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Sacre Bleu

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Posts posted by Sacre Bleu

  1. I'd suggest looking at VHEMT if you seriously want to understand the view point clearly and maybe reading a bit of Schopenhauer, Benatar et al. 

     

    Thank you, I will do so. My understanding of VHEMT is that it is an anti-natalist, as opposed to misanthropic, group. Is that correct?

     

    I've dabbled in Schopenhauer and don't find his viewpoint to be particularly misanthropic. I must admit to finding his writings amusing at times due to the sheer bleakness and pessimism, but he does encourage us to engage in arts and philosophy as a way to find meaning.

  2. The misanthropic position, loosely defined as a contempt of the human species, is often inherently hypocritical. Many misanthropes advocate for the eradication of their fellow humans, either through action or inaction as appears to be the case here, but if the misanthrope defines themselves as members of the group they hold in contempt, it is logical that they would want to eradicate themselves.

     

    If they do not wish to eradicate themselves, it follows that they believe there is a purpose in their own existence or that they are sufficiently 'special' to fall outwith their own definition. The logical conclusion of this line of thinking is that the misanthrope considers their own existence to have more significance than the existence of the others whom they hold in contempt.

  3. Where this type of reductionist anti-natalist thinking falls down is that every species has evolved through an inherent drive to live and reproduce, regardless of sentimentality or ethics.

     

    Other species may well be more prosperous in the absence of the human race, but advocating for this outcome via failure to prevent the mass suffering of others (in this case dying from a painful and distressing virus) is a philosophically challenging position to adopt.

  4. To suggest we simply do nothing in the face of a pandemic and "let nature takes its course" is reckless. Viruses can mutate rapidly, and spread exponentially, and evolve from seriously affecting weak and infirm hosts to otherwise healthy hosts as virulence increases. Taking swift and decisive action in an environment of incomplete data is challenging but necessary. Mistakes will be made, that is for sure, and many ethical questions will be raised along the way.

     

    Personally, I find the argument that society should let the old and less healthy take the consequences of a relatively unknown virus, particularly a pandemic, is usually ill-considered both ethically and medically, and usually comes from a right of centre political, rather than an evidence based, perspective.

     

    This is an interesting primer from the World Health Organisation (2016) - Guidance For Managing Ethical Issues In Infectious Disease Outbreaks - https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/250580/9789241549837-eng.pdf

  5. To say that Scotland and England had no links before unification “in any way at all” is highly ignorant of history. To say “it must be accepted that Britain is not a democracy in any way or form” implies a lack of understanding of the mechanisms of democracy. To imply that the SNP are not represented at Westminster is a fanciful falsehood. I could go on.

  6. Forgive me if I have misinterpreted your post George, but it could be argued that Brexit is but another chapter in Britain's relationship with mainland Europe. Even the name 'Britain' can be traced back to a confluence of Latin and early French, some of the first recorded use of the word is from the writings of Greek explorers, and the name became established as the Roman outpost of 'Britannia'.

     

    The geographic area in question has ebbed and flowed over history, and even included the part of France now known as Brittany during the Middle Ages. With regards to Shetland, it was annexed to Scotland in 1471, and Scotland joined England in the United Kingdom via the 1707 Act of Union, so Shetland is indeed part of Britain both geographically and legislatively (if not completely culturally!)

     

    But for the sake of brevity of explanation, 'Britain' is generally considered to be a landmass and the 'UK' is a governance structure.

     

    With regards to Westminster, Britain is a conceptual understanding of landmass that predates the Westminster seat of government by several centuries.

  7. I find comments such as the above accusing Liberal Democrats as being "bunch of hypocrites destroying British democracy" to be undermining of democracy. The Liberals, whether you agree or disagree with their policies, have been consistent in their support for the EU and so are not hypocrites, and they are free to express their opinions, as are the Brexit Party.

     

    But more importantly, the wider principles of democracy have been trivialised to the point that a pre-legislative referendum three years ago is being promoted by many as the 'true' or 'ultimate' form of democracy, and all other more established mechanisms of democratic governance must be subverted, and wider socio-economic circumstances, developments since the referendum, and new knowledge must be ignored. This is reckless and myopic logic.

     

    We should certainly be holding our government to account to act in our best interests, but in doing so we should be aware that the referendum is but one factor in a complex series of decisions which must be made to arrive at the optimum outcome.

     

    We need mature and non-partisan debate where all facts, developments, options and potential outcomes are presented. This is not a time for partly-political polarised posturing. If through such a process Brexit emerged as the optimum outcome, then so be it. However, I know of few well-considered lines of thought that would arrive at a no-deal Brexit as being a desirable conclusion.

     

    The future of the UK in terms of Brexit will determined by one of two politicians who are engaged in a popularity contest where they must appease a small and unrepresentative demographic of the population in the form of conservative party members who favour a no-deal Brexit, so the ship of representative democracy may well have floundered.

  8. @ Suffererof1crankymofo

     

    I'm happy with established parliamentary processes and timescales. My contention is that the government has been trying to circumvent those processes and push through imprudent legislation.

     

    I don't recognise the EU that you and other commentators on this forum describe, nor do I believe the 'them and us' attitude is helpful (or accurate - we are, after all, still a key member). I think the UK has done very well as a member, but it is time for reform. I can understand people's ideology who wish to crash out of the EU as soon as possible and be damned with the consequences, but I think that's a reckless ideal. It may be my age!

     
  9.  

    For the government and many Leave campaigners to present it as a situation by which the result of an advisory referendum in which only 37% of the electorate voted for constitutional change must immediately and unquestioningly be implemented without parliamentary due diligence is at best nieve, and has resulted in much divisive ill-feeling and muddying of constitutional waters.

     

    It hardly matters what percentage voted for the change in the referendum, the majority of those who chose to express an opinion on the day voted for it,and  that is the decision that stands, as that IS how democracy works. Its an established principle of democracy that those who chose not to vote, for whatever reason, accept the will of the majority who did. Attempts to belittle or discredit the 'value' of a democratic vote by imposing some arbitarily decided percentage of the entire electorate having to vote a certain way before it has 'validity' is simply subverting democracy and a contemptible tactic of the losers to gain some ground.

     

    A simple majority vote on a single issue is but one form of arriving at a decision. Like it or not, in a representative democracy such as ours, it is rarely straightforward for a decision to be enacted quickly and without amendment as there are many checks and balances. I do not wish to be patronising, but it could be worth researching how referendums operate and the legislation that governs them.

     

    As I have stated, I am in favour of leaving the EU so you can save your contempt. Attempts to undermine a factual point by claiming the person making the point must have ulterior motives does not alter a fact.

  10. @ Sacre Bleu

     

    Really not sure why you've felt the need to post about the referendum not being binding; I merely replied to you posting your quoted text below, together with you enquiring as to which legislation:-

     

    "The fundamental problem is that there were no clear processes put in place that would be enacted by the result of the referendum, and the government have been 'making it up as they go along' since then."

     

    Are you insinuating that timelines, how to trigger the notice, etc., aren't processes?

     

    The second part of my reply was not directed at you, so my apologies if you thought it was.

     

    I don't have anything to add beyond repeating what I've written, but to answer our question, triggering Article 50 on a certain date doesn't, IMHO, constitute a process. I'm not insinuating that, I'd like to be quite clear about it.

     

    The period between the referendum and now has been chaotic and hallmarked by delays, court cases, contempt of parliament actions, backbench rebellions, confusion around the Irish border etc that could have been avoided if the process had been carefully thought through.

  11. @ Sacre Bleu

     

    There's several bits of legislation, including the European Treaty containing Article 50 (not sure whether that's the European Communities Act 1972(?)), The European Union (Definition of Treaties Orders (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ... I didn't half have to go googling a load of that lot but do recall reading various bits of Hansard when the European Referendum Act and other stuff was debated and the relevant bills presented in parliament at the time!  It was the latter, when the bills were in parliament, that our 'adorable' MPs had the chance to bicker/debate/pick to shreds the various elements.

     

    Thank you, Suffererof1crankymofo.

     

    FYI, Article 50 is in the 2007 Treaty on European Union.

     

    The 2015 European Referendum Act you mention could not allow for the referendum to be binding, as explained in the House of 2010 Lords Constitution Committee report on referendums"....because of the sovereignty of Parliament, referendums cannot be legally binding in the UK, and are therefore advisory. However, it would be difficult for Parliament to ignore a decisive expression of public opinion."

     

    The High Court agreed with this assessment in 2016 stating "a referendum on any topic can only be advisory for the lawmakers in Parliament”.

     

    The practical implications of this are that Parliament is obliged to give serious consideration to the result of the referendum, which they are doing, and that Parliament must ultimately make the decision.

     

    For the government and many Leave campaigners to present it as a situation by which the result of an advisory referendum in which only 37% of the electorate voted for constitutional change must immediately and unquestioningly be implemented without parliamentary due diligence is at best nieve, and has resulted in much divisive ill-feeling and muddying of constitutional waters. 

  12. "

    Quote: "we DO NOT have a Constitution to change.."

     

    "Indeed we do. It is a myth that we do not have a constitution, presumably because it is not codified in a single document - https://www.ucl.ac.u...uk-constitution"

     

    Sorry, but most of the article reads like "waffle" made up by an apologist and offers nothing more than "excuses" for the lack of a constitution.

     

    The rules and laws laid down over the years are, afaik, intended to increase the power of "the state" whilst a properly written constitution would give "citizens" (OK, we are "subjects" not "citizens" (spot the difference!)) a lot more protection and properly legislate the way that governments act.

     

    Regardless, we have a constitution. It is incorrect to say we lack one.

     

    I don't agree that the conventions are intended solely to increase the power of the state, the conventions generally constrain and clarify the powers.

     

    There have been several attempts to simplify and condense the constitution, most recently by the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee - https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/political-and-constitutional-reform/The-UK-Constitution.pdf

     

    I hope that recent events will hasten the process of constitutional reform

  13. Questionable grounds ?

     

    I wasn't aware that a "40% Rule"  was in place, neither was a "66% majority" demanded and, afaik, we DO NOT have a Constitution to change..

     

    Can't help thinking that you only want "democracy" when the result suits you ?

     

    Quote: "I wasn't aware that a "40% Rule"  was in place, neither was a "66% majority" demanded"

     

    I refer you to my previous response - the government assured parliament that the referendum was advisory/consultative, not binding, so did not require a minimum threshold. The European Union Referendum Act 2015 states that there was no requirement nor timescale for the government to implement the result.

     

    For the government to then claim the result gave them a mandate that did not require parliamentary debate is quite clearly disingenuous, and the UK Supreme Court agreed.

     

     

     

    Quote: "we DO NOT have a Constitution to change.."

     

    Indeed we do. It is a myth that we do not have a constitution, presumably because it is not codified in a single document - https://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/what-uk-constitution/what-uk-constitution

     

     

     

    Quote: "Can't help thinking that you only want "democracy" when the result suits you?"

     

    On the contrary. I generally support leaving the EU but I don't believe the government should be allowed to ride roughshod over our constitution to get what they want. That is a very dangerous precedent. If we are to have more control of our constitutional affairs post-Brexit, we should be strengthening, not undermining, our democratic processes and holding the government to account regardless of our opinions on the EU.

  14.  

    The fundamental problem is that there were no clear processes put in place that would be enacted by the result of the referendum, and the government have been 'making it up as they go along' since then.

    Incorrect.  What the Government and the EU have been doing is to ignore the legislation put in place and attempted to fudge it to suit what they wanted as opposed to just actually leaving

     

    What legislation are you referring to?

     

     

     

    Quote: "In addition, general elections have been pretty tight in the past yet we've accepted the 'first past the post' result with them so this shouldn't be any different."

     

    Referendums which affect constitutional change customarily have an additional measure to a FPTP general election, often referred to as the Minimum Threshold - the "40% rule" or the "2/3 majority (or supermajority)", to confer legitimacy. This was the case with the two previous UK wide referendums and the Scottish Independence referendum and is a standard safeguard in democracies across the world.

     

    * The 40% rule means that at least 40% of those eligible to vote must vote in favour of a constitutional change. Only 37% of the total electorate voted to leave the EU.

    * The 2/3 supermajority rule means that 66.6% of turnout must vote in favour of a constitutional change. Only 52% of turnout voted to leave the EU.

     

    However, the government did not include such a measure, in what I consider to be a breach of democratic protocol, and instead assured parliament it was an advisory, rather than a mandating, referendum. They have since gone back on the assurance. For these reasons, amongst others, I consider the EU referendum result to be built on questionable constitutional grounds.

  15. The problem from day one has been the majority of MPs have been against Brexit from the outset, not to mention most of the media and other influential people. Great effort has gone into derailing the whole thing ever since the vote. People have been bombarded with a constant stream of doom and negativity, some of it utter drivel. 

     

    Both sides behaved terribly before the vote but the failure of MPs to come together and work for the good of the country to enact the result of the referendum has been borderline criminal. 

     

    I agree with you on all of this apart from expecting elected representatives to set aside their judgement and party policies in order to enact the result of an advisory referendum with a slim majority. I believe that would be contrary to our democratic processes. 

     

    The fundamental problem is that there were no clear processes put in place that would be enacted by the result of the referendum, and the government have been 'making it up as they go along' since then.

     

    This is exemplified by several rulings against the government in their attempts to circumvent democratic protocol e.g. Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017], and the government being held in Contempt of Parliament [2018].

     

    In short, an ill-considered referendum should not, in my opinion, be considered as the optimal expression of democracy and should certainly not supersede the functions of the legislature, executive, and judiciary.

     

    I am not against the objectives of Brexit, but what we are witnessing is one of the most hamfisted and divisive attempts of a government to push through legislation in the history of the UK parliament.

  16. I'm all for democracy, but if you re-run the same vote too close together that process begins to work against democracy by blocking progress.

     

    As a safeguard against preventing progress, voting again on the same subject IMHO should only happen on one or more of three grounds, the result was in dispute, significant material and/or circumstantial changes have occurred that could reasonably be expected to have altered the opinions of a notable percentage of those eligible to vote, or a period of time has elapsed that natural wastage/maturity has caused a turnover in those eligible to vote adequate to potentially produce a significantly different outcome.

     

    I tend to agree with this assessment, and I believe that there has been a significant change in the information available to voters insomuch that it would be considered "significant material and/or circumstantial change"

     

    The fundamental problem was that Pro-Brexit politicians offered competing, contrary and detail-free visions of Brexit in order to gain support. 

     

    The referendum question was a simplistic binary choice but the implementation has predictably proven to be a far from binary compromise as the detail has been worked out, given proper consideration and due diligence.

     

    Furthermore, polls indicate that there has been a material swing in opinion toward remain in the past two years e.g. https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-poll-predicts-swing-to-remain-in-second-brexit-vote/

     

    So, regarding "blocking progress" - we have made little if any progress toward Brexit. If the majority of people are in favour of remaining, and we have not made any progress, I see no compelling reason why we should continue on the current Brexit trajectory.

     

    Personally, I don't agree with the principle of a 2nd referendum as I believe it is at odds to the functioning of the UK's representative democracy and I offer no solution beyond taking our foot off the accelerator and leaving it to parliament and a general election.

  17. The inherent challenge with any political system with aspirations of democracy is how to effectively translate the 'will of the people' into effective governance.

     

    'Pure' democracy (whereby people are directly engaged in discussions and decision-making processes) only works on a very small scale (villages, tribes etc) and/or on local issues.

     

    When attempts are made to upscale the principle (to regional or national level) it isn't practical to involve everyone directly, so we move to a 'representative' democracy, whereby 'the people' elect someone to represent their interests. These representatives are (usually) knowledgable in the legislative processes and 'the people' generally leave them to get on with the job of representing them.

     

    If the democratic processes are working as well as can be reasonably expected, and reasonably well informed and skilled representatives are appointed, then this system is reasonably effective.

     

    The current turmoil we are witnessing in British politics can be attributed to the use of an insufficiently well-considered referendum, which is an example of an attempt at 'pure' democracy. It abandoned the customs and norms our long-established representative democracy and gave the decision on a very complex body of international legislation to a population who could not reasonably be expected to understand the complexities of the question (I include myself).

     

    Furthermore, the government made no prior provision as to how the referendum result would be enacted through the processes of representative democracy. As you may recall, they simply tried to bypass our representatives and resisted attempts for the EU withdrawal to even be debated. Currently, it seems, after abandoning the long-established (and imperfect) standard processes, the government are making up the as they go along.

     

     

     

    Democracy is an imperfect solution, but as Winston Churchill said "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

  18. It would be interesting to see any reasoned enquiries that suggest that a god for you to pander to actually exists.

     

     

    An individual doesn't need to 'pander' to a God if they believe in them. If are referring to me when you state "a god for you to pander to", then let me remind you that I am an atheist, in that I do not have belief in a God.

     

    Re: reasoned enquiries. How about:

     

    The ‘something from nothing’ argument - a higher power must have initiated the conditions for the Big Bang and/or the laws of physics. There currently isn’t a particularly robust or widely accepted scientific counter to this argument other than 'God of the Gaps' - there is no reason to assume that because science doesn't currently have an explanation then that invokes God.

     

    The 'complexity' argument - the complexity of many organisms is statistically unlikely to have developed through natural selection alone. The human eye is an often used example. Evolutionary evidence makes a good job of countering this assertion.

     

    The various Ontological Arguments - philosophical arguments based on pure logic and abstract reasoning. They also include arguments that if God exists in the mind, then he does indeed exist. Ontological arguments have been at the root of some very interesting philosophical debate since the 11th century and are conceptually quite challenging (for me at least!)

  19.  

    To believe or not believe, is probably closed-minded...

     

    To believe means that you are happy to do what you're told, claim what you're told to claim and think what you are told to think.

     

    A non-believer, a disbeliever, an agnostic or an atheist however asks questions. They don't just swallow what they're fed.

     

     

    Another sweeping and inaccurate post. I suggest you look up the definition of each of those terms.

     

    Many people arrive at, or bolster existing, belief systems through reasoned enquiry.

     

    Equally, a non-believer, disbeliever, agnostic or atheist doesn't necessarily have to 'ask questions' to arrive at their position. I know many people who would define themselves as one of these things who haven't given it much, if any, consideration.

  20. Most societies worldwide today have evolved from religiously based societies. Some have evolved more than others for sure, but even among the most, so-called, 'advanced' societies far too much still remains within them that is there for no other reason than its how the religious society they evolved from did it.

     

    Marriage hasn't moved much from its religious ceremony and 'laws', neither have funerals and burial practices, our Government has people in it (or did not that long ago) who are only there because they hold senior positions within certain religious organisations, even on a local level the Council's Education Committee has a seat reserved for a 'religious representative'. Ministers of religion are still regularly 'looked up to', considered 'professionals' and appointed to public bodies to lord over the rest of us. When in reality many consider them peddlars of fiction and fantasy, who are getting a free ride through life on everyone else's back.

     

    Most societies worldwide today have indeed evolved from religiously based societies, and most still are religiously based societies. It's a very western viewpoint to say they are not. 

     

    Some 'advanced' and previously secular societies are becoming more religious than ever (e.g. Russia and Turkey)

     

    Your examples of marriage ceremonies and funerals are examples of functions that religion performs well. Humans seem to have an inbuilt predisposition for ritual and marking occasions of societal significance, and religion often fulfils these needs. Non-religious marriage ceremonies and funerals often follow the same format established by religious ceremonies - they just omit religious references.

  21. ^ Semantics. Society just redefines the same act from being 'murder' to being 'lawful killing' when it suits any given society to do so. Kiiling is killing, just because a given society enacts a statute that makes certain types of killing 'lawful' in that society, doesn't alter the act itself in any way, or define it as anything other than 'murder' in the eyes of someone of another society.

     

    Its a classic case of dressing up an act to be something else thats acceptable in one set of circumstances, but vilefying that exact same act in other circumstances.

     

    Exactly. 'Murder' is by definition premeditated unlawful killing. There needs to be an ideological/ political/religious framework in place that will allow societies to lawfully and/or morally justifiably kill people. The Death Penalty (internal to a society) and warfare (between societies) are two such examples.

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