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  #51  
Old 10-22-2019, 04:52 AM
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I mean the most immediately demonstrable example of this is the homosexual space. Greeks and Romans and Vikings had a very codified notion of it, when and where it was allowable, some spaces where it was not just condoned but even enjoined etc...
Then you look forward along the timeline and you see Judeo-Christian Europeans traipsing into unexplored spaces of the world, like Japan or China or America and declaring these people unfathomably revolting and uncivilized because they didn't even know that man cannot bumfuck man, period, then often proceeding to "educate" them on the subject. Flash forward today and we look down on those backwards Muslims and Chinese and so on for being regressive towards gays because it's OBVIOUSLY okay and totally uncivilized to marginalize them at all (even though that was the norm here all the way into the 90s, and even though we still have reactionary fuckmooks who are utterly incensed about rainbow flags whom we rightly dub "reactionaries")

Representations and cultures evolve and change, but it's not an upwards arrow on a 2D graph. And we all think we're totally right about everything, because if we thought we were wrong about something we'd change to the thing that we think is right, almost tautologically.

Last edited by Kobal2; 10-22-2019 at 04:54 AM.
  #52  
Old 10-22-2019, 07:00 AM
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I don't really see how that's possible.
Like, if me and my SO had sex with no intentions (and no financial means) to have a child whatsoever but she still got pregnant ; there being a magic artificial womb jar out there to incubate the fetus in her stead is not really relevant, or at least merely leads to further issues and questions. Are we supposed to take care of the child regardless ? Is there a moral or societal imperative to put our regrettably fertilized egg in the magic jar against our stated wishes ? Who'll take care of the kid since we won't ? Does that mean right now there's a moral crime in e.g. fertility treatments implanting a dozen fertilized eggs into a woman's uterus to increase the chances of one taking hold ?
All of those questions apply to the man having sex with a woman with no "intentions" of having a child result. The man is unnecessary to the development of the child, so his input into the process is not required. The woman is necessary, it is her decision whether she will participate.

With an artificial womb, the woman is just as unnecessary to the development of the child as the man is today. As I suggested above, it is one thing to say "I refuse to participate in this process" it is a very different thing to say "Kill it." Today, if there is a pregnancy, the man has no control over whether or not that child is born.

Tomorrow, with artificial wombs, the woman (theoretically) has no control. Sure, she could seize control by hiding her pregnancy and killing the fetus in secret, all to what... avoid child support? I doubt that would be on the 'right side of history'.
  #53  
Old 10-22-2019, 07:36 AM
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It's not just "artificial wombs" that could render abortion obsolete, but better birth control. If women have complete control over their reproductive cycle, then they will only get pregnant when they want to.
  #54  
Old 10-22-2019, 08:00 AM
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All of those questions apply to the man having sex with a woman with no "intentions" of having a child result. The man is unnecessary to the development of the child, so his input into the process is not required. The woman is necessary, it is her decision whether she will participate.

With an artificial womb, the woman is just as unnecessary to the development of the child as the man is today. As I suggested above, it is one thing to say "I refuse to participate in this process" it is a very different thing to say "Kill it." Today, if there is a pregnancy, the man has no control over whether or not that child is born.

Tomorrow, with artificial wombs, the woman (theoretically) has no control. Sure, she could seize control by hiding her pregnancy and killing the fetus in secret, all to what... avoid child support? I doubt that would be on the 'right side of history'.
Um... all of this, yes ? And that's, like, my point ?
Once you posit a techwomb that can incubate babies from the morning after onwars ; then if you subscribe to the notion that "every random clump of cells is sacred !" then it follows that every. single. egg. must go into a techwomb and be grown into a baby regardless of any intention from either parent (unless the mother insists on doing it the lowtech way obviously, but that doesn't change the outcome). All the back and forth arguments about the mother's body autonomy or the world-renowned cellist hooked to your kidneys fly right out the window : if the baby can be grown to no inconvenience to nobody, then it... must ?

Or must it ?
And if so why ? And even if Because, is it really a good idea practically speaking ? And...

I do reiterate : techwombs solve fuck all.

Last edited by Kobal2; 10-22-2019 at 08:04 AM.
  #55  
Old 10-22-2019, 08:11 AM
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It's not just "artificial wombs" that could render abortion obsolete, but better birth control. If women have complete control over their reproductive cycle, then they will only get pregnant when they want to.
First, this posits a 100% efficient bit of tech (which... you've ever used a Windows product, right ? ) ; second that merely moves the ethics 5 feet eastwards. They can now control their reproduction ! But should they ? Is it best ? For whom ? If the guy wants a kid but the girl ties down her tech ovaries can she really do that considering we have tech wombs ?! Etc...

Tech's not going to make anything black and white. Or simpler. Techno/industrial history is nothing if not the solving of old problems in exchange for new and strikingly familiar although slightly different problems.
  #56  
Old 10-22-2019, 08:20 AM
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First, this posits a 100% efficient bit of tech (which... you've ever used a Windows product, right ? ) ; second that merely moves the ethics 5 feet eastwards. They can now control their reproduction ! But should they ? Is it best ? For whom ? If the guy wants a kid but the girl ties down her tech ovaries can she really do that considering we have tech wombs ?! Etc...

Tech's not going to make anything black and white. Or simpler. Techno/industrial history is nothing if not the solving of old problems in exchange for new and strikingly familiar although slightly different problems.
This particular tech would make things black and white, IMO, except on the fringes. Only a relatively tiny minority currently believe that it should be illegal for a woman to control her reproductive cycle, based on polls I've seen about birth control.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-22-2019 at 08:21 AM.
  #57  
Old 10-22-2019, 08:32 AM
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*shrug* maybe, but then ostensibly only a tiny fringe think women should carry their rape babies to term and they still drive major policy positions ; not to mention the de factos "oh you can absolutely have an abortion as is your right only there's not a single place you can because we've used every legal angle we could to drive the docs away and shut down the clinics, tee hee"
What, if anything, makes you think magitek solves the issues of bronze age superstition or class spite ?
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:58 AM
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then if you subscribe to the notion that "every random clump of cells is sacred !" then it follows that every. single. egg. must go into a techwomb and be grown into a baby regardless of any intention from either parent (unless the mother insists on doing it the lowtech way obviously, but that doesn't change the outcome). All the back and forth arguments about the mother's body autonomy or the world-renowned cellist hooked to your kidneys fly right out the window : if the baby can be grown to no inconvenience to nobody, then it... must ?
Not every single egg, but every fertilized and viable egg/embryo/fetus.

We can say with certainty that infanticide is wrong. 100%. There's no doubt there, regardless of how inconvenient the baby may be. A clump of living human cells, after developing for 7-9 months and being located outside a woman's body, is now 100% protected by law and morality. It is helpless and useless, and will require many years of care to become a competent member of society, but you may not destroy it.

At what point in that entity's past do we say that we may destroy it at the behest of one person? Do we say that an additional 6 months of NICU support is just too much for society to take on, and we should be allowed to freely destroy a 1 month old embryo despite the fact that it is fully viable? There's a whole lot of grey area there to deal with.

One other thing I would say with certainty is that an unfertilized egg need not be forcibly fertilized. An egg (and a sperm) are both wholly part of the parent person, they come entirely from that person and nobody else. Locking down your ovaries or testes is your right because they are part of you and nobody else. That there is a bright line that doesn't really exist once the egg is fertilized and is developed enough to be reliably supported to adulthood outside of a woman's body.

Last edited by Cheesesteak; 10-22-2019 at 08:59 AM.
  #59  
Old 10-22-2019, 09:27 AM
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*shrug* maybe, but then ostensibly only a tiny fringe think women should carry their rape babies to term and they still drive major policy positions ; not to mention the de factos "oh you can absolutely have an abortion as is your right only there's not a single place you can because we've used every legal angle we could to drive the docs away and shut down the clinics, tee hee"
What, if anything, makes you think magitek solves the issues of bronze age superstition or class spite ?
It doesn't solve those issues, but it renders them mostly irrelevant, at least in terms of women's reproductive rights. If technology makes it so every single woman has complete control of her reproductive cycle at no cost, this would be very popular and opponents wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

I'm not saying this is likely to happen in the near future, but in my understanding this part of the discussion started with an assumption about such technology existing.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-22-2019 at 09:27 AM.
  #60  
Old 10-22-2019, 09:50 AM
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There are some other issues, though, which IMHO it is genuinely not clear at all which side will eventually be considered, decades down the road, to be on "the right side of history":

  • Transgender athletes competing in women's sports without surgery or hormone treatment;
  • Racial preferences in dating/relationships (racist to refuse to date someone because of race, or not?);
  • Legalized polygamy (will it follow in the footsteps of SSM or not?);
  • Islam's influence in the West;
  • The West's perception of China (is siding with China "the right side of history," or not?)


These are opaque because, in part, you could make a conservative/liberal argument for and against both sides of each matter.

If anyone has others that come to mind, please post them.
One issue that is very impactful on communities, but tends to get overlooked, is trade policy. I tend to come down on the side of having more trade, as I think it's economically efficient and it promotes peace. However, when there's trade, some communities have a large displacement of jobs that hurts for generations. So, I think trade needs to be paired up with help for communities that lose jobs due to trade. In any event, this seems like an issue where there's no "right side" of history.

Another issue is land use and infrastructure balanced against property rights. I think it's good for societies to develop better power grids, broadband, roads, pipelines, and so forth. But often, it comes at the expense of the little guy who owns land that's "in the way"....I can see both sides of this.

Gun rights in the US are very controversial on the left and even somewhat in the middle. But I think there are shades here that don't lend themselves to "you're on the right side of history" type thinking...
  #61  
Old 10-22-2019, 11:17 AM
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What about recreational marijuana and for that matter tobacco smoking and vaping? What is the right side of those issues?
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:22 AM
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What about recreational marijuana and for that matter tobacco smoking and vaping? What is the right side of those issues?
I'd say that the 'right' side is to allow adults to make their own decisions, but that the whole 'your right to swing your fist stops at my face' thingy comes into play. So, you restrict where you can indulge in those things so as not to harm or even annoy other citizens.

What I WOULD like to see is some bars or places like that where smoking (or using legal marijuana) is permitted, maybe with clearly posted signs. I don't see any reason why people can't choose to go to a place that specifically allows them to smoke, or vape or whatever, as long as they keep it legal and upfront.
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  #63  
Old 10-22-2019, 02:13 PM
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The pro-SSM victory was already visible at the end of the finish line all along, it was just a matter of time.
I agree, the analogy to Virginia v Loving is just too close.

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With gun ownership, I think that the anti-gun side is going to be considered "the right side of history" and eventually gun rights will be reduced more and more.
The anti-gun side wants a repeal or reinterpretation of the second amendment. This is not likely in the near future.


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With abortion, the pro-choice side is pretty clearly "the right side of history."
This one doesn't seem anywhere close to being clear. I don't see how you can call it already.

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[*]Transgender athletes competing in women's sports without surgery or hormone treatment;
You don't have to be a woman genetically, but you should be a woman physically. I don't see how you can have people who still have male bodies say "I identify as a woman so I would like to play in women's tennis" and call it fair.

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[*]Racial preferences in dating/relationships (racist to refuse to date someone because of race, or not?);
If you won't go out with someone of another race that you find interesting and attractive because of their race, I don't see how that's not simply racism. I'm pretty sure that racism is going to end up on the wrong side of history.

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[*]Legalized polygamy (will it follow in the footsteps of SSM or not?);
Once we have attained some level of parity in women's rights, I don't see why polyamory would be bad. The biggest problem a lot of people have with polygamy is that it is often a raw deal for women.

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[*]Islam's influence in the West;
I'm pretty sure that terrorism will end up on the wrong side of history. Islam will be here for a while.

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[*]The West's perception of China (is siding with China "the right side of history," or not?)

These are opaque because, in part, you could make a conservative/liberal argument for and against both sides of each matter.

If anyone has others that come to mind, please post them.
I'm not sure how you can be so sure about abortion but not sure about racism in dating.
  #64  
Old 10-22-2019, 05:11 PM
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See, the gun rights issue seems to mirror the SSM issue, to me. In the 60s and 70s, there was serious discussion about banning handguns, and many places like Chicago and DC effectively did just that, and pretty much nobody saw it as controversial. Fifty years later, after several monumental Supreme Court cases, a huge social awareness/lobbying push, and now people seriously talk about legalizing machine guns in the near future. We're solidly in the process of affirming the right to own tasers and switchblades. I think fifty years from now the idea that people shouldn't have the tools to defend themselves, and that millions of people supported that and wanted citizens to be even more defenseless, is going to be like watching all those old people with firehoses and dogs fighting against peaceful black people who just wanted to vote and inhabit public spaces.
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Old 10-22-2019, 05:41 PM
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I see ubiquitous surveillance and tech-tightened social controls as inescapable in our future
The fuck you mean, "in our future" ?
I mean, worse, like totally, like a Vernor Vingean world with flying mites tracking your every scowl and fart. China and UK seem to be leading the way - a monarchy and a republic FTW! The US is playing catch-up. You've hardly begun to be interrogated, citizen!
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Old 10-22-2019, 05:45 PM
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I'd say that the 'right' side is to allow adults to make their own decisions, but that the whole 'your right to swing your fist stops at my face' thingy comes into play. So, you restrict where you can indulge in those things so as not to harm or even annoy other citizens.

What I WOULD like to see is some bars or places like that where smoking (or using legal marijuana) is permitted, maybe with clearly posted signs. I don't see any reason why people can't choose to go to a place that specifically allows them to smoke, or vape or whatever, as long as they keep it legal and upfront.
It's possible that a few decades from now, people will look back and think it bizarre that societies would have made laws proscribing what adults could put into their own bodies. Sort of like how today we can barely understand how there could have once been laws against consenting adults dating or marrying someone of a different race.
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:03 PM
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I think we simply changed the framework of what "being civilized" means. You shit on medieval people doing things based on "silly superstitions", but that's what they thought was true, and they acted generally positively within the framework of that truth of theirs. It's not yours, but that doesn't make them psychopaths or idiots. People have mostly always tried to be roughly good as they thought "good" entained, so long as it didn't cost them overly much to be good, and kinda sorta done the best they could but really in the end mostly just being selfish jerks.
The metric for a society's ethics is not just whether people's intentions are good. It's about the reality of how that society treats people. It's postmodern social theory 1.01 that someone's actions or words can be (for example) racist without them intending to be racist, that privilege and prejudice can be culturally ingrained and unconscious.

But what I find bizarre is the cognitive dissonance in social theorists who espouse the kind of extreme cultural relativism that you appear to buy into, since it almost always goes hand-in-hand with assertive and uncompromising opinions about how we should change modern society. If you really believe in such extreme moral relativism, that no society can really be organized in an objectively better way than another, on what basis can you adopt a strong position on (say) abortion rights? You are simultaneously calling for extreme humility in others in their value judgments, while confidently asserting that you are certain what is right.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-22-2019 at 06:06 PM.
  #68  
Old 10-22-2019, 06:11 PM
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Not every single egg, but every fertilized and viable egg/embryo/fetus.
Yes, that's what I meant.
And thank you (non-ironically) for the rest of your post because it's exactly what I'm talking about : you think there's this bright line when the egg is fertilized and thus are in the "put them ALL in the techwombs" camp. I'm not. Really, really not. I don't think there's anything special whatsoever about chromosomes mingled in a one night stand. It's still merely a potential person and I see no compelling reason (ethical or practical) to forcibly realize that potential.

So we agree to disagree.
But we *have* to agree that the existence of techwombs hasn't solved our differences
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:24 PM
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You are simultaneously calling for extreme humility in others in their value judgments, while confidently asserting that you are certain what is right.
Not quite. I think, based on what I can perceive and understand and feel based on a million external pressures & life experiences coupled with my own capacity for reason that "this is right" or "that is some bullshit". And as such I have strong opinions, and I think I'm generally right about Stuff.

At the same time I realize that everybody in the history of the world has been that way, albeit with different things in their "this is right" and "that is some bullshit" boxes based on different external pressures & life experiences. And that, had the consciousness that's sloshing about behind my eyes been subjected to those external pressures, it'd have probably ticked their boxes rather than the ones I do.
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:48 PM
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It doesn't solve those issues, but it renders them mostly irrelevant, at least in terms of women's reproductive rights. If technology makes it so every single woman has complete control of her reproductive cycle at no cost, this would be very popular and opponents wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
Dude, they're pissed about women having access to the pill . And they want to ; and often succeed in restricting its availability. What makes you think they won't fight tooth and nail against nanovary-machines ?
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:59 PM
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Dude, they're pissed about women having access to the pill . And they want to ; and often succeed in restricting its availability. What makes you think they won't fight tooth and nail against nanovary-machines ?
Yes, but these are the shit arguments on the pro-life side, motivated by superstition. Of course they must be fought tooth and nail in our current era, but from a long term historical perspective I believe they will ultimately be dismissed as irrational superstition. When we're thinking about how history will view this, I think it's only the good arguments that matter, the ones that are likely to survive long term scrutiny - i.e. the genuine question about how we should assess the rights of a fetus.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:07 PM
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And that, had the consciousness that's sloshing about behind my eyes been subjected to those external pressures, it'd have probably ticked their boxes rather than the ones I do.
Fine, but all those people are dead, and nobody is seeking to hold them personally responsible for the way they ran their society. So what do good or bad intentions matter if we're asking whether the ethical principles by which modern society is organized are objectively better than (say) medieval society?

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Old 10-23-2019, 03:40 AM
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Fine, but all those people are dead, and nobody is seeking to hold them personally responsible for the way they ran their society. So what do good or bad intentions matter if we're asking whether the ethical principles by which modern society is organized are objectively better than (say) medieval society?
I think you can't really define one society or way people live as "objectively better" than another. Ethics are well and good, but ultimately the test of a society is "are people happy ?".

Any society, even a feudal one, is ultimately predicated on consent. Feudalism wasn't imposed by the few upon hordes of the unwilling - rather the people at the bottom accepted that they had to be on the bottom because Reasons (which are many and complex, I'm not going to expound there because I could write reams). It's very telling for example that, while peasant revolts were fairly common, they were never revolutions nor did the people who participated in them would have wanted them to be ; instead their purpose in revolting and nailing a few lords and ladies and tax farmers to a few barn doors was always stated as "having our plight heard by lords higher up the foodchain who would then solve the issue on account of their being A Good Lord who just doesn't know what our Bad Lord gets up to".
The point is, they were happy enough ; and their way of life involved stuff that one could absolutely dub "better" than ours - they worked a lot less than we do for example (harder, but less often), had better community values and helping-each-other systems in some cases. Economically the system of guilds and apprentices and so on is a lot more protectionist, controled and restrictive than our free market ; but they never had to worry about being out of a job. So which system is "better" ?

Was the average Roman citizen better off than the average medieval peasant ? Possibly, certainly he had more of a say in the way things were run (that is to say, he really had fuck all of a say BUT he got paid or fed for his kangaroo vote so that's cool ) and he got a lot of free grub and the wealthy elites were very much into redistribution, but then again that system was contingent on massive slavery and eternal warfare which is less than ideal. Was the life and times of a Victorian coal miner better, then ? In some ways yes, in many others no - it is then difficult to say that Victorian society was objectively better (or better run) than Ye Olde Feudal England.
And as for our societies... well, we implicitly think they're the best organized ever obviously (else, again, we'd tautologically change things) but we also do seem to be killing ourselves a lot more than the populations living in worse conditions in more "shithole"-y countries, so you tell me

Last edited by Kobal2; 10-23-2019 at 03:41 AM.
  #74  
Old 10-23-2019, 04:47 AM
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Social preferences such as interracial dating do not really lend themselves to a definitive answer, that always depends on the time and place and attitudes change. Possibly the question of race will become irrelevant again, as it most likely was in the past, but will it now recur perpetually because it aroused so much heated argument?
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:30 PM
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[...] For polygamy, who knows -- I don't see any moral issues, just legal issues. Can you divorce one spouse but not the other? Do the children have to take a DNA test to decide which husband is the father?[...]
Nitpicking: the polygamy you are thinking of is of the polyandry sort.
Apart from that, you are absolutely right. The subjects suggested by the OP are bad examples, either non controversial or I don't understand the issue, k9bfriender at the end of his post has given much better examples to discuss than he has.
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:32 PM
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Old 10-25-2019, 01:24 AM
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I don't really see how that's possible.
Like, if me and my SO had sex with no intentions (and no financial means) to have a child whatsoever but she still got pregnant
This is the part that would be impossible, if I understand the idea correctly. The idea is that contraception will be made perfect, and opt out instead of opt in. So you can't get pregnant unless you specifically are trying to do so.
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Old 10-25-2019, 01:48 AM
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As for the OP: I'll answer the main question: I don't think there are many that don't have a clear direction, because we're in a period of reactionary response to progress. We're not discovering new ethical dilemmas so much right now.

As for those specifically mentioned: I'm pretty sure that the right to an abortion will settle out as being a right, just going by how the idea is spreading. Even if the US reneges, the rest of the World is pushing towards making it a right. Third trimester stuff may be less clear, but it sure seems like there's not much reason to take that right away, even if you think it is wrong.

Gun ownership has the same worldly view: it's not considered an inherent right except in one country, and I do see the US waning in importance as history goes on, meaning US-only ideas will lose relevance. Some level of gun control will eventually be accepted in the US out of necessity.

The trans athletes concept, while actually a new consideration, seems to fit along the lines of degendering sports in general, which is the direction I see us going. There are other ways of creating criteria for sports. And, yes, I do think advances in genetics and technology will make this less of an issue as time goes on--as the effects of that will dwarf the differences that are brought on by testosterone. The issue may not be as clear cut, but I do see it leaning in that direction. Not in the "trans athletes are excluded" direction.

Racial preferences in dating? Pretty clear cut already. It's racist if race itself is the reason you ignore someone as a partner. The issue is if you say "I won't date black women." When it comes to preferences, it will just be more of the introspection of ironing out internal racism, and will likely be less of a problem as diversity increases. As racism declines in general, any influence it has on dating will also decline--which is a clear direction.

The polygamy issue is actually two different issues. The freedom to marry will likely be extended. That seems quite clear. However, there is the issue of polygamy used as a means of misogyny, and that direction will decline. The main question is when the latter will decline enough that the former can become the greatest concern, and if there will be ways to set up polygamy that discourage the misogynist aspects. But, still, I see the direction moving eventually towards accepting more sexual orientations, and that polyamory is a sexual orientation (or similar). (Though I do note that a decline in the importance of marriage might also make the idea moot.)

Islam's influence on the West: others have already covered that. The aspects of modern Islam as practiced in some countries that are bad are things that are already declining. It seems pretty obvious that the direction of Islam is to be more inclusive, as seen in how non-inclusive Islam interacts when it is put in countries that value inclusiveness. While the direction isn't easy to define, it does seem to be fairly strong.

The West's perception of China: I see no reason it won't continue to be the same--that totalitarian regimes are bad. The only issue is whether or not there will be some pushback against China exporting its censorship via companies that value the Chinese market. But I do think that, in that, we're moving towards a critical mass. Plus I think that China maintaining its totalitarianism is, on longer scales, unlikely.

Now, granted, a big world upheaval could change the directions here. But, even with Trump, we've only seen what appears to be a temporary setback, rather than a reversal of direction. I still notice that even the alt-right accepts ideas that were clearly progressive back in the day. Even Trump supporters are now dealing with progressive issues--the problem is that they choose the wrong solution for them.

I mean, the reason I'm a progressive at all is that there is so little on which they are clearly going the "wrong direction."
  #79  
Old 10-28-2019, 04:15 PM
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Of course, this presupposes that the CCP and China don't win. If they do, then history will be basically as the CCP wants it to be. It will be like Tiananmen Square on Chinese social media or web search...basically nothing to see here, and if you persist, well, we have a nice re-education camp for you. Oh, and how healthy are you? What's your blood type? Interesting...yes, we definitely need to see you right away...
Not necessarily. Short-medium term you are right that the winners write the history books, but as societies change and the politics of the moment can shift over time to a more objective view of history. The US decisively won the Indian wars, and just as Britain won the Opium wars, but now both are viewed as immoral, even in their home countries.

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Old 10-29-2019, 06:46 PM
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I'll add an issue that others have danced around, but I don't think have specifically posited, and that I think is not genuinely clear: Should heroin, et al be legalized?
Sure, marijuana is relatively harmless (especially compared to alcohol, and that only got re-legalized because people really, really like to drink it), and can and should be legalized. But what about the harder stuff? Should we live and let live? Or save people from themselves?
  #81  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:08 AM
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There's no "right side of history". Past attitudes, values and mores will be judged by each culture on the basis of its own moral values. Since those are bound to change over time, so will the judgement made about past issues. You think of course that there has been a "progress" because you hold the current values of your culture as (on the overall) the correct ones, so obviously you will see the path leading there as an improvement. That's a bit tautological.

I suspect that you believe that values will keep going in a direction that you approve of. Which is IMO wishful thinking. Especially since so much of our values are based on pretty arbitrary moral assumptions that seem "obvious"(or at least very convincing) to everybody only because they have been one could say "brainwashed" into seeing them as positive, and the more "obvious" they seem the less opposing discourse will be tolerated and opposing arguments considered. A lot, probably the majority, of people will refuse to seriously consider the arguments of the opposing side about a divisive issue (say, abortion), and this is even truer for not divisive issues (say, pedophilia) where arguments will be immediately dismissed.

But things change over time, and unless the issue can be settled by objective, scientific facts (say, the earth is round, not flat), and social sciences, psychology, etc...at this point in time definitely don't qualify as hard sciences whose conclusions can be assumed as factual and not influenced by cultural beliefs (see for instance how the views of psychiatry wrt homosexuality has changed, unsurprisingly following the changes of perception in society), arbitrary moral preferences will decide what is right and what is wrong.

Can you demonstrate objectively without resorting to arbitrary moral statements that the preferences of the mother should trump the right to live of the fetus? Can you demonstrate in the same way that in a society open to it, informed and consensual sexual relations between children and adults would necessarily be harmful? Can you demonstrate that benefiting from the work of others (capitalist system) is moral? Can you demonstrate that animals shouldn't have the same right to live as humans? Can you demonstrate that the individual freedom of one individual should trump the interests of the many?


You would probably be pretty unhappy in a society that bans abortion, condone pedophilia, forbid salaried work, ban the consumption of meat and limit your individual freedom to benefit the collective. But for someone raised in such a society, all these things would be "obviously" moral. And if you disputed them, you would considered a truly horrible person. How can you say that an innocent fetus should die just because its mother would like it better this way? Why do you hate so much children and pedophiles? Why do you support enslavement of people for profit? How can you even think of killing an innocent animal, let alone of consuming its dead flesh? How egoistical can you be to think that your personal preferences should prevail when they harm millions? And of course, they would come up with a bazillion of "obvious" arguments against your positions that they have learned from their parents, their peers, their schools, their medias, etc...

And it's not like they would be wrong and misled. It's simply that they would have different moral premises and it would be in most cases impossible to determine objectively that their set of moral assumptions is better, or worse, than yours. In order to debate with someone of whether something is moral or not, you need a common moral ground. Once the basic moral assumptions are two divergent, no lesser moral issue can be settled. And disagreement on most societal issues is generally based, not on one side being objectively right and the other side being objectively wrong, but on the lack of a common moral ground (even assuming that you know what effect lowering taxes will have, and in fact you don't, you can't agree on whether lowering them is a good or bad thing if you disagree on the desired outcome). If people don't agree about who or what has an imprescriptible right to live, there's no way to determine whether abortion or meat eating is moral, or regrettable but acceptable, or a monstrous crime.

And I'm generous when I say that what is perceived as right or wrong is decided by a moral reasoning. Pretty often, morals are invoked for arbitrary cultural preferences not based on any kind of moral reasoning. For instance, someone will find normal that a woman will be sent to court for being topless in public, and at the same time will find oppressive that a woman will be sent to court for not covering her legs to the ankle in another country. So, what is "moral" in this case is simply "what is done around here" and what is immoral is any deviation from this norm in either direction.

And of course, finally, even if you were somehow able to demonstrate that something is objectively and indisputably immoral, it's no guarantee that a future society won't accept and condone it. And consider it as perfectly moral. So assuming that there will be a "good side of history" and a "bad side of history" is, in my opinion, deluded.


To finish, I just so happen to have read yesterday the blog of a social activist who is also an antispecist, and who definitely see her fight against specism as a natural and obvious continuation of her fight against sexism and racism. For her, who, from her arguments, believe in this "progress" you're assuming, this progress will inevitably lead to the triumph of antispecism, and people supporting the consumption of animal products, like me and probably you, are definitely on the bad side of history (and if her opinion eventually prevails, we'll be seen as not just wrong, but horrifically evil, probably as worse than for instance people who kept supporting slavery when its morality began to be seriously disputed).
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  #82  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:37 AM
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To finish, I just so happen to have read yesterday the blog of a social activist who is also an antispecist, and who definitely see her fight against specism as a natural and obvious continuation of her fight against sexism and racism. For her, who, from her arguments, believe in this "progress" you're assuming, this progress will inevitably lead to the triumph of antispecism, and people supporting the consumption of animal products, like me and probably you, are definitely on the bad side of history (and if her opinion eventually prevails, we'll be seen as not just wrong, but horrifically evil, probably as worse than for instance people who kept supporting slavery when its morality began to be seriously disputed).
(I absolutely agree with the whole wall of words, but this sidetrack lets me bounce off)
Speaking of, earlier in the thread when I listed the various pro- and con- arguments historically used in the debate on US slavery ; the thought popped into my head that, while most seemed utterly callous and inhumane when you think about black people as, well, people ; none were all that out there if you conceptualize black people as being somewhere in the general vicinity of cows (like most of them did). I didn't publish it however because what I'd ended writing could have been very offensive to black readers and that doesn't spark joy.

But then I turned that around to re-frame stuff people today hardly question when it comes to cows : of course you can own and trade them, it's been done for thousands of years. And raising cows for meat is good for the cows actually because there's a lot more cows on the planet than, say, zebras. And of course you can use violence to get a cow to do what you need it to, they can get dumb and ornery sometimes, as long as it doesn't veer into cruelty it's OK. And it's OK to separate cows from their calves, and to force this cow to have sex with that bull because selective breeding. And even if raising cows was morally horrible we can't just free them overnight, think of the chaos and the jobs and the money ! Etc, etc...

Basically the arguments pro- meat eating became really callous and unpalatable to me when I moved the conceptual space cows exist in my mind somewhere closer to where people are. But... but I really like burgers though... So in the end it's easier to mentally blindfold myself and not really think about it all that much, to cut down on the uncomfortable ethical conflict, moral angst and cognitive dissonance.
Presumably like slavers and abolitionists alike did.
  #83  
Old 10-30-2019, 02:29 AM
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Having seen the optimistic opinions of some people wrt to China, I must say that I'm not as confident as they are that things will turn out for the best.

While China is becoming a more liberal society for certain aspects, I find the growing social control there concerning, and even frightening. When you begin to centralize data coming as well from the state apparatus (police, tax service, health services,...) and from the "private" sector (social medias, telephone companies, online shops...) you can know pretty much everything a person do and say at this point in time. And that's what China is in the process of doing. And when you plan to use this data to implement a system of "social credit" where people are sanctioned (for instance by not being able to get a job, or a loan, or a train ticket, or a college spot for their children) for what the state is aware they have done or said, or read, or even for whom they associate with, it looks a lot like a frightening dystopia. Even if you allow some liberties on the side.

And worst, I'm not convinced that our own western societies wouldn't follow the lead. First because they can. A lot of people are worried already both by the amount of data now collected about us, and by the states' tendency to insist on accessing this data (you know, to protect us). But, in my opinion, not enough people and not concerned enough. Second because China's influence is growing and ours is dwindling. Inevitably, the cultural influence of China will increase as its political and economical influence increases, and people will look up to China for changes and for solutions.

And in fact, this control on data and information is already bringing some positive results. For instance in the fight against crime. How long before a western country's population, after the umpteenth terrorist attack, begins to agree to, or even clamor for, a Chinese-style social control? Really, if you aren't a bad person, you have nothing to hide, right? Why would it bothers you that the police knows everything you do and say? And if you *are* a bad person, why wouldn't you be sanctioned for it? You have a problem with terrorists and child rapists not being allowed to board a train? So, why don't you support Big Brother, you evil person?
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  #84  
Old 10-30-2019, 03:05 AM
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(I absolutely agree with the whole wall of words, but this sidetrack lets me bounce off)
Speaking of, earlier in the thread when I listed the various pro- and con- arguments historically used in the debate on US slavery ; the thought popped into my head that, while most seemed utterly callous and inhumane when you think about black people as, well, people ; none were all that out there if you conceptualize black people as being somewhere in the general vicinity of cows (like most of them did). I didn't publish it however because what I'd ended writing could have been very offensive to black readers and that doesn't spark joy.

But then I turned that around to re-frame stuff people today hardly question when it comes to cows : of course you can own and trade them, it's been done for thousands of years. And raising cows for meat is good for the cows actually because there's a lot more cows on the planet than, say, zebras. And of course you can use violence to get a cow to do what you need it to, they can get dumb and ornery sometimes, as long as it doesn't veer into cruelty it's OK. And it's OK to separate cows from their calves, and to force this cow to have sex with that bull because selective breeding. And even if raising cows was morally horrible we can't just free them overnight, think of the chaos and the jobs and the money ! Etc, etc...

Basically the arguments pro- meat eating became really callous and unpalatable to me when I moved the conceptual space cows exist in my mind somewhere closer to where people are. But... but I really like burgers though... So in the end it's easier to mentally blindfold myself and not really think about it all that much, to cut down on the uncomfortable ethical conflict, moral angst and cognitive dissonance.
Presumably like slavers and abolitionists alike did.

If antispecists win, people will feel deeply that animal husbandry is horrific. That won't be just some sort of intellectual reasoning, as it is now for many, and they won't be as moderate in their views as most antispecists are nowadays because despite their views, meat consumption is normal in our society and they've been raised to perceive it as normal. Those future people will see it as monstrous, as I wrote.

And they'll find we have little excuses.

We don't need to meat to live anymore (not even other animal products, since we can take supplements as needed), and we don't know hunger (in fact, not eating meat would *solve* a number of food issues) so no justification by necessity.

We're perfectly aware that animals aren't just "things" as reflected in our laws and our habits. We definitely are already aware that killing and mistreating animals is a problem, again as reflected in our laws that prevent you from mistreating a horse or killing a dog. We understand (or at least believe) that animals can feel pain and suffer. We're kept aware of the terrible practices in the animal industry, scientific research, etc...So, no justification by ignorance, either.

And finally, there are already many noble precursors and heroes who are fighting the good fight, like PETA or the woman I was talking about which definitely proves that any of us could do the same. It's not like we're still in an age where nobody would have considered that killing animals was wrong. If we keep supporting it, it's because we choose to knowingly. And to choose to torture and kill innocent animals you need to be evil at heart.

They'll probably picture us munching on dead flesh (assuming they can avoid vomiting when evoking such an idea), blood dripping from our mouth on our chin, wondering if the baby calf has been tortured enough for its meat to be appropriately tender and smiling and laughing at the sweet thought of all this animal suffering, . Your "but it's tasty" joking statement will be found about as amusing as "but it feels so good to fuck those female slaves". In fact, as I said, probably even *less* amusing.
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  #85  
Old 10-30-2019, 03:28 AM
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Yup, pretty much - and I wasn't really making a joke. Ultimately we eat meat (and chafe at the shrill cries of militant vegans) because we like it, and we've created representations and mental frameworks to make that OK but they're absolutely arbitrary. Just as it's arbitrary to look down on, say, cultures where dog eating is condoned, because we've created cultural representations where we feel empathy for dogs and have moved them closer to the "people" space.
Which, btw, while arbitrary is also objectively correct because dogs are the best people.

But yeah, you have it absolutely right.
  #86  
Old 10-30-2019, 05:49 PM
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I'll add an issue that others have danced around, but I don't think have specifically posited, and that I think is not genuinely clear: Should heroin, et al be legalized?
Sure, marijuana is relatively harmless (especially compared to alcohol, and that only got re-legalized because people really, really like to drink it), and can and should be legalized. But what about the harder stuff? Should we live and let live? Or save people from themselves?
I honestly could see people flip-flopping whether its right or not about to legalize recreational drugs.

Drugs are legalized? A few generations after dealing with the unfortunate side effects of that? It's wrong so let's re-criminalize them.

Drugs are illegal again? A few generations later, the drugs laws are too harsh. They are not helping addicts and too many innocent people get caught in the enforcement of them. So let's legalize them again.

And so on and so forth. I
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:14 PM
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I think the consumption of meat is indeed something that will be regarded as being beyond the pale 30 or 40 years from now, so that may be one where we can see "the right side of history" as a distant horizon already.
  #88  
Old 10-30-2019, 08:08 PM
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It's not just "artificial wombs" that could render abortion obsolete, but better birth control. If women have complete control over their reproductive cycle, then they will only get pregnant when they want to.
What if a man a woman absolutely trusted lied to her in saying he was using a reliable form of male birth control?

But the bigger factor is mind-changing.

Sometimes the mind-changing is because of initial ambivalence about becoming pregnant. And sometimes it's due to changing circumstances (job loss, health problem arises in family, found out spouse is cheating, etc., etc., etc.)
  #89  
Old 10-30-2019, 08:24 PM
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I think the consumption of meat is indeed something that will be regarded as being beyond the pale 30 or 40 years from now, so that may be one where we can see "the right side of history" as a distant horizon already.
I apologize in advance for picking you at random to make a point that applies to many posters in the thread.

If meat eating becomes "beyond the pale" because of global warning, the same might be true of low-yield-per-acre agricultural practices like organic farming and use of heirloom seeds.

Am I really predicting this "might" will become a "will be"? No. Is it any less likely than your prediction? That largely depends on whether taking a current trend line, and expecting it to continue in that direction, is a good way to predict the future.

There is a current trend line where animals are treated as having a right to life (no kill shelters). Your prediction fits there. But many current trends will stop or reverse. Do I know which ones? No. No one does.

Here's a trend that I hope reverses but may not:

Internet freedom continues to decline around the world; a new report says Governments are reining in liberty for the eighth consecutive year
  #90  
Old 10-31-2019, 03:27 AM
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I'm not seeing it being reversed anytime soon. I think we're just at the start. It's not only the governments, it's also the general public who wants people who do, post or read bad things on the internet to be silenced and punished. Censorship is very trendy, nowadays. Even in the USA, which is pretty much the only country taking freedom of speech seriously, and not only among college students.

Since this trend worries me quite a lot, and pisses me a lot, I tend to pay attention, and there's hardly a week when I don't read about some change or another in this direction.



And regarding your link, by the way, France is one of the countries that passed a law restricting expression on the internet (mandating that large internet sites will delete within 24 hours statements of users deemed as "hate speech" or face very stiff fines. As if they weren't already trigger happy enough with regard to controversial issues).
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