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MisterSwig

Immigration restrictions

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21 hours ago, Eiuol said:
22 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

denying them a public soapbox, or not letting them into the country is violence.

If the government does the first one, it would be violence because it would be backed up by the use of force. 

Are you saying that the government cannot make any rules for public spaces because those rules are backed up by the use of force? Essentially, whatever people can do in private, they should also be allowed to do in public?

22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Having a soapbox is actually freedom of speech, with some constraints if lack of consent can constitute some kind of harm.

The right to speak does not include the right to a platform for speaking. And whether your speech harms someone has nothing to do with it. That is the very position Rand argued against in her criticism of the Supreme Court case against pornography.

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20 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The better question is, can totalitarians be nonviolent? I don't think so. But then you might say, if totalitarians are necessarily violent, then shouldn't we prevent their migration? Absolutely! My point is there will always be signs of violence, so we don't even need to get into a discussion about whether someone's beliefs really are totalitarian. It's enough to look for all the usual signs of threats and violence.

And what are the usual signs of threats and violence?

22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Not letting someone into a country is a type of violence, because you forcibly deny them access. That's how laws work. That's how governments work, it's fundamentally about the use of violence and force.

So having border control and laws and government are all signs of violence, and therefore totalitarian belief?

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Are you saying that the government cannot make any rules for public spaces because those rules are backed up by the use of force?

No. You claimed that it is not violence. But I'm saying it is. We can't talk about the proper use of force and violence if we can't even agree on what force is. 

If you mean soapbox as in a venue, sure, this can be rightfully denied sometimes. The question there is regarding consent. The paragraph you quoted (I'm not sure where you got it, because you mixed in someone else's words) was discussing about consent to things that we might reasonably expect people would object to and would prefer to have consent about (in particular if we think children should not see such things). It's arguable. If we are talking about a simple statement of socialist belief ("there should be universal healthcare!"), the whole issue about consent doesn't even enter the equation. If you meant soapbox as in people can hear them, you are no longer talking about a venue. You're talking about speech in the first place. I don't see any reason to start considering whether this should be controlled, in the sense that we hear ideas that we disagree with all the time, and your consent or not won't change anything.

Of course, public areas and property is very murky and muddy because public property is not even a legitimate type of property. What type of laws should exist for public property? That's hard to say, because you are assuming an improper role of government, which nevertheless exists now whether we like it or not. You already said though that you are talking from a context of an illegitimate government, so this line of argumentation is pointless.

In any case, if you meant the venue, then denying that public (out in the open, not publicly owned) soapbox is violence because of the person tried to speak on the soapbox, they would be arrested (which is violence).

But things get confusing because you are presuming an illegitimate government in the first place. I agree with you in the context of a capitalist revolution (EC mentioned this earlier), but not in the context of developing  proper rules.

3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

So having border control and laws and government are all signs of violence, and therefore totalitarian belief?

I don't know what you're talking about. You claimed that it isn't violence, but I'm saying it is. That doesn't mean I disagree with every type of border control; I'm not arguing for open borders. I just mean that it's ridiculous to say that border control is not violent. If there are border laws, and you try to cross the border, you will be physically denied entry. The discussion on totalitarianism is to say that any totalitarian would be planning to initiate force (although they probably would see it as justified because initiation of force has nothing to do with their political philosophy). I'm not saying that the government creating border controls is totalitarian.

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48 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

We can't talk about the proper use of force and violence if we can't even agree on what force is.

Do you recognize the moral difference between the initiation of force and retaliatory force? Forcing your way into another country against that country's laws is the initiation of force. Stopping that person from violating your laws is retaliation. We've already established that a nation has the right to control the border. So what's with calling it force and violence, as if it's an immoral, unjustified act?

Also, again, what are the usual signs of threats and violence regarding totalitarians? What should we be looking for at the border to catch these types?

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36 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

So what's with calling it force and violence, as if it's an immoral, unjustified act?

That wasn't my intention, and I don't know why you thought I was trying to imply that it is necessarily immoral and unjustified. I'm saying your proposal is immoral and unjustified, but I'm not saying all border control is immoral and unjustified. Sometimes I use the words force and violence to emphasize the weight of what we're talking about, because we don't at all want to misuse force and violence.

Forcing your way into a country could be in initiation of force, but our discussion is the proper limitations, so that we can define what "forcing your way in" means. We started out discussing anti-American belief, so I don't think that entering the US with anti-American belief can qualify as "forcing your way in". Part of the reason for that is because holding a belief is not any kind of force. A private citizen could rightfully deny entry for any reason they want. 

This gets confusing though, because I think you advocate for a kind of social contract where your property and preferences could make demands upon other private citizens. In those circumstances, beliefs can be demanded of others, including the people that wish to enter the country.

36 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Also, again, what are the usual signs of threats and violence regarding totalitarians? What should we be looking for at the border to catch these types?

Stockpiling arms, specific calls to violence, things like that. The same threats of violence that gangs, organized crime, or rebel groups that meet to discuss how to bomb the government. 

Edited by Eiuol

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On 1/25/2019 at 1:29 PM, MisterSwig said:

So, you're right, we would have to debate the nature of threats. Which I'm happy to do if you can summon the will.

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.

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6 hours ago, DonAthos said:

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.

I'll throw this out there for consideration. Take what may be called the "moral parity thesis" which has two parts (a) what counts as a threat from an immigrant is the same as a domestic resident and (b) what counts as a "political threat" is the same for a normal threat of assault. (Surely being on the other side of a border can't effect what rights you actually have?) Asking what if, instead if "make an unjust law" someone is say "someone should kill Jones" and no doubt a court having the task of applying the moral parity thesis would have to judge the extent to which any hostile action was actually taken. In the "someone should kill Jones" case only actually saying "I'm going to kill Jones" and only actually taking concrete steps to do this counts. In US civil law, "terroristic threats," "intimidation," and "assault" (which includes intent to assault) would have to be applied to the would-be socialist partisan.

So if as currently, having the mere belief of wanting to commit a crime isn't enough to count itself as a crime, not even advocating "Jones should be killed" or "I would like it if Jones were killed by somebody" or forming an anti-Jones rally  publishing an anti-Jones article. Only overt and imminent violent act or the display of intent to actually physically harm, such as planning, organizing, funding, as you say "activity" and not mere "belief-having" or "wishing" or even "advocating" will do. Saying "I'm going to kill Jones" is criminal, but not "I would like it if Jones were killed." If this analysis applies to political parties too, then forming and advocating socialist parties, including Nazi ones, but taking concrete steps to seize power could be treated as threatening under (b). A Fritz Kuhn could organize his rallies and goose step and so forth, but an Allende could be deposed. And so under (a) mere belief-possession or expression on the immigrants' behalf for wanting socialism or saying "we should allow cannibalism" or similar dark humor and the like can't be a threat in the same way that someone merely expressing wanting 2046 to be murdered isn't a crime.

Under the moral parity thesis, Mister Swig's immigration restriction would not survive. Note that if one takes mere belief-possession of wrongdoing to be a crime, then literally any political party except the Mister Swig party would be illegal. Not even a Capitalist or Objectivist party because these people constantly disagree with one another all the time about what counts as force or crime. Any non-utopian system will have to acknowledge the concept that men have differing interpretations of reality and have mechanisms for resolving this peacefully. In fact, such is one might say a basic requirement for a free society. John Locke in the Letters Concerning Toleration, for example, that having differing interpretations of justice is just part of being human and a consequence of epistemic objectivity. To paraphrase Mises, the "ban all non-x political parties" can never imagine anyone other than himself having the power to liquidate his enemies.

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9 hours ago, DonAthos said:

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. [Bold added]

Go ahead and bail, if you want. You just accused me of having zero respect for reason. (Sorry, the "spirit" of reason.) I don't think I've ever gone that far with any of my harshest opponents here. I accuse them of being wrong, evading points, or using fallacies, but I trust that they have some respect for reason. Otherwise, why are they arguing with me on an Objectivist forum?

If you're still listening, consider your Rand quote more closely: "...evil ideas are dangerous only by default of men advocating better ideas." Did you notice how she phrased that? She did not say, "Evil ideas are not dangerous." Because evil ideas are, indeed, dangerous--but only when men stop advocating for good ideas.

How many people in the public realm do you see advocating for good ideas compared to those advocating for evil ideas? This is a debatable question. And based on the answer, evil ideas are either dangerous or not. And if they are dangerous, then that means they are a threat of some kind. Right? Am I less of an idiot now? More consistent with Rand and reality and reason? Is it possible that the state of things has changed since Rand's time in America?

Perhaps Rand didn't think that advocating for Nazism or communism was such a big threat to her personally because America was literally going to war with these ideologies overseas. Also, after WW2, the nation started restricting communism domestically with laws such as the Communist Control Act of 1954. So maybe she thought that the general public was already against these evil ideas. She also had a strong public voice herself and was able to reach millions with her better ideas and books.

We don't have another Ayn Rand today. We don't even have a public Leonard Peikoff anymore. And many Objectivists here sound like they would tolerate a full-blown socialist government--because, you know, free speech and all. I fear the public at large has defaulted on advocating better ideas. I hear and see socialism on the Left and Right, and not a whole lot of answers in the middle. Some in the middle scream, "Socialism always ends in starvation and genocide." Which is probably true, but it's not really a winning argument, especially when people don't care about history anymore. The better conservatives and liberals don't have a moral argument against socialism. They are going to lose, unless a real champion for capitalism emerges.

Edited by MisterSwig

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2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Go ahead and bail, if you want.

For every step forward in discussion, you take three steps back. See, we were discussing different ways to respond to evil ideas that are in some sense dangerous. We were discussing different kinds of threats, threats with different timescales, empty threats, all sorts of things. But you've returned to talking about anti-American beliefs again, mixing up contexts (haven't distinguished how things change when the government is illegitimate), and equivocating all kinds of threats as things that must be met with force. But then at the same time saying that the things you would do would not be force, as if denying someone entry to a country is not a type of force. I've ended up not even knowing what you're talking about anymore.

2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

And many Objectivists here sound like they would tolerate a full-blown socialist government--because, you know, free speech and all.

Did you miss EC talking about capitalist revolutions, and did you miss me mentioning how capitalist revolutions would be okay? Besides, that's a completely different topic than immigration policy. 

Edited by Eiuol

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56 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

For every step forward in discussion, you take three steps back.

I can't help it if you overlook my steps forward. Feel free to address them at your convenience.

3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If you're still listening, consider your Rand quote more closely: "...evil ideas are dangerous only by default of men advocating better ideas." Did you notice how she phrased that? She did not say, "Evil ideas are not dangerous." Because evil ideas are, indeed, dangerous--but only when men stop advocating for good ideas.

How many people in the public realm do you see advocating for good ideas compared to those advocating for evil ideas? This is a debatable question. And based on the answer, evil ideas are either dangerous or not. And if they are dangerous, then that means they are a threat of some kind. Right? Am I less of an idiot now? More consistent with Rand and reality and reason? Is it possible that the state of things has changed since Rand's time in America?

Perhaps Rand didn't think that advocating for Nazism or communism was such a big threat to her personally because America was literally going to war with these ideologies overseas. Also, after WW2, the nation started restricting communism domestically with laws such as the Communist Control Act of 1954. So maybe she thought that the general public was already against these evil ideas. She also had a strong public voice herself and was able to reach millions with her better ideas and books.

We don't have another Ayn Rand today. We don't even have a public Leonard Peikoff anymore. And many Objectivists here sound like they would tolerate a full-blown socialist government--because, you know, free speech and all. I fear the public at large has defaulted on advocating better ideas. I hear and see socialism on the Left and Right, and not a whole lot of answers in the middle. Some in the middle scream, "Socialism always ends in starvation and genocide." Which is probably true, but it's not really a winning argument, especially when people don't care about history anymore. The better conservatives and liberals don't have a moral argument against socialism. They are going to lose, unless a real champion for capitalism emerges.

 

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17 hours ago, Eiuol said:
17 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Also, again, what are the usual signs of threats and violence regarding totalitarians? What should we be looking for at the border to catch these types?

Stockpiling arms, specific calls to violence, things like that. The same threats of violence that gangs, organized crime, or rebel groups that meet to discuss how to bomb the government. 

Do totalitarians have any beliefs that might indicate that they are a threat? Or do they just plan bombings and call for specific violent acts? Stockpiling arms isn't even illegal. Why should it be a sign of totalitarians?

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Did you miss EC talking about capitalist revolutions, and did you miss me mentioning how capitalist revolutions would be okay? Besides, that's a completely different topic than immigration policy. 

I guess I missed it, since as you say, it's a completely different topic. But I don't think there is much hope for a capitalist revolution right now. Also, I find it odd that you're willing to violently overthrow the socialists in a capitalist revolution, yet you balk at the notion of banning them from the public squares.

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4 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Mister Swig,

I think we're better off presenting better ideas as best we can than trying to get the bad ideas outlawed.

You might be right. Out of curiosity, though, can you imagine a scenario in which it would be better to ban evil ideas like socialism from the public square? Or is that never going to be acceptable? For example, let's say Texas passed a law banning the advocacy of socialism on public streets and state universities. Would you be in favor of that?

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2 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Why should it be a sign of totalitarians?

Because that's what they do historically. Violence is part of their political philosophy. For fascists, violence was explicitly a part of their political philosophy, without regard for initiation of force. As a result, they were actively violent. Nazis were a little different, but they essentially believed the strength conveyed by violence was important for their political philosophy. As result, they were actively violent. I could go on and on. Stockpiling arms can be a sign of violent intention, but doesn't necessarily prove definitively intention to initiate force. It can, though. (I think stockpiling arms ought to be illegal, but that's a different discussion, and not essential to my argument here). That's why I gave other examples.

Public property is invalid. Assuming a proper government, any property in a public space would be privately owned, in which case I would be fine with you kicking out any socialists. But not because socialism would be deemed illegal to talk about. That's why in the bit by Rand talks about consent, rather than the qualities of pornography itself. But put that aside for now. In terms of immigration today, I would still balk at the notion of deporting them (the so-called totalitarians in Nicky's example) or denying them entry.

1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

Also, I find it odd that you're willing to violently overthrow the socialists in a capitalist revolution, yet you balk at the notion of banning them from the public squares.

The overthrow of a government I think is justified if the government is illegitimate. In that case, socialists can be a threat to your life in a direct way, because the timescale by then is irrelevant. Your rights are already being widely violated. So, an overthrow there is fine. If the socialism is the kind moving towards communism, and even individual socialists and communists even have incentive to kill you, on top of a form of government that encourage the explicit elimination of capitalists. This is quite a different context than mixed government we have today. The totalitarians we were talking about, and I guess the socialists you are talking about, have yet to do anything besides make very vague statements. It wasn't an illegitimate government either.

Of course we would want to preempt such damage and the establishment of an illegitimate government, but I don't think the method is best done by expanding policies and laws pertaining only to speech and beliefs, or by controlling borders by standards of what beliefs somebody holds.

Edited by Eiuol

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On 1/11/2019 at 3:40 PM, 2046 said:

...the principle that the government has to prove that I acted wrongly before subjecting me to state action.

There is no such principle. In order to prove your guilt, the state first has to subject you to state actions, such as investigating, charging, and possibly holding you for trial, if you're a flight risk or violent criminal. I didn't get it before, but now that you've also brought up Jason Brennan's moral parity thesis, I guess you don't see any moral difference between the same action of a private citizen versus a policeman, so why should you see any difference between a citizen and an immigrant? The difference is simple. The citizen has standing with our government. The immigrant does not. Therefore there are certain threats the citizen can represent, such as voting for socialist laws, that an immigrant can't. If the citizen says he's going to vote for socialized health care, it's not the same as if the immigrant said it. The immigrant can't vote. His threat is empty. But I might not want to see him become a citizen, because then his threat will have substance.

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On 1/23/2019 at 7:48 PM, MisterSwig said:

The Objectivist morality would not apply. It is based on the things we need in order to survive, which Rand makes very clear in The Objectivist Ethics. If you make man effectively immortal, then you effectively remove the basis for Rand's moral system. If we are immortal, then we don't need a system for surviving. That'll be covered. We'll need a system for doing whatever immortal things do. What will the common immortal need in thirty years? Pleasure? Will we be programmed for pleasure or will we need to gain it? Maybe we'll all become godlike hedonists.

This is just wrong. It's not based on "things we need in order to survive", it's about the needs of a man's life qua man. Becoming an essentially immortal man doesn't mean that you don't no longer live. You just live exponentially longer. Reason, Purpose, Pride, etc. become massively more important when your life has been massively extended. Don't believe it? Imagine spending the first 100 or 1,000 years looked in a dark closet, and then try to claim afterward that life itself must not have a purpose because you know with absolute certainty that you aren't going to drop dead tomorrow.

On the other subject of the thread, how can a society claim to be free if it demands from it's citizens or potential citizens that they can't privately embrace philosophies that are anti-liberty? Why does it matter if there is one of these people or hundreds of millions of them? The political structure should be "sturdy" enough such that even if I'm the only capitalist in a nation of socialists (this is what it does feel like now btw) that they can in no way enact their evil philosophies on me and if they try to in any way the government protects me from them.

Edited by EC

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2 hours ago, EC said:

This is just wrong. It's not based on "things we need in order to survive", it's about the needs of a man's life qua man. Becoming an essentially immortal man doesn't mean that you don't no longer live. You just live exponentially longer.

It doesn't seem like you've read The Objectivist Ethics, or you'd know that the phrase is "survival qua man." She makes it very clear and argues the point several ways. Also, I don't think you grasp the concept "life." You present a living being that cannot die. But that is an invalid idea. The concept of "life" comes from the fundamental alternative of existence or nonexistence which pertains only to living things. Life is the process of action required to stay alive and not die. If a being cannot die, then it doesn't live, it just moves.

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2 hours ago, EC said:

The political structure should be "sturdy" enough such that even if I'm the only capitalist in a nation of socialists (this is what it does feel like now btw) that they can in no way enact their evil philosophies on me and if they try to in any way the government protects me from them.

Why would a nation that's 99.9% full of socialists protect your rights? They don't believe in your rights. That's kind of the whole point of this thread.

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4 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

There is no such principle. In order to prove your guilt, the state first has to subject you to state actions, such as investigating, charging, and possibly holding you for trial, if you're a flight risk or violent criminal. I didn't get it before, but now that you've also brought up Jason Brennan's moral parity thesis, I guess you don't see any moral difference between the same action of a private citizen versus a policeman, so why should you see any difference between a citizen and an immigrant? The difference is simple. The citizen has standing with our government. The immigrant does not. Therefore there are certain threats the citizen can represent, such as voting for socialist laws, that an immigrant can't. If the citizen says he's going to vote for socialized health care, it's not the same as if the immigrant said it. The immigrant can't vote. His threat is empty. But I might not want to see him become a citizen, because then his threat will have substance.

I don't mean prove guilt as in convicted of a crime. I mean meet positive standards before acting. If you are familiar with English common law there is such a principle based on private property rights called castle doctrine (as in "a man's home is his castle") in which a man has a right to repel unwarranted state intrusion from his property. The doctrine has been extended via English case law to ones person, papers, and effects, which are codified in the fourth amendment as requiring the government to demonstrate probable cause before subjecting a person to screening.

If the government is required to meet an evidentiary standard before subjecting the citizen to screening, then that seems to call into doubt indiscriminate and general border screenings, even ones Objectivists seem to favor. Warrants have to be specific and individualized suspicion required of a search is a determination of when there is a sufficiently high probability that criminal conduct is occurring. In the English case law Entick v. Carrington (1765) the chief judge said that general warrants were not the same as specific warrants and that parliament could not authorize general warrants.

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17 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

There is no such principle. In order to prove your guilt, the state first has to subject you to state actions, such as investigating, charging, and possibly holding you for trial, if you're a flight risk or violent criminal. I didn't get it before, but now that you've also brought up Jason Brennan's moral parity thesis, I guess you don't see any moral difference between the same action of a private citizen versus a policeman, so why should you see any difference between a citizen and an immigrant? The difference is simple. The citizen has standing with our government. The immigrant does not. Therefore there are certain threats the citizen can represent, such as voting for socialist laws, that an immigrant can't. If the citizen says he's going to vote for socialized health care, it's not the same as if the immigrant said it. The immigrant can't vote. His threat is empty. But I might not want to see him become a citizen, because then his threat will have substance.

The notion that you should keep a large chunk of the population from influencing the government contradicts American values. And the notion that you can...well that's just naive.

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18 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Out of curiosity, though, can you imagine a scenario in which it would be better to ban evil ideas like socialism from the public square?

Offhand, no, I can't imagine any such scenario.  The closest I can come is to borrow the concept of mind control from science fiction and fantasy.  Suppose someone was using mind control to make a lot of people uphold socialism.  In that case we would need to outlaw the mind control, not the advocacy of socialism.  I think such mind control would count as physical force, although this might lead us into quibbles about the exact nature and workings of such mind control.  If anybody does ever come up with such mind control, I hope there is a good defense against it.

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1 hour ago, Nicky said:

The notion that you should keep a large chunk of the population from influencing the government contradicts American values.

But isn't that literally what you are suggesting ought to be done in your thought experiment? It seems like you are trying to take Swig's position, except only including extra bad groups (Nazis are more worse than socialists even though both groups violate rights). I'm thinking though that you intend to say that Nazis are threats, but socialists aren't necessarily.

Instead of using your sad reacts (which, by the way, encourages me to think that I'm right; the impression you give pretty much everyone around here is that you get snippy and rude and are an all-around jerk when people question you), you should explain your thoughts more. I really am curious as to what makes the Nazis in your thought experiment actual threats, as in, how would they accomplish their ends? As it stands, the Nazis you describe might as well just be people LARPing as Nazis.

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1 hour ago, Nicky said:

The notion that you should keep a large chunk of the population from influencing the government contradicts American values.

Why then do we have the Bill of Rights? Keeping certain people from influencing the government is why America was founded in the first place. We don't want tyrants here.

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