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there are two main philosophies in life

WAB

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  1. That all men are equal and deserve equal pay for equal work and equal punishment for equal crimes
  2. That some people are superior to others and deserve more money, honor, and power than the "inferior people" or "inferior races" even if they do the same work

No.

There are also those who believe that all people are not equal, but that they should be treated as equals under the law.

In fact, that is the basic principle behind most modern civil societies.
 
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(I think I agree with rousseau's implied meaning here.)
... One of the children makes a lot of money, another is very poor. Does the rich child deserve what he earned?

Does the wolf deserve to kill and eat the lamb it just outraced?

Discussion of an economics issue often goes astray as soon as a word like "deserve" is introduced.

So if a wolf does it then its ok for people to do it?

So if a criminal does it then its ok for people to do it?
 

rousseau

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(I think I agree with rousseau's implied meaning here.)
... One of the children makes a lot of money, another is very poor. Does the rich child deserve what he earned?

Does the wolf deserve to kill and eat the lamb it just outraced?

Discussion of an economics issue often goes astray as soon as a word like "deserve" is introduced.

I agree. I point this out specifically because this seems to be how the argument is framed in modern discourse. The left will claim 'you won the genetic lottery', the right will claim 'you are intrinsically more able', both to justify their specific political aims and goals.

But as you say, I'd argue that neither is looking at the problem objectively. To me, the starting point of the question is this - what is the ultimate goal of a community. And the answer to that is to create enough stability to allow individuals in the community to reproduce and raise children. From there I don't think we achieve that stability with radical ideas about how humans should be, or how their societies should run. The left will believe that they're the marker of all that is good in the world, and that we need to radically transform society, and fast, to equalize everything. But as we've seen with post-Marxian political philosophy this isn't always a good thing. Change needs to be slow, careful, and deliberate, with the intention of maintaining stability.

Ironically, it's a balance of both of these political philosophies that seems to be what is best at maintaining this stability. Conservatism counter-balances Liberal ideas, Liberal ideas counter-balance Conservatism. When none of our dumb idealism and stupidity is allowed to reach into it's excesses, we get a nice, well-functioning society across time. When people who think they understand reality, but don't, gain power, this is when things get muddled. And the reality is that humans are a species with phenotypic variation who naturally compete with each other, but who thrive in communities that set a fair, and ethical playing field - a balance of both philosophies.
 

abaddon

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Are their really any genetic differences of significance within humanity?

Oh yes! But not in the way that racists/sexists/classists imagine. I note that such folks often know very little about the real science of human genomic diversity.

Are their really any genetic differences of significance within humanity?

Between individuals? Certainly.

"Of significance" meant to this discussion, to the talk about who "deserves" what.

Why talk about genetic differences when what's actually relevant is personal aims and aptitudes?
 

rousseau

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(I think I agree with rousseau's implied meaning here.)
... One of the children makes a lot of money, another is very poor. Does the rich child deserve what he earned?

Does the wolf deserve to kill and eat the lamb it just outraced?

Discussion of an economics issue often goes astray as soon as a word like "deserve" is introduced.

As with all moral issues it depends on the context. There are no moral absolutes (well there is only one in my book, but that gets us off on a tangent). In the context of the most prevalent current economic system commonly referred to as capitalism yes it is deserved. It would be unethical for what is earned to be denied. But the system isn't purely capitalistic. If it was every citizen would have access to capital. That is, they would have enough wealth that they could survive with a surplus sufficient to invest in personal development and to take advantage of opportunities when they appear. So we provide government and some private programs for the redistribution of wealth that are partially socialistic. Personally I think there should be a better term to describe this hybrid system. So my answer is yes that they deserve what they earned but not all of it. The system wouldn't work. And since they benefit from the system they are obliged to share some portion of their wealth with those less advantaged. And if you really want to call it capitalism that portion has to be enough to provide everyone with that minimum required so that they can participate as capitalists. At least a reasonable chance, rather than becoming trapped in a system that becomes dependent on their remaining in a state of poverty.

But there are other contexts out there. Looking for something with a more objectively moral basis many people look to religion. Many religions believe that a God or other creation force defines a higher or purer measure of individual human value. Often though that value is determined by arcane requirements that serve to divide people more than unite them. And many philosophically derived ethical systems are limited by either the ability to apply them universally or by their lack of adaptability in terms of fostering human advancement. So the system we have now, while secular, requires some adjustment in order to become truly humanistic.

In short - in any system meant to benefit it's members, the members should be required to, in turn, contribute back to the system. The question is really how do we organize things to maintain the stability of the system.
 

J842P

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Are their really any genetic differences of significance within humanity?

Between individuals? Certainly.

"Of significance" meant to this discussion, to the talk about who "deserves" what.

Why talk about genetic differences when what's actually relevant is personal aims and aptitudes?

Not on the issue of who deserves what, but on who will more likely reap the rewards of the current system.
 

Shadowy Man

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  1. That all men are equal and deserve equal pay for equal work and equal punishment for equal crimes
  2. That some people are superior to others and deserve more money, honor, and power than the "inferior people" or "inferior races" even if they do the same work

No.

There are also those who believe that all people are not equal, but that they should be treated as equals under the law.

In fact, that is the basic principle behind most modern civil societies.

And some of those people actually get to write the laws.
 
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Civilizationist

  1. That all men are equal and deserve equal pay for equal work and equal punishment for equal crimes
  2. That some people are superior to others and deserve more money, honor, and power than the "inferior people" or "inferior races" even if they do the same work

No.

There are also those who believe that all people are not equal, but that they should be treated as equals under the law.

In fact, that is the basic principle behind most modern civil societies.

What else would "all people are equal" mean?
 

Swammerdami

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(I think I agree with rousseau's implied meaning here.)
... One of the children makes a lot of money, another is very poor. Does the rich child deserve what he earned?

Does the wolf deserve to kill and eat the lamb it just outraced?

Discussion of an economics issue often goes astray as soon as a word like "deserve" is introduced.

... In the context of the most prevalent current economic system commonly referred to as capitalism yes it is deserved. It would be unethical for what is earned to be denied. But the system isn't purely capitalistic. If it was every citizen would have access to capital. That is, they would have enough wealth that they could survive with a surplus sufficient to invest in personal development and to take advantage of opportunities when they appear. So we provide government and some private programs for the redistribution of wealth that are partially socialistic. Personally I think there should be a better term to describe this hybrid system. So my answer is yes that they deserve what they earned but not all of it....

But there are other contexts out there. Looking for something with a more objectively moral basis many people look to religion.... the system we have now, while secular, requires some adjustment in order to become truly humanistic.

I mostly agree with your viewpoint here, but I would have phrased it to avoid the word "deserve." (I've reddened the phrasings I object to: If altering quotes in this way is against etiquette here, I apologize.) Capitalism is touted NOT to give entrepreneurs what they "deserve" but because encouraging entrepreneurship allegedly benefits society as a whole.

As a trivial example, the text of patent law supports my view. Patents are NOT issued to reward inventors with profits they "deserve." They are issued to promote progress.
U.S. Constitution said:
[The Congress shall have Power] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
 
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