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Old 12-03-2012, 02:20 PM #379
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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
Do you not believe that liberalism (at least in ideology) is a movement away from "government for the good of the ruler" towards "government for the good of the all people"?

And, yes, unfortunately history has shown us that good governance if few and far between.
In ideology, everything is for the good of the people. Even in insane eugenic ideologies, something is being done for the good of society. The real test is whether or not your ideology works.

So we are on the same page, I was saying that there have been more good rulers than bad. If the opposite was true, we wouldn't have empires existing for centuries at a time. We tend to focus on the bad, especially when it helps reinforce our own ideology. X sucks because of rulers like A B and C.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:57 PM #380
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
In ideology, everything is for the good of the people. Even in insane eugenic ideologies, something is being done for the good of society. The real test is whether or not your ideology works.
Despotism ideology is for the good of the people?
Totalitarianism ideology is for the good of the people?

I would argue that at the core of these ideologies is rooted in the ability for the tyrant to exploit people for their own personal gain.

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So we are on the same page, I was saying that there have been more good rulers than bad. If the opposite was true, we wouldn't have empires existing for centuries at a time. We tend to focus on the bad, especially when it helps reinforce our own ideology. X sucks because of rulers like A B and C.
If we are judging governments on this dichotomy of ruler-oriented vs people-oriented, I would say that we can only judge good and bad by expectations. In comparison to Utopian theories like the Good City, we are far from there. In comparison to compete depravity, we are doing fairly well.

Also, I'm not sure the existence of empires necessarily implies good governance, simply good control. Again, if we are using this dichotomy of ruler-oriented or people-oriented, I would say that most successful empires have done poorly.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:21 PM #381
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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
Despotism ideology is for the good of the people?
Totalitarianism ideology is for the good of the people?

I would argue that at the core of these ideologies is rooted in the ability for the tyrant to exploit people for their own personal gain.
1) absolute authority is not indicative of mal intent.
2) State controlled society(all aspects of public/private life) is also not indicative of mal intent.
3) mal intent is mal intent. It can and will arise in all ideologies through the corrupt.
4) Put simply: Power does not corrupt, but the corrupt always seek power.

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If we are judging governments on this dichotomy of ruler-oriented vs people-oriented, I would say that we can only judge good and bad by expectations. In comparison to Utopian theories like the Good City, we are far from there. In comparison to compete depravity, we are doing fairly well.
I prefer to introduce a third option. Here are all three:
1) Good of the totality(Ruler & subjects)
2) Good of the people (their desires met; happiness)
3) Good of the ruler/ruling class (their desires met;happiness).

Utopian theories are unanimously garbage. I refuse to take them into consideration when measuring societies. Using Utopian ideals as a locus always leads to fatalism. I'll pass on that.

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Also, I'm not sure the existence of empires necessarily implies good governance, simply good control. Again, if we are using this dichotomy of ruler-oriented or people-oriented, I would say that most successful empires have done poorly.
What is the difference between governance and control? I suppose the liberal vision of government is that it exists to secure basic rights and act as a soft centralized body required to interact with other nations.

Anyway. On what grounds can you say that all empires have done poorly in governing for the people?
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:13 PM #382
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
1) absolute authority is not indicative of mal intent.
2) State controlled society(all aspects of public/private life) is also not indicative of mal intent.
3) mal intent is mal intent. It can and will arise in all ideologies through the corrupt.
4) Put simply: Power does not corrupt, but the corrupt always seek power.
I think we will have a better discussion if I stick to terms used by Aristotle. In my opinion, despotism implies ruler-orientation. But let me change despotism towards oligarchy.

You claimed that all ideologies support the good of the people (even eugenics). I would say that by definition tyranys, oligarchies, and democracies don't. Because they are being defined as such.

To be clear:


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I prefer to introduce a third option. Here are all three:
1) Good of the totality(Ruler & subjects)
2) Good of the people (their desires met; happiness)
3) Good of the ruler/ruling class (their desires met;happiness).

Utopian theories are unanimously garbage. I refuse to take them into consideration when measuring societies. Using Utopian ideals as a locus always leads to fatalism. I'll pass on that.
I think by people oriented you are including the ruling class as well. The good of all. Total utility. But, for sake of conversation, we can use this classification.

By utopian theories, I simply meant perfection of our terms (presented above). In comparision to a hypothetical country completely interested in the good of totality, I would say we are far from good as far as human history is concerned.

I guess when you say more good than bad governments, ultimately that is saying that there are more good than bad football teams. In what context? By what stardard?

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What is the difference between governance and control? I suppose the liberal vision of government is that it exists to secure basic rights and act as a soft centralized body required to interact with other nations.
Good governance, as being defined by pursing the "good of the totality", differs from control, the ability to maintain power. Control can be maintained through good governance, but it can also be maintained through violence. It can also be maintained through coercion. It can be maintained through promotion of ignorance. It can also be maintained through creating conflict between multiple oppressed groups.

Due to all these other possible ways of creating a lasting empire, I would say it is false to assume that long lasting empires means good governance.

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Anyway. On what grounds can you say that all empires have done poorly in governing for the people?
That I can think of few that I would say governed "for the good of the totality". Which governments would you say have?
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:56 PM #383
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[quote=TheSilentAssassin;77413910]I think we will have a better discussion if I stick to terms used by Aristotle. In my opinion, despotism implies ruler-orientation. But let me change despotism towards oligarchy.[/IMG]

Whichever you prefer.

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You claimed that all ideologies support the good of the people (even eugenics). I would say that by definition tyranys, oligarchies, and democracies don't. Because they are being defined as such.

To be clear:
My claim was that "in theory" all ideologies support some notion of what is best for the totality. In practice, however, your point holds true.

I'm not convinced that there is a difference, in practice, between polity and mob rule.

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I think by people oriented you are including the ruling class as well. The good of all. Total utility. But, for sake of conversation, we can use this classification.
Well the people would form a ruling class whose duty is to see that the wants and happiness of their constituents are attended to. I suppose your point here is valid, but my intention is to show that it what the people deem good for themselves. I included the word happiness in parenthesis to cue you in. Sorry for being unclear.

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By utopian theories, I simply meant perfection of our terms (presented above). In comparision to a hypothetical country completely interested in the good of totality, I would say we are far from good as far as human history is concerned.
Well the primary reason that I don't want to bother with them as any sort of gauge is because they almost unanimously require a dissolution of some undesirable facet of reality in order to function.

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I guess when you say more good than bad governments, ultimately that is saying that there are more good than bad football teams. In what context? By what stardard?
Result. Intentions don't matter. The only time they are useful is when making inferences into character, especially when the subject perishes untimely.

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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
Good governance, as being defined by pursing the "good of the totality", differs from control, the ability to maintain power. Control can be maintained through good governance, but it can also be maintained through violence. It can also be maintained through coercion. It can be maintained through promotion of ignorance. It can also be maintained through creating conflict between multiple oppressed groups.
I was thinking of control in terms of an exertion of authority to meet goals(as one drives a car for example). I did not mean it as you defined it. I don't necessarily disagree with your direction, I prefer to use control in a positive light (Direction, Planning, Guidance etc).

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Due to all these other possible ways of creating a lasting empire, I would say it is false to assume that long lasting empires means good governance.
it is a combination of strong culture and good leadership. Next is resource(s) abundance. Without the former, the latter would be mismanaged and misused.

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That I can think of few that I would say governed "for the good of the totality". Which governments would you say have?
I'll shoot you a PM when I get a list together.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:06 PM #384
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:08 PM #385
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Result. Intentions don't matter. The only time they are useful is when making inferences into character, especially when the subject perishes untimely.
Results are great for comparing between governments but when saying "the whole of governments has been good" they don't help. Scores can tell us which football team in the NFL is best, but scores won't tell us how good the league as a whole is.

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it is a combination of strong culture and good leadership. Next is resource(s) abundance. Without the former, the latter would be mismanaged and misused.
What about violence, coercion, promotion of ignorance, creating conflict between multiple oppressed groups, and one hundred other reasons? I still see no reason to believe that long lasting empires means good governance when long lasting empires can be achieved through so many other means.

Also:paradox of plenty.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:34 PM #386
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Results are great for comparing between governments but when saying "the whole of governments has been good" they don't help. Scores can tell us which football team in the NFL is best, but scores won't tell us how good the league as a whole is.
I agree that it is a bit hard, there ain't exactly a yardstick here. In my personal opinion, I would wage it on how successfully the social functions as a meta-organism. I think the attainment of ideals belongs somewhere in there as well, though some tend to be impossible, even at a practical level of attainment, if not outright stupid. This is just my opinion of course. I'm sure you would beg to differ.

By the way, I said the "whole of rulers has been good" not necessarily government itself.

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What about violence, coercion, promotion of ignorance, creating conflict between multiple oppressed groups, and one hundred other reasons? I still see no reason to believe that long lasting empires means good governance when long lasting empires can be achieved through so many other means.

Also:paradox of plenty.
External or internal? I'm trying to look internally here. If we look at the behavior of leadership on a global level, well every damned one of them might look bad. This would depend on your persepective. Drawing a quick dichotomy, consider a Neitzchian Will to Power vs. Christian Agape (Aquinas' Just War Theory is a fair example of national conduct) each as a contrasting moral good.

Just to answer your question plainly, I would say that action (in this case control) intrinsically carries positive and negative emotion connotations. Instead of focusing on means associated with either connotation, shall we simply focus on ends?
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:50 PM #387
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External or internal? I'm trying to look internally here. If we look at the behavior of leadership on a global level, well every damned one of them might look bad. This would depend on your persepective. Drawing a quick dichotomy, consider a Neitzchian Will to Power vs. Christian Agape (Aquinas' Just War Theory is a fair example of national conduct) each as a contrasting moral good.

Just to answer your question plainly, I would say that action (in this case control) intrinsically carries positive and negative emotion connotations. Instead of focusing on means associated with either connotation, shall we simply focus on ends?
No internally.

Let's back up. You said: "I was saying that there have been more good rulers than bad. If the opposite was true, we wouldn't have empires existing for centuries at a time."

I am saying that we cannot conclude the existence of "good rulers" (defined as those that governed for the totality) due to "empires' long existing" because an empire's long existence can be achieved through many other means than simply good rulers (ruling for the totality). Ways in which bad rulers can have long lasting empires would include the use of violence/force upon their citizens, the use of coercion and creating conflict among their citizens, and the promotion of ignorance among their citizens. None of these actions would be considered good ruling (ruling for the totality), but they all can produce long lasting empires.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:27 PM #388
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No internally.

Let's back up. You said: "I was saying that there have been more good rulers than bad. If the opposite was true, we wouldn't have empires existing for centuries at a time."

I am saying that we cannot conclude the existence of "good rulers" (defined as those that governed for the totality) due to "empires' long existing" because an empire's long existence can be achieved through many other means than simply good rulers (ruling for the totality). Ways in which bad rulers can have long lasting empires would include the use of violence/force upon their citizens, the use of coercion and creating conflict among their citizens, and the promotion of ignorance among their citizens. None of these actions would be considered good ruling (ruling for the totality), but they all can produce long lasting empires.
I don't believe it is possible to build or maintain an empire with internal conflict. I'm going to need some convincing.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:57 PM #389
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I don't believe it is possible to build or maintain an empire with internal conflict. I'm going to need some convincing.
I'll give it the best I got, but history is not my forte. Someone else would be much better fit for this than I.

Violence: I am not intimate with the subject, but the British colonial empire was held together by the sheer difference in power between the oppressors and the oppressed.

Conflict between groups: The Romans always had someone they were ****ting on to keep everyone else happy. The Jews->Christians, the slaves, the foreigners, etc. The class systems of citizen and non-citizen. Another example would be that of the caste system in India (although I am not too familiar with that either.)

Spreading ignorance: What else is the divine right of kings in early Monarchies? They presented themselves as something they were not, didn't allow their citizens the ability to read the text they claimed made them so, and used their divine authority to maintain order and control. (This may not be a perfect fit because the monarchs themselves may have believed in their own divine authority, but even if it is not, you can imagine a situation in which they don't.)

We could get into a big historical debate (although I would rather not), but really the question at hand is still how the existence of long lasting empires means good governance (interest of the totality). I would much rather hear your explanation for why long lasting empires means there must have been good rulers (when defining good rulers by our context).
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