Sunday, 30 August 2015

Platonic Babies

A story idea

Babies are born knowing. Their minds are fully functioning, and they understand the secrets of the universe. Unfortunately, they are unable to have any direct control over their bodies, and are unable to interact with the outside world. There comes a point for every baby where they make the choice to initiate changes in the brain that will allow them to come to control their bodies and interact with the outside world. The price is high however, and they have to sacrifice all but a small kernel of themselves in order to bring about the change. Their self dies, all their knowledge is lost, but they leave behind a small seed to grow into a new person. The rest of their life is spent struggling to slowly relearn a fraction of what they once knew but sacrificed in order to live in the world.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Tolerating Intolerance?

Are liberals required to tolerate intolerance? Is it paradoxical or hypocritical if they do not?

Tolerance is a strategy to maximise liberty, it is not an end in itself. Liberals should encourage toleration to bring about more liberty, but should be against tolerance when it reduces liberty.

Tolerating the individual lifestyle choices of others, even when you strongly disapprove of those choices, increases liberty. If people wish to wear hats, then a liberal should at a minimum avoid discouraging people from wearing hats. The result of this toleration is that people wear or do not wear hats as they wish; more liberty! A liberal should be against (i.e. intolerant of) someone trying to force others to wear hats, because their actions reduces the liberty of others.

Tolerance of intolerant views is justifiable when those views are not overly reducing the liberty of others. Liberals should be intolerant of intolerance that reduces the liberty of others. Thus, if people make bigoted statements in public about hat wearers, then those statements should be tolerated if they do not adversely impact the liberty of people who wear hats. Toleration does not preclude disagreement or debate, so the liberal can still be free to criticise hatist views. If the bigoted statements about hat wearers has the impact of restricting their liberty (e.g. it makes it more difficult for them to be in public, or to get a job) then those statements and views should not be tolerated.

Liberals are required to tolerate intolerance when that intolerance is not adversely impacting the liberty of others. It is not hypocritical to be intolerant of intolerance when the targeted intolerance is reducing liberty.

Quotes: The Thousandfold Thought

Some quotes:

“You understood that when men stop bowing, the emperor ceases to rule, that when the whips are thrown into the river, the slave ceases to serve. For an infant to be an emperor or a slave or a merchant or a whore or a general or whatever, those about him must act accordingly. And Men act as they believe. “You saw them, in their thousands, spread across the world in great hierarchies, the actions of each exquisitely attuned to the expectations of others. The identity of Men, you discovered, was determined by the beliefs, the assumptions, of others. This is what makes them emperors or slaves … Not their gods. Not their blood".

Doubt begets understanding, and understanding begets compassion. Verily, it is conviction that kills. 

From Bakker's The Thousandfold Thought, Book 3 of the Prince of Nothing