What is the ideal form of government? What would it do? How would it work? What measures would be put in place to ensure that it holds to it's intended purpose? Should government even exist to begin with?
(This post continues a discussion began in the thread "gun control" between myself and Anath. The discussion concerns the justification for government, the viability of an anarcho-capitalist system, and morality.)
“Try stealing from Microsoft sometime, and see how merciful a corporation is.”
There is a difference between me not paying bills for products/services that I have voluntarily agreed to pay for without coercion and me discontinuing my “service” with the government. As you correctly observed, me taking a service/product that I agreed to pay for and then neglecting to pay for it is stealing. Microsoft has as much right as any person to take back the product or take the money that I owe.
“I admit, the implicit threat of force is not an ideal way to enforce anything”
Then shouldn't we look for ways to achieve the goals that we want without an initiation of the use of force (or threat thereof)?
“There are people out there that are... actually dangerous. It is a choice made by citizens for the protection of other citizens and themselves to allow an armed police force to keep those citizens that are or might be dangerous in line.”
Shouldn't I be able to choose how I am protected, by whom, and at what cost? Even assuming that a large percentage of people would voluntarily choose to pay for the current police force, does that mean that I have to pay for it as well?
“But remember, you have to live completely by yourself, because if you and a few other people EVER collectively discuss and reach solutions and agreements on any matter, you are technically living in a direct (pure) democracy.”
Remember, it is the coercion that seems inherent in every government that I am against. If people voluntarily get together to discuss issues, I have no problem with it. In fact, if you think about it, a free market could be considered a very pure form of democracy. Everyone is constantly voting with their money on what products/services should be provided to society, how they should be provided, who should provide them, what the cost should be, how much of each should be produced, etc.
Bear in mind that, in a free market, people could potentially establish a government. A bunch of people could get together and decide that they like the whole government idea and that they know how it should work and they all agree to that system. They could then “vote” with their money to buy a region of land that will be under their government's control and they can all voluntarily agree to live under that government. I have no problem with this initial setup so long as everyone entering explicitly agrees to it since there is no coercion influencing their decision to live in this system. However, the issue gets far more complicated when the first generation of children is born into this system and likely doesn't have a choice to opt out before being subjected to the rules of the system.
“Then DON’T pay for it. Protest. DO SOMETHING, don’t just whine on an internet forum.”
I am doing something. In order to make my life as free as possible, I have started close to myself and I am working my way outward. I have come to realize that true freedom begins with my everyday life and the personal relations which fill it. Even if there is no government, if I can't be free in my everyday life, I am still enslaved. The key to this is realizing that I have no obligations, only choices and associated consequences (good or bad). I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. This is one of the things that I was trying to get across earlier in our discussion. I am still in the process of incorporating this principal into my life and expelling any false obligations that I still have. Until that is complete, my efforts are focused on that, rather than freeing myself from the government.
Additionally, when it comes to dismantling the government, I think that discussion is a good place to start. As long as people think that we need a government or that it is a net moral positive to have a government, then we will continue to have governments and keep replacing them as they fail. For this reason, I feel that the battle will be won by turning the hearts and minds of the people, rather than through a violent revolution, or by loudly whining at the government to change.
“One of the pillars and central goals of a market is something perhaps quite immoral at heart --- making a profit! This implies exploiting others for one’s own gain.”
“Similarly a market’s goal should not be 'profit' but mutual gain of all involved, but rarely do we see this”
I think that you have made a very unfair assumption here that making a profit implies exploiting others. It seems to me that the market, even in it's current, less than free state, is composed of primarily interactions which involve profit for all involved. (Remember that not all value is monetary). When I and many others work, we do so because we see profit in exchanging our time and expertise for the agreed upon money and benefits. When our employers employ us, it is almost certainly because they see profit in exchanging some agreed upon amount of their money for our time and expertise. When I go out to buy food, electronic goodies, etc. I am profiting because I value what I'm getting more than the money that I'm giving. When these things are sold to me, it is because the previous owners value my money more than the goods that I was given. There are exploitive interactions in the market, but they seem to be completely dwarfed by the prodigious amount of voluntarily, mutually profitable interactions. It seems to me that the problem of exploitation by the government is far more of a problem than any exploitation in the market.
Am I overstating the degree to which mutually beneficial interactions exist? Is there some large group of exploitive interactions in the market that are I'm not seeing?
It sounds like from many of your comments that you greatly dislike corporations. Would this be an accurate assessment? Would you feel better about a free market system if there weren't going to be corporations? I would agree that it is not right to have a system where few, if any individuals receive any negative consequences for their actions as a part of a business through use of incorporation. However I think that it is important to remember that incorporation is a legally established system and couldn't exist as such without a government to enforce such legal shielding.
“most road construction is done by contracted private companies anyway, and it all sucks.”
This is hardly a situation that is free of the taint of the government. It is the government that chooses who to hire for the job and what quality of service is acceptable. Just because I think that a free market anarchy would be wonderful doesn't mean that I think that all companies are made up of rainbows and puppies and that they all do an amazing job at low prices.
“Do you think using an ox to plow a field is immoral? Do you think using an ox over a machine is immoral? How do you KNOW?”
How do I know? That's precisely what I'm trying to figure out by creating an absolute, objective system of morality. If we can figure out how to decide if something is moral or not, then we're set. Even if we come to some erroneous conclusions, we know how to determine if they are erroneous. Just like in science, the goal is not to have a list of what we think are facts because inevitably we will be wrong or we will want to know facts that aren't on that list. That's why science as we know it now started by answer the question of “how do we know.”
“moral relativism in its extreme is despicable because it states that all moral systems are equal and should be viewed as such.”
I'm glad that we both agree that not all moral systems are equal. However, there is something about you're proposed morality that confuses me. What criteria do you use to determine which moral system is better? Is this criteria objective or subjective? If the criteria is subjective, then you have moral relativism. If your criteria is objective, then any two conflicting views on a moral issue can be objectively resolved, which would appear to me to lead to an absolute, objective morality.
“When you come up with your own answer to this question perhaps via the scientific method-like system you have created, you are not necessarily finding the “objectively true” answer. Another person could reach the exact opposite conclusion through the same method. Instead, you and the other person will be finding the conclusion that fits into your subjective worldviews, not an objective reality. But, are both conclusions equally valid? No.”
Again, this parallels modern science. Sure, I guess that there could be situations where two people come to different or conflicting conclusions through this method, but I don't think that this means that the moral system is not a valid way to objectively determine truth from falsehood. Even if there are disagreements, there is an objective method for determining truth from falsehood.
If you found two scientific papers that had two mutually incompatible conclusions, would you say that the scientific method cannot be used to find objective reality or would you say that one or both of the researchers made some sort of error leading up to the publishing of their conclusions?
“You can get no growth, evolution, or advancement with either AM or MR”
I must disagree with you here. The whole point of determining a system for discovering moral rules is that that way we have a way to correct our mistakes and show them to be false. Just like the scientific method, there will be errors, but they will eventually be corrected because eventually someone will come along and show it to be wrong with this method and expose the errors in the previous conclusion. This system, once developed, should be about as capable of change as the scientific method.
“Once we get to the end of the road, or at least get very close, I think we will find that we are at a stage where no longer need a system of government, and can shed it without repercussion. But for now, we need a government that is more responsive to the electorate and less corrupt. That starts with us. ”
Would it be accurate to say that you are agreeing that we should attempt to create a future without a government, but that we aren't ready for that future yet? In essence, that we should reverse the steady progression of government growth until we eventually reach the point where the government disappears altogether?
Could you please tell us here what your ideal form of government looks like?
Also, how do you plan to ensure that your government stays small/shrinks as opposed to growing as seems to be the strong overall trend of governments? How would you set up this government so that it achieves these goals rather than degrading into an expensive quagmire of ineffectiveness as our government seems to have done?
I think if people were allowed to keep more of what they earned, and saw the need for some services, they would gladly purchase those services. I mean in a world like we have now it's hard to imagine such a system. We have so much forced contribution that we can't imagine what it would be like to be able to say "No we don't need another park, and I'm not giving $50.00 for the cause."
But I'm sure that if people actually had to take up a collection they might think first and come up with a case full of really good arguments to make people want to contribute. Not just "It's for the children" or what have you.
I have thought a lot about this sort of thing...if we had less government people wouldn't see a huge bloated bureauracy that digs into almost every part of their lives, and be more friendly to organizers.
Where I grew up, in Montana, the city didn't plow our road or put down new shale so that the pot holes weren't so bad. We all still paid property taxes but we didn't get city sewer or water or garbage or plowing or street maintenance...we did get mail but that didn't come out of our taxes. It was the homeowners responsibility to pay for those services. My dad would go around from house to house and talk with everyone and tell them how much that service would be if we all contributed, like plowing or road mainenance. It was a value that they each could benefit from, no question. It always worked out well. I don't see why it would be so hard to do on a community by community basis.
May I ask, what, if anything, in your view is the purpose of government?
Do you believe that government should exist only for the purpose of national defense? Do you believe that current powers of the executive branch are appropriate? What about the legislative system? Judicial branch?
I'd have no problem with this sort of government, if you could still call it that, since there is no threat of force. I think that this form of government would be very successful. Considering how vigorously many people defend such programs, I would assume that enough people would be willing to put forth the money to make these programs work.
First, I will respond to the original post. I will respond to your other question later in the week, or next week, as time allows.
“There is a difference between me not paying bills .... or take the money that I owe.”
The difference here is that in a system of pure anarcho-capitalism, we’d be looking at a system in which the corporations have been effectively thrust into the position “government” holds--providing security, services, etc. What our tax money pays for right now will be payed for by corporations--and they have to make a profit somehow, and that’s through us as consumers. Don’t trick yourself into believing that you’d be “voluntarily” paying for a lot of this stuff. (Keeping with the Microsoft example) For a bit of software, maybe, but when everything is fully automated or significantly more technologically based, there will be a corporation behind it demanding your money to fund their operations. I use Microsoft as an example here because they’re our current monopoly, and unless something serious happens in the future, we’ll basically all be paying Microsoft if we want/need a computer, certain software/harddware, etc. The way things are going, there is no “if”. You may think you’re “voluntarily” paying the company you “choose” for a “luxury” good, but you’re not. Even if you currently own a Mac, you’ve just put money in Microsoft’s pocket.
Once corporations take over where tax dollars left off, it will be the same relationship. How do we currently pay for public education? Tax dollars. Say we totally privatize education, now we’re back over 100 years in the past, when only the rich kids could go to school. If this isn’t what we want, then who pays for education? There will be a tax “substitute” in cases such as this, as well as for funding not-for-profit organizations and other tax-funded groups and projects, or they will be obliterated. Many of these things ARE for your benefit, whether you realize it now or not, and enough people invest enough in them that they will slide the bills under your doorstep, whether its called “taxes” or hidden under another fancy buzzword.
“Then shouldn't we look for ways to achieve the goals that we want without an initiation of the use of force (or threat thereof)?”
Yes, and I’m open for suggestions. Unfortunately we’re going to have to take Average Joe Cromagnon into the equation, because he still exists.
“Shouldn't I be able to choose how I am protected, by whom, and at what cost? Even assuming that a large percentage of people would voluntarily choose to pay for the current police force, does that mean that I have to pay for it as well?”
You CAN pay for private guard. Your choice. Most of us are fine with what we have, or move to change it. If you’re not, then privatize. The big execs and politicians are doing it, no reason you can’t. However privatized protection is much more expensive than our current police force, and it has a tenancy to be abused. Lets look back to the last time protection was truly 100% totally “privatized”... knights. I can’t think of anyone who wants that situation again.
However, this seems a bit contradictory to me. First you say you want no “force”, then you go on about wanting protection. Ideally, we should have a situation where neither of these is necessary, but we are not functioning in a dreamy ideal situation, we’re functioning in REALITY.
“Remember, it is the coercion that seems inherent in every government that I am against. ...subjected to the rules of the system.”
Sure, everyone is voting. Some votes just matter more than others. If you honestly think that you, as a middle class citizen, will have any “real” say in the free market, you’re horribly mislead. The people who have the say are the people with the money to back it, the millionaires, the CEO’s of the corporations controlling the market, and their rich friends. The mass population will be puppets dancing to their music, with no say other than the meager wages offered tossed to them by the corporations; barely enough to survive. Don’t kid yourself that will ever change.
The weak, poor, and powerless will always be under a system of coercion. Always. It is up to those with power to determine how much or little they will exploit those with less, and all I see in anarcho-capitalism, based on my experience watching regulated capitalism, are huge red flags for tyranny... this time by rich bastards rather than “elected” officials, and with no checks and balances that money can’t get around.
“I am doing something. In order to make my life as free as possible,.... For this reason, I feel that the battle will be won by turning the hearts and minds of the people, rather than through a violent revolution, or by loudly whining at the government to change.”
Good start, of course. Perhaps you will see what I have as well, which is the same thing only under a less idealized worldview. We have to work with what we have, and determine what we do with the system that we have inherited, as in not too many years, our generation will take up the mantle.
Unfortunately here, I do not think we can, or necessarily need to, escape “government” (until we evolve beyond it mentally in several thousand years), just keep streamlining it until it reaches the ideal it is supposed to be; simply for the protection and general welfare of the citizens, nothing more, nothing less. Our needs as a species have changed in many ways since the first stylus hit the clay, the world is evolving, and we need a form of organization that reflects that and optimizes our efficiency and welfare as a whole. It is the characteristics of the human race that lead me to this conclusion, only a small handful of us at any one time will ever be “free”, and most are contented not to be. Think of Plato’s cave.
“I think that you have made a very unfair assumption here that making a profit implies exploiting others. ...However I think that it is important to remember that incorporation is a legally established system and couldn't exist as such without a government to enforce such legal shielding.”
Lets start this simply, with a few definitions of the word “profit”: 2. the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.: “The company works on a small margin of profit.” 3. advantage; benefit; gain. 6. to take advantage: “to profit from the weaknesses of others.”
The goal of a corporation in the market is to increase profit as in the definition of #2, with the results of #3, and tend to fall into the habits of #6. We can see this in reality, right now, look out the window. Your outline works on a highly idealized version of the market and how profit flows between involved parties. Today, it is generally the workers that get slighted, its is the quality of goods that fail, and so on. For example, in the name of profit, many companies outsourced to China. Have you ever taken a really good look at a lot of Chinese-made trash they try to pass off as “goods”? The market is failing us! Have you ever been in a job working for a company, who “politely” informs you and your co workers about new cost cutting methods, that are harmful to you and your productivity (I’m specifically speaking about waitressing here so productivity = PAY), but you must do or leave the job? Then you leave and its the same crap everywhere? I don’t see this ideal system you outline. I don’t want these crappy Chinese goods, but for the most part its all I can afford at my payrate, and I’m definitely not as bad off as some.
You are not overstating the degree of mutually beneficial interaction, that is how it should work and does at more grassroots-levels. However on a macro scale, in todays environment, a lot of people pissed in the poolwater. I will say, there are a LOT of exploitive interactions you are not seeing in the market, or in the real “flesh and blood” world that a lot of people live in. What do you know offhand of the big market stir today/yesterday? What about the people behind it, and those affected by it? How are YOUR stocks doing as a result? Did you know about the Macintosh/Microsoft situation before I told you about it earlier, and what I meant by that leading sentence above? These are just for starters.
Yes, you are very correct when you assert that I don’t like corporations, but this must be refined to “the modern mega-corporation” rather than the concept of a corporation. I’ve worked for them, I’ve watched them, I’ve listened to stories by those who have been in much worse binds after company takeovers especially. We’re talking about small, ideal, private businesses bought out and totally gutted and dissected until they barely resemble a shadow of their former self. I’m a big advocate of small, local business, and if there was a way that anarcho-capitalism could work with only small businesses, I’d be totally for it. However, we must realize that today we live in an increasingly “global” world. Things are big, and must be to survive and make serious profit. Corporations evolved for a reason, and they can, have, and will evolve outside of whatever system you perceive as “government”.
Three fur entrepreneurs in the far north bond together to increase profit and mutually benefit each other under a single roof. Then they are five, then they buy out a sixth. Soon we’re looking at Fur Trading Inc.; a privately owned and operated mini-corporation of fur traders all by themselves in the arctic circle. It is feasible that five or six business owners could bind together to be regarded as one; the very definition of a corporation. Whether or not there is a government behind these traders to notarize their documents doesn’t matter. This concept in itself is not inherently bad initially, just as “government” is not inherently “bad” initially. It grows into corruption, until Fur Trading Inc. has bought out more and more independent companies, and coat manufacturing companies, and meat plants, and no longer holds the values of three arctic traders trying to help each other. This is the situation we are in today, and also reflects what has regrettably happened to original Constitutional values and motives of the founding fathers, for example. There is a large movement in government to help and support corporations, because there’s a little mutual-benefit game going on between government policy makers and corporate policy makers. This is the poison that must be sucked out.
“This is hardly a situation that is free of the taint of the government. It is the government that chooses who to hire for the job and what quality of service is acceptable. Just because I think that a free market anarchy would be wonderful doesn't mean that I think that all companies are made up of rainbows and puppies and that they all do an amazing job at low prices.”
My neighborhood pooled together and hired a private contractor to repay our roads ourselves. Guess what we got. Roads. Paved ones. Just like the ones in the city. It just cost us more than if the local government had done it for us, but we’re in an odd situation where our development is in between the jurisdiction of two local governments. I’ll go with cheaper “government” roads any day. My tax dollars go for more than just roads anyway.
“How do I know? That's precisely what I'm trying to figure out by creating an absolute, objective system of morality. If we can figure out how to decide if something is moral or not, then we're set. Even if we come to some erroneous conclusions, we know how to determine if they are erroneous. Just like in science, the goal is not to have a list of what we think are facts because inevitably we will be wrong or we will want to know facts that aren't on that list. That's why science as we know it now started by answer the question of “how do we know.””
Well there’s a pretty simple answer to all that that’s very hard to wrap your head around; there is no absolute, objective system of morality. I can prove it to you. List all the things you think are moral according to your system, and I’ll give you a number that I disagree with. You can, however, create an “absolute SUBJECTIVE” system of morality for yourself by finding your own beliefs and stances on issues. You will never be able to answer whether or not using an ox to plow a field will ALWAYS be considered moral, because in 200 years, people will think differently than we do, just as we think differently than the ancient people who willingly placed their first born children into a burning furnace. This isn’t to say not to play your game and put morals to the test, which is to be encouraged, just be aware, that any results you get will be applicable to YOU in your era, not to every human in every era----have perspective.
“I'm glad that we both agree that not all moral systems are equal.... which would appear to me to lead to an absolute, objective morality.”
It is not as simple as you believe it to be. We are looking at morality at a very distinct place in time. I can tell you with certainty that our current moral framework, and the one I have constructed for myself is significantly “better” than the framework that the Ancients constructed, because I can prove to you that we constructed new ways of thinking just by picking up a basic philosophy primer. I can also tell you that our (presuming your and my systems are similar) systems are “better” than the Fundie-literalists, because we have utilized critical thought and (hopefully) have constructed much more level-headed and proper ways of treating people; I.E. no burning homosexuals at the stake.
However, we must be able to hold our own system of moralities in perspective. We can not truly see through the Ancient’s own eyes except with their own vision, and in order to understand the Fundie-literalists, we have to take into account their own terms. This is not purely relativistic because it does not require that we ultimately regard their system as equally “valid” or give it any merit. I give Fundie-literalists absolutely no merit, and find their moral framework to be some of the most despicable in history, however, I acknowledge that the only way to understand them and understand why I despise their “morals” is to see from their point of view, and understand that people CAN hold different views on morality, whether I like it/approve or not. Moral relativism, in its purest sense, would go beyond simple acknowledgement, and demand that I regard their moral system as equally valid. I refuse to, and thereby I stand between pure moral relativism and an absolute morality.
See, it is subjective, but not to the point of stooping to moral relativism. Everything, EVERYTHING, is subjective in some way, even the manner you perceive the meaning behind these “objective” words I write. There is no objective criteria. None. And there will be no absolute resolution of moral differences as long as critical thought exists.
”Again, this parallels modern science.... of the researchers made some sort of error leading up to the publishing of their conclusions?”
The answer to this is simple. There are two papers that disagree? Science demands that more rigorous experimentation be performed until we can reach a decisive answer. If more experimentation continues to yield mutually incompatible conclusions, then we are missing key data and must look elsewhere. Science in this case is easy; if something is true, results will come, there’s no “opinion”. Morality and ethics are never so simple, because they involve opinions and emotions, and thus, irrationality.
What do you mean by an objective method from determining “truth from falsehood” in a moral system? I’m not sure what situation you’re referring to?
“I must disagree with you here. The whole point of determining a system for discovering moral rules is that that way we have a way to correct our mistakes and show them to be false. Just like the scientific method, there will be errors, but they will eventually be corrected because eventually someone will come along and show it to be wrong with this method and expose the errors in the previous conclusion. This system, once developed, should be about as capable of change as the scientific method.”
But if your “absolute” moral system can be changed, it is not absolute. True “absolute morality” applies to all people, at all times, has always been, and will always be. There is no room for change. Either it is absolute or it isn’t. And if you change it... what is it?
If it isn’t absolute, then perhaps you are looking more at a system like that which I outlined: a dynamic system in between absolute and relativistic.
“Would it be accurate to say that you are agreeing that we should attempt to create a future without a government, but that we aren't ready for that future yet? In essence, that we should reverse the steady progression of government growth until we eventually reach the point where the government disappears altogether?
It is reassuring to note that our views and goals are not too dissimilar. We seem to agree far more than disagree. We both want significantly smaller government and it's eventual elimination. We both would like to see the elimination of the initiation of the use of force by government. We both have little love for the inconsiderate mega corporations that seem to be able to get away with anything and the unholy alliance that they hold with the government.
The disagreement seems to come from our ideas on implementation and our predictions of the outcomes of eachother's ideas. Unfortunately for me, the effects of the government are so very pervasive and occur on so many different levels that it is near impossible to separate it all out. Nor are there any well documented historical examples of societies in such a system as I describe for me to point to. This is part of the reason why I focus more on the morality of the issue. We can argue forever about the effects and not get anywhere, but we can far more easily come to a conclusion as to what is moral/immoral and how that applies to the issue.
“Don’t trick yourself into believing that you’d be “voluntarily” paying for a lot of this stuff.”
“[W]e’ll basically all be paying Microsoft if we want/need a computer, certain software/harddware, etc.”
Still, Microsoft, or whatever other business that we're talking about, won't be using force to get us to buy their products. I highly doubt that if I decide not to buy a computer that Microsoft is going to come and make me buy one. This is the central element of my case. Whether or not we make essentially the same choices, just paying private businesses rather than a government, is irrelevant. The important difference is that we would have eliminated the immoral initiation of the use of force.
“[W]ho pays for education? There will be a tax “substitute” in cases such as this”
However they change the tax or whatever they call it, I'm opposed as long as people are compelled to pay it by the threat of force. If there was a voluntary “tax,” I'd likely have no problem with it. Heck, that would probably solve most of our problems with the quality of government services. It seems to me that one of the big reasons why they are of such low quality is because they get paid in full one way or another. Where is the incentive to do a good job there? If the state wasn't guaranteed our money, then they would probably put a lot more effort into giving us quality services so that we would continue to fund them.
“Yes, and I’m open for suggestions. Unfortunately we’re going to have to take Average Joe Cromagnon into the equation, because he still exists.”
Which do you value more, morality or practicality? Are you more concerned with which option will give us the best economy, the lowest crime rate, the cleanest environment, the best health and safety, etc. or are you more concerned with which option is more moral?
I myself go with the more moral option. Even if I'm wrong about a pure free market being the more practical option, it doesn't matter so long as it's the more moral option.
“You CAN pay for private guard. Your choice.”
Yes, I can pay for alternate forms of protection, but they make me pay for the police regardless of whether or not I want them. Every dollar that I'm forced to pay to the police is one dollar less that I have to pay for things like a gun, a bullet proof vest, pepper spray, self defense classes, a home security system, a private security force, a home in a less crime prone area, or whatever else I feel that will increase my safety.
As I have tried to make clear, it is the initiation of the use of force that is wrong, not self defense. To shoot at someone who has done you no wrong is immoral. To defend yourself with force from someone who is attacking you is not wrong. Also, as I showed above, there are methods of protection that don't involve force.
“The people who have the say are the people with the money to back it, the millionaires, the CEO’s of the corporations controlling the market, and their rich friends.”
Yes, but where did the rich people/businesses get their money from? Us. We gave them the money. This is analogous to us “voting” for them to vote for us, similar to the way in which we vote for representatives now. The huge discrepancy is that the rich must maintain a constant flow of support in order to maintain their positions as our “representatives.” Even if we look at those who get their money from the rich (perhaps day traders or high-end banks), the money they get came from us at some point, meaning that, however indirect the path or however many “representatives” it went through, we “voted” for them.
“I do not think we... necessarily need to... escape 'government...' just keep streamlining it until it reaches the ideal it is supposed to be”
It's tempting to think that we can tame this beast and get it to shrink back into a minimalistic, ideal government. However, history seems to indicate that that can't happen. Even with all of our checks and balances and citizen's input, in less than 220 years we went from the tiny early US government to the blood-sucking behemoth that we have today. What do you propose that we do that will reverse this trend or even simply stop it? How are you going to fix the problem of too much government regulations? More government regulations?
“List all the things you think are moral according to your system, and I’ll give you a number that I disagree with.”
Just because you disagree with me on what is moral doesn't mean that my moral system cannot be absolute and objective. Someone might not believe that an object in motion stays in motion and that an object at rest stays at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force. However, that does not mean that this is not an absolute law of nature, that just means that someone doesn't believe that it is. Truth is not subject to our view of it. The fact that people can't agree on an absolute moral truth does not mean that an absolute moral truth does not exist.
If you'd have asked people a 2000 years ago if the Earth is round or flat, the vast majority would likely say flat. Despite this view, the world was absolutely, objectively round. People didn't know it at the time, but that didn't change the truth of the situation. Similarly, although many people of the time may have thought that slavery was not immoral, that doesn't mean that it was not immoral. Your disagreement with my conclusions is no proof that they are not absolutely and objectively true. (Although my conclusions may still be wrong. I am only human, after all.)
“I can tell you with certainty that our current moral framework, and the one I have constructed for myself is significantly “better” than the framework that the Ancients constructed, because I can prove to you that we constructed new ways of thinking just by picking up a basic philosophy primer.”
I'm a bit confused here. You keep telling me that there is no objective criteria by which we could determine which moral systems are better/worse, yet it seems like you are trying to give me objective criteria in order to prove that our moral beliefs are better than those of the ancients or fundies. It sounds like you keep contradicting yourself.
“Morality and ethics are never so simple, because they involve opinions and emotions, and thus, irrationality.”
Couldn't similar things have been said about the laws of nature before we came up with the scientific method?
“What do you mean by an objective method from determining “truth from falsehood” in a moral system? I’m not sure what situation you’re referring to?”
I am looking for a way to determine the veracity of any statement of moral law. For example, one could state that “slavery is morally wrong” or that “wearing the color green on a Thursday is morally wrong.” Both of these statements would be either true or false. I want to find a way to objectively determine this.
“But if your 'absolute' moral system can be changed, it is not absolute.”
Morality wouldn't change, only our perception of it would. It has always been true that the Earth orbits about the sun, rather than the other way around. Our perception of this fact has changed over time, but the fact itself has not changed. Just as in science, the laws are absolute, but our understanding of them is dynamic (and, presumably, ever improving).