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Megathread The ideal government. Philosopher Kings and Benevolent Dictators.

freddy47

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I remember once me and some friends were smoking a joint outside a bar and the subject of voting came up. One of my friends asked me if I voted and I said no. So he asked me if I wanted to register as he was one of those volunteers who try and get people to sign up and vote. I said no thanks I don't believe in voting only half-jokingly. When he asked me why, I said I believe in Plato and his idea of a Philosopher king or in other words a Benevolent Autocracy or dictator should rule. He then asked me how would we make sure the king or dictator would remain benevolent to which I replied "have a team of snipers deployed around at all times aiming at him and the minute he turns tyrannical pull the trigger" which was followed by a round of stoned/drunk laughing all around followed by my friend saying "yeah and we all get to vote on when they should get to pull the trigger."

Now I believe when it comes to democracy Winston Churchill said it best. "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." Now a lot of people assume that the United States is a full fledged democracy. It is not. We are a Republic. We elect our leaders to make decisions for us. The problem is our leaders often ignore the voters wishes and do what is beneficial to them. True democracy would not work in this country because it is just too big population wise. And with all the comparisons made between Rome and America maybe history will repeat itself and America will become another empire with Emperors in all but name.

What I merely SUGGEST is this. Why not have a philosopher king rule? A leader both wise and benevolent with nothing but the interest of the people at heart. An excellent example of when I think this form of rule has actually worked was the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was a stoic philosopher who ruled with compassion and benevolence and above all strength and wisdom. His rule was so respected by the people that even the Praetorian guard who so often overthrew their Emperors did nothing but respect and protect him. In short he was the epitome of a great leader. He went to war unwillingly and did everything he could to improve the quality of life for his people.

His qualities as I see them were as follows.
1. He was intelligent and wise and highly educated.
2. He had high ideals and knew what it meant to rule without being a tyrant.
3. He was a stoic so power and decadence meant nothing to him.
4. And lastly he was a RELUCTANT leader. When his predecessor Hadrian named him his heir Marcus initially refused because he didn't DESIRE power. It was only after he was convinced that it was his duty to the people that he accepted.

To me that is what a philosopher king should be. Wise, intelligent, capable, compassionate, but most importantly reluctant to assume power. He must have no desire to rule and no ambition to become all powerful. Some people have criticized Platos idea of a philosopher king. Saying it lead to leaders like Hitler and Stalin. But I believe its because they lacked some of the fundamental ideas behind the idea of a philosopher king. For one they had no compassion. They were essentially human monsters. For another they had too much political ambition and had tyrant written all over them. They corrupted Platos idea and turned it into their own personal fantasy of how a country should be run according to their wishes and not what wisdom or reason dictated.

Now some would say that Marcus Aurelius was a one off. That people like that are far and few between. This may be true. But I can think of one instance where it has happened again. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered by many to be one of our countries greatest presidents. And during his time as President he had nearly unlimited power over the country. He did things many consider to be unconstitutional and yet no one would consider him a tyrant. I posit that FDR was the closest thing this country has ever been to a dictatorship and our country was better off having him as our president.

Now I realize my idea will come under attack. Some might even claim that I hate freedom or something equally untrue. But I am simply making a suggestion. And I would appreciate any thought on why having a philosopher king would be a good or bad idea.

Peace.
 

MyFinalRest

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There is really no way of being able to say if this sort of government would be good or bad. IMO it all comes down to the character, decisions, and actions of the people who are in power. If it's mostly corrupt shitty people, you'll end up with a corrupt and shitty system where good people with good ideas don't get a chance. If it's good people and there is no corruption and people are actually fair in a system, which I do think is possible, then you create an environment where corruption and deception is not tolerated. I guess in a Kingship or Dictatorship the decision making "officially" comes down to fewer people, but decisions made in the democracy of the USA are pretty much made by only a handful of people too. There have been good Kings and bad ones, and it all depends on how they choose to rule and how the people accept this rule. There's always some sort of "social contract" going on no matter who's in charge.
Really, focusing solely on the institutions rather than realizing how the qualities of the leadership affect them is pointless. The living, thinking, and acting entities within these institutional frameworks are ultimately the deciding factors on the quality of a government.

But, with the level of moral corrosion in modern American political culture, there would have to be lots of good people or at least a few strong ones who could enforce a better political framework and change the rules of the game to something more acceptable. It might take a fucking miracle!

Also, sometimes a leader can be a very good person, and even with the power to carry out his wishes, politics is still very much a guessing game and making the right choices everytime is impossible. What person could leave office without regrets? Either he'd be that damn good or a sociopath who didn't give a shit.
 

Belisarius

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Ideally, a philosopher-king would be (one) of the best of all possible worlds. Realistically, though, it would never work.

1.) Marcus Aurelius had the benefit of ruling at a time when the Roman Empire was relatively prosperous and secure. Then again, it's easy to be well-remembered by Roman historians when you spend most of your reign at the frontiers, well away from the gamesmanship of Rome proper. Intelligent though he was, he wasn't so much so that he appointed his own son rather than continue the adoptive system that had worked so well for almost a century, which leads me to...

2.) Any dictatorship is--by definition--only as good as the person at the top. Democracies screw up, yes, but at least it's something that's usually limited to an election cycle. If an autocrat screws up, he's accountable to no one, which is too bad, because nobody's perfect. You point to Marcus Aurelius as a good emperor, and rightly so, yet for every one of him, there's a Caligula, Nero, Caracalla, Elagabalus, etc.

3.)
To me that is what a philosopher king should be. Wise, intelligent, capable, compassionate, but most importantly reluctant to assume power. He must have no desire to rule and no ambition to become all powerful.
Someone truly reluctant to rule will probably not be a good ruler, while kingship--hell, even being a politician--implies some degree of ambition. Fifty bucks says there isn't a single person in Congress who wasn't willing to run over whoever it took to get a seat, and that goes for members of any party; similarly, even a philospher-king would rule according to the belief that he (or she) has the *right* to speak for *everyone*, in *their* best interests. Which leads me to...

4.)
A leader both wise and benevolent with nothing but the interest of the people at heart.
Which people? According to the election results of 2004, George W. Bush represented the interests of the American people. Never mind the millions of people who didn't vote for him (or who didn't vote at all, for that matter); it was his face in press conferences and on the front page of the paper, so that was the face of America, just as Obama is the face of America for everyone at the moment. The people are not a homogenous entity, so they cannot be holistically represented; attempting to beat the proverbial square peg into a round hole starts getting you into the dangerously vague idea of Rousseau's "general will". Note that throughout FDR's presidency there were plenty of Americans who despised him, to say nothing of those who hold him in contempt even today.

To be fair, I'll admit that I lean toward the idea of benevolent autocracy. However, if I had to choose between the vagaries of human nature for something as important as kingship, and the vagaries of the masses with their inherent buffering quality, I will unflinchingly choose the former.
 

MyFinalRest

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Considering that voter turnout for the 2008 presidential election reached it's highest percentage of eligible voters that it had in years at only 63% - at the most one could only say that a current president only represents about a 1/3 of the United Staes. In previous presidential elections and in most other elections the turnout is even lower - resulting in representing even less of a percentage of American viewpoints.
The supposed "buffering qualities" in a democracy can be sidestepped or overridden. Really, the Obama presidency should have brought changes, but it is apparent that some "powers-that-be" still have a frim grasp on the system and nothing really has changed. These "powers" have rendered the election cycle a useless game by pre-deciding who gets to really run and win.

I think that a dictator can serve the "will of the people." Of course, he can't make everybody happy - and neither can a majority decision in a democracy - but he can apply his rule where needed and generally stay out of people's and other institutions affairs and let them be the masters of their "will" when possible. Democracies that follow that approach can be said to representing the "will" of the people also. The best government is perhaps really the one that governs the least. Knowing when not to make a decision is perhaps more important than trying to make a decision on something.
Anything bad that can happen in a dictatorship can happen with a democracy - just as bad - just as long too.

Sometimes leadership has to say fuck popular opinion and take certain actions too. I would like to see "Green Dictators" rise up and start enforcing environmental protection and restoration. Sure, in this case, plenty of people wouldn't make money by running businesses and and working jobs that destroy the environment, and they would be furious, but in this case, people need to be found different ways of earning a living since we only have one planet to sustain life. Once it's fucked up, it's fucked. A bunch of people's opinions on the importance of keeping their polluting livelihoods and lifestyles has to be dismissed once and for all soon or we won't be alive to bitch about shit anymore.
But, like I said before, enfocement of green laws should stay out of most people's lives (i.e. forcing people to use CFL, halogen, and LED lightbulbs like congress will be doing here soon) and focus on the bigger pictures of energy production and dispersal of toxic substances into the ecosystem. And this would be a benevolent dictatorship - reimbursing people who would lose work by having them work on solar and other clean and renewable technologies instead. Also, this dictatorship would provide solar and wind powered generators to each residence. I can understand not wanting to be forced into living in flourescent lighting, but there is no cause for complaining about a solar panel and wind turbine mounted on your roof, free of charge, that would in turn provide you with free electricity.
 
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Cyc

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I really like the part about being a reluctant leader. I, too believe that the best leaders are those who do not desire power and take the role of leadership as a burden, rather than an accomplishment. In fact, I would extend that to all leaders, whether they be parents, college professors or job managers. The more you can remove your ego from your decisions, the more people will ultimately come to respect you. That doesn't mean you have to be completely dispassionate about your role. You can't be lazy about it. But that passion cannot come from a place of personal ambition. It has to be objective.
 

freddy47

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@Belisarius

First off love your name. If I'm not mistaken that is the name of a great general of the Byzantine empire. Am I right? As I recall he reconquered Rome from the Vandals but could not hold it because Justinian thought he was getting too popular and needed to be knocked down a notch.

1.) Marcus Aurelius had the benefit of ruling at a time when the Roman Empire was relatively prosperous and secure. Then again, it's easy to be well-remembered by Roman historians when you spend most of your reign at the frontiers, well away from the gamesmanship of Rome proper. Intelligent though he was, he wasn't so much so that he appointed his own son rather than continue the adoptive system that had worked so well for almost a century, which leads me to...
I would have to agree with you on this point. It is possible that Marcus had a weakness for his children. Although it could be the fact that Marcus was the first emperor since Vespasian (who ruled nearly a hundred years before Marcus) to have a son/male heir that Commodus was chosen in the first place. That and perhaps Marcus thought he had taught his son well enough to replace him. After all Marcus and Commodus did rule the Empire together for a time. Marcus as Augustus and Commodus as Ceasar implying that Marcus must have taught Commodus something. Being that not much is recorded on the life of Commodus (compared to Marcus anyway) it is possible that Commodus started out as a promising successor to his father and eventually became the bad emperor we know him as. This is however just speculation so in the end I'll just have to agree with you.

2.) Any dictatorship is--by definition--only as good as the person at the top. Democracies screw up, yes, but at least it's something that's usually limited to an election cycle. If an autocrat screws up, he's accountable to no one, which is too bad, because nobody's perfect. You point to Marcus Aurelius as a good emperor, and rightly so, yet for every one of him, there's a Caligula, Nero, Caracalla, Elagabalus, etc.
Once again undeniably true. But what you forget is that this was a time in Roman history where there were essentially 2 emperors. An Augustus and a Ceasar. Marcus had Lucius as his Ceasar. So perhaps I should modify my theory to include 2 autocrats, in a sense 2 philosopher kings ruling together to balance the other with one being slightly more powerful than the other? Again just a theory but think about it. And yes for every Trajan, or Hadrian, or Marcus Aurelius there was the opposite extreme of Caligula and Nero. But just because a bad leader in a democracy is usually voted out of office in the next election doesn't mean a new terrible leader won't be voted in or that the voting public will vote for anyone else at all. Now I hate comparing things with the Nazis. Godwins law I guess could apply here. But it was an election that help put the Nazis in power at the Reichstag after all.

And look at George W Bush. By many accounts a terrible president and terrible leader. And yet that didn't stop him getting reelected. And now we have Obama whose competency is yet to be proven and so far hasn't done much to improve the country. Which interestingly leads me to my next counter point. One could argue that the reason Obama is having such a hard time is that he is trying to please both parties without success. An autocrat could avoid that. He wouldn't be mired into party politics. An Autocrat does not need to cut through miles of red tape. And the fact that he doesn't need to answer to anyone is in this case a strength not a weakness. He can get things done faster and more efficiently than a lumbering Republic can.

Someone truly reluctant to rule will probably not be a good ruler, while kingship--hell, even being a politician--implies some degree of ambition. Fifty bucks says there isn't a single person in Congress who wasn't willing to run over whoever it took to get a seat, and that goes for members of any party; similarly, even a philospher-king would rule according to the belief that he (or she) has the *right* to speak for *everyone*, in *their* best interests. Which leads me to...
I think you are somewhat missing my point. Marcus Aurelius was reluctant to rule and he was a great leader. He accepted it as his duty and so rose up to the challenge. So I think a good leader is one who doesn't want power but accepts that it his duty to use that power for public service. In other words a good philosopher king is one who does not wish for power but has it thrown upon him as it was thrown upon Marcus.

Now so far I have avoided quoting the movie Gladiator in which Marcus Aurelius plays an important role because it is not historically accurate. But there is a great scene that kind of makes my point. Marcus had just named Maximus his heir and Maximus looks down on the floor upset. Marcus says "Do you not accept this great honor I have given you?" To which Maximus replies. "With all my heart no." Marcus says "Ahh Maximus... That is why it must be you."

Which people? According to the election results of 2004, George W. Bush represented the interests of the American people. Never mind the millions of people who didn't vote for him (or who didn't vote at all, for that matter); it was his face in press conferences and on the front page of the paper, so that was the face of America, just as Obama is the face of America for everyone at the moment. The people are not a homogenous entity, so they cannot be holistically represented; attempting to beat the proverbial square peg into a round hole starts getting you into the dangerously vague idea of Rousseau's "general will". Note that throughout FDR's presidency there were plenty of Americans who despised him, to say nothing of those who hold him in contempt even today.
I would not say that Jean Jacques Rousseau and his idea of the General will is dangerously vague. It is only dangerous if taken out of context. In his Discourse on Political Economy he implies that the General Will is to protect the individual from the masses. I do not believe that Rousseau inspired the horrors of the French Revolution but that his followers (the Jacobins) took his ideas of social engineering too far and led to tyranny. If anything the idea of the General Will is a democratic idea and not a tyrannical one.

The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to contribute personally, or through their representatives, to its formation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to all public dignities, positions, and employments, according to their capacities, and without any other distinction than that of their virtues and their talents. James Swenson
Read the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen which being a important document of the French revolution was heavily influenced by Rousseau. And although the French Revolution did take a turn for the worst but keep in mind it was not the acts of a dictator that caused the Terror. But rather the incoherent rage and misdirected anger of the mob that caused so much destruction. In fact I would go so far as to say that mob rule is the purest form of democracy in that it is an expression of the most extreme wants and desires of the public.
 

freddy47

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@Cyc

Totally agree with you. I find that ambition totally gets in the way of doing whats right for the people. Its hard to do whats right for your country when you are so concerned about yourself and your own personal goals.
 

freddy47

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There is really no way of being able to say if this sort of government would be good or bad. IMO it all comes down to the character, decisions, and actions of the people who are in power. If it's mostly corrupt shitty people, you'll end up with a corrupt and shitty system where good people with good ideas don't get a chance. If it's good people and there is no corruption and people are actually fair in a system, which I do think is possible, then you create an environment where corruption and deception is not tolerated. I guess in a Kingship or Dictatorship the decision making "officially" comes down to fewer people, but decisions made in the democracy of the USA are pretty much made by only a handful of people too. There have been good Kings and bad ones, and it all depends on how they choose to rule and how the people accept this rule. There's always some sort of "social contract" going on no matter who's in charge.
Yes that is why I have suggested that a philosopher king meet certain requirments if he were to rule. In short the king cannot be shitty and corrupt. His character would not allow him to be.
 

freddy47

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I just liked this samurai quote. I think it says something about duty to ones country.

"Death is light as a feather. Duty heavy as a mountain."
 

AndroidsDreamofBTC

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I think one big problem with being a reluctant leader is that you will never come to power because other people with more ambition will get in your way. There will always be someone more sleazy who is willing to exploit the system in order to come to power.

You could enforce a system where anyone who is a position of power has to prove his moral character by making a sacrifice. So if you wanted to work in finance, you would first have to get a degree in philosophy and spend 5 years working for an NGO in Somalia. This would filter out all the "crack-head" types that dominate the financial industry. But there is no way to enforce something like that as every single country would have to agree on such rules and the finance industry lobby would probably do everything in its power to stop such a system.
 

Renz Envy

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Why not focus on building a better population instead of a better leader?
 

hiphophippy

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A true philosopher would realize there are no such things as true morals. and then everything would go to shit. They are all axioms.
 

freddy47

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You could enforce a system where anyone who is a position of power has to prove his moral character by making a sacrifice. So if you wanted to work in finance, you would first have to get a degree in philosophy and spend 5 years working for an NGO in Somalia. This would filter out all the "crack-head" types that dominate the financial industry. But there is no way to enforce something like that as every single country would have to agree on such rules and the finance industry lobby would probably do everything in its power to stop such a system.
That would be interesting. I know I would support such a proposition.

Why not focus on building a better population instead of a better leader?
Because the population is often too ignorant/lazy or in many cases too damn stupid to be trusted regardless of how much you try to educate them. The fact that in the United States many people still regard evolution as JUST a theory is IMO an excellent example of this. In short individuals can be smart, inventive, wise, even compassionate. While groups can be cruel, selfish, uncaring and downright nasty. Another example I would like to use is China. I've been living here for the past 4 months and let me tell you life is cheap here. I have noticed this whenever I travel to a place where there is an overpopulation problem, people seem to care less about each other. This recent news about a toddler being run over on the street here and bystanders just walked by and didn't call the cops or anything is proof. People IMO need to be governed. Otherwise we'll be at each others throats all the time.

A true philosopher would realize there are no such things as true morals. and then everything would go to shit. They are all axioms.
I'd guess I'd have to ask you who would you consider a 'true' philosopher? And what is this about axioms? Isn't an axiom a logical statement that is assumed to be true regardless of proof or demonstration? So would not a true philosopher come to the conclusion that moral values are important to uphold and nothing 'would go to shit' as you put it? I mean in a sense I kind of agree with you. Morality is relative therefore true morality is hard to determine. But I don't know I think you have to draw the line somewhere.

I still think yogurt is the best leader.
I don't much like yogurt. I'd prefer to be lead by cheese if I had to choose any dairy product to be my leader. Then at least I could snack on him when it makes a decision I don't like :)
 

hiphophippy

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I'd guess I'd have to ask you who would you consider a 'true' philosopher? And what is this about axioms? Isn't an axiom a logical statement that is assumed to be true regardless of proof or demonstration? So would not a true philosopher come to the conclusion that moral values are important to uphold and nothing 'would go to shit' as you put it? I mean in a sense I kind of agree with you. Morality is relative therefore true morality is hard to determine. But I don't know I think you have to draw the line somewhere.
What I should of said is what one personally defines as the axioms of good and bad.

Morality is the projection of the conscious into the world based on what a human being believes is good or bad. good an bad do no exist. Morality is based on good and bad. since good and bad do not truly exist neither can a true morality.
If we instill that homosexuality is bad and thusly immoral, it is bad and immoral. If we instill that killing people because they are white is good and thus a moral course of action it thusly becomes good and moral. In reality, neither are realities they are functions of the conscious perception of man. The majority of philosophers come to this understanding and then try and bullshit around it by trying to objectify things as good or bad. With Ayn Rand it was the pursuit of ones own happiness that was always the moral course of action. To Nietzsche that good is everything that is helpful; what is bad is what is harmful.

They don't exist. Morality is the function of what one perceives as good or bad.
 

CoffeeDrinker

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^Just let economics replace morality then, not difficult. Morality is besides the point, and it just gets in the way when talking about governance. Only bad leaders need to talk about morality.

Renz-"Why not focus on building a better population instead of a better leader?"

Isn't it funny that the counter-culture of today's time is sort all coming to a point where authoritarianism is preferential], and anarchy is the ideology o the elite. I just thought that was a funny observation. Economically it makes sense, so it's not that ironic, I suppose.
Anyway, a system of education in place to produce such people would have the same effect though, wouldn't it? It would produce a leader that is in tune with the population, and since both the leader and population had the same education the leader would enact policies that would undoubtedly resonate with the population. A leader who has the people's best interest's at heart can hardly be recognized as such in today's America because of the many skewed places that people get their information from. Our population is fucked up, and therefore our leaders have no idea what to do because they sure as hell can't do the correct thing without other people accusing them of doing so.... Isn't that a bitch?
I always thought that there should be a few civil and ethical exams in place that any elected official needs to pass before being allowed to run for office, and their appointees must pass the same exams, but people tell me that goes against democracy as if that matters.
 

Apostacious

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I'm not sure that there is such a thing as an "ideal government," as nobody will ever agree what constitutes an ideal government. However, there are some obvious characteristics of an ideal government, such as one which protects innocent civilians, offers citizens a wide degree of freedom, is transparent and so on and so forth. Then again, some may disagree whether any of the mentioned characteristics are incontrovertible prerequisites for an ideal system. In my own opinion, I prefer a governmental system that: freely offers all citizens the basic needs to remain productive, such as health care, food, shelter, communication, transportation, education, etc; has moved its parent economy away from dependence on fossil fuels; abstains from unilateral economic and military action against other nations; abolishes the death penalty; allows its citizens to freely choose what they want to do to their own bodies, as long as said actions do not affect others negatively; heavily regulates the financial sector, and holds all actors accountable for their actions, even if they are "untouchable;" enforces a high degree of transparent oversight with its central bank; abolishes corporate political action committees; allows its citizens to possess all small arms as long as they can pass freely offered security programs, and have no violent criminal record; etc.

Those are the aspects of an ideal government that I can think of off the top of my head. Yet, I highly doubt that many other people would completely agree with me.
 

freddy47

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Morality is the projection of the conscious into the world based on what a human being believes is good or bad. good an bad do no exist. Morality is based on good and bad. since good and bad do not truly exist neither can a true morality.
If we instill that homosexuality is bad and thusly immoral, it is bad and immoral. If we instill that killing people because they are white is good and thus a moral course of action it thusly becomes good and moral. In reality, neither are realities they are functions of the conscious perception of man. The majority of philosophers come to this understanding and then try and bullshit around it by trying to objectify things as good or bad. With Ayn Rand it was the pursuit of ones own happiness that was always the moral course of action. To Nietzsche that good is everything that is helpful; what is bad is what is harmful.

They don't exist. Morality is the function of what one perceives as good or bad.
I agree with you to a point. I certainly have to agree with you that yes if we were to instill something as morally right then whatever that thing we view as right is willed into our perception of reality. (sorry about the run on sentence) Since after all reality is ultimately a matter of perception. So who can truly say what is right or wrong? But however as the great majority of mankind has relatively the same perception, I would venture as far as to say that there is a degree of universality to the idea of morality i.e murder is wrong or stealing is wrong etc.

Lets take this as an hypothetical. If for some crazy and unidentifiable reason 99% of the world were to suddenly suffer from the same delusion that giant bunny rabbits were chasing them and trying to kill them. Then the remaining 1% of humanity who are not running for their lives from invisible assailants would no doubt question their perception of reality. Who now has the right to say that no there are no such things as Giant homicidal bunny rabbits out for human blood? The guy who sat in a mental institution for the past 10 years is a prophet! In fact the remaining 1% are the ones questioning their sanity and think that there is something wrong with them.

Albeit this is an extreme analogy and I would not push it any further. My ultimate point is this. If as you say that most philosophers try to bullshit around it and objectify things as good or bad then so be it. Who cares if it is delusion? As most people come to that conclusion anyway lets just sweep that little problem away and continue on with our lives with a delusion, that however imaginary, fucking works!

Also to back my argument up here is this lecture I found from a former professor of philosophy of Oxford. http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/athval1a.htm#1.2

Specifically I would like to quote this.

Plato propounded the great question: What is the good? The good, he made his 'Socrates' say in the Republic, is the greatest study. We do not know what it is, and yet without this knowledge no other knowledge is of any use. Some think it is pleasure; some think it is knowledge; but it cannot be either. It is the only thing of which we are never content with a mere seeming. Every soul pursues it, and does everything it does for the sake of it, divining that it is something, but doubting and being unable to find out for certain what it is. In his Philebus Plato added that the good is perfect and sufficient and capable of making happy the life of man.

Aristotle said: 'They did well who represented the good as What everything aims at. There must be some end of our actions which we desire for its own sake, while we desire other things for the sake of this end. It cannot be that we desire everything for the sake of something else; for that would give an unending process, so that our impulse would be empty and vain. There must be therefore an end which we desire for its own sake, and this is clearly the good and the best.' (A paraphrase of parts of the first page of the Nicomachean Ethics.)
I look forward to your reply hiphophippy :)

Respectfully freddy47
 

freddy47

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I'm not sure that there is such a thing as an "ideal government," as nobody will ever agree what constitutes an ideal government. However, there are some obvious characteristics of an ideal government, such as one which protects innocent civilians, offers citizens a wide degree of freedom, is transparent and so on and so forth. Then again, some may disagree whether any of the mentioned characteristics are incontrovertible prerequisites for an ideal system. In my own opinion, I prefer a governmental system that: freely offers all citizens the basic needs to remain productive, such as health care, food, shelter, communication, transportation, education, etc; has moved its parent economy away from dependence on fossil fuels; abstains from unilateral economic and military action against other nations; abolishes the death penalty; allows its citizens to freely choose what they want to do to their own bodies, as long as said actions do not affect others negatively; heavily regulates the financial sector, and holds all actors accountable for their actions, even if they are "untouchable;" enforces a high degree of transparent oversight with its central bank; abolishes corporate political action committees; allows its citizens to possess all small arms as long as they can pass freely offered security programs, and have no violent criminal record; etc.

Those are the aspects of an ideal government that I can think of off the top of my head. Yet, I highly doubt that many other people would completely agree with me.
I pretty much agree with all of that so yeah :)
 

freddy47

Bluelighter
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
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1,776
I always thought that there should be a few civil and ethical exams in place that any elected official needs to pass before being allowed to run for office, and their appointees must pass the same exams, but people tell me that goes against democracy as if that matters.
I think that is a really good idea. Have every political leader go through some kind of screening process and examination to judge their fitness to rule. And so what if its against democracy? The United States as I said is a Republic anyway. So why shouldn't our leaders go through a rigorous process of training and evaluation before they are deemed fit to lead?
 
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