Wednesday, February 14, 2018

699: Autonomy and neo-liberalism...

You may or may not have noticed, but autonomy is one of the hottest issues in present day's political debate.
US politics are almost paralyzed by it. What the one party builds up, the other party will breaks it down based on ideas about autonomy.
What I am referring to is the dominant role of new-liberalism in contemporary political debates.
The same happens in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is permitted in situations of insufferable suffering and imminent death.
But there are also people, in particular very old people, who are still healthy, but are really done with life.
I have a friend, 96 years old, who often says, that she would bless the day that she won't wake up anymore in the morning.
At this moment our politicians are debating the question, whether or not our Law on Euthanasia should also cover such situations:
the situation where a physical healthy person states to be done with life and willingly wishes to end it.
At this moment helping a person in such a situation is of course regarded as murder and if he acts all on his own we call it suicide.
Liberalism dictates autonomy. Does that imply that even death has become our private property? A difficult question.
The classic-liberal idea is, that autonomy equals independence and in particular independence from the government. 
Liberalism is the political movement that focuses on the freedom of the individual. The Latin word for 'free' is 'liber'.
According to liberalism, the government must respect individual autonomy by giving citizens the freedom
to shape their own lives instead of determining what is good for them. 
The government must therefore as little as possible intervene in the lives of the citizens, and give them as much liberties as possible.
The underlying idea is that autonomy is equivalent to the absence of coercion. 
The government should not tell us how we should lead our lives, for example by prescribing which religion we should adhere to, 
but should create the conditions within which we can shape our lives ourselves.
One of the best-known classical liberal philosophers is John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). 
According to Mill, we can only say that we are autonomous when we can call ourselves the author of our beliefs and desires, and that our actions express who we are. 
If our convictions and desires do not come from ourselves, Mill states, then we have as little character as a steam engine.
Next lecture we'll elaborate on these ideas of Mill and on what came next.....
Thank you for your attention again... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:20] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman - hi everyone
[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hi Ciska
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi Ciska
[13:20] herman Bergson: So in short... to be yourself demands personal autonomy
[13:20] CB Axel: Hi, Ciska.
[13:21] herman Bergson: and how far can a government go in interfering with this autonomy?
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): depends on the IQ someone has
[13:22] herman Bergson: In the US you see the extreme consequences of this debate
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): some can't take care for themselves
[13:22] herman Bergson: yes Beertje...that is the next question.....
[13:23] herman Bergson: How far should a government go in protecting the weak in its society....
[13:23] Claudette Loire is offline.
[13:23] herman Bergson: and there we play the social-democratic card
[13:24] herman Bergson: in the US they call it the communist card :-)
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:24] herman Bergson: We are in search of our Self.....
[13:25] herman Bergson: so the underlying question still can we be ourselves....
[13:25] herman Bergson: and autonomy is part of this Self
[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: isn't it a Maslow pyramid "next" step problem somehow?
[13:26] herman Bergson: hmmm..Maslow....
[13:26] herman Bergson: may call that the psychological interpretation...
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:27] herman Bergson: but autonomy of the individual is also a political issue
[13:27] herman Bergson: For instance....
[13:28] herman Bergson: our parlement just passed a law which makes every dutchman an organ donor, UNLESS he explicitly tells that he does not agree with that
[13:28] herman Bergson: does that mean that I have lost the autonomy of my own body
[13:29] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i think so
[13:29] CB Axel: No. You still have the choice.
[13:29] herman Bergson: because I am forced to say...NO...I do not want to donate organs....
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: well if you are dead ..... you cannot say yes or no any longer
[13:29] herman Bergson: Shouldn't it be.....This is my body and I will tell you whether or not I wish to be an organ donor?
[13:30] CB Axel: Well, I'm forced to say that I do want them donated and my family can overrule that after I'm no longer able to argue back.
[13:30] Ciska Riverstone: because u do no longer exist in the world as we know it.
[13:30] herman Bergson: that is the new situation here too now....
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): telling that you wish a donor was the first step
[13:31] CB Axel: Why should my family make that decision for me? That takes away my autonomy, too.
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): then they came with the other idea
[13:31] herman Bergson: yes and that can be overruled by relatives when you are dead now
[13:31] CB Axel: It doesn't matter, Beertje. My family can know what I want and still overrule my wishes.
[13:31] herman Bergson: We see the same problem in healthcare.....
[13:32] herman Bergson: does autonomy mean that you are free to decide whether or not you like to insure yourself?
[13:32] herman Bergson: or can a government 'force' you to be insured....
[13:32] herman Bergson: aren't you the autonomous owner of your body here?
[13:33] herman Bergson: laws against smoking.....
[13:33] herman Bergson: laws against the use of drugs,
[13:34] CB Axel: My problem with that debate here in the US is that the same people who say I shouldn't be forced to get insurance are the same ones who say I should NOT get birth control or safe, legal abortion.
[13:34] Mikki Louise (mikkilouise) is online.
[13:34] CB Axel: They are not interested in autonomy.
[13:34] herman Bergson: Or only in their way of defining autonomy.....
[13:35] herman Bergson: meaning that religious ideas restrict any autonomy
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): governments need the insurance money
[13:35] CB Axel: They need to keep their religious ideas off my autonomy.
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): religion and politics = evil
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not a good combination
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in any form
[13:36] herman Bergson: That is a difficult issue here where we have political parties that call them selves Christian Democrates for instance
[13:37] CB Axel: I wonder if a Christian can really be a democrat.
[13:37] herman Bergson: almost all European countries have religious based political parties
[13:37] CB Axel: They don't want people to rule themselves. They want their idea of a god to do that.
[13:37] herman Bergson: good question CB :-)
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed we also have just a sich party
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): kristdemokraterna (the christ democrats)
[13:38] herman Bergson: yes Bejiita...:-)
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): don't know much about their idieas in general though, not to interested, It never gets perfect in any case no matter which party gets to rule
[13:39] herman Bergson: So we may conclude that absolute individual autonomy is a very questionable concept in the world we live in...
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): one party i really don't like but are sitting at the moment with some other parties are called SD (Sweden democrats) they just think we should throw every refugee out of Sweden and they have their original background in the racist/fascist grounds
[13:40] herman Bergson: How far can you go in claiming your individual you can be yourself?
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: its an unrealistic concept as long as people are not really able to grasp it as a "mass"
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and no other party wants anything to do with them
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): if we don't fit in we are called 'paradise birds"
[13:41] CB Axel: I don't think complete autonomy is practical where groups of people live together.
[13:41] CB Axel: There must be some laws.
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but i don't have all details
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i think politic is most a big mess nowadays
[13:41] herman Bergson: Indeed CB.....
[13:41] herman Bergson: We have such parties here to Bejiita :-))
[13:42] herman Bergson: Like in Germany and France, Hungary and Poland...
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a huge sandbox where everyone sit and throw sand at each other and fight and argue instead of doing a responsible leadership work
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there always will be someone who will tell us what we have to do
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): you could make a reality show out of it
[13:42] Ciska Riverstone: well the responsible leadership work needs goals
[13:42] herman Bergson: We'll look into this aspect you mention CB, in coming lectures
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): reality
[13:43] herman Bergson: As you see...trying to be yourself or even find your true Self brings us right in the middle of politics :-))
[13:44] Claudette Loire is online.
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well....guess we'll address these issues in coming lectures :-)
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in any case self is more complex then it sounds
[13:44] CB Axel: That should be interesting. °͜°
[13:44] herman Bergson: it is indeed Bejiita :-))
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but thats whats so interesting
[13:45] herman Bergson: thank you, Bejiita....:-)
[13:45] herman Bergson: I guess this is a nice moment to dismiss class...:-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki all, cu next time
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:46] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman.
[13:46] herman Bergson: Thank you for participating again in a troll free environment :-)
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:46] CB Axel: I'll see you all on Thursday. °͜°

[13:46] herman Bergson: I'll be there CB :-)

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