Nazi hatred hypocrisy?

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viddy9
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#1
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#1
The Stalinist and totalitarian regimes aside from the Nazi Regime in the 20th Century, and their crimes, do get attention in my opinion, but not as much as the Nazis. There are a number of factors leading to this outcome, I would say:

* The Soviet Union, seen as the main "communist" state of the 20th Century, was not responsible for as many deaths as the Nazi regime was, as the acclaimed historian Prof. Timothy Snyder outlines here. Similarly, Nazi Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWII in Europe, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

* Leading on from this, the Soviet Union was instrumental in the defeat of the Nazis, and was allied with Britain, which did probably soften people's attitudes to the country.

* None of the Leninist regimes of the 20th Century were as explicitly racist, if racist at all, as the Nazi regime was.

* These so-called "socialist" states called themselves "socialist", and many people who either supported them or condoned them were what most people would consider morally good people. Right-wing, racist, nationalistic countries - fascist countries - by default are an affront to many people's morals. Socialism, meanwhile, merely calls for greater equality, social justice and public ownership over the means of production. Communism, meanwhile, is defined as a classless, stateless society with no currency, a society of free association and decisions being made by the people through direct democracy. Looking past the distortions that were the Leninist regimes of the 20th Century, many people, whether they see these societies as realistic or not, would ideally wish for them. Most people, by contrast, would not like to live in an unequal, conservative, racist, right-wing society: such a society is an illustration of how primitive humans can sometimes be. Therefore, when people see the word "socialist" in the USSR, they probably subconsciously soften up.

My last point answers your last question as well. To be a communist is to simply believe in a society in which everyone is equal, with no class system, no monetary system and no state. People won't physically suffer in such a society, or indeed mentally suffer. It's an ideal society; a peaceful one. The same can't be said of a fascist society. Therefore, being a communist is not seen as bad as being a Nazi, and rightly so, because there's nothing wrong with being a communist at all.
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Wellzi
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#2
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(Original post by viddy9)
The Stalinist and totalitarian regimes aside from the Nazi Regime in the 20th Century, and their crimes, do get attention in my opinion, but not as much as the Nazis. There are a number of factors leading to this outcome, I would say:

* The Soviet Union, seen as the main "communist" state of the 20th Century, was not responsible for as many deaths as the Nazi regime was, as the acclaimed historian Prof. Timothy Snyder outlines here. Similarly, Nazi Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWII in Europe, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

* Leading on from this, the Soviet Union was instrumental in the defeat of the Nazis, and was allied with Britain, which did probably soften people's attitudes to the country.

* None of the Leninist regimes of the 20th Century were as explicitly racist, if racist at all, as the Nazi regime was.

* These so-called "socialist" states called themselves "socialist", and many people who either supported them or condoned them were what most people would consider morally good people. Right-wing, racist, nationalistic countries - fascist countries - by default are an affront to many people's morals. Socialism, meanwhile, merely calls for greater equality, social justice and public ownership over the means of production. Communism, meanwhile, is defined as a classless, stateless society with no currency, a society of free association and decisions being made by the people through direct democracy. Looking past the distortions that were the Leninist regimes of the 20th Century, many people, whether they see these societies as realistic or not, would ideally wish for them. Most people, by contrast, would not like to live in an unequal, conservative, racist, right-wing society: such a society is an illustration of how primitive humans can sometimes be. Therefore, when people see the word "socialist" in the USSR, they probably subconsciously soften up.

My last point answers your last question as well. To be a communist is to simply believe in a society in which everyone is equal, with no class system, no monetary system and no state. People won't physically suffer in such a society, or indeed mentally suffer. It's an ideal society; a peaceful one. The same can't be said of a fascist society. Therefore, being a communist is not seen as bad as being a Nazi, and rightly so, because there's nothing wrong with being a communist at all.
Devil's advocate time.

It appears to me as though you're saying that fascism is inherently wrong, and that you think that communism causes much less harm than National Socialism. Well, as it turned out, to some extent, you are correct. The Holocaust was the result of the Nazi Regime, and there is no denying it.

However, believing in a fascist ideology, or any ideology for that matter, does not in any way suggest that you would support the murder of an innocent human being, regardless of their race are beliefs etc. I bet that a lot of the members of the NSDAP didn't buy into the anti semitic bull**** they were being fed 24/7 by Goebbels and his cronies. Instead, they believed in a Germany for Germans, which in a time of no multiculturalism, is understandable.

Just like those who identified with a marxist ideology didn't kill anyone, neither did most ordinary fascist. You seem to be implying that the Soviet population were all holding hands, and waiting for the red revolution and Stalin to fulfill Uncle Karl's global utopian prophecy.

At the end of the day, communism failed to manifest itself without robbing the rich and murdering its opposition, to a similar degree to the Nazi's. But hey, at least the Germans benefited for a few years under the Third Reich, where as the Soviets were oppressed until the wall fell down half a century later!

I hate both Nazism and Communism equally, but i'm bored and felt like arguing.
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viddy9
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#3
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(Original post by Wellzi)
It appears to me as though you're saying that fascism is inherently wrong, and that you think that communism causes much less harm than National Socialism.
I am saying that fascism is inherently wrong, yes, and I'm saying that communism is inherently right.

(Original post by Wellzi)
However, believing in a fascist ideology, or any ideology for that matter, does not in any way suggest that you would support the murder of an innocent human being, regardless of their race are beliefs etc. I bet that a lot of the members of the NSDAP didn't buy into the anti semitic bull**** they were being fed 24/7 by Goebbels and his cronies. Instead, they believed in a Germany for Germans, which in a time of no multiculturalism, is understandable.
Perhaps, but to be a fascist, you'd have to be fairly militaristic and nationalistic. Both attributes are, in my opinion, illogical and harmful.

(Original post by Wellzi)
Just like those who identified with a marxist ideology didn't kill anyone, neither did most ordinary fascist. You seem to be implying that the Soviet population were all holding hands, and waiting for the red revolution and Stalin to fulfill Uncle Karl's global utopian prophecy.
If I did imply that, I didn't mean to. Stalin's goal was never to implement communism.

(Original post by Wellzi)
At the end of the day, communism failed to manifest itself without robbing the rich and murdering its opposition, to a similar degree to the Nazi's.
It depends what you mean by robbing the rich, of course. If you're referring to redistribution, it's clear that, without the workers, the rich wouldn't be so rich in the first place. In fact, the rich rob the poor in the first place, by charging wages as low as possible so as not to decrease inequality, thus it's not 'robbing the rich', it's taking back what is morally the property of ordinary people. In any case, as I say, you'd have no success stories without the workers behind it.

Communism did implement itself, though. In the 1930s, the Spanish Revolution occurred, and in some places in Spain, a stateless, classless society, sometimes with no currency, was formed. As George Orwell described in Homage to Catalonia:

I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life—snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.—had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.
Similarly, as the historian Gaston Leval summarises:

In Spain during almost three years, despite a civil war that took a million lives, despite the opposition of the political parties (republicans, left and right Catalan separatists, socialists, Communists, Basque and Valencian regionalists, petty bourgeoisie, etc.), this idea of libertarian communism was put into effect. Very quickly more than 60% of the land was collectively cultivated by the peasants themselves, without landlords, without bosses, and without instituting capitalist competition to spur production. In almost all the industries, factories, mills, workshops, transportation services, public services, and utilities, the rank and file workers, their revolutionary committees, and their syndicates reorganized and administered production, distribution, and public services without capitalists, high salaried managers, or the authority of the state.

Even more: the various agrarian and industrial collectives immediately instituted economic equality in accordance with the essential principle of communism, 'From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs.' They coordinated their efforts through free association in whole regions, created new wealth, increased production (especially in agriculture), built more schools, and bettered public services. They instituted not bourgeois formal democracy but genuine grass roots functional libertarian democracy, where each individual participated directly in the revolutionary reorganization of social life. They replaced the war between men, 'survival of the fittest,' by the universal practice of mutual aid, and replaced rivalry by the principle of solidarity....

This experience, in which about eight million people directly or indirectly participated, opened a new way of life to those who sought an alternative to anti-social capitalism on the one hand, and totalitarian state bogus socialism on the other.
(Original post by Wellzi)
But hey, at least the Germans benefited for a few years under the Third Reich, where as the Soviets were oppressed until the wall fell down half a century later!
Fascinating but ultimately incorrect statement. Firstly, it depends on who the Germans were: of course, after 1935, the Jews weren't even known as Germans, so technically your statement may be less wrong, but for the German Jews, homosexuals, gysies and blacks, they didn't benefit at all. Furthermore, living in a state of constant fear that one was going to be taken by the Gestapo, or informed on by one's neighbour, is what I would call oppressed. Not being able to speak out against the regime is, again, what I would call oppression. There were, of course, some benefits, but the same is true under the Soviet regime: under the Soviet regime, healthcare and education were free for all, and gender equality advanced rapidly. It is no surprise that almost 60% of Russians want the Soviet Union to return - I doubt that there are many Germans who want the Nazi regime to return!
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tomfailinghelp
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#4
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#4
(Original post by viddy9)
I am saying that fascism is inherently wrong, yes, and I'm saying that communism is inherently right.
Forgive me if I don't treat the rest of your post - I'm no historian.

You do realise that Communism is contrary to human rights, right? How can you possibly maintain that such a system is inherently right?
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viddy9
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#5
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(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
You do realise that Communism is contrary to human rights, right? How can you possibly maintain that such a system is inherently right?
So a society with equality, peace, social justice, public ownership over the means of production, no hierarchical structures and no currency is contrary to human rights?

A society in which people freely associate with one another and participate in decision-making through direct democracy is contrary to human rights?

No, on the contrary, capitalism, which inevitably leads to massive inequality, poverty, imperialism and exploitation of the vulnerable is contrary to human rights. The Leninist regimes of the 20th Century, which put into place state capitalism, as Lenin himself admitted, acted contrary to human rights by oppressing people and implementing forced labour camps. The fascist regimes of the 20th Century, such as the Nazi regime, acted contrary to human rights by committing genocides and oppressing their peoples.

Communism, though, does not act contrary to human rights, and in the few places where it has emerged (the Paris Commune, the Ukrainian Free Territory, and the Spanish anarchist regions), human rights were always given credence over the attributes and actions that are intrinsic to capitalist, Leninist and fascist societies.
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tomfailinghelp
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(Original post by viddy9)
So a society with equality, peace, social justice, public ownership over the means of production, no hierarchical structures and no currency is contrary to human rights?

A society in which people freely associate with one another and participate in decision-making through direct democracy is contrary to human rights?

No, on the contrary, capitalism, which inevitably leads to massive inequality, poverty, imperialism and exploitation of the vulnerable is contrary to human rights. The Leninist regimes of the 20th Century, which put into place state capitalism, as Lenin himself admitted, acted contrary to human rights by oppressing people and implementing forced labour camps. The fascist regimes of the 20th Century, such as the Nazi regime, acted contrary to human rights by committing genocides and oppressing their peoples.

Communism, though, does not act contrary to human rights, and in the few places where it has emerged (the Paris Commune, the Ukrainian Free Territory, and the Spanish anarchist regions), human rights were always given credence over the attributes and actions that are intrinsic to capitalist, Leninist and fascist societies.
Yes because it undermines the right to property - nothing is more fundamental than the right to property, unless you'll suggest that you don't even own your own body?

Moreover, how can a system which one is forced into being part of allow human rights in any way - or can people simply opt out of your society?

And quite clearly you're ignoring that fact that it could not possibly work. A group of people cannot trade without currency. A group of people cannot function without hierarchy.

Yes, in those instances, Human Rights have been observed, that is, if you ignore all the instances in which they haven't. Most obvious of these is when a Communist state is established, thereby undermining the fundamental right to property.
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viddy9
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#7
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(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
Yes because it undermines the right to property - nothing is more fundamental than the right to property, unless you'll suggest that you don't even own your own body?

Moreover, how can a system which one is forced into being part of allow human rights in any way - or can people simply opt out of your society?

And quite clearly you're ignoring that fact that it could not possibly work. A group of people cannot trade without currency. A group of people cannot function without hierarchy.

Yes, in those instances, Human Rights have been observed, that is, if you ignore all the instances in which they haven't. Most obvious of these is when a Communist state is established, thereby undermining the fundamental right to property.
In a communist society, people have the right to personal property.

People aren't forced to be part of an anarcho-communist society, it's a society of free association.

Well, your assertions are proven wrong by the empirical evidence, namely the Spanish anarchist regions, to name one example, which, in some places, functioned without currency and hierarchy. Even the workers' militias and armies, which had no hierarchy, had very few drop-outs or defections, as Orwell stated in Homage to Catalonia.

Which other instances? Clearly, you've fallen for the oxymoron that is a 'Communist state'. There's no such thing. Communism, as I've already stated, is a stateless society. This is true in any leftist ideological trend, whether it's libertarian socialism and anarchism, council communism or Marxism.

The "Communist states" that you're referring to were not, and are not, communist. They're state capitalist, or state socialist at the very best. Lenin himself admitted that he was implementing state capitalism, while Engels, who co-founded Marxism, wrote:

"the transformation... into State-ownership does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces...State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution"
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tomfailinghelp
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(Original post by viddy9)
In a communist society, people have the right to personal property.

People aren't forced to be part of an anarcho-communist society, it's a society of free association.

Well, your assertions are proven wrong by the empirical evidence, namely the Spanish anarchist regions, to name one example, which, in some places, functioned without currency and hierarchy. Even the workers' militias and armies, which had no hierarchy, had very few drop-outs or defections, as Orwell stated in Homage to Catalonia.

Which other instances? Clearly, you've fallen for the oxymoron that is a 'Communist state'. There's no such thing. Communism, as I've already stated, is a stateless society. This is true in any leftist ideological trend, whether it's libertarian socialism and anarchism, council communism or Marxism.
So? That doesn't mean it doesn't undermine the right to property. In fact it does undermine the right to property, because, as you've stated, there would be public ownership of the means of production.

Oh really. Explain to me how that works, then. Suppose I'm a house-builder, and I've just built a house and am feeling hungry, how do I exchange this for some food?

I don't really think my use of the term 'state' had any influence on my argument, so I'm not sure why it is necessary to point out that misapplication.
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viddy9
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#9
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#9
(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
So? That doesn't mean it doesn't undermine the right to property. In fact it does undermine the right to property, because, as you've stated, there would be public ownership of the means of production.
People would have homes, therefore they'd have personal property. I don't see why anyone has a right to have any more than that.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
Oh really. Explain to me how that works, then. Suppose I'm a house-builder, and I've just built a house and am feeling hungry, how do I exchange this for some food?
Firstly, in such a society, I would expect even house building to be largely mechanised. If there were still house-builders, and they worked, then they would simply take the food, as people did in Spain - the food is produced for the public, and the public consumes it. Again, if such a society were ever to emerge again, technology would mean that production would be massively increased, even in Spain, production increases in many of the anarchist regions. In Spain, and in any communist society, I would expect, everything would work under the principle of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need', a principle which is actually derived from the Bible - the necessary essentials for living would be freely distributed in such a society, as would other goods, depending on one's needs. And, as mentioned before, direct democracy would be in operation, allowing this system to function.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
I don't really think my use of the term 'state' had any influence on my argument, so I'm not sure why it is necessary to point out that misapplication.
You were mentioning the instances in which human rights were not respected, and I assumed you meant the Leninist states of the 20th Century, which, as established, were not communist; if you didn't, then I don't know of an example of communism in which human rights were not broadly observed.
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tomfailinghelp
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(Original post by viddy9)
People would have homes, therefore they'd have personal property. I don't see why anyone has a right to have any more than that.
Personal property isn't about access to any arbitrary amount, it's about access on the basis of a principle of acquisition. You could just as easily say 'Here, have an apple, you have personal property; be content!', and it would be as justified as your current suggestion is. Without adherence to a legitimate principle of acquisition, the right to property is not fulfilled. Your communist union would undermine this.

(Original post by viddy9)
Firstly, in such a society, I would expect even house building to be largely mechanised. If there were still house-builders, and they worked, then they would simply take the food, as people did in Spain - the food is produced for the public, and the public consumes it. Again, if such a society were ever to emerge again, technology would mean that production would be massively increased, even in Spain, production increases in many of the anarchist regions. In Spain, and in any communist society, I would expect, everything would work under the principle of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need', a principle which is actually derived from the Bible - the necessary essentials for living would be freely distributed in such a society, as would other goods, depending on one's needs. And, as mentioned before, direct democracy would be in operation, allowing this system to function.

And not 'each according to his right to what he has earned', thereby undermining the right to property and all other rights which are subordinate to that one. Thereby undermining all rights.

(Original post by viddy9)
You were mentioning the instances in which human rights were not respected, and I assumed you meant the Leninist states of the 20th Century, which, as established, were not communist; if you didn't, then I don't know of an example of communism in which human rights were not broadly observed.
I'm speaking entirely theoretically - I don't have a great deal of historical knowledge of previous Marxist societies. I've demonstrated several times thus far why Communist society undermines human rights in principle.
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viddy9
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#11
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#11
(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
Personal property isn't about access to any arbitrary amount, it's about access on the basis of a principle of acquisition. You could just as easily say 'Here, have an apple, you have personal property; be content!', and it would be as justified as your current suggestion is. Without adherence to a legitimate principle of acquisition, the right to property is not fulfilled. Your communist union would undermine this.
Personal property should be based upon one's needs and then upon one's wants so long as everyone else's needs and wants are catered for as well. A house is necessary for shelter and privacy, therefore a house is justified; an apple is not.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)

And not 'each according to his right to what he has earned', thereby undermining the right to property and all other rights which are subordinate to that one. Thereby undermining all rights.
What right? Everyone has a right to have what they need and, then, what they desire. I don't believe that anyone has a right to what he has earned, whatever that means - it's a rather ambiguous statement, it seems to me. What is the nature of what he has earned?

The problem with many moral questions, and therefore political questions, is that two people often have different moral outlooks from the start. I myself don't even believe in rights - I'm a utilitarian, and seek to maximise the number of preferences fulfilled and minimise suffering, but the concept of 'rights' is adequate for everyday usage, usually. Everybody having what they need, and following that, everybody having what they desire, is a far better way to minimise suffering than having a few who get what they need and what they want, and many who can barely even get what they need.

The states which called themselves Marxist, or Marxist-Leninist, did indeed violate human rights. They were not communist societies, however, and there has never been a society espousing Marxism that has become communist. The societies I have mentioned were libertarian socialist, or anarchist, societies. The difference being that libertarian socialism, or libertarian communism, believes in spontaneous revolution, whereas Marxism asserts that there has to be a state preceding the communist stage (a democratic state, incidentally and ironically). Libertarian socialists and Marxists argue constantly about how to achieve the same goal, essentially: I am of the former breed.
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tomfailinghelp
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#12
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(Original post by viddy9)
Personal property should be based upon one's needs and then upon one's wants so long as everyone else's needs and wants are catered for as well. A house is necessary for shelter and privacy, therefore a house is justified; an apple is not.
No, it should not. No-one deserves that to which they have no right, and no-one's right can impinge on that of others. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that a person has a right to a house. Where does this house come from? Out of the pocket of someone else.

Do this latter person not have a right to their own money, or, in your case, whatever commodity they have worked for? Obviously they do, unless you reject the claim that people have a right to their own bodies and whatever they have worked for. And therefore, I fail to see how one can be justified in taking it from them involuntarily.

(Original post by viddy9)
What right? Everyone has a right to have which they need and, then, what they desire. I don't believe that anyone has a right to what he has earned, whatever that means - it's a rather ambiguous statement, it seems to me. What is the nature of what he has earned?

The problem with many moral questions, and therefore political questions, is that two people often have different moral outlooks from the start. I myself don't even believe in rights - I'm a utilitarian, and seek to maximise the number of preferences fulfilled and minimise suffering, but the concept of 'rights' is adequate for everyday usage, usually. Everybody having what they need, and following that, everybody having what they desire, is a far better way to minimise suffering than having a few who get what they need and what they want, and many who can barely even get what they need.

The states which called themselves Marxist, or Marxist-Leninist, did indeed violate human rights. They were not communist societies, however, and there has never been a society espousing Marxism that has become communist. The societies I have mentioned were libertarian socialist, or anarchist, societies. The difference being that libertarian socialism, or libertarian communism, believes in spontaneous revolution, whereas Marxism asserts that there has to be a state preceding the communist stage (a democratic state, incidentally and ironically). Libertarian socialists and Marxists argue constantly about how to achieve the same goal, essentially: I am of the former breed.
No, they don't. You can hardly criticise me for ambiguity, and then say that everyone has a right to 'what they need', as if that isn't far more ambiguous.

But okay, suppose that what one has earned is that which one has mixed their own labour with, but is limited in that it must leave as much and as good for everyone else. Are you saying that a man has no right to that for which he has laboured?

I know what a Utilitarian is, and I'm honestly surprised that you would admit to being one. You do realise Utilitarianism has been laughed out of modern academia?

But of course you do not support the idea of rights, then, for Utilitarianism neglects the existence of individuals. Indeed, there are none, right? We are just a homogenous mass?

And essentially, you are wrong, morally and politically. You are seriously advocating a situation where individuals are swept aside and abused for the sake of, what, 'society'? But Society is merely a collection of individuals. You cannot neglect the former for the sake of the latter, that is a patent contradiction.
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viddy9
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#13
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(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
No, it should not. No-one deserves that to which they have no right, and no-one's right can impinge on that of others. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that a person has a right to a house. Where does this house come from? Out of the pocket of someone else.

Do this latter person not have a right to their own money, or, in your case, whatever commodity they have worked for? Obviously they do, unless you reject the claim that people have a right to their own bodies and whatever they have worked for. And therefore, I fail to see how one can be justified in taking it from them involuntarily.
Well, firstly, I don't see where you logically get from having the right to one's own money to having the right to one's own body. They're two completely separate things.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
No, they don't. You can hardly criticise me for ambiguity, and then say that everyone has a right to 'what they need', as if that isn't far more ambiguous.
It's simple biology. Humans need warmth, shelter, food, water, etc.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
I know what a Utilitarian is, and I'm honestly surprised that you would admit to being one. You do realise Utilitarianism has been laughed out of modern academia?
Do you have any evidence for the assertion that it's been laughed out of modern academia? One of the most well-known and respected moral philosophers, Peter Singer, is a Utilitarian, and as far as I can tell, he's not been laughed out of academia at all; to the contrary, he's inspired thousands to do good in the world and the only fault many can find with him is that he is, to quote another moral philosopher, 'too damn logical'.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
But of course you do not support the idea of rights, then, for Utilitarianism neglects the existence of individuals. Indeed, there are none, right? We are just a homogenous mass?
Individuals exist in a utilitarian worldview and their preferences are taken into account. If an individual does not wish to be murdered, then the individual should not be murdered. However, in utilitarianism, the needs of the many do, of course, outweigh the needs of the few. Nevertheless, if the needs of everyone can be catered for, then that is what should be done.
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tomfailinghelp
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#14
(Original post by viddy9)
Well, firstly, I don't see where you logically get from having the right to one's own money to having the right to one's own body. They're two completely separate things.
I've said already I'm not entirely comfortable with the labour theory of acquisition, but I'll use that for now.

One obviously owns one's body, and thus any labour which originates it. We acquire properly through labour, e.g. I pick an apple from a tree and it is therefore mine. Therefore, anything for which I have worked is mine, and any violation of that right is ak to a violation of my body.

(Original post by viddy9)
It's simple biology. Humans need warmth, shelter, food, water, etc.
You've missed the point - which is whether the state, or society, has an obligation to maintain the lives of the individuals which comprise it, not what would maintain these lives if it did have that obligation. I see no reason why it should - it's role is to protect our rights, I.e. our right to our own bodies, but not to make sure that those rights are fulfilled. Otherwise, the state would have an obligation to maintain our houses and other property.

(Original post by viddy9)
Do you have any evidence for the assertion that it's been laughed out of modern academia? One of the most well-known and respected moral philosophers, Peter Singer, is a Utilitarian, and as far as I can tell, he's not been laughed out of academia at all; to the contrary, he's inspired thousands to do good in the world and the only fault many can find with him is that he is, to quote another moral philosopher, 'too damn logical'.
Peter Singer is also an animal liberationist - just because he believes something, doesn't mean that belief is a well-respected one. I will concede I have not concrete evidence, but Hart said 'We are currently witnessing, I think, the progress of a transition from a once widely accepted old faith that some form of Utilitarianism, if only we could discover the right form, must capture the essence of political morality', and most of western political philosophy now has been framed in response to Rawls, who totally debased Utilitarianism in his work, so I think that's a reasonably comfortable assertion.

(Original post by viddy9)
Individuals exist in a utilitarian worldview and their preferences are taken into account. If an individual does not wish to be murdered, then the individual should not be murdered. However, in utilitarianism, the needs of the many do, of course, outweigh the needs of the few. Nevertheless, if the needs of everyone can be catered for, then that is what should be done.
They exist, but they aren't protected in any way. The individual is totally disregarded - he is asked to totally sacrifice himself merely for the pleasure of others. This system suggests that there isn't a thing inherently wrong about violating someone else's personal space, raping them, taking their belongings etcetera. Clearly that is bizarre.

Let me ask you a question; suppose you were a doctor, and you were approached by a man who had three children. Two of his children were dying from a fatal kidney disease, which can only be solved by a transplant. The remaining child has two perfectly healthy kidneys which would solve the problem. Do you cause the death of this child, removing his kidneys, to save the lives of the other two?
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tomfailinghelp
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#15
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#15
But, anyway, there's a flaw here even if we accept Utilitarianism.

Adopting my position, there is freedom of conscience. Adopting your position, there can only be Utilitarianism. How is one to follow any other system of ethics when the state (or society, whatever you want to call it) redistributes one's own property in a Utilitarian process?

There is no room for freedom in your society, unless by freedom you mean the liberty to be subject to the whim of the majority. That isn't freedom.
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viddy9
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#16
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#16
(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
I've said already I'm not entirely comfortable with the labour theory of acquisition, but I'll use that for now.

One obviously owns one's body, and thus any labour which originates it. We acquire properly through labour, e.g. I pick an apple from a tree and it is therefore mine. Therefore, anything for which I have worked is mine, and any violation of that right is ak to a violation of my body.
You're simply assuming, however, that people would work for anything else but the community and to better themselves and humanity. Indeed, as I've already stated, I advocate communism through free association - people, as in Spain and the Free Ukrainian territories, want to work for each other and to better themselves. If they don't, then they don't have to remain part of the society.

You assume that people want anything from their labour - they get many benefits from working without having to acquire something material for it.


(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
You've missed the point - which is whether the state, or society, has an obligation to maintain the lives of the individuals which comprise it, not what would maintain these lives if it did have that obligation. I see no reason why it should - it's role is to protect our rights, I.e. our right to our own bodies, but not to make sure that those rights are fulfilled. Otherwise, the state would have an obligation to maintain our houses and other property.
I see a reason why society should care for every individual within that society - if it did not, then the net suffering would increase. Again, this disagreement is due to diametrically opposed moral worldviews.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
Peter Singer is also an animal liberationist - just because he believes something, doesn't mean that belief is a well-respected one. I will concede I have not concrete evidence, but Hart said 'We are currently witnessing, I think, the progress of a transition from a once widely accepted old faith that some form of Utilitarianism, if only we could discover the right form, must capture the essence of political morality', and most of western political philosophy now has been framed in response to Rawls, who totally debased Utilitarianism in his work, so I think that's a reasonably comfortable assertion.
I doubt he'd be as respected as he is, however, if utilitarianism were, as you put it laughed out of modern academia. Provided the assumption of preference utilitarianism is correct - that net suffering should decrease and the net preferences fulfilled should be increases, I believe that utilitarianism is logically coherent, as are its implications, including the concept of animal liberation. Even under other moral worldviews, most of them incorporate some form of the 'least harm' principle; as such, I see no logical reason not to advocate animal liberation, but that's a separate matter.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
They exist, but they aren't protected in any way. The individual is totally disregarded - he is asked to totally sacrifice himself merely for the pleasure of others. This system suggests that there isn't a thing inherently wrong about violating someone else's personal space, raping them, taking their belongings etcetera. Clearly that is bizarre.
There's nothing inherently wrong about anything as long as it increases the number of what I call equal-preferences that are fulfilled, or reduces the net suffering in the world. My concept of equal-preferences also incorporates the Golden Rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated. If one uses reason to imagine how one would feel in certain circumstances, then one can judge which preference outweighs another. As for your examples of what aren't inherently wrong, if someone was holding five hostages, and I had to take another person's belongings to save these five hostages for murder, I would do it, therefore, there's nothing inherently wrong about taking another person's belongings.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
Let me ask you a question; suppose you were a doctor, and you were approached by a man who had three children. Two of his children were dying from a fatal kidney disease, which can only be solved by a transplant. The remaining child has two perfectly healthy kidneys which would solve the problem. Do you cause the death of this child, removing his kidneys, to save the lives of the other two?
Yes, provided the father does not stop me, I would cause the death of this child to save the lives of the other two. However, if this policy were legally implemented, it could cause a great deal of suffering to people who are apprehensive about even going to the doctor for fear of being murdered and having their organs harvested. Furthermore, as a result of this, society may vote that they do not wish to take organs from a murdered human being if they are dying, meaning that their preferences dictate that this child, let's say, should not be killed.

If this scenario you present me with is behind closed doors, though, then yes, I would say it's morally permissible.

Seeing as we're using hypothetical scenarios, let's say an evil person was about to detonate dozens of nuclear weapons around the globe, killing millions, unless you were to cause the death of one person put in front of you. Would you do it?
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Observatory
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#17
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#17
I think there are two reasons.

FIrst, the USSR became an ally of convenience during WWII, so that the official sources promoted communism as against naziism.

Second, since communism was in principle not nationalist, it had appeal and a large following in the western countries, whereas a german supremacist movement did not.

The combination of these two meant that both major forces in western politics, the left and the right, were actively working to lighten the name of communism and blacken that of naziism. I agree that this difference in perception is entirely unjustifiable by the evidence, and its continued existence in mainstream culture severely distorts contemporary politics. For instance, it's much more socially acceptable to make a remark about murdering businessmen than murdering immigrants, even though neither group is intrinsically guilty of anything.
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tomfailinghelp
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#18
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#18
(Original post by viddy9)
You're simply assuming, however, that people would work for anything else but the community and to better themselves and humanity. Indeed, as I've already stated, I advocate communism through free association - people, as in Spain and the Free Ukrainian territories, want to work for each other and to better themselves. If they don't, then they don't have to remain part of the society.

You assume that people want anything from their labour - they get many benefits from working without having to acquire something material for it. ?


One can't work directly for a community though, one would have to work for property and then voluntarily surrender that to the community. If it was the case that one worked directly for the community, one would have no property rights, only the 'society' would have property rights, but obviously this is unintelligible as only persons can have rights. Unless you can provide a theory of the acquisition of property that could be maintained whilst working directly for the community, this settlement undermines all property, which you suggest it can maintain.

Of course, as you've correctly diagnosed, none of my argument has any force if the community operates through a policy of absolute free association. Surely, I believe that you have a right to meet up with some friends and share each other's property around, and work for each other, etcetera.

I'm not sure that this is practical though. How long would it be until one 'democratic' decision made by this group alienated it's constituents enough to cause them to break off? Not long, I imagine.

(Original post by viddy9)
I see a reason why society should care for every individual within that society - if it did not, then the net suffering would increase. Again, this disagreement is due to diametrically opposed moral worldviews.


And the best way to achieve this is through denying individual rights?

But it's so patently immoral to reject something because it increases suffering with no thought to the individuals involved. Surely you must recognise that, as your society would not exist without the individuals which comprise it. Why would anybody choose to be part of a union in which they will be stepped on and walked over purely for the pleasure of others and at little/no benefit to themselves?

(Original post by viddy9)
I doubt he'd be as respected as he is, however, if utilitarianism were, as you put it laughed out of modern academia. Provided the assumption of preference utilitarianism is correct - that net suffering should decrease and the net preferences fulfilled should be increases, I believe that utilitarianism is logically coherent, as are its implications, including the concept of animal liberation. Even under other moral worldviews, most of them incorporate some form of the 'least harm' principle; as such, I see no logical reason not to advocate animal liberation, but that's a separate matter.
This seems a movement. Have you always, throughout our discussion, maintained preference Utilitarianism rather than standard Utilitarianism? Whose preference should be honoured; my preference that I not have to eat Chinese food, or Mr. Kim's preference that I eat Chinese food?

Yes that is a separate matter.

(Original post by viddy9)
There's nothing inherently wrong about anything as long as it increases the number of what I call equal-preferences that are fulfilled, or reduces the net suffering in the world. My concept of equal-preferences also incorporates the Golden Rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated. If one uses reason to imagine how one would feel in certain circumstances, then one can judge which preference outweighs another. As for your examples of what aren't inherently wrong, if someone was holding five hostages, and I had to take another person's belongings to save these five hostages for murder, I would do it, therefore, there's nothing inherently wrong about taking another person's belongings.
It incorporates the golden rule only incidentally. What if my preference is to be spit upon? Obviously any such rule is contrary to Utilitarianism.

Isn't the point of preference Utilitarianism that we can't judge pleasure easily? So what's the point in trying to distinguish the value of different preferences? Why not, then, just be a traditional Utilitarian?

I would not, of course.

(Original post by viddy9)
Yes, provided the father does not stop me, I would cause the death of this child to save the lives of the other two. However, if this policy were legally implemented, it could cause a great deal of suffering to people who are apprehensive about even going to the doctor for fear of being murdered and having their organs harvested. Furthermore, as a result of this, society may vote that they do not wish to take organs from a murdered human being if they are dying, meaning that their preferences dictate that this child, let's say, should not be killed.

If this scenario you present me with is behind closed doors, though, then yes, I would say it's morally permissible.

Seeing as we're using hypothetical scenarios, let's say an evil person was about to detonate dozens of nuclear weapons around the globe, killing millions, unless you were to cause the death of one person put in front of you. Would you do it?
The point of this thought experiment was not to elicit a contradiction in terms in your argument, merely to demonstrate how brutally Utilitarianism conflicts with common sense and moral intuitions. If you don't see the problem then of course the point ends there.

I think your second point is interesting as an illustration of the tremendous mental gymnastics to which Utilitarians subject themselves; you are resting your moral system in this case solely on a totally arbitrary assumption that the good which would originate from this case would be outweighed by the potential upset of those who go to hospital. This can't be concluded from reason alone, provide me some evidence that one produces more pleasure than the other, and I shall accept your conclusion. Clearly you realise how absurd it is to harvest this (living) girl's organs, or you wouldn't be making this bizarre balancing act.

This depends. If the person was a terrorist who had set the bomb, of course I would.

If the person was an innocent civilian, this is more difficult. Ultimately I'd say rights can, perhaps, be violated to avoid a 'catastrophic moral horror', as Nozick put it. I realise this is problematic, for it suggests rights aren't absolute. However, I think it's obvious enough to all people what constitutes such a horror, even if it is difficult to define. The question for me here is, really, 'is there a more significant leap to accept that in exceptional circumstances rights can be constrained, than to accept that there are no rights at all, and people can be mistreated to an unlimited extent purely for the sake of pleasure, and this is as good a circumstance as there can conceivably be?'

Obviously I choose the former, though it isn't an attractive conclusion.
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viddy9
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#19
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#19
(Original post by tomfailinghelp)

And the best way to achieve this is through denying individual rights?

But it's so patently immoral to reject something because it increases suffering with no thought to the individuals involved. Surely you must recognise that, as your society would not exist without the individuals which comprise it. Why would anybody choose to be part of a union in which they will be stepped on and walked over purely for the pleasure of others and at little/no benefit to themselves?
Usually, because there are very few scenarios in which they could be stepped on and walked over purely for the pleasure of others. A communist society, which equally considers the interests of everyone within it, is, for example a far better society than today's, or, for that matter, a Nazi society, to go back to the title of this thread. In today's society, we have the poor being walked over by the rich - a million people living in food poverty and the world's richest 85 people owning more wealth than 3.5 billion people. The poor, today, work solely for the pleasure of others at little or no benefit to themselves.

The point about a communist society is that everybody benefits, and with everyone working together, especially in the future with technological advances, there would very rarely be a case of anybody even having to suffer for the greater good. At least, though, if it does happen, it will be for the greater good, rather than for the few at the top who benefit from austerity measures and so on while the majority of people are seeing their living standards falling.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
Isn't the point of preference Utilitarianism that we can't judge pleasure easily? So what's the point in trying to distinguish the value of different preferences? Why not, then, just be a traditional Utilitarian?
Yes, that is the point of preference utilitarianism, but, as you point out, there are cases in which we would have to distinguish the value of different preferences. Seeing as you are the person that's being 'treated' with the Chinese food, I would say that your preference outweighs Mr. Kim's preference.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
The point of this thought experiment was not to elicit a contradiction in terms in your argument, merely to demonstrate how brutally Utilitarianism conflicts with common sense and moral intuitions. If you don't see the problem then of course the point ends there.
No, I don't see the problem.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
I think your second point is interesting as an illustration of the tremendous mental gymnastics to which Utilitarians subject themselves; you are resting your moral system in this case solely on a totally arbitrary assumption that the good which would originate from this case would be outweighed by the potential upset of those who go to hospital. This can't be concluded from reason alone, provide me some evidence that one produces more pleasure than the other, and I shall accept your conclusion. Clearly you realise how absurd it is to harvest this (living) girl's organs, or you wouldn't be making this bizarre balancing act.
I don't think it's absurd. I never stated that I would not harvest the girl's organs - as a rogue doctor, I certainly would. Nevertheless, it's quite clear that if this were to be implemented by law, for instance, then people simply wouldn't go to hospitals or doctors, for fear of having their organs harvested, which would lead to even more death and suffering. As a rogue doctor, however, harvesting this girl's organs would be the morally correct thing to do, as it would save the lives of two other sentient beings.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
This depends. If the person was a terrorist who had set the bomb, of course I would.
I don't see how this would make any difference. If killing the terrorist would not stop the bomb, then I don't see any reason, in a non-utilitarian world view, to kill him, other than 'revenge', an emotion alien to me. Of course, in a utilitarian worldview, I suppose you could justify it by stating that he is a danger to others in the future, but imprisonment would prevent him from killing others as well.

(Original post by tomfailinghelp)
If the person was an innocent civilian, this is more difficult. Ultimately I'd say rights can, perhaps, be violated to avoid a 'catastrophic moral horror', as Nozick put it. I realise this is problematic, for it suggests rights aren't absolute. However, I think it's obvious enough to all people what constitutes such a horror, even if it is difficult to define. The question for me here is, really, 'is there a more significant leap to accept that in exceptional circumstances rights can be constrained, than to accept that there are no rights at all, and people can be mistreated to an unlimited extent purely for the sake of pleasure, and this is as good a circumstance as there can conceivably be?'

Obviously I choose the former, though it isn't an attractive conclusion.
As you demonstrate here, any moral system has its difficulties and its adherents must engage in 'mental gymnastics'. Unfortunately, the lack of a definition for a 'catastrophic moral horror' is a significant flaw. Where do we draw the line: 100,000, 500,000, 1,000,000 saved by murdering one innocent civilian?

Interestingly, most people would murder one innocent civilian to save 1 million, and many of these are people who claim they are not utilitarians, yet they invoke utilitarian philosophy, or something similar, when they have to murder the innocent civilian. Under utilitarianism, the drawing line is quite clear: if we had to save two people by murdering one, we would still do it. If, as has happened, we were on a boat, stranded out at sea, then murdering one person to save the four others by resorting to cannibalism would be justified. Relying on emotions, rather than reason, however, to define a 'catastrophic moral horror' seems alien to me: a 'catastrophic moral horror' would, for me, be having two people die by not murdering one person.
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#20
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#20
(Original post by viddy9)
The Stalinist and totalitarian regimes aside from the Nazi Regime in the 20th Century, and their crimes, do get attention in my opinion, but not as much as the Nazis. There are a number of factors leading to this outcome, I would say:

* The Soviet Union, seen as the main "communist" state of the 20th Century, was not responsible for as many deaths as the Nazi regime was, as the acclaimed historian Prof. Timothy Snyder outlines here. Similarly, Nazi Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWII in Europe, leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people.

* Leading on from this, the Soviet Union was instrumental in the defeat of the Nazis, and was allied with Britain, which did probably soften people's attitudes to the country.

* None of the Leninist regimes of the 20th Century were as explicitly racist, if racist at all, as the Nazi regime was.

* These so-called "socialist" states called themselves "socialist", and many people who either supported them or condoned them were what most people would consider morally good people. Right-wing, racist, nationalistic countries - fascist countries - by default are an affront to many people's morals. Socialism, meanwhile, merely calls for greater equality, social justice and public ownership over the means of production. Communism, meanwhile, is defined as a classless, stateless society with no currency, a society of free association and decisions being made by the people through direct democracy. Looking past the distortions that were the Leninist regimes of the 20th Century, many people, whether they see these societies as realistic or not, would ideally wish for them. Most people, by contrast, would not like to live in an unequal, conservative, racist, right-wing society: such a society is an illustration of how primitive humans can sometimes be. Therefore, when people see the word "socialist" in the USSR, they probably subconsciously soften up.

My last point answers your last question as well. To be a communist is to simply believe in a society in which everyone is equal, with no class system, no monetary system and no state. People won't physically suffer in such a society, or indeed mentally suffer. It's an ideal society; a peaceful one. The same can't be said of a fascist society. Therefore, being a communist is not seen as bad as being a Nazi, and rightly so, because there's nothing wrong with being a communist at all.
The Soviet Union was directly responsible for millions of deaths, and indirectly responsible for millions more. The communist ideology was responsible for far more deaths than Nazi democide. (That's saying a lot, since the Nazis are estimated to have killed about 20 million innocent people). The communist famine in China killed about the same number of people as did world war two, for instance. Mengistu's Marxist famine in Ethiopia killed many more. Zimbabwe has been ruined by a racist Marxist dictator. I could go on, but communism is simply a litany of failure, oppression and suffering; certainly no better than Nazism.

Anybody who identifies as a communist today should be assumed to be totalitarian and an enemy of humanity and basic human freedom, since that is what communism has proved itself, time and time again, all over the world, in every culture, to be.

Anybody who condemns only one type of oppression is not really pro-freedom at all.
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