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DonAthos

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  1. This is games playing and demonstrative of the "rationalism" I'd noted earlier.
  2. "Basically" the Court expressed an interest in "viability," as well, and drawing distinctions between the trimesters. Just as Rand did, when she spoke about the essential issue concerning only the first three months, and that one may argue about the later stages. Since those thoughts seem to mirror the Court's decision in those aspects as well, maybe her agreement runs that far? I don't know. I don't know Rand's thinking on the subject beyond what she's written, which is confused to say the least, but I do know that it is not some endorsement of "full-term abortion." Because as I've said, if she had wanted to make such a claim, it would have been easy to do so unambiguously. But "one may argue about the later stages" implies the very opposite, that there is something about the entity -- "embryo," fetus, child, or by any other name -- that changes over the course of the pregnancy and (at least) invites the very argument that this changing and developing entity may be subject to rights, at some point before birth. Look, if I wanted to take up the side some people wish to impart to Rand, it's easy enough to do so in a straightforward manner. Watch: "The unborn have no rights until birth. A mother may terminate her pregnancy at any time without exception. Roe v. Wade was a good start, but it does not go far enough. There is no debate to be had about the 'later stages' of pregnancy, and it does not matter whether an 'embryo' at eight months is alive medically or not," and so forth. If Rand wished to say these things, she could have done at least as well as I have managed, and then I could say, "Well, I agree with Rand about most things... but I don't agree completely with her position on abortion." Yet as it stands, I agree with Rand that the issue essentially concerns the early stage of a pregnancy -- and that abortion there is fine (let alone birth control) -- and that one may argue about the later stages (which I do). Thus, I am not "anti-abortion," as you have put it elsewhere (I am as pro-abortion as Rand and Roe v. Wade), but anti-infanticide. Certainly. And that entity, at full-term, is growing and moving, with internal and external actions consistent with the newborn to which we would ascribe rights (and the parents, parental obligation); only its relationship with its surroundings (and significantly, the mother) changes at birth. Yet the entity is not defined by those relationships. I mean, you could also make an argument that the newborn is fundamentally a different entity when in the bathtub or bassinet -- nothing stops you, outside of reason -- but it would be just as wrong. One of my attractions to Rand, generally speaking, is that she is an inordinately precise writer and speaker. I thus find her sometimes misuse of "embryo" both striking and suggestive, and what it suggests to me is that, perhaps, part of the confusion is that Rand continued to deal with the subject as she saw it "essentially": meaning that she sometimes misused the word "embryo" because when she thought about abortion, she thought of it primarily in terms of pregnancy to three months (like she indicated elsewhere), where the word "embryo" is (at least mostly) appropriate. You'd quoted her, after all, also speaking about "birth control" and thus (as I imagine it), contra the argument that sperm or a fertilized egg are also human life, and subject to protection, etc., which is ridiculous, but an argument that some people make. Rand rejected the idea that such an entity -- a "piece of protoplasm" -- could be considered "human life" in the full sense, with which I agree. But she also seemed to allow (without committing one way or the other) that later stages of pregnancy might be different, with which I further agree. And beyond that, did she give "full-term abortion" much thought? I doubt it. I also don't know how much thought Rand gave to parenthood/parental obligation, generally, which is an under-explored topic that might shed some light on the present debate. I know you consider it "put to bed," but I believe that it's meaningful as an antidote to the rhetoric you'd introduced, regarding "the right not to be regarded as the means to any end." So where does that "right" go, given the obligations of parenthood? Instead of coming up with yet more angles, why not play out one or two of the several already introduced? A woman has the right not to be regarded as the means of any end, we agree, and yet we do both also ascribe a mother obligations to her newborn. How do we reconcile that? And if a mother could have an obligation to her newborn+1 day, why could she not have an obligation to her newborn-1 day? Because that entity is magically transformed at birth, from an unperson to a human being? That sounds not alone like rationalism, but shamanism. I do claim that an unborn child, at thirty nine weeks, say, is a human being, yes. If I claim that it has a right to life, that's because I believe that human beings have a right to life, generally. I think that the "argument" (for which you claim to give "philosophical and biological evidence" where I find nothing but mere assertion) that a child one minute prior to delivery is not a human being, is preposterous. Earlier you'd related this to "connection" -- and maybe that's the "evidence" you're referring to -- but such a thing is utterly irrelevant. I'd proposed a (only somewhat) futuristic test tube baby example to demonstrate this irrelevancy, but I'm not certain you've weighed in on it. So what do you say? Given an (actual) embryo, a true "piece of protoplasm," being brought to term via test tube, do we agree that initially it is not a human being, and subject to termination, but at some point thereafter, it is a human being and cannot be terminated/aborted, and must instead be cared for? Rand wrote, "[The] valid definition of man, within the context of his knowledge and of all of mankind’s knowledge to-date [is]: 'A rational animal.' ('Rational,' in this context, does not mean 'acting invariably in accordance with reason'; it means 'possessing the faculty of reason.'...) " And so, I would go "one minute before," not till conception, but until that point where the entity in question possesses the faculty of reason -- which I think is ultimately a question to be settled by science.
  3. It's my understanding that Roe v. Wade (which I expect is the decision referenced, but correct me if I'm wrong) stops short of "full-term abortion," allowing legislation at or after the point of "viability." I could be wrong about that, but if so, then Rand's agreement with the Supreme Court does not distinguish between our arguments. It's not altogether clear to me that Rand was clear in her own mind on the particulars of the subject, but "birth control" is very far (and fundamentally) removed from "full-term abortion" (except in the minds of many conservatives, whom Rand may have been setting herself against, to the detriment of further nuance). Besides, we all agree about "the right of man and woman...not to be regarded as the means to any end." Yet parenthood itself carries certain obligations; and while I don't regard a mother as the means to the end of her child, should she neglect to feed her newborn or otherwise provide it care, and it dies, then she is liable for that. Saying that "she is not to be regarded as the means to any end" is not rhetorical magic; it doesn't change the facts on the ground, and that is that the mother of a newborn is responsible for that life. There ought to be and are means by which she can divest herself of that responsibility, legally and morally, but she must do so in a way that allows the newborn to live as well. If we're agreed on that, then the difference we're discussing is between one week (or day, or hour, or minute) before delivery and one after. The question seems to turn on the nature of the entity -- Rand discounts the "embryo" because it is merely some human cells, is "protoplasm," etc. But the full-term fetus is not merely a few human cells, it is not protoplasm, it is not an embryo, it is not the stuff of three months -- it is a human child. Justice requires that we treat things according to what they are. Rand's "essential" position on abortion is appropriate to the "embryo" to which she referred, to the "piece of protoplasm," to the initial three months she addressed herself to. The unborn child at three months is fundamentally different than nine months (but not much different than delivery plus a day). It is the difference in that entity which requires us to treat them differently.
  4. I agree that Rand may have spoken too loosely, at times, and especially when speaking extempore. I further agree with you that "life," as such, is not the salient issue. That said, I would argue that her meaning is fairly particular and clearly drawn when she said, as I'd quoted, "One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months." When she says that "one may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy," I take her as meaning that one may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy; when she says that "the essential issue concerns only the first three months," I take her as meaning that the essential issue concerns only the first three months. Given that, Rand and I are "essentially agreed" -- when we are discussing, as she termed it, a "piece of protoplasm," there is no question as to the right of abortion. This is enough to set Rand against many conservatives (whom Objectivists all-too-often seem to consider their ideological allies, and it ain't so), but I don't think it means that Rand would necessarily have embraced "full-term abortion," as some appear to contend, or that full-term abortion is consistent with her ideas more generally. After all, it would have been easy enough for her to say, "One may not even argue about the later stages of a pregnancy; the issue encompasses the entire duration until birth." It's rather amazing to me that there are people who appear to believe she said the former while somehow meaning the latter, its very opposite.
  5. I don't mean to argue any position at the moment, but just to note that I believe that Objectivism holds that other "orientations" were possible (and are possible going forward); and that this is the essential meaning to the difference between the "metaphysical" and the "man-made," and also the foundation of moral reasoning.
  6. As Objectivists, we sometimes enjoy having context -- as an aid for understanding. For instance, here is that quote you've pulled from Rand with a touch more of it (bold added; italics in original): "A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . " I agree fully. A piece of protoplasm has no rights -- and no life in the human sense of the term. But a "full-term fetus" has life in the human sense of the term. It has as much life as a baby, post delivery. It is no longer a mere "piece of protoplasm" or (as Rand elsewhere describes, speaking on this subject), "a few human cells," or an "embryo" -- but it is a baby, a human being. Not "potentially" so, but actually so. If equating a potential with an actual is vicious, treating an actual as some mere potential is more so, and with far less reason.
  7. No, it isn't a particularly good question. A human being is what it is: we don't define it in or out of being. The entity that is a human being one minute post-delivery is also a human being one minute beforehand; to say that it is not yet "a human life" because it fails to satisfy some ad hoc, contrived definition (in this case, because it is "connected") is a classic example of rationalism. There's no need to resort to such outlandish scenarios. Actual existence provides sufficient material. Conjoined twins are "connected"; according the definitions and reasoning you've supplied, neither twin is a "human life" or has rights? But no. It is an admitted complication for "individual rights" that neither twin is individuated, but our resolution is not that either twin has the "right" to murder its twin (because the victimized twin somehow fails to meet our definition of entity (!), or human being). Conjoined twins still have rights, because they are entities possessed of rights by their nature. In real life, a mother carries a child for some time before birth. It is a human child. The point at which that is true is not conception (where that "potential human child" is but a collection of cells, and fully the mother's to do with what she wishes), but it is true at some point thereafter. The proper way to reason about this has nothing to do with the umbilical cord, which is meaningless. Suppose a full "test tube" process, where there is no umbilical cord at all, no "connection." At conception, the potential child in the test tube would be a clump of cells, property, and wholly the mother's to dispose of. At some point thereafter, this would no longer be true. The cells in the test tube will have developed into a human being, and no longer be the mother's property (though the parental relationship is still special, and this special relationship persists for some time). At this point, the human child has rights and cannot be aborted. The difference is not according to placenta or umbilical cord or birth, but based on the nature of the entity itself.
  8. We ought to repeal all anti-discrimination laws (those which affect the "private sector," at least) -- and sure, we could have a "Bigot Town" insofar as most of the people who live in a particular community are bigots. But there could be nothing particular about that Bigot Town instituted in law; anyone living there who wished to deal in a non-discriminatory fashion could do so, including selling their property to (for instance) non-whites, or marrying non-whites, or hiring/serving non-whites, etc. Without those sorts of legal barriers to action, I don't know how long a Bigot Town could exist as such, especially given the modern economy, ease of transportation and communication and so forth. Could such a system be more effectively arranged through a complex series of contractual or licensing/leasing agreements? Perhaps. But if it could, to the extent that it could, I expect it would be an utter disaster. And the people who would participate in such a thing would not long be able to sustain themselves or a community (let alone exercise political power in any rational fashion). Such a community would also be ruthlessly ostracized by the rest of society -- and rightly so. Tribal nations within the US are a very particular historical artifact and not something to be emulated for the sake of supporting white nationalist fantasy (or black nationalist fantasy, for that matter, or any other). We aren't giving neo-nazis special permission to run casinos, either. The current creep of fascism/tribalism into even the Objectivist community is... well, probably to be expected, given everything, but still disheartening.
  9. While I agree with Van Horn that there is no "intrinsically good action" -- which obviously includes "being early" -- I find the implicit suggestion interesting that this company looked upon being early as a kindness or a favor. I think it's far more likely (as it dovetails with my own experience) that the company/driver did not care much at all about Van Horn's schedule or request, and that the driver was simply operating at his own convenience. And I am not as confident as Van Horn is, that a late delivery would have automatically triggered either a warning or an apology. I've experienced late deliveries, and early deliveries, and delayed deliveries, and missing deliveries... but I don't know that I've ever had a service (let alone a driver) volunteer an apology. It may be that in a more rational culture, businesses would interact in a certain way with their clients and customers... but in the here and now, I find that many of them are as irrational and unpleasant to deal with as the worst elements of the culture as it stands. Being in business does not appear to convey any particular virtue.
  10. So, I just today finished reading Barbara Branden's biography of Rand, The Passion of Ayn Rand, and I have to say, I don't really understand why it caused a furor in the Objectivist community (or so I have been told as I was not around to witness the reception firsthand). Maybe it's a generational thing, belonging to a very specific time and place, but could anyone with the experience I lack help me to understand the nature of the controversy? What was it about Rand's portrayal that was so questionable (for I can only conclude that this must be the issue in some respect), and why was whatever it was so significant? So far as I can tell, there is no aspect to Objectivism that is challenged -- or could be challenged -- by Rand's personality or personal history, so why should I get worked up about such details in the first place?
  11. I don't know the extent to which this is potentially subject-specific, or "compartmentalized," but you are being deeply dishonest. I cannot help you with that. Whatever respect you claim to have for reason should provoke you to reflection.
  12. Alex Jones is worthless, except as a case study of a dying culture. But the discussion in this thread inspires me to recommend two books I've read recently: How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan and Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen
  13. People will have pre-developed arguments against the boat/trespass argument, I'd imagine, but I believe you're on the right track. The way I've come to think about this is: imagine, as Boydstun suggests, that in the future, fetuses can grow/develop entirely outside of a mother's body. When we begin, with a fertilized egg, we will not have a human being -- we will not have an entity with rights. That egg will develop, the cells will divide, and it will pass through the various stages, zygote, embryo, blastocyst, fetus. At some point, we will have a human being -- an entity with rights, and presumably entitled to the protections thereof. At the beginning of the process, the fertilized egg is property, and should the mother want it terminated, we would offer neither moral nor legal objection. At some point later, a person will have developed from that fertilized egg and it will no longer be property. This can clearly be seen at, say, three years of age -- the three year old is not property, and should the mother want it terminated (and act in any capacity to achieve this), we would throw her in prison with warranted disgust. So there is a point between the absolute beginning and, say, three years, where we would allow that this is an individual human being. Our question becomes, what is that point? In earlier discussions on this same topic, I believe I've related it to the development of a rational capacity (i.e. the development of the architecture of the brain such that reason is possible to the entity). The broader point is that, how we treat the entity at any stage, in reason, it depends upon what it is, in fact; it is a question to be settled by science. My lay guess is that this point is not precisely forty weeks, but at some point earlier.
  14. Yes, and it was magnificent. Indeed. I don't know how else to square your responses in this thread. Do I really need to recap them? (Technically you should be able to read them over again for yourself, but I don't know that I can trust you to do that honestly, either.) You argued that people should not be allowed to advocate for socialism; I questioned whether that was consistent with Objectivism (or at least with Rand's views), and I provided quotes to demonstrate that Rand supported free speech, specifically including that for communists/socialists. In direct response, you claimed consistency with Rand and that you were not arguing against free speech. The implicit dishonesty involved in such a thing is just staggering. I don't know whether "Orwellian" or "Trumpian" would be more damning, but they both apply -- it is doublethink, pure and simple, on par with 1+1=3. A month on, fresh off of a vacation, and I'm still blown away by it. So I'll put it this way: perhaps it goes too far to say that you have zero respect for reason (how could I possibly know such a thing to such a degree?)... but if you do have any respect for it, that respect will drive you to understand your incredible error, and the disregard for reason and reality it conveys, make amends for it, and try to root it out from all future conversation -- because it is the kind of error that renders all such conversation worse than worthless (to say nothing of what it portends for your thinking).
  15. The country isn't "our property"; property is not owned by a collective. Defense of a "border" only makes sense insofar as it is the defense of individual rights, but there are also ways to "defend the border" which amount to the violation of individual rights. Telling immigrants seeking jobs that they may not cross the border to do so, for instance, is not any defense of right, in reason, but it is the violation of right and the initiation of the use of force. (And because I've had this conversation enough times to know the next tack, yes it is valid to screen at the border for criminals, etc.)
  16. I cannot. There's nothing wrong about debating the nature of threats, of itself. It's a good topic and well worth exploring... but in this context, here and now? It's hard enough to do all of this when everyone is coming from a sincere place, because philosophical disagreements can be supremely difficult to explore; but intellectual dishonesty makes it impossible. It's frankly embarrassing for me to even bring myself to this reply, but when you see something like I'd quoted here: "The communists and the Nazis are merely two variants of the same evil notion: collectivism. But both should be free to speak—evil ideas are dangerous only by default of men advocating better ideas," and your response to that is to say that your expressed opinion (that the advocacy of socialism should be illegal) is consistent with hers -- as though she was speaking of socialists and Nazis discussing the weather, perhaps, and not advocating their ideas -- well... to continue as though you have any respect for the spirit of reason that Objectivism rests upon, above all else, would be me being dishonest with myself. I don't know whether the issues are laid out clearly enough for the honest observer, though I've done what I can.
  17. I would take greater pains to disagree with you on this point, but it would mean to delve into the nature of a "threat" and why, for instance, the police would (rightly) take action to defend your property against a burglar who has drawn up plans on breaking into your home, and set a date for it in his calendar, but not some political theorist arguing that such things as burglary ought be permissible, or that private property is immoral, or that A does not in fact equal A. Of course, we can see the underlying philosophical connection between all of these things -- and that connection is both real and meaningful -- yet they are not the same, and cannot be treated the same, in the name of justice. One is the initiation of force (yet still a "threat"; no violence has occurred) and the others are not. Apart from this gesture towards the ensuing argument we might have had, I'm exhausted (which I find happens faster and faster for me, more and more often), so I'll leave it here. Yet can we at least agree at this point that you are at odds with Objectivism (or at least as Ayn Rand understood it)? It is fine to disagree with Rand and/or Objectivism (as I myself sometimes do), but in the event we should endeavor to recognize it. For your consideration: Speaking on pornography in "Censorship: Local and Express": Do you note how the word "any" is italicized. That's not my addition; it's in the original. Why do you suppose she emphasized "any"? What does she mean by it? She was talking about a different topic, granted, but then (from The Objectivist Calendar, 6/78): Now perhaps you have a notion that things today are worse than ever -- worse than Rand could possibly have imagined -- as you'd perhaps suggested when you wrote, "At some point you have to recognize a national emergency and do what needs to be done to right the ship." But it's worth remembering that Rand lived through the rise of Nazism and World War II, (relatively) powerful American Nazi and Communist Parties, the domestic chaos of the 1960s, and so on, not to mention the fact that she herself survived and escaped the Russian Revolution. If she had concluded that men should not be free to advocate for evil ideas, on the basis of all she had personally experienced and witnessed, I would have sympathy and understanding for her position, yet I would continue to disagree with it. But Rand, happily, was better than that, and more consistent in applying her core ideology, writing (in "The Cashing-In: The Student 'Rebellion'"): Lest you believe that Rand was "using the libertarian NAP" to "dig her own grave," as you have accused me of doing when I've quoted her elsewhere, I should stress that she was rather explicating her philosophy of Objectivism, wherein we recognize reality and then treat things as they are. The difference she is pointing to, between "an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows," is both real and meaningful. Yet that is the very thing you suggest we ignore, or pretend were not so: in this context, for the sake of denying the rights of immigrants... and eventually, everyone else. And speaking of "context," many people here would do well to better examine the real world context of restrictions against immigration, including the motivations of several current proponents and historical episodes, and their actual, real-world consequences. These sorts of suggestions are never received well; they are always taken as some sort of personal accusation, but I do not mean to accuse anyone of anything (save one or two exceptions, I don't care about anyone in this forum sufficiently to fret about their underlying character, for better or worse). Yet it seems to me that many arguments are made in relative ignorance of the actual context surrounding these matters; matters which are truly life and death for some.
  18. I have nowhere advocated "allowing socialists to take over the government." Yes, no one here likes socialism. Neither do I like the idea that someone may be subject to force on the basis of their "belief." Rather, I believe in retaliatory force. But belief (even belief in socialism) is not the initiation of the use of force. Because socialists are human beings with individual rights. As an Objectivist, I believe in liberty, which here means that I only respond with force when force has been initiated by another. A socialist who has not initiated force against me has every right to live his life. I'm not "using the libertarian NAP"; I am referring to foundational Objectivist principles and quoting Ayn Rand to demonstrate that fact. Also, immigration, or crossing a border generally, is not the same thing at all as "citizenship" (whatever that is held to entail). It is not the same as suffrage or being eligible to run for President or participation in governance, generally. It is possible to have different requirements for immigration versus "citizenship" (and in fact, the US does have different requirements currently). This serves to highlight one of my central contentions: that immigration is a red herring. If advocating for socialism today is the initiation of force, then it doesn't matter whether we're discussing Mexico, the United States, or the border between them; if it is the initiation of the use of force, then it ought to be illegal and it ought to be met with retaliatory force, everywhere. Further -- as sincere philosophical thought often requires drawing careful distinctions -- it must be noted that there is yet a difference between "believing in socialism" (or "being a socialist," generally) and advocating for it, in whatever form that advocacy might take. But no, I cannot agree that advocating for socialism in the present-day United States (e.g. via conducting an essay contest on The Communist Manifesto, as a means of spreading those ideas) constitutes the initiation of physical force. Someone currently advocating for socialism must be dealt with by means of reason and persuasion, not violence. I don't know whether it was particularly "easy" for Rand (I suspect not, actually), but I do believe that's more-or-less precisely what she said (again, from "The Nature of Government"): It is, you're right. It's an abstract idea, a principle -- one of those principles that constitutes Objectivism, and fundamentally so, I would argue. This isn't true only in a democracy, it's true in all forms of government (and also beyond; irrationality is a threat, generally, and if people are ruled by irrational philosophy, they are potentially a grave danger -- so should we consider all forms of irrationality, or their advocacy, to be the initiation of the use of force?). This is why we mean to combat other peoples' bad ideas with our good ideas. But part of that is acting in a manner consistent with our good idea that one may never initiate the use of force. The moment we start making exceptions, we have lost a lot more than whatever it is you believe we have gained.
  19. All right. Let me say initially that I don't think there's any inherent conflict between "creating objective rules that protect rights" and "to respond with force against those who initiate it." In terms of "consistency with Objectivism" (which is one measure I'm happy to discuss, for obvious reasons; but the more important measure is accord with reason and reality), I believe that the purpose of government is to eliminate force from society -- via restricting the use of force to retaliation only. "Government" then is that body (or that aspect) charged with that task, and empowered to use retaliatory force -- again for the purpose of eliminating force from society. Thus, this gives us the standard against which we can assess "objective rules that protect rights": those objective rules must be designed and deployed as retaliatory force against those who have initiated it. In fact, that is what it means "to protect rights." Again, for the sake of testing "consistency with Objectivism," here is Rand (from "The Nature of Government"): I think this lines up with what I've said? But to clarify, let's highlight a portion or two: "If physical force is to be barred from social relationships" -- this provides us with our purpose. Our purpose is to bar physical force from social relationships. For instance, if a man in Tijuana wishes to patronize my store in San Diego, we wish to bar those who would use physical force to prevent that man from so doing. And government is proposed as "the means" of doing this, of barring physical force from social relationships. But how can government accomplish this? Also through force, with this key distinction: government's use of force must be retaliatory. Otherwise, government is itself introducing physical force to social relationships. And then, government cannot deploy its retaliatory physical force in any haphazard manner, but it must be "under objective control." So "objectively defined laws/rules" are important, but they must be directed towards the protection of rights and that means the use of retaliatory force against those who initiate it, and only those. Thus, if "a government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control," then yes, I believe "to respond with force against those who initiate it" is something like an accurate shorthand, though it could stand elaboration (though I would expect it to be uncontroversial enough on an Objectivist forum -- if not for the experiences I've already had on Objectivist fora ). The just application of retaliatory force, in reality, requires some sort of procedure. For instance, in our retaliation, we must take steps to ensure that the individual against whom we mean to retaliate has actually initiated force; it would be a tragedy (and very often is, in fact) if we were to "retaliate" against the innocent. This forms the broad justification for governmental/police powers of investigation -- it is the procedure required to apply retaliatory force with justice, against those who have initiated it, and only these. Just as the purpose of government informs our application (in terms of laws, etc.; i.e. that they must be geared to protect rights), so does our purpose of procedure inform our application of that procedure. We may rightly hold people for trial without knowing their innocence or guilt, because such a trial (or whatever our best current methodology allows) is necessary for the purpose of determining innocence or guilt, and thereafter applying retaliatory force with justice. Yet we must only do just that, and endeavor to hold such people only so long as absolutely necessary and warranted in reason. I cannot make these kinds of decisions, because they are technical and wholly context dependent, requiring great expertise; I cannot necessarily tell you what's "too long" in a given case, apart from giving my layman's "sense" of it -- though I feel no less strongly in some cases for it. (For instance, we currently have prisoners at Guantanamo who are apparently being held indefinitely -- in some cases for... seventeen years? Wretched.) And this is the same sort of ground covered by police detaining, search and seizure, etc. We hold people for trial, yet it must be a "speedy trial"; we allow for search and seizure, but they must not be "unreasonable." Violations of these procedural rights and protections is equally as criminal as those initiations of force we otherwise mean to prevent. Indeed, they are the initiation of force. The same holds for the border. It's fine to inspect those who intend to pass and to probe into their history, insofar as we are able, in reason, to determine whether they should be granted passage (either as a tourist or potential resident), and to bar those who are criminal, terrorist, diseased, etc., but our methodology at the border must be guided by the same rights-respecting considerations as the rest of our procedures. No more and no less than that. As far as "more stringent rules for immigrants," it's important to know what specifically we have in mind, to respond appropriately -- but no, having some "belief in socialism," say, is not the initiation of force and does not warrant retaliatory force (e.g. being barred from traveling from Tijuana to San Diego to shop at my store... or buy a condominium). Taking action to subvert democracy and install a socialist dictatorship, however, might: equally on the streets of San Diego, Tijuana, or at the border.
  20. A person is entitled to any beliefs at all, here or anywhere else. It's not a question of beliefs, but activities. One person may violate the rights of another through force or "activity," not "belief." Imagining that Jews are evil is a belief. Not a good belief to hold, but not an illegal one, either; not one that justifies retaliatory force (because: believing that Jews are evil is not, itself, the initiation of the use of force). But the scenario you'd proposed consists not merely of beliefs, but activities -- purported to kill Eiuol/Objectivists within a year. Those activities -- the activities necessary to overthrow a rights-respecting government and install a dictatorship -- ought to be illegal (and what you've described might be construed as a kind of criminal conspiracy). But that's true whether we're talking about people organizing such a thing within the country or outside of it, in the US, New Zealand, or anywhere else. "Immigration" is a red herring. If there was a native-to-the-US movement to spread Nazi-ism and subvert democracy from within, we would have to stop that, too. So perhaps you intend to say nothing about any activities, but then you should -- because that's what we propose to make illegal, or to respond against with force. Not belief. The notion that belief itself should justify retaliatory force is anathema. And neither do I expect Capitalism to be recognized anytime soon, or rights respected generally, but yes -- that's what I argue for as an Objectivist. Perfect. Given the facts (which do not include a state of emergency where International Nazis threaten to overrun us; so far as I can tell, we have struggles enough with the domestic variety), we should screen people at the border against criminals, terrorists, carriers of infectious disease, etc., and otherwise allow people to pass, in recognition of their rights. No double standards. Just individual rights.
  21. You would absolutely stop that migration. Your life depends on it. But this is not primarily an immigration issue. Earlier, when introducing this line of discussion, Nicky, you had drawn some distinction between immigrants and natural-born citizens -- asking whether we should have a "double standard." But we should not. If Nazism at some point (and that point would need to be determined appropriately; I'm probably not the person to assess it, and this probably isn't the forum) constitutes a danger such that they would overthrow some (relatively more rights-respecting) government, then it doesn't matter if their rise comes from immigration or from domestic activities by citizens. Either people do or do not have a right to those activities, inside or outside of the US, immigrant, visitor or born-n-bred Yankee. The crossing of borders is a meaningless detail, except that it probably informs our method of retaliatory force. But that is the central point: we respond to force, with force. Nazism rising to the level you're describing itself constitutes a threat (and you recognize the nature of that threat when you write, "you would be executed within a year"); that's the same threat if that rise of Nazism is domestic, and it should be responded to, with force. So my position with respect to immigration -- and I think it is the only immigration position consistent with the principles of Objectivism (which is to say, with reason and reality) -- is: you may rightly stop people at the border for the same reasons (and only these) that you would rightly detain/fine/imprison, or generally respond with force, domestically. That is, when someone has themselves initiated the use of force (inclusive of threats, which I ought not otherwise need make explicit here, but will do so for clarity's sake).
  22. You're confusing (at least) two completely different things. I expect that this is, in part, because many people (in this thread and elsewhere) purposely conflate those things, but still I suppose it must be stated clearly: Immigration is not the same thing as citizenship or voting rights. If you wanted to make a case that we should restrict participation in governance (whether "citizenship," voting, or other forms, like serving on a bench, etc.) to people who demonstrate that they believe in capitalism/liberty/the rule of law, or etc., I'd be willing to hear you out on the matter. I think there might be something to that. But then, whatsoever we should finally decide is proper, I would also insist that it should apply equally to those born in San Diego. Absolutely. Yes. Our laws (to make them "proper") must be designed for the purpose of protecting individual rights -- those of every individual, to the last. No, people do not have that right. Our ultimate aim (with respect to politics) should be the development of a political system designed to protect itself against just such things. Good. Thank you. I'm doing my best to help you in your effort, as I hope you appreciate. I would roundly describe the actions of the "avowed enemy" you've introduced as a "threat," and criminal in nature. If he had done such a thing domestically -- posted on the web an intention to commit an atrocity -- then I would be in favor of taking action against him, according to the best practices of law enforcement. And yes, you're right: my response with respect to immigration would depend on the specific context, as to whether or not he should be incarcerated, or returned to the country of origin, or etc. But the larger point is that barring his entry to this country represents retaliatory force (and it is further worth mentioning, because again some people confuse these issues, that there is a fundamental difference between such "barring" and an appropriate delay as required for processing): it is only justified in response to the initiation of the use of force. Criminal activity is criminal activity, whether at the border or any other place. If you think that "being a socialist" ought to be illegal, then say that. But otherwise, we have as much right to stop a socialist from crossing the border as we do rounding one up and putting him in prison. All right. Then perhaps, in the interest of "context," it is worth noting that people just such as I've described are currently being refused entry. Those who argue to restrict immigration will further restrict men such as this, and some of those people have in mind, whether they state it explicitly or not, racist ends. There are people in this very thread making explicit racial arguments. That is context, too. Well, fair enough. But then, we are no longer discussing "immigration," per se, but whether or not it is permissible to "be a communist" generally, or to vote for some anti-liberty measure. As I'd indicated earlier, I'm open to the possibility that voting rights, office holding or "citizenship" should be restricted in some way on this basis. But whatever we decide, it should be as much for the people currently living in this country, or born in this country, as those seeking to access it. And of those seeking to access it, we have no right to deny the person I'd described, who wishes to work, to live, from doing so -- not even if he was born in another country. Yet that is precisely what we do and have done, historically; and it is also what we will continue to do, according to the arguments routinely made, and policies implemented, by those who argue against immigration.
  23. Moral action depends on context, but this is no blank check on action in an "improper society." The question before us resolves into whether there is a right to restrict immigration. If there is no right to do it -- if, in fact, restricting immigration is the initiation of the use of force -- then that is immoral equally in a "proper society" or otherwise. The proper time to protect peoples' individual rights is immediately and always: not when "a proper society is set up," which we currently have scheduled for... well, sometime in the distant future, I continue to allow myself to hope. The checks you mention with respect to immigration? I agree that some sort of "checks and criteria" is warranted, and that action/restriction can happen there, too, according to the same criteria with which we would countenance retaliatory force domestically. Meaning: if we would rightly restrict the liberty of a US citizen for some reason, then we could rightly restrict border entry for that same reason. But otherwise, no. Otherwise, there's nothing special -- with respect to our recognition of individual rights -- to being born in Tijuana as opposed to San Diego. If immigrants plan on using the welfare state, that's the welfare state's problem, not mine. (And I have less than zero interest in restricting immigration so that the welfare state may better survive.) It doesn't warrant my telling someone that he may not move to a certain city, buy a certain house, take a certain job, etc. I believe in liberty, and more to the point that I do not have the right to initiate the use of force. Let's talk about this in concrete detail for a moment. You have a man in Tijuana who wishes to move to San Diego, to get a job there and rent an apartment, so that he and his family may have a better life. You're telling me that an Objectivist such as yourself believes you have the right to tell him that he may not do these things -- in the name of self defense? Well, why not? If we apply the principles given, I don't see why an Objectivist wouldn't support restraints on a person's freedom to leave. If the people who believe in freedom choose to leave the US, that might leave me just as poorly off as allowing an influx from countries with some poorer culture, right? So if I can restrict people and their actions on the one hand, so that I may have a more favorable political culture, why not on the other? (For what it's worth, I don't know that a person like Trump -- though quite far from an Objectivist -- is expert at drawing these sorts of distinctions. If he had his druthers, do you suppose he would make it illegal for certain businesses to leave the US and build their factories elsewhere? I do. So even if we're going to approach this from some "realpolitik"/pragmatic angle, I think there are good reasons for mistrusting walls, generally.)
  24. For those who think it proper to restrict immigration on the basis of IQ, or because immigrants hold different ideologies, or etc., I'm curious: would it be equally proper to restrict emigration for the same reasons (e.g. refusing exit to someone of a sufficiently high IQ, or who has valuable skills, or who holds the "proper" ideology)? If it is a matter of right to determine the other members of your society through controlling immigration, I don't know why that shouldn't be true as well for emigration. And, after all, a wall has two sides...
  25. Other peoples' actions in this way (moving to a neighborhood, for instance -- even when immigrating; taking a job; living their life) does not constitute "an obligatory sacrifice of oneself." It is not a "sacrifice" at all; it is not even your business. The reasoning you're giving here, whYNOT, is akin to the person who complains when some rival opens up a competitor business across the street. "Shouldn't I be able to stop him?" he asks. "Why should I be forced to sacrifice? Why about my rights?" But that is not a sacrifice, and men do not have the "right" to tell others where they may live, or work, or travel, or etc.
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