New Ethics for a New Era

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New Ethics for a New Era

What does everyone think of this opinion article from cnn?

 

Yaron Brook is president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights and a columnist at Forbes.com; Onkar Ghate is a senior fellow at the center. Brook is one of the speakers at The Economist's "Ideas Economy: Human Potential" conference in New York.

(CNN) -- Human progress requires good ideas.

Consider how just two fundamental ideas have ushered in the modern world. Rewind a scant 600 years, and modern science doesn't yet exist.

Men and women live and die in squalor and filth, largely ignorant of the germs that ravage their bodies and of the natural laws that govern the universe, instead imploring an alleged supernatural force to help them navigate this vale of tears.

But thanks to minds such as Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur and Charles Darwin, this is not how we face the world today. They taught us our method of knowing: careful, mathematically precise observation, step-by-step inference and generalization, and systematic, evidence-based theory building.

They had the courage to challenge entrenched authority, toss aside superstition and defy popes. As others followed the trail the first scientists blazed, human knowledge advanced dramatically.

Thanks to a second idea, this explosion of knowledge broke the confines of the laboratory and ivory tower. Another daring group of thinkers challenged political authoritarianism.

Kings and aristocrats were swept aside to make way for the rights of man. This idea gave birth to a new nation, our beloved America, in which the individual was free to think and pursue his own happiness. A new person arose: the industrialist.

Slandered as robber barons, what these individuals actually did was earn fortunes by studying the discoveries of science and commercializing them.

A mind-boggling array of inventions and products ensued: automobiles, oil, radios, antibiotics, refrigeration, electricity, washing machines, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, airplanes and on and on, to our present world of personal computers and cell phones.

Try to imagine life without all of this. It's not easy.

But as far as we've come because of these two ideas, human progress demands implementation of a third idea to complete the scientific and political revolutions. We're still beholden to the past in ethics.

Although few of us would turn to the Old Testament or the Quran to determine the age of the Earth, too many of us still turn obediently to these books (or their secular copies) as authorities about morality. We learn therein the moral superiority of faith to reason and collective sacrifice to personal profit.

But the more seriously we take these old ethical ideas, the more suspect become the modern ideas responsible for human progress. The scientists in their laboratories did not demonstrate the superiority of faith. Thomas Jefferson in his Declaration did not proclaim the superiority of collective sacrifice. Why should we think these ideas are the path to moral enlightenment?

Perhaps, of all the damage these antiquated moral ideas do to human progress, the most significant is how they distort our conception of moral ideals.

Ask someone on the street to name a moral hero; if he isn't at a loss, he'll likely name someone like Jesus Christ or Mother Teresa. Why? Because they're regarded as people of faith who shunned personal profit for the collective good. No one would dream of naming Galileo, Darwin, Thomas Edison or John D. Rockefeller.

Yet we should. It is they, not the Mother Teresas of the world, that we should strive to be like and teach our kids the same.

If morality is judgment to discern the truth and courage to act on it and make something of and for your own life, then these individuals, in their capacity as great creators, are moral exemplars. Put another way, if morality is a guide in the quest to achieve your own happiness by creating the values of mind and body that make a successful life, then morality is about personal profit, not its renunciation.

Monetary profit is just one of the values you have to achieve in life. But it is an eloquent representative of the whole issue, because at its most demanding, as exhibited by a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs, making money requires a profound dedication to material production.

The fact that earning money is ignored by most moralists, or condemned as the root of evil, is telling of the distance we must travel.

In effect, we need to turn the Billionaire's Pledge on its head.

The world grants, at best, no moral recognition to Gates and Buffett for the personal fortunes they've created, but it awards them a standing ovation for giving their profits away. But the standing ovation belongs to the act of creation, the profit they brought into their own lives and anyone who traded with them.

If morality is about the pursuit of your own success and happiness, then giving money away to strangers is, in comparison, not a morally significant act. (And it's outright wrong if done on the premise that renunciation is moral.)

Science, freedom and the pursuit of personal profit -- if we can learn to embrace these three ideas as ideals, an unlimited future awaits.


Atheistextremist
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Atlas Shrugged...

 

It's too simple a commentary in my view but it makes some points I agree with and some I somewhat disagree with. Gates and others are by no means vilified for their wealth, for starters. But the act of constructive human creation is to be applauded. And there is no doubt that creations of the human mind have changed the world in many ways for the better.

Now if only one of these moral giants could come up with a rubber-band powered Subaru I'll start clapping.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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If you cut out all the

If you cut out all the economics I think the article was fine.

 

When I read it on CNN this morning I was nodding along with him right up until he started to preach personal profit as positive morality.  I should have checked where he was from before I read the article.

 

Not that I think personal profit is bad, but I fail to see how it is a righteous thing that is always good....so often it comes at the expense of society.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:If you cut

mellestad wrote:

If you cut out all the economics I think the article was fine.

 

When I read it on CNN this morning I was nodding along with him right up until he started to preach personal profit as positive morality.  I should have checked where he was from before I read the article.

 

Not that I think personal profit is bad, but I fail to see how it is a righteous thing that is always good....so often it comes at the expense of society.

 

Thank you.

Why is everything "either or" with people. If one wants to chase a mansion and have a butler, they can. But for everyone that does that, there are far more that do the work that get them there, and far more who contribute who will go their entire lives unnoticed.

And I find it disturbing with our population growing and growing that it seems that global consumption increasing will cause our planet to have more problems absorbing the waste we create. Our human narcissism makes us think we can fix everything.

I am not being pessimistic. But one realistic thing we as humans can and should do more of is not expect our neighbor to be a clone of us. I don't think consumption at an increasing level is a sustainable goal for humanity. There has to be management and pragmatism in reducing the harm we do to our environments and to each other.

 

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Beyond Saving
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 I agree with the article

 I agree with the article that we tend to vilify people who make a ton of money for no good reason other than jealousy and it makes great political fodder. However, it seems absurd to me that making money is moral. There are ways to be very moral and make money and ways to be completely immoral and make money. Anyone want to argue that Bernie Madoff was moral? Obviously, making a lot of money does not equal morality but neither is it immoral. And his argument that giving money to charity is immoral is nothing but tripe. 

 

The robber barons often get short shrift because of how they were attacked politically during their time and for the last hundred years that mentality has stuck in the American psyche. We can thank the "robber barons" for many of our modern comforts. And Atheistextremeist it might be different in your country but in the US you can hardly have a political debate for two minutes without Bill Gates being vilified because of his wealth. We are always saying "tax the wealthy" they have "too much money" "spread the wealth" etc. And when a rubber band powered Subaru is invented and sold commercially it will probably be the modern day equivalent of a robber baron behind it.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Beyond Saving wrote: I

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I agree with the article that we tend to vilify people who make a ton of money for no good reason other than jealousy and it makes great political fodder. However, it seems absurd to me that making money is moral. There are ways to be very moral and make money and ways to be completely immoral and make money. Anyone want to argue that Bernie Madoff was moral? Obviously, making a lot of money does not equal morality but neither is it immoral. And his argument that giving money to charity is immoral is nothing but tripe. 

 

The robber barons often get short shrift because of how they were attacked politically during their time and for the last hundred years that mentality has stuck in the American psyche. We can thank the "robber barons" for many of our modern comforts. And Atheistextremeist it might be different in your country but in the US you can hardly have a political debate for two minutes without Bill Gates being vilified because of his wealth. We are always saying "tax the wealthy" they have "too much money" "spread the wealth" etc. And when a rubber band powered Subaru is invented and sold commercially it will probably be the modern day equivalent of a robber baron behind it.  

I don't believe I've heard an economic version of "Thank you sir! May I have another?" quite so well put.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Beyond Saving
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jcgadfly wrote:Beyond Saving

jcgadfly wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I agree with the article that we tend to vilify people who make a ton of money for no good reason other than jealousy and it makes great political fodder. However, it seems absurd to me that making money is moral. There are ways to be very moral and make money and ways to be completely immoral and make money. Anyone want to argue that Bernie Madoff was moral? Obviously, making a lot of money does not equal morality but neither is it immoral. And his argument that giving money to charity is immoral is nothing but tripe. 

 

The robber barons often get short shrift because of how they were attacked politically during their time and for the last hundred years that mentality has stuck in the American psyche. We can thank the "robber barons" for many of our modern comforts. And Atheistextremeist it might be different in your country but in the US you can hardly have a political debate for two minutes without Bill Gates being vilified because of his wealth. We are always saying "tax the wealthy" they have "too much money" "spread the wealth" etc. And when a rubber band powered Subaru is invented and sold commercially it will probably be the modern day equivalent of a robber baron behind it.  

I don't believe I've heard an economic version of "Thank you sir! May I have another?" quite so well put.

Are you aware that the "robber barons" were a group of businessmen who arose during a time when the government was giving subsidies to all sorts of companies? And you know what they did? The refused government money, used their own capital and created mega companies that ran circles around their counterparts that were on the government dole. 

For example, James J Hill built the Great Northern Railroad without any government money which ran from St. Paul Minnesota all the way to the Pacific Ocean. He made a fortune running the most profitable railroad in the world while his competitors such as the Union Pacific went bankrupt after taking millions in government subsidies. So who is the real robber? The man who came from nothing and created a profitable railroad with his own hard work and financing? Or the schmucks who took money from the government and promptly ran the railroads into the ground?

How about John D Rockefeller? The man was such a penny pincher it pissed him off that there was so much waste from creating kerosene that he paid chemists to figure out what to do with the residue. The result? Well little things like gasoline, lubricating oil, paint, varnish, gasoline and hundreds of other products. Because of this, he produced higher quality kerosene at lower prices while paying his workers higher wages than his competitors. That robber.

And of course you can't forget Cornelius Vanderbilt. That "robber baron" actually got his start breaking the law running a ferry company that had been given a monopoly by the state. The case ended up before the Supreme Court in Gibbons v. Ogden [22 U.S. 1 (1824)] (Gibbons was the businessman that originally financed Vanderbilt) The result was substantially cheaper prices for ferries in New York. Then he moved on to bigger things. He competed with Edward Collins who was given millions of dollars from the government to create a passenger lane between the US and Europe. In the end, Vanderbilt did it more efficiently with no government money and Collins went out of business. Who is the real robber there?

And of course, these men donated millions of dollars in charity. While some of their descendants leave much to be desired (a good argument for the estate tax) these men are illustrations of what used to be known as the American Dream. They came from poor to middle class backgrounds and built massively successful businesses without a penny of taxpayer money even while some of their competitors wined and dined congressmen for subsidies. They improved that standard of living for the entire country and set our country on course to become the worlds foremost economic power. It is a shame that when our economy hits troubled times we turn back to subsidies and government lobbying when so early in our country's history these men demonstrated the power of free market capitalism against business/government relationships. So yeah. Thank you sirs! May we have another? 

 

If you are interested in learning more about what the "robber barons" did for our country check out

Entrepreneurs vs. The State by Burton W. Folsum Jr.

James J Hill and the Opening of the Northwest by Albro Martin

Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominick Armentano

How Capitalism Saved America by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


jcgadfly
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Beyond Saving wrote:jcgadfly

Beyond Saving wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 I agree with the article that we tend to vilify people who make a ton of money for no good reason other than jealousy and it makes great political fodder. However, it seems absurd to me that making money is moral. There are ways to be very moral and make money and ways to be completely immoral and make money. Anyone want to argue that Bernie Madoff was moral? Obviously, making a lot of money does not equal morality but neither is it immoral. And his argument that giving money to charity is immoral is nothing but tripe. 

 

The robber barons often get short shrift because of how they were attacked politically during their time and for the last hundred years that mentality has stuck in the American psyche. We can thank the "robber barons" for many of our modern comforts. And Atheistextremeist it might be different in your country but in the US you can hardly have a political debate for two minutes without Bill Gates being vilified because of his wealth. We are always saying "tax the wealthy" they have "too much money" "spread the wealth" etc. And when a rubber band powered Subaru is invented and sold commercially it will probably be the modern day equivalent of a robber baron behind it.  

I don't believe I've heard an economic version of "Thank you sir! May I have another?" quite so well put.

Are you aware that the "robber barons" were a group of businessmen who arose during a time when the government was giving subsidies to all sorts of companies? And you know what they did? The refused government money, used their own capital and created mega companies that ran circles around their counterparts that were on the government dole. 

For example, James J Hill built the Great Northern Railroad without any government money which ran from St. Paul Minnesota all the way to the Pacific Ocean. He made a fortune running the most profitable railroad in the world while his competitors such as the Union Pacific went bankrupt after taking millions in government subsidies. So who is the real robber? The man who came from nothing and created a profitable railroad with his own hard work and financing? Or the schmucks who took money from the government and promptly ran the railroads into the ground?

How about John D Rockefeller? The man was such a penny pincher it pissed him off that there was so much waste from creating kerosene that he paid chemists to figure out what to do with the residue. The result? Well little things like gasoline, lubricating oil, paint, varnish, gasoline and hundreds of other products. Because of this, he produced higher quality kerosene at lower prices while paying his workers higher wages than his competitors. That robber.

And of course you can't forget Cornelius Vanderbilt. That "robber baron" actually got his start breaking the law running a ferry company that had been given a monopoly by the state. The case ended up before the Supreme Court in Gibbons v. Ogden [22 U.S. 1 (1824)] (Gibbons was the businessman that originally financed Vanderbilt) The result was substantially cheaper prices for ferries in New York. Then he moved on to bigger things. He competed with Edward Collins who was given millions of dollars from the government to create a passenger lane between the US and Europe. In the end, Vanderbilt did it more efficiently with no government money and Collins went out of business. Who is the real robber there?

And of course, these men donated millions of dollars in charity. While some of their descendants leave much to be desired (a good argument for the estate tax) these men are illustrations of what used to be known as the American Dream. They came from poor to middle class backgrounds and built massively successful businesses without a penny of taxpayer money even while some of their competitors wined and dined congressmen for subsidies. They improved that standard of living for the entire country and set our country on course to become the worlds foremost economic power. It is a shame that when our economy hits troubled times we turn back to subsidies and government lobbying when so early in our country's history these men demonstrated the power of free market capitalism against business/government relationships. So yeah. Thank you sirs! May we have another? 

 

If you are interested in learning more about what the "robber barons" did for our country check out

Entrepreneurs vs. The State by Burton W. Folsum Jr.

James J Hill and the Opening of the Northwest by Albro Martin

Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominick Armentano

How Capitalism Saved America by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

I was quite aware of that, thank you. We don't have the American "robber barons" anymore. We have the English version = the guys who sit in their castles counting their gold until they need to send out armies to beat up the serfs.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Beyond Saving wrote:If you

Beyond Saving wrote:

If you are interested in learning more about what the "robber barons" did for our country check out

Entrepreneurs vs. The State by Burton W. Folsum Jr.

James J Hill and the Opening of the Northwest by Albro Martin

Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominick Armentano

How Capitalism Saved America by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

 

Try this one as well: 

Sons of the Profits by William Speidel

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Observer wrote:In effect, we

Observer wrote:

In effect, we need to turn the Billionaire's Pledge on its head.

The world grants, at best, no moral recognition to Gates and Buffett for the personal fortunes they've created, but it awards them a standing ovation for giving their profits away. But the standing ovation belongs to the act of creation, the profit they brought into their own lives and anyone who traded with them.

If morality is about the pursuit of your own success and happiness, then giving money away to strangers is, in comparison, not a morally significant act. (And it's outright wrong if done on the premise that renunciation is moral.)

Science, freedom and the pursuit of personal profit -- if we can learn to embrace these three ideas as ideals, an unlimited future awaits.

Tell me exactly, why should people be morally recognized for gathering wealth? They say that first million comes hardest, then money make money and the process goes on, for some people millions come as easy as for some others come dollars. Personal profit is neither good or bad - depends how many people you robbed by getting to it and what do you do with it. Just remember New Russians, many of them became filthy rich when they tricked their barely literate workers and bailed out their shares of the factory when they made a corporation of it. Now they live in palaces and spend their money on kitshy junk made of gold and amber like tzars.

 

Every person has just one mouth and one shithole. The mouth needs just regular amount of food, and getting that small but regular amount of food and other basic needs gives by far the most important portion of happiness that we ever need. There is no need to have millions or billions of dollars on top of that, just to have them. Great kudos to those rich people who can count the low number indeed of their own mouths and shitholes and realize they only hold back wealth that someone else could use.

Our society is so shitty place to live, that you're only a worthy person if you have money. If you don't have money, in many parts of the world you effectively lose the right to live or at least live with dignity. But it is also designed to let only very few people have enough money to do whatever they please. We all could do most of whatever we please for much, much less money, very affordably, only if the society would allow that. Instead, market has all the rights. Market has the right to produce whatever worthless shit designers design and buyers buy. Market has the right to destroy the ecosystem that keeps us all alive.  Market will do anything for people with money, but it will gladly let you die without money or enslave you in a shitty job, at least. The sense of life is not to work without purpose, take purpose from people and they'll start behaving insane. I could go on, but some of you already know The Abolition of Work website. Arbeit macht frei is a lie and market forces are evil.

How would you feel if in a space station someone would hack at your air supply, gave all the food rations only to half of the crew (whites only) and made bowling balls out of your space suit helmets? And then let the weakest and strongest member of the crew wrestle for food? Is that moral? In a planetary scale apparently is. I'm sure everyone loved the woodworking industry on Easter island, before they realized they're on a fuckin' island and without growing trees they won't go anywhere else.

Great kudos to the rich people who disobeyed the selfishness of market! If I vandalize a quote from american history, becoming rich is one step for a man, but sharing the wealth is a great leap for all mankind.
 

 

One more thing. If scientists are so smart, why don't they question their own society? Why don't they invent an effective, peaceful, just and incorruptible system of government? And a way to overthrow the present system? They're so good at natural sciences, but so shitty at economy, politology, sociology and psychology. The most important basics of our society and culture are still unscientific, outright irrational. Even the fucking cars, this technology is 200 years old and it still burns a plenty of petrol that will never go back. Society based on science, yeah, right. Society based on science is still like science based on creationism, it has nothing to say on the topic.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Amen! Brother Luminon!The

Amen! Brother Luminon!

The world will not change while the rich and powerfull control our lives.

I recommend the reading of In Praise Of Idleness from Bertrand Russell 

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"I once prayed to god for a bike, but quickly found out he didnt work that way...so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness"

"All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter." (Max Planck)

"the existence of mind in some organism on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance. Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." Paul Davies