Throughout my posts, I'll be relying on certain fundamental ideas. My arguments will all ultimately reduce to these specific principles. I haven't found them to be wrong; that's why they are principles! These principles will primarily deal with ethics, since most of my writing will deal with ethical issues. First, some primaries which play a key role in validating the ethics I'll employ in later writing:
Brief Metaphysical and Epistemological Points
A metaphysical axiom: Aristotle's law of identity, "A is A." An entity (an object, something in reality) cannot simultaneously be one thing and another. A pillow is not a rock and these objects cannot behave in the same manner; they have separate and unique identities. An entity has a specific identity which determines what it is and how it behaves when interacting with other entities. Humans are no different and their identity determines how they must act in order to survive.
An epistemological fact: human's unique trait is their ability to think conceptually. It's what sets us apart from animals. Conceptualization is essentially grouping specific entities according to similarities in their attributes. The unique thing about concepts is that we drop the specific measurement of the attributes comprising the concept. For example: a table. The concept "table" includes objects of many sizes, shapes, materials, seating capacities, means of support, etc... But they all share certain common attributes -- just in different magnitudes. Some tables seat two people. Some tables seat 8. Some tables aren't meant to seat any people at all, but can still fit your conceptual definition of "table." Some tables have four legs, some are supported by being fixed to a wall. The material a table is made of is another 'conceptual variable': wood, plastic, stone, etc.
Thus: an instance of a concept can possess attributes in any magnitude, while reality dictates that an entity that is a specific instance of the concept must possess that attribute in a specific magnitude (A is A!).
From Metaphysics and Epistemology to Ethics
By employing reason, humans can deduce concepts which do not contradict the facts of reality. We can even learn things which aren't directly perceivable by our senses. Logic, the art of noncontradictory identification, is what lets us check our conceptual knowledge against the facts of reality. Through reason, we can form an amazingly abstract and useful set of ideas to enhance our lives... But our knowledge will only serve to help us so long as the concepts we form do not defy the facts of reality! Humans are quite capable of making mistakes. The majority of my blog posts will deal with errors we have made, particularly in social policy, and how we should correct ourselves so we are living more in harmony with the facts of our nature and identity as human beings -- the facts we need to respect if we are to build a fundamentally humane society.
Three facts about concepts. 1) Concepts are the products of human conclusions. 2) We rely on concepts to make choices and take action, and 3) As the product of humans, concepts are capable of being made in error -- they can defy the facts of reality if we aren't careful. A human being must employ reason and logic to succeed, and he must carefully validate his knowledge against the facts of reality. A mistake in social policy is just as disastrous as a mistake of a more immediate nature (such as an engineering error in the design of a bridge, leading to failure). Social policy directs the course our nation is taking and given the tax code of today, it also directs where a significant amount of our incomes (taxes) is being directed. It's crucial that we analyze social policy critically and carefully. I'll be using this blog to demonstrate the disastrous ideas which are leading to the unnecessary waste and pain in this world. Bad ideas have bad consequences, but good ideas have good consequences!
Facts relevant to ethics:
1. Humans have a specific identity (A is A, from above).
2. Aspects of human identity: the ability to form concepts and use reason (epistemological facts, from above)
3. Humans must use reason and be productive in order to survive.
4. Well defined individual rights are what permit people to use reason and are what allow productivity to flourish.
5. Force (physical force or fraud) is the opposite of reason. Force is the opposite of mutual agreement; it destroys productivity and peace and pays no heed to reason and logic.
From these five facts, a set of guiding principles for a just, rational society can be formed:
An individual's exercise of reason is what permits him to produce the values he needs in order to survive -- a just society must defend the individual rights which allow him to think and act freely. The moral purpose of government is then this, and this alone: protect individuals from the initiation of physical force, since it is only physical force which can rob people of the tool they use for survival: reason. Governmental force cannot be used to favor some at the expense of others. This would defy the fact that individuals need freedom in order to survive -- that would be immoral, by the facts of man's existence. For all the reasons I have listed, laissez-faire capitalism is the most moral politico-economic system devised, to date. So long as the government's only role is to ensure voluntary association, then physical force and fraud are barred from occurring between individuals -- a just society. I will be approaching the problems of today's social policy from the moral foundation of a Capitalistic society under a constitutional republic -- the only system in man's history that defends the requirements of man's survival, to the extent that it is implemented.
What I have just outlined is the philosophy of Objectivism, and it's what I will primarily rely on when making my arguments in this blog.