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Godless Capitalist

Greens vs. Humanity?

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I understand...

Note that "unlimited" is not a synonym of "infinite." "Unlimited" is that which, in the context of some pursuit, you can obtain without worrying about it running out. "Infinite" is, well, a word whose meaning the people who promote its use are themselves pretty much unclear about. :)

This is a very important point that I was not aware of. Does Rand speak of this or is this your conclusion (I don't remember ever reading this important distinction in Objectivist literature.)

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The distinction has indeed been made elsewhere (though off-hand I cannot recall exactly where). The difference between the concepts is one of quantity vs one of access. Infinite refers to quantity. Unlimited refers to accessibility of a specific type of quantity given a particular demand.

While no thing is infinite in quantity, its quantity and accessibility CAN be of such a vastly larger scale than its use that access is never restricted and is therefore "unlimited".

Note: These statements do not imply agreement with the premises presented (about non-ownership of 'plentiful' resources). I have not focused on them enough nor followed their arguments closely enough to formulate a definitive conclusion about them. I am simply pointing out the difference between the two concepts mentioned above.

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The other point to be made there, and it's a crucial one, is that property results from productive effort. Here's one example. On earth, air cannot be considered property, because it requires no productive effort. It's not an economic value. (Nor is it a value in *any* philosophic sense, because it's not something you act to gain or keep.) Now say somebody sets up a base on the moon. It's a free-market base, so all of the basic functions are privately run (putting aside the issue of government.) This includes air: since it's not there naturally, somebody has to create it or import it. That person owns the air, in that case, and can rightly have a claim against anybody who soils it. The specifics of this would of course be dealt with contractually, since some degree of effect on air is unavoidable -- we don't exhale the same mix we inhale!

(I know this doesn't address the issue of pollution on Earth in particular. I'm not getting into that conversation right now.)

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I'd call breathing a pretty productive use. And I would call the actions of my body to acquire and then process that air pretty productive effort. Oh - and if you've ever swallowed the wrong way or had some obstruction to your throat (or suffer from asthma) then I *guarentee* you that air is something you have definitely acted to gain and keep. :)

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Watch it, or I'll delete your posts because I don't like you! :)

Seriously, my comments were only half flippant. Air IS a value to man - something, when he doesnt have it, he most definitely seeks to gain and keep. And productive effort is definitely applied to acquire it. What makes this less obvious is that air IS so abundant that so little effort is normally required to gain and keep that value. Additionally, because in most instances, that effort is automatized by his body, it is also less obvious.

So, while I agree that property does require effort on the part of the individual to gain and keep it in order for it to be considered property, I disagree that air does not fall into that catagory.

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You're arguing from one circumstance to all circumstances. In this case, it doesn't work. Here's another example. A large percentage of the oxygen in the air comes from plankton (I think, or something like them). If they were to disappear, you can bet we'd start acting to gain or keep them, assuming that nothing else adjusted to make up the difference. (And assuming that the difference is significant, which as I vaguely recall, it would be.) Does that make them a value in *this* context? Nope -- their existence and beneficial effect on us requires no action on our part.

There may well be things that are required for our existence that we're not aware of: things that are beneficial to us without requiring anything of us. Something's being beneficial doesn't make it a value.

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I'd call breathing a pretty productive use.  And I would call the actions of my body to acquire and then process that air pretty productive effort. Oh - and if you've ever swallowed the wrong way or had some obstruction to your throat (or suffer from asthma) then I *guarentee* you that air is something you have definitely acted to gain and keep.  :)

While all this is technically true, all that it would allow you to conclude is that the air that's currently in your lungs, that you've already breathed, i.e., already applied productive effort to, is your property. The rest of the air in the world is something to which you have not applied productive effort, and is not legitimately your property. Therefore, I don't see how the point is relevant to the discussion. In practice, all you could say is that it would be a crime to forcibly remove the air from someone else's lungs!

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I'd call breathing a pretty productive use.  And I would call the actions of my body to acquire and then process that air pretty productive effort.

Under normal circumstances, breathing is automatic; it requires no thinking or volition. You don't have to be a man in order to breathe; you do it exactly the way any animal does it. For this reason, I don't think it's relevant when we're considering productive efforts: productivity is a virtue, but there is no virtue in "doing" something that happens automatically.

Oh - and if you've ever swallowed the wrong way or had some obstruction to your throat (or suffer from asthma) then I *guarentee* you that air is something you have definitely acted to gain and keep.  :)

That, of course, is an entirely different story: in this context, you have to use your mind to find a way to regain your breath. Breathing no longer happens automatically, and air is anything but unlimited to you.

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I believe Ash's point is most on the mark. And I wasn't trying to suggest otherwise. I was merely trying to correct what I saw as a mistaken premise (that air is NOT a value and that we do NOT seek to gain and keep it).

CF

Actually, there is ONE difference between man and animals when it comes to breathing. Man CONTROLS his breathing. He can decide whether to breathe or not, at what rate, etc etc. Thus, while the process is fundamentally automatic, it still requires a choice on his part (just as the processes of man's mind are automatic, but still requires a choice - to focus or not). It is not like the beating of his heart, of which he has no conscious control over. Because of that conscious control - because there is a choice - I would claim that breathing IS a virtue. Its just not one that requires (under normal circumstances) a lot of effort to achieve.

--

I think we have strayed quite a bit from the original topic here. :)

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No, it doesn't *require* a choice. It just can be affected by choices. You're trying to treat breathing like it's somewhere between automatic and automatized. They're totally different categories, though. What you can say about breathing is that it's an automatic action which can be subject to a certain degree of conscious control. (I say a certain degree, because there's a limit to how much control you can exert over it. For example, you can't really just stop breathing. You'll pass out within a few minutes and your brain will take over the process.)

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My mistake. I should have used the term "involves" instead of "requires" a choice. Of course, when one is not conscious, a choice cannot be made.

However, this does not fundamentally change my point, nor what I was using it to support. As you admit, it is under conscious control (so long as consciousness persists), and as such, in that context, it is still productive effort used to gain and keep a value.

We are REALLY off topic now. If you really feel the need to discuss this further, I suggest doing so in another thread.

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Actually, I'm not sure that the air currently in one's lungs could qualify as one's property on even technical grounds. Even though productive work is applied to it, doesn't that work need to be volitional? As has been alluded to, all living things do "productive work" by their nature, but that doesn't mean that they own property. Is this just because they cannot conceptualize "property" or is it because volition is a necessary condition of property rights?

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Yep, I'm all done with this. I wanted to point out why the air around us can't be property, and I think I did that. Now let's get back to important issues, like whether or not a remake of The Fountainhead should cast Carrot Top as Roark. :)

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In its obligation to protect individual and property rights, government has the right to insist upon pollution standards.

In fact, that is the only justification for pollution standards- to set safeguards for protection of individuals and private property.

Basically, your activities on your property should in no way impose pollution, whether it be water or air, on another's property.

The "greens'" approach to environmentalism seems to conveniently ignore these basic rights of persons and property. That is why I don't support their cause.

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Government's present insistence on pollution standards is: firstly, a grim joke; secondly, ass-backwards.

Government ought to set a minimun standard for pollution so that releasing pollutants in greater quantity than this standard onto or into another person's property would be proper grounds for a civil suit and a damages award and anything less than this standard would not be. For example, dropping a tissue onto another person's lawn would not be grounds, while dumping a barrel of crude would be.

There should be no standards for public property, and there should be no public property.

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Yep, I'm all done with this. I wanted to point out why the air around us can't be property, and I think I did that. Now let's get back to important issues, like whether or not a remake of The Fountainhead should cast Carrot Top as Roark. 

objectivism has enough of a branding/image problem as it is, no need to make the problem worse!

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This may have been raised already, but bear with me.

 

The major objection to Envo-hippies is that they are Anti-Man, which i agree with. However For myself i am concerned by environment destruction/degradation/etc. because it represents a threat to my values, or at least an impediment to my achievement of them.

 

I'd like to clarify that I'm not condoning government action in protection of this-that-or-the-other forest, swamp, or desert, where it will help or protect me. I'm only saying that we should value "the environment" where it concerns Man's life. Right?

 

 

 

 

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