"The Nature of Principles
After debating Stefan and some from this community about what consequentialism actually is, I got the impression that there's a big misconception about what principles actually are. So let's go through the logic:
1. Definition of Consequentialism:
"Consequentialism is an ethical theory that asserts the moral rightness or wrongness of actions is determined solely by their outcomes or consequences."
That definition is correct. But there's a misconception attached to that, namely that consequentialism contradicts principle based morals. That assumption is incorrect, because principles already are defined by consequences.
2. Definition of Principle:
"A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of beliefs or behavior or a chain of reasoning."
For example, the moral principle of UPB is that the violation of property rights is bad. That's a judgement, based on the consequence that any acceptance of the violation of property rights will result in the loss of logical consistency, which then will result in the loss of certainty of the law. In other words: The principle is made because we want to prevent any logical inconsistency to justify injustice.
So here's a request: If you disagree with what I've just explained, please provide an example of a moral principle that's not defined by its consequences.
This episode emphasizes defining terms in debates for productive discussions. Topics include principles vs consequentialism, equality, small town education, the welfare state, logical consistency, and the role of defining terms.
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In this episode, we discuss the importance of defining terms in debates to avoid disagreements and promote productive discussions. We delve into the debate between principles and consequentialism, explore varying viewpoints on equality, and address the impact of educational opportunities on small towns. We also examine arguments surrounding the welfare state, emphasize the significance of logical consistency, and emphasize the role of defining terms and logical reasoning in productive discussions.
0:00:00 Introduction and Invitation to Join the Community
0:04:22 Importance of Defining Terms in Debates
0:06:35 The Importance of Definitions in Disagreements
0:07:19 Defining Terms to Avoid Conflict
0:13:27 The Value of Defining Terms in Transactions and Bargaining
0:16:39 Disparities in gifts and the ultimate inequality of outcome.
0:19:07 Christianity, quality differences, and the collapse of small towns.
0:26:38 Consequentialism and Principle-Based Morals
0:28:03 The Battle Between Principles and Consequentialism
0:32:29 Principles vs. Effects in Society
0:37:29 The Relativity of Pleasure and Happiness
0:39:31 Diet and exercise: Overcoming discomfort for long-term benefits
0:41:49 The Cobra Story: Unintended consequences of incentivized actions
0:41:59 Consequentialism: the Mysticism of Predicting the Future
0:45:10 Arguing with Ghosts: Debunking False Moral Principles
0:46:16 Upholding Justice: Preventing Logical Inconsistencies
0:46:58 Preventing logical inconsistency as a principle
0:50:09 Examples of logical contradictions and consequences
0:53:14 Truth is Universal and Not Subject to Opinions
In this episode, we have discussed the importance of defining terms in debates to avoid disagreements and promote productive discussions. We emphasized how conflicts can arise when there is a lack of clarity in defining what is being discussed, and highlighted the responsibility of the person initiating the debate to define the terms. We also shared personal stories and examples to illustrate the significance of defining terms in various aspects of life.
Furthermore, we delved into the debate between principles and consequentialism, arguing that they are distinct concepts. We discussed the varying viewpoints and beliefs surrounding equality and how religious beliefs can impact these perspectives. We explored the impact of small towns losing their smart people due to educational opportunities and how it affects the intellectual abilities of the remaining population.
We also explored the arguments surrounding the welfare state and its perceived injustice. We criticized the notion that principles and consequentialism are the same and asserted that principles should be universal and followed regardless of consequences. We discussed the changing nature of costs, benefits, and the pleasure principle throughout life and dismissed the idea of a pleasure principle.
Additionally, we discussed the relationship between diet and exercise and the necessity of following principles for long-term well-being. We explored the concept of UPB as a method of evaluating universal principles and emphasized the importance of logical consistency in arguments.
Throughout the episode, we emphasized the key role that defining terms and logical reasoning play in productive discussions and promoting understanding. We expressed frustration with misunderstandings and misconceptions and called for clarity and critical thinking. We concluded by expressing gratitude to the audience and encouraging their support for the show.
episode, importance, defining terms, debates, disagreements, productive discussions, principles, consequentialism, equality, educational opportunities, small towns, arguments, welfare state, logical consistency, logical reasoning
Introduction and Invitation to Join the Community
[0:00] Well, all righty. Good morning, everybody. Hope you're doing well.
Having an interesting back and forth. Freedomain.locals.com.
I hope you would join the community.
Having an interesting back and forth regarding the nature of principles. Ooh, the good stuff.
All the good, juicy, moral stuff.
And he writes, Manuel writes, the nature of principles after debating, Stéphane and some from this community, about what consequentialism actually is.
I got the impression that there's a big misconception Reconception about what principles actually are.
So let's go through the logic. So I got to say, the beginning is, I'm annoyed at the beginning.
That doesn't mean anything. I'm just telling you what my emotional experience is. It doesn't mean you're objectively annoying or anything like that.
But I'm annoyed at this beginning because if you want to debate consequentialism, this is sort of my feeling around it.
If you want to debate consequentialism, fantastic. Fantastic.
But if you want to debate consequentialism and you haven't got agreement on what consequentialism is, that's kind of on you.
So if you know anything about debate, what you need to do is get agreement that everyone's using the same terms to mean the same thing.
[1:13] Otherwise, you're debating which is the best citrus fruit, and some people think you're referring to grapefruit, and some people think you're referring to oranges.
Challenges you have to be specific in your definitions if you can't get agreement on definitions you can't get agreement on outcomes i mean if somebody said to you how much will you pay for this for my car how much will you pay for my car well who can answer that question maybe a car is a brand new maserati maybe it's a 30 year old ladder that's currently up on cinder the blocks and rusting in an Arkansas back ditch.
So you can't figure out the price of something if people don't know what it is.
And you can't figure out the agreement on anything if people don't know what you're talking about.
Now, if other people have a mistaken impression, let me give you an example.
So imagine this scenario. You put a sign out front of your house, car for sale and underneath it you have a picture of a Maserati or Lamborghini some Maserati expensive car and then people come and say gosh I really want this Maserati and you say hey you know it's a hundred thousand dollars and they're like holy crap that's a quarter million dollar car a hundred thousand dollars as a steal they give you the hundred thousand dollars.
[2:33] And then they say, great, can I have the keys to the Maserati?
And you say, Maserati? No.
No, the car you just bought is this 30-year-old Chevy Nova with no wheels.
Well, people would be like, no, no, no, hang on.
You had a sign that said, car for sale, you had a picture of a Maserati.
And you say, well, yeah, I mean, that's the car I want to buy.
So I'm selling my old Junker so I can buy a Maserati because that's way cooler than an old Junker.
Right? So you understand, if you haven't defined what is the car for sale, you can't agree on a price.
Then the people are going to, I don't know, they're going to want to take their $100,000 back.
And if you don't give it to them, they're going to, I don't know, beat you up, go to the police, try and get you thrown to jail for fraud, try and get their money back.
They're not going to take the old Chevy Nova up on cinder blocks.
[3:25] So you can't agree on a price if you haven't defined or if there's disagreement about what the car is, or another example if you put a picture online and you say diamond ring for sale it's a picture of a diamond ring and you say it's a thousand dollars maybe it's a five thousand dollar ring and people are like wow that's great they come and give you a thousand dollars and then you give them a picture of the ring and they're like no i want the ring you say no what was for sale is a picture of a ring like if you look closely at the at the online listing you can see the little little outlines of the piece of paper that I took a picture and the picture is for sale and people would say, well, no, I don't want, I don't want the picture.
I want the diamond ring. You say, no, no, no, that's not for sale. That's an heirloom.
My grandmother gave that to me. Right? So you, you understand you're just heading for conflict.
[4:17] People don't have the same definitions of what they're talking about.
Importance of Defining Terms in Debates
[4:22] So you start a debate, which is great.
You know, this is not a big criticism. I'm just sort of pointing out how to have productive debates and how not to waste time.
So you say, after debating Stefan and some of this community about what consequentialism actually is, I got the impression that there's this big misconception about what principles actually are.
So let's go through the logic right so you start the debate which is great it's always welcome but in order not to annoy people and waste their time right can you imagine like with with with regarding, the diamond ring or the picture of the diamond ring well after selling this trying to sell this this picture of the diamond ring i i got i get the impression there's a big misconception about, what is actually for sale it's not the diamond ring it's the picture it's not the maserati it's It's the Chevy Nova up on cinder blocks.
It's your job to define the terms.
As you start a debate, it's your job to define the terms.
So if I'm talking about property rights, I talk about owning yourself and owning the effects of your actions.
Being responsible for yourself, being responsible for the effects of your actions.
[5:34] When I talk about free will, I talk about our capacity to compare proposed actions to ideal standards. When I talk about morality, I talk about universally preferable behavior.
I mean, I put a lot of work into defining the terms.
So, if you are engaged in, how long ago is this?
This is a message from four days ago, and I think the debate's been going on for a week or two.
So if you're having a debate about consequentialism and you say well i get the impression there's a big misconception about what principles actually are so you have to define consequentialism and you have to define principles and if you're in the debate for a week or two and you haven't defined core terms and got agreements not enough to define them you have to get agreement like Like, honestly, 95% of debate is getting people to agree on definitions.
The Importance of Definitions in Disagreements
[6:35] 95% of, and this is in life as a whole, 95% of disagreement is about definitions, not logic, right?
So if free will is our ability, and you'll see after I defined my terms and have good arguments for them, then the amount of conflicts go down.
So one of the reasons I did my series on free will many years ago, a three-part series on free will, you can find that at fdrpodcast.com.
Now, one of the reasons I did that was because we had a whole bunch of determinists and compatibilists.
Compatibilism. They were compatibles. Compatibilism. I really feel like I should know the word, but I can't remember it. It's been like 15 years.
Defining Terms to Avoid Conflict
[7:20] Compatibilism, which is where there's kind of like a mix of free will and determinism, you know, like a mix of up and down, north and south thing and its opposite.
I get the impression that there's a big misconception about what principles actually are.
Okay, so you need to define your terms. If you define your terms, then there is no disagreement, or there's less disagreement.
So, for instance, when you go into a job with any complexity, generally you have a contract.
Sign a contract, that's defining your terms. Defining your terms is avoiding conflict.
That doesn't mean there'll never be any conflict. People can cheat or whatever.
You get into a game, you define the rules.
I mean, the card game war, which is not really a game, but you just put down a card, the highest card wins.
Rock, paper, scissors. It's all about defining the rules, defining the terms.
What wins in rock, paper, scissors?
I mean, heads or tails, right? So in life as a whole, you define terms.
[8:23] In a marriage, you have marriage vows, which is the, of course, all the legal stuff, but the core of it is the marriage vows, and so you define terms.
When you work for a place, you get a contract that says, I'll pay you 75 grand a year.
Here are your responsibilities. You get two weeks vacation.
You get this sick leave allocation. application you get this health care in the states maybe we'll pay for your health care and you get the social security or some sort of a retirement plan even outside of social security which is i guess a legal thing so you have all of these uh define your terms your salary your responsibilities this that and the other right some will even say you will be required to travel so you can't say whoa i had no idea so you just define your terms i mean you wouldn't just start start working for a place, work there for a month, and then say, well, you know, there seems to be some disagreement about what I'm here for, what my responsibilities are, and what my salary is, right?
You would define all of that. You just look at what works in your life.
What works in your life is where you define the terms upfront, and you get agreement.
I mean, there's a standard called value in the marketplace.
[9:41] There's a standard called value you in the marketplace, which is salary.
And you go through an interview process and you negotiate salary, right?
And then you agree on the salary, it's put in writing, you sign it, and that's what you get paid.
I mean, it's funny.
My first car, I didn't have a CD player, which was very expensive back in the day.
I had a tape deck, which actually turned out to be great because I could get a little portable player loaded up. This is before portable players had internet access.
I had a Rio 500 way back in the day with a princely sum of 64 megs of memory.
[10:24] I remember later upgrading to a player that did WMA files, which were half the size I could get twice the songs.
And literally, I would spend, it's so sad, I mean, I would spend 15 minutes sometimes loading up the right songs to go for a workout. I had a gym outside.
Anyway, so it was good that I had a tape deck because I could plug in my portable player, I could listen to music and audio books and so on.
I had a tape deck. Now, one of my favorite albums when I was younger was a solo album by John Anderson called Animation.
And some of the songs are a bit chanty and dull, but some of the songs are just absolutely fantastic. I mean, just beyond amazing.
[11:03] The musicianship and the vocals and the songwriting was just, I mean, to me, top tier.
And I think it should be a better known album, but I can understand why it's not. He's a bit of an acquired vocal taste.
You have to like Mickey Mouse on helium, but, I mean, the song Animation about the birth of his child Wow, that's just absolutely beautiful.
But anyway, so long story short, no, it's too late for that now.
Long story long, I was at a garage sale.
Now, I've always been a little curious about the whole garage sale thing.
I find it hard to go buy a garage sale without even poking my head in, just because there are real gems in there.
Now, I did not have a record player at this time, and I was never a big one for buying cassette tapes.
So I did not have a cassette tape of John Anderson's solo album, Animation, from 1982 or something like that.
Boundaries is a great song. So, anyway, I go to this garage sale, and in the garage sale, I see right up front, John Anderson, animation, 50 cents.
I guess they got tired of it, and so, obviously, I grabbed my 50 cents, and I paid, and I enjoyed the album for quite some time afterwards.
It's one of these albums you have to sing along with two octaves lower, if you're lucky.
[12:28] So now of course the price was agreed now i would have paid a lot more than 50 cents like not much more because i could always i guess find some place to buy the and of course i'd actually forgotten about the album i'd forgotten about the album which i bought secondhand at a record store down on queen street i would have paid more because i was hit with a sudden stab of oh i and you ever have this way you hear a song on the radio and you're like oh my god i love this song like I was listening the other day to some random songs on the internet and the song by Harlequin called Innocence came up well it's all you ever pleaded and I was just like man that's a great song I could and honestly I've not thought about that song probably in 35 years and put it on repeat a little bit great song so we so the definition of the value of that tape of John on Anderson's animation was $0.50, and we agreed on that.
The Value of Defining Terms in Transactions and Bargaining
[13:27] And you've seen this before, right, where people get in.
They're haggling, and they're haggling as they're trying to agree on the definition called value.
If they can't agree on the definition called value.
[13:40] The transaction does not occur so if this guy had said oh that's mislabeled it's actually five hundred dollars i'd have been like okay well i'm not paying that right i'm not paying a thousand times what you know and if he'd said oh that's mislabeled it's actually two dollars i mean okay well whatever right but it was labeled 50 cents and i paid my 50 cents and was very happy so of course we were both happier he unloaded some tape he never listened to i got a nice slice of of nostalgia to enjoy.
And like a lot of things in your life, I have no idea where that tape is now.
I have no idea. I don't have a cassette player anymore, of course, who does?
But it's one of these things that I enjoyed for quite some time, and I could not tell you for the life of me where it is now.
So there's definitions. You look at the things in your life that work, it's where you agree on definitions.
[14:32] And the things in your life that don't work, where there's a whole bunch of conflict is where you don't agree on definitions.
I mean, one of the most fundamental definitions is what does equality mean, right? People can't agree on that.
So one side, generally on the right, argues that equality is equality of opportunity.
Other people on the left, in general, say that equality actually means equality of outcome.
[15:00] And people on the right say, say, we accept that equality of opportunity leads to inequality in outcomes.
And the people on the left say, we don't accept that inequality, say, equality of opportunity leads to inequality of outcomes because all inequality of outcomes are unjust, immoral, bigoted, racist, whatever, whatever right sexist you name it and that's in general in general the people on the right who tend to be more religious more conservative and more free market say god gives people different gifts i mean you've heard this before i've certainly heard this from from people god gave me these gifts or i'm fortunate to have these gifts i've been given these gifts or when i I wired up somebody's house with a network when I was in my teens, and I said, what a beautiful house.
He had a huge giant mansion. He said, yes, God has been good to me.
So God gives people different gifts.
[16:02] Therefore, equality of opportunity leads to disparity of outcome.
And of course, I mean, Christianity in particular is founded upon the most significant disparity of gifts that's conceivable, which is the gift of being the son of God, God, able to perform miracles, rise from the dead.
So that's kind of an inequality of gifts that are given.
And because Jesus was obviously brilliant and innovative and staggeringly charismatic.
[16:33] And performed miracles, right, according to the Bible, performed miracles.
Disparities in gifts and the ultimate inequality of outcome.
[16:39] Accept that there's disparities in the gifts that people are given.
So, God scatters his gifts widely across the world, and therefore, there's going to be disparities in outcome.
And of course, the foundational moral journey of the Christian is the opportunity of salvation without the guarantee of salvation.
So, you exercise your free will in the pursuit of virtue, and if you achieve virtue, you go to heaven, and if you become evil, you go to hell.
I mean, it really is the ultimate inequality of outcome.
I guess if the leftists were in charge of a universal religion, everyone would kind of end up in a vaguely pleasant brain fog limbo.
It wouldn't be heaven, it wouldn't be hell. Everyone ends up in the same place.
And so, because conservatives and people on the right recognize a choice and value and the entire religious moral journey is founded on inequality of outcome heaven versus hell they accept in the free market that's going to be inequality of outcomes based upon equality of opportunity however people on the left who tend to be more material tend to be more secular and they view they're willing to accept some inequalities of outcome, but not that much.
So because they're more physical, I mean, you look at people, you say, okay, there's going to be some variation here.
[18:07] Height among people right there's going to be some variation of height and at the wildest extremes.
[18:14] You know people might be half as tall as other people right got some seven foot guy you've got some guy who's maybe got some growth problem either three and a half feet or something so at the very extremes people will be twice as tall and so they'll say okay well so in the in the the material world the disparities are not that great now because in christianity the soul is the foundation of the personality and the soul is capable of just about anything and you exercise your gifts and and the gifts are widely distributed and with different levels of intensity and so on the disparities and outcome are acceptable no matter how great because the disparities and an outcome between heaven forever and hell forever is the greatest possible disparity that can be imagined.
Christianity, quality differences, and the collapse of small towns.
[19:07] It's infinite extremes for infinite time.
And Christianity, of course, the people who study Christianity, who learn about Christianity, there are significant differences in quality among the church fathers, St.
Augustine and other theologians, that just have incredible abilities to explain and encourage and inspire and preach and so on.
And of course, the preacher is up there doing his thing. He's better at it, hopefully, than the congregation.
[19:40] Whereas if you're kind of drudging along in a pretty sort of sad, low-rent world and you don't really know anyone who's got any real quality because anybody with any quality gets out, right?
[19:51] One of the things that's happened is in the past when you had a small town people would stick around that small town for reasons of familiarity and for reasons of access to grandparents and in-laws and childhood friends and community and church you know so smart some super smart guy in a small town would become maybe the town doctor or the town lawyer maybe the town mayor or some town artist or something that but he wouldn't be gone so people would be intimately familiar.
[20:19] Within that small town of differences in ability but of course what's happening now this process would be going on since since the late 1950s really.
[20:29] I mean you can i so the gi bill had a big problem and that it brought a lot of people into the educational system who wouldn't have the intellectual chops to succeed there in the past but you know one of the one of the benefits thrown returning troops in america was a gi bill to go higher education kind of guaranteed which amount of flooded people came in who weren't high quality therefore the standards had to be lowered and get all of this kind of stuff right more people doesn't raise the standards more people just lowers the standards i mean if you want them to win right so since the 1950s in particular what's been happening is the universities have been scouring for smart people and so they would would go through all the small town they'd identify the top one or three or five percent of smart people based upon high school transcripts and interviews and essays and all that kind of stuff and then they might offer them scholarships or the government would offer them scholarships or the government might offer them free tuition or subsidized tuition or loans or something like that so what happens then is all of the smart people get scoured out of the small towns and then the small towns kind of collapse right i mean this is one since where some of the fentanyl stuff is coming from and because you're taking all the stars in a sense out of the sky at night.
[21:56] Nobody knows the dimensions of the heavens right you ever done this thing where you lie on your back it's a beautiful clear night maybe you're in the country or something like that and you look at the stars and then you get a sense of 3d depth and just how enormous the universe is it's really quite a bone and soul chilling experience but if there are no stars in the sky then there's nothing to measure the depth of the heavens it's just a blank so because of government programs the smart people are taken out of communities and therefore everybody in the community who remains doesn't have access or doesn't have direct access to quality people and i don't mean morally quality I just like gifts, intellectual abilities, right? All the staggering stuff.
[22:45] You look at the very top tier performers and it's it's just mental right i mean if you look at if you ever been to a like a little bar or something like that you go to an irish pub and there's usually some guy in the corner strumming away and singing some songs and you know maybe he's paid 100 bucks for the night or something like that and then you compare that to like taylor swift or when the eagles were in their peak or queen or something like it's just it's insane right the difference in in quality or the difference in value for sure is is just mental but if you grew grew up without knowing like i remember reading some comment somebody did a video of the old billy joel song scenes from an italian restaurant someone did a video for it and somebody underneath it wrote yeah you know we all grew up together i actually knew billy joel when he was younger we also sit in the street corner singing away and billy joel was always just like hey i'm going to be a musician and like he just sang the best and it was you know that was his that was his thing.
[23:40] Nobody else could even come close. And he does have a wonderful voice.
So people can't see much quality in their lives because the smart people are scooped out and go to another area. They go through a portal into somewhere else.
And everyone who's left behind is kind of drudging along.
And therefore, the inequality of outcome seems kind of strange because you don't know anyone really who's that different.
And this process happens over and over again, right? Because we know that IQ is significantly genetic. So when the smart people get scooped out, you're hollowing out the whole intelligence base of the community.
I mean, obviously, there's lots of variation and the dice gets rolled.
But in general, 80% genetic by late teens, that's sort of the latest research, or at least it was a couple of years ago when I last checked on these things, probably even higher now.
And so you scoop out the smart people, and within a generation or two, it's really hard to find smart people in these communities.
And I know this to some degree personally, having grown up in a pretty terrible community where there just really weren't that many smart people around, if any, and everybody was…
[24:51] Could sort of see where everybody was going to end up and and then it's like another dimension where the smart people are and it just feels weird so definitions are everything definitions are everything so if you've been engaged in debate for a couple of weeks and you say well we don't even we haven't even agreed what principles are then you are signaling that you don't know how how to debate you don't know how to debate and that's fine i mean look i mean it's a learning curve it's a learning process children are born learning how to argue but debating takes a little more time so you say i got the impression there's a big misconception about what principles actually are so now you're a couple of weeks into the debate you're defining your terms and that's what i mean that's kind of annoying and look this is just a learning thing which you have to do this up front.
So, you say, one, definition of consequentialism.
Consequentialism is an ethical theory that asserts the moral rightness or wrongness of actions is determined solely by their outcomes or consequences, right?
And he says that definition is correct, but there's a misconception attached to that, namely that consequentialism contradicts principle-based morals.
That assumption is incorrect because principles already are defined by consequences.
Okay, so that's interesting. So you're saying that consequentialism says judge an action by its outcomes.
[26:15] Now you're saying that principles also judge the right or wrongness of a proposition by its outcomes.
So you're saying that consequentialism and principle is the same thing.
So then you say definition of principle.
Here's a quote. A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of beliefs or behavior or a chain of reasoning.
Consequentialism and Principle-Based Morals
[26:38] So you say that consequentialism you say it's it's incorrect to think that consequentialism contradicts principle-based morals that assumption is incorrect because principles already are defined by consequences now again this is you know and i say this you know when i was learning to play the guitar i put my fingers in the wrong place all the time this is rank amateur hour and and it's funny when it comes to debate everyone thinks that they're an expert right you haven't studied debating you haven't studied philosophy you haven't studied rhetoric you haven't studied principles i mean so when you say well this assumption is incorrect because principles already are defined by consequences well that's just a statement i mean you're taking a radical position here which is that people think that you use principles and you stick by principles regardless of the consequences right i mean again foundation of christianity is jesus is sticking by his principles, even though he is tortured to death, right?
Beatings, whippings, crown of thorns, crucifixion. I mean, he sticks by his principles.
The consequences of Jesus sticking by his principles, as is the case with Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and Galileo and all the other people who suffered for their principles, the consequence of sticking by their principles was absolutely horrible for them.
The Battle Between Principles and Consequentialism
[28:03] Horrible for them. Of course, in my own minor way, I have suffered for sticking by my principles or by objective principles.
I really don't have much of a choice. That's kind of the gig, right?
But people who stick by their principles, it's pretty tough.
So the war between judge something something by its outcome versus judge something by its principles is kind of strange right so the principle would be let's say don't steal but consequentialism would say or the for the individual consequentialism would say well wait a minute if i steal something i get that thing for way less time effort and energy than if i had to work to earn it right so if i if i make make so simplify the effort if i make 25 an hour and i want to get a thousand dollar cell phone i have to work for 40 hours right that's a whole week of work plus plus right so i have to work for 40 hours to get that phone but if i just case some store wait until it's crowded and somebody's between me and the camera and i just pocket that phone i get it in an hour as opposed to 40 hours right so So it's 2.5% of the effort.
[29:26] It's 2.5% of the effort. It's 97.5% easier to steal the phone than it is to work to buy the phone.
[29:37] If people say, I won't steal the phone, I won't steal anything because stealing is wrong, that's principles.
[29:43] Consequentialism for an individual could be that it's way easier for me to steal the phone than it is to buy it. Of course, the consequentialist would have an answer to this as such an obvious objection.
And of course, the consequentialist would say that it's bad for society because if you you steal the phone, nobody will make phones, nobody will have stores, and it's generally bad for society as a whole.
But that's not how morals work, right? Because there's no such thing as society as a whole.
There's no such thing as society as a whole.
There are individuals who act and make choices, right?
No animal in the rainforest acts for the benefit of the rainforest forest as a whole now you can say of course that individuals will sacrifice themselves for the benefit of their local group as a whole like lions will like the female lions who hunt and kill zebras will share their food with the males who guard the outskirts and their offspring who can't hunt for themselves yet and so on so yeah for sure that that can happen but in an active predator predator-prey relationship, the predator does not defer his predations for the sake of the benefit of the ecosystem as a whole.
[31:08] Individuals act to their own benefit. Now, of course, if people are principled, then they say, well, I get to heaven, or my conscience is at ease, or I'm a good person, or I'm following my values if I don't steal.
If I have a value called don't steal, and I follow of that, I feel good.
And yes, there is that benefit that it's good for society as a whole, but again, people don't, there is no such thing as society as a whole, individuals act.
[31:35] There's this old, and it's stuck in my head for like 40 years, right? Or more.
There's an old Monty Python skit where a guy gets arrested, and he says, well, it's a fair cop, but society is to blame.
And the cop says, agreed, we'll be charging them too. Right? That's funny.
Society is to blame, we'll be charging them too. We'll be charging society with your crimes. Like, that doesn't mean anything.
So if your solution to the problem of principle-based morals versus consequentialist-based morals is to say that they're the same thing without going through a pretty intense argumentation.
But if you're just saying, well, no, I'm telling you that they are the same thing, with no arguments, with no evidence, and with no sense of the complexity, and also with no sense of the history of the complexity of these kinds of arguments.
Judge by principles versus judge by effects is huge in society.
Principles vs. Effects in Society
[32:29] So people who are pro-welfare state, at least at the beginning, say, well, the effect of the welfare state is to lower the poverty rate because we're taking from the rich and we're giving to the poor. So the effect is good.
[32:40] Whereas the principal people say, well, no, because the welfare state is initiating the use of force to transfer property, it's unjust, it's immoral, and so on, right?
Now, of course, the poor people want free money, as most of us do, and rich people want to keep their money, but those who want money and poor vastly outnumber those who have money and are very wealthy and so in a democracy the poor just vote to take away the property of the rich and eventually everybody ends up broke, so of course some people who argue for principles will also talk about consequentialism so people say thou shalt not steal this moral and it gets you to heaven and it makes your conscience at ease and you you don't live hypocritically because you don't want people taking your stuff so you You don't take other people's stuff.
You affirm your common humanity and all this sort of stuff. That's great.
But they also say, and the consequences of people stealing is bad for the economy as a whole.
You know, and we can see all of this happening in various places in America now where stores are closing down because the level of theft is so high, which, of course, is just heartbreaking for the poor people in these communities who now have to take, like.
[33:55] Three buses to to go and get some groceries it's just it's just it's absolutely terrible so saying no no no you don't understand people i'm debating with you you don't understand that.
[34:06] Consequences or consequentialism and principles are the same thing you're just making an assertion that literally is a thing and its opposite are the same which is logically impossible impossible unless you just redefine everything yeah north and south are the same direction, well i just got to redefine south to equal north like you you haven't done anything other than baffle gab and annoy people who get drawn into this kind of stuff and i've sort of been floating around the edge of this debate you know just for this sort of very very sort of reason right, i'm just trying to sorry i lost the uh text here i'm just trying to find it again so principles are universal and to be followed regardless of consequences now you could argue that christianity or other religions with a heaven and a hell and i know that there's various flavors of christianity some of which have different emphases or on heaven and hell but just to take the general the general trend so of course you could argue that christianity is a mix of principles and consequentialism, the consequentialism being, of course, heaven and hell, that if you, steal, you go to hell, and that's a big consequence.
[35:19] And I would argue, of course, that there are negative consequences to immorality, but we cannot view consequences, as the definition of morality and immorality, good and evil, can't use consequences.
[35:37] That's like using pleasure as the standard of action.
Now, pleasure as the standard of action is a subjective and relativistic measure.
[35:48] So, for instance, if somebody takes a drug that knocks him out, we would consider that a bad, bad habit, right?
However, if someone takes a drug that knocks him out because he's getting surgery, right, anesthesia, we would say that's a good thing. If somebody takes opioids to feel good, we consider that a bad habit.
But if somebody takes opioids because they're recovering from some incredibly painful surgery, and it's a pain management strategy, then we would consider that a good thing.
Even the costs and benefits over the course of life change considerably.
Miserably it was important for me to find a partner in life until i found my partner in life now i'm not looking and perfectly content with with what i have it was important me when we when when i was younger it was important for me to get formal education now it's not it was important in life when i was younger for me to cast about and find the right fit for my various talents now i wake up and i do this because it's great fun and i hope it's i think i know it's a value to the world so now i don't do that anymore it's important to save your money when you are 20.
[37:05] It's not important to save your money on your deathbed doesn't mean like waste it like crazy but you obviously you don't have the same right when you're when you're 90 it's not as important to save your money deferring gratification some people really like to run a lot when they're They're younger, and some people regret that later because it gives them bad knees.
There's a Tiger Woods thing. I wish I hadn't run so much because my knees are hell.
The Relativity of Pleasure and Happiness
[37:29] And benefits and the pleasure principle changes a lot over the course of your life so it's a relativistic and subjectivist measure and of course different people are wired to do to get different degrees of happiness from different things right everybody knows the story of one person who's like oh yeah you know i i remember when i was five i was taken to see the rockettes in new york by my mother and i just fell in love with these beautiful women on stage and i i just just want to become a dancer and that's all i wanted to do and and then they become a dancer right now other people other kids go to see the rockettes and they're bored i mean i remember when i was a kid we had an album of a guy talking about various principles and ideas and arguments and i was like yeah i could do that like it was turned very excited by that all at the same time so different people are turned on and excited by different things where's the universality in that you can't have a pleasure principle it's subjective it's relativistic it changes over the course of your life it's not objective true universal there's no proof beyond reasonable doubt about what is what is good for you i mean we we would say that somebody who kills himself is probably not acting in a very positive or good way particularly to his family unless unless.
[38:48] Let's say we can always create a scenario right unless he's he's captured and they're going to to kill his family unless he kills himself he cares more for his family than his own life so that's what he does we would say that's a tragic and heroic story rather than this guy was just bad and wrong and this is not the way to do it not the way to live all this kind of stuff right so, now principles on the other hand are universal and not based upon consequences in fact in fact, universals are there because principles will give you negative consequences right so and in a sense we have principles because being principled gives you negative consequences, like on a regular basis.
Diet and exercise: Overcoming discomfort for long-term benefits
[39:31] Diet and exercise because it generally is more pleasurable to sit on the couch and eat cheesecake, right so because diet and exercise cause us discomfort we know that we need principles principles are there because certainly the short-term consequences are highly negative, for pursuing principles and again that's sort of personal so so if personal experience with this so we have principles we follow objective and universal standards of value and morality we do all of that because it's going to be the consequences of following those principles are often going to be quite negative so principles and consequentialism there's some overlap but they're very distinct things so i mean these are sort of my arguments for it we can debate this back and forth but you see i don't just say they're not the same thing i say they're not the the same thing and here's why and here's why if you break a contract you can win right i mean cell phone companies will give you a cell phone for virtually no money but you have to stay with.
[40:38] Them for two years or whatever it is right so if you take the cell phone cancel your contract don't give back the cell phone you just got a virtually free cell phone the consequences of that are plus for you but they're negative for the cell phone company negative for everyone else he's got a subsidize a cover-up that cost and that kind of stuff right so and you know the sort of famous story from from india about the cobras right so the cobras so when the raj was in full swing back in the day when the british ran india there was an excess of cobras around there's too many cobras so of course what the british did was they said the british government in its usual governmental way status gonna state and they said oh well we'll pay a bounty for every cobra you bring in right every dead cobra you bring in we'll pay a bounty right so then of course what happened well inevitably people began breeding cobras and killing them and bringing them to the british, and then the british realized this and then discontinued the program and then what happened was of course all the people who were breeding the cobras and selling them to the british or or getting the bounty, then said, well, there's no point having these cobras because I'm not going to make any money from them.
The Cobra Story: Unintended consequences of incentivized actions
[41:49] So they released the cobras, and you ended up with more cobras in the neighborhood than there were before.
Consequentialism: the Mysticism of Predicting the Future
[41:59] Consequentialism is a form of mysticism because nobody nobody can determine the outcome of the future because of free will nobody can determine the act i mean if consequentialism was a thing then central planning would be possible but it never is because nobody knows anything to do with the outcomes of the future nobody knows supply and like without price signals there is no supply supply and demand.
There is no negotiation and all of the potential value in the economy can't be followed because central planners don't know.
Like, you know, if the price of gold goes up, sometimes people take old jewelry they don't use and has been around forever.
They take their old jewelry, they sell it because the price of gold has gone up.
Of course, central planners don't know how much old jewelry people have and right. So they just, they can't possibly do it. So So you can't, you can't know the future.
I mean, if you say, well, I know the good or bad based upon what's in the future, then you shouldn't be posting on my channel, right? You shouldn't be doing any of that, right?
What you should be doing is you should use your knowledge of the future because as a consequentialist, you know the outcome of things in the future and you should use your your knowledge of the future to play the stock market, to buy and sell crypto, to amass a multi-trillion dollar fortune.
And then you can do massive amounts of good with that, right?
[43:25] Right consequentialism says i know the future but if you know the future then you should invest and make money on the future right if you if you know if you can judge the morality of something by its consequences then you know what's going to happen in the future you reject all public choice theory you reject the argument that people change their behavior based upon different incentives and you that's one of the reasons you can't predict the future so you say no no no i can can predict the future, because morality has to be absolute, which means you absolutely know what the future is.
But if you absolutely know what the future is, then you know what the price of Apple stock is going to be tomorrow, you know what the price of Bitcoin is going to be next week.
But if you don't know that, and of course you don't, anybody who says they do is lying.
So if you don't know that, then you are lying about consequentialism.
I mean, just being perfectly perfectly frank about this, right?
[44:18] Consequentialism is a total lie. It's a fake. It's nonsense.
It's embarrassing because people are claiming that they can judge based upon a certain knowledge of the future.
But if they have certain knowledge of the future, they could be multi-zillionaires, like they could basically own the world economy.
But they never do that, right? I know complex moral blah, blah, blah, the future, this, that, and the other. Oh, what's the price of Apple stock going to be tomorrow? Well, I don't know that.
It's like, okay, well then, I don't know. It's It's just an annoying waste of time, completely bizarre to me.
All right, so just to end up here, he says, he does definition of a principle.
A principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as a foundation for a system of beliefs or behavior or a chain of reasoning.
And then he says, Manuel says, for example, the moral principle of UPB is that the violation of property rights is bad. Yeah.
Arguing with Ghosts: Debunking False Moral Principles
[45:10] People are just arguing with ghosts or making things up, right?
Because that's not the moral principle. The violation of property rights is bad.
That's just a statement, right? UPP is a method of evaluating universal principles, evaluating the accuracy of universal principles. Morality is universal.
So if you make a moral proposition, can it be universalized?
So if you say stealing is good, can it be universalized? And of course, UPB, you put that through the UPB machine and it says, nope.
Can't be universalized everything which is asymmetric can't be universal i can't like i literally can't do these arguments again because i've done them about 10 zillion times over the course and you could just go look up upb at fdrpodcast.com so he says for example the moral principle of upb is that the violation of property rights is bad that's a judgment based on the consequence that any acceptance of the violation of property rights will result in the loss of logical consistency which then will result in the loss of certainty of the law in other words the The principle is made because we want to prevent any logical inconsistency to justify injustice.
Upholding Justice: Preventing Logical Inconsistencies
[46:16] So, I don't know really what any of this means. I mean, people just put a bunch of bafflegab syllables together with the attempt at sounding smart, but without really communicating anything at all.
So, violation of property rights is bad? I mean, I literally have a whole section on property rights in UPB. It doesn't quote it. It doesn't follow the argument.
Well, UPB says that property rights are good.
Therefore I know what UPB is and I understand like you don't you don't I mean I came up with UPB like 15 years ago and I still hiccup and trip over it from time to time not because it's so complex I mean I explained it to my daughter when she was a couple years old and she got it perfectly fine and has never wavered which is because we all have this programming about.
Preventing logical inconsistency as a principle
[46:58] And ethics and so on, right? In other words, the principle is made because we want to prevent any logical inconsistency to justify injustice.
I don't know what any of that means.
It's just, if you claim something is universal, but it can't be universal, then you're wrong.
That's all. I don't know what any of this is, like this baffle gap, right?
If you claim that something is universal and it can't be universal, then your claim is false, right?
I mean, for instance, if I say that 2 and 2 make 4 is a universal truth, 2 and 2 make 4 is a universally accurate equation.
2 and 2 make 4 is universal.
And then I say, except in Indiana.
[47:44] In Indiana, 2 and 2 make a forearm.
Wrong well if i say two and two is universal and then i say except in indiana then i have made a false statement because things can't be universal except in indiana right universal means everywhere if you create a geographical exclusion then right it's impossible if i say that stealing is upb well it can't be universalized right it's asymmetrical right somebody has to want you to not take their property for it to be stealing.
But if stealing is UPB, then everybody wants to steal and be stolen from at the same time. But if you want to be stolen from, it's not theft.
So by definition, you don't even need to put the star Indiana in, right? Asterisk Indiana.
By definition, it's a false statement. It's a self-contradictory statement.
It is exactly the same as the proposition of a square circle.
[48:41] And, you know, all of this has been explained a thousand times before in the show, but I guess this guy is too lofty in his intellect to read or learn anything.
So yeah, the principle is made because we want to prevent any logical inconsistency to justify.
No, you just, if you say something's universal, but it can't be universalized, then you're wrong.
If you say stealing is UPB, but stealing can't be universalized by its definition, it's asymmetrical.
One person wants the opposite of what somebody else wants. So therefore, like if one person wants the opposite of what someone else wants, they can't both want it at the same time.
Did you see what I mean? This is just basic logic, right?
It is the same as saying one person must head north, one person must head south.
They both must go north, right? If somebody says to you, one person must, according to my moral theory, one person must go north, the other person must go south.
Which is the definition of them both going north, right? You would say that's wrong.
That's a logical problem, right? Because you've got two people doing opposite things, but then they're supposed to do the same thing.
So if you say stealing is UPB, everybody must want to steal and be stolen from at the same time, but that can't happen.
[49:57] It is a logical contradiction, a contradiction in logic, and a contradiction in logic cannot be allowed to stand.
That which is anti-logical cannot be valid.
Examples of logical contradictions and consequences
[50:09] I mean, this is, I mean, math, science, engineering, you name it, right?
It doesn't, right? If you go to NASA and you say, I have a rocket that goes up into the sky and down into the earth at exactly the same time, they will say that you're crazy because it can't do that. It can't go up and down at the same time.
Like, it can't go up into the sky and down. Like, you understand?
So, I don't know what it means.
The principle is made because we want to prevent any logical inconsistency to justify and justify. I don't even know what any of that is. It's just a word, Sal. It just doesn't make any sense.
So, he says, so here's a request. If you disagree with what I've just explained, please provide an example of a moral principle that's not defined by its consequences. Just one.
Yeah. Yeah, well, stealing can never be universally preferable behavior.
Okay, there you go. There's no consequences in that.
Stealing can never be universally preferable behavior in the same way that a guy going north and a guy going south cannot both be going north at the same time.
A rocket going up cannot also be going down at the same time.
Two and two can't equal four and door handle simultaneously.
[51:18] I mean, honestly, just study basic laws of logic.
Right this is just this is just aristotle's three laws of logic this is just basic laws of logic and you just need to you need to provide your definitions and this arrogance of like provide me this it's like if you haven't thought things through and i do this because it's you know generally interesting and and a good training on critical thinking right rape theft assault and murder can never be upb there you go well what are the consequences of that i.
[51:46] It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. Two and two cannot equal five.
Well, what are the consequences of that?
I don't know and it doesn't matter. Two and two do not equal five.
There's no such thing as a square circle. Well, what are the consequences of that? You can't say there's no such thing as a square circle without thinking about consequences.
It's like, no, it's a statement of fact. There is no such thing as a square circle.
Well, but the consequence is that is you want people to stop believing in us. No.
No. I mean, would I prefer it? Yeah, but I don't base my argument on the consequences.
I hope that the consequences are that people stop believing in square circles and that two and two make five.
And I hope that people stop believing that stealing can ever be UPB or that two and two make four, except in Indiana, the initiation of the use of force is wrong, except for government, right?
It's the same thing. I hope that people will believe things that are true and logical and consistent, yeah, that'd be great.
But whether people do or don't accept logic has no effect on the truth or falsehood of a proposition.
If a guy is running off a cliff, flapping his arms saying, I believe I can fly, I will tell him to stop because he can't.
I hope he stops, but whether he stops or not has no effect on gravity.
Whether people believe or reject.
Truth is Universal and Not Subject to Opinions
[53:14] Of false propositions has no effect on the truth or falsehood of those propositions.
That would be to say that truth is democratic, which would be a violation of UPB. Truth is universal, and therefore it's not subject to opinions.
[53:27] You can't disbelieve in gravity, you can't disbelieve in logic, you can't disbelieve…
I mean, sorry, you can't… Gravity doesn't change whether you believe in it or not. Truth doesn't change whether you believe it or not.
So there you go. I hope this makes some sense. And listen, I mean, look, I appreciate the effort that you're putting into this. I do.
I think it's very interesting and it gives me something to bounce off.
But you don't, you really don't know what you're doing. I'm sorry.
Philosophy is tricky. And you've got to blank slate this stuff and say, well, what if I knew nothing? And you've got to build things.
I've been doing this for 40 years, right?
And you don't know what you're doing. And I say this, you know, because you're a smart guy, good language skills.
And I hope that you will learn something from this. But right now, you're just making assertions, you're equating things that are opposites, and you're getting definitions completely wrong about what UPB is.
And you're just, I mean, the image that comes to my mind, and I'm sorry if this is unfair, it's like a toddler flinging a bunch of food around saying that he's an expert chef, right? I'm Gordon Ramsay.
And it's like, no, you're just throwing food around. You're having a food fight. You're not a chef.
And you're just throwing words around. You're not yet at the process of thinking, but I hope that you will think about thinking in the future.
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