Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
mke

Selling illegal drugs

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

It depends. If all you have is that money, and you can't give me a good reason why you want it, then I'll assume you are mentally impaired, and I'll refuse to take your money. But if you're a millionaire looking to satisfy some silly whim, then sure, I don't have any reason to think this would hurt you, so I'd take the money.

How is this not indicative of you determining what is in my self-interests? Do Objective ethics require you to first judge what is in my best interests before acting?

Don't get me wrong. I fully understand you have the moral right to refuse to sell to me for any reason you want to come up with; even irrational ones. But that doesn't seem to be your argument. You seem to be acting as the rational intermediary between my desires and my wallet.

Perhaps you mean to argue it wouldn't be in your self-interests to sell to me because you'd feel guilty for supposedly taking advantage of me. However, that doesn't avoid the fact that you're judging my interests for me. If we return to the relevant quote, the exchange never happens because you are using unilateral judgment to determine what benefits me.

It has nothing to do with legality, in fact the trader principle is not restricted to drugs at all. Making a career out of trade that is not beneficial to both sides is an immoral choice.

Why would anyone freely trade if they felt it were not beneficial to them? You're making a judgment about what is beneficial for those you sell to, you're not allowing them the freedom to determine what is in their own self-interests. I don't see how the trader principle requires either party to determine what is in the interests of the other. In fact, I think it's quite clear that each party must independently judge what is in their own self-interests.

I don't think occasional pot smoking is immoral, no. It really doesn't change my thoughts on anything, it just relaxes and cheers me up. Moderate ammounts don't do more than moderate ammounts of alcohol, and there are fewer side effects (loss of balance, hangover, plus alcohol sometimes makes my stomach hurt)

Though I don't smoke it, I have, and I agree it's not immoral. Is your dealer immoral for selling to you? Why, or why not?

No, it doesn't put anyone off limits to an Objectivist.

You wrote: "A trader should choose to not deal with people who's independent judgment is obviously wrong (such as a drug addict who decides drugs are good for him), but only with the people who's judgment he can assume is not built on evasion."

So, you must believe the judgment of the vast majority of the population is not built on evasion.

Considering the vast majority of the population believes in some sort of supreme being, how can you maintain both of the above statements?

How do I determine if cocaine is harmful to any random person? By integrating pertinent facts about cocaine and its effects on other humans who used it before, and using my mind to draw a conclusion. Basically, I determine it the same way I determine that a speeding truck will likely kill a person, if they step in front of it. Not through magic, just by thinking.

Well, you've added some context for your speeding truck example, but no context was provided for the cocaine. Are you arguing you can determine cocaine is harmful to any random person because cocaine is harmful in all contexts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I fully understand you have the moral right to refuse to sell to me for any reason you want to come up with; even irrational ones.
This is a pretty profound confusing of the concepts of "morality" and "rights". The irrational is never moral. Is that news to you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is a pretty profound confusing of the concepts of "morality" and "rights". The irrational is never moral. Is that news to you?

Uhhh, no, it is not news to me. I'm not sure what your point is. What have I profoundly confused? Are you arguing morality and rights cannot be juxtaposed as I did - that there is no such thing as a moral right? Because that's what I wrote: "You have a moral right to choose not to sell to me..." The adjective "moral" is being used to describe the noun "right," not the word "irrational." Is that what you're arguing against? That moral cannot be used to describe rights?

Or, rather, are you arguing that reasons cannot be irrational? Because that's the second clause of my sentence: "... for any reason you want to come up with; even irrational ones." "Irrational" is being used to describe the pronoun "ones," which replaces its referent "reasons."

Have I broken some Objectivist code, or something?

Edited by JeffS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How is this not indicative of you determining what is in my self-interests?

It is. Ethics is (among other things) the craft of determining what is in an individual's self-interest. (in Objectivism, anyway) I'm familiar with this craft, so I'm using it to determine whether it is in your best interest or not to buy a lunch-box for 100 grand.

If I am easily able to determine that it couldn't be (and in the case of someone, anyone at all, shooting up, or a non-millionaire paying 100 grand to satisfy a whim, I most certainly am), using my knowledge of Ethics, then I should consider that, and apply the trader principle to my knowledge. This knowledge should stop me from making the deal.

Sidenote, slightly off topic:

Sometimes (like the times I mentioned) I can determine whether something is in another man's self interest, using my judgment. In fact most questions on this forum are people asking others about what is and isn't in their self interest.

However, I can never enforce my own judgment on others, because that would never be in this other person's self interest. People need to have their own values, exercise their own free will, by nature. That is why, using force to impose reason, could not possibly help a person, only harm them, even if the thing being enforced is what they should should choose for themselves.

For instance, I really should get off this, and finish something else I started working on. Choosing to do so is in my best interest. If you were at all familiar with my life, you would easily be able to determine that it indeed is, just by using your mind. But, if you came over and forced me to do it, that would no longer be in my best interest, I have to choose to do it myself. That is my nature, being forced to do it would make me lose motivation, not care anymore, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The irrational is never the moral. You may have the right to be irrational, but it is never moral to be irrational.

Agreed.

It is. Ethics is (among other things) the craft of determining what is in an individual's self-interest.

Determining what is in another's self-interests?

From the Ayn Rand Lexicon:

"Since reason is man’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil. Since everything man needs has to be discovered by his own mind and produced by his own effort, the two essentials of the method of survival proper to a rational being are: thinking and productive work."

"Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life."

"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man’s only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a “moral commandment” is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed."

"A moral code is a set of abstract principles; to practice it, an individual must translate it into the appropriate concretes—he must choose the particular goals and values which he is to pursue. This requires that he define his particular hierarchy of values, in the order of their importance, and that he act accordingly."

I find no reference to an obligation to determine another's self-interests. Can you point me to the correct reference?

However, I can never enforce my own judgment on others, because that would never be in this other person's self interest. People need to have their own values, exercise their own free will, by nature. That is why, using force to impose reason, could not possibly help a person, only harm them, even if the thing being enforced is what they should should choose for themselves.

Agreed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find no reference to an obligation to determine another's self-interests. Can you point me to the correct reference?

No. Why would you ask me to? What's that got to do with anything? I can't point you to any obligations to determine anything, exccept not evade what's already been determined (like the fact that injecting crack into yourself is immoral). I can point to that.

I don't know why you'd bring up any obligation to determine things. This is the first time the phrase popped up in the thread, so you must not be reading my posts carefully enough.

And the quotes you gave all say that morality has to be chosen, not forced on someone. They don't back up your claim that morality is subjective (meaning whatever is moral for a person depends on their opinion), at all.

Ayn Rand never said whatever morality anyone choses is the right one, and everyone has to go around pretending that crackheads must know what's good for them better than anyone else. She said that morality is objective, determined through rational means. The fact that it has to be chosen, or that it is relative to context, in no way contradicts that fact, and has very little to do with this fact: shooting crack is immoral, according to Ayn Rand's objective moral code, and anyone who understands that moral code knows this fact, and should judge those who do shoot up, as immoral. This is knowledge everyone shuold already have. Claiming that you would need to somehow determine it, and you can't be obligated to do so, is obvious refusal to think, not refusal to go out of your way to find anything out.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No. Why would you ask me to? What's that got to do with anything? I can't point you to any obligations to determine anything, exccept not evade what's already been determined (like the fact that injecting crack into yourself is immoral). I can point to that.

I don't know why you'd bring up any obligation to determine things. This is the first time the phrase popped up in the thread, so you must not be reading my posts carefully enough.

I'm asking you to so I can read for myself the logic that leads one to believe they must judge what is good for someone else in order to be moral. If I choose a particularly morality, am I not obligated to myself to follow that morality? If, as a seller, I can't be moral unless I judge what is good for my buyer, and I want to be moral, doesn't that obligate me to myself to judge what is good for my buyer - regardless of how they independently judge their own values?

And the quotes you gave all say that morality has to be chosen, not forced on someone. They don't back up your claim that morality is subjective (meaning whatever is moral for a person depends on their opinion), at all.

I never made the claim that morality is subjective. Please point out where I did so I can correct it.

I've claimed, from the beginning, the trader principle does not require either party to determine what is good for the other party in order to remain moral. I've also claimed that Objectivist ethics does not require anyone to judge what is good others in order to be moral.

Ayn Rand never said whatever morality anyone choses is the right one, and everyone has to go around pretending that crackheads must know what's good for them better than anyone else. She said that morality is objective, determined through rational means. The fact that it has to be chosen, or that it is relative to context, in no way contradicts that fact, and has very little to do with this fact: shooting crack is immoral, according to Ayn Rand's objective moral code, and anyone who understands that moral code knows this fact, and should judge those who do shoot up, as immoral. This is knowledge everyone shuold already have. Claiming that you would need to somehow determine it, and you can't be obligated to do so, is obvious refusal to think, not refusal to go out of your way to find anything out.

Well, I'm thinking pretty hard, and it's still not very clear.

In one sentence you claim: "The fact that... [morality] is relative to context, in no way contradicts that fact [that morality is objective]." You follow with this phrase: "... and has very little to do with this fact: shooting crack is immoral..." Since you provide no context, the only valid conclusion is that shooting crack is immoral regardless of context. Shooting crack is immoral and not relative to context.

I would like to know how you arrived there. Which is it? Is morality relative to context, or is shooting crack immoral regardless of context? If both are true, is it because shooting crack deserves some special consideration divorced of context? If so, why does shooting crack get this special consideration? Does marijuana get the same consideration, or does its morality depend upon context?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm asking you to so I can read for myself the logic that leads one to believe they must judge what is good for someone else in order to be moral.

"One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment.

Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the precept of moral agnosticism, the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.

It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept. It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men’s virtues and from condemning men’s vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you—whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?"

The Virtue of Selfishness; pg. 71.

Once you have judged that a man's actions are immoral, justice would dictate that you not further them by enabling them with trade (in the case of the topic at hand; drugs). You'll notice her concern as well for "culture" eroding, as it is (generally speaking) in one's rational self-interest to live in rational, stable culture. By enabling a junkie (that you know is being self-destructive), you contribute indirectly to all the junkie does to feed his habit.

Edit: Added further quoting. - RB

Edited by RationalBiker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Once you have judged that a man's actions are immoral, justice would dictate that you not further them by enabling them with trade (in the case of the topic at hand; drugs). You'll notice her concern as well for "culture" eroding, as it is (generally speaking) in one's rational self-interest to live in rational, stable culture. By enabling a junkie (that you know is being self-destructive), you contribute indirectly to all the junkie does to feed his habit.

I agree. However, you're adding context not present in the original question; you're adding a junkie that I know is being self-destructive. Does Objectivist ethics require I determine whether my buyer is a junkie bent on self-destruction before I sell to him? Does the trader principle require me to judge whether my product is in the self-interests of the buyer? Do either preclude me from selling (assuming I wish to remain moral) if I judge the buyer is making a choice not conducive to his life and happiness?

The OP's question is: Is selling illegal drugs immoral? Without context (is the buyer using your product to kill himself, or others?) we can't say. There is nothing inherently, sans context, immoral in selling illegal drugs. The characteristic of being illegal does not make the act immoral - since illegality is an arbitrary classification imposed by the state. The characteristic of being harmful in certain dosages does not make the act immoral - since all drugs, in the correct dosages, can help to prolong life and ease physical suffering. As David pointed out, even selling illegal drugs to people who are clearly destroying their lives can be the moral choice given the proper context.

As with all products, selling illegal drugs can be moral when doing so serves your life and your happiness. Not the short-term goals of a hedonist, but the long-term goals of a human being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The OP's question is: Is selling illegal drugs immoral? Without context (is the buyer using your product to kill himself, or others?) we can't say.
That is like saying that the claim "Man can reason" or "oxygen is a gas" cannot be judged as true or not, without context. You logic leads to the conclusion that statements such as "terrorism is evil" cannot be judged as true or false without further context. Yes, there are exceptional contexts and marginal cases, and if you want to address an exceptional context you can do so by saying "terrorism is evil, except in this context...".
As with all products, selling illegal drugs can be moral when doing so serves your life and your happiness. Not the short-term goals of a hedonist, but the long-term goals of a human being.
That same line would hold that being a prudent predator can be moral when doing so serves your life and your happiness. You can construct the sentence -- you just can't point to the concretes that instantiate the claim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree. However, you're adding context not present in the original question; you're adding a junkie that I know is being self-destructive.

Actually, when I added this particular context in my post you did not appear to agree. I said;

I think he would argue it is not the moral decision of the buyer that determines the seller's morality, it's the knowledge that the seller has of the buyer's morality and the knowledge of the destructiveness of the product and it's typical use in that context that determines the seller's morality.

Then you replied;

So, the seller's thought process would go something like this:

"I know the buyer has chosen to be an addict. The buyer has chosen to destroy their own lives, and is choosing to do so with my product. Improperly used, my product can destroy lives. If I sell my product to this buyer, they will destroy their own lives.

Selling my product to them would satisfy many values for me. It allows me to lead a productive life; it allows me to earn money through voluntary trade with others so that I may in turn use that money to trade freely with others and obtain the things I need to further my life - my highest value.

I should not sell my product to this buyer, even though doing so serves my highest value because..."

Why?

Here you are questioning why you should care about what happens to the buyer of your products as long as selling them serves your highest value even when you KNOW he/she is being self-destructive (immoral).

So which is it? Do you agree with me or do you think you have no moral culpability in selling to a user you know is being self-destructive?

Now I realize one of your claims is this;

There are many people who take illegal drugs and live long, productive, happy lives.

I'm not sure how you would quantify that, but I'm going to claim based on my experience that that is the exception in pretty much all illegal drugs except possibly marijuana. In particular, when you talk about drugs like Heroin, Cocaine (particularly crack), and Crystal Meth, the TYPICAL user is going to be the self-destructive sort who is ruining their lives. As the seller, the evidence would be plainly before your eyes every time a junkie walked up to make a buy. That is why I say the seller is responsible for knowing the TYPICAL usage and effect the drug has regarding his customers. Objectivism (and just as importantly the concept of Justice) is not about plausible deniability as a means to evade responsibility and morality, you should make yourself away of the business you are getting into, and not ignore the obvious evidence that is in front of you.

I agree with David. In arguing that the selling of illegal drugs can be moral I think would represent the rare minority of cases, not the norm; the exception, not the rule.

And I that doesn't even touch on the risks associated with the illegal drug business that has nothing to do with the drugs effects on its users. In most instances of being a drug dealer, you are abandoning proper legal recourse in the event of "business disputes". When someone robs you of your product, you can't call the police and report your cocaine was stolen. If you are going to have a "system of justice", it has to be the Nine you pack on your side and however many 'loyal' soldiers you can hire. And you better not sell in someone else's area. Taking someone's corner or customers is not usually resolved by free market practices like price wars. You better hope the next drug dealer over is a rational as you are. Good luck with that. (I'm using "you" generically of course, not to imply you actually would deal drugs) This is part of the context of illegal drug selling that you cannot leave out of your evaluation of it's morality.

Edited by RationalBiker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That is like saying that the claim "Man can reason" or "oxygen is a gas" cannot be judged as true or not, without context. You logic leads to the conclusion that statements such as "terrorism is evil" cannot be judged as true or false without further context. Yes, there are exceptional contexts and marginal cases, and if you want to address an exceptional context you can do so by saying "terrorism is evil, except in this context...".

I disagree. Two of your examples are not similar to my statement. In your examples of "Man can reason," and "terrorism is evil" the context is already included due to the definitions of each term. Man (so capitalized) is defined as a rational animal - he reasons. Regardless of context, "Man can reason" is true. Although definitions of terrorism vary, they all include some component of initiative force. As such, terrorism is evil (immoral) by definition.

There is nothing inherent in illegal drugs, nothing that by their nature - contained within the definition of "illegal drugs," which makes illegal drugs immoral regardless of context. "Illegal drugs" does not automatically come with the characteristic that their use, or sale, or even their very existence, is immoral. It is their misuse, when they are used antagonistic to life, where their immorality lies.

Your other example of oxygen is a perfect example of this. Without context, oxygen is not a gas. Oxygen is a gas within a certain temperature range, but it also may be a liquid, or a solid, or even a plasma depending upon the temperature. Were your statement "oxygen is a gas at room temperature," then you're back to providing context and its context is included with the definition.

That same line would hold that being a prudent predator can be moral when doing so serves your life and your happiness. You can construct the sentence -- you just can't point to the concretes that instantiate the claim.

A prudent predator of other humans? I can point to a great many concretes to show how being a prudent predator of humans cannot be moral, and I'd begin where Ms. Rand began. Again, your example bears no similarity to my argument.

If my statement is false, then why did you write:

Suppose that you are put in an untenable position because of existing immoral laws -- you were convicted of possession. Industrial concern over drug convictions -- zero-tolerance policies by employers -- are predominantly manufactured by the government. As an untalented youth, that means you cannot get a job as a clerk at Lowe's, regardless of your current grasp of the foolishness of drug use. When the government prevents you from existing any other way besides being a dope peddler, of course it is moral to exist rather than to die.

If selling illegal drugs is immoral, regardless of context, why did you provide a context in which selling illegal drugs is moral?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In your examples of "Man can reason," and "terrorism is evil" the context is already included due to the definitions of each term. Man (so capitalized) is defined as a rational animal - he reasons.
You don't seem to understand the proper role of definitions in the Objectivist epistemology. When in fact a man lacks the ability to reason, we do not conclude -- contrary to fact -- that he is not a man. We conclude that he is a broken unit. Under your approach, the nature of man is subservient to and ever determined by our ideas about man. All you have to do, if you have a problematic man, is to define him out of existence. Your definition of terrorism is simply wrong: terrorism is the act of destruction for the purpose of creating terror. I don't know what definition of terrorism you're operating with, but clearly desparate acts of terrorism by the slaves of the North Korean dictatorship would not be evil for doing whatever they could to reclaim their lives. Theirs would be a self-defensive use of terrorism. So, it is false that men can always reason, regardless of context; it is false that terrorism is always evil, regardless of context. These statements are usually true -- in normal contexts they are true, and they are untrue only in marginal contexts.

The point, which it seems that you failed to grasp, is that the context of ordinary existence does not need to be explicitly spelled out every time someone makes a statement. When you want to ask about an abnormal context, such as a person who illegally supplies marijuana for sick people, then you have to ask about that context. When you don't ask about that context, we will rightfully assume that you are asking about normal circumstances, not marginal cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here you are questioning why you should care about what happens to the buyer of your products as long as selling them serves your highest value even when you KNOW he/she is being self-destructive (immoral).

So which is it? Do you agree with me or do you think you have no moral culpability in selling to a user you know is being self-destructive?

That's a difficult question, and I tried to reason through it after the part where your quote of me leaves off.

I agree it would be immoral to sell to someone whom you know is only using your product to kill themselves, but not for the reasons that have been implied so far. The reasons given so far seem to imply we have an obligation to keep track of our fellow Men, to be "champions of humanity." As if we are our brother's keepers. If Objectivism has proved we are, I would like to see the proof.

My argument against selling to such a person is based purely self-interested grounds: if you kill all your customers, your long-term success is doomed. That's no way to live and thrive. It's not for any decisions your customers make, it's the decision you make for yourself - to live long-term as a Man.

The arguments have been going off on different tangents, and one of those tangents was the trader principle. I argue the trader principle says nothing about one party judging what is in the moral interests of the other party (beyond determining that a market exists for his product). Sellers do not have to judge what is in the moral self-interests of buyers, and buyers do not need to judge what is in the moral self-interests of sellers. In fact, I argue that to do so goes directly contrary to the trader principle.

I'm not sure how you would quantify that, but I'm going to claim based on my experience that that is the exception in pretty much all illegal drugs except possibly marijuana. In particular, when you talk about drugs like Heroin, Cocaine (particularly crack), and Crystal Meth, the TYPICAL user is going to be the self-destructive sort who is ruining their lives. As the seller, the evidence would be plainly before your eyes every time a junkie walked up to make a buy. That is why I say the seller is responsible for knowing the TYPICAL usage and effect the drug has regarding his customers. Objectivism (and just as importantly the concept of Justice) is not about plausible deniability as a means to evade responsibility and morality, you should make yourself away of the business you are getting into, and not ignore the obvious evidence that is in front of you.

Again, you're adding context. Most of the population will die from heart disease caused, in no small degree, by the food they eat. Eaters of all food who are not practicing self-destructive behaviour are the exception. Since the "typical user" of red meat will ruin their lives by eating at Burger King, should we deem all sellers of Whoppers to be immoral? Is it the responsibility of all who sell food to determine whether their customer is going to eat themselves into a heart attack before making a decision to sell them dinner? As a seller, the evidence is plainly before their eyes, and they have overwhelming statistics to support their decision to refuse service. Morally, shouldn't they?

Of course not. We expect people to have the self-restraint necessary to control their food intake, yet, in the majority, they do not. Why do we not expect the same from those who choose drugs?

And I that doesn't even touch on the risks associated with the illegal drug business that has nothing to do with the drugs effects on its users.

I think this is a good point, and could be a fatal flaw in my logic. Here, intrinsic in the concept "illegal drugs" is the fact that they are illegal. The seller runs the risk of getting put in jail, getting killed, having his property stolen - definitely none of it good for living as a Man. But what does that say about any risky behaviour? The man who highly values adrenaline rushes, should he abstain from jumping out of airplanes because he could die an early death? Should he not race cars because a fatal crash is a heightened possibility?

In an objective world, this wouldn't be an issue because no drug would be illegal, free market principles would prevail, and the government would protect your property. But in our current reality, I admit that it's a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't seem to understand the proper role of definitions in the Objectivist epistemology. When in fact a man lacks the ability to reason, we do not conclude -- contrary to fact -- that he is not a man. We conclude that he is a broken unit. Under your approach, the nature of man is subservient to and ever determined by our ideas about man. All you have to do, if you have a problematic man, is to define him out of existence. Your definition of terrorism is simply wrong: terrorism is the act of destruction for the purpose of creating terror. I don't know what definition of terrorism you're operating with, but clearly desparate acts of terrorism by the slaves of the North Korean dictatorship would not be evil for doing whatever they could to reclaim their lives. Theirs would be a self-defensive use of terrorism. So, it is false that men can always reason, regardless of context; it is false that terrorism is always evil, regardless of context. These statements are usually true -- in normal contexts they are true, and they are untrue only in marginal contexts.

The point, which it seems that you failed to grasp, is that the context of ordinary existence does not need to be explicitly spelled out every time someone makes a statement. When you want to ask about an abnormal context, such as a person who illegally supplies marijuana for sick people, then you have to ask about that context. When you don't ask about that context, we will rightfully assume that you are asking about normal circumstances, not marginal cases.

David, you began your participation in this thread by asking, "In what way is drug selling moral?" I provided ways in which drug selling was moral. You, yourself, provided a way in which drug selling, even illegal drug selling, was moral.

I've written all I care to. Thanks for the discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As if we are our brother's keepers. If Objectivism has proved we are, I would like to see the proof.

Earlier you asked what Objectivism said about judging others;

I'm asking you to so I can read for myself the logic that leads one to believe they must judge what is good for someone else in order to be moral.

I provided you with a starting ground with that quote. It said nothing about being your brother's keeper and was in fact in the book titled The Virtue of Selfishness. I'm going to suggest at this point that if you really have an interest in understanding that issue further, that you might want to read some of Rand's books, namely the one I quoted.

Just understand that you can't take the Trader Principle out of Objectivism (if in fact that is the particular Trader Principle you are referring to) and leave the rest behind and claim the trader principle does not include what is spelled out in other parts of the work. Objecitivism as a philosophy is an integrated whole and you can't represent accurately that this or that is consistent with Objectivism unless the whole representation is consistent.

Like you, I've added all I care to the conversation at this point.

Take care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David, you began your participation in this thread by asking, "In what way is drug selling moral?" I provided ways in which drug selling was moral.

"ways in which drug selling was moral" makes no sense, as an answer to the question "In what way is drug selling moral?". (David asked for an explanation, using the singular way applied to the concept "drug selling" -which denotes said activity -, not the plural "ways" denoting instances of the concept "drug selling". )

Let's, for a second, replace the concept "drug selling" with the concept "man" (meaning "human being", as Rand defined it), and the attribute "moral with "retarded":

If David asked "In what way is man retarded?", you would've answered: Well, ways in which man is retarded are: Bill, he's retarded, Rosie, she's retarded, etc. I gave you numerous ways in which man was (why the past tense, btw?) retarded, so we're done here: Man is retarded, I answered your question.

It's nothing more than word play, basically, based on ignoring the difference between "in what way" and " ways in which", and between a concept and rare instances of it.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I provided you with a starting ground with that quote. It said nothing about being your brother's keeper and was in fact in the book titled The Virtue of Selfishness. I'm going to suggest at this point that if you really have an interest in understanding that issue further, that you might want to read some of Rand's books, namely the one I quoted.

I've read it four times. You're correct - it says nothing about being your brother's keeper. Thus my confusion as to why others would suggest we should be.

Just understand that you can't take the Trader Principle out of Objectivism (if in fact that is the particular Trader Principle you are referring to) and leave the rest behind and claim the trader principle does not include what is spelled out in other parts of the work. Objecitivism as a philosophy is an integrated whole and you can't represent accurately that this or that is consistent with Objectivism unless the whole representation is consistent.

Couldn't agree more. In fact, I don't know where we've disagreed in your reply to me.

Take care.

Thank you. You as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"ways in which drug selling was moral" makes no sense, as an answer to the question "In what way is drug selling moral?". (David asked for an explanation, using the singular way applied to the concept "drug selling" -which denotes said activity -, not the plural "ways" denoting instances of the concept "drug selling". )

Let's, for a second, replace the concept "drug selling" with the concept "man" (meaning "human being", as Rand defined it), and the attribute "moral with "retarded":

If David asked "In what way is man retarded?", you would've answered: Well, ways in which man is retarded are: Bill, he's retarded, Rosie, she's retarded, etc. I gave you numerous ways in which man was (why the past tense, btw?) retarded, so we're done here: Man is retarded, I answered your question.

It's nothing more than word play, basically, based on ignoring the difference between "in what way" and " ways in which", and between a concept and rare instances of it.

Is selling illegal drugs immoral, Jake?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Drug dealers cater to men's vices. It is a decidedly unimpressive way to make money because anyone who is willing to sqander his life can do it. I don't admire liquor store owners either.

I admire liquor store owners because they bring in delicious spirits from all over the world so I can find them easily. Whether I use them as a soothing drink at the end of a productive day or an escape from reality in an ally somewhere is of no concern of theirs. Same goes with the seller of any drug.

If the exchange of values is voluntary, I have no problem with it. Meanwhile, I couldn't care less about unproductive individuals - as long as I am not forced to deal with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If the exchange of values is voluntary, I have no problem with it. Meanwhile, I couldn't care less about unproductive individuals - as long as I am not forced to deal with them.
Is the sale of meth, heroin, PCP etc (by you) to junkies a virtuous activity that advances your higher values and ultimately your life? What objective value does such activity support?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is selling illegal drugs immoral, Jake?

I already answered that, in this thread.

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...st&p=230444

Your refusal to read other people's posts is becoming tiring. Stop hijacking threads with nonsense, please. There are at least half a dozen things you said in this thread, that are antithetical to Objectivism, and yet you're claiming to be an Objectivist, and answering people's questions as an Objectivist.

Nah, ah... I wasn't allowed to bring context into the discussion. Neither should you.

In other news, selling flavored cigarettes is now immoral.

What do you think "context" is, in Objectivism?

Knowledge is contextual . . . By “context” we mean the sum of cognitive elements conditioning the acquisition, validity or application of any item of human knowledge. (Peikoff)

Sorry, but eye surgery and whatever you linked to now is not the context of "drug selling". Learn about concept formation, and definitions, please, before you answer people's questions while claiming to be an Objectivist.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×