The Raving Theist

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August 29, 2005 | 21 Comments

Does prohibiting “X” act demean the “Y” class of people by depriving them of their status as moral agents?


21 Responses to “Algebra”

  1. fiatlux
    August 29th, 2005 @ 3:17 pm

    Yes, but….

    If “X” act = driving through a red light into a busy intersection, and the “Y” group = drivers, then the question of “being one’s own a moral agent” seems to go down a tad on the priority list, under being able to pick the broken windshield glass out of your face with compound fractures to your arm.

  2. Lucy Muff
    August 29th, 2005 @ 8:34 pm

    it depend: if X be the love and worship of god and Y is all good christians then it be well bad innit, and not for nothing will them what done it go to hell for much of a burning.

  3. Jennifer
    August 29th, 2005 @ 10:57 pm

    If by Prohibit you mean, ‘make the act impossible to complete’ then X is irrelivent in the morality of Y.

    If by Prohibit you mean that executing X results in a punishment then Y’s decision to exercise X (or decline to exercise X) is part of their morality equation just as if there was no Prohibition.

  4. glenstonecottage
    August 30th, 2005 @ 8:25 am

    RA, would you mind rephrasing the question and clarifying it a bit?

  5. jahrta
    August 30th, 2005 @ 4:52 pm

    I agree with glenstonecottage. worded as is, it gives me the feeling of being back in high school taking an algebra test, trying to deduce if joe is traveling east at 60mph for 10 minutes, and jim travels south at 75mph for 30 minutes before they intersect, what length the hypotenuse would be of the triangle formed by linking their points of origination.

  6. Qwertz
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 5:30 am

    No, but accepting the moral judgment of one’s government (religion, fellow man, &c.) in place of one’s own does. Oppressed people are still free to act on their own moral judgment, be it through martyrdom, revolution, or emigration. Confusing law with morality immediately strips a person of the title “moral agent,” as he or she no longer acts according to moral judgment but rather on the desire for homogeneity (the destruction of individual identity, i.e. the destruction of the individual, as in communist states). Fear of punishment is not a valid motivator

  7. markm
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 9:44 am

    I think RA is trying to abstract a question about general principles from the “gay” marriage question. It doesn’t work because the answer depends on the particulars of the case.

  8. Qwertz
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 4:34 pm

    Aah, but gay marriage is not an issue of prohibition, but rather of a refusal of the state to extend certain privliges. Gay marriage doesn’t fit the “X” in question, because gay people can still “get married,” they just don’t get all the government benefits thereof.

    A more apt “X” would be gay sex, at which point the question becomes more like “does the illegality of an act automatically make it immoral?” to which the answer is still ‘No.’ And any person who could rightfully claim to be a “moral agent” would still be free to act on their own moral principles, illegality notwithstanding.


  9. Jennifer
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 8:07 pm

    This isn’t about Gay marraige. This is about abortion and the right to choose.

  10. a different tim
    September 3rd, 2005 @ 2:03 pm

    As formulated by RA it’s about any person’s moral agency.

    We are, it’s true, demeaned by say a social and legal prohibition on murder. You mentioned that society’s punishment becomes part of our moral equation but that equation has still been altered and constrained without our consent and we are thereby demeaned.

    I would argue that in the case of murder it is worth it. In other cases it may not be. For what it’s worth in Jennifer’s specific case I don’t consider early term abortion murder, and as I have stated in another thread I do think that a woman is deprived of her status as a moral agent by early term abortion prohibition. I also think this is unfair (male dominated power structure yadda yadda). So I would be against any attempt to impose such a prohibition.

    In general societies negotiate and arrive at sets of rules which prohibit stuff. That’s how societies operate. We have to accept some social constraints. If you are a libertarian who thinks otherwise, I suggest you go live in Somalia where I am told they have a free market paradise with no government.

    So yeah, prohibition of anything demeans us as moral agents, but so what? The question of which particular rules are worth the price is, however, worth arguing over.

  11. Jennifer
    September 3rd, 2005 @ 2:12 pm

    If you are a libertarian who thinks otherwise, I suggest you go live in Somalia where I am told they have a free market paradise with no government.

    Agreed, Libertarians always seem to forget that without the law defining what property is their capitalist fantasies cannot be realized. It’s not inherently your house…its your house because the law says it is.

    As for Abortion, the choices are narrowing rapidly because of TRAP and that is a shame because every child that comes to term deserves parents that want them and you’re right a different tim, you deny a woman the difficult moral choice of choosing her existing children over the ones that might be, or choosing her own dreams over the carelessness of a system that doesn’t protect her from rape, or from child abuse.

  12. a different tim
    September 4th, 2005 @ 6:12 am

    You should come live in the UK.
    The whole thing’s such a total non-issue here. Abortions on the state health system up to 24 weeks, and sometimes after that if there are serious medical reasons. Eat that, Christian right!!!!Mwahahahahahahahaha!

    On the other hand, rape and child abuse still happen here, so maybe it’s not perfect.

  13. Jennifer
    September 4th, 2005 @ 2:37 pm

    a different tim – I don’t think other countries want us. Odd, that.

  14. Alex
    September 5th, 2005 @ 10:27 am

    This question is unclear, the submitter of the question either needs to have a better idea what they are asking for or make it clearer in my opinion.

    i dont really get it, but its like saying in a smallish possible ‘Bohemian’ society / town, where all citizens are kind and loving, but one day a little hippy boys mother dies, and he cracks, he spaze’s out, he kills 3 other boys and a girl, should the rest of the group be deprived from killing?

    killing is already ‘deprived / illegal’ prohibiting a perticular event dose not make it an impossible event.

    some cant be generalised into a set of rules, we all have the inner communist within us, can you prohibbit the X act, in this factor murder? mentally breaking down, leading to others miss fortune. because this one hippy boy, killed a few others, does this ‘depreivation of society, stop there status in the moral feilds in the cause of murder? No, if anything this will make it more acceptable, because when there little mummy or daddy dies of a similar factor, they may split also, and meay even see it as a thought not seen earlier : they were influenced by this “bad moral, injustice” , and the pain they feel may lead to others deaths, possibly there own.

    Excluding X = Excluding Y Class, for the better? to stop what ever the original problem was?

    in confusion to original question, strive to find my own interpretation weather right or wrong, i colclude from what i undestand, society will attempt to control us, but society dosnt control us, its our moral and social, ‘beleifs’, given to us by society, its an endless cycle. This moral ‘protection’ can be broken easily and no ammount of rules can stop this, and punishing the “Y” group of people acheives little, in-forcing more rules, causes an even more unstable doubting society / community… (Fuck you All you Dumb Capitalist / Sociallist cunts)

  15. a different tim
    September 5th, 2005 @ 1:46 pm

    But it seems to work surprisingly well, considering.
    Certainly by your argument, western societies, given the large number of laws and regulations they have, should be a lot more shit than they actually are.

  16. a different tim
    September 5th, 2005 @ 1:57 pm

    Also, your post reads like you’ve been taking Robert Anton Wilson just a little too seriously.
    Face it, the man was an acid head.

  17. Alex
    September 6th, 2005 @ 9:55 am

    ‘a different tim’ , mate i got no idea who Robert Anton Wilson is, i’m a sheltered 16 yr old Aussie boy with my own judgements, although inform me what sounds like i’ve been taking this person too seriously? cause i”ll admitt i’ve never herd of him

  18. Alex
    September 6th, 2005 @ 10:02 am

    “Robert Anton Wilson (1932-NEVER) One of the most profound and important scientific philosophers of this century, Wilson has written many important works of fiction and non-fiction.”

    ok looked him up, at the look of this web site, and the immature lame comments such as “(1932-NEVER)”, i’d say he was more then an acid head, the elaberate, almost phycodelic unrealistic images on the page, let alone the bull shit ‘theorys’ confuses me, how does my own interpritation of a question, end up like some scientific bull shit i’ve never herd of? elaberate on that comment…

  19. a different tim
    September 6th, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

    It just does.
    Forget about it if you’ve never read him. But if you want to know…

    (Warning to others – you may want to skip this bit. Major departure from topic follows.)

    1)He reckoned he was an anarchist. he spent a lot of time having a go at socialists and capitalists, often in the same sentence, as you did. His reasoning – that the laws of society were part of a moral and social cycle that did little good in the long term – seem similar to yours. If I’ve misunderstood you, I’m sorry. He seemed to say what you were saying, only taking much longer and pulling random words from a science dictionary every now and then.

    2) Although his theories were certainly bullshit, they were not scientific. The whole point of science is to separate out the bullshit from the real stuff. Yeah, I know. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you hear scientists speak, but it’s true. And he’s only a philosopher if getting wasted and spouting bullshit is philosophy. He’s not up there with the big names. That site is probably by one of his hippy admirers.

    3) I personally wasted a lot of my intellectual life over his incoherent ideas when I was young. Now I am old and feeble and will never get that time back.

    4) On the other hand, if you genuinely do reckon government and organised society and stuff is bad, I refer you to my post 10 above. The bit about Somalia.


  20. leon
    September 7th, 2005 @ 12:30 pm

    Does prohibiting DUI demean people who DUI? Yes. Why? Because it ordains the segregatation of people who DUI into the catagory of ‘people who do wrong’.
    Does prohibiting DUI deprive people who DUI of their status as moral agents? Yes. As soon as people who DUI are officiated as ‘people who do wrong’, their status as moral agents is abridged because people who DUI are people who do wrong things.

    What is in question is the definition of DUI.

  21. Alex
    September 10th, 2005 @ 8:40 am

    a different tim, yeah i see, it what u mean, although i can have my semi ‘left wing’ beliefs, it was a little random tho i agree, anyhow nice / intresting take on the question

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