to the social contract. The social contract entails living under the laws made pursuant to the social contract. The criminals consent in advance to the proposition of going to jail **if convicted in a court of law and duly sentenced to incarceration**.

    That they resist attempts at conviction is actually an expected and normal part of the social contract, and in fact indicates their ongoing consent to the legitimacy of the process.

    Moreover, that they don’t “consent” to jail is as sensical as saying that a party enforcing a private contract is using violence against a party that entered the contract without being coerced, that knew the penalty clauses and their meanings and their implications, and then chose to abrogate the private contract.

    The consent to penalty is implied because the contract is written such that “either I will X or you can ask me to do Y, which I must then do/provide as a penalty”.

    That’s fucking consent.

  32. says

    Wow, fuck you so very much CD. I disagree with EL on a great many things, but having had the experience of being jailed on bogus charges (which I pled guilty to, because the alternative was far worse,) and being molested as a child, let me make it 100% clear that the idea that you would suggest anyone consents to jail is revolting and literally no better to be than suggesting to that someone “desev\rves” to be raped because of some sin they’ve commited.

  33. consciousness razor says

    EL:

    I didn’t know “thousands of years” was “recently”.

    Relative to the many, many, many, many millennia people (or sentient animals generally) have existed? Or even relative to the several millennia of recorded history before there was anything like philosophy? Yes, it’s fairly recent. Now you know.

    Not that it matters, nor is it that you’re answering my direct question — which is what you said would be the only thing you were promising to do. I was honestly looking forward to hearing less from you.

    The Stanford entry correctly notes that this was the consensus, near unanimity position of all philosophers for literally thousands of years.

    Which entry of the encyclopedia notes that what was the consensus?

    And why would I care? You do realize one could describe a consensus of philosophers who believed “there must be a God,” but that consensus no longer exists (so don’t pretend you have one) because the problems with it are now fairly clear to modern people. If you’re saying you have a backward, archaic view that most people don’t believe is defensible — but it used to be a thing a lot of people genuinely believed — then I won’t argue with that.

    Only in the last 50 years or so has there been a large break from this consensus. Even now, there’s a very strong contingent in my camp. Again, such as Matt Dillahunty. I’m not taking some obscure-ass position.

    Since it has nothing to do with who has more big philosopher friends backing them up (or you also have Dillahunty, who isn’t one) or whether the view is obscure…. I don’t really care about using that against you. But notice how dishonest you’re being by suggesting this weakness of yours is something that I ought to be uncomfortable with somehow.

    The actual point of mine you were quoting was that there is clearly a large amount of empirical input for this, staring at you in the face, which you refuse to think about (much less think about critically). Call it experiential, sensory, historical even — whatever you like, except an a priori presupposition. There is no question about that in any camp worth mentioning. Because those are facts about the world and what the words themselves mean. Nobody with any sense would cook up a “position” for/against or have a “debate” about it — that’s just fucking pointless. But you don’t have any sense, nor can you make a point.

    It’s simply ridiculous to say it’s ok to not examine this fundamental basic reasoning that we all do.

    I have said no such thing. Ridicule someone else for that.

    We know that just ignoring it as you propose to do leads to more errors.

    Again, I’m not ignoring anything. You can lie about me or address what I’m saying. I have described exactly what I think is going on, how and why and when and if it can be a justifiable process, etc.

    What I’m not doing is claiming it has the kind of epistemic (and maybe ontological) status that you’re claiming it has. Those are definitely not the same fucking thing.

    When someone asks me “Why do you believe that”, I think “because it’s an instinctual behavior” is an incredibly pisspoor answer.

    What a pathetic, lying fuckwit. I’ll break it down again, for anyone else who actually knows how to read for comprehension.

    (1) It is in fact the case that I can make repeated observations of the regular occurrences of things that regularly occur. This might look tautological, but it’s a fact about me and the world, which need not be the case as I pointed out before.
    (2) Such observations can, in some kinds of cases but not all, be a useful guide for making predictions. If not, then it’s a real shame, but I can’t make the kinds of predictions I wanted. I don’t claim to be a psychic or a prophet, or otherwise have full and complete and absolute knowledge about the future, so this is no problem. I’ll try something else if I can, or I’ll just live with the fact that I don’t happen to know something.
    (3) None of this is something I must think must be the case, before I start experiencing anything at all. It could have been the case in some other kind of world (perhaps in our own future) that this does not tend to work for me in the cases it tends to work now. Indeed, sometimes it is already the case that things aren’t as predictable as I might expect them to be. Those are just facts. If it doesn’t work as well as other methods, it could get plenty of criticism and analysis like that, and I could and would and should start using those better methods.
    (4) Such facts are something that, if there’s no backward causation, I must have learned after I get some empirical information about the way the physical world actually is. It’s not something I would need in all possible worlds no matter what, and it indisputably is empirical in the sense of being derived or concluded on the basis of experience or evidence.
    (5) You have, at various places, already agreed on at least some of these points explicitly — and if you didn’t agree you would just be wrong. If you don’t like that now, too bad. Either way, I’m not very worried about whatever incomprehensible drivel you’ll come up with. You seem to have some perverse need to say things which are obviously false, irrelevant, confusing, misleading, dishonest, ignorant, vague, pointless, meaningless, and just plain contradictory — so there’s no telling what you might say, nor is there any reason to care.

  34. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke

    That they resist attempts at conviction is actually an expected and normal part of the social contract, and in fact indicates their ongoing consent to the legitimacy of the process.

    Ongoing violent resistance constitutes ongoing consent? What the fuck?

    Moreover, that they don’t “consent” to jail is as sensical as saying that a party enforcing a private contract is using violence against a party that entered the contract without being coerced, that knew the penalty clauses and their meanings and their implications, and then chose to abrogate the private contract.

    You are also wrong here. Once consent is given, it doesn’t mean that consent cannot later be revoked. After consent is given, consent can definitely later be revoked.

    You are the one who brought up rape, so I feel this is fair game. Consider what you have just written in the context of rape. “Ongoing violent resistance can constitute ongoing consent. Also, once consent is given, consent cannot later be revoked.” Do you really mean that?

    When someone tries to duck out of a normal, person to person, legally binding contract, and when the other person uses the court to enforce that contract, they are using force, and they are using violence, to enforce the contract.

  35. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @consciousness razor

    Which entry of the encyclopedia notes that what was the consensus?

    The one on Foundationalism. It notes the Foundationalism was the consensus position of philosophers for thousands of years.

    And why would I care?

    Dunno. I would normally say “in order to avoid knowingly spreading false information” e.g. being honest, and “in order to avoid strawmanning an opponent’s position”, but you don’t seem to care much about that.

    The actual point of mine you were quoting was that there is clearly a large amount of empirical input for this, staring at you in the face, which you refuse to think about (much less think about critically). Call it experiential, sensory, historical even — whatever you like, except an a priori presupposition. There is no question about that in any camp worth mentioning. Because those are facts about the world and what the words themselves mean. Nobody with any sense would cook up a “position” for/against or have a “debate” about it — that’s just fucking pointless. But you don’t have any sense, nor can you make a point.

    The following argument is not logically valid:

    – The Sun rose three days ago.
    – The Sun rose two days ago.
    – The Sun rose one day ago.
    – The Sun rose today.
    – Thus, the sun will rise tomorrow.

    The premises are merely some disconnected set of disparate facts. As a formal logical argument, it’s simply a non-sequitir. The conclusion does not follow from the premises.

    Consider this argument:

    – The Sun rose three days ago.
    – The Sun rose two days ago.
    – The Sun rose one day ago.
    – The Sun rose today.
    – Thus, Earth is a sphere.

    Again, the above argument is a complete non-sequitir. The conclusion simply does not logically follow from the premises, in exactly the same way that the earlier argument was a non-sequitir.

    Induction is what distinguishes between arguments of the first kind, and arguments of the second kind. Induction is what allows us to take a disparate set of facts, and conclude that they are related, and make conclusions about the future. For example:

    – The Sun rose three days ago.
    – The Sun rose two days ago.
    – The Sun rose one day ago.
    – The Sun rose today.
    – Induction: If I find patterns in the past, I should expect that the patterns will likely continue into the future.
    – Thus, the sun will rise tomorrow.

    That’s a logically valid argument.

    The following is not a valid argument:

    – The Sun rose three days ago.
    – The Sun rose two days ago.
    – The Sun rose one day ago.
    – The Sun rose today.
    – Induction: If I find patterns in the past, I should expect that the patterns will likely continue into the future.
    – Thus, Earth is a sphere.

    This might be the crux of the disagreement, that you seem incapable of recognizing the basics of logic 101.

  36. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The following argument is not logically valid:

    – The Sun rose three days ago.
    – The Sun rose two days ago.
    – The Sun rose one day ago.
    – The Sun rose today.
    – Thus, the sun will rise tomorrow.

    Actually it is. Calculate the energy required for the sun not to rise, by the Earth stopping its spin. It takes enough energy to stop the spin that it will melt the crust. Look at evidence, not mental wanking for why your logic works.
    The sun will rise tomorrow. Or you won’t be here to see it, being a crispy critter with the rest of us.

  37. says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden #37:

    That they resist attempts at conviction is actually an expected and normal part of the social contract, and in fact indicates their ongoing consent to the legitimacy of the process.

    Okay. I hereby deny that I have ever consented to taxation. I have never been asked for such consent, and nor have I ever explicitly given it. My consent to taxation has been assumed, and my wages have been taxed under that assumption. I shall henceforth resist any attempt to make me pay taxes.

    What happens next is that I will be taken to court and told to pay my tax arrears plus expenses. When I refuse to do so, on the grounds that consent is necessary, I will be sent to prison. Force will be used in order to uphold a law to which I have given no consent and which I’ve never even been asked to consent to.

    This is government by violence. Harm will be done to me; my freedom restricted, or my money taken from me by force. You might argue that it is a necessary harm, done in order to avoid a worse harm to society in general (and in the real world outside this fable, I strongly agree that it is), but it will still be a harm done to me without my consent.

    And ‘consent’ is pretty fucking meaningless in a situation where one is unable to withhold or withdraw that consent.

  38. Rob Grigjanis says

    EL @41:

    Consider what you have just written in the context of rape. “Ongoing violent resistance can constitute ongoing consent. Also, once consent is given, consent cannot later be revoked.” Do you really mean that?

    When you quote someone, don’t fabricate the quote. CD didn’t write that. It makes you look like a dishonest ass.

  39. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, some clean up is needed:

    @dysomniak:

    Wow, fuck you so very much CD. I disagree with EL on a great many things, but having had the experience of being jailed on bogus charges (which I pled guilty to, because the alternative was far worse,) and being molested as a child, let me make it 100% clear that the idea that you would suggest anyone consents to jail is revolting and literally no better to be than suggesting to that someone “desev\rves” to be raped because of some sin they’ve committed.

    Okay, I take my lumps as appropriate.

    But after taking my lumps let me state that
    1) we are talking about only criminals, not the falsely convicted. I could have said persons “legally guilty”, but I didn’t. For a reason. I apologize for my unclear language and the way that it hurt you. You were never meant to be included.

    2) I stand by the fact that consent **merely to be incarcerated** is implied.

    3) Incarceration as actually practiced by actual governments routinely includes things that are violence, that aren’t part of the contract, that are abhorrent. We as US citizens specifically do not agree to be punished cruelly or unusually. In practice this occurs all the time, and I hate that and work to end that.

    4) I was discussing this in a way abstracted from the practice of incarceration, merely talking about the social contract. I experienced the pain of jackasses treating my rape as their thought experiment and I see my behavior here as reasonably similar to the behavior of those Jackasses. I’m sorry.

    As for your #40:

    Oh, and your distinction between “force” and “violence” is about as meaningful as the distinction between “enhanced interrogation” and “torture.”

    I heartily disagree. I think that there is a huge difference between me carrying my three year old child out of the candy aisle at the grocery store and me shooting my three year old child with a gun. Frankly, I think that there is a huge difference between me carrying my three year old child out of the candy aisle at the grocery store and me spanking my three year old child with an open hand.

    i think the vast differences deserve different terms, and I loathe the libertarian conflation of deducting money from their paychecks with shooting Michael Brown. Fuck that. I won’t give in to it no matter how much you disagree.

    As for EL at #41:

    That they resist attempts at conviction is actually an expected and normal part of the social contract, and in fact indicates their ongoing consent to the legitimacy of the process.

    Ongoing violent resistance constitutes ongoing consent? What the fuck?

    FUCK YOU, EL.

    I never said violent resistance. Violence might be used to resist arrest, but in our society it is rarely used to prevent conviction. Resisting a conviction is primarily done with a fucking lawyer. Using a lawyer to argue in court that one shouldn’t be convicted and/or incarcerated upon conviction implies that you agree that a court is the place to decide that question. It doesn’t entail it, but it implies it in the commonly used sense.

    Don’t you dare add words to my language to change its nature. Reducing violence to rape gives a specific example of violence changes what we’re talking about, but retains the essential nature of the object under discussion.

    Since nearly all conviction-resistance is done in a courtroom with a lawyer, and since virtually no conviction-resistance is done by violence (I guess this would be mob hits on witnesses, etc?), your term “violent resistance” completely changes the thing under discussion.

    You’re making me say shit I didn’t say. Stop it.

    When someone tries to duck out of a normal, person to person, legally binding contract, and when the other person uses the court to enforce that contract, they are using force, and they are using violence, to enforce the contract.

    Being served with papers is not violence. The fact that you feel compelled to read them because you’re worried about the consequences of not reading them is not being violently forced to read them. Having money deducted automatically from your bank account or paycheck without you doing anything and while you do not want it done, is not violence. It may be any number of things, but it ain’t violence.

    Force is not the same as violence. Define a parent pulling a child’s hand back from a hot stove as violence all you like. Wail and moan about the distinction between “justified, given the circumstances” and “unjustified, given the circumstances” and how I’m not understanding your wise dividing lines that do permit reasonable actions to save children from burns, however violent this may be on the part of parents. I’ll have none of it. Violence is a thing. Abusing the term, as do libertarians and apparently you, EL, doesn’t help end violence nor does it help political reform.

    Stop conflating taxation with knifings, or more generally government with violence, or get used to me pointing out, on an ongoing basis, how ridiculous and petulant that is.

    As for your rape analogy, since I didn’t say “violent resistance = consent” it’s entirely off base.

    More over, consent to contract is a thing. It’s an event. It’s spoken of very differently than “consent to sex”.

    If you want to translate, remember that I said that someone **does** have the freedom to fail to perform their original obligations under contract, but that it’s silly to protest that they then may act as if the contract doesn’t exist. There are frequently entirely expected penalty clauses – which I was explicitly referencing in my example.

    If you pay me money to deliver you a trainload of bauxite in a few weeks, I can freely choose not to deliver the bauxite, but then, at the very least, I’ll have to give back the money you’ve already given me. That kind of penalty is frequently spelled out in the contract, and to pretend that – knowing that going in – I can choose not to deliver the bauxite AND insist that I don’t “consent” to giving you your money back is ridiculous. And bizarre.

    Translate this to the sexual realm.

    Even if a contract existed for the sex,

    WHICH IT FUCKING DOESNT SO YOUR COMPARISON IS FUCKING USELESS, CONTRACTS BEING DIFFERENT BEASTS THAN ONGOING SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

    we don’t agree to many penalty clauses when we propose sex.

    One can “freely” withdraw consent to sex at any time simply means no penalty clause is invokable.

    Frankly, even though I use that language, it isn’t strictly true. If I invited you over for sex, EL, and if you accepted, and if we took it for granted that this was an actual contract, at the point that you no longer consent to sex it is reasonable that you leave my house as the invitation to come over was coincident with and for the purpose of having sex.

    In legal contracts we get to freely abrogate our primary obligations (our “promises” in the contract) almost always (specific performance is extremely rare). Even promises for sex are freely breakable. The difference is that I have to pay you back for not delivering the bauxite, but there isn’t anything to pay back for not giving you sex.

    ===========
    I could respond to you, too, Daz, but you’re just blindly resisting the idea that there may be some uses of force that do not amount to violence. The idea that restrictions on your freedom are by their nature violence is just silly.

  40. consciousness razor says

    The following argument is not logically valid:

    – The Sun rose three days ago.
    – The Sun rose two days ago.
    – The Sun rose one day ago.
    – The Sun rose today.
    – Thus, the sun will rise tomorrow.

    That’s true. Have an argument with Nerd of Redhead about it if you want.

    What’s also true is that we don’t need to deduce that it will rise tomorrow, as a matter of formal logic. Despite lacking that, it is nevertheless still a justified belief to have, because there is no use for such absurd restrictions (if were something we could do in the first place), simply to have knowledge or justified true beliefs or just a good fucking hunch about what we ought to think or how we should behave. If you thought we could only have knowledge or justified beliefs about the world, in a way that doesn’t depend on what facts actually obtain in the world, then you were not just wrong but your thinking on the subject must have been hopelessly confused.

    If there’s no sunrise tomorrow, then so what? That would be a surprise for us: we predict that it’s very likely to rise tomorrow. If that prediction is falsified, the physics of the world determines that, and we will have observed what the world is like then, whether or not it is true that the sun rises tomorrow. In other words, the sun rising tomorrow is an empirical fact about the real external world that we experience. And so is the efficacy of induction: it is an empirical discovery that we’ve learned it works for making various kinds of predictions, as astonishing as you may find that empirical fact to be. Formal logic does not tell us that it rises tomorrow or that induction must work. Reality does, and that is something we determine with empirical observations about it.

  41. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Rob, #45:

    You are, of course, welcome to your own opinions about EL’s honesty, but if it’s about the quote marks? He used the actual blockquote function for my real words. His use of quote marks in his paragraph – given the non-use of the blockquote function in this blogging context where it is used to indicate a direct quote – don’t actually bother me any. I thought it was clearly a paraphrase.

    However, if you’re saying that the paraphrase is so far from what I actually said that it constitutes dishonesty with or without the reader being made clearly aware it’s not literally a phrase I typed, there I am much more likely to agree.

  42. chigau (違う) says

    OK.
    Enough is enough.
    Because recently dead relatives, I can afford it.
    I’m buying a new computer.

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    EL, even though induction may be flawed in your mind, it can work if constantly and properly checked against facts. Somebody upthread mentioned because their pet never died over several years, it could be considered immortal by induction. But, knowing the limitations of induction, fact checking starts to confirm the deduction, and soon finds that dogs live 10-16 years, cats up to early twenties, rabbits five or six, etc. All pets die eventually. This is why science can use induction. Science checks it against reality, like I did with your sun always rises idiocy.
    If the sun didn’t rise tomorrow, a stupornatural event occurred, which hasn’t been previously recorded, and laws of physics no longer hold in our area of the universe. Or the Earth melted under us, and we are dead and haven’t realized it yet. Or, like what happened during the last hospitalization of the Redhead, she called me in the middle of night wondering when I was coming to feed her lunch, as she was twelve hours out of sync. Something odd, but not out of reasonable possibilities.
    Philosophers have a problem checking their logic against reality. Which is why Plantinga is laughed at for his inane “proof” of god that is demolished by evolution. Never be afraid to change your tools to get around a problem. And the biggest tool in the logic box is a reality check. In most philosophers tool box, it is the one still shiny because it hasn’t been used. It gets worn out and has to be replaced every so often in all scientists tool box.

  44. Lofty says

    chigau (違う)

    I’m buying a new computer.

    I’ve never bought a new computer in my life. I do my research, read the reviews, find a good used mid range device on ebay that’s around 2 years old and drive it until it’s dead. First purchase depreciation sux, IMHO.

  45. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Rob Grigjanis
    Sorry. My bad. You are right. Should have included “paraphrase”, or “as I understand their position”.

    @Crip Dyke
    Thanks for understanding about the paraphrase. I am really sorry.

    I was going to post more about specific issues, but I think it’s best here to keep it short and go the heart of the matter. I really have to go with what Daz said in post 44. You responded to Daz with:

    I could respond to you, too, Daz, but you’re just blindly resisting the idea that there may be some uses of force that do not amount to violence. The idea that restrictions on your freedom are by their nature violence is just silly.

    So, it appears that this is just an argument over terminology. Those are always the worst.

    It appears that you want to redefine the word “violence” to include only justified uses of force and exclude unjustified uses of force. Ok, let me run with that for a moment. Suppose I assert that it is the nature of government to use justified force on people without their consent. Would you be happy with the truth and terminology of this assertion? What a silly word game you are playing.

    @Nerd

    even though induction may be flawed in your mind

    What? I’ve been the one consistenting arguing for the utility, truth, correctness, etc., of inductive reasoning. I don’t understand why you think I think it’s “flawed”.

    @consciousness razor
    You seem to have this interesting dichotomy where formal logic arguments necessarily deal in absolute confidence, and anything dealing with degrees of confidence cannot be put in formal logical terms. I fail to see why. Bayesian reasoning does exactly that. I think this might be the source of your resistance. This is the flawed premise which you must abandon.

    And again, I want to practice critical thinking. I want to be the best critical thinker that I can be. The best way to think critically is to formally analyze one’s beliefs – to put one’s beliefs in a formal structure. That’s the best way to identify flaws in one’s reasoning.

  46. consciousness razor says

    EL:

    I don’t care how confident you are. I’ve been correcting your dishonest bullshit, and that process has involved a discussion of realism and empiricism. That’s almost the entirety of what I’ve done.

    If you also want to insinuate that I’m opposed to critical thinking or formal structures or Bayesianism or whatever the fuck … maybe next it’ll be rainbows and puppy dogs and apple pies … then go right ahead I guess. You won’t listen no matter what I say, and it just makes you look more ridiculous.

  47. Nick Gotts says

    I’ve been the one consistenting arguing for the utility, truth, correctness, etc., of inductive reasoning. – EL

    Hogwash. From all I’ve seen, you’ve been insisting that using it rests on “foundations” that are unjustified and unjustifiable, i.e. that its use is entirely arbitrary. If you’ve now abandoned that nonsense, good, but you certainly haven’t been consistently arguing anything of the kind.

  48. Ichthyic says

    That’s the best way to identify flaws in one’s reasoning.

    but from what I’ve seen of you, you never actually get to that point.

    why, you must be flawless!

  49. Ichthyic says

    It makes you look like a dishonest ass

    funny, EL smelled like a dishonest ass from the very first day I ever saw them post here.

    I even recall mentioning it then.

    …and have had occasion and reason to mention it several times since.

    amazing how little has changed.

  50. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @EL, #53:

    Thanks for your understanding on how what I was saying is different from your paraphrase. Apology happily accepted, though I was sure it was mistake and not ill will, so apology, strictly speaking, not even necessary.

    I am an anti-violence and anti-oppression activist. Oppression is constantly backed by the threat of violence, and using your definition is always backed by the threat of violence. Given your conflation of threats of violence if non-compliance happens and persists with actual, present violence, oppression is always and only violence, even when it merely consists of some HR person circular filing one of two equivalent resumes, choosing the one with a name identified with Black culture…while believing that the two are not equivalent and the one with a Black-culture-identified name at the top was being trashed because the qualifications didn’t quite make the cut.

    Think about the scenario of actually intervening. We know from scientific research, good data, and reasonable interpretation that experience and education equivalent resumes are treated differently when names differ in the gendered or racial implications. We can point to the research. We can say how awful it is. We can ask HR to have someone make copies of resumes with the names blocked out by a slip of paper with a large number on it…the resumes then analyzed without a name on them by the appropriate person who then sends a list of numbers back to the admin assistant. That person contacts folks and schedules interviews, and sends on the name-less resumes to people on the hiring committee. #12 comes in at the appropriate time and only then (**if then!**) does anyone on the hiring committee have access to the gender/race information of the applicant.

    Great reform. Useful for the company so they don’t overlook talent. Useful for the applicants so that the best fit person really does get the job. Useful for society in eliminating oppression. Super-win, right?

    But is HR going to respond positively at all, will they implement any of these reforms if you walk in and say, “We need to stop the violence to Black job applicants by you folk here in HR”?

    Of course not. Silly word games these exercises aren’t. Words mean things to people. By your definition of violence, every act of every parent of a pre-verbal child is violence. (Hell, perhaps parenting is “by definition” violence if government is “by definition” violence – after all parenting, by its nature, limits the freedoms of the child parented.)

    How then do we justify taking children from the homes of violent parents based on the fact that the parents are violent? Aren’t all parents violent? What is the moral distinction you’re making between parents whose children should be taken and parents whose children shouldn’t be taken.

    Your word use has real-world implications for how and when we fight oppression and violence. It has implications for how effective we will be in that fight.

    I choose not to use a definition that makes ending violence and oppression harder.

    That’s silly?

  51. Nick Gotts says

    EL@7,

    That’s better. I don’t think I saw anything blatantly dishonest.

    Fuck your lying condescension, shit-for-brains. I said nothing @1 significantly different from what I’ve said before, which you have perversely refused to understand.

    I don’t like describing it as a solution to an insolvable problem. Rather, we agree that the problem is insolvable. Then the question becomes “Ok, if you cannot have a non-circular justification for all of your beliefs, then what kind of justification scheme should one aspire to?”. Again, I rather like identifying the core principles which one can and does adopt, which when combined with first first experience, leads to the rest of your knowledge.

    Of course you don’t like describing it truthfully, because that shows what a dogmatic lackwit you are. If you had an ounce more sense than a cuckoo-clock, you’d realise that it means that the whole idea of a general justification scheme for beliefs is an absurdity, and that the concept of justification only makes sense locally. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, outside pointless thought-wankery, justification always relies on assumptions that are, for the time being, taken for granted; but that there is neither need for nor advantage in declaring that any such assumptions will never be examined and questioned in their turn. Especially since, by your own admisison, you can’t even formulate your foundational principles precisely. Actually, as I’ve already pointed out, you can’t formulate any of your alleged principles without relying on a huge structure of beliefs about language. How do you know what you own “principles” mean? Can you formulate them in a language you don’t know? Of course not – so being able to do so requires you to assume that your beliefs about English are, in fact, correct. They also rely on a range of concepts: “mind”, “evidence”, “assumption”, “science”, “derive”, “foundation”, “coherence”, “humanism” – which embody a complex structure of assumptions about the world, based on specific beliefs about what kinds of entity the world contains, what their causal powers are, what has happened, will happen, can happen…

    and (b) one cannot derive any specific information from them without additional specific beliefs about the world.

    And bullshit. I just did.

    Bullshit. No, you didn’t: you described a fantasy with no relation to reality. But even if it had some relation to reality, the very structure of your sensory system, and the way it is connected to your afferent nervous system, embodies implicit beliefs about the world. Your senses of taste and smell embody beliefs about what will be nourishing and what, toxic. Your startle response to loud noises or sudden changes in lighting embody beliefs about what are potential signs of danger. You are born with a tendency to detect, and attend to, faces, and so on.

    I need no culture to do this. I don’t need language either. I just need the (not perfect and error prone) ability to recognize patterns, and the related values and beliefs that I want to know about the future, I want to accomplish my goals, I want to choose plans which will be effective, and I can find patterns in the past which will allow me to discover plans which will probably be effective in the future.

    Over time, if I managed to develop mathematics (no easy task at all), but supposing I were much smarter than I actually am, from this basic primitive kind of induction, I would be able to derive that Bayesian reasoning is really quite reliable, much more reliable than the primitive kind of induction, but also much more costly to compute.

    This is so obviously delusional, it’s really hard to believe you could actually fail to realise it. Now it’s true that animals without language or culture do have beliefs and goals of a very simple kind, but the notion that they could develop mathematics and Bayesian reasoning is just ludicrous. Part of your problem is that you clearly think of yourself as an asocial and disembodied reasoning machine.

    I also say that I have absolutely no reason to give why we should value human well-being.

    I’ve been avoiding getting diverted into this side-track, but in fact the reason is very simple: because other people are likely to be better off if we do. Now of course you will say this is circular, but it is not, because while values cannot be derived from facts (alone), facts can determine whether there is any point in adopting a value. It would not be a cogent reason for an agent able to observe the world, but not to affect it in any way, to value human well-being. It would not be a cogent reason for us unless we had reason to believe that the results of our actions were to some extent predictable with respect to their effect on human well-being. There is no such reason for us to value the well-being of sentient beings in parts of the universe that are “over the horizon” of cosmic expansion, because doing so cannot in fact benefit them. (Of course, it’s also true that if you don’t value human well-being, this reason will not either cause or logically oblige you to do so. How could it?) Ethical (and esthetic) judgements are neither objective, norare they arbitrary, becasue they can be rationally criticised (on the grounds of inconsistency, incompleteness, unconsidered consequences, dependence on false factual claims…) and defended.

    Saying you will use “first person experience” gets you nowhere, because there is no such thing as “first person experience” uncontaminated by beliefs – something that is a consensus among those who have actually studied perception scientifically over the last century.

    I agree. I disagree that it completely shuts down my approach.

    Of course it does. It makes a complete nonsense of your claim to derive everything from your “foundational principles” and “first-person experience”. You couldn’t make any sense at all of the electro-chemical impulses from your afferent nerves without a complex structure of beliefs about the world.

    When you use the fact that the bridge is currently standing to support the use of the methods of science and inductive reasoning, you are implicitly assuming that the bridge is probably not going to fall down one second from now. What kind of an argument would you have if the bridge actually did fall down one second later, and the internet stopped working, and planes started falling from the sky, etc.?

    You are assuming that some malicious Cartesian demon is not going to appear one second from now, cause the bridge to fall, cause the internet to fail, cause planes to fall from the sky, etc. That’s a coherent possibility. It’s logically consistent, and thus you need some reason to disfavor it or some reason to favor the alternative.

    This unjustified and unjustifiable value of using inductive reasoning, aka thus unjustified and unjustifiable expectation that the world is going to continue along mostly in the same way it always has, is the lynchpin of that argument. – EL@

    *sigh*

    I see that you have not abandoned your fuckwittedness (see my #55). Look, numpty, you proclaim that your basic principles are “unjustified and unjustifiable”. So, as I have said, singling out those “principles” does no logical or epistemological work whatever – because whatever you deduce using them must inherit this property, if “justified” is a logical or epistemological status attached to beliefs in a non-local, context-free way. To answer your question, if the implicit assumption that the physical world would continue to operate much as before turned out to be false, and I survived, then I’d say I had made a false assumption. How would having proclaimed in advance that this was a fundamental principle that was “true by fiat” (or have you abandoned that particular piece of idiocy? Do let us know!) help? How does it provide me with any additional reason for confidence in my predictions?

    Of course I can give a justification for making the implicit assumption that the physical world will continue to work in ways that are sufficiently similar to what I’m used to, to allow me to make useful predictions – that it allows me to make predictions which will be useful if indeed it does so. (If I make no assumption about how the physical world will behave, I can’t make any predictions. If I make the opposite assumption – that it won’t continue to behave in ways that that are sufficiently similar to what I’m used to, to allow me to make useful predictions on that basis, then again, I can’t make any predictions. But neither of these points is actually necessary: it is enough that making the assumption allows me to do something that may be useful.) Now of course, this justification itself relies on (implicit) assumptions: that my memory of making such predictions is not a false memory; that an external agent will not interfere with my cognitive processes in making immediate future predictions; that the world is not about to be vapourised or my life abruptly ended by some entirely natural occurrence… So in general, there’s no point in making just one of the indefinitely large number of implicit assumptions explicit – unless there is actually some reason to call it into question – let alone any point in trumpeting it as foundational.

  52. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @crip Duke
    Ok. I will go here.

    You didn’t answer my questions. Before we go further, I’d like to understand your actual positions w.r.t. terminology so that I don’t run afoul of that. Please. I want to try to use your terminology.

    Suppose I am walking about, and someone whom I’ve never met accosts me, ties my hands behind my back, takes me to some place (kidnapping), and puts me in a locked small box (imprisonment). Suppose I’m violently resisting the whole time. Is this force? Is this violence? Do you answers depend on whether the kidnapper is a policeperson acting in accordance with the law or a criminal seeking extortion and ransom money?

    Suppose you come up to me in the grocery store, in the candy aisle, and you see me idling there for what you consider to be way too long for my own good. You take it upon yourself without consulting me to pick me up, and take me away, with me violently resisting the whole time. I am ok if you take this course of action with your own child. However, what would you think if someone did this to a stranger’s child? Is that violence? Is that force? Are you my parent? Am I your child? Did you mean to use this example as some sort of analogy to justify the government’s use of force – because I’m sure not seeing any useful parallels. The only useful parallel might be if you want to use the analogy that all adults are children of the government.

    How then do we justify taking children from the homes of violent parents based on the fact that the parents are violent? Aren’t all parents violent? What is the moral distinction you’re making between parents whose children should be taken and parents whose children shouldn’t be taken.

    Yes all parents are violent towards their children. In the language which I think you prefer, all parents regularly use justified force against their children, for the benefit of their children, without the children’s consent.

    You seem to already accept that there are justified uses of force and unjustified uses of force. My understanding of the word “violence” is that it is largely a synonym of force, and so there are justified uses of violence and unjustified uses of violence. (I’m still not quite sure what distinction you want to make between “violence” and “force”.)

    Here, the legitimate representative government has passed a law forbidding the mistreatment of children by their parents / guardians, and the law has supplied certain remedies such as taking custody of the children.

    I think that I really don’t understand your actual questions, because your stated questions seem too easy.

    I choose not to use a definition that makes ending violence and oppression harder.

    That’s silly?

    Well, silly, wrong, bad, unreasonable. I just meant some generic negative connotation.

    I’m generally not a fan of double-speak. It is my opinion that “violence” and “force” are largely synonyms. I am dubious of any plan which purports to make the world a better place which involves factual errors or dishonesty. If I am right about the common usage of the words “violence” and “force”, then your argument here involves factual errors (accidentally using wrong definitions) or dishonesty (purposefully using wrong definitions).

    I remain open to being convinced that my understanding is wrong regarding the consensus usage of “violence” and “force”. I’m still waiting for you to explain what you mean by the words.

  53. procrastinatorordinaire says

    Caine @ 59

    Chigau @ 50:

    I’m buying a new computer.

    Stay away from Lenovos.

    I wouldn’t swap my Lenovo for anything else.

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I remain open to being convinced that my understanding is wrong regarding the consensus usage of “violence” and “force”. I’m still waiting for you to explain what you mean by the words.

    I understand her just fine. What is your problem understanding her? She doesn’t agree with you?

  55. Al Dente says

    procrastinatorordinaire @62

    I wouldn’t swap my Lenovo for anything else.

    Just make sure that you don’t have the Superfish adware installed on your Lenovo.

    The Superfish root certificate can be used to create certificates for any domain, and those certificates will be implicitly trusted by the browser on any Superfish-infected system, leaving victims vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. To fix this, the certificate itself needs to be removed.

    Ars Technica explains how to get rid of Superfish and its bogus certificate.

  56. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @EL:

    I really think that the problem is that your definitions haven’t thoroughly been explored.

    Let me provide a bit of brief information, but after that I’m not going to fully explore your questions in part because your comment did not fully explore mine. This isn’t petty revenge – I think we’re talking past each other, and I think that it is, frankly, easier for you to understand your own position rather than mine. Thus I think that **your use** of thoughtful questions that I have used to come to my own conclusions about the words “violence” and “force” (to pick 2 among many other related terms like “oppression”) might actually be necessary for you to eventually understand my positions.

    In my definitions, it may be easier to describe what violence **isn’t**.

    If no living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, it cannot be violence. It might be a threat of violence. It might be many things. But it cannot be violence.

    If a living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, but only to the extent to which a person consents, it cannot be violence.

    If a living body is restrained, but not hurt or harmed, and is restrained **only** from actions whose consequences the person is literally not equipped to appreciate and factor into actions decisions, it cannot be violence.

    Given this, definitions of “living body,” “hurt,” and “harm” are obviously crucial to understanding the limits of violence.

    Likewise, the nature of consent is vital to understanding the limits of violence.

    Intent may or may not factor into the definition of violence. Unintentional actions that are entirely accidental such as landing on someone else’s toe in the process of landing on the ground after tripping do not count as violence **from the person landing and accidentally contacting that toe**. It might count as violence if the person tripping was intentionally tripped by a third person, but here the violence is done by the third person. This brings up another issue of intent. Intentional actions that have foreseeable but unintended consequences may count as violence. Throwing (accurately) a light bulb or wine glass at a wall near someone’s head may count as violence if the resulting glass shards hurt or harm (or, I guess, restrain?) that living person. Likewise the tripper in the previous example might be said to do violence both to the person tripped AND to the person upon whose toe the original victim landed.

    I come to these conclusions because of the practical consequences of using the words otherwise. There simply is no good way to create popular movement towards non-violence if every action that constrains another’s choices is violence. And this is only one of the many practical considerations that lead me to resist your definition and the general libertarian definition of violence as equivalent to any “force” that in any way impedes freedom.

    You will note that “justification” plays no role. You’ll note that the only instance where I mentioned justification in any way I was asking you a question:

    How then do we justify taking children from the homes of violent parents based on the fact that the parents are violent?

    You are the only one discussing justification as a measure for classification. I’m perfectly comfortable saying that in some instances violence in self-defense can be ethically justifiable. That doesn’t make it not-violence.

    But talking about consensual spanking in the bedroom as violence is counterproductive and bizarre. Talking about receiving court documents in the mail that describe a request for your appearance and legal consequences should you choose not to appear is even more bizarre, if possible.
    ======================

    In my next comment, I’ll give you specific questions about impeded freedom, hurt, harm and violence, and other areas in which I think your position leads to impractical, even absurd consequences.

  57. procrastinatorordinaire says

    Al Dente @ 64
    I had not heard of that, but it’s not relevant in my case as the machine was reformatted when it came from the factory. Thanks for the warning anyway.

  58. Grewgills says

    @EL #61
    How about using the WHO’s definition of violence to eliminate the confusion?
    The WHO defines violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” That would seem to remove reasonable levels of taxation from the definition of violence while leaving in arrest and detention, at least as practiced in most countries including the US.

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    I misspelled your name earlier. Just noticed. Sorry.

    I thought I answered all of your relevant questions. I skipped the ones I thought were proverbial or rhetorical.

    Let me do a quick run-by on all of the questions you’ve asked in this thread (or at least on this page)./

    Note: For the purposes of this discussion, I will continue to conflate “violence” with “‘true threats’ of violence”, and I will conflate “force” with “‘true threats’ of force”. Of course mere “true threats” of violence should be considered less severe than actual violence, but it’s a matter of degree, not kind. IMHO.

    Yet, if you have no constitutional government no path to mutually agreed government (because it is by definition violence and thus by definition illegitimate government) how can you have “limited government”.

    I don’t understand the question. Every government is without the full consent of each person being governed. That’s the nature of government. To the extent I agree with the position, “limited government” is just a principle that government should be kept small because of its non-voluntary nature. This principle does come into conflict with other principles, and I generally sacrifice the principle of limited government when it comes into conflict with other principles.

    force NOT EQUAL to violence.

    Should I say it again?

    Not necessary.

    But denying contractarian ethics as a method of arriving at a philosophy which requires general acceptance of a social contract?

    I agree that the libertarian position is quite absurd.

    Also?

    Government is not fucking rape. Don’t be a republican jerk.

    Government requires taxes, and taxes are theft – ok taxes are the legal, sanctioned taking of property regardless of one’s consent.

    Of course, as I mentioned elsewhere, I also consider all private property rights to be violence. Again in short: private property rights are the codification of true threats of the form “if you take that material object, then we will visit violence upon you to take it back” (and also codification of the actual violence to return the material object) (plus damages, deterrence, etc.).

    Great reform. Useful for the company so they don’t overlook talent. Useful for the applicants so that the best fit person really does get the job. Useful for society in eliminating oppression. Super-win, right?

    Yes, that would be great.

    But is HR going to respond positively at all, will they implement any of these reforms if you walk in and say, “We need to stop the violence to Black job applicants by you folk here in HR”?

    They might be a little puzzled about your obscure use of language. If you break it down into normal language, some HR departments might heartedly agree. I imagine other HR departments would not want to do that – maybe because they’re racist asshats. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’m not an expert in HR.

    How then do we justify taking children from the homes of violent parents based on the fact that the parents are violent? Aren’t all parents violent? What is the moral distinction you’re making between parents whose children should be taken and parents whose children shouldn’t be taken.

    This is very interesting.

    I admit my initial inclination is that it is not violence when a parent picks up their toddler at the store against the toddler’s will.

    Earlier, you included a caveat that it’s not violence if it’s being done against a target for the target’s own benefit, and if the target cannot (or does not?) comprehend why it’s for their own benefit. I suppose this includes little children. Wouldn’t this also include … what’s the correct PC term? … a mentally handicapped adult who is incapable of understanding why they need to do something in almost exactly the same way by a small toddler might not understand. Yet, if a medical professional restrains the adult, my intuition is that this is definitely violence. Perhaps it’s because the force against the adult includes a strong possibility of bodily harm whereas the force against the toddler includes almost no risk of bodily harm – a standard suggested by someone elsethread. However, if that were true, then using a Star Trek phaser set to stun would never be violence, and I think that’s also a ridiculous conclusion. I’m running into a problem where some of my intuitions are coming into conflict.

    Let me make it clear that I don’t think trying to flesh out “violence” is really all that useful of a conversation, and I think there are real points of contention between us other than mere language which I would like to explore. I’m much more concerned about how we define “consent”, and I’m much more interested in your views of justifiable use of force without someone’s consent. As I said above, it is true that every government is without the full consent of each person being governed. That’s the nature of government.

    I choose not to use a definition that makes ending violence and oppression harder.

    That’s silly?

    Perhaps not. What is silly is that you didn’t fully explain yourself at the start, and instead relied on a certain obscure definition when you should have been able to realize that this was an argument over definitions, and you should have asked how I was using the word. Instead, that fell to me to do. Thankfully, you at least cooperated sufficiently that I’m starting to understand how you’re using these words.

    Anyway, on to the new post.

    If no living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, it cannot be violence. It might be a threat of violence. It might be many things. But it cannot be violence.

    Sure.

    If a living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, but only to the extent to which a person consents, it cannot be violence.

    Sure, but this is contingent on agreement about the particulars of consent. I suspect we’ll have some disagreements there.

    If a living body is restrained, but not hurt or harmed, and is restrained **only** from actions whose consequences the person is literally not equipped to appreciate and factor into actions decisions, it cannot be violence.

    I agree, but again with conditions.

    For example, if I put my hands on my friend and pull them back because they are about to get hit by a car in the street, that’s a justified use of force.

    For example, using various kinds of force against small children is also justified because they hve not yet reached the age of consent and they don’t know what they’re doing.

    However, we must be very, very careful when applying this kind of reasoning towards adults. This is a baby step away from justifying tyranny and oppression. This is a baby step away from violating one of my gold standards of morality and ethical conduct: John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle.

    Because of other context, I suspect there will be disagreement on this particular point depending on some very arcane particulars, but it will have huge consequences for public policy.

    Given this, definitions of “living body,” “hurt,” and “harm” are obviously crucial to understanding the limits of violence.

    “Restrain” too. Otherwise I would have objected. However, you included that.

    There simply is no good way to create popular movement towards non-violence if every action that constrains another’s choices is violence.

    I think full-out pacifism is a mistake. I think personal self-defense can be justified. I think that war can sometimes be justified (although I might have to go back to the the cliche of Nazis in WW2 for a real world example). I think that taxes are justified. I think that the use of force against someone’s consent is a necessary component of this world – almost always an option of last resort, but an unavoidable option.

    I need to spend more time with you to understand your position more fully. I don’t know if you disagree with any of the above paragraph. However, my initial reaction is that it is a mistake of rhetoric to have a specified goal of moving towards a world of non-violence, precisely because many people will not understand your IMHO esoteric definition of violence, and your point will be lost, especially on libertarians, and especially on radical socialists like myself.

    (Again, I consider myself a radical socialist only because my analysis is radical. My proposed solutions are pretty standard. They include heavy progressive death taxes, heavy progressive income taxes, and probably some form of guaranteed minimum income.)

    Further, I think it is a mistake because I think that even under your esoteric definition of “violence”, taxes count as violence. For example, failing to report income in the United States can be legally punished with imprisonment. That’s “restrained”. A person may have never consented to taxes, which dodges the second bullet point. A person may be sufficiently capable of understanding the benefits of taxes and government, but still refuse to give consent to taxes, which dodges the third bullet point.

    Perhaps you will argue that use of government services, such as roads, counts as acceptance of a contract which includes an agreement to pay taxes. I really hope you don’t argue that, because that is silly for a variety of reasons, some of which I’ve covered, including the duress problem e.g. the lack of plausible alternative choice problem.

    And this is only one of the many practical considerations that lead me to resist your definition and the general libertarian definition of violence as equivalent to any “force” that in any way impedes freedom.

    That’s just an argument over semantics. A “smart” libertarian would just say “Ok. I can use your definitions. However, I would need to change the wording of my positions. Just do a global replace-all and replace “violence” with “force”, and you have my position. In particular, the non-aggression principle states that all use of force is unjustified, except in direct response to another prior use of unjustified force.”

    I don’t see at all how your particular esoteric definition helps you communicate with libertarians. IMHO, it just makes you seem dishonest by doing what will appear to be word games from the perspective of the libertarian.

    Talking about receiving court documents in the mail that describe a request for your appearance and legal consequences should you choose not to appear is even more bizarre, if possible.

    The court documents are a threat of violence. It is a formal declaration of intent to do violence of one kind or another. It is a formal notification that certain violence will be visited upon you, unless you do X, X, and Z, in which case other violence may be visited upon you.

    At the very least, while some orders to appear in court may be based on contracts and prior consent, some are definitely not. There are plenty of cases where someone can deliver to you a legal order to appear in court even when you have not agreed to any contract and when you have not consented to any relevant thing. Again, this would count as a declaration to do violence, a “true threat”, and I will continue to conflate that with violence for the purposes of this conversation.

    PS:
    Now, I feel bad writing all of that, because now we’re just talking past each other. This is just arguing about minutiae which really doesn’t matter.

    All I really needed to post now is just the following couples of lines. The core contention is:

    Has every individual person in the United States given their consent to be taxed? I just skimmed everything you wrote here, and I didn’t notice a clear answer to this question. Sorry if I missed it.

    I argue that most people have not given their consent to be taxed. I argue that government and its agents regularly use threats of force to collect taxes, and they regularly use force, including confinement, to ensure collection of taxes. As far as I can determine, even under your esoteric definition of “violence”, this is qualifies as violence. Consequently, I still seem to be right and you still seem to be wrong.

    (I will also argue that it can be good and justifiable to visit violence on people in the form of taxes for the common good.)

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Grewgills

    How about using the WHO’s definition of violence to eliminate the confusion?
    The WHO defines violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” That would seem to remove reasonable levels of taxation from the definition of violence while leaving in arrest and detention, at least as practiced in most countries including the US.

    I don’t see how you make that conclusion. I will assume that “deprivation” includes forceful involuntary imprisonment. The government regularly displays notifications that failure to file an income tax form can be met with forceful involuntary imprisonment. The government also regularly follows through on this threat. That means all taxes count as violence. I simply do not see what “reasonable levels of taxation” has to do with anything. Whether the taxes are reasonable or not is irrelevant to the facts that the government threatens you with forceful involuntary imprisonment if you do not pay the taxes (and complete other rituals such as filing an income tax report). I simply do not understand your position and argument.

    @Nick Gotts

    you’d realise that it means that the whole idea of a general justification scheme for beliefs is an absurdity

    We are at a dead-end. I want to practice critical thinking in a formal way. I want to be able to formally analyze my beliefs (in a single framework). You’re saying (paraphrase) “don’t bother, it’s not useful” and/or “it’s impossible”. You’re just taking a shit on all of epistemology, all of critical thinking, and rationality itself.

    I skipped the rest of your post. If you have any short direct questions which you want answered, post them again, and I’ll reply. Otherwise, I will try to ignore anything more you say on this topic.

  61. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Earlier, you included a caveat that it’s not violence if it’s being done against a target for the target’s own benefit, and if the target cannot (or does not?) comprehend why it’s for their own benefit. I suppose this includes little children. Wouldn’t this also include … what’s the correct PC term? … a mentally handicapped adult who is incapable of understanding why they need to do something in almost exactly the same way by a small toddler might not understand. Yet, if a medical professional restrains the adult, my intuition is that this is definitely violence. Perhaps it’s because the force against the adult includes a strong possibility of bodily harm whereas the force against the toddler includes almost no risk of bodily harm – a standard suggested by someone elsethread. However, if that were true, then using a Star Trek phaser set to stun would never be violence, and I think that’s also a ridiculous conclusion. I’m running into a problem where some of my intuitions are coming into conflict.

    Because you’re not incorporating everything I wrote, only bits at a time.

    You missed the part where I required the restraint to **only** restrain freedom to do a particular act or acts where harm/risk of harm occurs and the person is incapable of incorporating that into a decision making process.

    While this would absolutely include someone with brain injury or learning disability in particular situations it would absolutely NOT include a phaser shot even when the phaser is set to stun.

    Granting the obscure condition where you are only shooting someone with a phaser set to stun in a particular instance where a person is risking harm without realizing it, note that the stun setting reduces a person to unconsciousness – restraining the person from ANY action, not merely restraining the person from a particular action with a particular risk that is not cognizable to the person. Since it restrains the person from actions that don’t risk non-cognizable harm, it does not fall under this exception.

    to reiterate:

    Yet, if a medical professional restrains the adult, my intuition is that this is definitely violence.

    yes, but in these settings, it is routine to restrain the person in ways that limit more actions than merely one that risks a non-cognizable harm. If one is strapped to a gurney or a chair or medicated such that one’s ability to act is compromised, these limit for more than a particular act that might result in a particular non-cognizable harm. It does not fall under the exception.

    Me first, then you responding:

    There simply is no good way to create popular movement towards non-violence if every action that constrains another’s choices is violence.

    I think full-out pacifism is a mistake.

    Well, sure. You advocate limited applications of violence. But I haven’t seen you give (or concede) one example of an action that constrains another’s choices that does not count as violence in your definition. This latter bit is what we’re talking about: not whether or not taking an action that constrains another person’s choices can ever be done, but whether all actions that constrain another person’s choices are **violence**.

    If you can’t give one example of constraining another’s choices that **isn’t** violence, I believe that your definition of violence is as bizarre and wrong-headed as that of any libertarian.

    it is a mistake of rhetoric to have a specified goal of moving towards a world of non-violence, precisely because many people will not understand your IMHO esoteric definition of violence, and your point will be lost, especially on libertarians, and especially on radical socialists like myself.

    And when people say that they want a non-violent world, do you speak up loudly and say,

    Fuck that. I want violence in this world as an option. I think it should often be a last resort, but I want a world with violence.

    ?

    If you do say that, how do people respond.

    If you don’t say that, why?

    I suspect you don’t say that because, as important as your definition is to you, you realize that most people don’t agree with or typically employ your definition. The vast majority of uses of the word violence are restricted to actions that I’ve described: non-consensual hurt, harm, or restraint of a living body.

    In fact, you seem to admit it, despite calling **my** definition esoteric, when you take up the example of racist/sexist oppression through employment discrimination (first part of my example as quoted by you, then your response):

    But is HR going to respond positively at all, will they implement any of these reforms if you walk in and say, “We need to stop the violence to Black job applicants by you folk here in HR”?

    They might be a little puzzled about your obscure use of language. If you break it down into normal language, some HR departments might heartedly agree.

    First, that’s YOUR language, not mine. I don’t define the racist trashing of resumes as violence. I certainly include it in the definition of oppression, but not in the definition of violence. It’s **your** definition of violence that would include the racist and/or sexist trashing of resumes.

    Why in the world is my definition of violence esoteric if it’s your definition that would confuse HR? Why is your definition better if it cannot be used – if you must instead “break it down into normal language”?

    Further, you’ve really misread my intent. I’ve repeatedly said that communicating with the public and doing mass social change is impossible using your definition of violence. But then you come along and say,

    I don’t see at all how your particular esoteric definition helps you communicate with libertarians. IMHO, it just makes you seem dishonest by doing what will appear to be word games from the perspective of the libertarian.

    yes, but it is the libertarian who has redefined violence, not me. I’m using a definition very close to the colloquial definition in use every day. **I’m** using a definition that any HR department could understand. When a libertarian employee walks into the office of HR’s (non-libertarian) payroll specialist and asks the specialist to stop using violence against that employee, will the payroll specialist say something to the effect of,

    Huh? I’ve never hit you or anything like that!

    and be outraged at the accusation or will the payroll specialist instead say,

    Ah, I would love to stop using violence against you, but unfortunately the government is at this very moment violently restraining me from altering the mechanisms by which deductions are automatically removed from your paycheck.

    I think that you **actually can see** that it’s the libertarian definition, not mine, that causes practical problems in communication. This makes me wonder why you insist on calling my definition esoteric.

    By definition, the most common version of something cannot be the esoteric version of something.

    I don’t actually think that you’re acting in bad faith, but I am dumbfounded at how you might honestly believe that my definition is the esoteric one when you yourself consider it insufficient to communicate with non-libertarians.

    My audience is not the small segment of English-speaking people who have adopted a bizarre definition of violence. My audience is the vast majority of English-speaking people who use “violence” to mean something very like what I mean.

    Thus, when you say,

    A “smart” libertarian would just say “Ok. I can use your definitions. However, I would need to change the wording of my positions. Just do a global replace-all

    That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. I find rape, for one, horribly minimized when people throw it in the same category with taxes. I find it sickening that you would say that I’m being violent to my children each and every day, and I would be distressed to find that you’ve been reporting to my boss that I’ve been violent to my children each and every day.

    Are you really so naive that you think that my boss would take your assertions that I’ve been violent towards my children as nothing more than that I’ve been, y’know, talking to them and serving them breakfast and driving them places, but happening to do that in a context where I could, if I chose, impede their freedom? Don’t you think my boss would have an image of something other than every day good parenting behaviors? If you do think that, then why the hell do you think that my definition is the “esoteric” one?

    Justify that, if you please.

  62. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    All I really needed to post now is just the following couples of lines. The core contention is:
    Has every individual person in the United States given their consent to be taxed? I just skimmed everything you wrote here, and I didn’t notice a clear answer to this question. Sorry if I missed it.

    Nope. That’s not the core contention.

    While libertarians bizarrely ignore contractarian ethics and the definition/s of consent used within that ethical field, even non-consensual taxes aren’t violence.

    Does a tax hurt my body? Nope. My nerve endings extend to neither electronic records kept by my bank nor to little bits of paper.

    Does a tax harm my body? Nope. Surprisingly, electronic messages assigning bits of wealth away from me and to the government do not cause my body to experience liver failure.

    Does a tax restrain my body? Nope. I choose when and how to use my body even while being taxed. My body need be in no particular place at any particular time to pay taxes. I can ask a friend to do my taxes; I can pay a professional to do my taxes; I can do my taxes myself. I can hunt through for all the deductions I can find or I can employ minimal effort believing that tax cuts have left the government underfunded and I might as well save some time and contribute to the common good at the same time. Taxes do not tie my body to anything, they do not cage my body within anything, nor do they compromise even my body’s movements relative to itself in the way handcuffs might.

    Not hurt, not harmed, not restrained: taxes do not inflict violence against my living body.

    Thus, taxes are already not violence and we do not even reach the rules for the consent exception.

  63. Grewgills says

    @EL #67
    Failure to pay taxes typically results in fines and/or garnishment of wages rather than imprisonment, at least in the US. That is of course if you owe a lot or are loud about it. In most cases it is entirely unnoticed.

  64. says

    Crip Dyke

    Not hurt, not harmed, not restrained: taxes do not inflict violence against my living body.

    Two points.

    Firstly, this narrow definition of violence to physical damage excludes very harmful practices, such as emotional abuse and child-neglect.

    Secondly, limiting its use to only physical matters is a narrowing of definition unsupported by usage. For instance, if I were to twist your words to try to support an argument which you had never intended them to support, and which an honest reading doesn’t support, then I could, in perfectly good English, be said to be doing violence to your speech/text. An angry speech is often described as violent, regardless of whether it includes allusion to physical violence. A person may be described as having violent emotions. In short, violence need not be physical, or necessarily be directed at physical things. Non-physical things such as emotions and bank accounts can and do have harm done to them, after all, and harm may be done in a non-physical manner.

    I understand your wish to narrow the definition to that of physical harm (though see my first point), but I would suggest that a more useful method would be to decide what harm is necessary in order to avert a larger harm (taxes, vaccination-injections, etc) and what harm is unnecessary. To take an example from a subject I’m particularly interested in—child abuse—nobody ever claimed that caning in schools wasn’t violent, merely that it was a necessary violence. The fight to get it banned (in my own country at least) wasn’t won on the grounds that it was cruel, but on the grounds that it was an unnecessary and ineffectual cruelty.

  65. says

    procrastinatorordinaire:

    I wouldn’t swap my Lenovo for anything else.

    That’s nice. I would, in a heartbeat, and so would many of the people I know who have them also. They are not good machines.

  66. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Daz:

    You refer to uses of the adjective “violent” that were originally metaphorical but have gradually become simply an alternate definition of the word are not proof that the noun, “violence,” actually is routinely used in a way where the hearer is supposed to assume the subject under discussion is all actions that are either rapid and exaggerated, or loud, or abrupt.

    If I say that I study “violence against Black women in US society” do you hear that I study all circumstances in which some bridge player laid the queen of spades down on a trick with a sudden movement that made a smack on the table leaving the trump in a conquering superposition over some poor Black woman’s king of diamonds?

    Of course fucking not. This may be a “violent” motion directed toward taking a bridge trick previously held by a Black woman. It’s not “violence against Black women in US society”. I’ve never met a single person who, in actual practice, hears my use of the word violence in that way.

    Bring me proof of an actual misunderstanding where one person is collecting anecdotes of “violence” and another person suggests that the collector take down a story about the hearer’s rapid waving of a spoon or quick handwriting. In the absence of that, your petulant insistence that my definition is somehow unusual is unsupported and disingenuous.

    Yes, I say disingenuous, because if you actually believed what you wrote truly is an effective objection to my definition of violence **as we have been discussing violence in this thread**, you could have defended the proposition that government is inherently violent by stating that government is inherently abrupt:

    One day a law is not in effect, then midnight comes and *bam* the new law is in effect! Holy whiplash, Batman! Clearly government is inherently violent!

    MOREOVER: We have been discussing violence in a particular context. We have been discussing the conflation of “force” with “violence” as you clearly do in your #28…the entirety of which is reproduce here:

    You can’t call the negotiated agreement for self-government “violence” without illegitimating the negotiated agreement for self-government.

    I disagree. In a self governing society, force is used on the behalf of and with the permission of those entering the contract, against those who renege on the contract. (If you don’t pay your taxes, you’ll be forced to. Break laws and you’ll be forced to pay damages, or forced into incarceration, etc.)

    Note that I never once use “force” in the quote, but that your response never once uses “violence”.

    You assume that every instance of force is violence, or your reply makes no sense at all. So let’s talk about that. Your use of “force” means that gravity is violence. Electromagnetism is violence. The weak force is violence. The strong force is violence. Depressing a key on your keyboard is violence.

    Oh, wait, it gets better. Government is “a force” since it involves multiple things marshaled together! Yes, government is inherently violence because people work together. A force for good is still a force, and a force is violence. Therefore anything which does good in the world is violence!

    Yippie, this is fun! And you objected to my calling the libertarian definition of violence bizarre! But really, because “force” is used in a number of different senses that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about a particular definition as distinct from other definitions. There must be ONE definition that unites all possible uses and a person is not allowed to talk about a particular aspect of that definition without simultaneously accounting for all possible uses of the word: metaphorical, poetic, or otherwise.

    Hey, let’s look at those! Here’s a bit of analysis of Dylan Thomas:

    Metaphor works on many levels in poetry. The best way to show how a metaphor function is to study the use of sustained metaphor. Sustained metaphor refers to a metaphor that consistently runs through the entire poem and is therefore easily identifiable. Metaphors that are sustained also provide a depth and inner complexity to the poem

    In studying metaphor we will use the poem “The Forces That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower”, by Dylan Thomas (1914- 1953).

    “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

    Drives my green; that blasts the roots of trees

    Is my destroyer.

    And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose

    My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.”

    The first stanza or section clearly states the central metaphor of the poem. If we take the very first line of this stanza we see that the “force” that ” drives” nature is the force of life that also drives the poet or protagonist. The poem initiates a relationship between the force of nature and life force within flowers and trees and the life force that flows through humans. The metaphor, which continues throughout the poem, is intended to develop a sense of the close relationship between nature and humanity. The poet uses the word ” green: which we normally associate with plat life to refer to human life as well.

    Not as well that the metaphor is complex in that various other elements are added to it. This can be seen in the use of the word ” fuse”. Why do you think that the poet uses this word? It becomes evident as we read the poem that nature is also a process leading towards death, as well as life. The idea of approaching death that is hidden in the very creative life force of nature is therefore “like” a fuse

    The central metaphor is centered on the use of the word “force”. The poet is suggesting that the same force that gives life, and death, to the flower also drives him. There is a strong sense of incipient death in the images of the poem. The poet is aware that as flowers and trees die naturally over time, so will he. Nature is also the destroyer as well as the creator.

    This becomes clear in the following line:

    ” Is my destroyer”?

    And

    ” My youth is Bent by the same wintry fever.”

    Note that in the last line that the poet is comparing the life of a human being to the growth and decline of a tree. This metaphor is sustained by the word ” bent.”

    The same thing that bends the tree or flower causes old age and finally death in the human being. Through a comparison that is very subtly brought about between nature and human life, the poet creates the poem as a long, continuous metaphor.

    The very life force that drives nature also gives the human life.

    The following lines express this in a crisp statement of force and movement:

    ” The force that drives the water through the rocks

    Drives my red blood [. . .] ”

    Holy chloroplast, Batman! Life is violence, because it’s a force! Damn, this is interesting and fun! Woohoo!

    But wait, maybe we can’t talk about this issue here. I’m sure that PZ would frown on violence between commenters, and if you look here you’ll find:

    FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE – Language used in such a way as to force words out of their literal meanings by emphasizing their connotations to bring new insight and feeling to the subject.

    and I don’t know how to write without at some point using figurative language. Oh, wait, the page has some help for us in our communication:

    CLICHE – an overused expression that has lost its intended force or novelty.

    Yes! So you and I can write to each other without our words being violence, if only everything we say is a cliche! We can elucidate the nature of violence and serve as a model to others at the same time!

    Boy, that will kill two birds with one stone.

    Ball’s in your court now, Daz.

  67. anteprepro says

    Daz:

    For instance, if I were to twist your words to try to support an argument which you had never intended them to support, and which an honest reading doesn’t support, then I could, in perfectly good English, be said to be doing violence to your speech/text. An angry speech is often described as violent, regardless of whether it includes allusion to physical violence. A person may be described as having violent emotions. In short, violence need not be physical, or necessarily be directed at physical things.

    What the fuck?

    Doing violence to your speech is just like the term twisting words: a fucking metaphor.

    Violence is largely understood as physical and harmful, when we are talking about the world rather than trying to write fine literature. Going beyond that is using broader and more figurative understandings of the word, and if it is your intent to go beyond that, you must make it damn clear that you doing so intentionally and are using an alternate usage or definition. Because otherwise you have no choice but to see it all as some part of a dishonest word game, where one merely describe something as “violent,” using broad and nebulous definitions of the word, as a dishonest rhetorical device to unjustifiably imply that it something is as bad as inflicting physical harm.

  68. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It appears EL through his mental waking has decided liberturdism is something good. Apparently, he hasn’t/won’t check the evidence that it doesn’t work.

    This is what happens when a given idea, say individual freedom, or everybody work for the common good all the time, is taken to extremes. Humans are social animals, and the goal of any legitimate government is to try to make society work, while maximizing freedom, and making sure a core of common good works are carried out. This does require taxes in order to fund the infrastructure and social safety net, and it is part of the social contract that one pays their taxes. It allows people to have freedoms, but requires taking responsibility for your actions with those freedoms.

    Paying taxes isn’t violent. If you don’t want to pay taxes, YOU, not society, are breaking the social contract. If YOU don’t like the social contract where you live, change it through your elected officials, or move elsewhere where the society better matches your idea of what the social contract should be.

    Saying taxes are force/violence is nothing but an emotional argument, making liberturds sound like immature, spoiled, and selfish people. It is the same as saying abortion is killing babies. Out on the far edge of language use, and not relevant for proper argument. Only for rhetorical hyperbole and sound bites.

  69. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Firstly, this narrow definition of violence to physical damage excludes very harmful practices, such as emotional abuse and child-neglect.

    Oh my stars and garters! Deadbeat dads aren’t veritable tsunamis of violence? Staying late at work is no punch in the gut? If harm can happen without violence, where does it all end????

    Seriously, Daz, this is the ace up your sleeve? Consider that maybe it’s not that I’m asserting emotional abuse pales in comparison to physical harm. Maybe I’m not saying my definition of violence is the be-all and end-all of the definition of harm. (You’ll have to quote me saying such a thing or what you can assert without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Poof! Fuckwittery!) Harm and violence can be two peas in a pod without occupying the same space at the same time. In a discussion of the definition of violence, what does the definition of harm have to do with the price of tea in China? Conflating harm and violence when your first argument turns up empty as the day is long? Save your breath. Say what you will, that dog won’t hunt.

    Time’s up! Wake up and smell the coffee, Daz. Again, you’re talking about a feature not a bug.

    You can take that to the bank.

  70. says

    Those meanings are not, from any observation I’ve ever made, metaphorical. My dictionary gives them without noting them as metaphor, for instance. They are, as far as I can tell, literal terms for forceful actions, speech which is forceful or emotions which are ‘stormy.’ That they are not the most commonly used meaning is neither here nor there. My point being, though, that the word ‘violence’ is vague to the point of uselessness when discussing matters of harm, meaning little more than ‘harm which is deliberately caused.’

    But okay. In the matter under discussion, EL’s use of the phrase ‘Government is almost by definition violence’ I stand by my contention that laws are upheld, at base, by force. At the end of the day, if all non-physical means have been tried and have failed, a person will be forced, against their will, into a condition where their freedom is restricted, or will be equally forced into paying money against their will. And this will, if all else fails, be accomplished by a literal, physical, act by a representative of the government, who will physically force them into detention, or, if a bailiff, will physically remove possessions which will be sold to cover the amount owed. And so on: all laws are enforced by the use of the threat of force, and at base, enforced by the use of physical force. This is violence in the physical sense. It is, if properly limited, violence whose use I approve of, but it is still violence.

    Crip Dyke

    Re your #78. Yeah, that was a badly thought-out and flatly wrong statement on my part. I agree with all you say about it. Apologies.

  71. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    I noted very clearly that taxes are regularly enforced with forced involuntary imprisonment, and I based my entire argument on that premise. See here: (bolding added)

    EL: I argue that most people have not given their consent to be taxed. I argue that government and its agents regularly use threats of force to collect taxes, and they regularly use force, including confinement, to ensure collection of taxes. As far as I can determine, even under your esoteric definition of “violence”, this is qualifies as violence. Consequently, I still seem to be right and you still seem to be wrong.

    You did not address my actual argument in the slightest. Please try again.

    @Gregwills

    Failure to pay taxes typically results in fines and/or garnishment of wages rather than imprisonment, at least in the US. That is of course if you owe a lot or are loud about it. In most cases it is entirely unnoticed.

    I was also talking US. About your point – so what? Forced involuntary imprisonment regularly happens to some people who try to avoid paying taxes, and the threat is there for everyone. Doesn’t matter if forced involuntary confinement is only rarely or arbitrarily used. It’s still used for some, and the threat is still there for all. Without that threat, tax collection would be much harder, perhaps impossible, and as I’ve said many times, I am going to conflate threats of violence with actual violence for the purposes of this conversation.

  72. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Daz:

    Me:

    You refer to uses of the adjective “violent” that were originally metaphorical but have gradually become simply an alternate definition

    Daz:

    Those meanings are not, from any observation I’ve ever made, metaphorical. My dictionary gives them without noting them as metaphor, for instance

    Me:

    You refer to uses of the adjective “violent” that were originally metaphorical but have gradually become simply an alternate definition

    I mean seriously. What’s with this?

    I propose a new tactic. Perhaps as we engage in this discussion, if I bother engaging in this discussion any more at all, we could choose to **read each other’s fucking statements** and engage with them as they are and not with strawdykes.

    I dunno, what do you think about that idea?

    If you like it, perhaps you could read the bit, you might have missed it because it was so short, where I talk about how **nobody asserted that government was violence by definition because the emotions of government are stormy** and that we can talk about one definition at a time and that, sometimes, which definition is under discussion might even be apparent from the fucking the context.

    It might even be possible to get one definition right or wrong without reference to other possible definitions. It might even be possible to say that one definition is reasonably correct **even though it conflicts with other definitions**.

    For instance, it is absolutely correct to say that the definition of inflammable is “unable to combust”. In the context of a discussion where someone is asserting that the definition of inflammable is “unable to sublimate” and someone is asserting that the definition is “unable to combust” one could reasonably label person 2 correct **even though the definition of person 2 is directly incompatible with, indeed antithetical to the sense of inflammable that can be described, “able to combust, especially where unusually prone to combustion.”** One might even note that, strictly speaking, there might be a substance that is “able to combust or unusually prone to combustion” that is also “unable to sublimate”. A solid that bursts into flames well below the temperature necessary to sublimate it, for instance. Then the definition of person 1 is at least compatible with the definition of inflammable that means “able to combust”. In fact, it’s compatible with both definitions. And yet person 2’s definition is an antonym of one of the definitions.

    **And still person 2 is correct and person 1 is full of shit.**

    You can talk about stormy emotions all you like. I’m having a different conversation, though really I feel quite done given the complete, misleading and disingenuous bullshit you’re pulling by lying about what I’ve said and continually bringing up irrelevancies.

    Unless “stormy emotions” are somehow related to the particular definition of violence that you are using to call government “violence by definition”, then you are engaging in nothing more than a gish gallop of irrelevancies.

    Are you doing that by accident or are you trying to be deceptive here?

  73. says

    Crip Dyke

    All I did was point out that many meanings of the word refer to non-physical ways of being violent, and to non-physical harms which are described as being caused by violence. This was in response to your own assertion that violence is only an apt term when the harm caused is physical:

    Not hurt, not harmed, not restrained: taxes do not inflict violence against my living body.

    Thus, taxes are already not violence

    Furthermore both I and EL have pointed out that all laws (not just taxes, which you appear to be fixated on) are enforced, ultimately by physical force or the threat thereof. You have not addressed this, but, when I first mentioned it, you hand-waved it away by claiming that I was, and I quote, ‘just blindly resisting the idea that there may be some uses of force that do not amount to violence.’

    Going back to that quote: No, taxes themselves do not physically harm you. But that misses the point. The threat of force is brought into play if you choose not to do so. It is the enforcement of laws, not the existence of laws, which brings violence (or the threat of violence) into the system.

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    ultimately by physical force or the threat thereof.

    Which means you have broke the social contract, and are out of compliance. What is your problem, with being brought back into compliance with the social contract?

  75. says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls #83:

    ultimately by physical force or the threat thereof.

    Which means you have broke the social contract, and are out of compliance. What is your problem, with being brought back into compliance with the social contract?

    Eh? I’ve not said I have any problem with it. I have distinctly stated that I am comfortable with the idea that strictly limited violence (ie, use of force) should be used in my name, by my government, in order to enforce laws. The only argument here is whether ‘violence’ is the apt term.

  76. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Enlightenment Liberal:

    Start over. Make an argument.

    Provide a definition of violence – WHICH YOU HAVE NOT DONE THIS ENTIRE THREAD.

    The original problem which got us here was that I said your definition of violence is bizarre.

    The least you could do, if you want to argue your definition of violence is NOT bizarre, is to provide a fucking definition of violence.

    Unless and until you do that, you can’t get anything more out of me. Anything less is trying to make me argue with shadows. I have done my best to defend my proposition – that failing to require **actual violence as people actually understand the word violence** for something to be considered violence – and even provide a guide to my own definition of violence.

    But if it will make you happier, let’s do something I’ve avoided since I’m not entirely satisfied with the options and also believe that multiple senses can confuse matters: go to the dictionary.

    I have not yet googled the word or looked up any definition today. My methodology will be to go to the first 4 dictionaries listed by google + the definition from google itself, for a total of 5 entries. I will choose no more than 2 definitions, from each dictionary, should the dictionary list multiple definitions separated by numbers. Where I quote a definition, I will quote all of that definition – copied and pasted with any and all punctuation and font-formatting intact – from and including the number that identifies the definition to and including the last visible character or punctuation before the next definition’s number.

    Moreover, I will do this for the noun “violence” not for Daz’s irrelevant “violent”.

    Ready? Here we go. Search term is two words, no quotes or operators: violence definition.

    Google’s definition (it does not include numbering, but I’ll list 2 of the 3 definitions – the third is about “stormy emotions” but note that it is an entirely separate definition -and unless and until you say that you’re defining government as violence because the emotions of government are stormy, I’ll consider it irrelevant to our discussion)

    1. behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

    3. LAW
    the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

    Numbering mine, for clarity, because, as I mentioned, google included no numbering. The numbering replaced round bullets.

    Taxes, you will note, fit neither of these definitions.

    Next four dictionaries:
    Merriam-Webster:

    1.
    a : exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house)
    b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure


    3.
    a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force
    b : vehement feeling or expression : fervor; also : an instance of such action or feeling
    c : a clashing or jarring quality : discordance

    I said I wouldn’t include stormy-emotion definitions, but i also said I would include an entire definition from number to just-short-of-next-number. In this case 3a was somewhat related, even though 3b and 3c are obviously not. I include it for thoroughness.

    Note that taxes do not fit either of these definitions unless you argue that 1b is supposed to be understood without reference to 1a – but that’s not how dictionaries work. If 1b was supposed to be able to be an instance of 3b, it wouldn’t have been included under 3 or it would have been separately numbered and found below the other definitions.

    Oxford Dictionaries:

    1.
    Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something:
    “violence erupted in protest marches”
    “domestic violence against women”
    “the fear of physical violence”
    “screen violence”

    [Here there is html link formatting unrelated to the actual definition but preceding the next numbered definition. You can look it up yourself if you want, but I’ll not reproduce it here.]

    1.1
    Law The unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

    EXAMPLE SENTENCES
    “Each of the people who uses or threatens unlawful violence will be guilty of the offense.”
    “In other words the receipt of the letter led him to believe that immediate unlawful violence would be used.”
    “He was alleged to have forced the complainant by violence or threats to engage in sexual activity with him.”

    dictionary.reference.com

    2. rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment:
    “to die by violence.”

    3. an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws:
    “to take over a government by violence.”

    Since you believe that taxes are not unjust, but rather are necessary. Also, taxation does not breach laws. Further, it does not breach legal rights. You might argue that moral rights are subsumed within definition 3, but then you would have to argue that the breach of those rights for the purpose of taxation is “unjust or unwarranted”. You have indicated that you do not believe that. Thus, you cannot rely on definition 3 despite it being closer than anything else to a definition that just barely might permit you the wiggle room to include taxation. As with similar definitions above, definition 2 does not encompass taxation.

    The Free Dictionary
    confusingly, despite this being one dictionary, they have 2 differently shaded blocks of text, each with multiple definitions of “violence” and each beginning its number from 1. Thus, even though I said before I began this exercise that I would only pick up to 2, (those being the definitions most closely related to the discussion at hand) I here include 2 separate block-quote boxes. The first includes the only relevant definition from the first set. The second box includes the 2 relevant definitions from the 2nd set.
    First box:

    1. Behavior or treatment in which physical force is exerted for the purpose of causing damage or injury: “the violence of the rioters.”

    here’s the second box:

    1. the exercise or an instance of physical force, usually effecting or intended to effect injuries, destruction, etc [sic – yep, the dictionary forgot a period after an abbreviation. What are you going to do?]


    4. an unjust, unwarranted, or unlawful display of force, esp such as tends to overawe or intimidate

    Well, there you go. Taxation is never clearly included in the definitions related to “law” nor the definitions related to something other than stormy emotions or editing a text to change its meaning. Generally it is clearly excluded.

    On this basis, I judge my definitions reasonable and practical and not “esoteric”.

    ================

    Though it’s unfair to change the study design after you begin data collection, i thought it was interesting that the 5th google link (the link immediately after google’s provided definitions + the first 4 dictionaries), is to the World Health Organization, who [no pun intended] gives this definition:

    “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”

    That one is actually quite arguable when separated from its context. I don’t believe that in the context of WHO’s writing on the subject it supports you at all, but it would have provided you a small opening until you read the clarifying typology provided on the same page:

    Self-directed violence refers to violence in which the perpetrator and the victim are the same individual and is subdivided into self-abuse and suicide.

    Interpersonal violence refers to violence between individuals, and is subdivided into family and intimate partner violence and community violence. The former category includes child maltreatment; intimate partner violence; and elder abuse, while the latter is broken down into acquaintance and stranger violence and includes youth violence; assault by strangers; violence related to property crimes; and violence in workplaces and other institutions.

    Collective violence refers to violence committed by larger groups of individuals and can be subdivided into social, political and economic violence.

    Taxation clearly falls into neither of the first 2. Further reading from WHO on collective violence makes it clear that taxation per se doesn’t fall into type 3, “collective violence” either.

    On the basis that my definition is fairly well supported by Google, by all the dictionaries, and by WHO, I believe my definition is not “esoteric” and that you are being disingenuous when you insist my definition is “esoteric”. I think that you are, in fact, at least passingly familiar with the definitions of violence above.

    Unless and until you can provide actual evidence of
    1) your fucking definition, for Groot’s sake
    and
    2) broad support of your definition such that something-like-your definition is much more likely to be understood as the default than something-like-my definition

    then your insistence that my definition is esoteric and unreasonable and results in excessive difficulty in communication (and therefore should not be used) will be considered complete bullshit and my proposition that a definitions similar to yours (written such that one could reasonable say that “government is by definition violence”) is bizarre will be considered well-supported and provisionally true.

    Stop fucking around and actually support your argument rather than trying to pick micro-holes in mine (often above by changing what I said) and assuming, a la creationist bullshit, that if my definition fails on some point your definition must automatically be accepted, and thus by definition not “bizarre”.

    You’re not winning here. You’re just acting like a creationist who doesn’t understand that finding a weakness in P is not the same as finding a strength in Q.

  77. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Daz:

    All I did was point out that many meanings of the word refer to non-physical ways of being violent,

    And none of the meanings you indicated actually had anything to do with a definition that might include all governments in theory or practice.

    “stormy emotion” = violence does nothing to support the argument that government is **by definition** violence.

    You, like EL, are trying to nitpick at my definition and assume that any weakness in my position tends to “prove” that government is, by definition, violence or that violence and force are not mere synonyms, but fucking interchangeable.

    Like EL, you need to provide an actual fucking argument that there is a standard definition that would be commonly understood to include taxation – and, more broadly, all government in theory and practice – or you’re just wanking.

    Publicly.

    And annoyingly.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To all those arguing government is violence.
    If you win a civil tort, what do you expect to be able to do to collect your judgement, and what coercion can be brought to bear during that collection? Then anything done to you, in collecting taxes, etc., when you have broken the social contract is OK in your book. Anything you would subject others to, is OK for you to have done to you.
    But then, such simple concepts some folks have trouble with, because they are special snowflakes…So not.

  79. says

    Crip Dyke #87:

    You, like EL, are trying to nitpick at my definition and assume that any weakness in my position tends to “prove” that government is, by definition, violence or that violence and force are not mere synonyms, but fucking interchangeable.

    Like EL, you need to provide an actual fucking argument that there is a standard definition that would be commonly understood to include taxation – and, more broadly, all government in theory and practice – or you’re just wanking.

    Why did you ignore this?:

    It is the enforcement of laws, not the existence of laws, which brings violence (or the threat of violence) into the system.

    You continue to argue against the idea that the law itself is violent, when I have made no such argument. Forcing someone into a prison cell is, by nature, a physically violent action. It is an action whose aim is to cause harm. And if I stand in the dock after being sentenced and say ‘Hell no, I won’t go,’ I will quite rightly be physically forced.

  80. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Daz, #89:

    You continue to argue against the idea that the law itself is violent, when I have made no such argument

    Daz, #26 quoting Tony!, #22:

    Government is almost by definition violence? How did you come by this bizarre definition of government?

    Why is it bizarre? If you want people to obey laws, pay taxes, and so on, who might not be inclined to do so, then the state has to be able to use or threaten the use of force of some kind.

    Explicit defense of the idea that

    Government is almost by definition violence

    Check.

    Denial that the law is in any sense violence on its own – note the goalpost shifting between “government” and “law”:

    You continue to argue against the idea that the law itself is violent, when I have made no such argument

    Check.

    Continuing to provide no definitional support for the idea that government is “by definition” violence?

    Check.

    Dishonest by accident or intent?

    Who fucking knows.

  81. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    I fear that you are trying to IMHO dishonestly make a distinction between “taxes” and “the usual methods of tax collection and the usual methods of enforcement of tax collection”. Daz makes the same point in 89.

    You have a reading comprehension problem or an honesty problem. I’m not sure which. I have repeated myself many times now. I’ll repeat myself again.

    I have stated that I am trying to use your definition(s) of “violence”.

    I have noted that it is a fact in the United States that there are notifications and declarations that failure to file an income tax report can be punished with forceful involuntary confinement. I have noted that it is a fact that agents of the government regularly carry through on this threat against persons in the United States. In many of the definitions of “violence” you have thus far given, it seems evident that forced involuntary imprisonment does count as violence, including (most from your newest post):

    If no living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, it cannot be violence. It might be a threat of violence. It might be many things. But it cannot be violence.

    If a living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, but only to the extent to which a person consents, it cannot be violence.

    If a living body is restrained, but not hurt or harmed, and is restrained **only** from actions whose consequences the person is literally not equipped to appreciate and factor into actions decisions, it cannot be violence.

    Here you allow for restraining to potentially count as violence.

    Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something:

    Here the dictionary definition IMHAO clearly including forceful involuntary confinement.

    2. rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment:

    Here the dictionary definition IMHAO clearly including forceful involuntary confinement.

    1. Behavior or treatment in which physical force is exerted for the purpose of causing damage or injury: “the violence of the rioters.”

    Here the dictionary definition IMHAO clearly including forceful involuntary confinement.

    1. the exercise or an instance of physical force, usually effecting or intended to effect injuries, destruction, etc

    Here the dictionary definition IMHAO clearly including forceful involuntary confinement.

    “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”

    Here the dictionary definition IMHAO clearly including forceful involuntary confinement.


    Also:

    a : exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house)

    Forceful entry into a house without the consent of the residents is a common part of effecting an arrest warrant for failure to file an income tax report.

    Also: An example usage sentence:

    “Each of the people who uses or threatens unlawful violence will be guilty of the offense.”

    Thus implying at least that there are examples of lawful violence.

    PS:

    Further reading from WHO on collective violence makes it clear that taxation per se doesn’t fall into type 3, “collective violence” either.

    How convenient that you didn’t provide the actually relevant parts and included only the irrelevant parts.

  82. says

    Okay, it’s a sloppily written sentence. Government clearly cannot literally be violence, since ‘violence’ is an act and a government cannot be an act.

    Rewording: Government is almost by definition a user of violence, as it uses violence in order to enforce laws.

    Or: Governance is almost by definition violent, as etc.

    Please answer: how is physically forcing someone to go to prison, who does not want to go to prison, not an act of violence?

  83. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke in 90
    Wow. Seriously – get a grip. Take a chill pill. Calm down. And try to read for comprehension. Your entirety of post 90 completely misses the point, and badly.

    Daz and I do not know if you are trying to make a distinction between “the law” and “the usual methods of enforcement of the law”. Obviously the mere existence of laws without enforcement carries no violence nor force. Obviously force only happens during enforcement. Daz and I do not know if you are trying to make this distinction.

    For me especially, I do not know if you are trying to make this distinction because you keep addressing only the normal course of taxation where no methods of enforcement occur (apart from threats of enforcement). You have thus far failed multiple time to engage with my point that failure to income tax report is regularly punished with forceful involuntary imprisonment, which IMAO clearly counts as violence under most of the definitions you have thus far given.

  84. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Daz and I do not know if you are trying to make a distinction between “the law” and “the usual methods of enforcement of the law”. Obviously the mere existence of laws without enforcement carries no violence nor force.

    YOU made the distinction. You said the government was violence BY DEFINITION.

    You didn’t say that in practice the government employs violence. To which I would heartily agree.

    You said government IS violence. The very existence of government, no exceptions, in theory or in fact = violence.

    That’s what it means to say that government is BY DEFINITION violence. This is **YOUR FUCKING CONTENTION**. It’s not some weird distinction I made up. It’s what you fucking said.

    How convenient that you didn’t provide the actually relevant parts and included only the irrelevant parts.

    Fuck you.

    I provided a methodology. The methodology, determined before data acquisition, led the WHO statements to be irrelevant to my actual study of definitions.

    Further, I fucking cited sources. You can look it up and read it as much as you like to see how much it supports your argument.

    FURTHER:

    I have stated that I am trying to use your definition(s) of “violence”.

    **don’t do this**

    Provide your own definition of violence.

    You have said that government PER SE is violence.

    I have provided actual definitions of violence. Government PER SE doesn’t fit.

    Once again, the original contention was that definition government as violence per se is bizarre.

    You disagree. Stating that taxes are backed up with threats of force and, ultimately in a few cases, force, does not make the case that government PER SE is violence.

    **AT BEST** it makes the case that government **uses violence**.

    I use a wheelchair sometimes.

    I AM NOT A FUCKING WHEELCHAIR.

    There’s a difference between using something and being something.

    Fucking learn it.

    **I’m being dishonest**? **I’m being dishonest**?

    The original contention was made by you that government is violence by definition.

    SUPPORT YOUR CONTENTION.

    All you, “I’m using your definition” and, “you seem not to have acknowledged blah, blah, blah” entirely miss the point.

    DO YOU OR DO YOU NOT HAVE A DEFINITION OF VIOLENCE WHICH MAKES GOVERNMENT PER SE VIOLENCE? NOT AN EMPLOYER OF VIOLENCE, BUT GOVERNMENT **IS** VIOLENCE?

    No?

    Then fucking stop this shit.

    If you do, fucking provide it.

    My reading comprehension is bad? You started this with your statement that government was violence by definition. Not a user of violence. Government was violence.

    Do you really not know the basic English meanings of your own words?

    I’m fucking done with you unless you actually defend your statement. Your attempts to pick at my statements are a burden-of-proof problem for you. I tried to provide education on violence and my view of it because I thought the topic important **completely aside from whether or not you provided your own definition or whether or not you had good evidentiary support of your own initial proposition**.

    But this conversation has been hijacked. You refuse to prove that government is violence per se, and refuse even to provide a single definition of violence.

    Tell me to take a chill pill? The fact that I feel emotions is the problem when you make a proposition, I respond, and you refuse to defend the proposition and do everything you can to conflate some remote, relatively rare tax enforcement action with government “by definition” (in theory or fact – which is what it means when you choose to say “by definition” over the phrase “in practice”).

    My emotions are not the problem here. You and Daz have asserted that there is no such thing as force that is not violence or violence which is not force. Daz explicitly and repeatedly uses the terms over and over again. You have defended this. You have said that parenting is **by definition** violence. Not that (or, rather, in addition to) parents can and do use actions which harm in the course of parenting and kids are generally aware that this is always a potential outcome of defiance. Parenting is **by definition** violence, according to you.

    In the same way, government is **by definition** violence to you.

    You refuse to defend the proposition and you make the existence of entirely irrelevant meanings like, “stormy emotions” some big fucking gotcha for me.

    Here’s a stormy fucking emotion for you:

    DONE.

  85. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, it’s a sloppily written sentence. Government clearly cannot literally be violence, since ‘violence’ is an act and a government cannot be an act.

    FUCKING THANK YOU.

    Thus, when I said that the definition of violence that would make government violence “BY DEFINTION” is “bizarre” and you challenged me on that, you were full of shit.

    Because government is not “by definition violence”.

    Fucking duh.

    And all your, “but stormy emotions” was just you flicking shit at me and deliberately misunderstanding the plain English meanings of words while pretending oh-so-nobly that **I** don’t know the meaning of violence.

    Maybe EL will catch a fucking clue some day.

  86. says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden #97:

    FUCKING THANK YOU.

    Thus, when I said that the definition of violence that would make government violence “BY DEFINTION” is “bizarre” and you challenged me on that, you were full of shit.

    Huh? I read the sentence as quite clearly meaning to say, even if sloppily written, that governance necessarily involves violence, and assumed, as others appear to have, that that was what you were arguing against. You mean to say that this shit, in which you have accused me of being a right-wing arsehole (free translation—republican not being the name of a party in my country), and of comparing taxes to rape, has been over bad fucking grammar?

  87. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    When I say a sentence is bizarre, and to you the sentence is so bizarre you cannot interpret it literally and change “is by definition” to “employs in practice, in every instance of which I’m aware”, and you then insist that I’m wrong to call the sentence bizarre, **you’re upset with me for actually noticing the actual meaning of the sentence and stating, truthfully, that it’s bizarre because you don’t like the consequences that flowed from that, which include you repeatedly failing to get that “government is by definition violence” is a bizarre statement?

    Shit, Daz, I honestly don’t know what to say.

  88. says

    The use of ‘government’ as a verb where the correct word would be ‘governance’ is so common as to be completely unremarkable. Or consider the almost identical in structure ‘All property is theft,’ a sentence which is equally bizarre if read literally.

    No, I am not upset that you read a sentence literally. A tad surprised maybe, when I consider the sentence being argued over.

    Which kinda reminds me… Did you ever manage a polished version of My Favorite Mistake you once mentioned struggling with in rehearsal? (Honest interest: no snark intended.)

  89. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Um, well, kinda-sorta?

    I did what I wanted to do: I managed a polished version of the rhythm guitar part – chords only, no melody. I don’t really play lead guitar yet. There’s been too much in my life for me to get enough guitar-skill back to really worry about playing lead.

    Well, that and the fact that I picked guitar up again (you may remember that I played many years ago, for about 5 years, 2.5 of which included actual lessons) because I have a bunch of friends that play campfire music, frequently on ukelele (though not exclusively so). Since my partner plays uke, and our most reliable music buddy plays uke, and uke is rarely used for melody (the rapid repeated strumming of chords is the most common style/use) if I played lead on a big-bodied instrument it would kinda single me out. I don’t wanna be a “star” of our little group (and even less do I want others to think that I want to be the “star”). I want to be playing with everyone else. Since they’re playing chords, I tend to stick to chords, so I don’t really practice lead…which makes it hard to get any better at it.

    This has, however, changed a little just recently. I don’t do it when playing with the rest of my friends, but I started working some finger exercises and scales on a more routine basis. Mostly so I could play hazy shade of winter and so I could bounce back and forth between bass and guitar more easily.

    So, no, I can’t really play the melody line, but the main guitar line in the song is a rhythm/chord part anyway. It was the Bm7sus4 that was killing me for a while. I really wanted to play Bm on the first 5 strings the way I usually do, but eventually opted for the recommended fingering which puts the B root on the 6th string in the 7th fret instead of the 5th string, 2nd fret. When you do it that way, the fingering of Bm7sus4 is identical in relative position to Bm7 with a 5th string root. Of course, that was months ago, and I wasn’t necessarily as smooth at the regular Bm7 then either, but I’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in the last 4 or 5 months. It was that thing where you’re at a plateau for a while and then something breaks through? It broke through for me. Sometime around the beginning of December I felt like I had the song down and stopped practicing. I like it though, I should go back and do it again, see if I still have it or if it’s slippery enough that I need to practice the particular song and not just my general skills.

    Thanks for asking. Anything positive going on in your neck of the woods?

  90. says

    Anything positive going on in your neck of the woods?

    Well three of us are kinda toying with putting a busking act together. Guitar, harmonica (that’s me) and double bass with a mostly ’50s blues set. My main trouble is that my cute little amp broke. I’ve replaced it, but the half-knackered speaker on the old one gave me a really nice ‘rough’ sound, so I’m having to retrain myself to a slightly different way of playing. Still an’ all, it’s good fun, and nice to be playing with a purpose in mind again.

  91. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    So, you would take issue with the claim “government is almost by definition violence”. Ok. How about the following: “Any real-world government necessarily either employs violence, or is anarchy (e.g. not-a-government)”. Do you agree with that assertion? Apparently yes.

    I’m with Daz, but I’ll go stronger: If this has been what the entire conversation has been about, then you have been a complete dishonest asshat. Rather than explain your “actual” position, you started off with shit like this:

    Criminals consent to the social contract. The social contract entails living under the laws made pursuant to the social contract. The criminals consent in advance to the proposition of going to jail **if convicted in a court of law and duly sentenced to incarceration**.

    That they resist attempts at conviction is actually an expected and normal part of the social contract, and in fact indicates their ongoing consent to the legitimacy of the process.

    And this part of the conversation where you respond to Daz.
    Quoting Daz:

    Okay. I hereby deny that I have ever consented to taxation. I have never been asked for such consent, and nor have I ever explicitly given it. My consent to taxation has been assumed, and my wages have been taxed under that assumption. I shall henceforth resist any attempt to make me pay taxes.

    Quoting Crip:

    I could respond to you, too, Daz, but you’re just blindly resisting the idea that there may be some uses of force that do not amount to violence. The idea that restrictions on your freedom are by their nature violence is just silly.

    These are just some of many examples from earlier in the conversation where you were clearly denying the assertion that the usual methods of tax collection and tax collection enforcement are violence.

    And now you seem to be assenting to the assertion that the usual methods of tax collection enforcement are violence. Moving the goalposts dishonest fuckery.

    Now I see why you steadfastly refused to answer my straightforward direct questions – your shenanigans would have been exposed from the start. So fuck you too.

  92. says

    Allright, I’m frankly a bit reluctant to participate further in this spat but CD maybe you could help me understand you position by providing a clear and simple distinction between what you consider “violence” and what you consider “force”? Because it seems to me that you are defining violence as something akin to “force that I, personally, find distasteful.”

    In other words I have yet to see you explain by what distinction you can consider jailing a person to not be a form of violence. If you admit that incarceration is a form of violence then it follows that any government that uses incarceration to enforce it’s laws is inherently violent, no?

  93. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Daz
    I wanted to be clear on this.

    I agree that almost all law enforcement might be properly described as “violence”. However, I focus on taxation because I want to make this point in the context of libertarians. Libertarians are generally ok with force when used in response to unjustified force, but they are not ok with force absent a specific prior directly-related unjustified force. Thus libertarians frequently object to taxes for the common good because in their way of viewing the world, taxes – tax collection enforcement for the pedantic asshats out there (Crip Dyke), are force absent a specific prior directly-related unjustified use of force. Thus taxes violate their non-aggression principle. I happen to agree with the standard libertarian analysis that it does violate the non-aggression principle. I just happen to think that the non-aggression principle is shitty.

    This is why I focused on taxes in particular.

  94. says

    I happen to agree with the standard libertarian analysis that it does violate the non-aggression principle. I just happen to think that the non-aggression principle is shitty.

    I’m thinking i disagree with you a lot less than I previously thought. Would it be fair to describe you as a libertarian socialist? I’m not crazy about either term in isolation but I think together they more or less describe my political dipostion and much of what you’ve articulated jives with me own intuitions/biases. I believe I may have been thrown by you nome de plume, which to me suggests a certain type of “socially liberal, economically conservative” bullshiter who likes to couch there classism in Appeals to Adam Smith (having actually read Wealth of Nations once upon a time I know Mr Smith was a bit more perceptive than most of his followers.)

  95. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @dysomniak:

    Why don’t you start by reading the dictionary definitions that I provided.

    I’m not saying that violence and force are co-extant in all cases where I consider some particular use of force “distasteful”.

    I actually provided a way to determine when force was not violence. You can see my initial examples @ #46 where I am responding to you, including:

    I think that there is a huge difference between me carrying my three year old child out of the candy aisle at the grocery store and me shooting my three year old child with a gun. Frankly, I think that there is a huge difference between me carrying my three year old child out of the candy aisle at the grocery store and me spanking my three year old child with an open hand.

    i think the vast differences deserve different terms, and I loathe the libertarian conflation of deducting money from their paychecks with shooting Michael Brown.

    In my #65 I actually provide some rules for examining cases where force is used to determine when that might not constitute violence (these rules are not so detailed as to eliminate the need for any discussion of corner cases, but are far more detailed than anything anyone else has put out there in this thread). I think that they give a good basic characterization of where I see differences between force and violence.

    At the risk of redundancy, I repost them here:

    If no living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, it cannot be violence. It might be a threat of violence. It might be many things. But it cannot be violence.

    If a living body is hurt, harmed, or restrained, but only to the extent to which a person consents, it cannot be violence.

    If a living body is restrained, but not hurt or harmed, and is restrained **only** from actions whose consequences the person is literally not equipped to appreciate and factor into actions decisions, it cannot be violence.

    Given this, definitions of “living body,” “hurt,” and “harm” are obviously crucial to understanding the limits of violence.

    Likewise, the nature of consent is vital to understanding the limits of violence.

    Intent may or may not factor into the definition of violence.

    So, no physical action which could conceivably hurt, harm or restrain a body? No violence. The government deducting money from your paycheck is thus not violence.

    Consensual BDSM? Not violence.

    A parent carrying a child out of a candy aisle? Not violence.

    Frankly, if this is the topic in which you are interested, I recommend you read the entirety of my #65 as well as the definitions (but not necessarily the words directed at EL) in my #86.

    Note that repeatedly dictionaries include but qualify the word force in defining violence. The Oxford is typical (also note that Google’s definition appears to be lifted from Oxford):

    Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something:

    “force” is here qualified by Oxford by “physical” as well as by the “intended to…” clause. Moreover, “behaviour” clearly limits this to the behaviours of persons (or, possibly but only arguably, animals) – especially when combined with the “intent” clause. Solar flares are not violence even if they ripped away part of the atmosphere and killed lots of people.

    Why don’t you start with that? There’s a lot here already that answers, I believe, your questions, if you’re willing to read it.

  96. vereverum says

    As I see it, Crip Dyke is arguing from the position that violence is a connotative noun while EL and Daz are arguing from the position that violence is a denotative noun. In this case, there will never be a resolution so one side or the other should simply declare “I’m right” and leave the field. As a guess, IMHO, the vast majority of the people in the world would side with Crip Dyke.
    OTOH if the argument is for argument’s sake, then go ahead on ’cause it’s fascinatin readin.

  97. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @dysomniak
    Thanks. I actually read the goddamned books unlike some modern libertarian asshats, and I picked the name because that seems to be the best popular philosophy which describes my own position.

    As for libertarian socialism, I admit that I am not well versed on the particulars of modern socialism brands. I hold some rather radical views regarding the analysis of the situation. Specifically, I hold that all private (enforced) property rights are violence, all (enforced) taxes are violence. However, my policy suggestions to make the world a better place are pretty mainstream. For a start, I just want some stupidly heavy progressive death taxes, progressive income taxes, plus more funding for the common good. Education, infrastructure, welfare, maybe some kind of guaranteed minimum income. Stuff like that. So, as I said, I don’t know what label properly describes that position better than a liberal of the European Enlightenment, and so that’s why I picked that name.

    I think I rather like the current system, except for these simple but major fixes.

    @vereverum

    As I see it, Crip Dyke is arguing from the position that violence is a connotative noun while EL and Daz are arguing from the position that violence is a denotative noun.

    As I’ve stated, I don’t care that much about the meaning of the word “violence”. I care about establishing agreement on the following facts, regardless of whether you want to describe it with “force” or “violence”.

    1- The United States government makes it well known that failure to properly file an income fax report can be punished with forced involuntary imprisonment.

    2- The United States government regularly does forcibly imprisonment tax evaders without their consent, against their will.

    3- Many of these tax protestors in prison never consented to being taxed, to being subject to the courts of the United States, nor to being imprisoned.

    4- Government is impossible without taxes which are enforced with threats of force against all of its citizens, and with actual regular uses of force against some of its citizens. Further, in any non-trivial population, there will be individuals who never consented to being taxed. We have a name for a government without taxes (and the enforcement of taxes): anarchy. (In the real world, government requires taxes. Maybe in some scifi future scenario a government could exist and function without taxes.)

    Thus far, Crip Dyke has completely and utterly refused to engage with these points for many posts, and refused to make their position known regarding these points. Judging by recent comments, Crip Dyke has been a dishonest evasive asshat from the first thing they’ve said regarding this topic in this thread (see my earlier post for details).

  98. says

    EL, ad nauseam;

    As I’ve stated, I don’t care that much about the meaning of the word “violence”. I care about establishing agreement on the following facts, regardless of whether you want to describe it with “force” or “violence”.

    Oh, I see, so you’re not talking in any academic sense about government, you’re whingin’ about gub’mint in the US, like a slightly more literate (but just as mal-educated) version of any other number of libertarian charlatans we’ve seen ranting and raving before on this blog. It still proves Crip Dyke was entirely correct to call you on it, because the majority of society aren’t deluded libertarian douchebags like it seems you are, who agree that taxation is not violence. Oh wait, …

    Judging by recent comments, Crip Dyke has been a dishonest evasive asshat

    Judging by recent comments, there’s a dishonest evasive asshat alright, but it’s not Crip Dyke.

  99. vereverum says

    Re EnlightenmentLiberal #112.
    .
    There are a lot of useless words in your 4 points, so I’ve removed them for clarity. In re #3, I’ve substituted words that are just as valid as the ones you had and the import of the statement is unchanged.
    .
    1- The United States government makes it well known that failure to properly file an income tax report can be punished with imprisonment.
    2- The United States government imprisons tax evaders.
    3- Many of these tax protestors in prison never consented to being carbon based, born, oxygen breathing, mammals, bipedal, or unable to regenerate severed limbs.
    4- Government is impossible without income. [the rest was merely a rehash of 1, 2, and 3 (orig), plus an odd definition of anarchy which is much better defined simply as lack of government]
    .
    I’ll agree with these points.

  100. says

    Quoting EL:

    I fear that you are trying to IMHO dishonestly make a distinction between “taxes” and “the usual methods of tax collection and the usual methods of enforcement of tax collection”.

    Things that are also violence under that definition:
    Speed limits.
    Fishing and hunting regulation.
    Regulations about noise and smell.
    Have you tried taking that to Amnesty International?

    Enlightenment Liberal

    Wow. Seriously – get a grip. Take a chill pill. Calm down.

    Seriously, fuck you. Take some class in being a decent human being. You’re failing miserably.

    +++
    I swear that “taxes are violence” is the ultimate privileged white dudebro claim to oppression. Because they’re are being victimised every single fucking day! This morning when I went shopping? I was a victim of violence because I payed VAT. And again at lunchtime when I bought a coffee. I flushed the toilet. Water costs money and there’s VAT on the price.
    OMG, such levels of violence, such a violent society.
    Of course, they never provide any alternative to this. Poor sods cannot not use anything paid for by taxes because that would kind of interfere with their nice comfortable life using all the things provided by government, funded by taxes.
    When asked to provide an alternative they will point to one or two privately operated roads, bridges or charities, ignoring that those things run within a system of law provided by and enforced by the government.
    Or their famous “Courts of Arbitration” (taking the Vikings as a shiny example of human society) without giving any evidence, as Nerd noted as to how the rulings of that court are to be enforced.
    That’s why their solution is “small government”, i.e. “government should fund all the things I need with money provided by all but never fund things other people need funded with money paid by me.”

  101. says

    Why don’t you start by reading the dictionary definitions that I provided.

    I did. i didn’t see any definitions which wouldn’t include incarceration. That’s what I’m not getting. Whether it’s justified or not you can’t put an unconsenting person in a cell without at least the threat of violence (at least by any definition I would consider meaningful, including all those you’ve linked.)

  102. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m still waiting to see how breaking the social contract and legitimate government laws and not paying your taxes is any different than any other crime against humanity….It’s a crime. How do you expect criminals to be treated? Please didums, don’t do that again?

  103. says

    dysomniak
    So, you’re making things up in your head and then you blame me for it? How rich of you. But why should I argue with somebody who can’t reason their way out of a wet paper bag? Also, be a bit more creative in your insults. Really, shit and fuckstain in one insult? That’s so second grade. As is stomping your foot yelling Thunderdome!!! I do what I want!!! You can’t tell me!!!
    Honestly, I get enough temper tantrums at home, deal with yours yourself.

    +++
    Nerd
    Oh, they’re not criminals. They never signed no stinkin’ social contract and you can’t make them behave!!!!.

  104. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, they’re not criminals. They never signed no stinkin’ social contract and you can’t make them behave!!!!.

    Of course they are criminals. They acknowledged the social contract when they were born and received a certificate of live birth. They acknowledged the social contract every time they used a sidewalk, a road, a public park, public school, etc. Just because they now have a bad case of immature selfishness and lack of empathy doesn’t change the facts.

  105. says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls #120:

    I’m still waiting to see how breaking the social contract and legitimate government laws and not paying your taxes is any different than any other crime against humanity….It’s a crime. How do you expect criminals to be treated? Please didums, don’t do that again?

    Since you keep bringing this up Nerd, I’d like you to show where anyone here has said that laws should not be enforced, or that the force employed in order to enforce them is inherently immoral. We are arguing that ‘violence’ is an apt term to describe that use of force. We are not arguing that such controlled and limited use of violence is inherently bad, or that we want it stopped.

  106. says

    Nerd
    I think you missed the snark

    Dysomniak
    You behave like a toddler, you get treated like a toddler. And you’re probably the last person who should complain about tone. You know, I’m as fond of combining a good argument with some insults as the next person, only that you’re lacking the argument part. Which means you’re boring as well. If you don’t like how I’m taking the piss out of you, here’s a hint: Nobody’s forcing you to react to me. There’s not even a tax on that.

    +++
    Also, the idea of taxes = violence very subtly reinforces the corporations = people bullshit. Poor, poor corporations, threatened with violent taxes…

  107. says

    Allright you know what? You’re right – childish name calling gets neither of us anywhere, so I’m going to cut it out. I hope this will help you see past your kneejerk assumptions and actually grapple with what those of us on the other side are saying.

    the idea of taxes = violence very subtly reinforces the corporations = people bullshit.

    No, it doesn’t. Just because you’ve heard certain people make both statements doesn’t mean they are in any way connected. I for one (and EL too I’d wager) believe that both taxes and private property are violence, in that neither can exist without the threat of force to compel them. Corporations cannot exist without the backing of state violence.

  108. says

    Now I’m just imagining a little bitty baby looking over a little bitty contract with little bitty reading glasses. And then they consider it for a little bitty moment, stroke their little bitty chin, and give a little bitty nod, before signing with a little bitty fountain pen.

    Thank you Nerd, you just made my morning at least 50% more adorable.

  109. Saad says

    dysomniak, 126

    I for one (and EL too I’d wager) believe that both taxes and private property are violence, in that neither can exist without the threat of force to compel them. Corporations cannot exist without the backing of state violence.

    I think I mostly agree with you, but why are you calling taxes themselves violence? The force used to compel them is the violence. The prohibition of stealing also cannot exist without threat of force. But the prohibition on stealing isn’t violence itself. It’s something that’s needed for society as it exists to function.

    Also, taxes don’t absolutely need threat of force. I’m fine with paying taxes because I like bridges and roads. And if tomorrow the government abolishes all taxes, it won’t be long before the people themselves file a petition to start them again (because they like bridges and roads).

    I don’t think I have a huge problem with using the term violence like you are, but it’s too broad. Calling the unreasonable and needless severing of the head of an Iraqi Christian the same exact word as telling someone they could face prison for not paying taxes* seems nonsensical.

    *Especially when they very well know why they should pay taxes and how it benefits them and society.

  110. says

    No, it doesn’t. Just because you’ve heard certain people make both statements doesn’t mean they are in any way connected.

    Bullshit.
    EL’s argument is that taxes are violent because if you don’t pay them the nasty gubernmint will enforce them, ultimately by locking people up. Noweher in this whole clusterfuck is this limited to personal taxes on individuals. No, it’s been argued that the nature of taxes is violent. This then applies to corporations as well.

    Corporations cannot exist without the backing of state violence.

    Well, certain companies could just build up their own armies, like in so many dystopian novels, but that is besides the point. Somebody can benefit from a system and be a victim of a system at the same time. Sure, they would have to be a somebody, but if you tax a corporation, does it not lose money? If they don’t pay taxes, don’t they get a nasty visit from the government? (My apologies to Shakespeare)

    . I for one (and EL too I’d wager) believe that both taxes and private property are violence, in that neither can exist without the threat of force to compel them.

    That’s what you get when people half read Marx. As a good socialist I do believe that private ownership of the production means is wrong. The whole of “private property” is, of course a different kettle of fish. I’d love to live in that Utopia where everybody is just pure goodness, yet you still need to come up with a handy way to resolve these nasty conflicts of interest that typically arise when people compete for limited resources.
    Who’s going to decide who gets the thing when both parties feel like they are the one who reasonably have the greatest need? How are they going to enforce it? Or are we simply going back to letting the stronger party take it? And can I have your shirt?

  111. says

    @Daz

    Sorry to hear it. I’m nursing a bruised (hopefully not cracked) rib myself. pretty much anything I do with my torso (twisting, lifting, standing up straight, slouching, sitting, laying down, and breathing) causes mild to moderate pain

    @Gilliel

    I have more thoughts on the rest of you post but not the time or energy to type them out just now. For one point of clarification though I make a distinction (which may be as idiosyncratic as CD’s force/violence, hypocrite me.) between “private property” and “personal possessions.” But as a “good socialist” I’m guessing you don’t need to to explain the difference?

  112. says

    Jesus H Christ:

    It is really hard for kids to speak up when they’re abused. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses make it a lot harder.

    They have a “2 Witness” rule, which says that anyone who accuses an adult of abuse must have a second witness. If there is no second witness, the accuser is punished for a false accusation – usually by ordering that no Witness may talk with or associate with the “false” accuser. This is called dis-fellowshipping. For a kid raised only with other Witnesses, it was horrifying. Even your parents would have to ignore you.
    [Source]

    I have no words.

    ======================================================
    dysomniak #132

    Ouch! My own current pain pales into insignificance compared to yours.

  113. says

    @Daz
    Probably not. I’ve got nothing like “shooting pains” just a sort of constant low level grimace.Mostly a reminder that taking a slide on your bicycle at the age of thirty is quite different from wiping out at twenty, or twelve. Hell from the ages of about three to ten (before I discovered computers and sf novels) “falling down” was an essential part of pretty much all my hobbies.

  114. says

    dysomniac

    For one point of clarification though I make a distinction (which may be as idiosyncratic as CD’s force/violence, hypocrite me.) between “private property” and “personal possessions.”

    Which does not get you around the question of how those things are allocated and how people are prevented from “reallocating” personal posessions.

  115. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    i didn’t see any definitions which wouldn’t include incarceration. That’s what I’m not getting. Whether it’s justified or not you can’t put an unconsenting person in a cell without at least the threat of violence

    Okay, first I’m going to call you out for reading fail. Then I’ll concede your point arguendo.

    FIRST – the calling out: Bullshit. You saw many and repeated definitions that would preclude that if by “putting a person in a cell” you mean a government owned cell where the “putting” is authorized by law. And I fucking quote:

    1.
    Behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something:

    1.1
    Law The unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

    From Oxford, with the examples stripped. You can read those @#86 if you like. In the meantime, it is entirely possible to put a person in a jail cell without intending to “hurt, damage, or kill someone or something”.

    That takes care of definition 1, which clearly excludes your example. As for definition 1.1, if we’re talking about a government cell with the jailing authorized by law, the Oxford wouldn’t consider that either, since the action is not, as required by definition 1.1, “unlawful”.

    If you want to claim both that you read all the definitions **and** that all the definitions above include the action of placing an unconenting prisoner in a cell, then you might try reading all the definitions ***a little bit harder***.

    SECOND – In which I concede your point for the point of discussing it, given the fact that none of my exemptions clearly applies (I did say that wasn’t my complete definition but that it was enough to get people to a sufficient understanding of my definition of violence to get why I might call “bizarre” the statement by EL that “government is by definition violence”):
    And? What the fuck does that have to do with me and/or this discussion. You wanted to understand my definition and let’s say this is a fine understanding. If it were a perfectly adequate understanding then…what?

    THIRD, in which I take you to task for calling my distinction between “force” and “violence” idiosyncratic, calling back to EL’s repeated use of “esoteric”:
    Why are you ignoring, among other things, the fact that distinctions I have made in numerous places, such as the distinction between “threat of violence” and “violence”, are one’s that you make as well. See your #116 which started this comment:

    Whether it’s justified or not you can’t put an unconsenting person in a cell without at least the threat of violence

    Ah. I see. So you entirely recognize a distinction between “threats of violence” and “something that is, itself and of its fundamental nature, violence”. This is, presumably, not “idiosyncratic” or “esoteric” since you do it.

    So why is it that some request or requirement that is sometimes enforced with violence and that is (presumably) always colored by threats of violence, at the very least implied through historical awareness, cannot be distinguished from the violence itself?

    How the hell do you distinguish “threats” from “violence”? You clearly do distinguish. And yet “threats of violence” **by their very nature** rely on the existence of violence.

    So why aren’t you criticizing yourself for being dishonest when you distinguish “threats” from “violence”?

    When you can figure out why you, yourself, distinguish threats from violence, you will have more insight into the position of the Oxford, the Free Dictionary, dictionary.reference.com, Merriam-Webster, Google, and me.

    As for your sniping at me for distinguishing “force” from “violence”: I freely admit that they are synonyms. I do not freely admit that they are interchangeable. I do not freely admit that no distinctions can be made. If no distinctions could be made, one word would fall out of use in favor of the other. Hasn’t happened. Isn’t happening.

    Gravity forces particles of mass towards each other. Gravity doesn’t commit violence on all particles with mass.

    **and so much less is it sensical to say “gravity is violence by definition”**.

    You’re being dishonest or at least disingenuous to say that a definition of violence such that “government is violence by definition” is by its nature an “esoteric” or “idiosyncratic” definition.

    None of the above definitions permit a non-metaphorical, truthful statement “government is violence by definition”.

    FOURTH – in which I once again make a very simple statement.

    To be a wheelchair user absolutely requires, by definition, the existence of wheelchairs. A person doesn’t even need to use a wheelchair constantly, or be superglued to one. But it is impossible to be a wheelchair user without the existence of wheelchairs.

    **nonetheless** the statement

    a wheelchair user is a wheelchair by definition

    is fucking idiotic.

    You appear to be thinking that I have somewhere claimed that the government does not employ violence. **Quote me saying it. Right the fuck now. Or, in the alternative, cut out your disingenuous arguments about how government’s USE of violence in certain circumstances, common or rare, has any implications at all for whether or not I am correct in saying that it is bizarre to make the statement “Government is by definition violence.”**

    If you want to defend the statement “government is by definition violence” (which you have spectacularly failed to do, since you are using real-world “as practiced” examples rather than examples that determine the nature of government “by definition”) showing that “government is by definition a user of violence” would still fall as short as saying that my use of a wheelchair proves that “Crip Dyke is by definition a wheelchair”.

  116. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Fuck,I mistyped. Allow a small correction. At the end of the section labeled THIRD, I wrote:

    You’re being dishonest or at least disingenuous to say that a definition of violence such that “government is violence by definition” is by its nature an “esoteric” or “idiosyncratic” definition.

    What I meant to write was this:

    You’re being dishonest or at least disingenuous to say that a definition of violence such that “government is violence by definition” is a bizarre statement would then be a definition that is by its nature an “esoteric” or “idiosyncratic” definition.

    Apologies for my arglebargle.

  117. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I’m still waiting for EL to explain how saying that every parent is violent towards their child doesn’t muddle the meaning of the word beyond all recognition and into complete uselessness.

  118. chigau (違う) says

    Screaming at the router and threatening it with an axe seeks to have fixed whatever the problem was.
    I wonder if that’ll work on anything around the house?

  119. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    chigau,

    If you try, please report on the results.

  120. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @beatrice:

    I’m still waiting for EL to explain how saying that every parent is violent towards their child doesn’t muddle the meaning of the word beyond all recognition and into complete uselessness.

    Well, he’s using the non-esoteric definition of violence, don’tcha know?

  121. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @chigau:

    Screaming at the router and threatening it with an axe seeks to have fixed whatever the problem was.
    I wonder if that’ll work on anything around the house?

    Routers: violent almost by definition. You’re just finally speaking its language.

    We’ll have to check with EL to see if that’s true of coffee tables, but I can sure as hell tell you that Legos manifest a clear intent to injure, harm, kill and destroy. How else would you explain their sneaky tendency to spread themselves out over the floor in the afternoon and evening, continuing to scatter right up until the moment the lights go out?

    Violent little jerks. I swear, Legos are violent almost by definition.

  122. rq says

    Legos are violent almost by definition.

    That looks more correct to me.
    It’s like they were created to be violent, always forcing themselves upon my bare feet in the middle of the dark, dark night.
    I also liked

    “gravity is violence by definition”

    constantly applying force to all kinds of particles, hurting them and causing them injury. Woe is the particle world!

  123. consciousness razor says

    Saad:

    The prohibition of stealing also cannot exist without threat of force. But the prohibition on stealing isn’t violence itself. It’s something that’s needed for society as it exists to function.

    Well, that doesn’t prevent libertarian dictionaries from proclaiming that taxation=theft. When they complain about the fact that taxes are enforced (enviolenced?) or the violence inherent in the system or whatever, they must want some group of people to recognize their great idea about the need to prevent “theft” and to organize themselves around that common goal. However, such a “community” must not be called (or have) a “government,” since that name is reserved for the bad guys who wear black hats and actually do that, not the good guys who just rant about it aimlessly.

    How to explain it…. It’s a very subtle thing. It works in mysterious ways.

    rq:

    constantly applying force to all kinds of particles, hurting them and causing them injury. Woe is the particle world!

    Don’t worry. Newton may have envisioned it, heretically, as Violence=Mass*Accelerando, but according to Einstein particles have a kind of peaceful coexistence with spacetime. They both may seem to enviolenate one another, but that kind of metaphorical language is not needed for an accurate description.

  124. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To everyone. I’m going to include this in every post now, because some people are joining the conversation early and missing context.

    I’m a radical socialist in analysis. I agree with the standard libertarian analysis that taxes violate the non-aggression principle. I also happen to think that the non-aggression principle is bullshit. I think that this use of force is good, justified, and required to have a functioning society.

    For practical economic policies I want implemented now, I want very heavy progressive death taxes, progressive income taxes, for the expressed purpose of wealth redistribution. I want more government funding for the common good, including infrastructure, education, welfare, perhaps some form of guaranteed minimum income.

    @Xanthë @ 113
    Please see the top of this point.

    @dysomniak

    I for one (and EL too I’d wager) believe that both taxes and private property are violence, in that neither can exist without the threat of force to compel them.

    Correct. I’ve already made those same assertions in this thread several times.

    @Saad @130
    Please see my response to the same question asked by Giliell, answered below.

    Also, taxes don’t absolutely need threat of force.

    Bullshit. You are way too naive of the actual human condition.

    it won’t be long before the people themselves file a petition to start them again (because they like bridges and roads).

    I completely agree. If you do not form a government, then someone else will be more than happy to form one for you.

    @Giliell

    Things that are also violence under that definition:
    Speed limits.

    Yes. That has been Daz’s point and my point. Speed limits are enforced by force without the consent of the target, including possible imprisonment. Speed limits cannot exist without forceful enforcement regardless of the consent of the target.

    I am not a libertarian. However, note that the common libertarian might argue that exceeding the speed limit presents a clear and present danger to others on the road, and thus using force to prevent speeding may not violate the non-aggression principle. Taxes, especially taxes for the common good, are an entirely different beast than most of the laws (and law enforcement) in modern countries today, because taxes for the common good are clear violations of the non-aggresion principle.

    I swear that “taxes are violence” is the ultimate privileged white dudebro claim to oppression. Because they’re are being victimised every single fucking day!

    Please see the top of this point.

    For many other of your points, the problem seems to be that you are making the naive equivalence “violence = bad”, whereas Daz and I disagree with that naive position. Some uses of violence force are unavoidable, justified, and good. Private property cannot exist without violence force to enforce it, but I also hold that some degree of private property is required for human well-being.

    I do agree with you Giliell in 135 that there is no meaningful distinction between “private property” and “personal possessions”. A primary reason someone doesn’t take the shirt off my back (or out of my house, etc.), is because of the well-established threats of violence force that will be visited upon them if they try.

    @Nerd

    How do you expect criminals to be treated? Please didums, don’t do that again?

    I know you have an attention span measured in seconds. But do give it a try and read the top of this post, please.

    Of course they are criminals. They acknowledged the social contract when they were born and received a certificate of live birth.

    This is one of the most flagrantly wrong things I have read in a while.

    @Crip Dyke

    In the meantime, it is entirely possible to put a person in a jail cell without intending to “hurt, damage, or kill someone or something”.

    You cannot be serious that being imprisoned contrary to one’s consent does not count as a harm.

    So you entirely recognize a distinction between “threats of violence” and “something that is, itself and of its fundamental nature, violence”.

    If taxes cannot exist without tax collection and tax collection enforcement, and any (effective) tax collection enforcement necessarily involve threats of force and regular actual uses of force, then I’d say it’s pretty fair to say that taxes by their fundamental nature involve force and threats of force. As a colloquialism which everyone got but you, it’s thus fair to say that taxes almost by definition involve the use of force against people, such as imprisonment, without their consent.

    If government cannot exist without taxes, then it’s also a fair colloquialism that government almost by definition involves the use of force against people, such as imprisonment, without their consent.

    @Beatrice

    I’m still waiting for EL to explain how saying that every parent is violent towards their child doesn’t muddle the meaning of the word beyond all recognition and into complete uselessness.

    IMHO, it only muddles the word beyond all usefulness if you have the naive position that all violence is bad.

    Of course, upthread I also agreed that I intuitively find it weird to refer to normal parenting as violence. As I’ve said numerous times, my main goal here is not to argue whether taxes are violence. My main goal here is to argue that taxes are regularly enforced by the use of force, including imprisonment, without the consent of some of the people being taxed. As a smaller point, I intuitively think that this should count as violence, but I think that’s a minor detail, which unfortunately got us off on this tangent which I don’t think is worth it. First we should establish the facts in a neutral way, and then if we care enough we can argue about the pedantics of definitions.

  125. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    Quoting me responding to Crip Dyke:

    You cannot be serious that being imprisoned contrary to one’s consent does not count as a harm.

    Addendum: Especially in the current context of tax protestors.

  126. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    wheelchair users almost by definition require the use of wheelchairs by people,

    non-bizarre.

    wheelchair users almost by definition are wheelchairs

    bizarre.

    government almost by definition involves the use of force against people,

    non-bizarre.

    government almost by definition is violence

    bizarre.

    I say that a sentence is bizarre (or at least requires a bizarre definition of a word, in this case “violence”) and EL rushes to proclaim the sentence is not bizarre and that any definition of any word in that sentence that requires the sentence to be bizarre must be an esoteric definition.

    Also, that person is dishonest, rather just commenting that a sentence is “bizarre” and defending that proposition.

    but that requires entirely twisting beyond recognition my original point and the arguments used to defend it!

    Oh, hay! I get it now!

    EnlightenmentLiberal almost by definition is violence

  127. rq says

    consciousness razor
    When you write

    Violence=Mass*Accelerando

    I see a very fast liturgy, as performed by catholics. :P

  128. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Of course they are criminals. They acknowledged the social contract when they were born and received a certificate of live birth.

    Also, figures. I miss the sarcasm. /sigh

  129. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @anyone other than EL who cares to listen:
    As a side issue, and being entirely serious for a moment, has anyone else noticed how much EL relies on changing the words he’s “quoting”?

    Me, whose words in quotes are a direct and exact quote of the Oxford dictionary, then EL:

    In the meantime, it is entirely possible to put a person in a jail cell without intending to “hurt, damage, or kill someone or something”.

    You cannot be serious that being imprisoned contrary to one’s consent does not count as a harm.

    Emphasis added.

    Please note that the word “harm” appears nowhere in the quote.

    I can only reasonably conclude that EL meant to say:

    You cannot be serious that being imprisoned contrary to one’s consent does not count as a killing.

    Or, y’know, not. Because that would have EL actually responding to the argument made and not to a fictional argument that uses different words which **surprise** have actually different meanings.

  130. rq says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @147
    Uh, taxes don’t absolutely need the threat of force. I pay mine not because I’m afraid of the repercussions, but because I like to think that the taxes I pay will do me some good in the future – not that this country is good at the redistribution bit, but I did get some nice things for maternity leave, and I hope to get some more nice things upon my eventual retirement, and that whole socialized medical care aspect isn’t too bad, either. But I don’t pay them due to the threat of force; I pay them to benefit me – is that violence? So, I’m with Giliell here: taxes, not necessarily violence.

  131. rq says

    *ahem* that would be ‘EnlightenmentLiberal @146′, not 147, as previously stated.

  132. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I see a very fast liturgy, as performed by catholics. :P

    It’s not so much the speed, as the abrupt changes of direction.

    And the stormy emotions.

    And completely misreading the relevant text.

    As I understand it, completely misreading the relevant text almost by definition is Accelerando.

  133. says

    First we should establish the facts in a neutral way, and then if we care enough we can argue about the pedantics of definitions.

    The moon is made of cheese.
    That’s a fact
    Hey, I just happen to define “cheese” as “whatever material the moon is made of”.

    1. Your definition of violence is useless. It is so unrecognisable from a normal use of the word that it makes as much sense to use it as it makes sense to use “cheese” for “moon material” and also “something made from fermented milk”.
    2. You have, of course, redefined violence in a way that does not make it undesirable anymore. You state yourself you want taxes. You probably also want speed limits. Sounds to me like you simply like violence and have a hard time giving up on the idea, so you just need to make it not-bad.

  134. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq:

    But I don’t pay them due to the threat of force; I pay them to benefit me – is that violence? So, I’m with Giliell here: taxes, not necessarily violence.

    Not only not necessarily violence, but not necessarily relying on threats and/or violence to function.

    Of course, your wrong to oppose the idea that taxation literally **is** violence because, in actual fact, taxation by definition is violence since “by definition” is a phrase which almost by definition means “in a practical sense, according to the real-life examples I can find”.

  135. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The moon is made of cheese.
    That’s a fact
    Hey, I just happen to define “cheese” as “whatever material the moon is made of”.

    Giliell is, almost by definition, awesome.

    Also?
    Giliell is, almost by definition, Crip Dyke’s gleeful applause.

  136. rq says

    Crip Dyke @156
    Hang on, my brain will get back to you in a moment on that one.

    completely misreading the relevant text almost by definition is Accelerando

    Are you working from your personal real-life examples, here?

  137. says

    rq
    Don’t tell me you’re also quite grateful for those red-framed circles with the numbers inside that inform you that slowing down here would be a really good idea because there’s an accident prone spot nearby?
    We make really good sheeple, don’t we?

  138. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq, #158:

    and I was wondering if anyone would get it…

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    If a random stranger accosted you on the street, handcuffed your hands behind your back, forced you in a car, took you to some faraway place, and placed you in a locked box, all without your consent, then it would count as violence under that specific given definition of “violence” with a reasonable amount of latitude. It is insane to say that this scenario is not violence.

    It does not matter if the stranger is a police officer acting in good faith and in accordance with the law, or a rapist. It does not change the discussion of whether what transpired should be considered as violence.

    You’re continuing to play dishonest word games, asshat.

  140. Saad says

    EnlightenmentLIberal, 146

    @Saad @130

    Also, taxes don’t absolutely need threat of force.

    Bullshit. You are way too naive of the actual human condition.

    No, you read it wrong (or I wrote it unclearly). I’m saying the statement “taxes need threat of force” is not absolutely true (doesn’t apply to everyone). Then I gave my example. I want to pay taxes, because I want shit to work to at least some degree.

    So you think taxation violates the NAP and that the NAP is bullshit. Good. I agree. The theory of evolution violates Biblical creationism.

    I completely agree. If you do not form a government, then someone else will be more than happy to form one for you.

    Good. That’s how I want it. I can’t run a government and I can’t build my own house. Somebody’s gotta do both for me and I’ll pay for it. I’m guessing you agree with that too (maybe you can build a house though).

  141. rq says

    Giliell
    Well, I try to ignore those to the best of my ability. My lead foot doesn’t appreciate that particular violence.
    Go, we the sheeple!

  142. rq says

    Saad
    Not you, too! Paying taxes voluntarily? What is this place coming to?

    Crip Dyke @160
    *taps nose*
    See, I’m quick like that, and constantly improving… one might say my skills are undergoing Accelerando.

  143. says

    Stabbing a child in the arm, against that child’s will, is a violent act. It causes harm.

    When I mention that the ‘weapon’ is a hypodermic needle and the purpose is to vaccinate the child against life-threatening disease, does the intent to prevent greater harm magically change the violence into non-violence, or would it be more sensible to say that it is necessary violence?

  144. says

    EL

    If a random stranger accosted you on the street…

    If a complete stranger told my kids to take off their clothing and get naked I’d call the fucking police to have that bastard arrested. Yet it’s also one of the things I do every day, ensuring their basic hygene and health.
    Context fucking matters.
    Unless, of course, me telling them to get clean is one of these instances of “parental violence” where “violence” isn’t only unrecognisable but also really, really good.

  145. vereverum says

    Re #146 EnlightenmentLiberal
    The two paragraph statement of belief is fine. You can believe anything you want.

    argue that taxes are regularly enforced by the use of force, including imprisonment, without the consent of some of the people being taxed.

    Trivial. Similar to Freeman on the Land magicspeak.

    As a smaller point, I intuitively think that this should count as violence, but I think that’s a minor detail, which unfortunately got us off on this tangent which I don’t think is worth it.

    Specious. Yet you keep bringing it up. This is just your path back to the start. 2 Peter 2:22.
    .
    Using the lined out “violence” followed by “force” to try to gain acceptance that they are synonyms is very clever, but violence and force are not synonyms; to make a synonym you would use the adjective violent with the noun force, i.e. violent force. It’s similar to the distinction between weight and mass.

  146. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    If a random stranger accosted you on the street, handcuffed your hands behind your back, forced you in a car, took you to some faraway place, and placed you in a locked box, all without your consent, then it would count as violence under that specific given definition of “violence” with a reasonable amount of latitude. It is insane to say that this scenario is not violence.

    Which is why I always say

    random strangers are, almost by definition, violence.

    Also?

    Dysomniak:
    “Thing X is clearly included in every single definition you copied/pasted in your #86”.

    Crip Dyke:
    “Here is one of the definitions I listed in my #86. It clearly does not include thing X.
    Having found a black swan, your ‘every single definition’ proposition is refuted.”

    EnlightenmentLiberal:
    “It is insane absolutely ridiculous to say that thing Z is not included in a reasonable expansion of the definition under discussion even though it fails to be included in the actual definition as given.

    “Thus Crip Dyke is playing dishonest word games.”

    Accelerando, almost by definition, is EnlightenmentLiberal.

  147. rq says

    Unless, of course, me telling them to get clean is one of these instances of “parental violence” where “violence” isn’t only unrecognisable but also really, really good.

    Yes. Like vaccinations.
    I’m sort of wondering, though, how parental obligations to keep children healthy and clean actually compare to one adult being violent forceful DAMMIT PICK YOUR OWN WORD towards another adult against their informed consent (criminals are informed of the law, generally speaking, yes? and knowledgeable of the potential punishments? and also the benefits of following the law? yes?).

  148. says

    Have you ever tried cleaning shit off a baby’s butt who has a bad case of diaper rush? Like bleeding bad? How violent. Now that we have established that everybody had a violent childhood, let’s just dismiss people who suffer from the beating kind of violent childhood. Really, it’s just something everybody goes through.
    You know what, as somebody who had a fuckin’ abusive childhood, this whole shit is disgusting.

  149. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    argue that taxes are regularly enforced by the use of force, including imprisonment, without the consent of some of the people being taxed.

    Stupid ass argument. Do killers have to consent to killing is bad in order to be convicted? Same with embezzlers? Or rapists? You consent to taxes by living in society. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE TAXED, LIVE OFF THE GRID IN POVERTY, OR LIVE ELSEWHERE.

  150. Saad says

    What is the point of calling taxes violence? That’s the part I’m not getting. What’s the purpose of the conversation where you try to convince someone that taxes are violence. And if you have convinced them, in what way is that supposed to change their view of taxation? Negatively?

    And why single out taxes? Why not the law against fraud? Because you’d sound like an asshole saying “prohibiting fraud is violence”, right?

  151. Saad says

    EnlightenmentLiberal, #68

    I argue that most people have not given their consent to be taxed.

    Go on?

  152. consciousness razor says

    I see a very fast liturgy, as performed by catholics. :P

    No, no, no. That would be notated as Mass: Molto Allegro Vivace or something similar, which only tells you the “velocity” (at the instant before people ignore it and do what they like) not how it is changing. An accelerando is interpreted relative to the current tempo, whatever it may be. (In my experience, for what it’s worth, Masses are almost always slow and dirge-like. An indication of Lent would be appropriate, if perhaps confusing.)

    Of course, it is also nonsense to say that Forte = accelerando times anything, because dynamics are independent of tempo or variations in tempo. You may want to play louder while speeding up in some cases, but that does not always hold and certainly not by definition.

    I hope that clears everything up.

  153. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Saad, #174:

    Oh, Saad. You kill me.

  154. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To everyone. I’m going to include this in every post now, because some people are joining the conversation early and missing context.

    I’m a radical socialist in analysis. I agree with the standard libertarian analysis that taxes violate the non-aggression principle. I also happen to think that the non-aggression principle is bullshit. I think that this use of force is good, justified, and required to have a functioning society.

    For practical economic policies I want implemented now, I want very heavy progressive death taxes, progressive income taxes, for the expressed purpose of wealth redistribution. I want more government funding for the common good, including infrastructure, education, welfare, perhaps some form of guaranteed minimum income.

    @Giliell @ 167
    Rather than changing the hypothetical, could you address mine please? Would it kill you to answer a direct question? When the police arrest tax protestors and put them in prison, does this count as violence? When a kidnapper for ransom kidnaps someone off the street and puts them in a locked room, without any further harm (physical or otherwise), does that count as violence? What’s the relevant difference(s)? One is justified and the other is not? I’m not see much of a relevant difference beyond that.

    @vereverum

    The two paragraph statement of belief is fine. You can believe anything you want.

    Really? I disagree with the nuance.

    As a matter of facts, people can believe many things, and my mere disagreement does not magically change what they believe.

    As a moral matter, I hold that people should not be punished for mere beliefs.

    However, as a practical matter, I hold that we should criticize the beliefs of others when we believe those beliefs are wrong. Specifically, I do not include “criticize” under the category of “punishment”.

    However again, when you delve into this matter, it is very complicated and nuanced. I suggest On Liberty by John Stuart Mill for further reading on this topic. It’s available freely and legally online everywhere.

    EL: As a smaller point, I intuitively think that this should count as violence, but I think that’s a minor detail, which unfortunately got us off on this tangent which I don’t think is worth it.

    Specious. Yet you keep bringing it up. This is just your path back to the start. 2 Peter 2:22.

    I am not a Christian. I don’t know what that bible passage contains. I don’t care enough to look it up.

    Specious: adjective. Superficially plausible, but actually wrong. (according to google)

    Okay. This is an argument over definition. Words do not have inherent meaning. Words have meaning according to consensus. If the consensus is that lawful violence is an oxymoron, so be it. If the consensus is that justified violence is an oxymoron, so be it. Etc. It seems that there is no consensus in this thread, and usage is all over the map.

    @rq

    (criminals are informed of the law, generally speaking, yes? and knowledgeable of the potential punishments? and also the benefits of following the law? yes?).

    The key point of contention is the next step, consent, which many criminals do not give.

    @Crip Dyke

    random strangers are, almost by definition, violence.

    More dishonesty and willful refusal to engage.

    I have made my argument clear. Here it is again: Government requires taxation. By that, I mean all instances government – by virtue of being government and not anarchy – require effective taxation collection enforcement. All instances of effective taxation collection enforcement are true threats of violence plus frequent actual violence on some of the persons of the country. Thus, all instances of government involve violence.

    This argument about the necessary properties of government is simply inapplicable to strangers. Some strangers may engage in violence, but it is not a necessary property of strangers. Whereas, all governments must by necessity of being government employ violence.

  155. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Saad

    EL: I argue that most people have not given their consent to be taxed.

    Saad: Go on?

    ?

  156. Esteleth, RN's job is to save your ass, not kiss it says

    In my line of work, there are (very specific) circumstances where I’m permitted to restrain someone against their will. This is, unquestionably, forceable, and it (in the “causes bodily injury” sense) can be violent. Every time this is even considered, there’s a veritable mountain of paperwork to fill out, which, if done correctly and approved by no fewer than two providers (MD, NP, DO, or PA) results in the restraint declared “justified.”

    Of course, those circumstances can be summarized in layspeak as “immediate danger to themselves and/or someone else.” There are many debates as to what constitutes both “danger” and “immediate,” however.

  157. Rowan vet-tech says

    re: not consenting to taxes.

    Yet these people still want to use the roads that taxes pay for, and the water pipes that taxes pay for, and the emergency services that taxes pay for, etc etc.

    So it’s not that they aren’t consenting to taxation. They are actively wanting to steal.

  158. says

    EL
    I have answered your question. I have answered your question by demonstrating that your premise, i.e. the equation of the two actions regardless of context is bullshit. You simply ignore the relevant difference and claim that they do not exist.

  159. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So it’s not that they aren’t consenting to taxation. They are actively wanting to steal.

    Quoted for mother fucking TRUTH. All liberturds are thieves at heart. They want to be able to steal with impunity.

  160. rq says

    An indication of Lent would be appropriate, if perhaps confusing.

    Not confusing, just seasonal.

    You may want to play louder while speeding up in some cases

    Actually, I find myself hitting Piano and Pianissimo in all the Molto Allegro (never mind the Vivace) places, usually because of all the misreading of the relevant text (approaching Morendo at an accelerando pace towards the end of the passage/piece). So I would argue that my dynamics are not independent of the tempo, sorry, quite opposite to your definition. This is actually more likely if the Molto Allegro has been reached via Accelerando than if it has been in a steady state of moulting alligators.

  161. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Saad

    What is the point of calling taxes violence? That’s the part I’m not getting. What’s the purpose of the conversation where you try to convince someone that taxes are violence. And if you have convinced them, in what way is that supposed to change their view of taxation? Negatively?

    One – because it’s the truth. I generally value truth for its own sake. I want to believe as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible (- quoting Matt Dillahunty) (although it’s a little hyperbolic – ignore the minor problems of that position please).

    Also, only plans based on true premises are likely to achieve the desired outcomes. Well, specifically, plans based on false premises are far, far more likely to fail miserably than plans based on true premises.

    For particulars, I hold that the libertarian position is wrong because the non-aggression principle is wrong. I hold that government is impossible without violence. I feel that the rhetoric of Crip Dyke and Giliell is woefully unproductive when dealing with libertarians, confusing, and it will appear as dishonesty from my side, the liberal side. I don’t want my side to appear dishonest – or as is the case here, I don’t want my side to be actually dishonest.

    And why single out taxes? Why not the law against fraud? Because you’d sound like an asshole saying “prohibiting fraud is violence”, right?

    Please see my earlier responses to this, here, and here.

  162. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    This argument about the necessary properties of government is simply inapplicable to strangers. Some strangers may engage in violence, but it is not a necessary property of strangers. blah, blah, blah.

    Isn’t that cute? EnlightenmentLiberal thinks I’m doing something other than merely mocking EnlightenmentLiberal.

    Note how even he has backed off his ridiculous and, **yes I’ll go there, hang on to your hats,** “bizarre” phrase “government by definition is violence” to make the more limited and reasonable claim,

    All instances of effective taxation collection enforcement are true threats of violence plus frequent actual violence on some of the persons of the country. Thus, all instances of government involve violence.

    and yet still insists that his changed claim is being challenged by me in dishonest “word games”, (failing to recognize mere mockery directed at an audience other than EL’s very-important-self) despite my consistency throughout the thread.

    That is, by definition, precious.

  163. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One – because it’s the truth.

    Nope, it’s your delusions and paranoia speaking, not the TRUTH. The truth is that your duly elected government needs taxes to function. You don’t have an out, except if YOU get out of society. Do that, or shut the fuck up about the liberturdian “truth”. Which is utter and total bullshit.
    Show me 30 continuous years of liberturd government in the last century in any first world government. You can’t. They know better based on HISTORICAL EVIDENCE. You don’t recognize evidence that goes against your inane “truth”.

  164. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Rowan vet-tech
    Or the libertarians want to live in an anarchy. Or individual libertarians are too ignorant and confused to realize that their effective choices are 1- to be leeches on society or 2- to live in anarchy. I completely agree that this reasoning constitutes great justification to collect taxes without the consent of everyone to be taxed.

    @Giliell

    I have answered your question. I have answered your question by demonstrating that your premise, i.e. the equation of the two actions regardless of context is bullshit. You simply ignore the relevant difference and claim that they do not exist.

    You have not answered my question. Your standards are still as mysterious. I do not understand by what process, method, or standard you arrive at the conclusion that a police officer lawfully imprisoning someone counts as violence, but a kidnapper illegally kidnapping someone does not count as violence. I don’t even know if that’s your actual position – there’s an implication that it is, but you left yourself enough weasel room that you can deny holding that position later if it’s convenient for you. I do not know if you are adopting a consequentialist utilitarian approach, some sort of Kantian rule-based approach, or what.

  165. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    standard you arrive at the conclusion that a police officer lawfully imprisoning someone counts as violence, but a kidnapper illegally kidnapping someone does not count as violence.

    Err, lol. I got that backwards.

    @Crip Dyke
    Oh, ok. Let me know when you want to honestly engage.

  166. anteprepro says

    So it appears that the social contract is violence.

    One might dare to say that not all “violence” is created equal.

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, ok. Let me know when you want to honestly engage.

    Let us know when you honestly engage, with the concept that you might be or are wrong. Until then, just another liberturd preacher, arrogant, ignorant, and repeat both ten times.

  168. rq says

    Enlightenment Liberal

    When the police arrest tax protestors and put them in prison,

    Uh, by ‘tax protestors’ do you mean ‘people not paying taxes due to personal convictions’, or ‘people protesting the application of taxes while still being tax-payers’? It’s rather relevant, here.

    The key point of contention is the next step, consent, which many criminals do not give.

    Consent for which part – the ‘living in society’ part (the one where we don’t necessarily have much choice, though alternatives do exist)? Or the ‘incarceration’ part (which arises from the criminal breaking a law and being found guilty of breaking said law, of which consequence they had knowledge when breaking said law)?

  169. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay. This is an argument over definition. Words do not have inherent meaning. Words have meaning according to consensus. If the consensus is that lawful violence is an oxymoron, so be it. If the consensus is that justified violence is an oxymoron, so be it. Etc. It seems that there is no consensus in this thread, and usage is all over the map.

    ZOMG, I skipped this the first time b/c it wasn’t prefaced with my nym, but I went back and read EL’s full comment and I am Groot! this was so funny.

    Seriously, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle,

    Hey, you fucking pot

    I don’t know what is.

  170. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Regarding Nerd in 186
    This is the second time in a month or two where Nerd has somehow understood my position to be the exact polar opposite of what I’ve been arguing. I’ve noticed that this is a fairly regular occurrence. Remind me – why does anyone take Nerd seriously? I may have to just adopt a policy of ignoring Nerd in all future exchanges because of their seeming inability to comprehend basic English.

  171. anteprepro says

    (Wouldn’t the economy also be violence? Because you can’t just take the goods you want, but must do so only be exchanging other goods, and if you take it anyway, you are subjected to violence? Ergo, you only opt to exchange goods for goods, instead of stealing, under threat of violence?)

  172. rq says

    I do not understand by what process, method, or standard you arrive at the conclusion that a police officer lawfully imprisoning someone counts as violence, but a kidnapper illegally kidnapping someone does not count as violence.

    Please restate this appropriately, as I cannot for the life of me see where you got what backwards, much less how you even got that from what Giliell said. Consider me wide-eyed and wondrous right now.

  173. Saad says

    EnlightenmentLiberal, #184

    Please see my earlier responses to this, here, and here.

    Thanks for those. That clears up a lot. So we are in agreement that it’s right that people can be made to pay tax by force.

    I don’t know why you want to call taxes themselves violence though. What is that about? Taxes can be enforced via violence/force/violent force. But taxes themselves aren’t violence.

    One – because it’s the truth.

    Well, I’m not going to call taxes violence, because I like to reserve that word for street fights, domestic abuse, Ferguson, beheadings and bombings. Having a portion of your paycheck deducted every two weeks is too much of an odd one out in that list.

    And my “Go on” was meant for you to go ahead and make the argument that the majority of people do not consent to being taxed. You never actually made the argument.

  174. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To everyone. I’m going to regularly include this disclaimer because some people are joining the conversation early and missing context.

    I’m a radical socialist in analysis. I agree with the standard libertarian analysis that taxes violate the non-aggression principle. I also happen to think that the non-aggression principle is bullshit. I think that this use of force is good, justified, and required to have a functioning society.

    For practical economic policies I want implemented now, I want very heavy progressive death taxes, progressive income taxes, for the expressed purpose of wealth redistribution. I want more government funding for the common good, including infrastructure, education, welfare, perhaps some form of guaranteed minimum income.

    @rq

    EL: When the police arrest tax protestors and put them in prison,

    rq: Uh, by ‘tax protestors’ do you mean ‘people not paying taxes due to personal convictions’, or ‘people protesting the application of taxes while still being tax-payers’? It’s rather relevant, here.

    Uhh, I meant people refusing to pay taxes. This includes people who willfully refuse to file income tax reports. This includes people like Dr Dino Kent Hovind. (Although I wouldn’t call Kent Hovind a prime example of “informed consent”.) Last I checked, the police don’t arrest you for merely using your first amendment rights to protest taxes if you also pay your taxes.

    Consent for which part – the ‘living in society’ part (the one where we don’t necessarily have much choice, though alternatives do exist)? Or the ‘incarceration’ part (which arises from the criminal breaking a law and being found guilty of breaking said law, of which consequence they had knowledge when breaking said law)?

    Both(?). For example, Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be bound by the laws of the United States federal government, and Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be imprisoned for tax fraud.

  175. rq says

    me @195
    I think I figured it out, where the opposites thing is supposed to happen. Forgive me if I’ve been dwelling on police making unlawful arrests for too long, that’s where I assumed the opposite to be at first.

  176. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Taking a brief moment away from mocking because EL had a brief moment of rational engagement.

    @Crip Dyke
    Oh, ok. Let me know when you want to honestly engage.

    I was quite clear that I was ceasing to engage with you and under what conditions I would be willing to reengage. Had you been reading what I’ve actually been writing, you’d’ve known that by now.

    From my #86:

    Start over. Make an argument.

    Provide a definition of violence – WHICH YOU HAVE NOT DONE THIS ENTIRE THREAD.

    The original problem which got us here was that I said your definition of violence is bizarre.

    The least you could do, if you want to argue your definition of violence is NOT bizarre, is to provide a fucking definition of violence.

    Unless and until you do that, you can’t get anything more out of me.

    Apparently these are more English-language words that didn’t mean anything to you, but if you do, at some point, want and need honest clarification of them, you’re free to ask.

    I might even take a moment out of my mocking to comply, despite your refusal to honestly engage with the actual subject under discussion: What is your definition of violence such that you could make – with a straight fucking face – the claim:

    government almost by definition is violence

    on this thread,

    not

    Government has always been a user of violence, but hypothetically there might be a government in the future that does not employ violence. I just think it’s ridiculous to spend our energy discussing such a remote eventuality.

    but

    government almost by definition is violence

    and then be outraged that someone would call the quote “bizarre”?

    Since then the question has come up of the definition you use to reasonably claim,

    all parenting is violence

    Or

    parents almost by definition are violence

    or whatever happens to be your preferred formulation.

    in any case, I wasn’t playing dishonest word games, I was being entirely accurate and honest (nor foreseeing your failure to actually read what I wrote and thus be mystified that I was not engaging with you) when I said:

    Start over. Make an argument.

    Provide a definition of violence – WHICH YOU HAVE NOT DONE THIS ENTIRE THREAD.

    The original problem which got us here was that I said your definition of violence is bizarre.

    The least you could do, if you want to argue your definition of violence is NOT bizarre, is to provide a fucking definition of violence.

    Unless and until you do that, you can’t get anything more out of me.

    The word

    DONE

    might also have been a clue for you that I was done engaging with you. Do you need a definition of “done”. I could google it for you.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    EL, I don’t believe a word you say. You have said and defended too much bullshit. Get your act together, and stop playing troll/inane questions/factious educator. Argue from evidence, or don’t argue at all. Don’t play games or devil’s advocate. You smell bad when you do, with aroma of troll.

  178. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @anteprepro

    (Wouldn’t the economy also be violence? Because you can’t just take the goods you want, but must do so only be exchanging other goods, and if you take it anyway, you are subjected to violence? Ergo, you only opt to exchange goods for goods, instead of stealing, under threat of violence?)

    That appears to be a simple consequence of the position that all private property is violence – and for the pedantic asshats out there (Crip Dyke), what I actually mean by that colloquialism is the following: For private property to exist as a meaningful description and concept, it mustb e enforced, and all instances of enforcement of private property rights is violence.

  179. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, okay, that comment #199 does include some mocking. In all fairness, I did say my moment away from mocking would be brief.

  180. anteprepro says

    I love how taxation apparently only income taxes. Excise tax, real estate tax, corporate tax, sales tax….Nope. Only income tax. At least when it is convenient to ignore the fact that taxes are themselves included as part of other consensual transactions. Apparently it is violence to pay 2.10 on a two liter of Coke instead of just the 1.99 that goes directly to the business. By the same logic, you could argue that retail prices are violence too.

  181. rq says

    Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be bound by the laws of the United States federal government

    In which case he can not live in the territory governed by the laws of the United States federal government. No one’s keeping him there by force. Or violence.

    Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be imprisoned for tax fraud

    Then perhaps he shouldn’t seek employment or conduct business in a location that is governed by the tax laws of the United States federal government. Lots of options out there. But if he so chooses to seek employment or conduct business within such a territory, then he does so fully cognizant of the rules binding him to economic interactions within this territory, and by breaking these rules (an unwritten contract, if you will), he consents to the punishment arising from engaging in tax fraud. If he does not wish to be incarcerated for tax fraud under the law of the United States federal government, then he may (a) not conduct any business or seek employment within the territory under the law of the United States federal government or (b) not break the laws governing the territories of the United States federal government.
    And no, his incarceration isn’t by definition violent. Perhaps forceful, yes – though some criminals do give themselves up – but not necessarily or by definition violent.

  182. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For private property to exist as a meaningful description and concept, it mustb e enforced, and all instances of enforcement of private property rights is violence.

    Whose violence? Who gives a shit what you think? Not I, since you do have problems thinking. Show us the EVIDENCE. You know, third party stuff.

  183. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nerd
    You’re the one who asked for a peer reviewed citation for like a dozen posts which defended my assertion regarding methodological naturalism, even though I provided that citation in the very first post, and you continued to ask for it after like a dozen posts of mine where I pointed out that I had provided that citation in the first post.

    You’ve now done the same thing in this thread in 186. You accused me supporting libertarianism, despite literally dozens of posts from me here clearly explaining the exact opposite.

    You are hopelessly obtuse, completely incompetent, or a dishonest troll. Which? Doesn’t matter to me. I don’t even know why I am writing this post.

  184. anteprepro says

    EL: And, of course, threats of violence are also violence. No matter how indirect, no matter how unlikely violence is to occur, no matter whether the threat is buried six levels deep. Any responsibility must be violence, I imagine. Unless we are imagining that being imprisoned is a threat of violence and therefore violence, but the threat of, say, being disowned from your family and left to suffer in the streets, or being left without income and starving, are not “violent”.

  185. rq says

    EL

    For private property to exist as a meaningful description and concept, it mustb e enforced, and all instances of enforcement of private property rights is violence.

    Nothing needs to be enforced if everyone around you agrees to the rules, and then plays by them. Enforcement is a side-effect of not everyone wanting to play by the same rules. It’s not absolutely necessary, by definition, though. If I say ‘this is my private property’ and everyone else says ‘okay’ and then everyone else also defines their own private property, then no enforcement is needed. Unless you count this agreement as an enforcement, which then (by your logic) becomes violence? So now a group of people agreeing is violence? Eh?
    Where enforcement is needed is in cases of conflict or disagreement over which private property is whose. Which usually arises when some people refuse to play by the rules, or when the rules are unfair (see below for my cop-out of this situation).

    * I know, I have not defined ‘the rules’, but I’m assuming the rules of a just, equal, inclusive society here, probably the realm of imagination and fantasy.

  186. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @rq

    Lots of options out there.

    Please see:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/02/05/thunderdome-58/comment-page-2/#comment-919072
    Specifically the bits where I attack Locke’s labor theory of property. In short, no. Consent is not worth a damn when made under duress. Consent is not worth a damn when you have no alternative choice. Further, consent is not worth a damn when the cost of the alternative choice is prohibitively expensive, such as it is for many poor people of all countries to make the “choice” to move to another country. Plus many other reasons I mentioned in the above-linked post.

    People actually don’t have free choices of which government to live under, and whether to pay taxes. All of the available (plausible) choices involve paying taxes to some government, including even Somalia. For the purposes of this conversation, I’ll characterize the several gangs of Somalia as government because they collect taxes, provide some degree of protection for the people like our police, some degree of conflict resolution like our courts, some degree of military power against foreign powers, etc. As I said up-thread, if you don’t form a government for yourself, other people will be more than happy to make one for you.

  187. Saad says

    Crip Dyke, 176

    @Saad, #174:

    Oh, Saad. You kill me.

    Hah, I just saw this. I hope in a good way. I know I entered the conversation really late, and I feel sick with confusion about what EL’s stance actually is.

    You’ve said you think the NAP is shitty, but you want to argue as if it isn’t:

    I agree with the standard libertarian analysis that taxes violate the non-aggression principle. I also happen to think that the non-aggression principle is bullshit. – EnlightenmentLiberal #197

    I don’t know what to make of the above. WTF? Why do you want to convince people taxes are violence if you think the whole driving force behind that idea is bullshit?

  188. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @rq

    If I say ‘this is my private property’ and everyone else says ‘okay’ and then everyone else also defines their own private property, then no enforcement is needed. Unless you count this agreement as an enforcement, which then (by your logic) becomes violence? So now a group of people agreeing is violence? Eh?

    It was in the context of humans, not angels. You know the quote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary” – quoting many people, including The Federalist #51.

    Between individuals or small groups of people, voluntary agreements are possible without violence. As the number of people rise, so does the number of dissenters and free-riders, and the need for enforcement rises in parallel with the size of the group.

  189. anteprepro says

    Saad:

    I feel sick with confusion about what EL’s stance actually is.

    I would imagine this is a very common response. Don’t let it make you sick, but EL really does love to get themselves into big clusterfuck arguments that are borderline incoherent and based almost entirely off of pedantic hairsplitting and/or idiosyncratic word use.

    Why do you want to convince people taxes are violence if you think the whole driving force behind that idea is bullshit?

    Because then there would be no game to play.

  190. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Saad

    I don’t know what to make of the above. WTF? Why do you want to convince people taxes are violence if you think the whole driving force behind that idea is bullshit?

    Because I want to argue for what I believe to be true, and I believe to be true that government requires taxes requires violence. I also believe it to be true that an absolute non-aggression principle is bullshit, and I believe that we should have government and taxes which provide for the common good. In other words, I believe that we should use violence in certain circumstances to make the world better for everyone. I’m sorry – I don’t understand the source of your confusion.

  191. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Saad, #211:

    Hah, I just saw this. I hope in a good way.

    Of course! In the best way!

    I can’t find a gif, but I’m imagining that voice Jon Stewart uses when he has just shown a clip of some public figure speaking a short phrase that indicates quite clearly that person is about to hang themselves (almost by definition literally) with their following words…

  192. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke

    might also have been a clue for you that I was done engaging with you. Do you need a definition of “done”. I could google it for you.

    You aren’t done. You never started. You never had the intention of engaging honestly and clearly explaining your positions.

  193. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq:

    It was in the context of humans, not angels. You know the quote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary” – quoting many people, including The Federalist #51.

    Which is exactly why the phrase “by definition” (as opposed to some other loopy, inappropriate phrase like, “in practice”) was so necessary earlier.

  194. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    You made a logical fail there. The takeaway is: government necessarily employs violence, but perhaps government is not necessary.

  195. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Do you need a definition of “done”. I could google it for you.
    You aren’t done. You never started. You never had the intention of engaging honestly and clearly explaining your positions.

    Blast! EL has found me out! Never once having had the intention of engaging honestly or clearly explaining my positions is exactly why I spent so much time in #70 clarifying the problems EL had with phasers set on stun or in #65 delineating a set of rules that exclude my uses of force from the definition of violence in such a way that “taxes are violence” and “government almost by definition is violence” become understandable only as metaphorical or downright bizarre. It was my initial, absolute, and permanent lack of any intention to engage honestly that led me in #86 to establish and elaborate a clear, reproducible methodology for back-checking the various ideas about “violence” being expressed in the thread. Further proof of that horrifyingly unethical lack of intention to engage is writ large across every word I copied and pasted from online dictionaries’ definitions of “violence” to support my argument that EL’s use of the word was “bizarre”. My tragic lack of intention was even plainly evident in my careful citation of the sources used in the course of following the established procedures and in my concessions that a single source outside the scope of the study’s carefully predetermined methodology at least required careful reading of multiple paragraphs to support the proposition that the sentence, “Government almost by definition is violence,” is a bizarre one.

    What a vicious jerk I must be for consistently failing to intend to engage!

    Fortunately, EL is here with a clear intention to engage honestly, demonstrated by a refusal to provide any definition of “violence” and a series of contributions characterized more by poking doubt at definitions and conflating “X uses Y” with “X is Y” than by any elaboration of methodologies or tools for resolving those doubts or clearly identifying violence.

    What would we do without a commenter as honest and as determined to honestly engage as EL?

    ThunderDome would be lost. Lost, my Precious!

    Almost by definition.

  196. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Aw, crap. Misformatted the double-quote in #219.

    In case anyone had difficulty parsing it, the two quotes should read:

    Do you need a definition of “done”? I could google it for you.

    You aren’t done. You never started. You never had the intention of engaging honestly and clearly explaining your positions.

    Since I said I was printing it as it should appear, I also fixed my previous typo that placed a period where a question mark should be.

  197. rq says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @210 re: my 204
    Speaking of honesty, I was referring specifically to your statement that

    Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be bound by the laws of the United States federal government

    in which case yes, he has options where he does not need to be bound by the laws of the United States federal government. Lots of them, not all of which are prohibitively expensive.

    @212

    As the number of people rise, so does the number of dissenters and free-riders, and the need for enforcement rises in parallel with the size of the group.

    Enforcement, yes. Or something like security measures one takes to not have one’s personal property stolen. Not necessarily violence. But still, by definition, private property does not necessarily include enforcement. Which was my point, which may have been cross-wise to your point, which sounds to me something like ‘people in sufficient numbers having private property must necessarily enforce rules in order to maintain said private property’. Again, sure, enforce – but not necessarily violence.
    Also,

    For the purposes of this conversation, I’ll characterize the several gangs of Somalia as government

    FYI, Somalia has a government – the fact that it is currently rather ineffective against Al-Shabaab running rampant in the country is beside the point (Al-Shabaab is not, as far as I know, collecting any taxes, but I could be wrong – they are being generally violent, though). But Al-Shabaab (and other groups) are not the government, they’re actually breaking Somali law – so, one collects taxes, and the other is being violent. Er, sorry, they’re both being violent, so they’re both bad and they’re both the government. Or something. According to ‘all government is almost by definition violence’.
    And of course other people will make a government for me, if I don’t make one myself. As Saad also said upthread, good! I don’t want to run a country! I do want a fair system – one that takes my taxes and gives me nice things in return. Which is the point of government – to take resources and to distribute them. I think you’re too focussed on the ‘taking’ part.
    See, I can’t fund a highway by myself. But I can help fund a highway through a central distribution committee, with the help of everyone else paying into this central distribution committee (because as you say, the mroe people involved, the more tangles are possible, but also the more nice things are possible, so it’s nice to have a central distribution committee to take care of the actual business, as long as it is clear what the result of all these voluntary payments to the central distribution committee must be).

    @214

    Because I want to argue for what I believe to be true, and I believe to be true that government requires taxes requires violence.

    You believing something to be true does not make it so, no matter how long and how strongly you argue for it.

    Crip Dyke
    Eh. I understand you better than I do EL. I must be doing something wrong and not on the side of truth.

  198. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    You have done your damnest to avoid being pinned done to a concrete position. I still don’t know your actual positions regarding many important questions. For example, if this conversation would continue, I would want a direct answer to these questions:

    When the police arrest people who refuse to file income tax reports, and put them in prison, does this count as violence? When a kidnapper for ransom kidnaps someone off the street and puts them in a locked room, without any further harm (physical or otherwise), does that count as violence? What’s the relevant difference(s)? One is justified and the other is not? I’m not see much of a relevant difference beyond that.

    I fully expect that you consider the following quote of you to be an answer:

    In the meantime, it is entirely possible to put a person in a jail cell without intending to “hurt, damage, or kill someone or something”.

    But it’s not a clear answer. I don’t know how to apply that statement to answer my questions above in this post. The quoted statement is consistent with a “both are violence” answer, a “neither are violence” answer, and a “the police example is not violence but the kidnapper is violence” answer.

    As a general problem, you’ve been so evasive and slippery, and downright obscure, that it’s borderline impossible to make out anything you say.

  199. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @anyone looking for amusement:

    Try looking at EnlightenmentLiberal’s #218:

    @Crip Dyke
    You made a logical fail there. The takeaway is: government necessarily employs violence, but perhaps government is not necessary.

    Isn’t that quaint? EnlightenmentLiberal thinks it’s a logical fail to interpret the saying:

    You know the quote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary” – quoting many people, including The Federalist #51.

    as flowery metaphor irrelevant to whether or not we’re talking “by definition” or “in practice”, given EnlightenmentLiberal’s immediately prior concession:

    It was in the context of humans, not angels.

    Somehow saying we’re talking about “down to earth matters” or about “humans, not angels” is **just like saying** “by definition” rather than something like, “realistically” or “in practice” or even “cynically”.

    In fact, saying we’re discussing something “in the context of humans, not angels” is so much like saying “by definition” that it’s a logical fallacy to indicate any disagreement with that position.

    I don’t normally thank any god for anything, but in this case, I think we can reasonably attribute EL’s provocative insights to the big G-d.

  200. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To everyone. I’m going to regularly include this disclaimer because some people are joining the conversation early and missing context.

    I’m a radical socialist in analysis. I agree with the standard libertarian analysis that taxes violate the non-aggression principle. I also happen to think that the non-aggression principle is bullshit. I think that this use of force is good, justified, and required to have a functioning society.

    For practical economic policies I want implemented now, I want very heavy progressive death taxes, progressive income taxes, for the expressed purpose of wealth redistribution. I want more government funding for the common good, including infrastructure, education, welfare, perhaps some form of guaranteed minimum income.

    @rq

    But Al-Shabaab (and other groups) are not the government, they’re actually breaking Somali law – so, one collects taxes, and the other is being violent.

    How did you come to the conclusion that the “official Somali goverment” is the law which is broken, and not the laws of Al-Shabaab? Why do you not consider the laws of the government of Al-Shabaab to be laws? These are rhetorical questions meant to illustrate the following point. There’s no black and white difference between the “official Somali goverment”, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, or Hezbollah and Hamas vs the Palestinian authority in Palestine (or Isreal too), or even the Islamic state vs the US installed government of Iraq. None of the groups are absolutely unjust and illegitimate, and none of the groups are absolutely just and legitimate. Government legitimacy is a matter of degrees.

    With this reasoning, it makes absolutely no sense to say that the official Somali government’s collection of taxes is not violence, but the Al-Shabaab collection of taxes is violence.

    Eh. I understand you better than I do EL. I must be doing something wrong and not on the side of truth.

    Could you help me puzzle together what you expect Crip Dyke’s answers to be for the questions in post 222? Do you think that it’s obvious how Crip Dyke would answer these questions?

  201. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    The point of the angels and men quote is this:

    The word “government” is often literally defined as the monopoly of violence.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_on_violence

    The monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force, also known as the monopoly on violence (German: Gewaltmonopol des Staates), is the defining conception of the state as first expounded by sociologist Max Weber in his essay Politics as a Vocation (1919).”

    The point of the angels and men proverb is that if humans didn’t have certain negative personality traits, like greed, selfishness, short-sighted-ness, laziness, etc., then government would not need to exist. This proverb has nothing to do with whether government is in practice violence or in principle violence. Government is in principle violence. This proverb has everything to do with whether government itself is required in practice or required in principle.

  202. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The word “government” is often literally defined as the monopoly of violence.

    Correction: The word “government” is often literally defined as the organization of people in a particular area so that the organization has a monopoly on the use of violence.

    Equivalently: Government is often literally defined as any organization which has a monopoly on the use of violence in a particular geographic area.

  203. Grewgills says

    Taxation is only enforced by incarceration (and the possible attendant violence) if at least two of the following conditions are met:
    1) the party to be taxed is self employed (so there is no employer to act as a garnisher of wages)
    2) the party makes enough money to attract the attention of the IRS (less than somewhere between 50-100K and it isn’t worth their time)
    3) the party is loud and dickish about it (like the sovereign citizen crowd
    If you have an employer, the IRS will simply garnish your wages. There is absolutely no need for them to incarcerate you and spend more resources. Taxes, in the US at least, are only collected on threat of incarceration from a rather small minority of citizens. I suppose a small business owner could say that there was threat of violence if they didn’t pay taxes, but that incarceration will only come if one of the two other criteria are met and the IRS does go to quite some lengths to avoid incarceration and uses that threat as a last resort. All of that makes the whole taxation is violence premise of very limited utility.

    All of that said, the contention that EL, Daz, etc are libertarian is directly contradicted by the bulk of what they have written and is beyond stupid.

  204. Tony! The Queer Shoop says

    EL:
    What.
    Is.
    The.
    Definition.
    Of.
    The.
    Word.
    Violence.
    That.
    You.
    Are.
    Using?

  205. rq says

    EnlightenmentLiberal
    You might want to take the quotes off “official Somali government”. There is one. Is it a good one? Probably not. But there is one. The one internationally recognized (also internationally recognized as needing improvement). Which condition doesn’t apply to your other examples, except maybe the US-in-Iraq one.
    Also, Al-Shabaab is not collecting taxes. It is being violent. There’s a difference.

    Government is often literally defined as any organization which has a monopoly on the use of violence in a particular geographic area.

    However, ‘use of violence’ is not the government’s sole defining characteristic. You could say that the Mafia has (or had) a monopoly on the use of violence in a particular geographic area. It also offered protection, at a price. Does that make it government?

  206. anteprepro says

    Interesting, the full angels quote:

    But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

    It’s largely about the necessity of checks and balances. The government is even violent against itself! Good word, my heavens, oh dear, oh my.

    Re: monopoly on violence

    According to Weber, the state is the source of legitimate physical force.

    One might think that “source” and “legitimate” are words that might be worth exploring. Or not. Violence is the only word that matters. Violence, government is violence, violence is government. Source is not a word. Legitimacy is not a concern. Violence, violence, violence.

  207. rq says

    anteprepro
    Also worth exploring: the fact that the definition says ‘force’ and not ‘violence’.

  208. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @rq

    You might want to take the quotes off “official Somali government”. There is one. Is it a good one? Probably not. But there is one. The one internationally recognized (also internationally recognized as needing improvement).

    It’s internationally recognized, and thus it’s the government, and Al-Shabaab is not a government.

    Just like the People’s Republic of China is the government of Taiwan! Oh wait…

    Also, Al-Shabaab is not collecting taxes. It is being violent. There’s a difference.

    A brief googling confirms my assumptions – Al-Shabaab does collect import and export taxes.

    However, ‘use of violence’ is not the government’s sole defining characteristic. You could say that the Mafia has (or had) a monopoly on the use of violence in a particular geographic area. It also offered protection, at a price. Does that make it government?

    Yes.

    Do you actually believe the nonsense that any modern government is actually legitimate by the standard that it works for the betterment of the people, and not the betterment of a small elite ruling class? Please.

    Where do you think government came from? What do you think government currently is?

    > Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development
    > Author(s): Mancur Olson
    > Source:
    > The American Political Science Review,
    > Vol. 87, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 567-576
    > Published by: American Political Science Association
    http://www.svt.ntnu.no/iss/Indra.de.Soysa/POL3503H05/olson.pdf

    Government is, and has always been, the coordinated exploitation of the working classes by the ruling elite.

    In the future, perhaps we can reform government to actually be for the people. However I think the absolute goal is impossible. I think that because of human nature, invariably society will always have government which to some degree exploits the working class. At least as long as society requires a working class. Still, I’m not a defeatist on this topic, and I think there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

  209. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Tony
    Most of the definitions of “violence” posted by Crip Dyke sound good to me. I’m currently working on the assumption that “imprisonment of an informed adult without the adult’s consent by force” is violence. (I’m sure there’s some esoteric conditions where that situation is not violent, but IMHO that’s just like pointing out that there are contrived hypothetical circumstances where rape is good. In other words, IMHO it’s generally silly to argue either point.)

  210. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    It’s internationally recognized, and thus it’s the government, and Al-Shabaab is not a government.

    EL really can’t tell the difference between

    “It’s a government because it meets the definition of government. It’s internationally recognized, thus it’s official,” and

    “It’s internationally recognized, thus it’s a government.”

    Poor EL. Should anyone have an intention to engage (fuck I sure don’t, EL told me so), perhaps that person could point out to the poor soul that “international waters” and “territorial waters” is a distinction that is internationally recognized…

    …and yet the distinction is not, in fact, a government!

    Holy shit! Mind blown! This reading for comprehension thing is so god damn difficult!

  211. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Crip Dyke
    No, I just object object to this assertion:

    It’s internationally recognized, thus it’s official

    It’s bullshit in the case of the “official” Somali government, just like it’s bullshit in the case of the “official” government of Taiwan. International recognition is an indicator of legitimacy of government and what should be called the “official” government, but IMHO it’s very very low in importance and priority. What matters far more is who has the monopoly of force on the ground.

  212. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Did EnlightenmentLiberal really just pull a Palin?

    @Tony
    Most of the definitions of “violence” posted by Crip Dyke sound good to me.

    Hmmmm….

    COURIC: But like which ones specifically? I’m curious that you—

    PALIN: Um, all of ’em, any of ’em that, um, have, have been in front of me over all these years.

    Yep.

    EL always appears twice in a thread. The first time as farce, all the remaining times as farce.

  213. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    International recognition is an indicator of legitimacy of government and what should be called the “official” government, but IMHO it’s very very low in importance and priority. What matters far more is who has the monopoly of force on the ground.

    Because EL isn’t talking about the practicalities of who really functions as government. EL is talking about **OFFICIALNESS**.

    Yeah. That’s the ticket.

    This is just too easy (and too fucking amusing).

  214. Saad says

    EnlightenmentLiberal, #214

    Because I want to argue for what I believe to be true, and I believe to be true that government requires taxes requires violence. I also believe it to be true that an absolute non-aggression principle is bullshit, and I believe that we should have government and taxes which provide for the common good. In other words, I believe that we should use violence in certain circumstances to make the world better for everyone.

    Okay, I’m with you now! I more or less agree now that you’re saying “taxes require violence” instead of “taxes are violence”. More or less, because it’s still a weird use of the word violence to me. But whatever, this turned out to be ot much worth arguing over now that I see you’re just using a word strangely but are saying something true, albeit banal.

    Taxation could require violent force is a better (and more accurate) way of putting it. But it’s also a pointless thing to say.

    Crip Dyke, #215

    I can’t find a gif, but I’m imagining that voice Jon Stewart uses when he has just shown a clip of some public figure speaking a short phrase that indicates quite clearly that person is about to hang themselves (almost by definition literally) with their following words…

    Haha! I didn’t mean it like that but Stewart’s version played in my head as soon as I read that.

  215. anteprepro says

    rq:

    Also worth exploring: the fact that the definition says ‘force’ and not ‘violence’.

    My rationale was that the term in question was interchangably known as “monopoly on violence” and “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force”, as shown in the quote that EL gave initially. So I figured not to worry about the semantics of that one.

    Also: everyone has already been trying to nail the “violence” jello to the wall, anyway.

  216. consciousness razor says

    Correction: The word “government” is often literally defined as the organization of people in a particular area so that the organization has a monopoly on the use of violence.

    Equivalently: Government is often literally defined as any organization which has a monopoly on the use of violence in a particular geographic area.

    So, the complaint is not that there is violence, but that they are not allowed to join in on the “fun.” Or maybe it’s that they wish there were a marketplace with a selection of violence-outlets to choose from, instead of only the boring old violence that governments are responsible for. (And supposedly there aren’t other sources for it, because of course governments have a monopoly.) Therefore….. ??

    Since that’s obviously false and not even a coherent description of anything, I’m not sure what we should do with this. Laugh at it?

  217. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Pffffffffftt!

    I might have just ruined another laptop.

    The word “government” is often literally defined as the monopoly of violence.

    Wait, wha????

    No it isn’t. It is **metaphorically** defined as the monopoly of violence. Literally no one (see what I did there) believes that only the government uses violence. What is being monopolized is the ability to declare one’s own actions legitimate and/or legal. Violence entrepreneurs in the private sector have to go to the government to find out if their product is going to be considered legitimate and/or legal. The government doesn’t have to go to anyone. It self-declares.

    Correction:

    Oh, phew! EL realizes what a bizarre (oops! there I go again) statement that is. Let’s check out EL’s newly corrected position, shall we, everyone?

    The word “government” is often literally defined as the organization of people in a particular area so that the organization has a monopoly on the use of violence.

    Pffft! Strike two. There has never been, in the history of the universe, a government such that no person in an area under that government’s laws used violence except on behalf of the government.

    This “literally” concept is metaphorically killing EL.

    Oh, wait! There’s yet another clarification:

    Equivalently: Government is often literally defined as any organization which has a monopoly on the use of violence in a particular geographic area.

    Strike three. It would seem that EL literally doesn’t know the definition of literally.

    See, let’s check out the Google again, shall we?

    from dictionary.reference.com:

    1.
    in the literal or strict sense:
    What does the word mean literally?
    2.
    in a literal manner; word for word:
    to translate literally.
    3.
    actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy:
    The city was literally destroyed.

    See? See! That EL’s got something to answer for alright! Clearl….

    Oh, wait:

    4.
    in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually:
    I literally died when she walked out on stage in that costume.

    Usage note
    Since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise. The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs. The same might often be said of the use of literally in its earlier sense “actually”: The garrison was literally wiped out: no one survived.

    Damn you, dictionary.reference.com! [shakes fist at sky in literally quivering rage]

    You would make literally its own antonym just so EL can be right ***one fucking time***, wouldn’t you?!?

  218. chigau (違う) says

    Caine
    Many Happy Returns to you and Mister.
    .
    Since the SO and I are not Officially Married, I don’t know the date of our “anniversary”.
    But we’ve been ‘together’ for over 30 years.
    ye gods…

  219. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @consciousness razor, #240:

    Since that’s obviously false and not even a coherent description of anything, I’m not sure what we should do with this. Laugh at it?

    That’s my solution. At least until I go make cookies.

  220. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @anteprepro:

    Also: everyone has already been trying to nail the “violence” jello to the wall, anyway.

    I’ve been succeeding at nailing jello to the wall, thank you very much.

    I had to visit McMurdo Station in June to do it, but damn it I done it.

  221. anteprepro says

    chigau:

    Since the SO and I are not Officially Married, I don’t know the date of our “anniversary”.
    But we’ve been ‘together’ for over 30 years.
    ye gods…

    So THAT’s why marriage is a thing. It’s a handy date stamp.

  222. anteprepro says

    Crip Dyke:

    I’ve been succeeding at nailing jello to the wall, thank you very much.

    But you didn’t do it with the intention of doing so honestly. Therefore, literally by definition, it wasn’t nailing. It was merely violence.

  223. chigau (違う) says

    literal intention of violent honesty
    ayup
    I go now to turn off autosuggest.

  224. says

    EL

    Err, lol. I got that backwards.

    Yes, like about everything.
    Hmm, why is the police officer making an arrest* different from a kidnapper? Because of the fucking rules. Because under the rule of law police officers do not approach randomn strangers and abduct them with the subject of this being in the unclear about what danger they are in, what will happen, etc.
    That’s not to say that police officers can never be violent and that their violence is always justified. It means that it is not necessarily violent, just like many people have testified that they voluntarily pay taxes and stick to the speed limits. People turn themselves in because they understand that their actions were wrong.

    *and I’m talking about a situation where there is actually a half-way working justice system. Not about Ferguson.

    For example, Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be bound by the laws of the United States federal government, and Kent Hovind doesn’t consent to be imprisoned for tax fraud.

    In which case Kent Hovind should be willing to be abducted by randomn strangers, run over by drunk drivers or simply shot by people who think he’s a waste of space. It’s very clear that Kent Hovind thinks the laws apply very selectively to him, i.e. those that codify his rights and benefits are in place while those that state his obligations are nil.

    For private property to exist as a meaningful description and concept, it mustb e enforced, and all instances of enforcement of private property rights is violence.

    Which gets us back to the question of how you’re trying to abandon this completely without solving the “I want the shirt you’re wearing right now” problem. Oh, right, you probably can’t. You have also clearly stated that you’re not opposed to violence. You just desperately try to redefine violence as something good. You really should ask yourself why you’re so invested in completely erasing the line between what people commonly understand as violence and what people understand as the rules we need to function as individuals and a society, calling both violence and stating that violence isn’t actually bad.

    Consent is not worth a damn when made under duress.

    That’s another word you’re defining into absurdity. Or two words. Every choice has consequences.

    Consent is not worth a damn when you have no alternative choice.

    That’s true.

    Further, consent is not worth a damn when the cost of the alternative choice is prohibitively expensive

    That is true, too, only that you’re defining “prohibitive cost” as “having any consequences”.

    , such as it is for many poor people of all countries to make the “choice” to move to another country.

    And this is why people think you’re actually an asshole. You constantly equate real oppression, violence and misery with things that are pretty benign and where the cost is actually very acceptable. People starving in underdeveloped countries with no chance to get anywhere is not the same as Bill Gates paying income tax. Parents hitting their children is not the same as parents telling their children to brush their teeth or they won’t get a bedtime story.** You are constantly minimizing and erasing people’s real experiences of violence by saying that some six times removed threat of violence (if you don’t pay taxes you’ll get a nasty letter. If you ignore the letter you’ll get a visit from the bailiff. If you don’t let the bailiff proceed you get a visit from the police. If you resist arrest police officers they will use force and probably even violence) where at each stage you have a choice to change things AND have rights and securities. Vicitims of violence don’t get that fucking choice.

    **Babies. Extremely violent. They will scream for hours if you don’t feed them. Sometimes they even scream for hours if you feed them.

    For the purposes of this conversation, I’ll characterize the several gangs of Somalia as government because they collect taxes

    For the purpose of this conversation you keep using words to suit whatever meaning you’re brewing up in your mind. In that case the Mafia is a government as well.
    rq

    No one’s keeping him there by force. Or violence.

    Well, actually, at the moment they do. But you’Re right, he could have chosen to either leave or obey the law. It’s not like it’s one of those laws that violate your human rights where breaking them is justified.

  225. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Giliell
    Ok, so you say when a criminal does it then it’s violence, but when the police do the same same physical actions, then it’s not violence because it’s done according to the rules – rules which the victim of the violence never consented to. I doubt we’ll get much further on this topic, and so I don’t have much more to say. Thanks at least for answering the question and allowing me to understand your position.

    @Crip Dyke
    Crip Dyke continues to score more cheap points while refusing to engage with the substance of the arguments. I admit that my use of language was technically incorrect. I have to at least give props to Giliell for being willing to simply state their position. I wish Cryp Dyke could do the same.

    @consciousness razor in 240
    No idea what point you’re trying to make. I’m lost.

  226. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    On second thought, I take back my admission that my use of language was “technically incorrect”. Crip Dyke is just being a dishonest asshat. We don’t speak in lojban. Colloquialisms and metaphors are common in parlance. This exactly degree of specific technical accuracy is ridiculous and unwarranted. In almost every post of Crip Dyke here, they have latched on to these irrelevancies, pretended to make a substantive point, and refused to engage with the substance. This entire conversation has been a charade.

  227. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Giliell
    Actually, I can describe better where I’m coming from.

    The example I love to use is Hitler. If there was an afterlife, and if it was in my power to do so, I would give Adolf Hitler the best afterlife he could want, subject to the following restrictions: I could guarantee that he could hurt no one, it was free or cheap for me to do, and this would not cause a loss of deterrence (which would be true if no one knew about the afterlife before getting there). (Also, I suppose I might have a different plan if I thought there was a chance at rehabilitation, but that’s a longer digression.)

    We haven’t been discussing it here, but I use this point to emphasize that the retributive theory of justice is no theory of justice at all. It is sadistic and barbaric. Any urge we feel to punish Hitler just because he did bad is not a reliable moral indicator.

    I bring this example up to point out that there conceivable alternative ways that we could handle criminals rather than locking them in small boxes. We could give them an entire world as their playground. Again, monitoring and secured against escape, of course. In one sense, it’s just trading a small gray box for a very large gilded box, but it is a very important upgrade. Any decent human being should feel compelled to do this.

    Again, I bring this up as a contrast, to point out how locking up people in small boxes is horrible and atrocious. As a general point, I feel that speaking the truth instead of speaking doublespeak is the best way to make the world a better place. As a particular point, I feel that it is important to recognize the evilness inherent in incarceration, so that we can have an adult discussion about what we can do to minimize the need for incarceration. The only way that this conversation makes sense is if we treat incarceration as a great moral evil. It is violence. To be exceedingly clear, of course I agree that sometimes the best course of action is incarceration, but I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to sugarcoat it and pretend it’s not what it is – atrocious, abominable violence.

    Giliell, in effect, the majority of your post 249 is the argument that because I recognize X is bad, I’m a horrible person because there is Y which is much much worse than X. It’s a Dear Muslima.

  228. says

    EL

    Giliell, in effect, the majority of your post 249 is the argument that because I recognize X is bad, I’m a horrible person because there is Y which is much much worse than X. It’s a Dear Muslima.

    No, it’s fucking NOT.
    You’re constantly equating things that are not actually the same. And no, the “physical action” does not mean it’s the same thing.
    “Locking people in the basement” was a thing in my family. Only, as horrible as they are, it never happened intentionally. The basement’s as big as the house and often family members would lock the door on top of the steps if they thought there was nobody down there. In your book, this is the same as intentionally locking somebody up as a punishment.
    Just for the record. I’m against retributive criminal systems. I’m very much against locking people up for most things. I’m horrified by the frequency of incarceration in the USA and the conditions under which people have to live. That still does not equate taxes to violence, parenting to violence, speed limits to violence.
    The number that says “VAT” on my shopping receipt is in no way or shape similar to somebody hitting me. Carrying a toddler home from the playground although they are kicking and screaming because it’s late and cold and you are their caregiver is not the same as carrying a strange toddler home because you always wanted to have a blue eyed child. You are constantly equating horrible crimes with benign actions while at the same time giving victim status to people who commit crimes because they never consented to those laws. Really, those horrible prohibitions against luring strange toddler to your flat with candy.

    rules which the victim of the violence never consented to.

    This is again you acting as if people had no fucking choice, as if the costs were so prohibitive. If they choose not to pay taxes they obviously think that the price is worth paying.

  229. says

    Also, for Hitler* the only bearable afterlife is one where he can torture and kill Jews. How are you preventing him from doing so? What about poor Hitler’s right to torture and kill Jews? Why are you forcing him to have an afterlife where he can’t harm people?

    *Goodness what nonsense. If you need to make up a hypothetical with Hitler in the afterlife you have already lost.

  230. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Giliell

    You’re constantly equating things that are not actually the same.

    One can recognize X and Y as both violence, but one as a more severe form of violence. Recognizing X and Y both as violence is not asserting that they are both equally bad. I have done no such equivocation. It is all in your head.

    I welcome you to point out specific instances where I did do such equivocation. If you are right, I’ll happily retract my statements and apologize. I doubt you’ll find any, and/or they will be rare.

    The number that says “VAT” on my shopping receipt is in no way or shape similar to somebody hitting me.

    Yes it is. It is a promise that if the shopowner tries to subvert the rules, then the government will respond with escalating force / violence, up to and including incarceration.

    rules which the victim of the violence never consented to.

    This is again you acting as if people had no fucking choice, as if the costs were so prohibitive. If they choose not to pay taxes they obviously think that the price is worth paying.

    You have a very curious understanding of consent. I know you’re going to accuse me of dishonesty, but the simple straightforward reading of what you just wrote means that I am consenting to transferring money when someone pulls a knife on me on the street and demands my wallet. Whereas, in the real world, a choice made under duress is not a “free choice” in the meaning relevant to informed consent. A choice to pay taxes is made under duress, in almost exactly the same way that the choice to hand over my wallet to a thief is made under duress.

  231. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Giliell

    Also, for Hitler* the only bearable afterlife is one where he can torture and kill Jews. How are you preventing him from doing so? What about poor Hitler’s right to torture and kill Jews? Why are you forcing him to have an afterlife where he can’t harm people?

    What? Please. There’s a massive difference between 1- suffering in a lake of fire for eternity, vs 2- being locked in a small featureless box for eternity, and 3- having an entire Earth-like world to himself to explore, including free food, electricity, a library, etc.

    While Hitler might not be completely happy being denied the ability to hurt others, he’ll be a shitton happier and better off in scenario 3 than scenario 1 or 2. You’re simply not being reasonable here.

  232. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To continue:
    Giliell, are you complaining that I didn’t offer Hitler annihilation? Sorry. I forgot about that. Of course I’ll also offer Hitler the option of annihilation if he decides that he would be better off annihilated than living out scenario 3. IMHO you have to have that option. (Of course, the annihilation option should come with some safeguards, such as a forced waiting period and counselling, to prevent accidental use or use while in a temporary state of mental incompetence.)

  233. says

    EL

    Recognizing X and Y both as violence is not asserting that they are both equally bad. I have done no such equivocation. It is all in your head.

    The number that says “VAT” on my shopping receipt is in no way or shape similar to somebody hitting me.

    Yes it is. It is a promise that if the shopowner tries to subvert the rules, then the government will respond with escalating force / violence, up to and including incarceration.

    Goodness you’re just the most dishonest bullshitter there is. Oh, I admit there’s “similar” not “exactly the same”, but the point stands: You cannot have a reasonable discussion with somebody who completely erases all shades of cyan between “a very remote possibility of violence” and “actually inflicting violence”.
    You keep shitting on victims of violence by declaring taht about every person in the world is a victim of violence several times a day while in reality the overwhelming majority of those people has a reasonably good day without suffering shit while enjoying the benefits of organised society.
    In your book, every human interaction is violence. Because every human interaction is bound to rules. If you break the rules there are consequences.

  234. says

    Chigau:

    Caine
    Many Happy Returns to you and Mister.

    Thank you. Makes me extra happy that the recent day in hospital stamped me ‘not gonna die yet!’ :D
    .

    Since the SO and I are not Officially Married, I don’t know the date of our “anniversary”.
    But we’ve been ‘together’ for over 30 years.
    ye gods…

    Aaaaw, sweet.

  235. anteprepro says

    Crip Dyke continues to score more cheap points while refusing to engage with the substance of the arguments.

    As if there was anything of actual substance here.

    Enlightenment Liberal, have you ever for one moment imagined that the problem might be you? It seems like you regularly manage to conjure up a handwringing clusterfuck of an argument on a regular basis.

  236. Maureen Brian says

    Enlightenment Liberal,

    I’m surprised you are not already in Somalia. It has been without a government since 1991. It barely has one now.

    A six-month vacation there might, at very least, help you to distinguish between actual violence and the minor inconveniences of paying a little tax and observing a few rules which simply codify sensible behaviour (like speed limits) in order to allow a society of several million people to function reasonably effectively, most of the time.