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Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam (Read 7019 times)
freediver
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #180 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:21pm
 
Karnal wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:12pm:
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 8:55pm:
Karnal wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 7:27pm:
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 6:43pm:
Karnal has also suggested that other arguments beside moral ones were put forward at the time. Can you cite them?


Not only were writers and thinkers arguing against slavery on economic grounds in 19th century America, there were arguments between convict versus free-settler labour in Australia.

Similar arguments were used for slaves as convicts. Settlement in Christian societies would civilize slaves, after a life of honest work, they could - perhaps - earn the chance to gain their freedom, but importantly, their work would contribute to the development of new, free nations. They would tame the land in the new world, and in so doing, they could be made to tame the animal instincts in themselves.

Here, we can see the reflection of lassez faire economic theory, where free trade was a civilizing influence in itself. Work, whether it be picking cotton to make clothes, or tobacco to make lung cancer, was noble in and of itself. Likewise, trade, whether it be in grain for bread or opium to hook Chinese coolies, was similarly civilizing. These two activities - manual labour and business - would lift the new world out of the war, corruption and nepotism of the old European monarchies.

What do you think, FD? Did it work?



What were these arguments against slavery on economic grounds Karnal?


What do you mean by economic? Adam Smith called himself a moral philosopher. Economics in the 19th century was known as political-economy.


It is curious that both you and North projected an amoral argument for the abolition of slavery onto those who fought so hard to make it happen, but neither of you can say what it was.

Perhaps North will have more luck understanding the question.
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Karnal
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #181 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:31pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:21pm:
Karnal wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:12pm:
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 8:55pm:
Karnal wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 7:27pm:
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 6:43pm:
Karnal has also suggested that other arguments beside moral ones were put forward at the time. Can you cite them?


Not only were writers and thinkers arguing against slavery on economic grounds in 19th century America, there were arguments between convict versus free-settler labour in Australia.

Similar arguments were used for slaves as convicts. Settlement in Christian societies would civilize slaves, after a life of honest work, they could - perhaps - earn the chance to gain their freedom, but importantly, their work would contribute to the development of new, free nations. They would tame the land in the new world, and in so doing, they could be made to tame the animal instincts in themselves.

Here, we can see the reflection of lassez faire economic theory, where free trade was a civilizing influence in itself. Work, whether it be picking cotton to make clothes, or tobacco to make lung cancer, was noble in and of itself. Likewise, trade, whether it be in grain for bread or opium to hook Chinese coolies, was similarly civilizing. These two activities - manual labour and business - would lift the new world out of the war, corruption and nepotism of the old European monarchies.

What do you think, FD? Did it work?



What were these arguments against slavery on economic grounds Karnal?


What do you mean by economic? Adam Smith called himself a moral philosopher. Economics in the 19th century was known as political-economy.


It is curious that both you and North projected an amoral argument for the abolition of slavery onto those who fought so hard to make it happen, but neither of you can say what it was.

Perhaps North will have more luck understanding the question.


Gee, FD, that's the first time I've seen you give up on a question. I don't think anyone's claiming an "amoral argument for the abolition of slavery" (whatever that means). I'm claiming an economic one. Here's Abraham Lincoln:

Quote:
Free labor has the inspiration of hope; pure slavery has no hope. The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful. The slave-master himself has a conception of it; and hence the system of tasks among slaves. The slave whom you can not drive with the lash to break seventy-five pounds of hemp in a day, if you will task him to break a hundred, and promise him pay for all he does over, he will break you a hundred and fifty. You have substituted hope, for the rod. And yet perhaps it does not occur to you, that to the extent of your gain in the case, you have given up the slave system, and adopted the free system of labor."


Officers in NSW came to similar conclusions with convict labour. They found that the whip did not work as well as incentives, including rations of rum. Most convict labour in the early Sydney colony became what we would now call free labour. Convicts could come and go freely, build their own houses, and do a fixed amount of labour a day. While money was banned, they traded in rum and tobacco. Female convicts traded with sex. While rum and sodomy played their part in early Sydney, the lash was not as prominent as it's often made out to be.
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« Last Edit: Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:50pm by Karnal »  
 
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #182 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:38pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:21pm:
It is curious that both you and North projected an amoral argument for the abolition of slavery onto those who fought so hard to make it happen, but neither of you can say what it was.

Perhaps North will have more luck understanding the question.

I didn't think I was projecting (or insinuating) an amoral argument for abolition... Just not an exclusively Christian one.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #183 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:41pm
 
http://www.ozpolitic.com/articles/heavy-legacies-our-past.html#slavery

It has become popular among socialists and other groups with an axe to grind against capitalism, economic freedom, democracy or even white people in general, to insist that the rise of western Europe and its colonies is a result of slavery. This can be an attractive fallacy, given that the recent rise of European powers coincided with their involvement in the global slave trade. However, it is a correlation, not a causation. I argue here the opposite – that freedom and democracy are the cause of Europe’s rise.

The historian Daron Acemoglu uses the broader terms of political and economic inclusiveness to describe this theory. This is in part to avoid inevitable arguments about what constitutes true freedom, democracy or capitalism. Furthermore, his argument is (rightly) that these are opposite extremes on a spectrum, and more significantly, that this is a naturally polarising spectrum. That is, countries tend to drift towards the nearest end of the spectrum. In his book, Why Nations Fail, he explores the positive feedback loops (ie, self-reinforcing mechanisms) that make this happen.

In the context of the arguments regarding slavery, I would phrase it thus: only a small advantage was needed for European nations to have the upper hand and take over the world. The historical tendency for corrupt nations to reinforce their oppressive social institutions meant that Europe’s competitors were easy to overtake. This, combined with Islam’s grip on the bulk of western civilisation, meant that European countries did not have far to go to get that upper hand. Although Europe was rapidly transitioning towards liberal democracy, history would not wait for perfection, and so a society recently risen from barbarity found itself ruling the world. Thus Europeans ramped up the slave trade, as they ramped up all global trade. But they also brought their liberal morals in whatever form they took at the time, and as the path to liberalism continued they wound down the global slave trade, while continuing to ramp up the global market.

During the Roman Empire, this advantage took the form of political inclusiveness – a rough, messy form of democracy that was eventually abandoned, to Rome’s detriment. Later, this advantage took the form of economic inclusiveness. Slavery turned into serfdom, which turned into a free market in human labour every time a plague increased the value of labour and decreased the relative value of capital. Entrepreneurs were more free in western Europe than elsewhere to invest in the industrial revolution and take advantage of the mobile workforce (and profit from it). Political inclusiveness came later – a sudden upheaval in mainland Eruope, a gradual transition in Britain.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #184 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:46pm
 
Quote:
Free labor has the inspiration of hope; pure slavery has no hope. The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful. The slave-master himself has a conception of it; and hence the system of tasks among slaves. The slave whom you can not drive with the lash to break seventy-five pounds of hemp in a day, if you will task him to break a hundred, and promise him pay for all he does over, he will break you a hundred and fifty. You have substituted hope, for the rod. And yet perhaps it does not occur to you, that to the extent of your gain in the case, you have given up the slave system, and adopted the free system of labor."


Thanks Karnal. That is an impressive argument against slavery, and one that I would still call economic and amoral, unless of course you think an extra 50 pounds of hemp is a moral imperative.

Have you seen any arguments that it would make the country richer and more powerful? I am looking for an earlier version of Acemoglu's argument.

In light of this argument (I assume you agree with it, and there is ample evidence that people work harder when freed from slavery), why do you struggle with the idea that it was the absence of slavery at home, rather than participation in slavery abroad, that drove the industrial revolution?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #185 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:48pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:46pm:
Quote:
Free labor has the inspiration of hope; pure slavery has no hope. The power of hope upon human exertion, and happiness, is wonderful. The slave-master himself has a conception of it; and hence the system of tasks among slaves. The slave whom you can not drive with the lash to break seventy-five pounds of hemp in a day, if you will task him to break a hundred, and promise him pay for all he does over, he will break you a hundred and fifty. You have substituted hope, for the rod. And yet perhaps it does not occur to you, that to the extent of your gain in the case, you have given up the slave system, and adopted the free system of labor."


Thanks Karnal. 


No worries. You only have to ask, you know.

Do you mind if I ask you a question?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #186 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:50pm
 
Have I ever complained about your questions?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #187 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:52pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:50pm:
Have I ever complained about your questions?


Never. Will you answer my question?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #188 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:55pm
 
Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #189 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:55pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:41pm:
Although Europe was rapidly transitioning towards liberal democracy, history would not wait for perfection, and so a society recently risen from barbarity found itself ruling the world. Thus Europeans ramped up the slave trade, as they ramped up all global trade. But they also brought their liberal morals in whatever form they took at the time, and as the path to liberalism continued they wound down the global slave trade, while continuing to ramp up the global market.

By what measure does he use with regard to the term 'rapidly', I wonder?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #190 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:03pm
 
By the passage of time. History, as it were.

How long do you think it should have taken?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #191 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:05pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:41pm:
Although Europe was rapidly transitioning towards liberal democracy, history would not wait for perfection, and so a society recently risen from barbarity found itself ruling the world. Thus Europeans ramped up the slave trade, as they ramped up all global trade. But they also brought their liberal morals in whatever form they took at the time, and as the path to liberalism continued they wound down the global slave trade, while continuing to ramp up the global market.

I'm also interested in the presumption that 'history' has a teleological awareness of itself.

It sounds like the same popular fallacy that 'evolution' somehow had humans as its goal or endgame 'in mind'.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #192 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:07pm
 
That was not my intention. For the specific part you quote, refer to my argument that only a small difference was necessary to gain an advantage of their competitors. This is to counter Gandalf's and Karnal's (and yours?) implicit argument that freedom and democracy could not possibly be the ultimate cause of their wealth and power because they got rich and powerful before they became a liberal democracy.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #193 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:14pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:07pm:
That was not my intention. For the specific part you quote, refer to my argument that only a small difference was necessary to gain an advantage of their competitors. This is to counter Gandalf's and Karnal's (and yours?) implicit argument that freedom and democracy could not possibly be the ultimate cause of their wealth and power because they got rich and powerful before they became a liberal democracy.

OK, enlightenment thinkers certainly took issue with monarchical absolutism and proposed alternatives... But I'm not sure they had 'liberal democracy' in mind. Even their versions were elitist.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Islam
Reply #194 - Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:21pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 30th, 2016 at 10:03pm:
By the passage of time. History, as it were.

How long do you think it should have taken?

By what measure? Over the last 150 years or the last thousand?
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