What is the highest, most fundamental principle?

Many in Classical Liberalism circles, often the liberal conservatives and the ones supporting the Austrian school of economics, hold liberty as the highest, almost sacred, value (see Hayek and François Sureau).

I do not. I first and foremost care about human welfare, then can come freedom, which is also fundamental (to be a human, but also for the development of society).

Human welfare should be defined as basic access to life, health, and psychological/intellectual autonomy.

How can you be free if you are dead, starving to death, badly ill, or under enormous social pressure??

I don’t know much about economic schools, but I have thought about this trade-off. Freedom has a more emotional appeal to it, for many anyway, I can’t speak for everyone. Welfare becomes important if you don’t have it, it’s always important, but if you have it you don’t think about it so much, again, can’t speak for everyone.

What would be great, is if those who have more than enough used their freedom to concern themselves with the welfare of others.

See some reflections here: Socialism, Christianism and humanism - #4 by lozenge

The problem is not about the good intentions, the problem is about the actual real consequences. I think we all agree on this on this website.

As a point of act, “sharing wealth” as the basic economic principle doesn’t work in making everybody richer, it is the contrary that happens.

Of course our society has depended on acquiring, that is stealing the wealth of others - see the colonial era and legacy. Then we send the impoverished them (that our policies created) some rice and worry that sharing our wealth will spoil their will to succeed. No wonder it’s created such a crazy society.

We have created fabulous wealth for some, but also fabulous misery for masses on a level never experienced on this planet. That’s not even mentioning what we’ve done to land, water and other creatures.

Nothing in any of that will change until we start recognized our supremely self-serving nature.

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No. Wealth is to be created, not stolen, not forcefully shared. These two latter principles have been practiced for millenia, and never improved human condition.

And wealth is created by innovation. Innovation happens when individuals are freed from hierarchy. This is what happened in Europe from the 16th and led to the Industrial Revolution.

The thirst for domination and conquest was not born with the steam engine but existed since the beginning of the human species, and saying the contrary would be ridiculous.

See Deirdre McCloskey’s work (an example here).


But something happen around the time of the two great World Wars that humanity should have focused on, rather than sweep under the proverbial carpet.

Human populations and our material expectations were starting to overwhelm Earth’s biological ecological dynamic equilibrium. In the 60s we as a people were dealing with the factual revelation and starting to have that awakening conversation. But it was too scary and our sober atomic engineer President Carter brought that discussion to the fore.
Whereupon, our entire society turn on him and ran to the arm of a Hollywood Actor with the great stage presence and a line of nonsense about economic growth and no limits, and the answer to all our wants was to consume and grow and consume ever more. Some hailed him the savor of our country, rather than the grim reaper he really was.

And Ayn Rand became a folk hero with her childish selfish self-serving “philosophy,” whom some of our most power leaders followed like a guru.

What could go wrong.

Do you mean it SHOULD BE not stolen? I agree it shouldn’t, but it certainly is, everyday. Most paychecks are for less than the value of the work done, for example.

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But that is also the time the first humanist associations started to be created, right?

That’s interesting, because I thought yesterday that I should finally read her book, to know what it is all about.
I don’t have positive opinion, from what I have heard, she was a narcissist, and her work was not serious, which strongly decribilized Classical Liberalism.

I feel she mainly describes and encourages the entrepreneur culture (Richard Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine). Don’t have particular appreciation for entrepreneurs, I like inventors, educators, scientists, intellectuals (including some type of artists), craftsmen, butchers, farmers, etc.

But I believe in what was depicted in The Fable of the Bees, and The Wealth of Nations: the best way to deal with humans bad aspects (greed, selfishness) when they can’t be changed is first to take advantage of them.

Never read and heard serious free-market economy theorists worshipping entrepreneurs. Either they emphasize the inventors, either they show distrust against private companies, knowing they will be tempted to establish monopolies, and getting along with the government to get advantages such as laws which benefit them only, at the expense of the consumers and the workers

And this is bad for the economy

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I don’t think there is a fundamental principal that works for everything.

If we are talking about civilization, order is the most important. If we are talking about life in general, then survival is most important.

Order :no_mouth: What do you mean by “order”?

If it is naturalistic, scientific order, then yes, maybe. Otherwise, in my understanding (I admit I lack backing research on it, but I am opened to discussion), it is a slogan of the conservatives, even the fascists.

I mean law and order that is created and enforced by humans.

Then defined this way, I think there is an authoritarian flavor. Don’t know what others think.

Of course I am for a state, laws to protect life, liberty, property.

If I may offer a perspective.
IMO, the highest most fundamental principle is living in harmony with the biome we call earth.

All our beneficial social programs won’t mean much when we wantonly rape the earth of all the resources it needs to maintain a balanced environment and as a result, keep us all alive.

The importance of biomes

Conservation and Preservation of Biomes

Because we share the world with many other species of plants and animals, we must consider the consequences of our actions. Over the past several decades, increasing human activity has rapidly destroyed or polluted many ecological habitats throughout the world. It is important to preserve all types of biomes as each houses many unique forms of life. However, the continued heavy exploitation of certain biomes, such as the forest and aquatic, may have more severe implications.

more… The importance of biomes

Caring for the earth is caring for our welfare.

So the main goal is still human welfare.

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Oh yeah, after all the hoopla I’ll be you’re imagination is waiting for something big.

If you do take the time to read it and I bet you can get through it in a hour, (no one could call it difficult reading), it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.

It’s more about self-preservation.

How is that different from welfare? Maybe further along a spectrum, starting with survival, but the same basic thing. Right?

Oh, I totally agree.

Ok, I will start reading it today and let you know