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Suppose two people agree to fight until one of them is dead. Others pay to watch them fight (maybe some in a stadium and others at home watching pay-per-view television.)

Assume that the two people are legally sane, consenting adults and that they both received independent legal advice before entering into the contract.

In reality, some people actually decide to simultaneously take major physical risks, violate moral principles, and violate criminal laws. So it is possible that one could recruit two people to take part in a legal fight to the death, assuming that such a fight were legal and the winner would receive lots of money. However, please don't bother to argue that such a fight would never take place, because that is not the issue here.

My question is: should such a fight be legal? Just answer the question and explain your reasoning.

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Suppose two people agree to fight until one of them is dead.  Others pay to watch them fight (maybe some in a stadium and others at home watching pay-per-view television.)

My question is: should such a fight be legal?  Just answer the question and explain your reasoning.

You can get a quick answer about whether any hypothetical X should be made legal by asking, whose rights are violated? Can you name anyone in the scenario you describe who is coerced?

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You can get a quick answer about whether any hypothetical X should be made legal by asking, whose rights are violated? Can you name anyone in the scenario you describe who is coerced?

I hope you don't mind if I ignore those questions because the issue that I want to get at is along the lines of full disclosure in political-philosophical marketing. If you are not saying that perhaps such fights should be legal, but you are saying that they must be legal, then an issue arises. Do you tell this only to people who specifically think of the question and ask it? Or would you publish it as part of a full party platform so that people who have not yet decided how to vote can take this into consideration?

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In reality, some people actually decide to simultaneously take major physical risks, violate moral principles, and violate criminal laws.  So it is possible that one could recruit two people to take part in a legal fight to the death, assuming that such a fight were legal and the winner would receive lots of money.  However, please don't bother to argue that such a fight would never take place, because that is not the issue here.

I apologize for this blatant violation of a basic rule of honest discourse. I took a position on a particular issue, presented an argument in favor of my position, and then declared that the issue is off topic and that no one may address it. Obviously, if it is off topic, then my claim and my argument are just as much off topic. I should have simply pointed out that one can consider the question of whether or not such fights would actually occur and that anyone who wishes to discuss that question should create a new thread for it.

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Suppose two people agree to fight until one of them is dead.  Others pay to watch them fight (maybe some in a stadium and others at home watching pay-per-view television.)

Assume that the two people are legally sane, consenting adults and that they both received independent legal advice before entering into the contract.

In reality, some people actually decide to simultaneously take major physical risks, violate moral principles, and violate criminal laws.  So it is possible that one could recruit two people to take part in a legal fight to the death, assuming that such a fight were legal and the winner would receive lots of money.  However, please don't bother to argue that such a fight would never take place, because that is not the issue here.

My question is: should such a fight be legal?  Just answer the question and explain your reasoning.

You can get a quick answer about whether any hypothetical X should be made legal by asking, whose rights are violated? Can you name anyone in the scenario you describe who is coerced?

Whoever winds up dead has certainly been coerced, and had his right to life violated.

The question is whether the contract signed by the individuals should be regarded as valid. The contract is essentially a waiver, for the duration of the fight, of each participant's right to his own life. But since the right to enter into a contract is dependent on the right to life, such a contract would be a literal implementation of a "stolen concept," and as such, invalid. All that is needed to make this kind of fight illegal are laws against murder, because that's all this would be.

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I hope you don't mind if I ignore those questions because the issue that I want to get at is along the lines of full disclosure in political-philosophical marketing.  If you are not saying that perhaps such fights should be legal, but you are saying that they must be legal, then an issue arises.  Do you tell this only to people who specifically think of the question and ask it?  Or would you publish it as part of a full party platform so that people who have not yet decided how to vote can take this into consideration?

It should be obvious that if we are in favor of letting each individual do what he wishes with his own body and property, then we have to be prepared for people engaging in a variety of unpretty actions. (Nonetheless, the fact that we find certain behaviors unappealing in no way diminishes an individual's right to perform them.) Should we make a list of every conceivable activity that would be permissible in a free society? My friend, there is not enough paper!

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. . . are legally sane . . .

This comment right here gives you your answer. Is someone willing to fight someone else to the death "sane?"

I'd say no! This isn't a sport, this is a way for those with sick death-fetishes to satisfy their irrational lusts. Disgusting.

The reason, by the way, that it should be illegal is that the participants are clearly expecting to get money for killing someone. In other sports the participants pointlessly risk injury for money and those should be legal. However, if the whole point of the sport IS to kill someone, there I draw the line.

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Whoever winds up dead has certainly been coerced, and had his right to life violated.

The question is whether the contract signed by the individuals should be regarded as valid. The contract is essentially a waiver, for the duration of the fight, of each participant's right to his own life. But since the right to enter into a contract is dependent on the right to life, such a contract would be a literal implementation of a "stolen concept," and as such, invalid. All that is needed to make this kind of fight illegal are laws against murder, because that's all this would be.

If a person cannot legally waive his own right to life, then he could not contract with a medical professional for assisted suicide. Indeed, those who performed such assistance would be charged with murder.

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This comment right here gives you your answer.  Is someone willing to fight someone else to the death "sane?"

I'd say no!  This isn't a sport, this is a way for those with sick death-fetishes to satisfy their irrational lusts.  Disgusting.

Then, in your view, should suicide remain an illegal and punishable act?

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Should we make a list of every conceivable activity that would be permissible in a free society?  My friend, there is not enough paper!

Presumably there are specific laws that forbid the kind of fight described in this thread. Wouldn't a platform that fully discloses party policies specify that those laws will be abolished?

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This comment right here gives you your answer.  Is someone willing to fight someone else to the death "sane?"

I'd say no!  [...]

Are you suggesting that an armed robber who tries to steal from an establishment that has armed guards is necessarily an insane armed robber who should be treated as such by the criminal justice system?

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Presumably there are specific laws that forbid the kind of fight described in this thread.  Wouldn't a platform that fully discloses party policies specify that those laws will be abolished?

The legal codes are brimming with all kinds of restrictions on human behavior, from how many pets you can own, to how much wheat you can plant, to what wages you have to pay, to how much you must charge for milk, to what you may not carry on a commercial airline, to how many members of a minority you must hire, to what kind of firearms you may not own, ad infinitum. These absurd laws fill volume after volume, shelf upon shelf. If you want people to understand your philosophy, you provide a set of principles and a few examples to illustrate. It is not necessary for you to itemize every imaginable occurrence in a free society.

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Well, talking about legality and insanity, recently there was this German case where two men agreed that one of them would eat the other. And he did! Supposedly, this was consensual.

Maybe, we need a separate thread about the legal definition of insanity.

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Then, in your view, should suicide remain an illegal and punishable act?

No. What the heck does that have to do with anything?! Suicide = ending your own life. The described situation was trying to KILL SOMEONE ELSE for MONEY. How are these situations equivalent? Because they both involve someone dying? That's like saying that you can treat humans and dogs the same because they both have hair. It's a superficial similarity, not an essential one.

If you want a situation with an ESSENTIAL similarity, try ASSASSINATION, not suicide. Your essential premise is that these individuals have agreed to die for no benefit. This is incorrect and a distortion of motivation. The ACTUAL situation is that these individuals have volunteered to do their damnedest to kill someone in order to receive a prize. No one participates in a contest expecting to lose. So the situation that bears the closest resemblence to this one from a legal standpoint is NOT suicide, it's not even homicide, it is, as I said, assassination. And that, right there, tells you why it should be illegal.

If you're worried about violations of "rights", simply ask the would-be killers if they would do it without the purse. Probably the response you would get in today's degenerate culture is that they're in it "for the thrill, for honor, for glory . . ." etc. etc. ad nauseum. Which means that they're in it because they ENJOY KILLING PEOPLE.

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Are you suggesting that an armed robber who tries to steal from an establishment that has armed guards is necessarily an insane armed robber who should be treated as such by the criminal justice system?

If said armed robber walked in, drew his weapon, and announced to the guards, "Okay, draw your weapons and shoot at me, because I'm robbing this place!" then I would say he was crazy. (Either that or he's a distraction while his buddies sneak in the back, who knows).

Like Tom Robinson, you are using situations without essential similarities as examples. (This is why I really hate argument-by-example, as I have said on numerous occasions.) My comment about the potential sanity of anyone who would engage in such an activity was an aside, not crucial to my argument. I don't care whether they're crazy or stupid, the fact remains that they're attempting to get money from killing someone.

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I don't care whether they're crazy or stupid, the fact remains that they're attempting to get money from killing someone.

How can the laws be worded so that Dr. Kvorkian can exist and gladiator games cannot exist? or should both not be allowed to exist?

What scares me, is that I could see people stupid and gulliable enugh to be sucked into such a russian-roullette for money scheme, and that there would be a market for this. (The existence of cock fighting, porn, body piercings, and other activities is my evidence)

But in principle I would have to defend the right to have such gladiator sports.

I am hopeful that when mankind reaches the spirit and sense of life captured by Galts Gulch such activities will be very marginal.

Edited by kenstauffer

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So the situation that bears the closest resemblence to this one from a legal standpoint is NOT suicide, it's not even homicide, it is, as I said, assassination.  And that, right there, tells you why it should be illegal.

If you're worried about violations of "rights", simply ask the would-be killers if they would do it without the purse.  Probably the response you would get in today's degenerate culture is that they're in it "for the thrill, for honor, for glory . . ." etc. etc. ad nauseum.  Which means that they're in it because they ENJOY KILLING PEOPLE.

(I should have read the whole thread before my previous post.) I think you have something here, in distinquishing blood sports from suicide etc...

I think its an interesting question. A proper, principled answer would be nice for me as in a debate on capitalism, my opponent might wander into this territory. It would be nice to have a good answer why this is not an example of something capitalism would permit.

Edited by kenstauffer

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A proper, principled answer would be nice for me as  in a debate on capitalism, my opponent might wander into this territory. It would be nice to have a good answer why this is not an example of something capitalism would permit.

Simply refuse to look at it backwards.

Suicide is the result of someone ceasing to value life because it has become a realm of no value; of nothing but anguish, suffering, pain, nausea. There are no goals left for them to achieve, so they seek to remove the negatives.

Assisted suicide is thus moral, because you are not taking away a positive from someone, you are removing a negative, that negative being the whole of existence.

However, in blood sports, this is not the case. The loser CLEARLY values his life as well as the things that are in it; he is fighting for SOMETHING, after all. Even a severly injured person can walk away from a boxing match and pursue values; a dead man cannot. There is no conceivable justification for this activity; saying that all the participants did so "voluntarily" is unessential, for as I pointed out they were not and would not be volunteering to die. Someone that voluntarily kills themselves or asks another to do it chooses the simplest, quickest, most painless method available, he does not volunteer to be brutally beaten until his body finally fails. No one would endure that unless they were expecting to recieve a benefit that they could enjoy.

Human beings are not animals. Anyone wishing a return to the bloody spectacles of Roman decadence does not deserve to live among civilized men.

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There is nothing legally objectionable about the above scenario.

Can you name anyone in the scenario you describe who is coerced?

This is the essential question. And the answer no – no one is being coerced here.

The contract is essentially a waiver, for the duration of the fight, of each participant's right to his own.

That is an erroneous understanding of individual rights. A man cannot “waive” a right – he can only forfeit it by violating someone else's. Rights describe the requirements of man's existence of society, and cannot be “waived” - the concept doesn't apply.

An intentional injury does not intrinsically imply a “rights violation” - whether rights are violated depends on the context of the situation – in particular, whether the recipient of the injury consents to it.

Anyone wishing a return to the bloody spectacles of Roman decadence does not deserve to live among civilized men.

That is true. It's also irrelevant to the question at hand. There are many legitimate ways to exclude such men from society – but the courts are not one of them.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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In other sports the participants pointlessly risk injury for money and those should be legal.  However, if the whole point of the sport IS to kill someone, there I draw the line.

Is death the only line? Would you allow "dirty, street-type boxing", where participants can be severely beaten, but the referee stops the fight if there is an indication that a fighter might be killed?

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That is true.  It's also irrelevant to the question at hand.  There are many legitimate ways to exclude such men from society – but the courts are not one of them.

Give us an example, if you would. I have tried to ferret out the ethical meaning of engaging in such activities. Why not bring back dueling, while we're at it? We ladies love watching men fight over us . . . esp. when we can cruelly reject the victor afterwards.

I don't think this is analogous to a preference of "civilized" men, the way, say, nudity taboos are. I think this is a genuinely dangerous and barbarous activity. I think that leaving it legal would act to encourage it and legitimatize it, I don't think it would be the same as legalizing, say, prostitution, which would undermine the power of criminal organizations, etc.

I understand the "no harm, no foul" essentials of non-coercive activities not being illegal. However, I think there is a certain fundamental disjunction here that is important to recognize; in both of the cases I mentioned (blood sports, dueling) the dead guy (the "loser") did NOT want to die. He (and the victor) were seeking to gain a benefit by killing someone else.

I think it's too similar to murder, and there is underlying coercion.

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I wanted to add one more thing that occured to me on further thought:

The ultimate purpose (or one of them at least) of objective law and the whole legal edifice, heck, of GOVERNMENT, is to remove force (and especially violence) from dealings among men; i.e. to erect the framework of civilization. Legalizing blood sports, dueling, or any other use of violence because "everyone agreed" defeats this purpose. It does not remove force from dealings among men, it enshrines it.

If you think it is legitimate for the police to break up a barroom brawl, with a crowd of spectators cheering the particpants, can you fail to understand the underlying connection? It is the same thing. No doubt those two enraged bulls "agreed" to beat the life out of each other. I think they would benefit from sleeping it off in the drunk tank.

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What scares me, is that I could see people stupid and gullible enugh to be sucked into such a russian-roullette for money scheme, and that there would be a market for this. (The existence of cock fighting, porn, body piercings, and other activities is my evidence)

But in principle I would have to defend the right to have such gladiator sports.

Why can't there at least be variety?

Switching England from its current system of driving on the left hand side of the road to driving on the right hand side of the road probably wouldn't be worth the cost or danger. So, even in an ideal future, England will probably still remain a place where people drive on the left hand side of the road. So, in the future, someone who was born in the USA and who had some strange but powerful desire to drive on the left hand side of the road would be able to move to England and live happily ever after.

However, would someone who had the desire to live in a country with no gladiator sports not be able to satisfy that desire by moving from the USA to England? In your ideal future world, would both England and the USA have to allow gladiator sports?

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Is death the only line? Would you allow "dirty, street-type boxing", where participants can be severely beaten, but the referee stops the fight if there is an indication that a fighter might be killed?

Personally I find the spectacle of men (or women, to give the ladies credit for being just as vicious, because I KNOW we are) beating the sh*t out of each other repugnant. (I like fencing and coerographed fights, though. :D) However, I am willing to "allow" that boxing, even, as you say, "dirty" boxing, is a sport and not in the same category as fights-to-the-death.

The essential qualifier, I think, is that even in REALLY bloody matches someone can always "tap out" if they know they just can't continue or they don't want to. If they decide to keep going beyond the point of their own endurance, that's their own responsibility; death in that situation is essentially accidental. However, if the stated purpose is for one of the people to die, there is no "tapping out" . . . you fall and your opponent finishes you off.

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Let's make this as simple as possible. Say one person wants to die for whatever reason, and it's irrelevent whether he's sane or insane, why can't morally and legally pay someone to kill himself. To say that he can't is a fundamental violation of a persons right to do with his life (including take it or have it taken) as he so chooses, and is therefore a direct violation of all rights.

I for one would love to see people fight to the death. Anyone ever saw the old Runningman movie?

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