• unenlightened
    8.9k
    Colonization is a fiction too because tribes had no governments and thus nothing could be stolen.NOS4A2

    Of course, theft is a corollary of property, as is government.Hence the anti-government slogan, "Property is theft." Property is necessarily appropriated from the commons — what is appropriated to personal use and control, everyone else is deprived of the use and control of. That is the process of colonisation.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    :up: Seems odd (to me) that people keep missing the obvious


    Undoubtedly, democracy isn't all that good. However, the rest are worse. — paraphrasing whoever it was
  • HarryHarry
    25
    I like what George Carlin said, something to the effect
    "We have over thirty options for ice cream, but two choices for president".
  • GRWelsh
    185
    Belief in political authority is not a superstition which by definition is belief in supernatural entities or causes. Political authority is an abstract concept but isn't a superstition except with rare exceptions of divine right or theocracies. Most political authority arises from secular reasons like security and efficiency. You can have social experiments of anarchy, libertarianism, communism, democracy, etc. where all are equal and no one has power over anyone else. But the experiments always break down for larger groups in the face of real world problems. Hierarchies organically emerge such as to defend against military threats from outside the group, or to deal with trouble makers within the group. No particular political system is inevitable but in large groups some political system is inevitable.

    I would argue instead that monotheism is the most dangerous superstition because it fosters the belief in absolutes which can justify even the worst atrocities. One could argue that this applies to any sort of dogma or ideology, if fervently believed in enough, but those things are man-made and it is only when it believed to be from a higher power that it becomes absolute and unquestionable. Just think of the horrors of the inquisition, with all of the ingenious torture devices that were invented, all for the purpose of saving the souls of the heretics.
  • HarryHarry
    25

    What we have around the world appears to be a plutocracy.
    The rich control the governments in every nation, don't they?
    The middle and lower classes, at best get to decide which rich people get the power.

    Religion is also governed by the rich.

    If we would all just follow the money whenever a political discussion came up, it could save a lot of time.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k


    Good to see you GRW.
  • Manuel
    4k
    While leftists, of which I consider myself quite sympathetic, will, correctly point out that corporations are extremely dangerous too, I do think the OP has some merit.

    As far as I can see, state religion by way of blind nationalism, is surely among the highest dangers we face as a species, just like the we have the right in the US praising red, white and blue, so too will Russian nationalists support Russia and Israeli nationalists support Israel, and "belief in country", whatever that could possibly mean, is strong enough to bring down the world in nuclear apocalypse.

    All the worse because the idea of "supporting a country", whatever the country is, is one of the most nebulous ideas I can think of, it barely has a coherent meaning.
  • GRWelsh
    185
    Good to see you, too, wonderer! I was not enjoying the new Reasonable Faith forum format at KnowWhyYouBelieve and was looking for a new place online to have philosophical discussions and someone suggested The Philosophy Forum, so here I am! Recently, I was thinking of how when I first started to post online it was the Internet Infidels Discussion Board, and that was 25 years ago!
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Recently, I was thinking of how when I first started to post online it was the Internet Infidels Discussion Board, and that was 25 years ago!


    It's interesting that both of us have been reminiscing similarly. We were at RFForums for a looong time. I was recently thinking of my internet history going back to before most people (outside of DARPA and various engineers and computer scientist) had ever heard of the internet. My interests at the time were more sexual than secular though, and in those early days I spent most of my internet discussion time on the Usenet group soc.singles.
  • GRWelsh
    185
    It seems we could have two responses to this. First, we could say euphemistically that "every form of a government is a plutocracy" since the wealthy almost always have a disproportionate amount of influence in government regardless of the system. The other response would adhere to the technical definitions and say an actual plutocracy is only a political system in which the wealthy rule by the way the system is formally defined (i.e. you have to be wealthy as a pre-requisite to be eligible to serve in government as outlined in the law, constitution, etc.). And I don't know if there are or ever have been any political systems like that.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_qualification

    Property qualification seems like an example of your latter scenario.
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k


    Herbert Spencer has a great little essay on this called The Great Political Superstition1. He makes the decisive case that political authority is nonsense.

    To paraphrase, the belief in the political authority of men is just as superstitious as the belief in the authority of God because there is no natural justification for either.

    Given the premise of the divine right of kings, that the king was god-appointed, there is at least the logical conclusion that no bounds can be set on political authority. But for modern political authority no such premise exists.

    Since the divine right of kings, philosophers have tried to invent justifications like the social contract, where we came together “organically” in order to give up our freedoms to the sovereignty of some autocrat. Nowhere in history can we find evidence of this. But all we have done is rejected in name the doctrines which we now hold in fact. We retained the substance, posture, and hierarchies of the divine right of kings after we have abandoned the form. Now we’re left to wonder why we must submit to a group of men which has no naturally or supernaturally-derived authority.

    1. Spencer, Man Vs. The State, p. 123 https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/330/0020_Bk.pdf
  • HarryHarry
    25
    The other response would adhere to the technical definitions and say an actual plutocracy is only a political system in which the wealthy rule by the way the system is formally definedGRWelsh
    As far as I know the word 'plutocracy' does not refer to a formal system of government, which may be why you nor I know of any examples of formal plutocracies in the present or in history.
    Except for the richest folk, who would willingly, consciously, support a formal plutocracy? The richest would have to convince people that wealth is an indicator of wisdom and virtue, wouldn't they?

    On the psychological layer of life, I see humanity at large as controlled by fear, which manifest as "flight", submitting to authorities, or as "fight", seeking to dominate or be the authority.
  • GRWelsh
    185
    Property qualification is a good example for the discussion. Still, it is worth making a distinction between a plutocracy meaning "rule by the rich" and property qualification meaning a prerequisite of a certain amount or kind of wealth in order to be eligible to participate in the political system. Another example that might be feudalism where only royalty and nobility can own land and the serfs can only work the land. The oddity in feudalism is how it can develop over time so that some nobles can retain their titles and yet lose their wealth, and commoners like a rising middle class of merchants or guildsmen can acquire wealth, so even that isn't a perfect match for plutocracy.
  • GRWelsh
    185
    Now we’re left to wonder why we must submit to a group of men which has no naturally or supernaturally-derived authority.NOS4A2

    Probably because politics is the only game in town. The alternative is anarchy, which doesn't work for large groups. There is a reason anarchy has a negative connotation. A consequence of not having a political authority is not having any laws. You can't have laws without an authority to enact and enforce them. Try to live in a lawless society where everyone does what they want since no one else has any authority to stop them or punish them. A lawless and anarchic society won't be able to organize as effectively against outside threats, either. It will be vulnerable to threats from both within and without. It is simply not feasible or sustainable. As social creatures, we can't get away from political authority developing -- all we can do is try to develop the least offensive version.
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k


    Laws have been quite terrible and oppressive throughout history. So I’m not convinced they’re necessary, let alone to be desired. They are often enforced with brutality; they’re often unjust; they often serve only those in power. That’s to say nothing about the wars, genocide, slavery, colonialism, conscription, segregation, and plunder—all of it at the whim of some political coterie. I’ll pass.

    We can get away from political authority developing. Though it’s true that they’re present, a vast majority of people interact with each other everyday without any authority intervening.
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