Morality of passive/active

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I only have a moral obligation to myself. I am only responsible for myself. I am to live by my own effort. I am to earn everything I have, need, and want. This may seem selfish. It is. But, there is much virtue involved.

If I am to earn my own way through life, then I can never steal or cheat. Not only would that involve breaking my own moral code, it would also infringe on someone else's inalienable right to live their own virtuous life. If I steal an apple, I am not just stealing food, I am stealing a part of someone's livelihood. Someone had to buy that apple, with money they worked for. It is their effort, and the precious moment's of their life that they spent on that effort that I am stealing.

If I see a bum walking down the street, and he is starving, I am not morally obligated to pass him my burger because I can afford another one. I am not responsible for him. I am not the reason he is starving.

Some will call me heartless. It may seem that way. But this mentality extends through my entire life, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, my life has hardly any 'footprint' in this world. There is no person who has to pay for my mistakes; no person whose life is made harder by my actions or my very existence. I just live, and I enjoy almost every bit of it.

Perhaps we should consider the idea that the reason that bum was ever in the street, is because he knew the people with coins in their pockets and burgers in their hands would turn them over to him because of some broken moral system that teaches them they should support those who won't support themselves, otherwise they should swallow a mound of guilt and feel shame.
 

mheslep

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You brought up GDP, not me. I think its completely irrelevant. The reason western countries are wealthy is because of the control structures put in place by colonialism. The specific amounts of money are irrelevant. Those will fluctuate, the fact people in the 3rd world have had very little control over their own economies, which can be traced back directly to colonialism, is why they continue to be poor. Ignoring the huge influence the west has on the rest of the world is just ignorance.
More assertions. Can you provide a reference for any of this? How is the wealth created by, say, Microsoft and Apple in creating a powerful and affordable personal computer owed to colonialism? How is the poverty inflicted by Mugabe on Zimbabwe all attributable to colonialism 40 years after independence, especially when there's a successful democracy next door?
 
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More assertions. Can you provide a reference for any of this? How is the wealth created by, say, Microsoft and Apple in creating a powerful and affordable personal computer owed to colonialism? How is the poverty inflicted by Mugabe on Zimbabwe all attributable to colonialism 40 years after independence, especially when there's a successful democracy next door?
More anecdotes.

40 years?

So what?

Some 80 years after its revolution against Britain, the American colonies fell into a barbaric civil war. Had judgment been rendered then, one could hardly say the revolution was successful. One of the big reasons it recovered was because regardless of how badly the people there screwed things up they still had plenty of natural resources, and not a lot of neighbors who could interfere with and/or stifle their progress.

Africa continues to be a mess because technology allows outsiders easy access for exploitation. The diamond and oil trade are solid examples of this. For all its talk about democracy, the west really has no good reason to want such things in countries that it has an interest in exploiting. Its much easier to deal with a dictator than a democratically elected government.

The vast resources of the Americas, stolen from the natives, allowed Europeans the ability to build strong economies which further gave them the ability to exploit and control other countries, increasing their wealth. Microsoft made so much money because it sells to people who are already rich.

Jared Diamond's book 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' is a good, easily accessible, introduction to why western people are not superior. Assuming one cares.

The ignorance and racism in this discussion turns my stomach.
 

mheslep

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If you have read Diamond then you should know that most of the Native American's were killed by disease, up to 95% according to him.
http://books.google.com/books?id=kLKTa_OeoNIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=jared&ei=NClRSemcFIPmzASU5rzHBg#PPA78,M1
I have, and its a good book, I've read it twice actually.

Quite a lot died from disease, which made the survivors easier to kill off. Diamond does not state that land wasn't stolen, he simply explains why conquest happened so quickly. Without disease, better weapons or not, it would have been a much harder job taking control of the land.
 

mheslep

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I have, and its a good book, I've read it twice actually.

Quite a lot died from disease, which made the survivors easier to kill off.
Some of the survivors were killed by Europeans.
Diamond does not state that land wasn't stolen, he simply explains why conquest happened so quickly. ...
Yes, but neither does Diamond say there was a native already sitting on every acre of natural resource. He makes the opposite point by citing the decimation of population via disease. Given that fact, how do you get to
"And what *is* only occured because a huge wealth imbalance created by colonialism."
in the case of the U.S.? Yes, there were atrocities against natives, but the evidence is this played a small part in the economic growth of the US. If we move on to chattel slavery in the American South, the case is even stronger: the economy and wealth of the South was a fraction of that found in the Northern states. Further, most of the wealth the South did have was destroyed in the US civil war.
http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org/neh/interactives/civilwar/lesson1/
 
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Some of the survivors were killed by Europeans.
Well yes, some were just just shipped off to reservations. I didn't say all were killed, I said the disease made it 'easier' to kill them.
Yes, but neither does Diamond say there was a native already sitting on every acre of natural resource.
So what? It would be insane for him to say that. The natives were here first. Europeans took their land, and yes, even the land living natives WERE sitting on. You're being ridiculous, people don't have to be sitting on land to have a right to it.
 

mheslep

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Well yes, some were just just shipped off to reservations. I didn't say all were killed, I said the disease made it 'easier' to kill them.


So what? It would be insane for him to say that. The natives were here first. Europeans took their land, and yes, even the land living natives WERE sitting on. You're being ridiculous, people don't have to be sitting on land to have a right to it.
Look, you have made an assertion here that present day Western wealth is due only to its colonial past. You have not made an argument to back up that assertion, and no saying you read a book is not evidence, and no calling someone ridiculous for pointing out counter factuals to your assertion is not evidence. If you feel Diamond's or other's work makes that assertion obvious, then it should be easy to source the relevant work here. Please show an actual argument as to how ~3-4 million natives (N. America after pandemics) had a 'right' to all 59 million sq miles of North America, some of whom wiped out or shoved aside or enslaved generation after generation of natives there prior to them, and then please show how the Europeans somehow stole it all from the natives remaining after the spread of disease. The sad history of early American atrocities and native dislocation, does not make the case, just by mentioning it, that the entire continent was stolen. Then you have still have to show a connection between European settlement and the majority of present day wealth, ("Microsoft made so much money because it sells to people who are already rich." won't do) otherwise we're left with them burring their wealth in a hole in the ground which is dug up by their descendants.
 
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Look, you have made an assertion here that present day Western wealth is due only to its colonial past.
And you are ignoring it all and putting your head in the sand.
Wealth doesn't come from a vacuum.
Implying the land wasn't stolen from the natives because European diseases killed a lot of them is like saying its ok to take possession of your neighbors house if he dies in a car crash. Screw his heirs, his family or any normal understanding of property rights... when of course it suits you to do so. The assertions made hear about the inferiority of non-Europeans are unsubstantiated and racist.
 

mheslep

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And you are ignoring it all and putting your head in the sand.
Ignoring what? Getting indignant does not excuse you from following the guidelines:
* explicitly stating starting premises or assumptions;
* providing logical or empirical support for such premises or assumptions;
You made a broad, sweeping assertion. Please follow up.
JoeDawg said:
Wealth doesn't come from a vacuum.
True, but stating it must come from B because it can not come from A with out further qualification is false dilemma fallacy.
JoeDawg said:
Implying the land wasn't stolen from the natives because European diseases killed a lot of them is like saying its ok to take possession of your neighbors house if he dies in a car crash. Screw his heirs, his family or any normal understanding of property rights... when of course it suits you to do so.
I ask again, what understanding of property rights leads to the ownership of the N. American continent? Do you assert that hunter gather societies had fixed location housing rights? Did the Maya 'own' central Mexico after slaughtering and enslaving their neighbors?
JoeDawg said:
The assertions made hear about the inferiority of non-Europeans are unsubstantiated and racist.
Where have any inferiority assertions been made?
 
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It is inherent in the nature of these people. This was not something "done to them" but rather a disaster in each case that they freely made for themselves because of who/what they are.
Inferiority, no, they just are inherently barbarous. Oh...wait..

mheslep, you're ignoring obvious facts, trying to rationalize prejudice and atrocities.
If the land belongs to anyone, its not Europeans. You want me to take you seriously? Why would I? What you are saying is nonsense.

Europeans didn't much care who was or wasn't on the land, they just took it and killed anyone who got in their way. The amount of wealth funneled out of colonies into Europe was staggering. It doesn't take much of a history lesson to see this. You can ignore history all you like,but in the end that just makes you ignorant.
 

mheslep

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Inferiority, no, they just are inherently barbarous. Oh...wait..
Edit: I missed that; I agree w/ you on that part of Dr D's post.

mheslep, you're ignoring obvious facts, trying to rationalize prejudice and atrocities.
If the land belongs to anyone, its not Europeans.

You want me to take you seriously? Why would I?
No, I want you to take the forum guidelines seriously.

What you are saying is nonsense.

Europeans didn't much care who was or wasn't on the land, they just took it and killed anyone who got in their way. The amount of wealth funneled out of colonies into Europe was staggering. It doesn't take much of a history lesson to see this. You can ignore history all you like,but in the end that just makes you ignorant.
I'll take that as a refusal to back up your original assertion in anyway, and thus a retraction.
 
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I'll take that as a refusal to back up your original assertion in anyway, and thus a retraction.
Head in the sand, again. That's why you miss things.
 

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