Perhaps - if so, not intentionally however.
I presented the situation as I see it, and that includes referring to real life situations going on in the world right now.
This is a straw man. My rebuttal is simple: to say that society A is better in some way than society B does nothing to prove that society A is good.
As there’s no definitive, objectively agreed-upon standard of good or bad, that’s why I suggest that looking at what people prefer, and what they risk their lives to leave, is a legitimate measure of a society’s value to its citizens.
I further submit that every society, without exception, operates on a "might is right" principle, although this is cloaked by various political justifications (Social Contracts, Natural Law, Divine Mandates and so on). Hence my point about lies. Can you provide me a counter-example of a society that does not rely on force or the threat of force to maintain itself?
No, but then I can’t provide you with an example of a totally non-violent and non-aggressive human psyche, and our society can only mimic the minds of the individuals it’s comprised of.
What, within us, causes us to have the urges and needs we do that bring us into contact with laws and rules anyway?
Is there a purity to the desire to smash someone’s face in when they annoy you, that’s lacking in the imposition of self-restraint - a dynamic that’s then echoed in wider society when we enact laws and attemnpt to set up mechanisms to disincentivise smashing people’s faces in, in general?
Freud and many others have come up with models of the human mind, most of which propose that we’re capable of having transient urges and desires towards dominance and aggression that don’t fit with our overall best interests - in these models, we police ourselves (in Freud’s model, the ego and super-ego policing the urges from the id).
Also, and here is where I think you misunderstand me, I am not offering a political or social prescription, but rather pointing out that social life as such is injurious to personal freedom to a greater or lesser degree.
For sure, hence, hermits.
However unless we wish to manufacture everything we eat, use, and also handle all our own eventual medical needs, care during injury, old age, etc., we are also forced to resort to dependence upon people in order to live.
Personal freedom of this type also takes a nose-dive if you ever wish to be a parent, for example a woman who’s just had a baby and decides 3 weeks in to neither be responsible for it, nor hand it over to an oppressive society, will cause the death of that baby.
To neglect the child as soon as it’s able to feed itself will also cause psychological harm, so the model of what makes a healthy human in childhood, I think, reinforces the idea that society is important to human wellbeing and generally beneficial, and that our rules and laws, conventions and norms, are attempts (which sometimes go astray) to meet the best interests of the greatest number of people in that society.
So I think your argument (as I understand it anyway) ignores the psychological and biological reality of our species.
I further think that ethical considerations increases this insult to human dignity, and can be effectively done away with, allowing individuals to manage their relationship to those around them as free agents, rather than as enslaved cogs in an uncaring machine.
There you perhaps differentiate between externally imposed ethics, and individual choices to do things that make life simpler - like not stabbing people who annoy us in the street?
A simplified example, given for illustration.
I challenge that (if you mean internal - internalised - ethics are an affront to dignity) by asking how much dignity individuals with various learning difficulties have, who are incapable of restraining their anger or any urge, and who have no internalised concept of what’s appropriate and what isn’t?
This isn’t a fine choice for them to make after due consideration, there are people who can’t stop themselves acting as the impulse moves them to do so, and yet they don’t seem to lead lives of great dignity and success.
This is a suggestion made to individuals who are prepared to interact as outsiders to a social order where those abandoned ethical norms are taken for granted by others. In other words, pretend to play by the rules when it is convenient, without actually playing by the rules.
I actually think everyone does that.
I’ll give you an example - most people don’t agree with theft, and yet tens of millions of pounds a year go missing in the form of office supplies and small items filched from employers, “I’ll just take a few of these, they won’t notice…” etc.
What people want in general and what they actually do have always been two different things, yet none of those people, returning home with their employer’s property in their bags, would consider it fair turnaround if their own house was burgled.
I don’t think anyone actually chooses to play by the rules unless they identify those rules as aligning with their own best interests, and that’s a situational assessment we all make, all the time.
More to the point, though, you seem to be using a narrow definition of harm that is restricted to physical violence.
We have the luxury of not dealing with this on a day to day basis, millions don’t though.
I think any argument that ignores this reality is too abstract, but I can understand if you disagree.
As I look around where I live, I see more subtle forms of harm all around me. The daily struggles humans have with one another causes pain and misery on an almost constant basis. Does the occasional good deed compensate for all of this? Not in the faces I see. Look at the elderly, or even the middle-aged, in any of these enlightened, orderly societies you uphold as superior, and see in their faces and bodies what decades of passive-aggressive war has wrought among those encouraged by their cultures to be meek and vulnerable to others.
That sounds suspiciously like the “noble savage” argument to me - are you saying societies without law and order of some kind are somehow free of “passive-aggressive war” and that people in them have no daily struggles of the everyday kind?
I don’t believe that, I don’t see evidence of it, and I wonder (yet again) why people flee places that don’t fall into that kind of “goldilocks-zone,” between totalitarianism and chaos.
So if you’re making the point that people can only exist in freedom absolutely outside society through physical isolation, I raise the argument that that’s all well and good unless you’re ill, or want to raise a child, or begin to go crazy from the isolation - if you’re saying people should live within society, but only adopt its rules as it suits them, I believe that’s what most people do already.
The only reason for someone to obey a law or rule even when it temporarily inconveniences them is that they identify overall support of that law with their own best interests in the long-term, and obviously some people will have thought this through more than others.