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The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …
Jun 242016

In 1803 a distinguished Virginia jurist named St. George Tucker published the first extended analysis and commentary on the recently adopted U.S. Constitution. Though it is mostly forgotten today, Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States was a major work in its time. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, generations of lawyers and scholars would reach for Tucker’s View as a go-to constitutional law textbook.

I was reminded of Tucker’s dusty tome in recent days after reading one liberal pundit after another smugly assert that the original meaning of the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, for example, denounced the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as a “a hoax” peddled in recent years by the conniving National Rifle Association. Likewise, Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson complained that “the NRA’s politicking has warped the Constitution itself” by tricking the Supreme Court into “recast[ing] the Second Amendment as a guarantee of individual gun rights.”

Old St. George Tucker never encountered any “politicking” by the NRA. A veteran of the Revolutionary war and a one-time colleague of James Madison, Tucker watched in real time as Americans publicly debated whether or to ratify the Constitution, and then watched again as Americans debated whether or not to amend the Constitution by adopting the Bill of Rights. Afterwards Tucker sat down and wrote the country’s first major constitutional treatise. And as far Tucker was concerned, there was simply no doubt that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to arms. “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty,” Tucker wrote of the Second Amendment. “The right of self-defense is the first law of nature.”

The individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment was widely held during the founding era. How do we know this? Because the historical evidence overwhelmingly points in that direction. For example, consider the historical context in which the Second Amendment was first adopted.

When the Constitution was ratified in 1789 it lacked the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments came along a few years later, added to the Constitution in response to objections made during ratification by the Anti-Federalists, who wanted to see some explicit protections added in order to safeguard key individual rights. As the pseudonymous Anti-Federalist pamphleteer “John DeWitt” put it, “the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system, is a solid objection to it.”

Library of CongressJames Madison, the primary architect of the new Constitution, took seriously such Anti-Federalist objections. “The great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution],” Madison told Congress in 1789, “dislike it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights.” To remove such objections, Madison said, supporters of the Constitution should compromise and agree to include “such amendments in the constitution as will secure those rights, which [the Anti-Federalists] consider as not sufficiently guarded.” Madison then proposed the batch of amendments that would eventually become the Bill of Rights.

What “particular rights” did the Anti-Federalists consider to be “not sufficiently guarded” by the new Constitution? One right that the Anti-Federalists brought up again and again was the individual right to arms.

For example, Anti-Federalists at the New Hampshire ratification convention wanted it made clear that, “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.” Anti-Federalists at the Massachusetts ratification convention wanted the Constitution to “be never construed…to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable, from keeping their own arms.”

Meanwhile, in the Anti-Federalist stronghold of Pennsylvania, critics at that state’s ratification convention wanted the Constitution to declare, “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.”

One of the central purposes of the Second Amendment was to mollify such concerns by enshrining the individual right to arms squarely within the text of the Constitution. Just as the First Amendment was added to address fears of government censorship, the Second Amendment was added to address fears about government bans on private gun ownership.

Like it or not, the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right is as old as the Second Amendment itself.

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The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …

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Health insurance helps you manage your health care costs …

 Golden Rule  Comments Off on Health insurance helps you manage your health care costs …
Jun 212016

No individual applying for health coverage through the individual Marketplace will be discouraged from applying for benefits, turned down for coverage, or charged more premium because of health status, medical condition, mental illness claims experience, medical history, genetic information or health disability. In addition, no individual will be denied coverage based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, personal appearance, political affiliation or source of income.

References to UnitedHealthcare pertain to each individual company or other UnitedHealthcare affiliated companies. Dental and Vision products are administrated by related companies. Each company is a separate entity and is not responsible for another’s financial or contractual obligations. Administrative services are provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc.

Products and services offered are underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, Oxford Health Insurance, Inc., UnitedHealthcare Life Insurance Company.

All products require separate applications. Separate policies or certificates are issued. Golden Rule Short Term MedicalSM plans are medically underwritten. Related insurance products offered by either company may be medically underwritten see the product brochures and applications. Healthiest You is not an insurance product and is provided by HY Holdings, Inc., d/b/a Healthiest You. Travel Health Insurance and Pet Insurance are underwritten by different companies that are not related to the UnitedHealthcare family of companies. Product availability varies by state.


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Health insurance helps you manage your health care costs …

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Talk:Transhumanism/Archive 2 – Wikipedia, the free …

 Transtopianism  Comments Off on Talk:Transhumanism/Archive 2 – Wikipedia, the free …
Jun 192016

Split long article

Might this longish entry be better presented as a series of pages? JasonS 03:34 Jan 13, 2003 (UTC)

Dnagod 20:56, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

In the interest of ensuring transhuman is NPOV: Who decides what the definition of transhumanism is?

This element of humanism, is that from huxley or someone else?

Does the man who invented the word, Julian Huxley decide the definition of Transhumanism, does one in modern times who publically states the definition decide or does the World Transhumanism Association decide?

I would like clarity as to who ultimately determines what transhumanism means because the definition used by the WTA and other groups differs. More importantly, what gives one authority or the command to be able to define in an undisputed what transhumanism is, so that other POV’s can be excluded?

For instance I have reviewed the entire, and site, and I can’t seem to figure out how you could label it as disputed in the links section?

What is to say the world transhumanism association isnt disputed?

I can see how one might label cosmotheism as white racial separatist, but and I would like more discussion as to why it is disputed as a transhumanism group. And why is Cosmotheism a disputed offshoot? Cosmotheism was developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s which came before extropy and WTA, so why is it an offshoot? I thought offshoot meant, that something existed and a branch or seed came off that plant. Can you please define offshoot and explain who decides what is or is not transhumanism?

More on this humanism element of Transhumanism, is that from huxley or someone else? Thanks.

Why does the link to cosmotheism keep getting deleted? Just because that article had a banned user associated w it doesn’t make it any less relevent. Sam [Spade] 20:56, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I’d like to incorporate a mention of the Human Cognome Project into this article, as it is relevent to human brain augmentation and AI research. Any suggestions? — Dave User:Sydhart

Why is, and labelled pseudotranshuman organizations? To me that represents bias as to why those web sites would be labelled pseudo, what makes a web site pseudo?

On the front page of it states the following

(Prometheism is) The First Sovereign Transtopian & Neo-Eugenic Libertarian Religious-State.

In the principles sections of prometheism it states

Our Promethean Species embraces Conscious Evolution

Our immediate aim is to create a neo-eugenically enhanced race that will eventually become a new, superior species with whatever scientific means are available at the present time. In the short-term, this will be achieved via neo-eugenics, ie. voluntary positive eugenics, human cloning, germ-line engineering, gene therapy and genetic engineering.

In the long-term, when the science becomes available we intend to utilize transhuman technologies: nanotechnology, mind uploading, A/I and other variations of ultra exo-tech.

Our goal is to enable total and unlimited self-transformation, consciousness and expansion across the universe of our species.

It also states note the key words – Transhuman Technologies… and the embracing of transhumanism and extropy.

We Define neo-eugenics as conscious evolution (these words are interchangeable). Purposefully directed evolution via voluntary positive neo-eugenics (including voluntary selective breeding), cloning, genetic engineering and ultimately any and all transhuman technologies. Neo-Eugenics means harnessing all science, technology and knowledge available now or in the future, guiding it with spirituality, ethical considerations and higher consciousness, ultimately towards achieving total and unlimited self transformation. The term Neo-Eugenics embodies the sciences and philosophies involved in Biotechnology, Extropy and Transhumanism all merged in a philosophy of spiritual Conscious Evolution.

I believe removing prometheism from this page, will be cause to bring this issue to arbitration to confirm that the individual who keeps removing it obviously is biased and lacks an understanding of what transhumanism. NPOV. thats your problem brian NPOV and blatant bias.

Dnagod 22:22, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Extropy and a lot of the other sites listed under manifestos are linked else where in the article, so I felt it important to also include these manifestos

Please do not revert to childish insults, and a biased personal agenda removing these links, they belong their and represent Principles which I dare say are some of the most interesting, fascinating and creative principles.

Don’t abuse your privileges here and force your agenda on this topic of transhumanism, all perspectives are welcome here whether you like it or not.

Dnagod 17:26, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

What makes you think transtopianism ( is not secular?

STOP removing these links, you are biased, emotional, unfair, unbalanced and lacking in neutrality.

These links are to stay, and you have no right to remove them. They are valid and legit links, Do not abuse your privileges on this project or you will be revoked.

Dnagod 02:55, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The man who invented the word Transhumanism (Huxley), was an open, avid and published advocate of state sponsored coercive eugenics, selective breeding, and elitist eugenic communities. Therefore you are wrong, and thus the specific issue of VOLUNTARY eugenics does NOT violate in anyway, shape or form, being part of transhumanism. You are wrong, biased, unfair, unbalanced, and lacking in neutrality. and DO NOT SUPPORT COERCIVE EUGENICS in their PRINCIPLES, THEY SUPPORT VOLUNTARY – EUGENICS – READ VOLUNTARY. Forgive the capitalization, but I do that for emphasis, not to scream.

please stop removing these links, you are biased, emotional, unfair, unbalanced and lacking in neutrality. These are not personal attacks, these are stated facts that you have not read the web site.

These links are to stay, and you have no right to remove them. They are valid and legit links, Do not abuse your privileges on this project.

I ask you to bring arbitration and discussion on this fact. Your censorship, bias and personal agenda will not win. Go to right now and find one place on this site that says prometheism supports COERCIVE EUGENICS. you will not find it anywhere. clearly states that it only supports voluntary eugenics. Read the sworn oath on

The Sworn Oath of Prometheism (front page of

We Prometheans are voluntarily coming together to purposefully direct the creation of a new post-human species. A species with higher intellect, creativity, consciousness and love of ones people. A communion of intellect and beauty, for the simple reason that it can be done. This creation is what gives us purpose and meaning. No other justification is required for this program to advance our Promethean species.

Next I want you to read the Principles of prometheism

2. Our Promethean Species embraces Conscious Evolution

Our immediate aim is to create a neo-eugenically enhanced race that will eventually become a new, superior species with whatever scientific means are available at the present time. In the short-term, this will be achieved via neo-eugenics, ie. voluntary positive eugenics, human cloning, germ-line engineering, gene therapy and genetic engineering.

5. Total Freedom, Liberty and Self-Determination

Our Libertarian religious nation is founded on the principles of total freedom of speech (including offensive language and language which hurts peoples feelings), freedom of thought, the right to bear arms, liberty, progress, productivity and the pursuit of individual happiness.

nation is VOLUNTARY ONLY. We REJECT all totalitarianism and believe COERCIVE neo-eugenics is counter to the ideal of individual freedom. The promethean governments sole purpose is to protect the rights of the individual. We DO NOT wish to STERILIZE anyone or FORCE anyone to practice neo-eugenics.

DNA or genetic capital is the most valuable commodity in the universe. Our primary goal is to promote positive and voluntary neo-eugenics by channeling national resources to the best, brightest and most creative.

We Define neo-eugenics as conscious evolution (these words are interchangeable). Purposefully directed evolution via voluntary positive neo-eugenics (including voluntary selective breeding), cloning, genetic engineering and ultimately any and all transhuman technologies. Neo-Eugenics means harnessing all science, technology and knowledge available now or in the future, guiding it with spirituality, ethical considerations and higher consciousness, ultimately towards achieving total and unlimited self transformation. The term Neo-Eugenics embodies the sciences and philosophies involved in Biotechnology, Extropy and Transhumanism all merged in a philosophy of spiritual Conscious Evolution.

This is from the principles of Last Updated: 3/13/03 this means that prometheism is NOT FRINGE, it does not support the fringe philosophy of FORCED COERCIVE EUGENICS. Again the capitalization is not screaming, its meant to provide emphasis. Also my comments about you not being very knowledgeable about and are not meant as personal insults or personal attacks, but as an observation.

Dnagod 20:06, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

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Talk:Transhumanism/Archive 2 – Wikipedia, the free …

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Intentional Communities Asheville (Asheville, NC) – Meetup

 Intentional Communities  Comments Off on Intentional Communities Asheville (Asheville, NC) – Meetup
Jun 172016

What is your vision of living in an intentional community?

We are a diverse and welcoming bunch of communitarians on a common journey to create intentional communities in the Asheville, NC area. Among us are outdoors enthusiasts and hikers, tutors, nurses, young families, retirees, entrepreneurs, builders, and more! Some want intergenerational communities, whilesomepreferelder communities, includinga variety of diet preferences, settings, and lifestyles. We welcome women, men, LGBT membersanyone interested in building intentional community with shared governance.

The purpose of the Intentional Communities Asheville Meetup is to define the various ways we wish to live in community, share information on available resources, explore existing projects and opportunities in our area, meet and learn from those who have experienced creating and living in community, and support groups of people as they begin to form their individual projects.

We will focus on providing ample opportunities to make connections with others seeking community through frequent get-togethers including social events and meetups on various topics related to creating and living in intentional communities.

Whether you are already living in an intentional community, in the process of creating one, or just starting out on your journey and eager to learn more, Asheville Intentional Communities Meetup wants to enable people to find and form their village!

Pleasejoin us! We meet regularly and often!

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Intentional Communities Asheville (Asheville, NC) – Meetup

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 Posthumanism  Comments Off on Posthumanism
Mar 272016

In the space of possible modes of being, the ones accessible to human beings form a tiny subset. Our biological constraints impose real limitations on what thoughts we can think, what emotions and enjoyment we can experience, and how long we can remain healthy and alive.

Just as much of the richness of human life and human relationships is foreclosed to the comprehension of even the smartest chimpanzee, so too there are possible values that lie beyond our own comprehension – this is, at least, seems like a modest and plausible conjecture. These values are currently unrealizable. If and when we learn how to develop new capacities and extend the ones we have, we might be able to access these wider regions of modes of being, and perhaps discover some that are fantastically desirable.

To significantly modify our biological constraints, we will need to use technology. Many of the requisite technologies can be foreseen, but we do not know how long it will take to develop them.

Posthumanism (or transhumanism to use the standard term) is the view that we ought to try to develop – in ways that are safe and ethical – technological means that will enable the exploration of the posthuman realm of possible modes of being. Transhumanists believe that all people should have access to such technologies. The choice of whether to use them, however, should normally rest with the individual.

The word “posthumanism” has also been used in other senses, for example to refer to a critique of humanism, emphasizing a change in our understanding of the self and its relations to the natural world, society, and human artifacts. Transhumanism, by contrast, advocates not so much a change in how we think of ourselves, but rather a vision of how we might concretely use technology and other means to change what we are – not to replace ourselves with something else, but to realize our potential to become something more than we currently are. Just as a child grows up and develops the capacities of an adult, new technological options might one day allow adults to continue to develop and to mature into beings with posthuman capacities.

The human species is still young on this planet, and it is possible that we have as yet seen little of what is possible for us to become. But success in this enterprise is far from assured, because we still have only our rather limited human wisdom and compassion to guide us through the transition. To develop greater practical and moral understanding would seem to be a first priority. This, along with development of human enhancement tools, efforts to reduce catastrophic risks, and work to alleviate the more immediate sources of human suffering, is enough the fill the days of responsible transhumanists and others who strive to improve the human condition.

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikiquote

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikiquote
Mar 192016

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, relating to the rights to free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition, and free exercise of religion, was enacted as part of the Bill of Rights, its ratification occuring on December 15, 1791 with the support of the Virginia Legislature.

The First Amendment, as passed by the House and Senate and later ratified by the States, reads:

Reasonable minds can disagree about how to apply the Religion Clauses in a given case. But the goal of the Clauses is clear: to carry out the Founders plan of preserving religious liberty to the fullest extent possible in a pluralistic society. By enforcing the Clauses, we have kept religion a matter for the individual conscience, not for the prosecutor or bureaucrat. At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish. […] Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?

First Amendment to the United States Constitution – Wikiquote

Annenberg Classroom – Fourth Amendment

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Annenberg Classroom – Fourth Amendment
Mar 102016

Fourth Amendment – The Text The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment – The Meaning Protection against Unreasonable Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials. A search can mean everything from a frisking by a police officer to a blood test to a search of an individuals home or car. A seizure occurs when the government takes control of an individual or something in his or her possession. Items that are seized often are used as evidence when the individual is charged with a crime.

The Fourth Amendment imposes certain limitations on police investigating a crime and prevents the use of illegally obtained evidence at trial. But it does not restrict all searches. For example, courts have ruled that school officials may search school lockers and require that students who participate in extracurricular activities undergo random drug testing.

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Annenberg Classroom – Fourth Amendment

Ethical Egoism – Seven Pillars Institute

 Ethical Egoism  Comments Off on Ethical Egoism – Seven Pillars Institute
Feb 112016

September 5th, 2010 by Kara in Dictionary, Moral Terms

Ethical egoism is the moral doctrine that everyone ought to act to promote his or her own interests exclusively. In contrast to psychological egoism, ethical egoism makes a claim about how people should behave rather than how they actually behave. Perhaps the most notable advocates of ethical egoism were Ayn Rand and Max Stirner, each of whom argued (although in slightly different ways) that pursuit of ones self-interest should always be a persons primary goal.

Ethical egoism is often equated with selfishness, the disregard of others interests in favor of ones own interests. However, ethical egoism cannot be coherently equated with selfishness because it is often in ones self-interest to help others or to refrain from harming them. For example, Rand contends that it would be absurd to claim that a husband who spends a fortune to cure his wife of an illness does so entirely on her behalf.1 For an ethical egoist, the motivation to help family members and friends is ones personal connection to them and the distress that would be caused by their misfortune or suffering.

The kinds of deeds we perform for our friends and loved ones are not to be done for everyone, however. Rand describes such actions as a reward which men have to earn by means of their virtues and which one cannot grant to mere acquaintances or strangers.2 Complete strangers are not worthy of this special treatment. Nevertheless, Rand does advocate showing all people a generalized respect and good will which amounts to nonintervention; we should avoid arbitrarily doing harm to others, but our duties to aid them are also minimal.3

Although ethical egoism has some appeal (especially in its ability to smoothly reconcile morality and self-interest), the theory has been almost universally rejected as an acceptable ethical theory. One of the most basic criticisms is that ethical egoists typically misrepresent altruism, the doctrine that opposes ethical egoism and basis morality on a concern for others interests. If one embraces altruism, Rand claims that the individual must also embrace low self-esteem, a disrespectful attitude toward others, and a nightmare view of existence.4 Stirner marks a similar mischaracterization of altruism in his description of charitable actions: You love men, therefore you torture the individual man, the egoist; your philanthropy (love of men) is the tormenting of men.5 Stirner and Rand do not consider the benefits of helping others; they recognize altruism only as an impediment to ones individual goals. The problem with their view is that morality concerns all individuals, and the general welfare of others, even if it is not the exclusive focus of morality, is an indispensable component of any comprehensive ethical theory.

Arguments supporting ethical egoism, especially Rands, also tend to rely on a false dilemma. Altruism is considered the only alternative view to ethical egoism, and once it is dismissed, ethical egoism is endorsed. This analysis is insufficient because it omits discussion and refutation of a variety of other ethical theories. Establishing that extreme altruism is an undesirable ethical theory does not provide a sufficient basis for endorsing ethical egoism over all other alternatives.

These problems might be resolvable with further argumentation, but unfortunately, they are not the only difficulties with ethical egoism. Another is that an ethical egoist would not want ethical egoism to be universalized. If it were universalized, others would be deterred from acting altruistically toward the egoist, which would be against the egoists self-interests. Hence, it seems to be in ones interests to endorse the theory personally but not publicly, which leads to an intriguing conceptual problem: how can ethical egoism be considered morally binding if its advocates do not want it to be universally applied?

Another clear problem is that ethical egoism offers no means of resolving conflicts of interest. If ethical egoism were more widely followed, sooner or later, someones interests would conflict with anothers interests. In such a circumstance, it would be impossible for both to pursue their own interests simultaneously, but how does one decide whose interests take priority? Ethical egoism does not provide an answer.

A final and perhaps decisive objection to ethical egoism comes from James Rachels. He equates ethical egoism with racism in terms of its conceptual construction. Racists divide all people into groups and treat people differently based on the trait of ones race but have no justification for concluding that their own race is any better than others, rendering racism an arbitrary doctrine. Similarly, ethical egoists demand that we divide the world into two categories of peopleourselves and all the restand that we regard the interests of those in the first group as more important than the interests of those in the second group.6 The egoist can offer no justification for the distinction between the two groups. Hence, Rachels concludes that ethical egoism is an arbitrary doctrine and that others should be given the same moral consideration as ourselves because their merits and desires are comparable to our own.

Overall, ethical egoism is a widely-rejected ethical theory with few contemporary advocates. Developing ethical egoism into a coherent, functional ethical theory would require massive revision to the original principle.


Ethical Egoism – Seven Pillars Institute

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Positive and Negative Liberty (Stanford Encyclopedia of …

 Liberty  Comments Off on Positive and Negative Liberty (Stanford Encyclopedia of …
Jul 242015

Imagine you are driving a car through town, and you come to a fork in the road. You turn left, but no one was forcing you to go one way or the other. Next you come to a crossroads. You turn right, but no one was preventing you from going left or straight on. There is no traffic to speak of and there are no diversions or police roadblocks. So you seem, as a driver, to be completely free. But this picture of your situation might change quite dramatically if we consider that the reason you went left and then right is that you’re addicted to cigarettes and you’re desperate to get to the tobacconists before it closes. Rather than driving, you feel you are being driven, as your urge to smoke leads you uncontrollably to turn the wheel first to the left and then to the right. Moreover, you’re perfectly aware that your turning right at the crossroads means you’ll probably miss a train that was to take you to an appointment you care about very much. You long to be free of this irrational desire that is not only threatening your longevity but is also stopping you right now from doing what you think you ought to be doing.

This story gives us two contrasting ways of thinking of liberty. On the one hand, one can think of liberty as the absence of obstacles external to the agent. You are free if no one is stopping you from doing whatever you might want to do. In the above story you appear, in this sense, to be free. On the other hand, one can think of liberty as the presence of control on the part of the agent. To be free, you must be self-determined, which is to say that you must be able to control your own destiny in your own interests. In the above story you appear, in this sense, to be unfree: you are not in control of your own destiny, as you are failing to control a passion that you yourself would rather be rid of and which is preventing you from realizing what you recognize to be your true interests. One might say that while on the first view liberty is simply about how many doors are open to the agent, on the second view it is more about going through the right doors for the right reasons.

In a famous essay first published in 1958, Isaiah Berlin called these two concepts of liberty negative and positive respectively (Berlin 1969).[1] The reason for using these labels is that in the first case liberty seems to be a mere absence of something (i.e. of obstacles, barriers, constraints or interference from others), whereas in the second case it seems to require the presence of something (i.e. of control, self-mastery, self-determination or self-realization). In Berlin’s words, we use the negative concept of liberty in attempting to answer the question What is the area within which the subject a person or group of persons is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons?, whereas we use the positive concept in attempting to answer the question What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that? (1969, pp. 12122).

It is useful to think of the difference between the two concepts in terms of the difference between factors that are external and factors that are internal to the agent. While theorists of negative freedom are primarily interested in the degree to which individuals or groups suffer interference from external bodies, theorists of positive freedom are more attentive to the internal factors affecting the degree to which individuals or groups act autonomously. Given this difference, one might be tempted to think that a political philosopher should concentrate exclusively on negative freedom, a concern with positive freedom being more relevant to psychology or individual morality than to political and social institutions. This, however, would be premature, for among the most hotly debated issues in political philosophy are the following: Is the positive concept of freedom a political concept? Can individuals or groups achieve positive freedom through political action? Is it possible for the state to promote the positive freedom of citizens on their behalf? And if so, is it desirable for the state to do so? The classic texts in the history of western political thought are divided over how these questions should be answered: theorists in the classical liberal tradition, like Constant, Humboldt, Spencer and Mill, are typically classed as answering no and therefore as defending a negative concept of political freedom; theorists that are critical of this tradition, like Rousseau, Hegel, Marx and T.H. Green, are typically classed as answering yes and as defending a positive concept of political freedom.

In its political form, positive freedom has often been thought of as necessarily achieved through a collectivity. Perhaps the clearest case is that of Rousseau’s theory of freedom, according to which individual freedom is achieved through participation in the process whereby one’s community exercises collective control over its own affairs in accordance with the general will. Put in the simplest terms, one might say that a democratic society is a free society because it is a self-determined society, and that a member of that society is free to the extent that he or she participates in its democratic process. But there are also individualist applications of the concept of positive freedom. For example, it is sometimes said that a government should aim actively to create the conditions necessary for individuals to be self-sufficient or to achieve self-realization. The negative concept of freedom, on the other hand, is most commonly assumed in liberal defences of the constitutional liberties typical of liberal-democratic societies, such as freedom of movement, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, and in arguments against paternalist or moralist state intervention. It is also often invoked in defences of the right to private property, although some have contested the claim that private property necessarily enhances negative liberty (Cohen, 1991, 1995).

After Berlin, the most widely cited and best developed analyses of the negative concept of liberty include Hayek (1960), Day (1971), Oppenheim (1981), Miller (1983) and Steiner (1994). Among the most prominent contemporary analyses of the positive concept of liberty are Milne (1968), Gibbs (1976), C. Taylor (1979) and Christman (1991, 2005).

Many liberals, including Berlin, have suggested that the positive concept of liberty carries with it a danger of authoritarianism. Consider the fate of a permanent and oppressed minority. Because the members of this minority participate in a democratic process characterized by majority rule, they might be said to be free on the grounds that they are members of a society exercising self-control over its own affairs. But they are oppressed, and so are surely unfree. Moreover, it is not necessary to see a society as democratic in order to see it as self-controlled; one might instead adopt an organic conception of society, according to which the collectivity is to be thought of as a living organism, and one might believe that this organism will only act rationally, will only be in control of itself, when its various parts are brought into line with some rational plan devised by its wise governors (who, to extend the metaphor, might be thought of as the organism’s brain). In this case, even the majority might be oppressed in the name of liberty.

Such justifications of oppression in the name of liberty are no mere products of the liberal imagination, for there are notorious historical examples of their endorsement by authoritarian political leaders. Berlin, himself a liberal and writing during the cold war, was clearly moved by the way in which the apparently noble ideal of freedom as self-mastery or self-realization had been twisted and distorted by the totalitarian dictators of the twentieth century most notably those of the Soviet Union so as to claim that they, rather than the liberal West, were the true champions of freedom. The slippery slope towards this paradoxical conclusion begins, according to Berlin, with the idea of a divided self. To illustrate: the smoker in our story provides a clear example of a divided self, for she is both a self that desires to get to an appointment and a self that desires to get to the tobacconists, and these two desires are in conflict. We can now enrich this story in a plausible way by adding that one of these selves the keeper of appointments is superior to the other: the self that is a keeper of appointments is thus a higher self, and the self that is a smoker is a lower self. The higher self is the rational, reflecting self, the self that is capable of moral action and of taking responsibility for what she does. This is the true self, for rational reflection and moral responsibility are the features of humans that mark them off from other animals. The lower self, on the other hand, is the self of the passions, of unreflecting desires and irrational impulses. One is free, then, when one’s higher, rational self is in control and one is not a slave to one’s passions or to one’s merely empirical self. The next step down the slippery slope consists in pointing out that some individuals are more rational than others, and can therefore know best what is in their and others’ rational interests. This allows them to say that by forcing people less rational than themselves to do the rational thing and thus to realize their true selves, they are in fact liberating them from their merely empirical desires. Occasionally, Berlin says, the defender of positive freedom will take an additional step that consists in conceiving of the self as wider than the individual and as represented by an organic social whole a tribe, a race, a church, a state, the great society of the living and the dead and the yet unborn. The true interests of the individual are to be identified with the interests of this whole, and individuals can and should be coerced into fulfilling these interests, for they would not resist coercion if they were as rational and wise as their coercers. Once I take this view, Berlin says, I am in a position to ignore the actual wishes of men or societies, to bully, oppress, torture in the name, and on behalf, of their real selves, in the secure knowledge that whatever is the true goal of man … must be identical with his freedom (Berlin 1969, pp. 13233).

Those in the negative camp try to cut off this line of reasoning at the first step, by denying that there is any necessary relation between one’s freedom and one’s desires. Since one is free to the extent that one is externally unprevented from doing things, they say, one can be free to do what one does not desire to do. If being free meant being unprevented from realizing one’s desires, then one could, again paradoxically, reduce one’s unfreedom by coming to desire fewer of the things one is unfree to do. One could become free simply by contenting oneself with one’s situation. A perfectly contented slave is perfectly free to realize all of her desires. Nevertheless, we tend to think of slavery as the opposite of freedom. More generally, freedom is not to be confused with happiness, for in logical terms there is nothing to stop a free person from being unhappy or an unfree person from being happy. The happy person might feel free, but whether they are free is another matter (Day, 1970). Negative theorists of freedom therefore tend to say not that having freedom means being unprevented from doing as one desires, but that it means being unprevented from doing whatever one might desire to do.

Some theorists of positive freedom bite the bullet and say that the contented slave is indeed free that in order to be free the individual must learn, not so much to dominate certain merely empirical desires, but to rid herself of them. She must, in other words, remove as many of her desires as possible. As Berlin puts it, if I have a wounded leg there are two methods of freeing myself from pain. One is to heal the wound. But if the cure is too difficult or uncertain, there is another method. I can get rid of the wound by cutting off my leg (1969, pp. 13536). This is the strategy of liberation adopted by ascetics, stoics and Buddhist sages. It involves a retreat into an inner citadel a soul or a purely noumenal self in which the individual is immune to any outside forces. But this state, even if it can be achieved, is not one that liberals would want to call one of freedom, for it again risks masking important forms of oppression. It is, after all, often in coming to terms with excessive external limitations in society that individuals retreat into themselves, pretending to themselves that they do not really desire the worldly goods or pleasures they have been denied. Moreover, the removal of desires may also be an effect of outside forces, such as brainwashing, which we should hardly want to call a realization of freedom.

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Positive and Negative Liberty (Stanford Encyclopedia of …

Eugenics – a planned evolution for life

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Jul 212015

Envision every human as equal at birth; in beauty, health, mental health, social strength and intelligence. A designed evolutionary system with goals and planning would provide all of these for every human. Only then can a truly egalitarian society be obtained.

It is natural (ethical, moral, expected) behavior for the human species to modify natural processes to its advantage. As the human species learns more and more about the genetic structure of the human, and its implications in form and culture, it will apply that knowledge (make use of it). To do so is in the nature of the human. Mistakes will be made. That, also, is human. Some will use that knowledge to take unfair advantage of others. That, also, is human. The human will then learn from and overcome from those mistakes and take steps to continuously perfect the application. That, also, is human.

The first requirement for any application of genetic knowledge to the welfare and survival of the species is that each such application be technically justified beforehand. This requires that the application be pretested for validity and tested for adverse side effects. It must then be shown to have a provable net positive effect, with adequate safety margins.

The second requirement for any application of genetic knowledge to the welfare and survival of the species is that each such application be morally and ethically justified beforehand. This requires that the application be pretested for its inherent morality and all social side effects to be evaluated. It must then be shown to have a provable net positive morality, with adequate safety margins. Only then may it be applied.


It was learned from A Basis for Morality Conclusion 2 and Conclusion 4 as directed to the human species:

Since the product of life is survival, normal (expected, natural, moral, ethical) behavior within the human species is that which provides the optimum opportunity for the species survival. Individual or group behavior which supplies less than optimum opportunity for species survival, is perverted (not natural, not normal, not expected, unethical, immoral).

It was also learned from Conclusion 3 that:

The end result of life is the survival of the species (community) as opposed to the survival of the individual. In the natural process of life, the behavior and survival of the individual are subservient to the species welfare.

Considering those two conclusions as provable fact, the following text begins:

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Eugenics – a planned evolution for life

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Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self-Government

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Apr 082015

What is Libertarianism?

Libertarians see the individual as the basic, most essential element of society. The word roughly means believer in liberty. Libertarians believe that each individual owns his or her own life and property and has the right to make his own choices about how to live his life as long as he respects the rights of others to do the same.

Liberty is one of the central lessons of world history. Virtually all the progress the human race has enjoyed during the past few centuries is due to the increasing acceptance of free markets, civil liberties and self-ownership.

Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against the use of force against others, except in defense) and tolerance (honoring and respecting the peaceful choices of others).

Click here to view some definitions of libertarianism.

Libertarians are not left or right or a combination of the two. Libertarians believe that on every issue you have the right to decide for yourself whats best for you and to act on that belief, so long as you simply respect the right of other people to do the same.

How does this compare with the left and right? Todays liberals tend to value personal liberty, but want significant government control of the economy. Todays conservatives tend to favor economic freedom, but want to use the government to uphold traditional values. Libertarians, in contrast, support both personal and economic liberty.

Libertarianism is the only political movement that consistently advocates a high degree of both personal and economic liberty.

Thomas Jefferson

Modern libertarianism has multiple roots, but perhaps the most important one is the minimal-government republicanism of Americas founding revolutionaries like Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists. The core ideals of libertarianism that all men are created equal and are endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be seen in the Declaration of Independence and in the limited government established in the Constitution.

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Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self-Government

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The Skanner News – Commentary: Free Speech Hypocrisy

 Free Speech  Comments Off on The Skanner News – Commentary: Free Speech Hypocrisy
Apr 052015

Details Written by Lee A Daniels, NNPA Columnist Published: 03 April 2015

This winter the medias been ablaze with stories about racist, homophobic and sexist slurs being hurled this way and that by college students and other adults.

Revealingly, those that have captured the most attention all involve Black Americans as the targets of the racist speech or action: the members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of one prominent White fraternity singing a racist ditty that referenced lynching a Black man; the sexist slur hurled against adolescent baseball star MoNe Davis by a college baseball athlete, and the attempt by the Sons of Confederate Veterans of Texas to force that state to produce a license plate with their symbol, the Confederate battle flag, on it. This latest effort by Confederate sympathizers to obscure the racist rebellions ineradicable stain of treason in the defense of slavery, as one analyst wrote, has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case last week.

The controversies have provoked a growing volume of commentary and opinion columns. Most of those Ive seen have declared that, while offensive speech and ideas are despicable, they must be tolerated in the name of freedom of expression so that society can benefit in the short- and long-term from the free flow of ideas.

Im a free-speech advocate myself. But in recent years, whenever these free-speech controversies have burst into the open, Ive increasingly noticed some important things missing from the general run of commentary and opinion columns. For one thing, I dont see them grappling with the question of why those who spout the slurs do so.

For example, shouldnt we be examining why a group of White college students, most of whom come from middle-class and upper-middle-class families, would gleefully traffick in expressions of racism?

And why a White college baseball player would feel the need to use a slur of sexual degeneracy against MoNe Davis, the 14-year-old Black American girl whose athletic prowess and off-the-field poise has won her well-deserved national attention?

Why should any public entity sanction the lies Confederate sympathizers continue to spout? The Confederacys own documents among them, the Confederate Constitution of 1861, and the individual ordinances of secession of each of the Confederate states make clear its driving force was the maintenance and expansion of its slave empire. If states that have these revenue-generating vanity-plate programs must open them to Confederate sympathizers, must they also accept the requests of drivers who want plates bearing the flags of other systems of extraordinary evil such as the Nazi flag, or the flag of ISIS too?

Part of whats bothering me is that when these controversies explode, I dont see the fierce condemnation of the values of the wrongdoers and their parents, neighborhoods and entire racial group thats standard procedure whenever some Black youth has done something wrong. Instead, I see many free speech advocates rush right past any consideration of the pain the offensive words cause to loftily order the individual and the group targets of the hate speech to ignore it or be better than the bigots.

In doing so, they deliberately ignore the reality that the old saying sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you has always been only partially true. Black American history is replete with many tragic episodes of racist slurs used to provoke and sustain racist violence. And now, the virulent online expressions of hatred against women whom misogynists feel are too assertive underscore the fact that sometimes offensive speech isnt just expression. Sometimes its used as a weapon to intimidate its target into silence.

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The Skanner News – Commentary: Free Speech Hypocrisy

Cash leads to controversy

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Cash leads to controversy
Mar 272015

The old conundrum of “free speech for me, but not for thee” is back before the nation’s highest court.

Legislative lust for cash led to a program in Texas that allowed motorists, for a $30 fee, to put their own group messages on their license plates.

But the free exercise of speech ran into a heckler’s veto, the result of which is a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the state can veto the presence of a Confederate flag logo on a motorist’s plates.

In oral arguments this week, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller said the state can veto the flag because “the First Amendment does not mean that a motorist can compel any government to place its imprimatur of the Confederate flag on its license plate.”

R. James George Jr., who represents the Sons of Confederate Veterans, countered that it’s not the state speaking, but the individual who carries his own personal message on his license plate. Besides, the state allows more than 400 specialty plates and all those messages can’t reflect state speech.

Does that means Nazis or dopers could put “Swastikas” or “Make Pot Legal” on Texas license places, asked Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Sure does, George replied. Freedom means freedom for everybody, he contended, and the state policy allowing individual groups to design their own messages applies equally to all groups.

News accounts indicate that Texas specialty license plates tout everything from favorite schools to political slogans. The state has rarely rejected a proposed design, and it might not have rejected the Confederate logo if opponents hadn’t protested at a motor vehicles department board meeting. When they said they found the logo personally offense, board members unanimously voted to prohibit it.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued, alleging the state is engaged in blatant viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. Under the viewpoint discrimination doctrine, government is not allowed to pick and choose the speech it will allow.

The Confederate flag means different things to different people. It’s no surprise that a lawyer for the NAACP calls it a “powerful symbol of the oppression of black people.” After all, the Confederate flag was the symbol of the Southern slave states during the Civil War.

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Cash leads to controversy

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"NATO's bombing no obstacle to cooperation" – FM

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Mar 192015

Source: Tanjug

BRUSSELS — With the signing of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), Serbia “entered a new phase in relations with NATO,” said Ivica Dacic and Bratislav Gasic.

“Our neutrality is not called into question by this plan,” Dacic, who serves as Serbia’s foreign minister and deputy premier, told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

He said that “no one can change what happened 16 years ago when NATO bombed Serbia” – but that “it should not be an obstacle to building partnership relations in the future.”

Stoltenberg, said Dacic, recently spoke with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, “so further development of relations with the alliance should be expected.”

He said that he received guarantees from Stoltenberg that “no kind of Kosovo’s armed forces will have access to the north of Kosovo,”, recalling that the previous NATO chief gave similar guarantees.

Dacic said that IPAP “opens the possibility of cooperation between Serbia and NATO in many fields, including science, public diplomacy and participation in international peacekeeping operations.”

“These, of course, are not combat operations,” remarked Dacic, and explained that it means cooperation in rescue operations during natural disasters.

He said that NATO was “also important for Serbia because of KFOR and the support to the Brussels agreement,” and recalled that the KFOR commander recently met with the Serbian army chief.

Dacic said that his meeting with Stoltenberg touched on many issues, “including relations with Russia and Serbia’s role as chairman of the OSCE.”

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"NATO's bombing no obstacle to cooperation" – FM

Find hidden data on your computer with PCFerret

 Tor Browser  Comments Off on Find hidden data on your computer with PCFerret
Mar 102015

How well do you know your PC, the data it holds, how its really being used by others? PCFerret is a freeware tool for Windows Vista and later which claims it can help you find out.

Despite the intriguing pitch, PCFerret opens with a relatively ordinary system information report. It covers the core details youd expect — hardware, network, drive statistics, user accounts etc — and can be saved to HTML for easy sharing, but it cant compete with the more specialist competition.

The “Browser Media” tool is more interesting, scanning your browser caches (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera. Safari, Sea Monkey) for images or movies, then displaying thumbnails of the results. Could be useful for checking what others are viewing online.

A similar “Cached URLs” module checks your browser caches, and raises alerts for any URLs which contain suspect keywords. We found this raised lots of false alarms (hint: “pov” isnt just used in porn) but you can at least customize the keyword list, hopefully making it more accurate.

The Find Files By Type function is a highlight, scanning your PC and reporting on files whose content doesnt match their file extension. If someone has downloaded videos and renamed them to have a ZIP or ISO extension, say, this module should raise the alert. You could use it to detect encrypted containers, and for many other purposes, for example detecting malicious executable code which has been disguised as something else.

Theres a similar security tool in the programs “ADS Selection” feature, which scans your system to report on files with alternate data streams.

Bonus extras include a secure password creator, a file hash generator, a Tor Browser detector, and a module for managing Windows reboot operations (deleting, moving or renaming files when your system restarts).

PCFerret is an odd mix of features. It feels like the developer knows most of the individual modules arent quite as good as the best of the freeware competition, but instead of improving them, hes just bolted on something else.

But, we still think its worth downloading for the “Find Files By Type” module alone. This gives you much more control than similar programs, and makes it easy to find archives, images, hidden scripts, Registry files and more.

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Find hidden data on your computer with PCFerret

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Judge Won't Force Twitter to Reveal Anonymous Trolls

 Misc  Comments Off on Judge Won't Force Twitter to Reveal Anonymous Trolls
Mar 092015

Who is the anonymous person tweeting that Music Group Macao CEO Uli Behringer engages with prostitutes and evades taxes?

The company which supplies audio equipment including loudspeakers, amplifiers and mixers is no closer to finding out after a federal judge in San Francisco refused to order Twitter to reveal the individual(s) behind @NotUliBehringer and @FakeUli.

In a ruling on Monday, U.S. District Judge Laurel Beeler writes how she is concerned that breaching anonymity “would unduly chill speech and deter other critics from exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Yes, anonymous trolls enjoy rights too.

Last April, Music Group Macao was so concerned with them that it filed a defamation lawsuit against “John Does” over tweets that said the company “designs its products to break in 3-6 months” and “encourages domestic violence and misogyny.”

After a judge in Washington granted expedited discovery, the decision on whether or not to enforce subpoenas against Twitter landed with Judge Beeler, who got some encouragement by Twitter to make a First Amendment analysis before it blabbed.

She does so with gusto.

“The challenged speech here consists mainly of flatly derogatory statements about Music Group’s CEO, and, apparently to a lesser degree, some criticism of the company’s products that likely constitutes legitimate commercial criticism,” the judge writes.

Unflattering tweets about Music Group’s business practices and products are clearly protected by the First Amendment, she adds.

As for tweets that Behringer evades taxes or travels internationally while concealing things inside his body, Beeler says, “The first comment is troubling, the latter merely crass. But they are both onetime comments. Even the tax-evasion remark would likely be read as what it is: one rant among countless others from someone with an obvious grudge against Music Group’s CEO. The court does not think that, in the eyes of an ordinary person, this one-time comment would lower the CEO in the community’s estimation.”

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Judge Won't Force Twitter to Reveal Anonymous Trolls

Volokh Conspiracy: Hows this for a working definition of a libertarian?

 Misc  Comments Off on Volokh Conspiracy: Hows this for a working definition of a libertarian?
Feb 272015

Ilyas post about recent libertarian books of interest raised the question in the comments of what makes someone a libertarian. I doubt any two libertarians agree on the exact boundaries of libertarianism, but hows this for a working definition: A libertarian is someone who generally opposes government interference with and regulation of civil society, even when the result of such government action would be to clamp down on things the individual in question personally dislikes, finds offensive, or morally disapproves of.

Thus, for example, a libertarian who hates smoking opposes smoking bans in private restaurants, a libertarian who thinks homosexual sodomy is immoral nevertheless opposes sodomy laws, a libertarian who finds certain forms of hate speech offensive still opposes hate speech laws, a libertarian who believes in eating natural foods opposes bans or special taxes on processed foods, and a libertarian who thinks that all employers should pay a living wage nevertheless opposes living wage legislation. It doesnt matter whether the libertarian holds these positions because he believes in natural rights, for utilitarian reasons, or because he thinks God wants us to live in a libertarian society.

David Bernstein is the George Mason University Foundation Professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA. He is the author of Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights Against Progressive Reform (2011); You Can’t Say That! The Growing Threat to Civil Liberties from Antidiscrimination Laws (2003);

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Volokh Conspiracy: Hows this for a working definition of a libertarian?

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution