Corbett Video Report: The Statist Religion & Disproving the Government God

“Modern-day government is a god and statism is a religion that is responsible for 260,000,000 deaths in the last century alone.”

While the so-called "New Atheists" are spending their energies warning of the violence that is justified by religious belief, they miss the most dangerous, the most irrational, and the most pervasive religion on the planet: statism. Modern-day government is a god and statism is a religion that is responsible for 260,000,000 deaths in the last century alone. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we commit the heresy of denying the statist religion and disproving the government god.

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Comments

  1. hermaph says:

    “I think what we have now could be better … Those in power do not abide by any laws and are not accountable to any society”

    “As I said, IMO, a SMALL, local and JUST gov’t is ideal. not perfect.
    And personally, If there was a way to to do it fairly equitably, I’d ban monopoly and collusion of corporations. Among other things. But I really can not see a Big state helping anyone but itself and it’s Big buddies”

    “between 2007 and 2010, the OCC and OTS combined made ‘zero’ criminal referrals; Black concluded that elite financial fraud has effectively been decriminalized.[26]”

    “a reasoned explanation for the cause of the failure”

    “appearances of autonomy”

    “the transition would be tough and the “legal” authority non-existent.”

  2. “Xicha says
    can you consider that Anarcho-capitalism is what we have now, not self-governance?

    When you talk about the state protecting the corps, I don’t think that is the state, it is the corps protecting the corps, under the illusion of a state.”

    Well I guess you could spin it that way. But i could spin it in just the opposite direction. if we want to play with definitions.

    You seemed to have narrowed the definition of the state to what you consider “good” gov’t.

    But the fact is the state is define not so much by it’s good or bad actions but it’s assumed authority. A dictatorship is a form of State as well as a well run Hippie commune or a 1790 Quaker New England township.

    And another reason i’d say your definition is off is because again the State is DE-Regulating and PROTECTING SOME players, the big ones and not others. the small Farmer is being run out of Biz, the small car manufacturer is not free -Anarchically- to do the things the big one is. Even the child who just want’s to sell lemonade on the corner is not allowed to do it LEGALLY on a New York street because the STATE says so. Where the Biz freedom the Anarcho-capitalism you seem concerned about there?

    so no, it’s not Anarcho-capitalism.
    It’s kleptocracy and/or plutocracy but not Capitalism or Socialism. It’s a
    corrupted mix of the some of the worse bits of the 2.

  3. “It’s kleptocracy and/or plutocracy but not Capitalism or Socialism. It’s a corrupted mix of the some of the worse bits of the 2.”

    Yeah, I can see that. But, that describes our current state. What I meant by “what we have” was not the state, but the real power behind the state. I still maintain that those in real power today do not function within a state of any kind. They only use the state as a filter for us to look through, so that we don’t see them.

    “You seemed to have narrowed the definition of the state to what you consider “good” gov’t.”

    Or at least “valid” government with “actual” power. What I’m getting at is that we won’t know exactly how much “actual/valid/good” government we need, until we start experiencing it. It’s difficult to decide which regulations we need, before we get rid of the anarchistic power that controls our regulators. I think that we should agree that it could be dynamic, based on the need to keep the scum from usurping control again.

  4. As for biz freedom, I don’t think ANCAP has any rules that the big fish must play fair. Anarchy means no laws. I still think anarcho-xyz doesn’t really mean anything except anarchy. Anarchy and capitalism are mutually exclusive.

    BTW, this exercise is still a work in progress in my mind. Hopefully n my spin can be useful. I apologize if not.

  5. TopGunI says:

    @ averye “Anarcho-capitalism would be like the Wild West IMO.”

    This is not what the ANCAPs envision at all. The ANCAP vision is simply the ultimate in privatizing everything that government does. It is simply the notion (religious faith) that free market competition can do anything better than government, including running a legal system, which is obviously necessary if you are going to have modern commerce. You cannot have complex contracts and complex property rights without a legal system.

    Understand, averye, your basic ANCAP does not see a regression of any kind in modern commerce. Molyneux, for example, comes from the software world. So they do not embrace a vision of returning to the Wild West, which would never happen anyway, because you simply cannot effectively turn back the clock on certain types of evolution, including the evolution of organizational developments, industry and commerce. You can start a commune out in the woods, but you are not going to create a new society for the world, as the ANCAPs want to do.

    So what does the ANCAP legal system look like? It has a couple of basic, fundamental features to it. Legal disputes are decided by Insurance Companies and legal disputes are enforced by Private Defense Associations or “PDAs.” There has been much written on these, but I can tell you that they are by their very nature …. Large Corporations. Think AIG for insurance company and Haliburton/Blackwater for private defense association.

    Listen to the video below where Molyneux explains how this new legal system would operate. The example he gives is a charge of Rape, but the subject he has chosen is not important at all. What is important is the Process that is being created. This Process he describes would also be used to resolve contract or property disputes – it is the new legal system. It’s not very long. Take a few minutes and listen to it. You think what we have now is bad? It can be much, much worse. And understand one more thing – what he is describing is not entirely hypothetical. Corporate operated arbitrations systems to replace Courts and Juries is already a major agenda item for Corporate America. And Corbett, Larken Rose, and Molyneux would hand it to them on a silver platter.

  6. TopGunI says:

    Ps: DRO = Dispute Resolution Organization = Insurance Company

  7. TopGunI says:

    @ averye “How do the corps run the show without the force of arms, prisons, courts, and armies of bureaucratic and police doing their “legal” bidding? ”

    After you have watched the Molyneux video, let me know if you still need for me to answer that question.

    Actually, I’ll address a little for you now. Understand, everyone needs to belong to a DRO (private legal system), which will associate itself with a PDA (private defense association) – Molyneux says as much in the video when he explains that a criminal on the run would go into a database, which would prevent him from associating with any DRO. So the costs of the legal system (DRO) and Police System (PDA) are still charged to people – the only difference being that you do not call these charges “taxes.”

  8. tonywicher says:

    This has been a great discussion with so many intelligent and original contributions! It’s a pleasure to participate! I hardly know where to begin. I would call the Corbett piece a diatribe against government, not reasoned analysis. Not one word was said about why human societies have had governments since the dawn of civilization, not one word about their positive social functions. So what shall we say, then, about Corbett’s irrational and and dangerous anti-government religion? It reminds me of what I have always thought about those atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins. They have a religion, or ideology, that there is no god, they go forth and preach it on TV like any evangelist, and they are just as dick-headed about it. What they attack is only a negative stereotype of religion, which like government has also existed and performed necessary social functions since the beginning of human society.

    Corbett does not distinguish between a Republic and an Empire, and he says that the very idea of a representative government, and the Constitution, and the rule of law and the equality of all men before the law, are just “statist superstitions”. I believe that this is an expression of Corbett’s alienation from his government, something I think we all feel. But I am not willing to give up on what are not superstitions, but noble principles. The answer is to understand that our government is not representative and not sovereign and not constitutional because it has been hijacked by a global oligarchy, whom the “right” call “globalists” and the “left” call “imperialists”. So-called Left and Right must come together as American patriots and organize a revolutionary political movement to throw these bums out and restore our Republic.

  9. @tonywicher,

    I strongly disagree. Atheism is not a belief. Otherwise we would all have an infinite number of beliefs. That’s why the Pastafarians mock it with The Great Spaghetti Monster. A belief in it’s non-existence would require active thought about absurd concepts such as this. Atheism is an absence of belief in a higher deity, which is why there are no shades.

  10. TopGuni, um i just watch it, if that’s Anarcho-capitalism then yeah, that’s just a another twist on the the socialistic uber-state. It sounds like China.
    or maybe the corporate version of film Brazil’s world. “here’s a receipt for your husband and my receipt for your receipt.”.

    personally i hate the idea of no public property and everything being a commodity. At the same time i hate the idea that EVERYTHING is public property and doled out by the state. The idealist of both camps end up in the same kind of nightmare worlds seems to me.

    not sure why each side thinks the FORM is the CORE problem.

    get rid of capitalism and everything will be wonderful. Get rid of the state and everything will be great… if you work at it.
    Both are BS extremes. people are communal and have things in common to share and some things should not be for sale. But people do like trade and personal property and work harder when it their own. One of the earliest words out of a child’s mouth is “mine!”, re-education camps won’t beat that out of humanity. There’s nothing wrong with some of that. Whatever the system, it’s got to accommodate both the individual nature and the communal nature of folks, it seems to me.

    hey it’s been an interesting exchange everyone i’m done,
    peace

  11. TopGunI says:

    @tonywicher

    “The answer is to understand that our government is not representative and not sovereign and not constitutional because it has been hijacked by a global oligarchy, whom the “right” call “globalists” and the “left” call “imperialists”. So-called Left and Right must come together as American patriots and organize a revolutionary political movement to throw these bums out and restore our Republic.”

    Well said.

  12. ProudPrimate says:
  13. PS. Just as i listen to far left socailist complaints and News and promotion of there ideas against the current system. I have ZERO problem listening to James or L. Rockwell opinions and hopes. I listen to Richard Grove peace revolution as well even though it don’t agree with all of the conclusions. I find it extremely valuable.
    If they say thing i don’t like I’m not shaken to the point that i’d consider not listening. Or want to denigrate their work in general.
    Don’t tell Sibel but I even listen to Anti war war radio, and democracy even though they haven’t done right by her or on other issues. I’m aware of the flaws and take the meat and leave the bones.

    so anyway. Bye.

  14. HAL 9000 says:

    tonywicher,

    While I do not agree with Corbett’s dogma, you fundamentally misunderstand from where it comes. You have not addressed his primary arguments. If you want to understand Corbett’s dogma, you’ll need to become familiar with the work upon which it is founded. Probably the best place to start would be Larken Rose, who has become a bit of a folk hero. You could read his book “The Most Dangerous Superstition” or watch and listen to the numerous interviews and speeches on the web.

    But then again, you may have better ways to spend your time.

  15. tonywicher says:

    Xicha,

    I don’t see how you can say atheism is not a belief, when Hitchens and Co. make a living on TV evangelizing atheism. To have no belief would be not to have thought about religion or be interested in it in any way. If you want to call that “atheism”, then Hitchens is not only a believer, he is a narrow-minded and intolerant fanatic (not to mention an alcoholic and a warmonger).

  16. ProudPrimate says:

    This is turning out to be a remarkable discussion! I have for a long time thought that honest sincere well meaning people on the right and left, and it is a great pity is that we don’t take advantage of it. I’m starting to think that this conversation we’re having could be the beginning of exactly that. Coming home quite tired from work I glanced at Top Gun I’s posted video of Stefan Molyneux, googled his name, and found this great interview with someone I greatly admire, Max Keiser. I’d love to get the forum’s opinion of this video:

  17. ProudPrimate says:

    My phone dropped some of my text I guess. Try to read between the lines – mi scusi!

  18. “To have no belief would be not to have thought about religion or be interested in it in any way.”

    This is incorrect and also not what I said. Belief in a deity is not a prerequisite for an interest in religion, BTW.

    Try to comment on the logic I actually presented. I have not read Hitchens. I don’t care if he’s a drunk either. Atheism is an absence of belief in god(s). Some people come to that conclusion through more logic, which I’m sure you have heard, like “If God is omnipotent and… then why is there suffering?” Personally, I don’t find it necessary, as I look at the possibility of the existence of any god just like the Spaghetti Monster – absurd. I do not believe in their non-existence – that would be illogical. Do you wake up in the morning and think to yourself that there is not a miniaturized pink elephant implanted in one of your molars? Will you, now that I’ve mentioned it?

  19. tonywicher says:

    Hal,

    Well, I just listened to the part of the Rose interview that Corbett linked to in his article, and, as I said, all I heard was a rather childish anti-government diatribe from a young man who has been alienated from his government and has swallowed the anarchist Kool-Aid so liberally handed out by our imperial masters to prevent any kind of organized resistance. What am I missing?

  20. ProudPrimate says:

    Here are some of the points I think are most pertinent to any resolution of this disagreement:

    1. Changing Suits – we need to be careful not to mistake the suit for the man. By substituting contract law for criminal law anarchists seem to think they have solved the problem of use of force and of property rights. “If Americans were handed the bill for the Iraq war”, says Molyneux, “they would think twice about invading”, and “if Cheney were handed the bill for the cost of the war he would be unable to pay”. This seems to me very, very fanciful. If we can’t restrain the government launching such a war, how do we restrain Lockheed-Martin, Grumman, Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, Exxon, Halliburton, Blackwater, Craft International, Dow Chemical, JP Morgan Chase, and all the other agents of the “Free Market” who stand to make so much profit off the destruction of an innocent country, from simply doing it on their own hook? John D. Rockefeller, Jr., didn’t call upon the government when workers at CF & I went on strike back in my home state in Ludlow Colorado in 1914. He sent in the Baldwin–Felts Detective Agency shoot up the crowd. Only after it got too big did he invoke the Colo. National Guard. Railroad baron Jay Gould famously bragged, “I could hire half the working class to kill the other half.”

    2. Moral Force – this is an area that I think maybe I agree with some of the things that Molyneux is saying in the Max Keiser interview. If we, right and left, could see our way clear, stand up straight and see over the tall grass, to stand together on some core issues and communicate the dire necessity, as well as the moral righteousness of them, by virtue of our great differences turn them in our favor and use them as a way of purifying our message to such a degree does the average person will respond, that is probably the most powerful Weapon of Peace there is. Given our great differences whatever we agree upon is likely to be well vetted, whereas doctrines coming from one side only may be more likely to pass inspection when they really ought not to.

    If we can really get a moral force on our side, we can do what the Founding Fathers tried to do. Remember what Franklin told the old woman as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention, when she asked him “What have you given us, Dr. Franklin?”, he said, “A republic madam, if you can keep it.” Can we keep it? Or rather, can we get back?

  21. People who consider state as ultimate social evil and call for its abolition has been called and called themselves ‘anarchists.’ It’s true not only of Europe but also the United States. For example, Sacco and Vanzetti, Galleani, IWW and so on. From the beginning, anarchism was one of two tendencies in the world Communist movement, and the “father of anarchism” Mikhil Bakunin presided over the First Workingmen International side by side with Karl Marx. The only doctrinal difference between communists and anarchists was that the latter saw the socialist revolution immediately abolishing the state together with private property on means of production while the communists saw the state as necessary for the transitional period (socialism) to communism, with its gradual “withering away.” So I’m kind of puzzled by Corbett’s denunciation of the state together with his belief in “free market” aka capitalism from its detractors like Chomsky. I am also puzzled by frequent and never substantiated claims on his show that equal socialism with fascism, and “world government.”

    It would be nice if Corbett made a show on Corbett to clarify his political identity and its genealogy. Does it matter? I think so. For if Corbett does his highly ideological business for certain political goals in mind and these goals include the abolition of state his audience has the right to know what Corbett and his comrades want to replace it with. There is no such thing as ‘objective critique.’ Every critique of the existing order is based on a certain vision of a better one. Every critique has its own bias and without being aware of this bias we, the consumers of this critique, are in danger to be misled rather than enlightened. So what is your number, James Corbett.

  22. ProudP.

    Just finished watching the Keiser/Molyneux video. In your Part 1 of your comments, you took the words right out of my mouth.

    As for what good people can do … I think it is safe to say that good people are not the problem in terms of any system working effectively. We can all agree on “the non-aggression principle” easily. The problem for society is how to restrain the bad people. Unfortunately, the bad people are very good at pitting good people against one another – as occurs with right v. left friction that you mention. Good people need to be responsible and vigilant in restraining bad people, and we need to do a better job than we’ve been doing lately. Unfortunately, bad people have some major advantages over good people…

    Most of the interview involved Molyneux deriding various failings of government, which is as difficult to do as shooting fish in a barrel. The Marxists had an easy time deriding the failings of capitalism too. The trick for the Marxists, in deriding capitalism, and ANCAPs, in deriding government, is what is their solution?

    When Max pushed him on the problem of the commons, notice that Stefan did not explain how he’d solve it – he only derided government’s failure to solve it in certain cases that he specified. Actually he contradicted himself a couple of times there, but it is easy to beat up on government or capitalism — and say they must be abandoned. The question is – what is your substitute system and how does it solve the problem? He simply dodged the question altogether. On that point, you are quite correct in your War example. Grabbing oil fields is profitable – Period. Even if you need to finance your own army to do it.

    Molyneux accepts that society needs a legal system, but he has less than no idea of what it takes to create a fair and just system of laws. He thinks that “market discipline” will force a for-profit corporate legal system to deliver justice. His conclusions on this point are tragicomical.

    He’s got all his talking points down thoroughly in his own head and he can deliver them quickly and with witticisms at times, but overall …. he’s a bonehead.

  23. ProudPrimate says:

    I have to take issue with something said by tonywicher:

    “It reminds me of what I have always thought about those atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins. They have a religion, or ideology, that there is no god, they go forth and preach it on TV like any evangelist, and they are just as dick-headed about it. What they attack is only a negative stereotype of religion, which like government has also existed and performed necessary social functions since the beginning of human society.”

    I have no desire to defend Hitchens, especially after he came out defending George Bush’s illegal war. “De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est” but I have no compliments for him. I will defend Dawkins, however. I have watched several videos of his comments and debates, and never heard anything that violates the rules of proper discussion.

    I have to say, and I come by the name Proud Primate for a reason, that religion (perhaps I should specify “supernatural” religions leaving out Buddhism and Taoism) suffer from a fatal flaw that science does not carry, in that they are based on a fantasy at their core. Science can be found to contain error, but those errors are continually being purged out, with every passing year, and century. Religion on the other hand, cannot be saved. Its flaws are so deep that it is heresy to reconcile it to the truth that every 9-year-old knows about the natural world. Whether it is Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam, or Hinduism, or animism, or worship of the gods of Greece or Iceland, or wherever, if the fundamental principle is supernatural, outside of nature, it is consequently by definition outside of reason and good sense.

    The fact, and it is a fact, that wholesome traditions are included in the doctrine and practice of virtually every religion, and sound concepts are to be found in the scriptures thereof, the fact that they are compounded with fantasies of such overarching degree poisons them as guides for human life. It leads to unsound policy of nations, and prevents the operation of science to save us from our primitive state, as the dangerous assumptions of Sen. James Inhoff that global warming is a “hoax”, or that of Todd Akin, that “legitimate rape” will not impregnate a woman.

    Science is of a higher order than religion — it is, though imperfect, based on a fundamentally real concept, where supernatural religions cannot be.

  24. HAL 9000 says:

    What your missing is the philosophical foundation upon which Corbett’s dogma is based. Now whether you want to spent the time to learn about that foundation is up to you. When I was confronted with Larken Rose and similar anarchists, they challenged some fundamental notions I had about the organizing principles of our society. I am not the type of person who can just ignore such a challenge, so I spent considerable time working through their philosophical arguments to determine their validity and whether I needed to revise my own philosophy accordingly. Having done so, I can say without qualification that their philosophical arguments do not hold up to scrutiny – there are internal contradictions and other problems. Furthermore, they have not articulated an alternative that is free of the philosophical and functional problems they claim exist in the status quo.

    Anyway, my point is that unless you address the philosophical foundation of Corbett’s dogma, he will not be forced to question it. I don’t think I have ever heard Corbett talk with such certainty as he did in this piece – he left no room for an alternative view. And I agree with you that he truly sounded like a religious zealot. In fact, to a large extent his position is based on faith not evidence. But his position is a reasoned one. I have not listened to the recent Larken Rose interview that Corbett excerpts in this piece, but based on the excerpts he included from that interview, it did not sound like they were going through the philosophical underpinnings of their dogma. It sounded more like a ridicule the non-believers fest. So you may need to listen to something else, and I could provide some links where Larken goes through his spiel, if you’re interested.

    Fortunately, I don’t need to listen to the anarchists’ arguments anymore. I have thoroughly examined their arguments and sorted it out for myself. I think they are well intentioned but misguided. It doesn’t really matter though because as you implied, humans, like all social mammals, have always organized themselves into hierarchies of asymmetric status and social roles. This is not going to change, it has been fixed genetically. So whenever the social hierarchy is destroyed, by necessity, a new one will emerge to replace it. Indeed, when pressed, the anarchists concede that the fundamental asymmetries of the hierarchy cannot be avoided.

    And Corbett should remember that his stateless society requires that its members be accurately informed to be successful. He takes on faith that this would be the case in his stateless society, because he and other anarchists have not provided evidence to confirm it. Yet, imagine what changes might occur today if everyone knew the truth of their situation. Just consider the impact that the truth had on James Corbett and extrapolate from there.

  25. HAL 9000 says:

    previous comment directed to tonywicher

    and I can’t believe I wrote your instead of you’re – one of my pet peeves

  26. ProudPrimate says:

    Netter says:
    “For if Corbett does his highly ideological business for certain political goals in mind and these goals include the abolition of state his audience has the right to know what Corbett and his comrades want to replace it with.”

    An important point. It reminds me of a passage in the cartoon volume “I Go Pogo” (1952), when Seminole Sam, the traveling salesman (a fox) offers another character (Churchy LaFemme, the mud turtle? can’t remember) an opportunity to buy into a great new product — dry water. He opens a bottle of dry water, and pours some into Churchy’s hand. “The possibilities are endless” he says. “Take the Atlantic Ocean, for example. Pump out the wet water, pour in the dry, and rent the bottom out for a parking lot.”

  27. I guess I’ll add this, since no one else has. It’s the debate between Molyneux and Tom Willcutts. During and after the debate, the ANCAPs focused all their attention on the definition of the word “government”. If you can get past that (he didn’t answer it the way they wanted him to, but explained that ANCAPs are only replacing government with another system of laws and didn’t get rid of the non-initiation of force problem – eerily similar to what TopGunI has said, you will find that Willcutts offers very sound reasoning and even offers up another clip, during the debate, of Molyneux describing a theoretical ANCAP society that makes Big Brother a little jealous.

    I really appreciated Mr. Willcutts explanation of government as the most powerful tool available to the people who want to rid themselves of tyranny. (Towards the beginning, I think.) Enjoy… James Corbett is the moderator.

    http://youtu.be/Dhtdu_drF4g

    Mr. Willcutts also did a debate with Larken Rose. I haven’t watched that one yet, but will try to get through it tonight. I just can’t listen to Mr. Rose very long, because he is so righteously condescending and derogatory.

  28. HAL 9000 says:

    Proud Primate,

    I agree with you on the merits of science. Whether they will admit it or not, people of religious faith in the industrialized world believe as strongly, or more so, in science as they do their religion. Consequently, science has become a powerful tool for manipulating the minds of the masses. As much as I believe in the promise and reliability of the scientific method, I must admit that the scientific community is now dangerously corrupted. We have the same problem with science that we do with government – knowing what is true and what is deliberate deception. Scientific results are being fabricated on a large scale to manipulate end users, and the volume of scientific output is so massive that it is impossible to scrutinize it all. The peer review process is as reliable now as the debt ratings process. The scientific publishing process is dysfunctional. Yes we continue to get a lot valid and meaningful outcomes, but proportionally less and less so.

  29. ProudPrimate says:

    Rotate the pod, please, HAL. Thanks.

    Now about “science”, I was referring to the principle, as followed by whoever wishes to, not to the practice of “biostitutes”, as RFK Jr. calls them. Sure, the scientific community has been corrupted by big money, both through bribery, and even more through threat – of ruined careers, loss of tenure, denial of funding for what has been a life’s work and a valuable work – hard choices for those with integrity, easy choices for those without. Similar to what Dr. Cornel West calls “prophetic” vs “Constantinian” Christians. Though founded on fantasy, there is still much of great quality in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as well I do know.

    But as for corruption, the same can be said for the practice of Accounting. Remember when Arthur Anderson & Co. was the benchmark for integrity against which the others were measured? That was before ENRON,the coup by Texas against California. We must face the fact that the American Experience that we grew up with was killed by wild dogs a few years back. It was not pretty. In my opinion it started with the Powell Memo. But as Jim Garrison mentioned, if the Kennedy assassination is not examined honestly, the American democratic republic will cease to exist. It almost has I don’t think quite yet.

    Still I say, science, not the practice as average, not the corruption thereof, but science itself, the scientific method, is still sound and it always will be, just as the charge of the electron, and Plancks constant, and the mass of the proton, will not change.

  30. HAL 9000 says:

    Then we are in agreement, brother primate.

  31. ProudPrimate says:

    I reread yours after posting and realized that.

  32. tonywicher says:

    Xicha,

    Let me put it this way and perhaps we can reach agreement:
    You are defining “belief” as faith in a religion, whereas I also include in my definition the faith that there is no god, which is equally irrational and unprovable. But doesn’t either assertion depend on what (if anything) is meant by “god”? Briefly to state my own theology, I equate “god” with “truth”. So “is there a god” becomes “is there such a thing as the truth”? I believe there is. I have faith there is. This faith is the foundation of both science and morality. Religion and science rest on one eternal truth.

  33. tonywicher,

    You hit the word, precisely. Since one cannot prove a negative, it would be irrational to “believe” that something, which doesn’t exist, doesn’t exist.

    Truth is not the same thing as god. Look in the dictionary. If you want to say truth, just say truth. Why would you need to call truth god?

    Again, would it not be irrational for me to wake up in the morning and think to myself that there is no Great Spaghetti Monster in the sky? You see, many religious people like to say “you can’t prove that god doesn’t exist.” The point is that believing in god is irrational, because it cannot be proven. Believing that it doesn’t exist is also irrational.

    Hence, atheism is defined as a lack of belief, not an irrational belief in non-existence. I think you said it yourself.

    I have also thought, for a number of years now, that belief itself does not exist. What people call belief is really thinking. I haven’t developed this concept in conversation with others very much. But I have been very conscious not to use the word “believe”, when I really mean “think”. Do you have any thoughts on it?

  34. HAL 9000 says:

    Since the name has come up in this thread, I cannot suppress the following sentiment.

    To borrow from the vernacular of the generation behind me,

    I am so over Richard Grove.

  35. ProudPrimate says:

    I cannot resist weighing in on this one.

    One often hears the expression: “There’s a first time for everything”, but this is not true. There ARE NO first times for things THAT NEVER HAPPEN. Right? This is a logical fallacy.

    Now in the debate between theists and atheists (not “Deists” as Larken Rose ignorantly says — a Deist — q.v. — is a specific narrow historical sub-set of theists), the theist is normally driven to seek for a draw, in chess terms, that is, if the atheist is worth his salt. The theist cannot “prove” there is or are gods, so his fallback position is to say, “well, you can’t prove there isn’t”. This is also a logical fallacy, which stems from misuse of the word “proof”.

    What is “proof”? Usually, people mean by this word the demonstration of something BY EXAMPLE. But this only works FOR THINGS THAT EXIST, thrusting forth the example into the face of the doubter like a rabbit held by the ears. “Proving” the NONEXISTENCE of something is not so simple.

    Does that mean we can “prove” the existence of the finite set of things that actually exist, but must leave as “possibilities” the entire — AND INFINITE — set of things THAT DON’T EXIST, HAVE NEVER EXISTED AND WILL NEVER EXIST? No sane person would suggest that.

    The famous Fallacy of Zeno regards a story of Achilles’ race with a tortoise. Supposedly, a tortoise made a bet with Achilles that he could win a footrace, if he were given a hundred-cubit headstart. Achilles took the bet, and the race began.

    After the tortoise had covered the first hundred cubits, Achilles began to run. He could run ten times faster, so he covered that gap in one tenth the time. But, the tortoise was not idle, and covered an additional ten cubits in the same time. Achilles ate that up in short order, but again, the tortoise advanced one more cubit. Zeno apparently suffered under the belief (there’s that word!) that regardless of how close Achilles caught up to the heels of the reptile, he could never overcome that increasingly tiny lead.

    But one can see that 100 + 10 + 1 + .1 + .01 + .001 . . . amounts to 111.11111… cubits. Achilles passes the tortoise at 111 and 1/9 cubits exactly.

    Another brain teaser that math students get in high school is, “how can .999999…” ever equal 1.0? Isn’t it always short a little? That’s the meaning of infinity, because it gets there eventually. The proof? Let’s use 1/3, which we know is .3333333…. We also know that 3 x 1/3 is one, right? That’s proof, but it requires what some might call “faith”, because after all, we haven’t burned through even one ream of paper yet, writing our endless string of digits.

    Calculus, the mathematics of infinities and infinitesimals, is entirely built on this principle. The area under a known curve can be computed exactly, without tediously adding up heaps of tinier and tinier slices of area.

    In the case of what’s-His-name, guess what? He doesn’t get a clean slate with every disproven Prophecy. They add up — He has a “track record”. They count against His sorry “back parts” to use the KJV diction (Exodus 33:23). He presides over the greatest string of broken promises since the “boy who cried wolf”.

    No you can’t disprove Him by 4th grade arithmetic. But anyone with an eye for quadratic equations can say with confidence, He is disproven.

  36. Thanks PP. I came up with a similar one, on my own in jr high, using infinite new half-way points. Found out from one college TA that this was a popular problem and that there are some mathematicians who actually think that we aren’t moving. I didn’t look into that any further.

    While I understand your point about derivatives, I still prefer the answer that proof is unnecessary, concerning the non-existence of Spaghetti Monsters. For it covers all types of Spaghetti Monsters and reminds us to be rational.

  37. tonywicher says:

    I just finished watching the Keiser/Molyneux video, and it was certainly worth a listen, but I agree with everything TopGun says. Sure, if everybody voluntarily lived by Molyneaux’ “non-aggression” principle, or for that matter the Golden Rule, there would be no need for a coercive government and we would all live happily ever after. Every religion says that, and it’s true, but it is utopian, as are communism and anarchism. Now, Marxism did claim to be “scientific” as opposed to “utopian” socialism because it was based on an analysis of the “contradictions” of capitalism. I believe this analysis was very useful and prescient, as we now see the predicted collapse happening around us today. But Marxists failed in their design for a socialist economy. Their model of coercive, top-down control failed. I think we should understand Marx as a valid critic of laissez-faire capitalism. Unregulated capitalism leads to monopoly, collapse and fascism. What we need is a proper balance between the general welfare and private enterprise to create a flourishing economy that benefits all citizens. I believe that the best design ever devised for doing this is the American System of Alexander Hamilton, based on the idea of sovereign credit, which was implemented in the formation of the federal government and its Constitution, including the original Bank of the United States. It is a system that is designed to foster individual initiative and free enterprise, and to harmonize the individual productive drive of its citizen to maximize productivity and enrich the whole of society. This system was corrupted early in our history and has largely been forgotten. We who revolt against the tyranny of the current system must be very clear about what will replace it. I especially recommend study of Hamiltonian economics to Marxists or former Marxists, as well as to those who believe an unregulated “free market” is the answer.
    http://larouchepac.com/restorethebank

  38. tonywicher says:

    Xicha, Coming back to theology, it certainly seems to me that Hitchens, Dawkins etc. do precisely what you say: they get up every morning, brush their teeth, and go forth saying there is no spaghetti monster. They are therefore irrational fanatics. They don’t like spaghetti monster believers, and spaghetti monster believers don’t like them. I have no time for either one. Does that make me an atheist according to your definition? No, I just define “God” as something other than a spaghetti monster. You ask why I define God as truth. That means that you have some prior conception or image of God that conflicts with this definition, some literal interpretation of Scripture such as a patriarchal fantasy of a super-powerful bearded man living in the sky surrounded by choirs of angels, that is, a spaghetti monster. If Dawkins, Hitchens etc. would confine themselves to saying that what is called fundamentalism, that is a literal interpretation of Scripture, is absurd, and that they must be understood as metaphor, I would have no quarrel with them.

  39. I asked you why you didn’t just use the word truth, not about your definition of God. I also used lower case god, and didn’t depend on prior conception for comparison. My point about not needing proof was to handle any irrational conception, any god.

  40. Contra Corbett’s and other “anarcho-capitalists”‘ religion of “anti-statism” and “free market,” I’d suggest that the American State, however infinitely evil it might be, remains the only link between the human atoms constituting the population of this quasi-republic and the human species. Not the crumbling American family, which at best is nothing but one’s own extension and at worst the extension of the “free market” into its realm, but the State preserves this link, tenuous as it is, if only by embodying the principle of common good. The real problem is not the American State but the Americans.

  41. Gavrouchki says:

    Our friend James Corbett has chosen a difficult matter.

    May I point out a problem that occurs to me when I think about democracy ? I mean the reflexive relationship that such a system implies.

    Democracy is often characterized as goverment of the people. But government over what ? Obviously over the people itsel. Well, reflexive relations in general are quite tricky to handle. Two illustrations to back up my point :

    From a logical/mathematical standpoint, Bertrand Russel has pointed out the logical impossibility of some reflexive relations ( see “the paradox of the barber”)

    From a psychological standpoint, do you really think of yourself as governing or ruling over yourself.? It is just as absurd as “positive thinking”, this intellectual croockery according to which anybody can achieve anything provided they want it bad enough

    Democracy, I believe, falls under the same contradiction. Therefore, in spite of any clever mechanism that might be set up, the state always tends to separate itself from the people. And being separated, it follows its own logic, which only occasionnally coincides with that of the people, There is now benevolence to hope from the state.

    Anarchism is clearly a utopia, the ultimate one if you happen to hold humanistic principles. Yet, an anarchist attitude, which means total defiance towards the state, seems to me the soundest way of approaching a real democracy (wich I still hold for more desirable than any other system).

  42. Gavrouchki says:

    “State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  43. HAL 9000 says:

    Gavrouchki says:

    “Anarchism is clearly a utopia, the ultimate one if you happen to hold humanistic principles”

    Well doesn’t that depend on the people who bring anarchism to life? Likewise, in practice, isn’t “the state” merely the combined action of the people who bring it to life? What if the people in the anarchy do not hold humanistic principles? Will it still be the ultimate utopia? I think we should be careful not to blame a system of cooperation for evil done by people.

    “the state always tends to separate itself from the people”

    Again, doesn’t this depend on the people? But accepting your assertion as true, can this be mitigated by keeping government limited and local (decentralized)?

    In any case, so much of this debate hinges on how “the state” or “government” is defined. For example, Larken Rose is careful to define government in a way that props up his dogma, and he does not accept any other definition (he can’t). He says govt is an evil superstition because it has qualities A and B. Then he defines govt as an institution having the qualities A and B. To have a debate that is, as Jackie Chiles would say, instructive, productive, and constructive, the participates need to agree on definitions.

    So, Gavrouchki, care to give us a definition of “the state” or “government” or both?

  44. ProudPrimate says:

    Gavrouchki said:
    “Therefore, in spite of any clever mechanism that might be set up, the state always tends to separate itself from the people. And being separated, it follows its own logic, which only occasionally coincides with that of the people”

    One interesting coincidence was the first two terms of Franklin Roosevelt. After “nine crazy years at the ticker, and three grim years in the breadlines” the people were ready to think clearly (not their wont in general). They gave him a 70% majority, and major improvements were made, like the sorely missed Glass-Steagall, which was only pick-pocketed away from them after they went soundly to sleep. As Franklin said after the Constitutional convention, the Republic “can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

    They respond to pain. It “concentrates the mind most remarkably”.

  45. ProudPrimate says:

    “As the long-serving chairman of the Fed, the nation’s most powerful econuomic policy maker, Mr. Greenspan preached the transcendent, wealth-creating powers of the market.

    A professed libertarian, he counted among his formative influences the novelist Ayn Rand, who portrayed collective power as an evil force set against the enlightened self-interest of individuals. In turn, he showed a resolute faith that those participating in financial markets would act responsibly.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/business/economy/09greenspan.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  46. Gavrouchki says:

    In response to HALL 9000

    I guess what I meant by “government” is the group of people that are in command in the three branches of… well … government. And by state, the entire apparatus that allows these people to legislate, enforce and sanction (including symbolic elements such as the “Nation”).

    All I am saying is that in an ideal democracy, the government should be the entirety of the population (but then would it still need a state). Actually this would be, as I understand it, the realisation of an anarchist society.Yet, I am pretty sure this is a utopia, i.e. it will never be achieved.

    Bus as William I, Prince of Orange, is supposed to have said : ” One doesn’t need hope in order to undertake, nor success in order to persevere”.

  47. HAL 9000 says:

    Gav,

    I did not mean to imply that govt and the state were separate, but some may see it that way. In any case, Corbett is advocating getting rid of government or the state. A primary component of his rationale is a philosophical argument that govt is a superstition and authority is imagined or inherently contradictory. So what we really need here is a functional or philosophical definition of government. Ideally a definition that can be generalized to all the various manifestations of govt.

    I have not heard a definition of government from Corbett, has anyone out there heard one?

  48. He seemed to like Molyneux’s definition, “a monopoly on the use of force”. While this might be argued to be a characteristic of government, it seems to lack quite a bit of descriptive elements. Nit getting into the various types of government, one could mention the creation and enforcement of laws, for instance.

    The repetition of the phrase “initiation of force” is helpful to the ANCAP logic trap, regardingv government “above” the people, with immorality, instead of “by and for” the people, whatever it takes.

  49. HAL 9000 says:

    We can’t let this thread die so close to the mountain top. With this comment I add number 99, I’ll let someone else have the honor of stepping on the peak.

  50. ProudPrimate says:

    Any lasting effect of this exceptional thread will hinge on one question: will it be forgotten, slip silently beneath the somber waters of Lethe unmentioned? Or will it serve as fodder for a vigorous discussion of what really matters in the polis?

    Remember that “politics” is the conduct of the “polis” – (πολις) – city – which is itself a function of “hoi polloi”(οι πολλοι), The Many (whom we call the 99%), from polus (πολυς – poly- in Roman combinations) meaning “many”. Wherever people concentrate their numbers, these issues will arise. Lobbing catch phrases at each other’s trenches over the no-man’s-land won’t get us anywhere. I hope this thread will be the start of true understanding, with all sides finally agreeing what things to discard and what to elevate.

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