Re: Ethics and Politics

Arjen Kamphuis (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 02:13:43 +0200

At 15:23 14-09-97 Dan Fabulich <>, you wrote:
>So, instead, I offer this philosophical argument for discussion, based on
>John Stuart Mill's _Utilitarianism_. I use his definition of "utility."
>1) Any political system which maximizes utility is an ethical political
> system.
>2) Libertarianism maximizes utility.
>3) Therefore, libertarianism is an ethical political system.
>Now, I think most would agree simply by looking that my argument that it at
>least VALID; my conclusion follows directly from its premises. Anyone who
>would argue that my argument is false must take issue with my premises.

very correct, you've got your logic straight, Socrates is smiling at you
from his grave ;-)

>Read them, if you haven't already. And if you STILL want to argue moral
>philosophy, then please provide a point by point demonstration as to why
>these political philosophers are wrong.

I've read some of them, and even if I do not totally agree I find it very
hard to argue against them. But I'm not an economist so that's to be expected.

I do, however know some stuff about recent history and this taught me that
it is impossible to predict (in advance that is) what the practical
consequences of any new social order will be. Various experiments have been
done during this century, all of them ended in disaster or are still
running without achieving their planned goals so far (Cuba, N-Korea).

The system called society is, until now anyway, to complex to make a
long-term prediction. Like the wheather, you're dealing with
butterfly-effects (the invention of The Bom, The JFK-assination - all quite
difficult to predict).

Before 1917 it was very difficult to 'prove' why Karl Marx was so very
wrong, with hindsight things seem a lot clearer.

I'm not saying Libertarianism could not yield fine results, I'm saying we
just don't (can't!) know for sure because it has not been tried yet.
And untill we do we'll never be sure.

Hold it! is this *me* arguing *for* trying Libertarianism?

Well maybe, I'm curious to... It would solve all the discussions.
It would be intersting to see what happens, only will there be an emergency
brake? What if there's something we missed?
Karl Marx missed a few things...

I'm Extropian, I like experiments...
But it's like when you switch on a new Robot, you'll want a kill-switch
handy just in case there's a bug in your coding, the kind of bugs that you
don't notice untill you run the entire program.

There was a bug like that in communism... it killed 100,000,000 humans
(conservative estimate). Please de-bug before running!

I hope someone with more knowledge of economics than myself can point out
any flaws in the documents, I feel something itching but I can't put my
finger on it.

Thanx Dan, for clarifying a very complicated discussion.

Arjen Kamphuis | Learn as if you will live forever. | Live as though you will die tomorrow.