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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/18/18 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Permission is not required for a person to leave premises, not under an Objectivist view of rights or indeed anywhere in the world. It may be impolite to just walk out on a host, but that is a matter of civility and does not get entangled with issues of rights. Permission is required to enter, and once granted it can be withdrawn. This stems from the fact that the property owner has a right to his property, meaning he can do what he wants to with it: you need my permission to use my property. The owner controls the property, not the people on it, so permission cannot be required to depart. I don’t know what you mean by owning the information that you have, but under a fairly literal interpretation of the expression, this is simply false that societies may decide that you initially “own” all the information you have. If I know (am in possession of the information) that gas is $3.18 at the Quickymart, I do not have the exclusive and enforcible right to know that fact: the mind of others cannot be forced. Intellectual property laws do grant a person the exclusive right to certain intangible things that can be classified as a kind of information. It may be that some dictatorships will use force to get a person to divulge information, but this is not a matter of “owning information”, it is simply a reflection of the fact that dictatorships are not concerned with the concept of rights. It appears that you’re trying to resolve the matter of subpoenas by reference to “permission”, “contract” and “ownership of information”, and I think that is a serious mistake. First, information cannot be owned. Second, contracts are voluntary agreements, and force negates all contractual concepts: a subpoena is an in involuntary requirements imposed by force, and thus is entirely outside the domain of concepts of permission and contract. There is no contract or other agreement involved when you live in the US, or any other country. The concept of privacy is fundamentally about property (see A. Peikoff The right to privacy), and contracts become relevant only to the extent that once may negotiate away some of one’s “right to privacy” by contractually relinquishing some control over your property. Subpoenas do not involve contracts, so the concept of privacy is irrelevant to an analysis of the subpoena issue. In an Objectivist country, you will probably voluntarily pay for legal protection, but that is not a requirement; there is no agreement involved when it comes to the protection of your rights by the government. You do not enter into a contract with the government: that is the anarcho-capitalist view, that there would be no real governments, there would be competing vigilante squads that you would choose between to enforce your particular view of your “rights”. In the Objectivist view, you may lose your right to invoke the concept “rights” (and thus the claim to protection) if you have been living like a predatory animal, denying the concept of rights to others. Failing to comply with a subpoena is not a violation of anyone’s rights, and it is consistent with your right to act freely as long as you respect the rights of others.
  2. 1 point

    Rubin on Rogan on Rand

    Dave Rubin was recently featured on Rogan's podcast, which Yaron has expressed that he wants to go on. Rogan, if you don't know, has one of the highest rated podcasts out there. Rogan has also stated that (1) he doesn't like it when people suggest to him about having someone on, if people keep asking it annoys him and he doesn't want to have that person on, and (2) he doesn't like anyone who is too doctrinaire about anything. When I suggested this to Yaron (in chat) his response was "well I'm not doctrinaire." I'm positive Joe will not see it that way. Joe is really averse to principles, I have a feeling he equates "nuance" with concrete-boundness. But apparently Joe enjoys Peter Schiff and has had him on multiple times. (If you watch those you'll see what I'm talking about.) Anyways: Relevant part is at about 2:05:00 ish. The background is Rogan saying that we have to have government regulation because people won't build houses correctly. Rubin suggests that he doesn't think that implies government regulation, but Rogan is having none of it. People aren't inherently benevolent and so will try to bilk as much as possible out of the next guy, so there will be much more hazardous construction without regulation. Rubin suggests this isn't the only way to organize things, but admits he doesn't really have a good argument. [My transcript guaranteed to not be 100% accurate] Rubin: You know who should have on to talk about this, and I know people have looped you in before, is Yaron Brook from Ayn Rand Institute cause he's really good on this. Rogan: No one's looped me in with him. Maybe they have, but I haven't paid attention to that. Rubin: I'll hook you up, I'll be happy to do that, he's a really interesting guy that has moved my thinking a little bit on this. Rogan: Those Ayn Rand people, they're really fucking harsh. Rubin: They like ideas, man. Rogan: Those are... They're.... Pssssss.....[shakes head] yeah. Rubin: They're not the most fun people on the planet, but I generally like them, cause they just want, they're kind of live and let live. That's really it, that's really the crux of it. Pretty much. Rogan: Is that really the crux of it though? Rubin: Yeah. Rogan: People think that there's like a cruelty aspect to it, though, the Ayn Rand philosophy. Rubin: Well, they believe in rational self-interest. Which, if you say "self," people think you're evil. But we all basically operate in rational self-interest all the time. Rogan: Right, but espousing it, that's the thing. It's like proclaiming it, that's what makes people go "ohhhh," you're essentially setting up the Gordon Gekko idea, that "greed is good." Rubin: Yeah, I kinda buy into that idea. Rogan: Do you buy into "greed is good"? Rubin: Yeah, basically. Not greed to destroy the word, but if you, Joe, do what is good for you, by extension... Rogan: Right but is that greed? Or is that ambition? Rubin: Right, exactly, that's my point. Rogan: That's where it gets conflated, isn't it? Rubin: Right, so without whittling it to the definition of greed versus ambition, it's like you do what is good for you, but it doesn't mean you're just running this rampaging program to destroy the world in the name of Joe Rogan, you're doing what's good for you because you actually like your audience and you want them to learn, you want to have money so that your family can live in a house that you can afford, so that you can send your kids to good schools and all of those things. That's all rational self-interest. If, at the same time, you're running a nuclear power plant, and you're Mr Burns, and you're dumping in the river, well no, that's actually no longer rational self-interest because you're polluting the very environment you live in. Rogan: Who takes care of that, who regulates that? Is that where government comes in? Who gets you in trouble, in your opinion, if you're this deregulation guy, who goes after you when you dump shit into the river? Rubin: I'm not saying there should be no regulation, I'm just saying I generally like this line of thinking. [...they discuss how there's ways to may money through green entrepreneurship] Rogan: What's the solution if someone pollutes? If you're not gonna have regulation, what is the solution when someone does something that's illegal? Rubin replies basically that it's not as if you get rid of regulations and then every businessmen everywhere just goes, "ah finally, let's dump into the rivers!" and that if someone did, it's easy to catch, and that there are more market-friendly ways of doing things. Rogan remains unconvinced and just thinks not having laws wouldn't stop people (which he equates to Rubin's position.) Anyways, comments, deconstructions, analysis?
  3. 1 point
    Just that Dave Rubin has accumulated quite a history of excellent interviews over the past couple years. Yaron Brook did an outstanding job particularly on his first appearance. Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell (naturally), and Alex Epstein's appearances are particularly worth checking out. https://www.youtube.com/user/RubinReport/videos Rogan is a new name to me.
  4. 1 point
    This thread has covered a lot of ground, which unfortunately makes it a bit incoherent. I suggest focusing on a specific issue of substance that is repeatedly raised, having to do with the government’s use of force to enforce proper law. I would set aside questions about social contracts, fraud, breach of contract, the nature of force and its relationship to consent, and inalienability of rights; I would also set aside the titular question of NAP qua primary principle in Objectivism (there is no denying that it is the fundamental principle of libertarianism). The issue requiring focus is this paraphrase of what Rand has said: “force in society may only be used in response to the initiation of physical force and only against the person who initiates the force”. Some version of this is said in nearly a dozen points in Rand’s writing, for example “Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use” (The Objectivist Ethics). She is consistent in saying “against those”. The question is, what are the practical consequences of this principle? In connection with a crime involving the police and courts, there are at least 8 ways in which force is actually used in response to the initiation of force. Assume that the act is a theft, and the police are not witnesses to the act. Questioning: The police may stop and detain a person because they have a reasonable suspicion that he committed a crime. Arrest: The police may take a person into custody because they have evidence that he probably he committed a crime. Appearance: A person will be required to appear in court, and be identified as the criminal actor. Search: A person’s property may be searched and seized, and used as evidence pertaining to whether he committed the crime. Testimony: A person may be compelled to appear in court and testify as to relevant knowledge. Truth: A person who testifies will be forced to tell the truth (perjury is a crime, punishable by imprisonment). Jury service: A person (not the accused: having no relationship to the case) will be compelled to serve on a panel of jurors who decide facts and determine guilt. Courtroom conduct: A person who testifies or argues on either side of the question will be compelled to follow the lawful instructions of the judge. The issue, as I see it, is whether any of these 8 forms of force would be prohibited under the principles of Objectivism. If all of these forms of force were prohibited, protection of rights by the government (thus, man’s survival qua man) would not be possible, and since Objectivism is all about man’s survival, there would be something amiss. The main lacuna that needs to be filled is the epistemological one. Although proper force is to be limited to those who initiate it, it is not self-evident who those people are. Some force must be available to the government prior to the lawful determination of guilt. An arrest is predicated on the belief that a person has initiated force, but that belief may be mistaken. Moral responsibility for such uses of force rests with the person who did in fact initiate force. A system of objective law would allow use of force when, in a certain context, there is reason to believe that a person has initiated force. The nature of that reason relates to the legally allowed level of force. When there is just a reasonable suspicion, a limited degree of force is proper; when it is probable that the person committed the act, more force is proper; proof of the act results in the highest degree of force allowed under the law (the actual punishment). The possibility of error in the use of force does not mean that government cannot be allowed to fulfill its function. In short, and in the context of the legal determination of guilt, force is to be used against those whom the evidence indicates have initiated force (this is not limited to the officially indicted). Questioning, arrest, required appearance and search are all actions directed against persons whom we reasonably conclude initiated force: this includes all of the agents who acted to bring about force, including those not prosecuted. The use of force in connection with truthful testimony and enforcing courtroom conduct is not necessarily aimed against the rights-violator; it is, however, not improper initiation of force, rather it is a consequence which you accept to, when you appear in court. The one area of possible complication regards compelled testimony. As for compulsory jury duty, I see no possibility of reconciling that with Objectivism: see Rand’s position on taxation and the military draft. In discussing how a government based on Objectivist principles would operate, we must assume that some people will be irrational (will refuse to act in their own self-interest), but we cannot assume that most people are irrational – if they were, we’d have the kind of government we have now. Compulsion would not be necessary, and is hardly necessary now. This leaves the question of when it is permissible to seize property to be used as evidence, and to compel a person to testify (compelled action). In the case of a person with no culpability for the act, the choice to uphold the virtue of justice must remain the choice of the individual, to be made according to their hierarchy of values. “A right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice”. A man has the right to keep his property even when the government has a deep desire for it and perhaps a very compelling reason to want to take it, even just temporarily. It has been claimed above that a legal system cannot be objective if it is arbitrarily deprived of information: a person may not refuse to provide information arbitrarily. But contained within that argument, I find two very troubling suppositions. One is the premise that the government may rightly determine what a man’s hierarchy of values should be – if your hierarchy is not “right”, and you place your values above the interests of another, your values will be set aside. Second, the supposedly objective inquisition into a man’s motivations for a choice means that a man must be able to articulately argue for and thus defend his rights against government intrusion, in order to enjoy those rights. An objective legal system, in its procedural aspect, means that the rules which it uses are objectively stated, so that any man can know what is required of him. What that would entail, in evaluating the acceptability of a rationale for not testifying, is that the system must state which values of an individual can override the government’s interest in finding facts, and which values of an individual are found to be unimportant. I presume it is clear why this contradicts the basic political ideas of Objectivism.
  5. 1 point
    In conclusion, and for clarity, my position is that the Golden Rule, aka Ethic of Reciprocity, IS the basis of rights, and specifically the Right to Life. When you speak of justice, you are endorsing equity which is what the Golden Rule measures, i.e., are your actions towards others consistent with what you expect from others with respect to having a right to those actions. You are the moral benchmark, i.e., it is the quality of your selfishness that is being judged. In this respect, the Golden Rule is entirely consistent not only with Objectivism*, but with most religious, philosophic views** regarding the nature of man and his relationship with his fellow man. In reviewing material from ARL, the following statement* expresses what I agree with and base my argument on: "The only 'obligation' involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which, in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected." ~ Individual Rights If this is not an application of the rule, then it is at the very least a reflection of what the rule validates. While I fully appreciate Objectivist aversion to all things Kant and catagorical imperatives, to dismiss the ethic of reciprocity by association with Kant or altruism is to throw the baby out with the bath water. I have tried to the best of my ability, to respond to every criticism of the rule, and if I have fallen short of being persuasive the fault is mine. -- * http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/individual_rights.html ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
  6. 1 point
    CriticalThinker: Your last several posts on this subject (innocents in war) are in complete accord with Objectivist principles and doctrine. I am in complete agreement with your answers, characterizations and examples. However, I think you do your argument a disservice by introducing the concept of the "emergency situation", to wit: From the Lexicon: Certainly war creates conditions under which human survival is impossible. However, it isn't unchosen (by the aggressor) and thus not unexpected, nor is it limited in time. The point is that one has a choice about whether to be aggressive or not. And the fact that an aggressor is objectively wrong is what gives your moral argument all of its weight. The lifeboat is an amoral situation, meaning, there is no right answer, no right or wrong, any action you take might be appropriate. You have the right to defend yourself, but so do the others in the boat. In war, as you have been properly arguing, there is a right answer, a universal principle: DO NOT INITIATE FORCE. If someone has initiated force against you, you have the right to defend yourself, to use force in retaliation against those who initiated it. The guys who initiated the use of force have no right to defend themselves, they have forfeited their rights. Their only option is to stop initiating force and surrender immediately. Anyway, continue on, you are doing a great job, just leave out emergencies, you don't need them.
  7. 1 point

    Inalienable rights

    The word "free" or "freedom" is contextual, meaning depends on the context the word it is used in (depending on the answer to "free, from what?"), it will mean completely different things. The freedom that's talked about in politics is political freedom, meaning the freedom to conduct certain act without retaliation from the government. You have will have all the freedoms and rights proper to a human begin in a free capitalistic society. But the freedom to enslave other individuals is not one of them, because the physical nature of human doesn't give him the right, the justification, to enslave other humans. The physical nature of human does give him the right and justification to have the right to his own life, the right to own inanimate objects, the right to self-defense..etc. in a society. That's right, it is called immoral by consensus in our day and age. But that's not the reason why it is wrong. Public consensus doesn't make something morally right or wrong. Whether something is morally right or wrong to human is determine solely by the physical nature of human. If the public consensus coincide with what human nature demands, like in this case of condemning slavery as wrong, then the public consensus is correct. If the public consensus deviate with what human nature demands, like in the case of condemning selfishness as immoral, then the public consensus is wrong. And that's one of the biggest flaw in politics today. The politicians thinks the justification for the any political right is the majority consensus, that whatever the majority votes on is right. However, humans are objects with set physical nature just like trees or animals. If you want to grow a plant, whether an action is wrong or right in the path of achieving that goal is solely determined by the nature of that plant. One million people telling you it is right to grow that plant in salted soil doesn't make that action right. The same goes with humans, with people. If you want to create a society proper to humans, it's the same when you want to create an environment proper to a plant. You base what you do on human nature, and human nature is the sole factor in determining whether something is right or wrong. The inalienable rights SHOULD be justified under human nature, by the self-evident. But, the politicians today practice their trade, do it with disgrace and don't.
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