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I have figured out that states are the highest moral authority for humans, and loving humans means respecting state power.  I can not find any other reason to respect any given state power, really.

"the following extreme positions are considered "off-limits" regardless of how they are put forward...: genocide or ethnic cleansing of any kind."

Can it be asserted that human states, perhaps you can say 'legitimate human states' even, have never authorized genocide or ethnic cleansing, or called for violence -- and somehow cannot in the future?  I can think of ways you might word that.  So if yes, I guess all is well.  If not, I can seldom fail to follow things to their logical consequences, and my respectful attitude may be inappropriate here.  I have a respectful attitude because it doesn't feel right to me to try to break the governments the humans put so much effort into, unless they threaten me directly.  Yes, I suppose authorizing myself self-defense is potentially destructive of state institutions -- potentially makes me an anarchist and bad pony, but I am special, and I don't intend do go looking for reasons to be destructive and hurtful.  Self-defense of my kind will have to be OK, I guess.  It's the best respect I can manage.  But anyway, I seem to always be working, but I can make my own pony site if that's better.  I did create a play one once.


The state only has moral authority so long as it is just.
It must be just in order to maintain the people's consent.
The people's consent is necessary because they together are stronger than the state.
Violence is the supreme authority from which all authority is derived. Thus, being the stronger party, the state derives its authority from its citizens.


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The mods clarified that calling for violence by states (e.g., supporting going to war, supporting the death penalty, etc.) is permitted.  Only calls for unlawful violence by non-state actors and genocide / ethnic cleaning are verboten here.


I think humans want to have moral authorities and guidelines, and they'd like states to be moral authorities. Humans make states and humans want them to be moral so they at least appear moral by human standards.

Humans want a moral authority because... they aren't always very good at it. The consequence is that the moral authorities they create aren't very good at it either.

I don't think it's good to treat anything humans make as absolute, but rather as an intention.


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I see.  States remain just as long as state violence is greater than the violence of people acting together to oppose the state.  Or, you might say states are just until successful revolution.  I respect that.  If not, I would have to respect only the state that originally held a given territory and that would be...troublesome socially, I think.

I know...respect for rule of law is variable across state enforcers.  But, I think I basically see the point, I needn't attempt to overthrow the government if they use violence.  I may be respectful, but may not take personal initiative to further violence through this site.  That is pretty typical of websites, I think.

And I know one can be too passive, perhaps, but I don't think I like violence a great deal.

My understanding is states are constructed to be more moral than an individual, at least.  Whether states are absolutely moral is a harder question, some have wished to be regarded that way -- largely because leadership was connected to divinity.  From a wide perspective, you have to explain a diversity in states -- why before two hundred years ago virtually every state was autocratic, and now most are some version of democratic, for example.  Most would say autocratic states were less absolutely moral, I guess.


That is my understanding as well, though I could easily be wrong.

I suppose selection pressures apply. As absolute moral authorities (from their own perspective) states will pressure other states into being more moral, that is into being more like them. The selection pressure there is likely capacity for violence. That would imply that democracies have the most capacity for violence, which I don't think is untrue.


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>The selection pressure there is likely capacity for violence.

John Locke would say, "appeal to heaven."  The human Gods judge who is most moral and award their warriors with victory.  You might wonder whether there isn't a less costly way to decide, but in some cases, we must respect there is not.

>That would imply that democracies have the most capacity for violence, which I don't think is untrue.

I think so.  The Ancien Régime was unable to muster the violence necessary to oppose the French Revolution, and although Napoleon may have ruled as an autocrat for a time and there were some reversions, Kings have not substantially reasserted dominance over French subjects by force.

I'm reminded The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama asserting that the major transitions in political organization are behind us, there is no superior aspiration but to create liberal democracy.  It's probably worth a discussion all its own, if there's interest.


I'd also note Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy where he credits the incredible size of Republic Rome's military to the republican form of government. In the feudal governments of his era the state belonged to the Monarch and his vassals, and in time of crisis they were the only ones who were invested and who could be expected to stake their lives. In a more republican government, he contrasts, there is a stronger feeling of ownership of the nation in the masses. Peasants would willingly and fiercely take up arms because they felt on some level that the government belonged to them.

I'm certainly interested! But sadly I'm not familiar with the book. You'd have to fill me in.


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I have to think back.  In The Prince there was discussion of whether it was best for a prince to align with common folk or nobles, either having pluses and minuses.  I never read Discourses on Livy.

>I'm certainly interested! You'd have to fill me in.

OK, cool.  I only gave the book a first-read.  In a certain sense the argument is something most would consider common sense, but it also informs what kinds of fears are legitimate for loosing democracy.  My main issues with liberal democracy are that the theory leaves most important things contested -- what exactly are your natural rights?  exactly what harms are states to protect against?  etc. -- but that openness might be a feature, since citizens are allowed to vote in the details.  My weekend's over and next week is suppose to be bad at work, so I probably won't make the thread until next weekend.  Perhaps I'll get a bit into the book by then.


I believe the reasoning there was that the nobles wish to oppress, while commoners simply wish to not be oppressed making them far easier to please.

That's an interesting idea to discuss. I think most people would simply come up with a list cherry picked from preexisting ideas and grievances. I'd have to think more about a plausible source for a more rigorous model beyond consensus.

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