Posts Tagged ‘libertarianism’

Ihsan, this post is mostly for you!

For those who are curious as to who Ihsan is, he is the awesome person that inspired the nickname with which I conclude each and every one of my blog posts: the “Sandman”. He is also a frequent reader and that makes him even awesomer in my eyes.

So, Mr. Awesome, let’s see what you had to say:

“Well, personally, “random person” and I were having this pretty interesting debate online not too long ago, about the existence of right and wrong and how “random person” thinks that they’re just barriers put up by societies to keep humanity in check. Where as I think that they’re pretty reasonable boundaries that we would have set up whether society had already put them there or not.”

Hmm, I’m not too sure if this can be related to reincarnation but I suppose it does strike up one compelling question, and that is if it’s in people’s nature to do “wrong” — as though it is almost expected of them — then how does that justify their punishment in the next life?
Obviously, the response to this would vary based on perspective. If you’re into religious laws of incarnation then you would adhere to Ihsan’s point of view; that rules regarding what is “right” and what is “wrong” have existed even before society emphasized them a great deal more. People who believe this are often fans of Libertarianism which states that every individual is governed solely by his/her free will and this ideology would justify any kind of after-death punishment for wrong-doing.
The opposing opinion would usually take on a less religious viewpoint, arguing in favor of Determinism:”…the philosophical view that every event, including human cognition, behavior, decision, and action, is casually determined by the environment. It is, in essence, the view that one’s life is predetermined before one is even born.”

This is where religion and free will clash. Now, determinism shouldn’t be associated with God’s Plan because it isn’t a constituent but let me give you a little example of the clash I’m talking about:
Okay, a car accident has just struck. You were an acquaintance of the person who was run over by a drunk driver (hopefully that will never happen to any of you). In order to console you, your relatives/friends will tell you that “it was God’s plan that he/she dies; there was nothing you could do to stop it.” Okay, familiar so far, right? Wrong. The thing they don’t explain is this: if it were God’s plan for your friend to die then what gives us the right to punish the “offender”? He was just a tool in the plan which means that it wasn’t his free decision to have one too many beers! Heh, take a while to chew on that one, all of you God’s Plan fans.

Okay, keeping up? So far we have libertarianism and determinism…

Then there’s the Human Nature argument (Random Person’s argument). As just another species of animals, maybe in it’s just in our nature to kill those who invade our territory or have sexual desires or steal from others when we are hungry or desperate for survival. It’s sort of like we are doing things based on our free will but we can’t really be punished for actions that take place for basic instinctual reasons, you know? It wouldn’t make sense. Religion puts us on a high pedestal, telling us that we are better than other animals because of our vast mental capabilities but if you take a minute to think about it, you’ll see that we really do act like animals and if society and religion hadn’t created all of these rules and regulations, we would have definitely succumbed to our animalistic tendencies in order to achieve comfortable survival and continuity of the species.

So do I agree with Ihsan or Random Person? I have to say I definitely lean more towards Random Person’s point of view but only because I have some understanding of the sociological aspect of life. If a child lives alone for years without anyone teaching him “right” from “wrong”, he would do as his nature dictates and resort to any measure to ensure his survival, no matter how “wrong” we think it is.
Society’s and most of religion’s rules are just a way to preserve moral consensus so that the human race can coexist peacefully but is that working AT ALL?! They are essential only because we have survived for this long withing their establishment. Punishment for crimes is just a way to keep others in their place; to continue preserving the moral consensus. It is not necessarily fair to do so as I believe that some people are forced into a particular way of living regardless of their “free will” but we justify their punishment because we are full of emotions and revenge is a human concept applied everyday to thousands of “criminals” who violate the moral consensus and threaten to destroy our familiar way of life. We are a change-fearing species, no doubt about that.

This, in my opinion, is the logical argument. That is why I argue in favor of practical reincarnation and not religious reincarnation. There are too many obstacles in the way of the latter, too many gaps that seem almost impossible to fill. God’s plan and free will simply cannot mix and yet somehow we found a way to make it work…which really terrifies me of my own species. =S

Ihsan, Random Person, if you have any questions just let me know! I’d be happy to answer them any time! =]

Readers, let me know: which argument are you in favor of? Libertarianism, Determinism, or just plain human nature?

Leave your reply!

– The Sandman