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Morality of the State

JunieSparrow posted this thread...
Jan. 16, 2013 at 11:52 am

If it's wrong for you or me to steal or kill innocent people, why is it right for a government to do so? 
If you have a chance, please watch this video and post your reactions.  Does it make sense?  Why or why not? 
ht tp://ww w.youtube.co m/watch?v=t5FNDRgPOLs
Do we worship our government more than God?

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contemplator replied...
Jan. 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I have'nt watched the video yet, but I will. First I want to tell you what I know already. 
Everyone has a worldview. That is, everyone has a set of beliefs (presuppositions) that determines his (or hers) values, and in that, determines your conduct. 
Worldview is just another word for religion. And the truth is that religion is not equal. The government became a 'no God' country sometime ago. This would mean that any values ,or what is most important, has changed. And in that, the actions of the government has changed.  
So, with that said, I can answer you question. The government can because the replaced God with themselves. That is what atheism acomplishes. It makes people think they are on the same level as God, so they can do what ever pleases them.

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RedsFan23 replied...
Jan. 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm

While I certainly believe the federal government in America (where I'm from, and what the video seems to be focused on) has gotten too large, I'm afraid the video doesn't make too much sense to me. I think the creator of that video and I have irreconcilable differences when it comes to the purpose of government. To me, taxation is not stealing, going to war is not murdering (usually), and while I don't like our current President, he doesn't style himself or put himself in place as a God, and I don't think anyone believes him to be one. Government, when done correctly, is a GOOD thing for society, and I enjoy arguing exactly what "done correctly" means. By watching that video, it's pretty clear that Larkin Rose wants nothing to do with government at all, and I suppose I just disagree with him.

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Kenrichi replied...
Jan. 16, 2013 at 11:04 pm

It's definitely wrong for us to kill and steal, but with the government I guess you could say its different. You brought up God so I'm just going to use the God of Christianity (my God) and show why it's different. God used capital punishment for much more then just murder so the government is actually being soft going soft on them. But from an atheistic point of view God is definitely out the question, and I would say the government can do as they please in a way because they have no one above them; yet you and I definitely have them above us. As for your last question, it depends on the individual, for me I would chose God because the people in the government are mere humans. Sorry I don't have time to look at the video. But I'll try to get to it tomorrow.

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JunieSparrow replied...
Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

Why is taxing not stealing?  Why is killing (brown) children with drones not murder?  Why is the government, which is made up of people as Kenrichi pointed out, different?  If it's wrong for one person to steal and murder, why is it right for a group of people to decide it's fine for them to do it? 

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Breece6 replied...
Jan. 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I didn't watch the video (might later), but in regards to taxes and murdering:
I don't know the specifics of whatever killings of brown children you're referring to (probably in the video :P) but killing children is definitely a no-no.  
Taxes on the other hand, are not stealing.  We give the government taxes because they provide us with protection, laws, and public facilities (schools, hopsitals, etc.).  
Before you disagree with the concept of governments, consider the fact that if we didn't have a government, other large countries with governments would have a military advantage on us and invade.  So basically, governments are a necessity at this point purey for the fact that unity is power.  
There are lots of smaller reasons, but if you want a straight-to-the-4point answer:  "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
Keep in mind though, "needs" do not equate with discrimination and a.buse.  So killing children and ethnic cleansing and slavery and all that jazz - still immoral.
Just not taxes :)

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CollinF replied...
Jan. 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm

It seems fairly obvious to me that individual morality should not be equated with that of the state.
Is forgiveness a virtue in our courts? 

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jan. 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I'm at school right now, so I probably shouldn't be on Teen Ink, let alone YouTube, so I think I'll have to save watching the video for later.
I will just speak on the topics brought up in the discussion:
I am of the opinion that the government oversteps its boundaries.
I'm not against taxes. I realize that it pays for services such as garbage pick-up, roads, education, etc. and I'm okay with all that. However I'm against taxes being used to pay for healthcare or welfare. When healthcare is free, people take advantage of it. And I don't think it's fair that a portion of my hard-earned money goes to people who aren’t willing to go out and get a job.
We now have what is called a "Nanny State". It's a government that believes we need to be cared for and protected. There are citizens who believe this as well. They believe that the state loves them, and wants and knows what's best.
We can't allow the government to look out after our every need. People need to make their own choices and suffer the consequences of their actions.
The way things are going, we’re headed towards communism.
Also, the government shouldn’t really be making decisions on morality. Of course, there should be a court system in place to give out punishments, but it’s idiotic that parents lose their parental rights for “abusing” their children. I mean, who should decide what is considered abuse? Some atheists believe that it is child abuse for parents to teach their children Christianity.
Ultimately, it is the individual that is responsible for their own well-being. The government should offer some services and protection, but they should not be dictating whether all of our actions and beliefs are right or wrong.
Oh, and Breece, I love Spock as much as the next guy, but what that quote is describing is socialism, and there are two things I can’t stand: feminism and socialism.
Well, that’s a look into the mind of half.note. Hope you enjoyed your stay. :)

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contemplator replied...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Watched it.
My thoughts: Give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar. Give to God what belongs to God.
Thank goodness this is not my home.

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Breece6 replied...
Jan. 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

That's an entirely different debate, but since there's not really a lot going on in this thread I don't see the problem going off topic for a sec :P
The problem with pure capitalism is that it assumes that all the factors that determine someone's abilitiy to get a job and support themselves are completely in their control. 
The problem with pure communism is that it assumes the only factors that prevent people from getting a job and supporting themselves are factors out of their control.
The reality is that the factors that determine whether someone will be able to get a job and support themselves are a mixture between those, some of them you can help and some of them you can't.  
And the sad truth is, life is easier for some and harder for others.  So how do we make a government that does not let itself get taken advantage of while being humanitarian and as "utopian" as possible?  
The answer as I see it: socialism.  The government makes sure that you get the bare minimum to survive, meaning food, some kind of roof, and enough healthcare to keep you alive, (no cosmetic coverage :P).  Everything after that is up to you to buy with your own money through your own work.  
I never knew that quote was from Spock though, you learn something new every day :P

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Jan. 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Breece: Isn't that the system we have now? (Ideally, anyway. The welfare system needs fixing, but that's the basic idea behind it.)
Also, true socialism is much closer to communism than anything else. (In socialism, the state controls/owns all business. In communism, it's the same, in addition to the state controlling society and social classes as well. The biggest difference between the two economically is that socialism slightly rewards people for working harder while communism does not.) Neither are very close to capitalism at all.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jan. 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I don't know if I quite agree.
Capitalism is actually based upon the fact that their are things about the market you can't control. In Communism, the objective is to try and predict and control the market, which is impossible to do.
Of course, no system is perfect. The only way the market and government could be run perfectly is if people were perfect. The fact is, any system that involves imperfect people will be imperfect. Utopia is impossible unless there is no greed and everyone sincerely cares about one another.
Socialism sounds nice. But it's idealistic. People are always going to take advantage of the system. And socialism involves too much government control. They artificially inflate the market, only for it to crash. Why do you think the U.S. is in so much debt?
It's best to leave things alone. Allow the needs of the people to govern the market and jobs.
As for those who need shelter and food, there are always organizations out there who help them. We don't need the government to try and take care of them.
I'll use the First Nations (Aboriginals) as an example. In Canada, First Nations often live on reserves where the are cared for by the government. They are given millions in tax dollars, but live in absolute squalor.
The reason is, when people are given money without working for it, they don't appreciate it. It loses it's value. On their reserves, the First Nations people don't own their own homes so they don't care for them. Walk inside, and you'd see a real wreck, but you'd also see big screen TVs and high-end stereos.
Just recently, a First Nations chief went on a hunger strike to speak to the Prime Minister. Harper caved, and now the chief wants to meet the Queen of England! The Queen. I kid you not. :/
First Nations are always demanding more money and more rights. The have a sense of entitlement and perpetual victimhood, which is only encouraged when we allow them to take our money.
Once the government starts paying for housing and healthcare, people will start to depend on the government and develop a sense of entitlement. They won't value what they have and they won't be willing to work because, hey, why work when you know the government will take care of you anyways?
Just... no. It's a terrible system.  :|
Well, I guess my rant is over. Sorry for making you suffer throught it. I just really don't like socialism. It doesn't work at all. People have to work for what they get.
Oh, yeah, and Spock says that in the movie, the Wrath of Kahn.
Honestly, I've always been more of a fan of The Next Generation and Voyager than the Original Series, but I do like the Original Series movies (one of my favourites is The Voyage Home).
Yes, no need to tell me, I know I'm a nerd. :P
Very true. Socialism is quite similar to communism.
"And we all know how well communism works," she said sarcastically.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jan. 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Okay, I just watched the video.
Quite interesting.
Here are my thoughts:
In some ways I agree and in some ways I disagree.
This guy who made the video is a little extreme and presumptious. I wouldn't agree that the government and laws are pure evil. That's why I'm more of a libertarian than an anarchist
I agree that people tend to just follow the government mindlessly. The government offers safety and people are happy to give up some of their freedom and tax money so they can be sheltered by the government.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying government is evil and should be overthrown, only that people need to think for themselves.
I blame the educational system. Rather than teaching us, they encourage ignorance and conformity.
There will come a day when true Christians will be persecuted once again. The government will go out and arrest and torture the true followers of God. It will be the final test at the end of days before Jesus returns.
I know it is necessary and unstoppable, but it just saddens me to see people being prepared to follow the government in persecuting the righteous.
Anyways, I agree with the general ideas of the video, just not to such an extreme.

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Breece6 replied...
Jan. 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

The main problem with socialism (as you've mentioned) is the fact that people take advantage of it.  I think there are solutions to that though, it's just that the American government are p---ies to be honest :)  Let me explain:
In such a system, we have 
a) person who survives by their own merit
b) person who survives by welfare
The simple solution is to take something away from people who register to recieve welfare.  
"What can we take away though, O great political philosopher Breece?"
Well that's simple my pupil, we take away THEIR SOULS.
Just kidding, we take away their full right to vote, make their vote only count for half.  They are not contributing to the government, they should not get a full say in it.  Maybe it could count for even less, like a 1/4th, the specifics could be figured out later.  
I know, of course there would be people all like "why does receiving welfare make someone less of a person?!" and stuff, but honestly, getting a say in the government shouldn't be about just whether you're a person or not (gonna make a thread about this actually, in the politics sub forum though).  
Anyways, in conclusion, I'm gonna make a separate thread for this in the news and current events subforum (or whatever it's called).

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JunieSparrow replied...
Jan. 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Thanks everyone for your responses.  Sorry I haven't replied sooner. 
I think the video is addressed to "religious" people in general, but it really doesn't matter what specifically, so long as you accept some sort of moral code.  Then it builds on that. 
Breece, when I talked about brown children I was referring not so much to the video directly as to all the wars the US is involved in in the Middle East.  We've killed hundreds of civilian non-combatents (sp?) with drone strikes alone.  I watched a movie a few months ago that talked about how soldiers would skin Afghanis alive.  We talk about peace and safety in America, and how we have to keep guns out of the hands of murderers, but we give guns and drones and tanks and I don't know what else to the soldiers overseas to fight on behalf of the oil interests.  Look up Smedley Butler's speech War is a Racket if you don't believe me. 
Why is the government different from anybody else?  Why are taxes not stealing?  You said, "We give the government taxes to do things for us."  I know of no one who willingly gives the government taxes.  If I refuse to pay, the IRS will come and put me in a cage.  If I resist, they'll shoot me.  How is that different from the bandit's "Money or your life!?" 
And what if I don't agree to what the government does with the money?  I don't like our national defense or our healthcare or our roads or sports arenas or anything else our government does.  But say I like libraries.  Well, I donate money or books to a library.  Voluntarily. 
Collin, I don't understand your post.  Why can't the morality of government be judged like the morality of an individual?  Government is just a collection of individuals with a monopoly on violence.  But answering your question, I do not think forgiveness is expressed by the court system.  Forgiveness is something that only happens between people. 
Half.note, I'm glad you agree at least some.  You understand what I mean about your resources being used for things you consider undesirable (like welfare).  I just go a little farther and say we shouldn't be forced to pay for garbage pick-up either.  :) 
Correct me if I have this wrong, but isn't Socialism considered by Marx to be a stepping stone on the way to Communism?  If I understand correctly, socialism is a state where the productive capital is controlled by the "best" people in society, and the rest have to follow their laws until human nature changes and everyone becomes perfect.  (A prospect of which I am highly skeptical.) 
Contemplator. . . that's why I hold no allegiance to any State, Nation, Ruler, Principality or Power.  I just wish they would leave me alone too.  Thanks for your comment. 

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CollinF replied...
Jan. 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm

If forgiveness is an individual virtue and not a state virtues, then the two do not have completely synonomous moral codes. It's the only logical conclusion.

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Breece6 replied...
Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:15 am

"I don't know of anyone who willingly gives the gov't taxes..." 
I don't mean to zone in on what seems to be an unimportant quote from your argument, but I feel it sums up a lot of the problems with anarchist.  
No one wants to give money to the government.  No one wants to work for a living either. 
The problem is, and I've stated this many times on other anarchy-related threads, anarchy only works in small groups.  Small groups don't necessarily get along.  A collection of small anarchist groups will always be overpowered by an organized government with a miilitary.  
Let me put it this way, if the U.S. suddenly became Anarchist, a country with a fully realized government (China, Russia, heck, maybe even Britain or some other European country) would march in and take us over.  
Anarchy is an ideal system, where we don't need to protect ourselves as a group and we don't need to have the fastest and most efficient organization and military possible.  
The social contract is already in place, the government already exists, realistically the best thing we can do is make it work and try to improve upon it.  Starvation, greed, the powerful taking advantage of the weak, that's all gonna happen in an Anarchist society too, it just won't be institutionalized.  
If you don't like what the government is doing with your money, vote against it.  If you get out-voted, majority rules.  
That's another thing I think anarchists have a problem with, they are essentially arguing, "why should majority rule?", well the honest answer is because they're stronger than the individual. 
In fact, you can pretty much sum up my entire argument against anarchy that way, I think I'll make a thread about it now.

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