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Re: The key question:

Administrative Note:

Week's Agenda: Economy

> The issue is not of 'listening' to the popular opinion either. 

Why ever not? Are we to suppose that our wisdom is necessarily superior, 
or that popular wisdom has some merit? If our process of social 
organization flies in the face of popular wisdom, then it is quite 
likely that we are the ones who are flawed, since it is mostly the 
individuals who constitute popular wisdom that are to be organized in 
the first place.

> The issue that you raised was something I am astonished at: you
> appear to justify use of physical force if someone uses economic
> temptation.

I don't see the distinction to be important, Sanjeev. To me, any action 
that undercuts tolerance, whether by economic or physical force, is 
inimical to my freedom, even when it is not directed at me. Further 
still, if we are to keep maximizing our individual interests as a key 
part of our organization, then I contend I have more to gain when I look 
away from violence that is directed against those unlike myself. Why 
should I care, since the physical force has no cost to me?

> Question: How can we provide freedom to anyone if we allow the use
> of physical force? Physical force and freedom are poles apart. 

I would simply say that freedom and force are poles apart. 

> And can you show how and when, the use of economic force, so
> defined, permits one common citizen, X, to use physical force
> against another citizen, Y? 

If a member of the society violates the rules of social organization in 
his contact with another, it must necessarily remove any contractual 
obligations from the second person at once. If your contention is that 
physical force is worse than economic force, then I must point out that 
regardless of the truth of that, I see both to be undesirable. Whether 
one is worse is irrelevent, I'd rather not brook either. You are 
arguing, in effect, that booth capturing is wrong, but vote-buying is 
not. To me, they are both detrimental, even though one uses only 
economic force.

You repeatedly stress the same things without addressing the fundamental 
question I posed earlier. I'll tell you what, I'll set aside the other 
arguments, we can return to them later if you like. Let's take this one 

" - why should I, a person of a particular faith, tolerate the free 
expression of other faiths? If my God requires the elimination of 
kaffirs, why should I heed any other calling? "

>From this, we can define what constitutes tolerance, and who is obliged 
to be tolerant. I'm perfectly willing to give up my holy cows in fair 
consideration of similar preferences of others, but it is essential for 
our purposes that we find a basis for even continuing the discussion and 
attempts at social organization. I'd also like to see the discussion 
encompass the gamut of issues, separate civil laws, funding for 
religious schools, etc., not merely be limited to the narrow matter of 
whether proselytization ought to be permitted.

> Equity is NOT part of the concept of freedom. 

And yet the lack of it is seen as unfair by those who receive less than 
what they see to be their due. But as I said, I will return to this 
later. For now, let's pick up the basic ideas and see where they lead. 


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