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The winner WILL be legally recognized as the cause of the loser's death, only it won't be considered murder because the loser has authorized the winner to kill him. This is very similar to how assistance with suicide is not murder, or how retrieving a drink you just paid for from a vending machine is not theft.

The difference is, that right up until the point where an assisted suicide happens, the suicider can decide not to proceed, they can cancel their contract, call off the suicide.

Can the same be said of a death-match? As the final killer is standing over the loser about to kill him, can the loser say "Actually, I change my mind, I'm cancelling the contract, let me out."

Further, can the killer do the same, after knocking the opponent unconscious can he say "Actually, I don't feel right killing this unconscious man." and leave the arena?

If yes, then it's not a "fight-to-the-death" by definition. If there another way out of the death-match then it's hardly a death-match.

If no, then someone must be forcing each situation to its deadly end. Someone must be forcing the victim to die, despite his desire to cancel the contract that he signed. Or, someone must be forcing the victor to carry through and kill the loser.

Someone must be overriding each participant's right to control their own life.

That situation would be like an assisted suicide contract being signed on Monday, then when the doctor turns up on Tuesday to perform the suicide the patient says that they've changed their mind. The doctor proceeds with the suicide saying that it's too late to change your mind, because the contract has been signed.

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Just a brief note: assisted suicide consists of someone giving you the means to kill yourself. It does not mean that you give a gun to someone and tell them to shoot you. You still have to kill yourself; they're just allowed to help you make it as easy as possible.

That being said, I would like to add an additional point; Felipe is on the right track when he says that rights cannot be waived, but the real fact is that they cannot be transferred, either. You cannot give someone your rights, just as you cannot give them your consciousness, your volition, or any of the things from which rights are derived. You cannot stand back and say, "I've given this individual the right to dispose of my life".

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The difference is, that right up until the point where an assisted suicide happens, the suicider can decide not to proceed, they can cancel their contract, call off the suicide.

Can the same be said of a death-match?  As the final killer is standing over the loser about to kill him, can the loser say "Actually, I change my mind, I'm cancelling the contract, let me out."

By that logic, you would not have a right to sign ANY kind of contract. Once you signed a contract, you cannot change your mind; you are legally obliged to fulfill your part of it, whether you like it or not (unless your partner defaults, or you mutually agree to cancel the contract).

Is a contract of employment invalid because when pay day arrives, the employer can't say "Sorry, I've changed my mind, I don't want to pay that kind of money for the work you've done" ? Even if paying your salary means total financial ruin for the employer--even if it might make him starve to death--he must pay, unless you decide to forgive his debt. Does this mean that employment should be banned?

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Just a brief note:  assisted suicide consists of someone giving you the means to kill yourself.  It does not mean that you give a gun to someone and tell them to shoot you.

I think it can mean that too. There is another person acting as your agent, but indirectly you are still killing yourself.

That being said, I would like to add an additional point; Felipe is on the right track when he says that rights cannot be waived, but the real fact is that they cannot be transferred, either.  You cannot give someone your rights, just as you cannot give them your consciousness, your volition, or any of the things from which rights are derived.

Agreed.

You cannot stand back and say, "I've given this individual the right to dispose of my life".

Still agreed--but that is not what happens in the case of a deathmatch contract. It is you who dispose of your life when you decide that you are willing to risk it. The contract does not say, "This person can do with me whatever he pleases, regardless of whether I consent" ; he cannot torture you; he cannot imprison you; he cannot rape you; he cannot cook and eat you; he can only do with you what you have explicitly allowed him to.

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Actually, you can never waive your right to life, because you cannot waive your nature, namely that you're human.  No matter what kind of "contract" you can conjure, you remain human and humans have rights.  Rights cannot be forfeited via contract.

I disagree. If one cannot waive their right to life, which certainly in all practical senses they can, then it is not a right to life, but an obligation to life. Now that obviously doesn't free the surviving death match participant from potential legal charges.

That said, I'm not one to encourage the concept of death matches.

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By that logic, you would not have a right to sign ANY kind of contract. Once you signed a contract, you cannot change your mind; you are legally obliged to fulfill your part of it, whether you like it or not (unless your partner defaults, or you mutually agree to cancel the contract).

That's simply not correct. It is never illegal to breach a contract, that is a common myth held by people ignorant of contract law. You can always change your mind, the contract simply stipulates the consequences of doing so. Companies routinely break contracts because they determine that the consequences of performing their duties under the contract will be more expensive than the penalties provided for in the contract.

Is a contract of employment invalid because when pay day arrives, the employer can't say "Sorry, I've changed my mind, I don't want to pay that kind of money for the work you've done" ? Even if paying your salary means total financial ruin for the employer--even if it might make him starve to death--he must pay, unless you decide to forgive his debt. Does this mean that employment should be banned?

Seriously, am I reading you correctly? You think all contracts are (or should be) backed by the lives of each party?

The employer can say precisely what you just said, then the contract is breached, and the clauses in the contract that deal with such a breach are executed. Or both parties find themselves in court, represented by contract lawyers.

If one party is insolvent, then they still both end up in a court, and a court decides what needs to be done. It will never be "You'll have to die." - which would be in neither party's best interest.

You never said anything about the scenario that I think most closely represents the death-match contract. By your arguments in support of the death-match contract this also could happen because the contract had been signed:

That situation would be like an assisted suicide contract being signed on Monday, then when the doctor turns up on Tuesday to perform the suicide the patient says that they've changed their mind. The doctor proceeds with the suicide saying that it's too late to change your mind, because the contract has been signed.

Edited by smathy

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The difference is, that right up until the point where an assisted suicide happens, the suicider can decide not to proceed, they can cancel their contract, call off the suicide.

Can the same be said of a death-match?  As the final killer is standing over the loser about to kill him, can the loser say "Actually, I change my mind, I'm cancelling the contract, let me out."

Further, can the killer do the same, after knocking the opponent unconscious can he say "Actually, I don't feel right killing this unconscious man." and leave the arena?

The fighters would be aware of these risks when they signed the contract and got into the ring.

Imagine the following: company X provides cheap skydiving lessons, but fearing possible consequences stemming from parachutes not opening, decides to make its customers sign a contract which protected them against prosecution should anything go wrong. Would this be legitimate? The customer couldnt change his mind and cancel the contract once he jumped out the plane and found out his parachute didnt work.

Your suggestion seems to automatically invalidate any kind of legal measure a company could take to protect itself when providing services which could potentially be dangerous, regardless of whether the company and its customers could reach an agreement.

Edited by Hal

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I disagree.  If one cannot waive their right to life, which certainly in all practical senses they can, then it is not a right to life, but an obligation to life.  Now that obviously doesn't free the surviving death match participant from potential legal charges.

That said, I'm not one to encourage the concept of death matches.

I won't try to speak for Felipe, but I think the problem lies in semantics. When you kill yourself, or have someone euthanize you, you aren't "waiving" your right to life -- you are practicing it (rationally or not). "Waiving" specifically designates you creating a contract that strips yourself of your right to life, so that anyone from that point on (for the rest of your life) can do whatever they want to you.

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Just a brief note:  assisted suicide consists of someone giving you the means to kill yourself.  It does not mean that you give a gun to someone and tell them to shoot you.  You still have to kill yourself; they're just allowed to help you make it as easy as possible.

The right to the use and disposal of one’s own body entails the right to transfer that right to an agent. The right to commit suicide, therefore, validates contracting with someone to terminate one’s own life. One does not have to have any physical involvement with the killing process; the contract completely legitimizes the killer’s actions.

That being said, I would like to add an additional point; Felipe is on the right track when he says that rights cannot be waived, but the real fact is that they cannot be transferred, either.  You cannot give someone your rights, just as you cannot give them your consciousness, your volition, or any of the things from which rights are derived.  You cannot stand back and say, "I've given this individual the right to dispose of my life".

If rights cannot be waived, then one’s right not to be assaulted cannot be waived. If assault is impermissible under any circumstances, then boxing, wrestling, rugby, football and many other contact sports would have to be outlawed.

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If one cannot waive their right to life, which certainly in all practical senses they can, then it is not a right to life, but an obligation to life.

Rights are inalienable. This means that you have a right to discard your life if you want to, but you cannot discard your rights. You can say "Kill me," but you cannot say "Enslave me"--the latter would be an equivalent of "Do with me whatever you want, even if I don't allow you to," which is a contradiction.

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Rights are inalienable. This means that you have a right to discard your life if you want to, but you cannot discard your rights. You can say "Kill me," but you cannot say "Enslave me"--the latter would be an equivalent of "Do with me whatever you want, even if I don't allow you to," which is a contradiction.

Yes, saying it the way you say it makes it a contradiction. However, waiving one's right to life isn't saying "Do with me whatever you want, even if I don't allow it", it's saying "Do with me whatever you want." without the contradicting disclaimer. I'll go along with the concept that one should not waive their right to life, but I'm still not convinced that one cannot waive their right to life. Clearly, someone who has answered an internet ad to have himself killed and eaten has done exactly that.

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Rights are inalienable. This means that you have a right to discard your life if you want to, but you cannot discard your rights.

I would also say that once you actually discarded you life, you have in fact discarded your right to life. Once you are dead, you no longer have rights.

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I'm with the minority on this one (Smathy and JMeganSnow).

As much as I'm a fan of the martial arts, death-matches are out. Like JMegasSnow, I find such spectacles utterly barbaric and despicable.

There is such a thing as an invalid contract. Bob cannot contract with Joe to remain in Joe's basement for 20 years for the consideration of $5. It doesn't matter if Bob "voluntarily" agrees to the proposition. That's an unenforceable contract. If Bob wants to leave Joe's basement, Joe can't have the police prevent Bob from leaving, nor could Joe sue Bob for damages if Bob left before the 20 years were up. By the same token, Bob contracting with Joe to fight to the death isn't legitimate either, and would properly be considered murder, because one cannot alienate inalienable rights, not even one's own rights. Such a "contract" is unenforceable by the government because it violates the entire foundation for having contracts in the first place.

On a related point, Dr. Peikoff once astutely observed that under laissez-faire a segment of the population could not legitimately secede from the country, even if all secessionists voluntarily committed to the action, in order to either (a) form a country that restricted rights to a greater extent relative to laissez-faire, or (B) to form a country which allowed activities that violated rights to a greater extent relative to laissez-faire. It wouldn't matter if all the people forming the country voluntarily agreed to restrict their rights or allow activities that violated rights, such a venture should properly be prevented by the laissez-faire government.

Edited by Gabriel_S

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By the same token, Bob contracting with Joe to fight to the death isn't legitimate either, and would properly be considered murder, because one cannot alienate inalienable rights, not even one's own rights. Such a "contract" is unenforceable by the government because it violates the entire foundation for having contracts in the first place.

I don't understand why a death match is any different in principle than euthanasia. Could you explain?

On a related point, Dr. Peikoff once astutely observed that under laissez-faire a segment of the population could not legitimately secede from the country, even if all secessionists voluntarily committed to the action, in order to either (a) form a country that restricted rights to a greater extent relative to laissez-faire, or (b ) to form a country which allowed activities that violated rights to a greater extent relative to laissez-faire. It wouldn't matter if all the people forming the country voluntarily agreed to restrict their rights or allow activities that violated rights, such a venture should properly be prevented by the laissez-faire government.

I agree with this completely, for the same reason I oppose legalizing consentual slavery: You cannot waive your own rights. The difference with death matches is you consent to the specific thing that is going to happen to you. Broadly agreeing to not have rights anymore is not legitimate because you aren't consenting to the specific actions that may happen to you in the future.

Edited by Oakes

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I agree with this completely, for the same reason I oppose legalizing consentual slavery: You cannot waive your own rights. The difference with death matches is you consent to the specific thing that is going to happen to you. Broadly agreeing to not have rights anymore is not legitimate because you aren't consenting to the specific actions that may happen to you in the future.

Put simply (and as US law here agrees): you cannot consent to murder.

Word it any way you like, what you're talking about is murder. It's murder even if the victim "agreed to it," which is preposterous. You might want to think of it as follows, since you get why you cannot consent to slavery. You can't contract yourself into slavery because the nature of slavery is that you no longer retain any rights, including the right to no longer be a slave. Since you cannot alienate your inalienable right to life, liberty and property, you cannot consent to be slave. For the same reason, you cannot consent to alienate your right to life. YOU can take your own life, but you cannot consent to have another do that for sheer sport (because again, that's murder). Carving out limited, carefully defined and controlled exceptions, such as proper cases of euthanasia is a serious task. To be certain that the death of an individual with assistance from another doesn't cross over into murder, is something that takes careful consideration and a background in both the law and medicine (including medical ethics). It's not something to toss around cavalierly with little deductions based upon scantily concretized and loosely understood ethical abstractions that you've read in a novel or philosophic tract (which I'm not saying you are doing). This is serious business. To compare legitimate cases of euthanasia, with all that implies, to cases of "voluntary" death-matches, is really to deal with a world of abstractions without connection to the particulars from which they are conceptualized.

So to summarize, death-matches can be distinguished from legitimate cases of euthanasia, but that's a more complicated task than simply grasping that one cannot consent to slavery or murder (which is what rules out death-matches). It might be better to consider the question of euthanasia as a separate topic, if you're interested.

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So to summarize, death-matches can be distinguished from legitimate cases of euthanasia, but that's a more complicated task than simply grasping that one cannot consent to slavery or murder (which is what rules out death-matches). It might be better to consider the question of euthanasia as a separate topic, if you're interested.

I know this was addressed to Oakes, but I would like to comment as far as my statements are concerned. You are only viewing this from the context of what's legal vs. what's not legal. For my part, I have been addressing this issue strictly from the point of view of what someone is capable of doing, or is able to do without the context of it's legality. The law is not the final arbiter as to what someone can actually do, it is only the arbiter of whether their actions are punishable.

If we use legality as the basis, then I can easily reassert, you can waive at least some of your rights though not that specific right of life directly. One can legally waive their right not to incriminate themselves. This in fact can indirectly lead to consent to one's death in a capital punishment case. If I know that I'm charged with a capital offense, and there is a very real probability of getting the death penalty, and the only thing seperating me from conviction and walking is the statements I make, I can legally waive my Mirdanda rights and sanction my own death. The question to me is more a matter of not whether I can waive my right to life, but rather why would I ever want to or why should I.

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I know this was addressed to Oakes, but I would like to comment as far as my statements are concerned.  You are only viewing this from the context of what's legal vs. what's not legal.  For my part, I have been addressing this issue strictly from the point of view of what someone is capable of doing, or is able to do without the context of it's legality.  The law is not the final arbiter as to what someone can actually do, it is only the arbiter of whether their actions are punishable.

If we use legality as the basis, then I can easily reassert, you can waive at least some of your rights though not that specific right of life directly.  One can legally waive their right not to incriminate themselves.  This in fact can indirectly lead to consent to one's death in a capital punishment case.  If I know that I'm charged with a capital offense, and there is a very real probability of getting the death penalty, and the only thing seperating me from conviction and walking is the statements I make, I can legally waive my Mirdanda rights and sanction my own death.  The question to me is more a matter of not whether I can waive my right to life, but rather why would I ever want to or why should I.

Actually, I was addressing this from the perspective of what ought to be the case under the law rather than solely on what is the case. I brought in the law as an integration rather than a proof.

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Put simply (and as US law here agrees): you cannot consent to murder.

This seems to be a pretty broad definition of "murder," because as I said, if it is murder even when consentual, euthanasia is murder.

You can't contract yourself into slavery because the nature of slavery is that you no longer retain any rights, including the right to no longer be a slave. Since you cannot alienate your inalienable right to life, liberty and property, you cannot consent to be slave. For the same reason, you cannot consent to alienate your right to life. YOU can take your own life, but you cannot consent to have another do that for sheer sport (because again, that's murder).

The reason I think you cannot enslave yourself, but you can have someone else kill you is that in the latter case, you are not alienating any of your rights, but rather, you are practicing them. I see an analogy with the right to property: When you dispose of a bunch of your valuables, you aren't alienating your right to property, you are practicing it. If on the other hand you broadly declare that you no longer have the right to property (and thus anyone can steal what they want from you), that would indeed be alienating your right to property.

Carving out limited, carefully defined and controlled exceptions, such as proper cases of euthanasia is a serious task. To be certain that the death of an individual with assistance from another doesn't cross over into murder, is something that takes careful consideration and a background in both the law and medicine (including medical ethics). It's not something to toss around cavalierly with little deductions based upon scantily concretized and loosely understood ethical abstractions that you've read in a novel or philosophic tract (which I'm not saying you are doing). This is serious business.

At the same time, you have to realize the validity and importance of principles. To view principles as too abstract and simplistic, and to prefer instead to approach ethical issues in a disintegrated fashion based on scientific particulars, would be a mistake.

Edited by Oakes

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This seems to be a pretty broad definition of "murder," because as I said, if it is murder even when consentual, euthanasia is murder.

At the same time, you have to realize the validity and importance of principles. To view principles as too abstract and simplistic, and to prefer instead to approach ethical issues in a disintegrated fashion based on scientific particulars, would be a mistake.

Yeah, I'm not happy with my explanation. Still, I think that death-matches should be illegal because you cannot consent to murder. But at the same time, I think that euthanasia may be permissible. I'll need to work on this some more.

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Yeah, I'm not happy with my explanation. Still, I think that death-matches should be illegal because you cannot consent to murder. But at the same time, I think that euthanasia may be permissible. I'll need to work on this some more.

By the same logic, football games should be illegal because you cannot consent to assault and battery.

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By the same logic, football games should be illegal because you cannot consent to assault and battery.

Wrong. That would be by your own logic. "Battery" involves the unconsented touching of another (not the full definition; however, the absence of consent is essential). In a football game, there is an implicit (if not explicit) consent to be touched by many others. There is no fundamental violation of rights in a football game per se (just as there isn't in my martial arts class); unlike a death-match. The point of a football game is not the incursion of permanent and irreparable injury as an end-in-itself. I'd hope you would be able to see the obvious difference between the two activities.

Edited by Gabriel_S

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