Is Atheism a chiefly liberal or conservative philosophy?

I know this may seem like a bit of an odd question but I’ve been wondering about it for the past few days and for some reason I can’t escape the feeling that it (atheism) would be a rather ‘conservative’ point of view (that is, at least in title), and yet I’m constantly being called a liberal because of my social and political leanings. I'm just wondering what your views are on this.

 

PS: I’ll be gone for a few days but I will catch up with this thread when I return.

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Michael,

I can see your libertarian angst starting to seep through in your comments, lol.  Regardless, the definition of value you put forth makes value itself completely arbitrary, and subjective to any number of viewpoints.  However, Jameer's agreement with you belies something else~ how is the value of an object determined by the seller?  Is it merely a number they make up, or is it based on the price they paid for the product?  If you move up the chain from resources to manufacturing to distribution, the value of the object increases as it passes hands from one seller to buyer, so on and so forth.  The value of that object is determined, in each case, by the price paid by the seller.  That value is objective, based on the expenditures needed to pass that product up the chain.  It is interesting, however, that at the end of that chain, in your view, the value of something becomes completely subjective, whereas throughout its previous life it has a foundation upon which it is based.

Value is a normative concept, Park. And of course you can see my libertarian angst. But it should do more than seep. Your definition of value of absurd. There is no absolute value of an object. It's value is determined by what it means to an individual. Cost, in terms of dollars, can be quantified, if I paid 10 dollars for some peanut butter and 5 for some jelly and 2 for some bread, put it all together myself, in my kitchen, and I wish to sell it for 50 dollars and you buy it, that's its value! We negotiate the value of a nonquantifiable amount of energy/effort that went into the product. Work!!! It is often much more valuable than the other fixed costs of production. Stop ignoring this. Value is normative. Unlike the length of a line, which is descriptive.
No, that isn't how value works in business.  Value to a buyer is subjective, and thus mostly arbitrary~ If I say a wheelbarrow is worth a million dollars, that means absolutely nothing to determining its value.  It doesn't matter if I am willing to pay one million dollars, that doesn't represent its value to anyone but myself.  If you say your wheelbarrow is worth a million dollars, unless there is a quantifiable reason to back that up (say, its made of platinum and powered by rocket engines) it is not worth a million dollars~ it is still worth roughly the cost to produce it.  The real world, such as the world of retail commerce, does not work in the way you describe~ values are based upon the cost of production.  If Walmart thinks they can sell wheelbarrows for one million a piece, that doesn't make the value of that (cheep) wheelbarrow one million dollars~ it does show the possible absurdities based on a trade of subjective values, but does not reflect anything about the intrinsic value of said object.  Nowhere am I suggesting absolutes, but I see nowhere that my examples are contested and my conclusions diverge from them.
Value is not what one person says it is, as I stated above. It is the agreed price. Exploitation involves fraud or force. Else, it is trade. Moral, proper and fair. Economics and markets work because of work. Peanut butter plus jelly and bread put together by a human is worth more than the pieces by themselves and still in their containers. The additional value of the sandwich over its parts is dictated by the agreed upon price, in the market. This is basic economics. Your wish for exploitation to be implicit in fair trade is plain wishful thinking and it does not make it so. Value is a normative concept, Park. What is valuable to one person is not necessarily a value to someone else. The market decides value, based on supply and demand, of course as long as the majority rule corrupt government decides to force itself into economics and set prices and rates, which fucks everything up.

The value you speak of being "normative" is only within the paradigm of a subjective value theory, which I personally find ludicrous.  I'm curious, however, why an intrinsic theory of value, concerning the resources and labor that goes into producing an item, doesn't seem to make sense to you.  What do you see as the problem with that value theory, and why is a completely mobile theory of value based on subjective opinion the best option?  Understanding that our two viewpoints do not intersect, I guess, is important. 

 

I'm curious why you think a value system where the buyer determines the value benefits the seller, and where the seller determines the value benefits the buyer? I'm also intrigued you find no flaw in a system that has led to a gallon of Cola being equal in value to a gallon of gasoline~ it would seem to me that, in application, the values of two such things should be drastically different, since one is infinitely more useful than the other.

An intrinsic theory of value does not work because there is no objective value of something, like a gallon of oil. A gallon of gas is worth less than a gallon of cola to a thirsty person with a full tank of gas the same way a gallon of cola is not worth what a gallon of gas is to someone who just ran out of gas and has a 2 liter bottle of Coke in the passenger's seat. I can think of many more examples of how cola can be more valuable than gas. And once again, Park, the price and worth of something are normative values determined at the time by the agreed upon trade between both the seller and buyer. That's what a market is. Neither the buyer not the seller, alone, determine the price of a good. The negotiation between these individuals sets the market price based on supply and demand. And wages are decided by both the employer and employee. If an employer suggests too low a wage, don't work there. If an applicant suggests to high a wage, don't hire him or her. If someone, through their own labor makes something you want, it is not your moral right to empower the government to force him or her to sell it at a price you can afford, whatever your intentions.
Thats absolutely absurd! There can be no objective value placed on an object?!  All you are doing is repeating the same thing over and over again, not providing an explanation.  Explain to me how, through the chain of production, the value of an object is not based on the resources that go into it.  What you are asserting is patently false~ if value couldn't be objectified there would be no stability in the market amongst products that are relatively equal.  Quality, too, would have little bearing on the price of a product~ Regardless of how you want to spin the nature of commerce as being "voluntary," it is clearly evident, through common sense, that there are intrinsic values put on products~ otherwise poorly built products would have no relation in price to quality built ones, or cheaply produced products wouldn't sell cheaper than more expensively built.  If the foundation of your argument truly is that there is no such thing as an intrinsic value, I see absolutely no footing underneath it.  All one needs do is observe the development and price of a product from resource to retail to know this.
Upon further inspection, I find it even more curious that the system we work within diverges between the two systems~ where on the labor side an intrinsic theory of value is applied to an employee (you are paid based on the results of your labor and the subjectivity of wages is kept to a minimum~ this shifts as stature increases [a corporate head earns what they ask for, or an amount that is not relative to the work actually performed, but based on status]) and yet the products that are to be purchased are based on a subjective value theory (the value of an object is not determined by its cost of production, but what is willing to be paid for it).  It would seem to me that this system has been produced to be lopsided in favor of those who sell and who employ, as opposed to those who consume and who work.  An entire system that is slanted in the favor of those who have the money and distribute it, mainly corporations.
You are fabricating a false dichotomy. People get paid based on the salary or price they can negotiate for their labors or products they make. And they use their money, what isn't taken by government, to buy goods and services, based on trade, and you think it is fundamentally unfair that some people are more successful, more capable and therefore more powerful. This is fair. To try and alter free trade in favor of any one group is wrong. What's really ridiculous is even after the producers are disproportionately stolen from, you still blame the process that creates wealth, that allows wealth redistribution.
its not a false dichotomy~ an employee has no recourse in the discussion.  Salaries can be negotiated, however that is not the norm, especially the lower you go in income.  Its not hard to find evidence of this~ if you look up job ads, you will see that the price for pay is already determined by the prospective employer.  The "if you don't like it, look somewhere else" attitude is especially telling coming from someone who objects to taxation; why is it not "if you don't like taxes, go live somewhere else?"

@JohnD

I agree with you.  I am in no way advocating paying everyone the same.  Education, as an expense, should be duly compensated.  My contention is more related to the statistic that the top 20% earners in America control 85% of the wealth~ do they, then, do 85% of the work?  This country has been founded on labor, and often low wage industrial jobs, yet in 2007 the bottom 40% earners controlled just .3% of the wealth.  That lower 40% at the time of the study represent nearly 60 million Americans.  The system that has been described purposely pushes capital towards business, which then funnels it where it see's fit.  It does not empower anyone but those in control, and instead results in massive wealth disparity.  I have issue with a system that intends to profit for profit's sake, and truly, from a philosophical standpoint, profit only makes sense within the confines of this system in which we reside.

 

btw, you can read the article from which these numbers were taken here

 

here's a fancy little display too

@ JohnD

To a point, that is very correct, but taxation on the rich won't put money in the hands of those who are on the bottom.  The only way that would work would be by creating an overbearing social safety net~ what needs to be done is to empower them by lowering/eliminating the necessary expenditures that end up absorbing most of their income and making sure that those who make so much more contribute proportionately~ but taxation on the rich isn't an answer to someone who is making $8/hr at McDonalds.  What is going to help them is making sure that life is livable, and providing them a means to better themselves, be it assisted education or investment programs~ making their money go further, not just taking more from the rich.

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