Health care and right wing absurdity.

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Health care and right wing absurdity.

People like Hanity and Rush and Bortz. They often cry about how others make "bad" decisions, not criminal decisions per sey, but merely don't make it up the economic scale. Poor people deserve it because they aren't like them.

I challenge these fuckwads to make laws FORCING everyone to work 80 hours a week INCLUDING WOMEN, if they say that women should have equality. If you refuse you get put in prison. I challenge these fuckwads to pass laws making it legal for an EMT to ask for your ability to pay when they come across a car crash. If you cant, they should let you die.

This is there absurd logic. That because they value something you dont, you are a loser if you don't value the same thing. They don't want to face that WE are all in this together, and that they are not wrong for what they want, but neither is someone who values something other than the ability to wipe their ass with $!,000 bills.

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS ASSHOLES! If you think poor people are useless, then have them jailed, why not kill them? After all, they didn't end up in a mansion like you.

 

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Gauche wrote:I know what you

Gauche wrote:

I know what you were trying to do. I'm just saying it's a bullshit question to begin with. Anyone who believes that all actions are selfish has already displayed the kind of rigidity in thinking that shows they cannot be dissuaded. Everything must confirm this belief even things that seem to disconfirm it because a single disconfirming instance proves that it's false. So, the fact that you enjoy helping others "proves" that you're selfish and equally the fact that you don't enjoy helping others proves that you're selfish. It's completely sophomoric. 

And why can't the whole concepts of selfishness, unselfishness and morality be bullshit and sophomoric? Selfishness implies a moral judment and that people are capable of some kind of standard of behavior other than what seem right at the moment.

So the stardard that society has is that helping others proves your unselfish and not helping them proves your selfish. How is that standard less BS and sophomoric than mine? You're pretty rigid about this standard as well.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:And why can't the

EXC wrote:

And why can't the whole concepts of selfishness, unselfishness and morality be bullshit and sophomoric? Selfishness implies a moral judment and that people are capable of some kind of standard of behavior other than what seem right at the moment.

So the stardard that society has is that helping others proves your unselfish and not helping them proves your selfish. How is that standard less BS and sophomoric than mine? You're pretty rigid about this standard as well.

Well, clearly your understanding of the word "selfish" is yours and yours alone. Selfishness is being chiefly concerned with your own advantage to the exclusion of others. The moral implication of that is in fact a separate issue. As soon as one concerns themselves with the welfare of others they are not acting selfishly even if the welfare of others isn't their major concern. That's obvious, merely from a simple common sense understanding of the term.

Your game apparently is to get people to describe behavior, then because all behavior has some reasoning attached to it, label that reasoning as selfish so that you can level some heavy handed criticism (quite hypocritically I think) against their basis for making normative claims and that is sophomoric and puerile.

 

EDIT:

I'm sorry I didn't address your question. Why, in my opinion is "societie's" definition of "selfish" superior to your definition? I think that is your question. There is a very simple answer to that . The definition of "selfish" that everyone else uses actually affords us the ability to make a distinction and there is (at least seemingly) a distinction to be made. Your definition of "selfish" on the other hand encompasses all action. It is meaningless. It describes nothing. You might as well just say that all actions are actions which is true in a very trivial sense.

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Gauche wrote:Well, clearly

Gauche wrote:

Well, clearly your understanding of the word "selfish" is yours and yours alone.

I don't have any understanding of 'unselfishness' or selfishness other than it's BS morality. It's like God, the more you try to understand it, the more it makes no logical sense.

 

Gauche wrote:
Selfishness is being chiefly concerned with your own advantage to the exclusion of others.

I claim unselfishness is impossible. We can only have one concern: our own pleasure and comfort. We have no free will for anything else. We can follow a strategy of cooperation with others or not. We do this all the time in different areas.

Gauche wrote:

The moral implication of that is in fact a separate issue. As soon as one concerns themselves with the welfare of others they are not acting selfishly even if the welfare of others isn't their major concern. That's obvious, merely from a simple common sense understanding of the term.

Nature has made us to want to be accepted by others. We are conditioned by family, peers, culture to act concerned about others to gain this acceptance. But that's all it is, an act. But if you act it out long enough you eventually believe it's not an act, this delusion becomes real.

Gauche wrote:

Your game apparently is to get people to describe behavior, then because all behavior has some reasoning attached to it, label that reasoning as selfish so that you can level some heavy handed criticism (quite hypocritically I think) against their basis for making normative claims and that is sophomoric and puerile.

 

OK, maybe labeling behaviors selfish is inappropriate because unselfishness can't really exist, so selfish becomes meaningless. I wish the world could just describe behaviors as cooperative or non-cooperative without the moral judgements about people's motivations.

As I see it, the reason humanity can't solve it's many problems is that we have this delusional view about our own motivations and desires. We are afraid to admit we are only be concerned about our own self interests even if part of that self interest is the approval of others. I think if we want to engineer better marriages, friendships, governments, companies, etc... We must start with who we really are and what we all really want. This continuous guilt, blame and shame about others  being 'selfish' just ain't improving the world.

It seems like morality and it's concepts like selfishness/unselfishness is this roadblock that prevents us from designing a world that brings each of more pleasure and less pain which is what we're really all about.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Gauche wrote:That and a

Gauche wrote:
That and a fundamental misunderstanding of what people mean when they use words like "unselfish". If one takes pleasure in helping others that's exactly what makes them unselfish and there's no reason to say the opposite unless you're desperately trying to prove something that is patently absurd.

Highlighed for relevence.
EXC, your argument seems to be based on your own definition of "selfish" which doesn't match the definition of the people you are criticising.
You are effectively strawmanning them by using a different definition to them.

There is a difference between "selfishness" and "rational self interest".
Rational self interest is doing what is best for your personal human needs.
Selfishness is when you chase a desire at the expense of people around you.
Because a fair amount of our human needs require social acceptance and co-operation, selfishness is actually short sighted irrationality rather than genuine rational self interest.

I think that we all believe in "rational self interest" and that "morality" is important because it helps us meet this.
You seem to be attacking strawmen that no one believes in anyway.


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Strafio wrote:Highlighed for

Strafio wrote:

Highlighed for relevence.
EXC, your argument seems to be based on your own definition of "selfish" which doesn't match the definition of the people you are criticising.
You are effectively strawmanning them by using a different definition to them.

There is a difference between "selfishness" and "rational self interest".
Rational self interest is doing what is best for your personal human needs.
Selfishness is when you chase a desire at the expense of people around you.
Because a fair amount of our human needs require social acceptance and co-operation, selfishness is actually short sighted irrationality rather than genuine rational self interest.

I think that we all believe in "rational self interest" and that "morality" is important because it helps us meet this.
You seem to be attacking strawmen that no one believes in anyway.

Miram Websters Definitions:

1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>
3 : being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function <selfish DNA>; also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication <selfish genes>

 

So if the only reason for the regard for others is because it exclusively benefits oneself, is this behavior selfish? This would seem to be self-contradictory. I believe acting in regard for others can only be due to exclusive concern for oneself.

If you have been conditioned to feel bad every time you disregard the interests of others aren't you really just being concerned with yourself by not behaving selfishly?

I'm not straw manning, I just believe society(including Miriam Webster) has bought into a concept that is really a delusion and self contradictory. If you don't agree with this, this is not a logical flaw on my part, I just have a different understanding of how things work.

 

 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:Miram Websters

EXC wrote:
Miram Websters Definitions:

1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>
3 : being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function <selfish DNA>; also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication <selfish genes>

 

So if the only reason for the regard for others is because it exclusively benefits oneself, is this behavior selfish?


You mean, is "having regard" for others selfish if it's selfishly motivated?
I think it's time we distinguish between "justification" and "motivation".
Justification is about why we "should" do something.
Motivation is an explanation of why we do do something.
Even if a person's behaviour is rationally justified in serving their self interest, that doesn't mean it's in their mind motivating them.
The majority of our actions are out of habit rather than from making rational decisions.
In those cases, we have the pure motivation of having a disposition to do them, that they feel right to do.

If someone has found that acting without regard for others has caused him hassle, he might decide to devellop regard for others to avoid this hassle.
So far, it's a purely selfish motivation.
After a while, this regard internalises and just becomes part of his natural habits.
He is no longer "thinking about himself" in this regard, he does it naturally.
He has a natural regard that requires no further motivation, it no longer needs a selfish motive.

 

EXC wrote:
I just believe society(including Miriam Webster) has bought into a concept that is really a delusion and self contradictory.

You need to explain what you mean by "delusion" as well.
Normally, delusion means that they believe something to be true when it's false.
But you call compassion a delusion.
If someone feels for someone then they have compassion - they feel it.
Even if, as you claim, it comes from "conditioning". If they've been conditioned to have compassion (i.e. feel bad at someone else's suffering) then it's still there. They still have this compassion.

I just don't see how you can call compassion a "delusion".
If someone feels bad at someone else's suffering, that's compassion and they have it.


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seriously

EXC wrote:

cj wrote:

If you are delusional because there is free will and compassion in this world, do you want to know?  Or will you just keep arguing that everyone is selfish?  What is your standard for proof or disproof?

I would say with me, normally knowing how the world actually works is more pleasurable than not knowing. But I suppose if it caused a lot of pain, I would not want to know this. It's like the theists that don't want to hear the atheist arguments because of the pleasure and comfort their delusions bring them. People don't like hearing that free will, compassion and unselfishness probably don't exist because they feel better believing they do.

The concepts 'selfish' and 'unselfish' were invented to force social confomity. In order to have an 'unselfish' act there would have to be free will, I'm not sure of how I could ever be convinced that free will exists.

I should stop arguing that every action is selfish because if every action is to bring plesure or avoid pain, the term kind of becomes meaningless. It's not distinguished from anything else. I guess I enjoy mocking moralists.

Please note, you did not answer my question.  What is your standard of proof?  If you don't have one, fine, welcome to the world of the religious apologists.

EXC wrote:

cj wrote:

Once again, we are all delusional, we are all self-justifying.  We just choose different subjects to get weird about.  If I am delusional about compassion, then so be it. 

How can anyone take you seriously then?

How can anyone take you seriously?

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you aren't reading the definition

EXC wrote:

Miram Websters Definitions:

1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>
3 : being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function <selfish DNA>; also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication <selfish genes>

 

So if the only reason for the regard for others is because it exclusively benefits oneself, is this behavior selfish? This would seem to be self-contradictory. I believe acting in regard for others can only be due to exclusive concern for oneself.

If you have been conditioned to feel bad every time you disregard the interests of others aren't you really just being concerned with yourself by not behaving selfishly?

I'm not straw manning, I just believe society(including Miriam Webster) has bought into a concept that is really a delusion and self contradictory. If you don't agree with this, this is not a logical flaw on my part, I just have a different understanding of how things work.

READ THE DEFINITION.  You are missing the key phrase in both 1. and 2.  "without regard for others" "in disregard of others"  Self gratification without regard or concern for other people is selfish.  Self gratification while regarding others is NOT selfish.

Examples: I want that penny lying on the sidewalk.  I push a child out of the way, stomp on an old man, and kick the homeless person on my way to the penny.  I am selfish.

I want that penny lying on the sidewalk.  I gently encourage a child back to her mother, assist an old man down some steps, and politely ask the homeless person if he wants the penny before I pick it up and put it in my pocket.  I am not selfish.

Okay, overly simplified, but that is the meaning of the definition.  Not that I wanted the penny, but that I didn't tromp all over everyone else on the way to getting the penny.

Also, from my long ago ethics class:

Morality is what you, personally, believe to be right or wrong.  Notice there is NOTHING here about what is right or wrong, only that it is an individual's beliefs.

Ethics is how you conduct yourself as regards contracts.  How do you do business?  Do you meet your obligations? 

Law is the codification of ethics and morality, that is, it is morals and ethics written down and defined with consequences for not following the law.

Morality has nothing to do with society.  It is about the individual.  Ethics is more concerned with an individual's interactions with societal relationships.  Law is all about society.  My morals may or may not match up with the law.  If my morals are in line with the law, I will probably feel less stressed and more willing to follow the law.  But if I want to stay out of jail, I had best follow the law. 

My morals are my own.  I own them.  I determine them.  I decide how I'm going to follow them - not my parents, not society, not religion, not you.  You get to decide about your own morals.  And from reading your posts, you are chock full of morals.  Never say you don't have any, because you are stiff with them.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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EXC wrote:I don't have any

EXC wrote:
I don't have any understanding of 'unselfishness' or selfishness other than it's BS morality. It's like God, the more you try to understand it, the more it makes no logical sense.

I claim unselfishness is impossible. We can only have one concern: our own pleasure and comfort. We have no free will for anything else. We can follow a strategy of cooperation with others or not. We do this all the time in different areas.

But your criticism makes no logical sense because there is no empirical test to confirm that an action is not selfish. Human motivation is inherently private and inaccessible so what you're saying is really just an assumption. Since it is an assumption no matter what counter-example is offered to your generalization, you can always rationalize that the action was ultimately motivated by self-interest and therefore selfish. It is not verifiable in any way and as I said, if true, true only in a trivial sense.

EXC wrote:
Nature has made us to want to be accepted by others. We are conditioned by family, peers, culture to act concerned about others to gain this acceptance. But that's all it is, an act. But if you act it out long enough you eventually believe it's not an act, this delusion becomes real.

So you're claiming that facts about the self-interest of the agent explain behavior. Even if that picture of development is true it doesn't defend your position because it admits that people sometimes ultimately aim at things other than their welfare.

EXC wrote:

As I see it, the reason humanity can't solve it's many problems is that we have this delusional view about our own motivations and desires. We are afraid to admit we are only be concerned about our own self interests even if part of that self interest is the approval of others. I think if we want to engineer better marriages, friendships, governments, companies, etc... We must start with who we really are and what we all really want. This continuous guilt, blame and shame about others  being 'selfish' just ain't improving the world.

It seems like morality and it's concepts like selfishness/unselfishness is this roadblock that prevents us from designing a world that brings each of more pleasure and less pain which is what we're really all about.


My problem with this is that despite the ambiguities in your argument (of which there are many) what you're saying is demonstrably false. While it is true that a person will continually engage in an activity only if it has the effect of satisfying what they perceive to be in their self-interest that doesn't prove what you're saying at all.

You began by confusing the motive for an action and the consequences of it which is a post-hoc fallacy. Now you're attempting to blur the distinction between one's self-interest and one self's interest. They are two very different things. If one has a reason for doing something it is, ipso-facto, their reason. That alone says nothing about the nature of the reason. Some of a person's interests may be self-interests; other interests, though, may be interests in other people.

When one ambiguity is pointed out you may shift to another, but when they are all pointed out we see that what you are saying is wrong.

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I don't see the point of

I don't see the point of invalidating perfectly good concepts just becaue they are abused by people with a hidden agenda.

We all know what it means to be a prick - as in someone who cares not how his (or, indeed, her!) actions creates problems and grief for others - so obviously that is "selfish" in a different way than it is being "selfish" in such a way that you are looking after yourself and your personal interests but still acknowledging the personal space and integrity of other people by virte of some rather simple principles of "morality" such as considering the consequences of your decisions from alternative points of view from tyhose that are only about self-gratification.

OK, so we may be sophistic and say that strategical dispositions for not making yourself into an unpopular prick are "selfish" on a larger scale, because you don't want to be the subject of various types of revenge - but this is to debate in a fool circle. Clearly, an act of the moment can be "selfishly" motivated by the protagonist but still be perceived as "unselfish" by most observers. What alternative terms should we use then? Any reasonably intelligent person of some life experience knows the difference between being "selfish" and just taking care of business in an ethical manner. A certain nimbleness is required to pull that off. A balance.

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davidnay2007 wrote:Buy into

davidnay2007 wrote:

Buy into what exactly? I don't buy into Rush, Hannity or any of them just like I haven't bought into Obama and his agenda. I simply believe that limited government is a good thing and that too much government is a bad thing, although I don't consider myself right wing (as you have obviously pegged me). I did mention that I think healthcare needs to be massively overhauled- just in a different direction than Obama is going. He doesn't want to fix what is really wrong with the healthcare system. He just wants to nationalize it.

This is about the nature of government and how too much power has always and will always corrupt. It's also about dependance on the government which I think is always a bad thing but especially when it comes to our health. I do believe that all people should have basic health coverage BTW but let it happen on a state level.

I'm curious why you asked me if I donated to the poor Haitians?

Quote:
I simply believe that limited government is a good thing and that too much government is a bad thing,

I AGREE!

But, the government system we have set up is an anti-trust system, especially the First Amendment. It is not to favor the rich or the poor or one religion or party over another. It is there as a sanctuary arbitrator. The more someone abuses someone else, on any issue, rather than hash it out without government, the more the ones who feel abused will call to government to ask for protection. OUR problem is that EVERY class is playing victim and our politicians are using it to maintain power.

But, I see those with the most ability to yield power unwilling to be introspective. So as far as I am concerned they only have themselves to blame if they want limited government.

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Strafio wrote:You mean, is

Strafio wrote:

You mean, is "having regard" for others selfish if it's selfishly motivated?

The only reason for having regard or pretending to have regard for others is for one's own concern.

Haven't you dated a guy that seemed to have a high regard for your welfare, but all he wanted was to get laid? I think we all play this game and put on the act.



Strafio wrote:
Justification is about why we "should" do something.

If we don't have free will this discussion is meaningless because we only do what seems like the best strategy maximize our own pleasure and comfort.


Strafio wrote:
Motivation is an explanation of why we do do something.

Genetics and conditioning have combined to produce behaviors that humans and animals use to maximize survivability and that of it's genes. In humans we judge what's right by how it feels.

 

Strafio wrote:

If someone has found that acting without regard for others has caused him hassle, he might decide to devellop regard for others to avoid this hassle.
So far, it's a purely selfish motivation.
After a while, this regard internalises and just becomes part of his natural habits.
He is no longer "thinking about himself" in this regard, he does it naturally.
He has a natural regard that requires no further motivation, it no longer needs a selfish motive
.

Right, but this means then that we do things like charity, government, relationships, etc... based on how it makes each of us feel rather than it's actual long term effect. This is why we can't solve problems like war, poverty, person conflicts.

It's like if someone has a weight problem. They could eat a cheeseburger now because it makes them feel good now, or they could say no because they feel better in the long run. Either way it only concern for themselves. Now you could beat yourself up and tell your self your a worthless fat pig other people could insult you until you gained the will power to diet. Or you could let medical science treat you with pills and surgery to reduce the discomfort of dieting. Which is better?

We do the same thing with trying to get people to be compassionate and unselfish. One is insulted and outcasted until they conform to the pressure. And some people never conform to the pressure.

 

Strafio wrote:
You need to explain what you mean by "delusion" as well.

A delusion is holding onto a belief despite strong evidence to the contrary. So as an analogy, if we held onto a belief that the earth was the center of the universe despite evidence to the contrary, this belief would greatly hold back the advance of astronomy. Same thing with any social advance toward increasing pleasure and reducing pain.

Most people are arguing the world would be better if we had more compassion and less selfishness. I believe this is wrong, we just need to apply science and rationality to the causes of pleasure and pain.

Strafio wrote:

Normally, delusion means that they believe something to be true when it's false.
But you call compassion a delusion.
If someone feels for someone then they have compassion - they feel it.
Even if, as you claim, it comes from "conditioning". If they've been conditioned to have compassion (i.e. feel bad at someone else's suffering) then it's still there. They still have this compassion.

I just don't see how you can call compassion a "delusion".
If someone feels bad at someone else's suffering, that's compassion and they have it.

But look at people with autism. The are castigated for their lack of 'compassion' and empathy. Same thing sometimes happens to people with brain injury that restricts their ability to feel. What are they lacking that you have? Just an ability to derive pleasure from these compassionate activities. But society ignorantly treats it as moral failure.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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Gauche wrote:Even if that

Gauche wrote:

Even if that picture of development is true it doesn't defend your position because it admits that people sometimes ultimately aim at things other than their welfare.

Because it feels like the right thing to do. A heroin junky shoots up with a needle that may be infected with AIDS, it would seem he not concerned with his own welfare. But just doing what feels like the right thing to do at that moment. Same with someone that donates money to a Haiti telethon after all the emotional songs and pictures.

Maybe I should stop calling actions selfish since the definition is self-contadictory and meaningless.

Gauche wrote:

My problem with this is that despite the ambiguities in your argument (of which there are many) what you're saying is demonstrably false. While it is true that a person will continually engage in an activity only if it has the effect of satisfying what they perceive to be in their self-interest that doesn't prove what you're saying at all.

What would be sufficient proof for you? Why is shaming people into being less 'selfish' the answer for humanity? And how does that really make them unselfish?

Gauche wrote:
You began by confusing the motive for an action and the consequences of it which is a post-hoc fallacy.

Of course we can't predict the future with total accuracy, so motivation is based on the expectations of reward or punishment. If I was not clear about this I apologize. We are conditioned to expect a certain outcome based on an action. So motivation is based on expected consequences.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:Because it feels

EXC wrote:
Because it feels like the right thing to do. A heroin junky shoots up with a needle that may be infected with AIDS, it would seem he not concerned with his own welfare. But just doing what feels like the right thing to do at that moment. Same with someone that donates money to a Haiti telethon after all the emotional songs and pictures.

Maybe I should stop calling actions selfish since the definition is self-contadictory and meaningless.

If there is to be any hope of resolving this issue, your thesis must be made clear and comprehensible. Consequently we must separate these disparate claims. Claiming that individuals always act (knowingly or unknowingly) to promote what is in their interests is different than to claim that they act to promote what they take to be in their interests. It's a difference between your real and perceived interests.

You are very adroit at moving between these claims which gives what you're saying the appearance of having more explanatory power than it actually does. Neither claim however is singularly plausible. The first is flawed on empirical grounds. Many times people fail to promote their interests, even when others would agree they are trying to promote them. One may obtain what they want, yet remain unsatisfied. It is not the case that people always aim to promote their real interests.

The second alternative is shown to be equally implausible when you consider, as I said earlier that your interests and your self-interests are distinct. It very well may be true that individuals always act to promote what they believe to be in their interests, it is not the case that they always act to promote what they believe to be in their self-interest. Often people believe they are acting from benevolent motives. Even if it can be shown that people are sometimes mistaken about that it doesn't strengthen your argument because to show that they had a hidden motive only proves that they were mistaken about what their motive really was, it doesn't prove that they were mistaken about what they believed their motive to be. Since they believed their motivation was to promote their non-self interests, the second alternative is also defective.
EXC wrote:
What would be sufficient proof for you? Why is shaming people into being less 'selfish' the answer for humanity? And how does that really make them unselfish?

Of course we can't predict the future with total accuracy, so motivation is based on the expectations of reward or punishment. If I was not clear about this I apologize. We are conditioned to expect a certain outcome based on an action. So motivation is based on expected consequences.


I fear that the answer for humanity may elude us for some time. I don't really have an answer to that question. I readily admit that there is a seed of truth in what you are saying. It should be obvious to anyone that they are frequently motivated to promote their self-interest, and that upon reflection, occasionally one finds that their actions once believed to be unselfish were actually motivated purely by a desire for self-satisfaction. Furthermore, actions that are perceived to be unselfish are usually rewarding in some way regardless of motive. I believe that all adds to the allure of such theories. 

To answer your question about sufficient proof, the weakness of this theory is not lack of evidence. There is plenty of evidence that people are selfish to be seized upon. The appeal and deficiency of the thesis are one and the same, namely its ambiguous formulation. There's a difference between motives and consequences, between interest and self-interest, real interest and perceived interest, and between claiming that people always act to promote their self-interest to some degree, and claiming that they always choose actions which will promote their self-interest more than any other available option.

Some may be confounded because these distinctions are not readily apparent or immediately evident, but when the disparities between these ideas are clearly delineated we see that it is not correct. It is not true. It is not an accurate description of human motivation or behavior to say that people are always motivated by self-interest.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
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I am glad to see this debate

I am glad to see this debate here. AND it is also nice, at least to expose people other than atheists to the fact that we do not always agree on everything.

My only point in all this is that FAR TOO OFTEN people try to make life out to be an "either or" situtation. I am simply taking the right wing to task on their attitude.

They falsely claim that anyone who suggests a "public option" is out to destroy the private sector and that we should become like the Soviet Union, which is NOT what I am suggesting.

I am saying that it is absurd to suggest that social aspects of our country DONT exist already. Highways and roads are PUBLICALLY FUNDED, that is socialized and both the rich and poor who have cars drive on them. Police and fire are paid for by tax dollars. OUR military is paid for by tax dollars. The post office has not put UPS out of business. Our water and electricity are public co-ops.

I do believe that the more we leave government out of our lives the better off we are. BUT what comes with the responsibility of accepting that the government is not there for one party or one class, just like it is the policeman's job to protect everyone, not just those with money. I don't think private health care will suffer if the middle class and working poor have an option. I think IT IS absurd that as much GDP as our country makes that a public option will hurt our economy.

It is not about "sticking it to the rich man" as the right would have you believe. It is about accepting that others exist and are just as important. Money is not all there is to life and some things, like health, are things we all want. AND AGAIN, if the ability to pay is so important to those who have, then when you get robbed, don't call the police, after all, you have the money to pay a private detective. Don't use public water or public electricity after all, that is socialized too. Don't drive on the highways, buy and build your own, since you think we should all do it on our own all the time.

No person here in their right mind is going to be that cold and callous as to pass a car accident with a bleeding person because they are poor, so don't be a hypocrite and say health care should only be for those who can afford it. I dare you to go into poor neighborhoods and say that to poor people TO THEIR FACES!

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I think it is also important

I think it is also important to put the word "important" in proper context.

NONE of us are "important" to biology. The species can continue on without any individual here.

When I say "important" I am simply strictly speaking from an economic aspect. YOU can own a restorante but you cant do all the work yourself. There needs to be someone serving the food and washing the dishes. IF those people don't have to go to government for help and CAN get what they need from the job they have, that costs everyone less. HOWEVER, if all a business cares about is their CEOS, their ability to market and their shareholders and their profits, at the exclusion of those who work at the bottom end and want no rules at all, then why should big business be surprised when the middle and poor ask for help from government?

We are in this together, not in a litteral connected sense anymore than a guy I have never met in Japan owes me anything personally. WE are however affected by others, and in that sense without the self introspection of ourselves, we can get tunnel vision and fail to see the grander economic scope. It is easy to think of oneself and that is a quick and short route.

The right wants to make it out to be  the left claiming "you owe me". NO, no one is "owed" anything. I am suggesting that since we are not cold and callous and that we are capable of introspection, that we use it and understand that others ARE NOT clones of each other. Being aware of one's surroundings and being aware that what one does DOES affect others.

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Gauche wrote:One may obtain

Gauche wrote:

One may obtain what they want, yet remain unsatisfied. It is not the case that people always aim to promote their real interests.

Nature tells us what we should want(food, sex, comfort, social acceptance). But it doesn't guarantee this will satisfy. If we were ever satisfied, we'd stop pursuing things(not good for our survival and DNA transmission).

What is anyone's real interest except to do what feels right at the moment? I think the conflict you're talking about between one's interest and one's self-interests is kind of conflict between the primitive brain and the cognitive brain. For instance, I have a conflict about dieting, my primitive brain says eat whatever I want now, my cognitive brain says this is not good in the long run. I would spend time, money and energy pursing sex with women and then be worried about an unwanted pregnancy or VD.


Gauche wrote:

I fear that the answer for humanity may elude us for some time. I don't really have an answer to that question. I readily admit that there is a seed of truth in what you are saying. It should be obvious to anyone that they are frequently motivated to promote their self-interest, and that upon reflection, occasionally one finds that their actions once believed to be unselfish were actually motivated purely by a desire for self-satisfaction. Furthermore, actions that are perceived to be unselfish are usually rewarding in some way regardless of motive. I believe that all adds to the allure of such theories. 

I think the answer is there if people will look at the evidence.

I fear that humanity will pass from the phase of religion being the basis a code of conduct to humanism/socialism. This is what most of the atheists here seem to promote. It's not much of an improvement, if at all. In this world, the only selfish and irresponsible acts are to not wanting to pay high taxes to support social programs or to wanting to have more things than other people. They think, somehow if we all have the same wealth, we'll stop fighting for more and stop overpopulating the planet. But activities like having a large number of kids, not getting an education or not working in a needed field like health care, sponging of the welfare system, etc... are not considered selfish. Selfish is just what other people do.

We need to embrace our 'selfishness'. Pursue it with passion. Not worry that that the theists and humanists think we have no moral code except our our hedonistic indulgences. But this does not mean we are going become a Hugh Hefner, Hitler, an ax murderer, baby eaters or a drug addicts, there is pleanty of room for the pleasures of helping others. In fact, I believe the reason people turn to behaviors like crime is the frustration of not having their pleasures indulged because of moral restrictions and limited opportunities. We put people in prison to frustrate them even more which is why few are ever reformed.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:Gauche wrote:One

EXC wrote:

Gauche wrote:

One may obtain what they want, yet remain unsatisfied. It is not the case that people always aim to promote their real interests.

Nature tells us what we should want(food, sex, comfort, social acceptance). But it doesn't guarantee this will satisfy. If we were ever satisfied, we'd stop pursuing things(not good for our survival and DNA transmission).

What is anyone's real interest except to do what feels right at the moment? I think the conflict you're talking about between one's interest and one's self-interests is kind of conflict between the primitive brain and the cognitive brain. For instance, I have a conflict about dieting, my primitive brain says eat whatever I want now, my cognitive brain says this is not good in the long run. I would spend time, money and energy pursing sex with women and then be worried about an unwanted pregnancy or VD.


Gauche wrote:

I fear that the answer for humanity may elude us for some time. I don't really have an answer to that question. I readily admit that there is a seed of truth in what you are saying. It should be obvious to anyone that they are frequently motivated to promote their self-interest, and that upon reflection, occasionally one finds that their actions once believed to be unselfish were actually motivated purely by a desire for self-satisfaction. Furthermore, actions that are perceived to be unselfish are usually rewarding in some way regardless of motive. I believe that all adds to the allure of such theories. 

I think the answer is there if people will look at the evidence.

I fear that humanity will pass from the phase of religion being the basis a code of conduct to humanism/socialism. This is what most of the atheists here seem to promote. It's not much of an improvement, if at all. In this world, the only selfish and irresponsible acts are to not wanting to pay high taxes to support social programs or to wanting to have more things than other people. They think, somehow if we all have the same wealth, we'll stop fighting for more and stop overpopulating the planet. But activities like having a large number of kids, not getting an education or not working in a needed field like health care, sponging of the welfare system, etc... are not considered selfish. Selfish is just what other people do.

We need to embrace our 'selfishness'. Pursue it with passion. Not worry that that the theists and humanists think we have no moral code except our our hedonistic indulgences. But this does not mean we are going become a Hugh Hefner, Hitler, an ax murderer, baby eaters or a drug addicts, there is pleanty of room for the pleasures of helping others. In fact, I believe the reason people turn to behaviors like crime is the frustration of not having their pleasures indulged because of moral restrictions and limited opportunities. We put people in prison to frustrate them even more which is why few are ever reformed.

I think we should put violent people in prision. Forgive me for not wanting to be physically harmed.

Having said that it is true that most people do not get to pursue their happiness. They are sold utopias to be like others. They are sold expensive endevors like marriage. They are taught that if they don't have material things or live in a mansion, they are loosers.

Kids idolize singers and sports figures and their parents tell them "you can be whatever you want " failing to tell them that the spots at the high end are few and most don't get there. On top of that the pay gap is making it more and more impossible to make ends meet and people have to work more and more for less.

I DO think people should pursue what makes them happy, but our economy is not maximizing that ability. Our economy teaches society to chase their neighbor instead of being themeselves.

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EXC wrote:We need to embrace

EXC wrote:

We need to embrace our 'selfishness'. Pursue it with passion. Not worry that that the theists and humanists think we have no moral code except our our hedonistic indulgences. But this does not mean we are going become a Hugh Hefner, Hitler, an ax murderer, baby eaters or a drug addicts, there is pleanty of room for the pleasures of helping others. In fact, I believe the reason people turn to behaviors like crime is the frustration of not having their pleasures indulged because of moral restrictions and limited opportunities. We put people in prison to frustrate them even more which is why few are ever reformed.

 

I'd say... old chap... that's a bit of a strange company you put poor old Hef in there.

I absolutely agree with the basic premise that "we" need to embrace our rational self interest - whatever that may be (even if it is the delusion of doing good in the world for the greater good of humankind and yada yada fucking yada). But I really do think that one man's freedom shouldn't imply another man's slavery, nor should one man's fortune imply another man's misery. That's just wrong. They key word here is balance. People who act with disregard for the balance of things are commonly referred to as "selfish" and this is why it has a negative connotation. You may not like this, but language is what it is and it has but a limited capacity for depicting the dynamics of a fleeting reality.

Now... your ideas on crime are interesting indeed. Do you care to elaborate (possibly in a thread of its own)?

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EXC wrote:Nature tells us

EXC wrote:

Nature tells us what we should want(food, sex, comfort, social acceptance). But it doesn't guarantee this will satisfy. If we were ever satisfied, we'd stop pursuing things(not good for our survival and DNA transmission).

What is anyone's real interest except to do what feels right at the moment?

You claim that people always pursue their real interest, and their real interest is self-satisfaction at the moment. Yet they remain unsatisfied, so their actions could not have been the pursuit of their real interest because satisfaction was their real interest according to your definition.

Saying that people always seek satisfaction but that doesn't guarantee that they will be satisfied is an admission that one's actions are sometimes the pursuit of things that are not their interests unless you're talking about their perceived interests.

 

EXC wrote:
I think the conflict you're talking about between one's interest and one's self-interests is kind of conflict between the primitive brain and the cognitive brain. For instance, I have a conflict about dieting, my primitive brain says eat whatever I want now, my cognitive brain says this is not good in the long run. I would spend time, money and energy pursing sex with women and then be worried about an unwanted pregnancy or VD.

The difference between one's interest and one's self-interests is that all of your interests are your interests, but they are not all your self-interest. People have many interests. The fact that an interest originates from you doesn't automatically make it an interest in your welfare or advantage.
 

 

EXC wrote:
I think the answer is there if people will look at the evidence.

I fear that humanity will pass from the phase of religion being the basis a code of conduct to humanism/socialism. This is what most of the atheists here seem to promote. It's not much of an improvement, if at all. In this world, the only selfish and irresponsible acts are to not wanting to pay high taxes to support social programs or to wanting to have more things than other people. They think, somehow if we all have the same wealth, we'll stop fighting for more and stop overpopulating the planet. But activities like having a large number of kids, not getting an education or not working in a needed field like health care, sponging of the welfare system, etc... are not considered selfish. Selfish is just what other people do.

We need to embrace our 'selfishness'. Pursue it with passion. Not worry that that the theists and humanists think we have no moral code except our our hedonistic indulgences. But this does not mean we are going become a Hugh Hefner, Hitler, an ax murderer, baby eaters or a drug addicts, there is pleanty of room for the pleasures of helping others. In fact, I believe the reason people turn to behaviors like crime is the frustration of not having their pleasures indulged because of moral restrictions and limited opportunities. We put people in prison to frustrate them even more which is why few are ever reformed.

What one should do or what one "needs to" do are important matters I think, but it's not the matter I'd like to address at the moment. You've made a claim about what people actually do, and human nature. One that I consider to be implausible. It is quite different to say that people ought to be self interested and so they ought not give to charity than to say that people are self interested so they will not give to charity. One is a philosophical matter while the other is not, and realistically, if the second is true then the first is completely irrelevant.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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First things first...EXC

First things first...

EXC wrote:
Haven't you dated a guy that seemed to have a high regard for your welfare, but all he wanted was to get laid? I think we all play this game and put on the act.

Dude...
Where'd you get the impression that I was a girl?
I know that I like to defend some feminine values, but do I really come across as that effeminate??
Seriously?? Shocked


EXC wrote:
It's like if someone has a weight problem. They could eat a cheeseburger now because it makes them feel good now, or they could say no because they feel better in the long run. Either way it only concern for themselves. Now you could beat yourself up and tell your self your a worthless fat pig other people could insult you until you gained the will power to diet. Or you could let medical science treat you with pills and surgery to reduce the discomfort of dieting. Which is better?

We do the same thing with trying to get people to be compassionate and unselfish. One is insulted and outcasted until they conform to the pressure. And some people never conform to the pressure.


I relate to this more than you realise.
I agree that this is completely the wrong way to develop compassion in a person.
Compassion can't be forced and furthermore, concern for others comes more naturally when we're not worrying about ourselves. Putting people under pressure to "be compassionate" clearly contradicts this.

EXC wrote:
But look at people with autism. The are castigated for their lack of 'compassion' and empathy. Same thing sometimes happens to people with brain injury that restricts their ability to feel. What are they lacking that you have? Just an ability to derive pleasure from these compassionate activities. But society ignorantly treats it as moral failure.


I get the feeling that your negative view of "compassion" and "morality" seems to be a result from having to deal with people who just bitch and moan about the flaws in other people. You want people to stop bitching and moaning and to be more constructive and I think everyone will agree with you on that. You don't need to go down the route of this extreme scepticism in order to campaign against it.

This "we should look into mutual co-operation to increase pleasure" you keep espousing isn't anything revolutionary.
That's what various moral systems were based on, and differing ones still have the same theme.
Humanism uses psychology to see what human needs are, i.e. to see what humans strive for and what brings them satisfaction.
Here's a famous example. I'm not saying Maslow's theory is perfect - flaws have been found and there's plenty of research still to be done. That said, it gives us a rough idea of what we're looking for as human beings. To put it in your own terminology, these needs are what give the human being the most pleasure and the least pain.

"Morality", as most people see it, is about meeting their own needs and the needs of other people.
When people chastise others as "selfish", it usually means they're chasing a short term pleasure at the expense of other people, and also the expense of themselves. Quite reasonable to oppose such actions, yes?


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I think the name and the

I think the name and the avatar paint sort of an androgynous picture.


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Strafio wrote:Dude...Where'd

Strafio wrote:

Dude...
Where'd you get the impression that I was a girl?
I know that I like to defend some feminine values, but do I really come across as that effeminate??
Seriously?? :O


Sorry, the avatar and you defend the concept of compassion so vigorously. Compassion seems to come naturally to women. With a lot of guys, its usually the game we got to play to get laid or be popular.


Strafio wrote:

I relate to this more than you realise.
I agree that this is completely the wrong way to develop compassion in a person.
Compassion can't be forced and furthermore, concern for others comes more naturally when we're not worrying about ourselves. Putting people under pressure to "be compassionate" clearly contradicts this.


 

But how do we get to that point of being compassionate. It seems all babies are pretty much only concerned with themselves and are unabashed about letting you know. We learn we got to play the game, to get approval and not be an outcast we are conditioned to get along.

Strafio wrote:

I get the feeling that your negative view of "compassion" and "morality" seems to be a result from having to deal with people who just bitch and moan about the flaws in other people. You want people to stop bitching and moaning and to be more constructive and I think everyone will agree with you on that. You don't need to go down the route of this extreme scepticism in order to campaign against it.


 

Here's what always happens in relationships. One person does something that the other person perceives as selfish, even though this was never the intention of the first offender but the other person feels this way. So they are made to feel bad, but this is actually an intentional act. So it would seem that the person calling the other person 'selfish' is actually only self concerned and is deliberately acting without regard for others.

Strafio wrote:

This "we should look into mutual co-operation to increase pleasure" you keep espousing isn't anything revolutionary.
That's what various moral systems were based on, and differing ones still have the same theme.


 

I know, but I'm just shocked that so many 'rational' atheists don't come to the conclusion that we are only self-interested and therefore the only basis for rules for behavior and cooperation is social contracts that benefit all parties. The still embrace these concepts of morality and fairness that have no basis in any science or reason. That only lead to one party taking advantage of another.

I think they feel they must try to compete with the theists and be more morally good in order to not be a 'selfish, hedonistic' atheist. They want to believe they are better that theists and people without their political views. This moral superiority makes them feel good.


Strafio wrote:

When people chastise others as "selfish", it usually means they're chasing a short term pleasure at the expense of other people, and also the expense of themselves. Quite reasonable to oppose such actions, yes?

Right. I think the ration view to take with relationships is to let people know early on what your rules are and what are your boundaries. If they agree with these, you can proceed with a relationship. But break off relationships when it's obvious the other person doesn't want to have a contract with the rules. This seems far more rational than the shame and disapproval game. Same with political views, encourage cooperative relationships among classes, but cut people off relationships when individuals don't follow the terms of the social contract.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:Sorry, the avatar

EXC wrote:
Sorry, the avatar and you defend the concept of compassion so vigorously. Compassion seems to come naturally to women. With a lot of guys, its usually the game we got to play to get laid or be popular.

Haha. Incidently, the vigor is probably due to my competitive enjoyment of debate.
Another 'incidently'; defending the concept of compassion nearly did get me laid once. If I hadn't been feeling too ill that night to go through with it...


EXC wrote:
But how do we get to that point of being compassionate. It seems all babies are pretty much only concerned with themselves and are unabashed about letting you know. We learn we got to play the game, to get approval and not be an outcast we are conditioned to get along.

We go through a lot of changes from being babies.
The main ones I can think off is puberty (at 10 years I was extremely baffled by TV shows like Saved by the Bell and the main guy's obsession with a girl) and another main one is having your own child (I've heard that I completely changes your life perspective). But there's also just general maturation. e.g. as a baby, we cry when we're hungry, as we get older we might ignore hunger if we're really absorbed in an activity we're doing.

Personally, my experience of "compassion" was largely similar to yours, not "getting it" and being told I was being "selfish" and that I should feel more "caring". That said, I did notice genuine feelings of compassion. Feeling bad for someone else's ills or feeling happy for someone else's fortune without it being in relation to me. The most obvious examples are books and films, because you get absorbed into a story and aren't thinking about yourself.

I've noticed that it comes out most when I'm "relaxed", that is, my own "needs" are largely satisfied.
When I'm not worrying about my own problems, I generally find it easier to appreciate someone else's.


Strafio wrote:
I get the feeling that your negative view of "compassion" and "morality" seems to be a result from having to deal with people who just bitch and moan about the flaws in other people. You want people to stop bitching and moaning and to be more constructive and I think everyone will agree with you on that. You don't need to go down the route of this extreme scepticism in order to campaign against it.

EXC wrote:
Here's what always happens in relationships. One person does something that the other person perceives as selfish, even though this was never the intention of the first offender but the other person feels this way. So they are made to feel bad, but this is actually an intentional act. So it would seem that the person calling the other person 'selfish' is actually only self concerned and is deliberately acting without regard for others.

I wouldn't say "always", but pedantacism aside...
Is the concept of "selfishness" the problem here, or is it how it is being abused.
The couple you described seem to be resorting to angry accusations rather than calmly discussing the problem.
What if they had instead said; "Seriously now, I've cooked for the last 4 days in a row and you're willing to do one. I think I'm getting a bit of a rough deal here..."

It's basically accusing them of being a bit selfish, but it does so in a clear rational way, rather than just bitching at them.
Personally, I think that the problem was "bad communication" rather than a problem with the concept of seflishness.


Strafio wrote:
This "we should look into mutual co-operation to increase pleasure" you keep espousing isn't anything revolutionary.
That's what various moral systems were based on, and differing ones still have the same theme.

EXC wrote:
I know, but I'm just shocked that so many 'rational' atheists don't come to the conclusion that we are only self-interested and therefore the only basis for rules for behavior and cooperation is social contracts that benefit all parties. The still embrace these concepts of morality and fairness that have no basis in any science or reason. That only lead to one party taking advantage of another.

Again, I don't think "morality" and "fairness" are the problem here. Look at the bit in bold - "That only leads to one party taking advantage of each other" - that's a statement in favour of fairness. It sounds to me that your disagreement is with what some people claim is "fair", but is really "unfair".

I think morality is similar. What you say about cooperation and social contract are effectively moral claims - infact you seem to have a very familiar moral theory to Thomas Hobbes. "Egotism" (the humans just chase their own pleasure) and "Social Contract Morality" (that we need to follow rules of co-operation to achieve this) are classic philosophical positions. I think that you're problem isn't with the concepts of "fairness" and "morality" but more with how these concepts can be abused, and how some people have incorrect notions of what is moral and what is fair.


Strafio wrote:
When people chastise others as "selfish", it usually means they're chasing a short term pleasure at the expense of other people, and also the expense of themselves. Quite reasonable to oppose such actions, yes?

EXC wrote:
Right. I think the ration view to take with relationships is to let people know early on what your rules are and what are your boundaries. If they agree with these, you can proceed with a relationship. But break off relationships when it's obvious the other person doesn't want to have a contract with the rules. This seems far more rational than the shame and disapproval game. Same with political views, encourage cooperative relationships among classes, but cut people off relationships when individuals don't follow the terms of the social contract.

Sounds fair.
"Drop out"s should be given achievable targets that will gradually get them back on board, be given the support needed to succeed, but only if they're doing their bit too. Incidently, that's generally how social security works. In England, to get jobseeker's allowance you need to show evidence of looking for work. It's not a flawless system but it's on the right track.