1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5747/psychoanalysis-as-a-weapon/

Psychoanalysis as a Weapon

October 13, 2006 by

Thomas Szasz is justly honored for his gallant and courageous battle against the compulsory commitment of the innocent in the name of “therapy” and humanitarianism. But Murray Rothbard would like to focus on a lesser-known though corollary struggle of Szasz: against the use of psychoanalysis as a weapon to dismiss and dehumanize people, ideas, and groups that the analyst doesn’t happen to like. FULL ARTICLE

{ 50 comments }

Roger M October 13, 2006 at 9:08 am

Determining the motives of people is a tricky business. An old literature professor at the University of Oklahoma used to teach aspiring novelists how to provide the motivation for novel characters to carry out any action. The range of motivations is limited only by the writer’s imagination, he said. A good writer can take any person in any situation and attribute hundreds of motives for his actions and make them all plausible. He will attribute evil motives to those characters he doesn’t like and good motives to the ones he likes. It seems to me that psychoanalysis is nothing but good fiction.

Jaime Raúl Molina October 13, 2006 at 10:58 am

The dehumanization is not limited to Psychoanalysis, but to mainstream Sociology and Psychology in general. And it not only goes for people whom the Social “Scientist” dislikes. It goes also for people he sympathizes with.

Nowadays it is mainstream to talk of “Sociopaths” to refer to common criminals. The etimology of the word implies that a criminal has a pathology. He suffers from a disease that blocks him from socializing correctly. The corollary of this is that the criminal is not responsible for his actions, but his “disease” is.

This doctrine deshumanizes us all because it reduces everything to a state of health. Thus, the individual is either healthy or unhealthy, but there are no moral acts. The criminal is not just a person who has acted freely in an immoral manner, but a victim of his disease. If this is so, then there is no merit in acting in accordance to a moral code, because the person who is honest and rejects the temptations to inflict evil upon his fellows, is not someone to praise, but simply a “healthy” person, and there is no moral merit in being healthy.

So the consequence is far more ample and profound than just deshumanizing people whom the Social “Scientist” dislikes. It simply deshumanizes us all.

David Spellman October 13, 2006 at 12:14 pm

Very humorous. I wish I could have know Murray. If only I had found out sooner!

Roger M October 13, 2006 at 12:15 pm

Jaime, Good post! Thanks! And now geneticists are looking for the gene that cause crime. We’re now less than animals; we’re machines.

L.R. October 13, 2006 at 10:22 pm

As much as we may want to believe otherwise, the sad fact is, if the evidence ends up showing that we really are machines…then I guess we’re machines.

So far the evidence hasn’t led to that conclusion, AFAIK, and our knowledge of genetics is still in its infancy. But no matter what we end up discovering, let us not look back and find ourselves cursing a hypothetical based solely on discomfort.

Joshua Katz October 13, 2006 at 10:29 pm

I find myself struggling to understand LR’s comment, and, while it expresses a widely held belief, I finally concluded that the problem was not mine. The idea that we’ll do some empirical testing and discover that we are or are not machines is absurd. All evidence must be understood by someone – the interpretation either must be provided by a non-machine, or is not an intelligent interpretation, and hence cannot be relied upon. So the only way to deal with this ‘question’ is to decide which way you want to start. If you start by assuming you are a machine, all evidence will point you there. If you start by assuming the opposite, no amount of evidence can ever be persuasive. So the concern with geneticists is not that they’re wrong – it’s their worldview itself.

David C October 13, 2006 at 10:51 pm

There is another way that psychoanalysis attack people – it is by personality groupings. For example, typically people have weak spots, like in logical thought, or in making independent choices, or in acting in mutual benefit to others. Because people are finite and tend to specialize, they are usually stronger than average in one area and weaker than average in another. One method of attacking and manipulating people is to rank people on a scale of 1-10 in each area via observation, and then attack and manipulate people by hitting their week spots.

For example, if someone is an independent choice maker, and not willing to exploit other peoples freedoms to their benefit, you may still be able to convince them with an emotional knee jerk argument.

Another person might be strong in logical thought, and strong in independent choices, but be rather neutral about other peoples freedoms. An attacker would approach there.

These methods can also be used for self defense, or to identify how to help people where they may be having trouble too.

TGGP October 13, 2006 at 11:16 pm

It’s not usually a gene responsible for something like crime, but something that predisposes someone to it.

One of the best sites I know of on the internet is the Gene Expressions blog at gnxp.com
They have a few interesting posts on the topic: http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/002591.html
http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2006/08/maoa-maori.php
Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending, who sometimes grace the site with their presence, had a paper on evolution and behavior/culture called “In Our Genes” which can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/99/1/10

Many of the people who run it seem to be libertarians, but of the rather mainstream variety. If anybody from here decides to visit, don’t be surprised if they ban you from the comments section when you shoot your mouth off in an arrogant fashion and if you do don’t tell them I led you to the site.

JIMB October 14, 2006 at 8:03 am

How, is it really possible to avoid doing this (taking the broader definition of psychologizing)? Seems to me to have any opinion is to “psychologize” (at least according to this paper) – as the article seems to mix the narrower definition of psychologizing (“what a person’s motivations are”) with the broader definition of a person’s perspective. Under normal circumstances, to have a perspective is to have blind spots. So decent people will “try on a different coat” every once-in-awhile to see how it fits, or argue both sides to understand the interplay, without falling into the trap of coming to a “middle ground” and “mixing food and poison” (i.e. mixing truth and falsity and calling it a “third way” – the Marxian dialectic – which of course hands power to falsehoodas over time).

I might argue that Rothbard had a perspective: that it was “impossible” to know motivations thus we could look only at “human action” (following Mises) – is that really true? After all we are all people, and share plenty with other people (the argument given for calculated human action in the first place – that we share a commonality being people – and thus we choose between means and ends).

I note Rothbard deviated dramatically from the “non-motivated” view. At least from my perspective, Rothbard was guilty of many of the shortcomings he associated with Freud. I don’t see how any person can NOT be guilty of this.

RogerM October 14, 2006 at 8:49 am

For those who think they can discern the motivations of others, try this experiment that the OU prof of writing had students perform: First write a list of possible motivations for any action, good and bad actions, good and bad motivations. Then pick a news story that interests you and assign each of the motivations in your list to that individual and try to rationalize each. It’s actually a fun experiment and shows that any motivation can fit any person in any situation, some more plausibly than others, but most will be very plausible. What does that prove? People’s actions are like a Rorschach test for the rest of us. Our assessment of their motives reflex our psychology more than it does that of the actor.

My favorite example of getting motives wrong is Saddam Hussein. Western intellectuals destroyed whole forests writing about Hussein’s motives for invading Kuwait in 1991. But none of them contained the right one. Some of his generals who met with him daily said Hussein had a dream in which Allah told him to invade Kuwait. So he did.

For those of you who are fans of evolutionary psychology, I would caution that you take their claims with a huge dose of skepticism. Read about the euthanasia movement of the early 20th century which the best scientific minds of the day promoted. Evolutionary psychology is very much like the euthanasia movement in its assumptions and methods. Both assume that humans are nothing more than animals and try to explain behavior by studying animals. Eventually, they will conclude that all behavior is natural to mankind because it’s natural to animals, and therefor it’s OK because we don’t classify animal behavior as moral or immoral.

RogerM October 14, 2006 at 9:11 am

“As much as we may want to believe otherwise, the sad fact is, if the evidence ends up showing that we really are machines…then I guess we’re machines. So far the evidence hasn’t led to that conclusion…”

A large number of scientists believe that the evidence does point to our being nothing but machines. Scientists will always find what they’re looking for, because scientists are no different from the rest of us. They are not the objective analysts, like computers, they claim to be. They are as human and emotionally attached to world views as the rest of us. As a result, their experiments and results rarely contradict those world views. Scientists who believe that we are machines will always have plenty of evidence for it while ignoring the evidence from those scientists who disagree. Evidence doesn’t interpret itself; humans, with all of our weaknesses, must do that. Two scientists of equal intellect and training have often interpreted the same evidence in very different ways. The answer to the machine/free will dilemna lies more in philosophy/religion than it does in science.

JIMB October 14, 2006 at 4:32 pm

RogerM – Rothbard took the “axioms” of economics and applied them to history and to morality (a breathtaking jump that I think is unjustified) and also applied the economic thinking to a range of psychologizing about motivations and actions of people. In other words, he did the same thing, over and over and over, but using “axiomatic” economic theory (incorrectly, I believe) as a basis.

Peter October 14, 2006 at 8:36 pm

Hussein had a dream in which Allah told him to invade Kuwait. So he did.

I’m pretty sure the only person who believes that is you, Roger. Hussein never showed any signs of being normal-religious, let alone wacko-religious.

TGGP October 14, 2006 at 10:16 pm

RogerM, evolutionary psychology only makes descriptive statements, not normative ones.

RogerM October 14, 2006 at 11:24 pm

JIMB:”Rothbard took the “axioms” of economics and applied them to history and to morality…”

Yeah, I’m pretty skeptical of that myself.

Peter:”I’m pretty sure the only person who believes that is you, Roger.”

At least three of us believe it–the writer, his editor and myself. If you think believing in dreams is “wacko-religious” you’re just showing your complete ignorance of the Middle East.

TGGP:”evolutionary psychology only makes descriptive statements, not normative ones.

When they take moral issues, such as monogamy, and attempt to explain them, they’re dealing with normative issues, no matter how much they deny it. People are fascinated with evolutionary psychology because it’s new. But I predict that it will be mostlly ignored in about ten years for two reasons: 1) It can explain anything and there is no way to prove their speculations wrong. Any such theory loses credibility real fast because it can explain one thing and its opposite. 2) The explanation for everything is that in the past it must have contributed to our survival, so it’s OK. Therefore, everything is OK, i.e., nothing is wrong. But people can’t and won’t live like that.

Peter October 15, 2006 at 4:32 am

At least three of us believe it–the writer, his editor and myself.

The writer, maybe. What makes you think his editor is in your club?

If you think believing in dreams is “wacko-religious” you’re just showing your complete ignorance of the Middle East.

I lived in the UAE for 3 1/2 years; I wouldn’t say I’m completely ignorant. How long did you live in the region?

JIMB October 15, 2006 at 10:00 am

Peter – Argumentation confuses subject and object as frequently as any other approach, including the belief in dreams — besides you and I (and everyone) believe in things that are clearly “outside the realm of reason” — and any argument using “reason” also uses things that are “outside of reason”.

So “religious wackos” of course believe things you believe to be demonstrably false – lets apply that standard to the “religion” of “man and his reason” and libertarianism.

I think what can be demanded is that people MUST (to live) believe in a difference between good and evil — that to me seems more fundamental than “argumentation” because all argumentation (in fact the basis of it: consistency and truth) relies on the abstract category of good.

What is also a serious detriment of this article is that it redefines sin to be nothing but what the libertarian says it to be — i.e. Rothbard (consistently) replaces our common conception of good versus evil with “economic axioms” and then elevates them to a morality and in this article the circle completes itself by removing all other basis for human action except the Rothbardian assumptions: there essentially IS no motivated evil (or at least one cannot see it) therefore it is not “real” only “economic action” is real (but in fact Rothbard IS arguing for motivated evil as his article fairly drips with judgment against illegitimate psychologizing).

He couldn’t abide by that standard of course, that’s why he did all the things that he accuses the “psychologizers” of doing – even implicitely in this article.

You see the contradiction is immense … which is why I am a reformed libertarian – I do believe in sin and I do think there’s a battle for society and (to take the most egregious example in my mind) I do believe it should be illegal to kill your young children (unborn and born) — I see nothing stopping our “progress” from “birth is the diving line” to “self-awareness is the dividing line” (thus children up to 2 years can be killed according to Peter Singer) because “they are not human” until then, and what about saying “reproductive capacity” (following evolutionary arguments) is the dividing line — so kids up to say, 12 can be killed. All “supported” by “reason”. I see no way to intermediate these arguments except by the one way that has always been done: by force. And may the good guys (the ones respecting of life) win, whether that’s a “statist” or not — you see the problem libertarians have; they cannot support violence in the support of good but instead yield power to evil continuously.

Thus libertarians, divorcing morality (motivated “psychologizing” action) from argumentation are going to commit an immense fraud – and Rothbard was part of this.

Libertarian theory has given all sorts of justification to evils by magic-wand-waving that evil, once incapacitated by “restrictions on using violence” will forever remain non-violent. But already we have a genocidal holocaust right here and libertarians are saying “hands off”. Pray tell — exactly WHAT is the theory worth if it can say nothing against this? Isn’t “libertarianism” – by eliminating the necessary disctinctions between evil and good – false?

Brett Celinki October 15, 2006 at 2:42 pm

JIMB

When a libertarian says ‘hands off’ He says the government has no right to take money from everyone else to finance its random destruction. A private response to the genocide is completely fine, as long as its financed and responsible only to those parties which undertake it. You know, like the American Revolution.

Now, which genocidal holocaust is going on right now that is not the direct result of government coercion?

Jaime Raúl Molina October 15, 2006 at 7:55 pm

The question whether there is human Free Will or not, cannot be answered by Science. It is a non-falsifiable statement. No matter how many experiments/data you can gather, it is impossible to “prove” either Determinism or Free Will. So as Roger already said, it is a Religious/Philosophic/Metaphysical question.

Peter October 15, 2006 at 8:53 pm

I think what can be demanded is that people MUST (to live) believe in a difference between good and evil

I thought knowing the difference between good and evil is what got Adam kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

you see the problem libertarians have; they cannot support violence in the support of good but instead yield power to evil continuously.

No, I don’t see any such problem. That libertarians are not pacifists has been explained to you at least a dozen times by now.

On the other hand, all the murder and mayhem you claim goes hand in hand with libertarianism sounds mild compared to all the murder ordered up by god in that story-book you’re so fond of. So surely it must be a good thing, right? Why are you against it? Ah, I just realized, you don’t! That
s what you mean by “good” – that’s why you’re opposed to libertarianism! Sorry, I hadn’t quite caught up with the idea that killing your children, slaughtering non-believers, etc., as commanded in the bible, was what you meant by “good”…OK, you’re right, libertarians can’t support that sort of thing.

JIMB October 16, 2006 at 6:54 am

Peter – Brett — But of course you commit the fallacy right over again – abortion was illegal according to the states and made legal by the same entity so your case is at best neutral, at worst it commits the same fallacy as noted: government is the battleground of the forces of good and evil. You cannot willy nilly “wish the state away” — Please tell me how that is to be done?

JIMB October 16, 2006 at 7:30 am

Peter – If you are talking about Christianity, it was the disobedience against God that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden: the “I’ll do it my way” shortcut you shall become as God, knowing good and evil. In other words, pride. It cannot be said that “knowing good and evil” was the crime without the command. I suggest if you wish to ignore the comments about libertarianism and pursue a critique on Christianity, you first look up the relevant passages and cross references to get some knowledge – I think it’s fair to ask that people read “Man, Economy, and State” and “Ethics of Liberty” for instance before they go off on a critique of Rothbard. Ditto for Christianity.

In my view, your judgement of God doesn’t make sense at all (especially since we’ve been over this territory). I hear the criticizism of God for executing evil people and then I sense the opposite also: that it is God that is responsible for the evil in the world! Well, which is it?

If God didn’t command the execution of the Caananites (who burned their children alive in sacrifice – a bit too close for comfort to our nation, no?) by the Israelites – but did command the execution of Stalin – would God be justified in your mind? What about Hitler? And if God was setting the stage for his appearance in Jesus Christ, then what of the so-called “injustice”?

I think the fundamental discomfort I feel about Christianity, is that I don’t want to believe it, even if it fits all the data. It’s not, as professors claim, “make yourself believe”, it’s “make yourself disbelieve so you have no limits to your actions and in effect YOU become God – deciding ‘what is best for you’ ” – that was Adam’s sin, wasn’t it? In this culture, it’s unlimited sexuality – to such an extent that we commit routine murder to accomplish that goal. Now you don’t have to be a Christian to see the evil in that – it’s against the natural order (mothers killing their children). No further argument really need be made if you do not see that as primae fascie evidence of malfunction.

And I believe you refuse to admit that libertarianism yields power to evil — saying “no one has the right to use violence” is in essentials saying no one has the right to legislate against incest, “emancipated” child sexuality, drugs, or a host of other things…

Now that might be fine if we already had a libertarian society because other social pressures could be brought to bear (like refusing to do business), but I guarantee that what you are going to get in THIS society is yielding power to “social progressives” — i.e. you ask that the good guys lay down their weapons and allow the alternative lifestyles to be crammed down the throats of every normal person in the U.S. I guarantee the other side isn’t going to do that (the huge problem with lewrockwell.com). Evil is expansive by it’s nature (it must consume from good).

So are alternative marriages as they go outside the marriage for reproduction for every alternative union – and thus breaking apart the exclusivity of marriage and bonds to children, disintegrating the atomic unit of society. That will not result in “greater freedom” but more “cops” – because the raising of children in such “marriages” will be a massive social disaster (divorce is already a mess, isn’t it?). It will mean “more of the state” by necessity to curtail violence.

And the “evil is expansive” argument is easy to demonstrate: already the efforts to teach young children (2nd grade, and in California kindergarten on up) the “GBLT” lifestyle (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transsexual) – and just recently a law passed that said if a person receives any government funds from any source (student loan, for instance), then the organization they attend must by law teach equality of the GBLT lifestyle! Interesting way to force religious schools to teach GBLT.

Meanwhile, you are asking that all the good guys lay down their weapons in the battlefield before the new ground rules are in place. That’s just nonsense.

JIMB October 16, 2006 at 7:40 am

Brett – So what “private response” would be appropriate? (Sounds like a justification for ‘operation rescue’). But in any case, it seems far more peaceful to attempt to outlaw abortion by other means. For instance, by refusing to pay the state at all until it is repealed, because the state has abrogated it’s most fundamental function of supporting the individual right to life of it’s citizens.

I think putting one’s lifestyle on the line is the least that could be done. I believe a consortium of churches should do exactly that. Let the chips fall as they may …

Peter October 16, 2006 at 8:51 am

It cannot be said that “knowing good and evil” was the crime without the command.

I interpret it more allegorically, anyway; not that what the characters in the story did was a crime, as such, but that it made it impossible for them to stay in paradise – i.e., that “paradise” requires an amoral viewpoint, lacking “knowledge of good and evil”.

[Again, I refer you to the Raymond Smullyan piece here: http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/godTaoist.html ]

In my view, your judgement of God doesn’t make sense at all (especially since we’ve been over this territory). I hear the criticizism of God for executing evil people and then I sense the opposite also: that it is God that is responsible for the evil in the world! Well, which is it?

Neither. I’m not “judging God”, since I don’t believe any such entity exists to make judgements about. Nor am I saying God is responsible for evil in the world, since, again, I don’t believe any such entity exists. I’m just pointing out that your reasons for opposing libertarianism, based as they are in religion, don’t pass scrutiny. If you believe that the Adam and Eve story is more or less literal truth, then you believe that people can live without knowledge of good and evil, since they did, before the fall – yet you said “I think what can be demanded is that people MUST (to live) believe in a difference between good and evil”. If you believe that God exists, and God is good, then I can only assume that you believe that all the slaughter ordered by God in the Old Testament was good, too (slaughter of innocents, not “executing evil people”, by the way)

you first look up the relevant passages and cross references to get some knowledge

Well, of course I’ve read the relevant passages; I’m not sure what you mean about “cross references” (I’ve never seen a bible with cross references!), but if you mean I have to read every exegesis on the topic, I’d have to spend my life as a monk studying 20+ hours a day and come back when I was 90. No thanks. Besides, shouldn’t the words of the bible itself be enough, if it were actually divinely inspired?

I think the fundamental discomfort I feel about Christianity, is that I don’t want to believe it, even if it fits all the data.

But it doesn’t fit any data! Unless you already believe it, of course; then you’re “data-proof”. (But of course you don’t feel any discomfort with it, either. I believe you’re lying – the old “I don’t want to believe it, but I do, so it must be true! You should believe it too!”)

we commit routine murder to accomplish that goal. Now you don’t have to be a Christian to see the evil in that – it’s against the natural order (mothers killing their children).

But the Bible commands mothers to kill their children!

http://www.evilbible.com/god%27s%20not%20pro-life.htm

saying “no one has the right to use violence” is in essentials saying no one has the right to legislate against incest, “emancipated” child sexuality, drugs, or a host of other things…

Just out of interest, why are you so sure those things are evil? Your whole “libertarianism yields power to evil” thing is based on that assumption, but how do you reach it?

you ask that the good guys lay down their weapons and allow the alternative lifestyles to be crammed down the throats of every normal person

Who is? Libertarians generally favor weapon-ownership, and certainly aren’t asking anyone to lay down their weapons! Nor to have anything crammed down their throats, unless “don’t shoot people you don’t like” is having something crammed down your throat (in which case, those people are justified in shooting back – see how any non-libertarian philosophy has everyone at each others throats)

already the efforts to teach young children (2nd grade, and in California kindergarten on up) the “GBLT” lifestyle (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transsexual)

They teach 2nd graders to be gay? Somehow I doubt that. Anyway, can’t you see: as always, it’s the state commanding whatever they are teaching! Get rid of the state, and the problem goes away!

Peter October 16, 2006 at 8:51 am

It cannot be said that “knowing good and evil” was the crime without the command.

I interpret it more allegorically, anyway; not that what the characters in the story did was a crime, as such, but that it made it impossible for them to stay in paradise – i.e., that “paradise” requires an amoral viewpoint, lacking “knowledge of good and evil”.

[Again, I refer you to the Raymond Smullyan piece here: http://www.mit.edu/people/dpolicar/writing/prose/text/godTaoist.html ]

In my view, your judgement of God doesn’t make sense at all (especially since we’ve been over this territory). I hear the criticizism of God for executing evil people and then I sense the opposite also: that it is God that is responsible for the evil in the world! Well, which is it?

Neither. I’m not “judging God”, since I don’t believe any such entity exists to make judgements about. Nor am I saying God is responsible for evil in the world, since, again, I don’t believe any such entity exists. I’m just pointing out that your reasons for opposing libertarianism, based as they are in religion, don’t pass scrutiny. If you believe that the Adam and Eve story is more or less literal truth, then you believe that people can live without knowledge of good and evil, since they did, before the fall – yet you said “I think what can be demanded is that people MUST (to live) believe in a difference between good and evil”. If you believe that God exists, and God is good, then I can only assume that you believe that all the slaughter ordered by God in the Old Testament was good, too (slaughter of innocents, not “executing evil people”, by the way)

you first look up the relevant passages and cross references to get some knowledge

Well, of course I’ve read the relevant passages; I’m not sure what you mean about “cross references” (I’ve never seen a bible with cross references!), but if you mean I have to read every exegesis on the topic, I’d have to spend my life as a monk studying 20+ hours a day and come back when I was 90. No thanks. Besides, shouldn’t the words of the bible itself be enough, if it were actually divinely inspired?

I think the fundamental discomfort I feel about Christianity, is that I don’t want to believe it, even if it fits all the data.

But it doesn’t fit any data! Unless you already believe it, of course; then you’re “data-proof”. (But of course you don’t feel any discomfort with it, either. I believe you’re lying – the old “I don’t want to believe it, but I do, so it must be true! You should believe it too!”)

we commit routine murder to accomplish that goal. Now you don’t have to be a Christian to see the evil in that – it’s against the natural order (mothers killing their children).

But the Bible commands mothers to kill their children!

http://www.evilbible.com/god%27s%20not%20pro-life.htm

saying “no one has the right to use violence” is in essentials saying no one has the right to legislate against incest, “emancipated” child sexuality, drugs, or a host of other things…

Just out of interest, why are you so sure those things are evil? Your whole “libertarianism yields power to evil” thing is based on that assumption, but how do you reach it?

you ask that the good guys lay down their weapons and allow the alternative lifestyles to be crammed down the throats of every normal person

Who is? Libertarians generally favor weapon-ownership, and certainly aren’t asking anyone to lay down their weapons! Nor to have anything crammed down their throats, unless “don’t shoot people you don’t like” is having something crammed down your throat (in which case, those people are justified in shooting back – see how any non-libertarian philosophy has everyone at each others throats)

already the efforts to teach young children (2nd grade, and in California kindergarten on up) the “GBLT” lifestyle (gay, bisexual, lesbian, transsexual)

They teach 2nd graders to be gay? Somehow I doubt that. Anyway, can’t you see: as always, it’s the state commanding whatever they are teaching! Get rid of the state, and the problem goes away!

Roger M October 16, 2006 at 8:59 am

Peter:”I lived in the UAE for 3 1/2 years; I wouldn’t say I’m completely ignorant. How long did you live in the region?”

I only lived there a year, but during that time I knew a lot of Americans who had lived in the ME for many years and were completely ignorant of the society because they didn’t bother to get to know any Arabs. You sound like one of those. I also happen to read Arabic fairly well and read Arabic web sites regularly. Besides, whether Hussein believed in dreams or not is not important. The writer of the article and the Iraqi generals he interviewed believed he did. My point was easily one can justify any motive for any action.

“On the other hand, all the murder and mayhem you claim goes hand in hand with libertarianism sounds mild compared to all the murder ordered up by god in that story-book you’re so fond of.”

That’s the typical atheist response to religion. You should ask yourself why historians consider the 20th century to be the bloodiest in the history of mankind. Which war, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, was fought for religious reasons? Did Hitler murder 12 million of his own people people, Stalin over 30 million, Mao over 30 million, the Kmer Rouge over a million, because they were fundamentalist Baptists?

Peter claims that libertarians arent’ pacifists. Some aren’t. But for the most part, their restrictions on warfare make them indistinguishable from Quakers.

Don Bacon October 16, 2006 at 12:29 pm

The Martha Mitchell Effect:

This is named after Martha Beall Mitchell (the wife of John Mitchell, the Attorney-General in the Nixon administration), who alleged that illegal activity was taking place in the White House.
At the time her claims were thought to be signs of mental illness, and only after the Watergate scandal broke was she proved right (and hence sane).
The Martha Mitchell effect, in which a psychiatrist mistakenly diagnoses someone’s extraordinary but reasonable belief as a delusion, was later named after her.

JIMB October 16, 2006 at 3:45 pm

Peter – Why does God in the OT command some strange and evil things from our perspective today? I don’t know. This is a serious one, I admit. There are even more serious ones (more serious because they are less explainable: for instance, how could Adam have made a rational choice unless he knew ahead of time the cost for his action? And how could he have known?)

But it’s also pretty clear you are making a fallacious comparison before the fall versus after. Knowlege of good and evil is necessary after, but not before.

From my view, you sound like this: you’ve come to a group of people living in a city organized under a system of thought and decide, “this is all wrong, I’m going to tear it all down and make it different” — without first understanding why it is the way it is. You have the burden of understanding why it is the way it is first, then you have the knowledge to argue that you might come up with something better. But not before. So before you can legitimately criticize, you must become educated.

And as far as teaching 2nd graders the GBLT lifestyle: try this http://www.amazon.com/One-Two-Dads-Brown-Blue/dp/1555838480/sr=8-3/qid=1161030445/ref=pd_bbs_3/002-4337926-5904011?ie=UTF8&s=books

And this: http://www.savecalifornia.com/getpluggedin/news_details.php?newsid=60&PHPSESSID=660d16d7342965663f61a3f2bae2333b

Let’s get back to the issues on libertarianism.

I don’t think you can play the relativist game (incest isn’t evil) or else there’s no honesty in the discussion. Clearly as a general rule, it is hugely destructive.

It’s also clear (at least to me) that the fantasy about “getting rid of the state” isn’t a solution at all if it includes a dismantlement of effective morality, especially because the state would be stronger than ever after that move (imagine people freed from all sorts of moral strictures). Libertarianism is more than “anti-state”, it is “anti-morality”: meaning that it provides no justification for using force against other people at all except in response to physical violence. So it’s not only what you say it is. In my view, freedom exists only in a democratic republic in which the population is moral and they effect their continuance (and control of the government) by passing laws which concern themselves with morality one a “small state” basis (i.e. there are multiple states: a decentralization of power).

You cannot subtract morality from the discussion first (by starting with “self-ownership”) and then say “the rest will fall in line; It won’t. And in fact, Rothbard made this point by an interesting deletion: Crusoe was by himself on the island (Ethics of Liberty), when in fact for man to succeed Rothbard should have started with a family on the island. You see the problem? Already the core of “self-ownership” has to delete a big part of reality (reproduction and raising children) to make it’s case.

Roger M October 16, 2006 at 4:23 pm

JIMB:”Why does God in the OT command some strange and evil things from our perspective today?”

You’re doing a good job on your posts, so keep it up. I just wanted to comment on this one item. God is a judge as well as a Father. All morality is nothing but a reflection of His character. As Creator, He has the right to judge people and punish them if he sees fit. He ordered the destruction of the Canaanites as His judgment against them for their evil. In addition, Israel was a Theocracy, which meant that its enemies were enemies of God at the same time. Since the fall of Israel, no nation has had that relationship with God, nor has any group of people had revelations from God that authorizes them to destroy another nation in God’s name. The situation of Israel in the OT was unique and not a guide for us today in terms of war and politics.

People like Peter who want to judge God make themselves superior to God, for only a superior can judge another. At the same time, without God morals don’t exist because only a superior can command someone to act in a certain way. So Peter wants to judge God by his standards of morality, which are just his opinion and have no authority or legitimacy. Without God, I could argue that survival of the fittest is the highest morality and have more legitimacy than Peter’s morality because I have evidence from nature to support it.

Peter can claim that he doesn’t like the God of the OT, and create a god in his own image. A lot of people do that and their gods end up sounding like Santa Claus. But then he would be guilty of worshipping and idol similar to those wooden idols made by hand in the OT. I guess these days it’s considered intellectual to make up a god that pleases you and then worship it. Of course, then those people complain about the impotence of their gods.

People wonder why God allows tsunamis, earthquakes, wars, genocide, etc. The book of Genesis tells us. They’re God’s punishment for our continual rebellion, on the one hand, and His effort to get us to end the rebellion on the other. But it’s not as if God chooses every day whom to punish and whom to set free, althugh He may. I don’t know. But God stepped back from the earth and allowed nature and mankind to have their way. You might call natural disasters the result of entropy. Wars and human-caused evil are the result of a fallen nature with few restraints.

JIMB October 16, 2006 at 4:48 pm

RogerM — But you must admit, that arguing in that line is no different than an Islamic saying that Muhammed’s visions were correct. In other words, how to arbitrate between competing world views?

To me, the fact that good stands on it’s own and evil has to “borrow” from it, is proof enough (and in fact a great way to tell good from evil). It is good that is independent of evil, while evil cannot exist at all (being destructive) without first having good in place. “What started all the good in the first place” is God: a spirit.

So I can’t imagine God NOT giving us the ability to see the truth (or falsity) of world views. My feeling is that the character of evil in opposition to good, the design in nature, and personal empathy for one’s fellows are themselves evidence of a natural order which validates the Christian worldview, especially since most knowledgeable criticisms of Christianity are so contradictory.

Some examples – Christianity is too meek and unmanly, but also “responsible for so many wars”; God is criticized for exercising his judgment on people (altering the course of history), yet God is also “responsible for evil”; Christianity increases judgmentalism, but then that is itself pretty judgmental; people should be able to decide for themselves what moral rules to follow, but that is a statement of over-riding moral restriction on anyone believing the opposite … etc.

Sione Vatu October 16, 2006 at 6:08 pm

Peter

One needs to be careful with claims such as those of JIMB. In essence, what he is claiming is that HIS arbitrary morality should be imposed by force and violence initiated against other people (particularly those who disagree with him). For him this is “good”. Too bad should anyone disagree. His justification is that he, personally, has faith in his own unprovable assertions.

Recall that, ultimately JIMB believes there is a super-natural realm which is the source of instruction on what is good, what to do and how life should be lived (for him epistemology is revelation by the super-natural). This is not up for serious question or examination (as, no doubt, you already realise). JIMB’s pronouncements must be taken on faith alone! Notice how he attempts the destruction of reason in order to achieve his end. Pitiful.

Make no mistake about JIMB, he is a collectivist whose faith demands adherence without critical thought. The approach is anti-reason and completely against freedom. It necessarily leads to violence.

Sione

Sione Vatu October 16, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Roger

It’s interesting that when the evils of religion are disclosed the first thing the religious adherent tries to do is seek out something he thinks is worse. The scheme is to exclaim, “Look! There is something I found that’s even badder than religion. Therefore religion must be OK after all.” That’s silly. The point is that religious instruction in theory and in practice has evil elements. Kill your children. Murder your wife. Eliminate the good. Rape. Pillage. Steal. Wage War! Do genocide for God. Do it all! Do it for God! Just evil.

I note that Stalin and Hitler were religious figures. The Lutheran Church in Germany even identified Hitler as God. He was thought to be the “second coming.” Lucky for Christianity the war came before this got publicised too loudly.

Anyway, the difference between socialism/communism and religion is merely in the embodiment of the god-head. Instead of a super-natural creature is god you have the state is god. Instead of the prophet you have the great leader or dictator. Instead of sacrificing yourself for a reward in the paradise hereafter, you are sacrificing for a reward for the state hereafter. And so it goes. All based on faith in arbitrary dogma. Simple substitution of the spirit religion with the state religion. It’s still religon. It’s nonsense. Evil in theory. Evil in practice.

In the end these religions corrupt themselves because they are false. They do not correspond to reality.

Sione

Peter October 16, 2006 at 11:43 pm

I don’t think you can play the relativist game (incest isn’t evil) or else there’s no honesty in the discussion. Clearly as a general rule, it is hugely destructive.

Well, no, I don’t agree. If you’re talking about molestation – that is, rape – then I certainly agree that that is destructive and evil; but that’s true regardless of the incest aspect (though that could make it worse for the victim, psychologically). But not all incestuous relationships are non-consentual. I know of a girl who was separated from her father since she was a baby who tracked him down as an adult and they ended up as lovers, for a while, before societal pressure broke them up, and they haven’t spoken to each other since. Seems to me they were quite happy together, and it’s societal mores surrounding the issue that was the “evil” here.

JIMB October 17, 2006 at 7:18 am

Sione – Your argument is like a discussion the color of different fruits when someone says they don’t like the taste; one has no necessary relationship to the other.

I give you another example: every tyrant used “reason” as justification for domination and killing, so is “reason” the issue? It’s logical to say that Stalin got power because “he was the embodiment of the dialectic and speeding the eventual future of capitalism” and thus was metaphysically destined to do so and not guilty of anything but speeding the inevitable to the final utopia.

So if your points cannot distinguish between “ultimately good” and “potentially evil” they are not useful.

I don’t think you’ll find any present-day justification of past atrocities in the Bible, especially after the appearance of Jesus Christ. In fact, the past was to lay the groundwork for Jesus Christ – and the past was also a huge spiritual battle to prevent that from happening. (And if spiritism is any question, observe the Nazi rallies and Hitler’s speeches: the atmosphere fairly drips with occult power).

Your criticisms of Christianity are also weak and possibly show you haven’t gotten much information. Consider, if people were living near 1000 years their reproductive time likely was far longer, and if they had just 5 children per couple, there might have been 5-10 billion people on the earth at the time of the flood… and they were all killed by God and only Noah and his family survived. Did God have that right, even down to the newborn and unborn? You must admit, it’s a pretty uncomfortable situation – the judgements of God, if they are just, implies that the “genetic line” of sin (i.e. the corrupted propensity to commit evil) made necessary God’s action. And if true, we also have no idea how seriously the “line of sin” had corrupted man in the past (we can’t have the right attitude today toward sin, being corrupted by it). We live now as a long-distance genetic result of Noah, a righteous man. Even further, God split men apart (tower of Babel) by altering their language, limiting their progress until some future time, so it may be that when men “reunite”, their wealth and their power and thus their evil will grow (hardly a prediction there…).

The fact that evil goes with power I think is a compelling reason to endorse libertarianism, at the same time it is a compelling reason against it if the first effect is to dismantle the moral codes of good society — as the only result we have will be a more evil state with greater corruption rather than a less powerful state.

What this article is attempting to do, is pass judgment on “psychologizing” by itself saying (implying) that such things are “self-aggrandizing, prideful, greedy, malicious” — in other words, it is judging the “psychologizers” by calling them SINNERS. You see, all libertarianism has done, is to redefine sin but at the same time profess libertarianism is in the majority AMORAL. How completely, utterly, false and vacuous! And then it presumes authority for telling everyone else what can and can’t be the proper action for the state!.

The effect will not be what you think if you get the sequence wrong. It should be: dissolve ALL state power FIRST (including foreign state powers) or at the least, put them in a standstill position relative to one another. But (for example) Lewrockwell is constantly posting general “hate America” people like Noam Chomsky (whose book Chavez displayed during his recent UN speech) — imagine if America, who for their faults still do pursue far better goals than Russia or China or North Korea or Syria or Iran, were “brought down” like a good portion of Lewrockweller’s seem to want. Would the globe be better?

JIMB October 17, 2006 at 7:34 am

Peter – I think the discussion has degraded to the point where you take the most gratutitious exception to a situation (incest) which would be 99.999% destructive if the taboos and legal restrictions were lowered. Not only would it sexualize family life and disintegrate marriage (hugely destructive) but if children were produced they would have serious genetic problems, and if not, they certainly would have serious psychological problems — In fact, it’s so obvious that this is harmful I probably shouldn’t make an argument against it, as to do so is to invite a counterargument on a topic that is foolish to debate.

I suggest, if you wish to continue, we move to another subtopic under the general concept of “psychologizing” and whether it is in fact possible NOT to do this and have any judgment about people at all.

I think intent is the core of immoral actions – Rothbard cannot remove this entirely from debate by arguing against “psychologizing” as what he has done is make the implied claim that the people doing such are ignorant, greedy, self-aggrandizing, arbitrary, capricious, and power-hungry. Hmmmm. That sounds a lot like “psychologizing” to me.

Now, write an article on morality which says nothing in the realm of psychologizing and my guess – perhaps wrong – is that it cannot be done without completely removing sin or motivation to do evil from discussion. Hence the impossible situation. What Rothbard is really doing is substituting one morality for another and calling the other “religion” bad.

In my view, Mises.org should stick more to economics and far less to libertarian morality, as it has seriously degraded their authority – although I admit it provides a lot of grounds for discussion.

Sione Vatu October 17, 2006 at 7:40 am

So people were living for nearly 1000 years! Reckon that’s definately one for the good ol’ super-natural. That sure tops my fairies in the garden.

One thousand years, near as! Yup, they must have been eatin’ weeties to make sure they got enough roughage to live that long. No McDees for them old old folk. 1000 years. Yup, that’s the ticket.

Pitiful.

Sione

PS as has been stated; “Religion is not a short cut to knowledge, it’s a mental short circuit.”

JIMB October 17, 2006 at 7:47 am

Sione – Also, provide arguments rather than assertions, arguments rather than labels (I’m referring to the “collectivist” label above – apparently you haven’t read these posts very carefully: I’m arguing that libertarian morality INCREASES state power, hardly collectivist, and that Rothbard is offering another religion which specifies a morality, which of course he is)

And morality is not arbitrary – the Bible is true because it fits with natural law morality. It’s not like God didn’t make natural moral laws which we can observe. Clearly morality is not “arbitrary” as you say. In fact, people attempt to invalidate the Bible by pointing to it’s perceived shortcomings in deviation with natural law morality — hence by your own standard you admit there is a NON-arbitrary morality. Now if that morality fits witht the Bible as it stands comprehensively interpreted, you have falsified your own position.

JIMB October 17, 2006 at 8:02 am

Sione – If you are going to criticize the Bible, you should be informed about it – if you didn’t know that it said people were living for near 1000 years, you haven’t read through the first 5 chapters or even a summary. How can you be trusted to level informed criticism? Perhaps as a litmus test, people that want to speak of Christianity must first prove they know at least the basics about it.

I don’t know if you subscribe to the theory of evolution, but believing that “somehow” all the genetic information got added into slime by random processes (never have we observed an accumulation of information – especially to the level of a biological language so that organized participantion occurs – by random processes) to evolve into a human is orders of magnitude more ridiculous than “man was created by an intelligent God outside of our comprehension and the judgment for his sin limited his lifespan”. To me, the competitors are morally, physically, conceptually impossible.

For example: (evolution again): Since slime is the same as a human, what is human? Is there ANY nature to man? Are there ANY natural moral laws? You see the problem …

Peter October 17, 2006 at 8:23 am

I think the discussion has degraded to the point where you take the most gratutitious exception to a situation (incest) which would be 99.999% destructive if the taboos and legal restrictions were lowered

I doubt it’s “the most gratuitous exception”; it’s just an actual case I’m aware of (the article in which I read about said that it’s not terribly unusual among long-separated parents/children)

Not only would it sexualize family life and disintegrate marriage

Why? Do you think that a lot of people want to practice incest and are only prevented from doing so by legislation? Do you think that “taboos” would go away just because a law did? People are still free to discriminate against people who engage in activities they disapprove of, without needing laws (in fact, laws often prevent discrimination!)

if children were produced they would have serious genetic problems,

Nonsense. Not unless they were living in a closed community for generations.

and if not, they certainly would have serious psychological problems

Any psychological problems would only be a reaction to outside society’s condemnation. [Again, unless you're talking about abuse victims, in which case it's the abuse that's the problem]

It’s logical to say that Stalin got power because …

You’ll have to explain why that’s logical.

I don’t think you’ll find any present-day justification of past atrocities in the Bible, especially after the appearance of Jesus Christ

FWIW, Mark 7 has Jesus telling the Jews off for not following the Word of God because they don’t kill their children. I wouldn’t take that seriously except that Matthew 5, “not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law”, clearly means that Christians should follow the OT laws – all the “kill your children for looking at you funny” stuff is still good.

JIMB October 17, 2006 at 8:49 am

Peter – Right – people, in a libertarian society, could conceivably be moral and follow natural moral law, but that does not contradict the triple whammy here:

1 – Rothbard is practicing – in the same article! – what he preaches against.

2 – He proposes an alternate morality where sin is simply redefined to what he believes.

3 – Libertarianism must FIRST dismantle ALL states (or at least enough so that the remainder don’t have any power or perhaps make a standoff) or else it will cause power to flow to evil. Thus talking about reducing moral laws in a context where states are nowhere near disappearing is a huge, huge negative.

About Stalin – it’s a logical argument because within the Marxist world-view, it’s non-contradictory. Logic starts with ultimate givens or presuppositions (logic cannot say which presupposition is right) and reasons from there. Are you familiar with formal logic? (All thinking starts from axioms…)

Jesus supplanted many of the OT laws. Again (I don’t mean this to be taken as rude) but having an opinion about things which are not understood at least in their rudimentary form is less than useful. But perhaps I am incorrect, so here’s the challenge: you’ll need to post the verse to which you refer because I can’t find what you’re claiming.

Roger M October 17, 2006 at 8:51 am

JIMB, I agree with you completely, but let me comment on this: “in other words, how to arbitrate between competing world views?” Read Francis Schaeffer and Ravi Zacharias. You compare world views by creating a model of life based on the principles of that world view, then compare that model with reality. I think you’ll find the orthodox Christian model fits reality best.

Sione:”It’s interesting that when the evils of religion are disclosed the first thing the religious adherent tries to do is seek out something he thinks is worse.”

You’re right. It’s not the most logical technique. But the reason for using it is to break the myth that only religion has a bad record. People who attack “religion” tend to be atheists, or at least irreligious, and have the attitude that all religion is evil and getting rid of it would turn the planet into paradise. Still, it is a fact that non-religious wars and philosophies have murdered far more innocent people than religious ones. Another reason for using the technique is to get people thinking about how much evil supposedly non-religious ideologies can commit.

In the same way that irreligious ideologies differ and can be good or bad, so do religions. And to confuse the issue even more, some just plain evil people will use religion as an excuse to commit evil.

“The point is that religious instruction in theory and in practice has evil elements. Kill your children. Murder your wife. Eliminate the good. Rape. Pillage. Steal. Wage War! Do genocide for God. Do it all! Do it for God! Just evil.”

Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism teach none of those. Islam permits some of it under special circumstances, but many Muslims reject those teachings. I think you’re guilty of fighting a straw man of your own creation.

But let me ask you why you think those acts are evil? The Mongols thought they were virtuous when committed against non-Mongols. How would you explain to a Mongol that he was wrong?

Peter October 17, 2006 at 9:22 am

Logic starts with ultimate givens or presuppositions (logic cannot say which presupposition is right)

But that doesn’t mean every axiom is equally good. You can look at reality to discard incorrect suppositions, etc.

Jesus supplanted many of the OT laws. Again (I don’t mean this to be taken as rude) but having an opinion about things which are not understood at least in their rudimentary form is less than useful. But perhaps I am incorrect, so here’s the challenge: you’ll need to post the verse to which you refer because I can’t find what you’re claiming.

Which one, the “jot of tittle” one where he explicitly says he’s not supplanting any of the OT:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 7:17-19)

Or the one where he chides the Jews for not killing their children?

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

(Mark 7:6-10)

JIMB October 18, 2006 at 8:13 am

Peter – The passage is from Matthew 5:17-19; and you should include Matthew 5:20 (the immediately following verse) which gives context; “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. [KJV]” — In other words, Jesus was talking not of the laws which the Pharisees and scribes followed but of the transcendent laws of God.

Verses 21 and 22 (and following) make that clear: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. [KJV]”

Later Jesus says that the entire law of the prophets can be summed: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(Mat 22:37-40) [KJV]”

Jesus also made it clear to his disciples (through the Holy Spirit) that once the fulfillment of the law (Jesus) had occurred, some things had changed (for instance, the prescription against unclean meat was lifted in Acts 10:12-15, also the prescription for circumcision “Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
(Rom 3:29-31) [KJV]“) I.e. establishing the law IS the sequence from Religious Judaism to Christianity.

Your second example commits the same elimination of context. Consider the verses just following: “But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God)– then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
(Mar 7:11-13) [ESV]”

Which further confirms the interpretation as Jesus castigating the Pharisees for their religious domination of people for their profit, turning the real law of righteousness into evil, while God is doing the opposite with Jesus: turning evil (in fact, the evil of own murder and crucifixion!) back into good…

No beliefs of man are perfect, because we are men, but Christianity FITS, it fits the nature of man, of existence, of the world, of morality — it fits better than anything else. In fact, it savagely fits: it is more shocking, more powerful, has more “radical truth” than any other system of thought. That’s the challenge. Not to find difficulties, but to find genuine truth – like Jesus showed, and the apostles were taught, and the truth the saints followed.

RogerM October 18, 2006 at 8:58 am

Peter seems to think he has a moral code that’s superior to Jesus’s. Even though he deliberately misinterprets the Bible, let’s pretend he is correct in his interpretation. How can his morals code be superior to Jesus’s? If Jesus were nothing more than a man, then Jesus’s and Peter’s morals would be equivalent, for no man has moral authority over another. It would be a case of Peter’s opinion against Jesus’s. That Peter’s is more modern and maybe has more support today than Jesus’s doesn’t give it legitimacy, just popularity. But if Jesus was God, then Jesus’s morals are superior to Peter’s because God has the authority to command mankind whereas Peter, unfortunately, doesn’t, being just a man like us.

Let’s crank the discussion up a notch. In Hitler’s moral code, Jews were corrupting the gene pool and causing all kinds of evil. How would argue that such a moral code was wrong? Hitler was a man; Peter is a man. Again, it’s a situation of one man’s word against another.

Now Peter could use the libertarian argument of the right to self ownership, but he can’t claim moral authority. All he can claim is that Hitler acted irrationally or unreasonably, because, again, the libertarian code of conduct is the creation of a man. Still, Hitler could have defended himself against the charge of irrationality with the vast amount of scientific evidence from the field of euthanasia available at the time.

So, in the end, it doesn’t matter that Peter doesn’t like Jesus’s morals, even though he has misinterpreted them. What matters is whether Jesus was God or not. If not, the argument becomes a boring “he said, she said” dialog. If so, why doesn’t Peter submit to Him?

JIMB October 19, 2006 at 7:08 am

RogerM – The article says “psychologizers” are greedy, immoral, inconsistent, capricious, arrogant, dominating: basically evil. Hmmmm. Sounds like SIN. That’s what gets me; it’s the persistent worldview that is actually a religion.

I see libertarianism like this:
Fundamental reality – the self
What went wrong – government
How to fix – get rid of government

Christianity proposes:
Fundamental reality – God
What went wrong – man’s sin (pride, greed, etc.)
How to fix – belief in Jesus as paying the price for one’s sin and submission to God, a standard outside one’s fallen self.

I just think it is really disturbing to see – especially in this case – Rothbard arguing a particular definition of sin and acting as if he isn’t making a moral statement on the same level as a religious argument. He is.

RogerM October 19, 2006 at 10:43 am

JIMB, I agree completely! Libertarians are brilliant at economics. They become a little unbalanced when trying to remake morality in their image. But philosphers have tried what Rothbard attempted since at least Aristotle. After WWII, most philosphers were honest enough to throw in the towel. But some will always try to create meaning and morals without God because mankind can’t live without a code of conduct. It’s human nature.

M E Hoffer October 19, 2006 at 8:22 pm

here’s a related take:

http://www.newstarget.com/020748.html

JIMB October 20, 2006 at 7:36 am

ME Hoffer – Only real solution to big pharma, the AMA, the Bar Association, etc. is to reduce public support – payment of TAXES – to the point where the government must necessarily restrict it’s activities to their essential Constitutionally limited activities.

The only way that will happen “peacefully”, is for a majority of U.S. citizens to cease paying taxes, to show up in alarming numbers at the arrest of anyone for the “crime” of not paying taxes, and to simultaneously begin to use gold (or some other form of payment) as money.

Oh, and juries should nullify the tax laws, and various other laws which support leviathan.

A few enterprising fellows might even tar and feather some (all?) congressmen (except of course Ron Paul). Especially given their unbelievable ignorance of many things over which they presume to have authority. Consider this (ignore the “elliot wave” part if you read the original article):

http://www.elliotwave.com/features/default.aspx?cat=mw&aid=2675&time=pm

[Quote]
A New York Times op-ed piece by the national security editor at the Congressional Quarterly is generating buzz this week. It describes how counterterrorism and intelligence officials, plus key members of Congress, display dismal ignorance when asked the question, “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shite?”

The author contends that most officials he has interviewed “don’t have a clue,” and are clearly confused regarding basic facts about Islam and the Middle East — including whether Iran is predominately Sunni or Shia.

The author states, “It seems silly to have to argue that officials responsible for counterterrorism should be able to recognize opportunities for pitting these rivals against each other.”

An F.B.I. spokesman fired back that there was no need to be able to play, “Islamic Trivial Pursuit.”

This situation stands in sharp contrast to useful U.S. knowledge of Japanese culture in World War Two.

Douglas MacArthur, for example, gained a detailed knowledge of Japan and Japanese culture while serving there in 1904 as an aide to his father. Japan was ruled by an emperor worshiped as a god, and was at least as strange and alien to western culture as Islam is today.

MacArthur’s knowledge of the enemy served the U. S. well in naval and air battles, and helped again as he directed the successful establishment of democracy during Japan’s reconstruction. Despite his controversy, but also because of it, he was acknowledged as a brilliant leader.

Today it seems many of the officials paid to lead and protect us are ignorant of Islamic culture, and even surprised at their own ignorance.
[/Quote]

RogerM October 20, 2006 at 9:45 am

I think psychiatry is the real culprit here. The determinist school that believed we are nothing more than a collection of chemical reactions won over the majority of the psychiatric community. The public loves it because it absolves everyone of any responsibility for their actions. Psychiatrists love it because it makes their jobs easier–blaim everything on chemical imbalances. A defense of the psychiatry profession might be that they are just taking the theory of evolution to its logic conclusions. The top scientists in the country believe we’re just a mess of chemical reactions. The pharma companies are just meeting the demands of the public to be absolved of responsibility for their actions, like any good entrepreneur.

newson March 3, 2011 at 10:26 am

anyone interested in the frankfurt school could do worse than read macdonald’s the culture of critique:
http://is.gd/DPtBCX

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: