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Old Feb 8, 2013, 08:37 AM   #326
elistan
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Originally Posted by eric/ View Post
You do know that these terms are not mutually exclusive, right? You can be a descriptive moral relativist, AND a meta-ethical, for example.
Yes, of course. I've never claimed otherwise.
In addition, one can be a descriptive moral relativist, AND an objective moral relativist. Such a person would say "Bob and Steve have different morals [that's the descriptive moral relativist part] and only Bob's morals are correct [the objective moralist part.]"

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No I'm not arguing semantics at all, mr. I posted 4 wikipedia definitions.
Yes you are, you just don't know it. "You" being plural, for eric/ and citizenzen. You're each using the same words but with different meanings. You're just talking past each other, not accomplishing anything.

I, on the other hand, am deliberately discussing the meanings of these words, and hope to enlighten all parties so that you all can speak using the same semantics, and therefore have a useful conversation. I make no apology for arguing semantics - that's my entire point here.

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I've been arguing that you can't prove descriptive ethics if you're a moral relativist.
What kind of moral relativist? A descriptive moral relativist? A meta-ethical moral relativist? Or a normative moral relativist? And what does it mean to "prove" descriptive ethics? Descriptive ethics does not seek to prove anything.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 08:53 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
Yes, of course. I've never claimed otherwise.
In addition, one can be a descriptive moral relativist, AND an objective moral relativist. Such a person would say "Bob and Steve have different morals [that's the descriptive moral relativist part] and only Bob's morals are correct [the objective moralist part.]"



Yes you are, you just don't know it. "You" being plural, for eric/ and citizenzen. You're each using the same words but with different meanings. You're just talking past each other, not accomplishing anything.

I, on the other hand, am deliberately discussing the meanings of these words, and hope to enlighten all parties so that you all can speak using the same semantics, and therefore have a useful conversation. I make no apology for arguing semantics - that's my entire point here.



What kind of moral relativist? A descriptive moral relativist? A meta-ethical moral relativist? Or a normative moral relativist? And what does it mean to "prove" descriptive ethics? Descriptive ethics does not seek to prove anything.
I think you're reading into this too much and confusing yourself, and trying to find something where there isn't anything.

The type of moral relativist isn't relevant. In all cases, moral relativism holds that there is no universally standard morality. It follows that any such claim that a society is moving in the right or wrong direction, doing something moral or immoral, is a contradictory claim to the underlying principles.

The only difference between meta and normative is whether or not "we" should tolerate other cultures or moral views.

The normative point of view is, well, silly, because it seeks to claim that one point of view is right or wrong, or justified in it's criticism of others, without a basis to criticize.

As a meta, you run into an is/ought problem

Descriptive here doesn't even matter

Last edited by eric/; Feb 8, 2013 at 09:02 AM.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 08:54 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
Yes you are, you just don't know it. "You" being plural, for eric/ and citizenzen. You're each using the same words but with different meanings. You're just talking past each other, not accomplishing anything.
I'll disagree with you on one point. I have not tried to assign meaning to "moral relativism". I was content to let eric/'s definition stand in order to see where his argument was going. During this whole argument I've answered his questions and allowed him to build the argument to his conclusion.

Unfortunately his conclusion, IMO, is a logical train wreck.

He seems to believe that because I'm a moral relativist—a designation he assigned to me according to his definition—I'm a hypocrite for assessing historic events and trends and giving my opinion to their value.

It would seem that in eric/'s mind, you're a hypocrite if you're a moral relativist—and I'm still waiting for a better definition of what that is—and you hold an opinion.

Do you think that's the case he's been building or am I overlooking something?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 09:31 AM   #329
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It's worth pointing out that I'm using the term "moral" in the sense that "Bob has a system of determining what's wrong and what's right, in Bob's morals, killing is okay." I don't mean morality as a synonym of "goodness" or "rightness" which I'm beginning to think is how you are interpreting my posts.

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Originally Posted by eric/ View Post
The type of moral relativist isn't relevant.
Yes it is. There are three kinds, and they are all different from each other. You are confused about what "realtivism" means in this instance. It's simply about comparing, about how things relate to each other. It does not imply a judgement like you think it does. Comparing Bob's morals to Steve's morals is descriptive moralism. It says nothing about universal moral standards or whose morals are right. (When you start making judements calls is when you get into the second and third kinds of relativism - meta-ethical and normative.)

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In all cases, moral relativism holds that there is no universally standard morality.
No it doesn't. That directly contradicts what descriptive moral relativism means. One can be an objective moralist AND a descriptive moral relativist at the same time.

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It follows that any such claim that a society is moving in the right or wrong direction, doing something moral or immoral, is a contradictory claim to the underlying principles.
Claiming that today's morals are better (or worse) than yesterday's morals (or two people's moral, or two society's morals) is the very definition of meta-ethical moral relativism. No contradiction.

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The only difference between meta and normative is whether or not "we" should tolerate other cultures or moral views.
Meta-ethical moral relativism is the same as what you're claiming to be absolute moralism. That is, the comparing of two moral systems and claimming that only one of them is correct. You can claim that an absolute moralist's (aka, meta-ethical moral relavitist's) views are incorrect, but that doesn't not mean they are not absolute moralists.

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The normative point of view is, well, silly, because it seeks to claim that one point of view is right or wrong, or justified in it's criticism of others, without a basis to criticize.
That's incorrect. The definition of normative moralism is that it claims that all moral systems, no matter how they differ, are equally valid. The systems are "normalized." The normative point of view by definition says it doesn't claim that one point of view is right or wrong.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 09:57 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
I'll disagree with you on one point. I have not tried to assign meaning to "moral relativism". I was content to let eric/'s definition stand in order to see where his argument was going. During this whole argument I've answered his questions and allowed him to build the argument to his conclusion.
True, you didn't assign meaning to the term. But when you answered "yes" to his question "you'd admit that you're a moral relativist?" you obviously had a different meaning for the term than he did, as evidenced by the exchange:

eric/: surely you'd admit that you're a moral relativist?
citizenzen: I sure am.
eric/: so then you therefore admit that you're ok with anything any other culture does?
citizenzen: Why would you make that leap?
eric/: Well that's what moral relativism is.

To you it's a leap because to you "moral relativism" does not imply normalizing validity, while to him it's the very definition of "moral relativism."

Which is why he later said this:
eric/: It would appear that, either you're not a relativist, or you made a false claim.

The "false claim" is simply the result of using a different definition of a phrase. By his definition, you're indeed not a relativist. By your definition, you are.

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Unfortunately his conclusion, IMO, is a logical train wreck.

He seems to believe that because I'm a moral relativist—a designation he assigned to me according to his definition—I'm a hypocrite for assessing historic events and trends and giving my opinion to their value.

It would seem that in eric/'s mind, you're a hypocrite if you're a moral relativist—and I'm still waiting for a better definition of what that is—and you hold an opinion.

Do you think that's the case he's been building or am I overlooking something?
To him, your claim "I'm a moral relativist" contradicts your statements on making value judgments about morals. To you, there is no contradiction. Remember, he didn't assign you that designation, you were the one who said "I sure am." Which meant something different to him than it did to you.

I think you two could have a very interesting discussion on morality if you got past the issues of what "relativism" means.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 10:13 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
There are three kinds, and they are all different from each other ...
Very interesting. I'll try to spend some time this evening following up on the subject and improving my understanding of the matter.

Since you seem to understand moral relativism pretty well, can you answer this question ...

Which of these philosophical positions would ethically prevent a person from holding an opinion about historic social trends?

My guess is none. But I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

----------

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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
To him, your claim "I'm a moral relativist" contradicts your statements on making value judgments about morals. To you, there is no contradiction. Remember, he didn't assign you that designation, you were the one who said "I sure am." Which meant something different to him than it did to you.
Again, you are overlooking something.

I did not out of the blue claim "I'm a moral relativist."

Eric/ originally assigned that to me.

When asked what that meant, eric/ said, it meant I didn't work from a single objective moral standard.

Given the choice between those two things, both defined by eric/, I agreed that I was a moral relativist.

As did eric/ himself.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 10:14 AM   #332
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Wow...I have been out for a while on Jury duty and I come back to Meta-ethical moral relativism in a thread that started about a mental patient that was handed a gun and people can't figure out why that went bad.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 10:47 AM   #333
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
Yes it is. There are three kinds, and they are all different from each other. You are confused about what "realtivism" means in this instance. It's simply about comparing, about how things relate to each other. It does not imply a judgement like you think it does. Comparing Bob's morals to Steve's morals is descriptive moralism. It says nothing about universal moral standards or whose morals are right.
Right. I haven't said anything to the contrary. I've just stated that it doesn't matter, because, well who cares?

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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
(When you start making judements calls is when you get into the second and third kinds of relativism - meta-ethical and normative.)
Correct, which is what "society has progressed" is. It's a judgement call.

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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
No it doesn't. That directly contradicts what descriptive moral relativism means. One can be an objective moralist AND a descriptive moral relativist at the same time.
Yeah I guess you're right. But it's a faulty position.


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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
Claiming that today's morals are better (or worse) than yesterday's morals (or two people's moral, or two society's morals) is the very definition of meta-ethical moral relativism. No contradiction.

Meta-ethical moral relativism is the same as what you're claiming to be absolute moralism. That is, the comparing of two moral systems and claimming that only one of them is correct. You can claim that an absolute moralist's (aka, meta-ethical moral relavitist's) views are incorrect, but that doesn't not mean they are not absolute moralists.
I think you're confused. From your link:


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Meta-ethical relativists are, firstly, descriptive relativists: they believe that, given the same set of facts, some societies or individuals will have a fundamental disagreement about what one ought to do (based on societal or individual norms). What's more, they argue that one cannot adjudicate these disagreements using some independent standard of evaluation — the standard will always be societal or personal.
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
That's incorrect. The definition of normative moralism is that it claims that all moral systems, no matter how they differ, are equally valid. The systems are "normalized." The normative point of view by definition says it doesn't claim that one point of view is right or wrong.
Sorry, I was commenting on this from the Wiki link:

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That is, it is perfectly reasonable (and practical) for a person or group to defend their subjective values against others, even if there is no universal prescription or morality.
Which is a silly position to say the least.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 10:55 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
Very interesting. I'll try to spend some time this evening following up on the subject and improving my understanding of the matter.

Since you seem to understand moral relativism pretty well, can you answer this question ...

Which of these philosophical positions would ethically prevent a person from holding an opinion about historic social trends?

My guess is none. But I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Hehe, I wouldn't say I understand it well, I just found the discussion interesting, and coming from ignorance at the start I did some reading.

Regarding your question - you're right, neither descriptive, meta-ethical, nor normative moral relativism prevents the forming of an opinion. They each just result in a different opinion. For example:
Descriptive: "Society X used to accept cannibalism, now they don't."
Meta-ethical: "Society X's current rejection of cannibalism is good; when they accepted it, that was bad."
Normative: "Society X's former acceptance of cannibalism was just as valid as their current rejection of it."

Quote:
Again, you are overlooking something.

I did not out of the blue claim "I'm a moral relativist."

Eric/ originally assigned that to me.

When asked what that meant, eric/ said, it meant I didn't work from a single objective moral standard.

Given the choice between those two things, both defined by eric/, I agreed that I was a moral relativist.

As did eric/ himself.
Hmm... Perhaps we should agree on a definition of "objective moral standard" before continuing. Moral realism? Or moral universalism? Or perhaps something like Ayn Rand's objectivism?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 10:57 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post


Hmm... Perhaps we should agree on a definition of "objective moral standard" before continuing. Moral realism? Or moral universalism? Or perhaps something like Ayn Rand's objectivism?
Sure, something that is true without regard to the observer, their feelings, bias, etc...

So like, 2+2 is objective
Sue is cute is subjective
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 10:59 AM   #336
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Yeah I guess you're right. But it's a faulty position.
You need to complete that thought.

It's a faulty position because ...?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 11:04 AM   #337
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You need to complete that thought.

It's a faulty position because ...?
How do you prove objective morality?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 11:28 AM   #338
elistan
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Right. I haven't said anything to the contrary. I've just stated that it doesn't matter, because, well who cares?
Seems like, you, citizenzen and I car, otherwise why would we be having this discussion?

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Yeah I guess you're right. But it's a faulty position.
Are you saying that an objective moralist cannot even acknowlege that different people think differently? That an objective moralst who believes that it is wrong to drink alcohol on Sunday holds the opinion that everybody who does it is knowingly engaging in bad behavior? (As opposed to acknowleging that that person thinks the behavior is not bad.)

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I think you're confused. From your link:
Hmm, perhaps I need to refine my understanding of meta-ethical moral relativism. In my above post, the opinion would then be... "Society X's current rejection of cannibalism is good, and when they accepted it that was bad, but only because we believe that cannibalism is bad, instead of some objective truth we can point to." (A possible objective truth that can be used to justify calling cannibalism bad is that cannibalism can help spread disease. Although one then needs to justify why spreading disease is bad...)

Some more reading that I haven't had time to more than skim so far:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/

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Sorry, I was commenting on this from the Wiki link:

Which is a silly position to say the least.
Many philosphers have disagreed with you over the ages.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 11:34 AM   #339
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Seems like, you, citizenzen and I car, otherwise why would we be having this discussion?
No, I mean if you're a descriptive moralist, all you're doing is just running around saying your opinion. And who cares about that?


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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
Are you saying that an objective moralist cannot even acknowlege that different people think differently? That an objective moralst who believes that it is wrong to drink alcohol on Sunday holds the opinion that everybody who does it is knowingly engaging in bad behavior? (As opposed to acknowleging that that person thinks the behavior is not bad.)
No, I'm saying you can't be an objective moralist, without first demonstrating morality is objective. Which would be quite a feat, to say the least.


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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
Hmm, perhaps I need to refine my understanding of meta-ethical moral relativism. In my above post, the opinion would then be... "Society X's current rejection of cannibalism is good, and when they accepted it that was bad, but only because we believe that cannibalism is bad, instead of some objective truth we can point to." (A possible objective truth that can be used to justify calling cannibalism bad is that cannibalism can help spread disease. Although one then needs to justify why spreading disease is bad...)

Some more reading that I haven't had time to more than skim so far:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/
I was just going off what the Wikipedia definition was, to keep the conversation consistent.

Meta ethics in this case simply is an acknowledgement that people hold different things to be moral or not, but that they are all relative to ones culture, and no objective moral standard could be used to decided right or wrongness.


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Many philosphers have disagreed with you over the ages.
they are wrong
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 12:01 PM   #340
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No, I mean if you're a descriptive moralist, all you're doing is just running around saying your opinion. And who cares about that?
Right.

In an internet political forum.

Who wants to read opinions?

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Old Feb 8, 2013, 12:07 PM   #341
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Right.

In an internet political forum.

Who wants to read opinions?

Well when we're debating morality from a philosophical standpoint and you appeal to something being right or wrong, yeah who cares about opinions. Prove it.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 12:31 PM   #342
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Well when we're debating morality from a philosophical standpoint and you appeal to something being right or wrong, yeah who cares about opinions. Prove it.
You have an incredible degree of tunnel vision that prevents you from appreciating any subtlety of argument.

Here is my original statement ...


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Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
The problem is that he didn't say "society isn't right" that's your twisting of, "I never said it was right."

The two statements are not the same.

Sometimes society is right. Sometimes society is wrong.

History has proven that overall we're moving in the right direction.
I do apologize that I didn't insert an IMO in front of, "history has proven that overall we're moving in the right direction."

I'm usually pretty careful about putting that in because of people like you. I should have taken your inability to detect opinion more completely into account.

My bad.

You could have simply asked me if that was my personal opinion or whether I based that statement on sourced date. You instead led the thread on a meandering and bizarre cross-examination trying to trap me into a contradiction that doesn't exist ... except in your own clouded mind.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 12:32 PM   #343
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Sure, something that is true without regard to the observer, their feelings, bias, etc...

So like, 2+2 is objective
Sue is cute is subjective
That, I believe, is "moral realism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_realism

Does the wikipedia article above accurately reflect what you're saying?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 01:03 PM   #344
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You have an incredible degree of tunnel vision that prevents you from appreciating any subtlety of argument.

Here is my original statement ...




I do apologize that I didn't insert an IMO in front of, "history has proven that overall we're moving in the right direction."

I'm usually pretty careful about putting that in because of people like you. I should have taken your inability to detect opinion more completely into account.

My bad.

You could have simply asked me if that was my personal opinion or whether I based that statement on sourced date. You instead led the thread on a meandering and bizarre cross-examination trying to trap me into a contradiction that doesn't exist ... except in your own clouded mind.
People like me? It's not my fault you failed at communicating your message. If you had truly meant that as "your opinion" than when you saw what I was saying you should have just said, yeah it's my opinion, instead of going down this path and arguing about it.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 01:26 PM   #345
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If you had truly meant that as "your opinion" than when you saw what I was saying you should have just said, yeah it's my opinion, instead of going down this path and arguing about it.
I had no idea where you were going with it.

Had I known you were going to take us down a dark, tortured and illogical path I might have diverted you from it.

I say "might" ... because I've noticed that there's little stopping you when you start spiraling down those paths.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 03:51 PM   #346
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Could you two get a room or something?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 03:57 PM   #347
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The answer is obvious - each US citizen gets their own armed guard. Otherwise they'll never be safe from all the rapist and murderers who apparently roam freely. It's also just as obvious that if anyone attempts to take away the guns the government will then immediately enslave everyone. How can you not see this?
Don't forget the armed guard to protect you from your official armed guarded... You NEVER know lol
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 04:22 PM   #348
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Could you two get a room or something?
No kidding.

There's nothing worse than forums that get taken over by two people squabbling.

I just skip over those posts myself.

Yet sometimes ...
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