Middy’s opening thoughts 18/2/21

I want to make and maintain a list of my positions on key debate topics. One, it gets me thinking about my ideas. Two, it’s a resource for anyone looking to debate against me. Three, this list offers a way for me and others to see the ‘bigger picture’ of my personal philosophy.

I want to put out updates, as this evolves. Or mutates :p

General Themes:

Pragmatism: …of the kind associated with Pierce, that differs to James in being a lot more interested in objectivity.

To quote the blurb on a Misaak book, “ Pragmatism … thinks of truth not as a static relation between a sentence and the believer-independent world, but rather, a belief that works”.

What ‘works’ really means is up for debate, and for now I intuit that it lies in the belief being simple, as easy to think of as possible, yet powerful, as applicable to the problems that face us, as any other belief we could adopt (if not better).

I draw realism (wrt to metaphysics and science), ontological naturalism (and therefore atheism) and compatibilism (wrt to the free will debate) from my pragmatism.

Libertarianism: What makes life worth having, is in my opinion, liberty. Without it, we aren’t free to pursue our goals, and if we cannot, we are merely a means to someone else’s ends.

We need as much freedom as possible from each other (which includes the state), but it is important to notice that we cannot grant so much that some people start taking the freedoms of others away. So we need some rules, truces and alliances. Agreements to leave each other alone, to not harm or kill each other, that do limit some of our freedoms, but give us the societal stability to explore most other goals of ours.

Specific topics:

Abortion: I’m for making it legal, but regulated to ensure women receive education and support when they’re weighing up whether to abort or not.

Veganism: I am not a vegan, but I find veganism to be harmless to me and society. I do like being able to access vegan & vegetarian options at stores though.

Crime & Punishment: One, I believe it is very important that we constantly reform and improve the legal system to correctly identify the guilty (more true positives, less false positives and false negatives).

Two, I am sympathetic to the death penalty, I think it should at least be an option for someone facing lifetime imprisonment with little real hope of having their case reviewed, or being released before they die (like in cases where the culprit is clear, and the sentence multiple lifetimes). This is a right to die view.

Suicide & Euthanasia: I would make suicide and euthanasia legal, but regulated to ensure people are (1) not coerced into making these decisions, (2) given proper education about their options, so that they can make an informed choice about it and maybe (3) get guidance from mental healthcare services.

Involuntary euthanasia is a stickier topic. It’s not really possible to work with the patient. I think if (1) to the best of our current understanding of human biology, there is no reasonable grounds to expect the patient to recover and (2) another patient with better hopes of recovery needs the bed and/or equipment, then involuntary euthanasia could be reasonable.

Taxes: My understanding of economics isn’t as good as I would like it to be, that said my ideal setup, is for the state’s taxes to be simple, progressive taxes with few exemptions. I rather like income taxes & inheritance taxes and I dislike goods & services taxes.

Sexualities and Genders: As long as sex is between two consenting adults, I do not think there is any need for the state to involve itself. I do think that the state should act to reduce or eliminate unnecessary discrimination on the basis of people’s sexualities (discrimination is unnecessary when the discrimination doesn’t relate to some key requirement of a job, for example. Like needing the ability to walk, to be in the fire services)

As for gender, firstly I split the term away from biological sex. Gender is to me, the social, performative aspects of biological sex. Sometimes they’re connected, sometimes they’re not. I do not see such people as unnatural, nor bad. I think we can offer them education and even medical assistance in order to help them make the decisions they need to, and live as well as they can.