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Everything posted by mdegges

  1. I'm The Duke University Freshman Porn Star And For The First Time I'm Telling The Story In My Words Saw this article on my feed today, written by a (you guessed it) porn star attending duke univ. Thought I would share it here in case you haven't read it. Memorable snippets: She had me here.. but I got lost further on in the article. The author goes on to say that society doesn't care about sex workers, that no one listens to their stories about abuse and exploitation (though she personally admits she has not faced any problems in the industry), and that sex workers deserve to be treated with respect because they're human beings. What do you think?
  2. That's a good example: the mass murderer who was abused as a child and the mass murderer who was showered with love. Do you think both men should recieve the same punishment? (More generally, do you think the act/harm should be the only contributing factor when determining just punishments?) As it stands now, these men would not recieve the same punishment. Though the actus reus is the same in both cases, one is less guilty than the other.. namely, the man who was abused as a child.
  3. I agree with your reading of her statement, DA. My point is that actions are influenced, in part, by past circumstances. For example, childhood victims of abuse who later become offenders ARE responsible for their actions, but the abuse that they suffered definitely played a role in their behavior. Ignoring that role, or worse, saying that it's unimportant and separate from their personal choices, doesn't do justice to anyone involved.
  4. "That something happened to you is of no importance to anyone, not even to you. The important thing about you is what you choose to make happen -- your values and choices. That which happened by accident -- what family you were born into, in what country, and where you went to school -- is totally unimportant." -AR Without getting too much into the nature v nurture debate, do you think it's fair to say that Rand was wrong on this issue in relation to criminal behavior? It's widely believed that environment plays a huge role in our lives and influences the choices we make. Oftentimes the events we don't have control over make the biggest impacts in our lives. Here I'm talking about abuse- childhood abuse, sexual abuse, spousal abuse, etc. Saying that these aspects of our lives are 'totally unimportant' and somehow separate from the choices that we make & values we hold seems.. entirely untrue.
  5. I saw this movie when it first came out, but had to look up the plot to remember what it was even about. All I really remember is the ending, which was the only memorable part. Imo the ending is meant to show us that there was a wide range of people who died on 9/11- lovers, friends, sons, brothers.. which were all encapsulated into one character, Pattinson. Instead of showing us just a small glimpse of each individual person who died on 9/11 (books on the Titanic often do this), the movie tried to dig deeper into the life of a single person. So for me, the intent was there, and writers did have the shock and awe thing going for them regarding the suprise ending. Still, I tend to agree with reviews that say it was an overall forgettable movie that didn't do justice to those who were lost on 9/11.
  6. I'm not very interested in the topic of traditional gender roles and the norms of heterosexual relationships, but one of my criminal justice books has an interesting section about it. I wanted to share it here (is that legal? ) since Delaney has not provided any statistics about gender roles in his posts. This snippet explains traditional gender roles in intimate hetero relationships (see "Why Gender Matters" p88-89). It also seeks to explain the cause of the US' high rate of teen pregnancy (it has the highest rate out of all the developed countries- see p91) and to show how traditional gender roles stigmatize women. If you read through the entire chapter, you'll notice that the traditional concepts of masculinity and feminity described there (and also described in Delaney's posts, Rand's fiction, etc) cause many statistically documented problems... Source: http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5053-fighting-for-girls.aspx SUNY_Series_in_Women_Crime_and_Criminology_Fighting_for_Girls_New_Perspectives_on_Gender_and_Violence_94_to_109.pdf
  7. I wanted to create this thread as a means for people to share their profound experiences, especially those relating to/influenced by Objectivism. It's hard to put into words exactly what a 'profound experience' is- I think it's best described as an experience that affects you deeply and helps to reaffirm (or makes you question and reevaluate) your outlook on your own life or on life in general. Oftentimes these are personal moments and may not make sense when they're articulated to others, but it would be interesting to read about anyway.
  8. Must have overlooked this post, but thanks for explaining your point. It definitely makes sense coming from the viewpoint that any type of forced taxation is immoral. As an aside: Is it possible to support the idea of 100% voluntary taxation AND be against capital punishment? I doubt anyone who had the choice would voluntarily pay to keep criminals like murderers and rapists alive. My guess is that in this type of society, the sentencing requirements for capital punishment cases would be substantially less severe than they are today.
  9. "The motivation for believing in an eternal universe was the desire to avoid invoking divine intervention to create the universe and set it going. Conversely, those who believed the universe had a beginning, used it as an argument for the existence of God as the first cause, or prime mover, of the universe... The General Theory of Relativity and the discovery of the expansion of the universe shattered the old picture of an ever existing and ever lasting universe. Instead, general relativity predicted that the universe, and time itself, would begin in the big bang" (Hawking).
  10. Can anyone recommend a book that discusses the pros/cons of voluntary taxation.. in detail? I've been reading articles about it here and there but would like to read something more comprehensive, if it exists.
  11. Aren't Republicans just grasping at straws here with these proposed 'concessions'?
  12. You're operating under the false assumption that many (ie: the majority of those) serving a life sentence will recommit serious crimes upon their release... IF they ever get released. The data available simply does not support that assumption. (See The Meaning of Life, pages 23-27, which explains that "Lifers are less than one-third as likely as all released offenders to be rearrested within three years of release from prison" and "Four of every five lifers are not rearrested.") Edit: I suppose you could bring up something like the best bet argument and say that even if 2/1000 lifers recommit a crime when (and if) they're paroled, that number is too high, and we would be better off executing them or locking them up without any possibility of parole rather than letting any innocent people get harmed. Obviously I believe this line of reasoning is wrong because it's fear-driven rather than fact-driven. Although there are some cases of lifers (namely murderers) getting paroled and going on killing sprees, that rarely happens, and we should not create policies in response to very rare parolee behaviors. When any criminal is released from prison, there's always the possbility that he'll go on to commit future crimes. (This is especially true of people who get lesser sentences than life- something like 3/4 of these guys recommit crimes). However, we don't lock up every criminal and throw away the key just because that is a possibility.
  13. That's really a stretch- comparing taxation to getting raped. I'm sure every person who has ever been raped would say that's nonsense. It's impossible to 'correct the fact that rights have been violated.' When someone's murdered, you can't bring them back from the dead; when someone's beaten, you can't erase their bruises. When rights are violated, the only things you can do are 1. remove the perpetrator's from society to prevent future damage and 2. punish them for their misdeeds. This is what justice concerns itself with. I'm leery of this being anyone's main reason for supporting the death penalty. Obviously with life imprisonment there is the possibility of parole (usually after a decade or as long as 25 years served), unless otherwise stated.
  14. You can agree with this and either support or not support the death penalty, right? I think it really all comes down to what you set as the upper limit on punishments. Also.. about the respect issue: even if you don't respect someone's rights (ie: a murderer's right to life), that doesn't mean that you must act to deprive him of his life, does it? My line of reasoning is that a criminal cannot expect all of his rights to be respected (ie: the right to liberty while incarcerated, or the right to happiness while in solitary confinement), but the right to life should be if the criminal in question is no longer a direct threat to society- if he's been disarmed, contained, and most of his rights have been taken away. Also, since the death penalty doesn't deter criminals more than life imprisonment, why wouldn't we use the less severe, less final punishment?
  15. @nelli: You have not explained why torture is at odds with the purpose of proportional punishment, and is "non-objective." If we have 2 murderers, one of whom tortured, raped, and murdererd 50 people over the course of a decade, and another who killed his brother in a rage, do both of them deserve the same punishment? You also have not explained why the death penalty "accomplishes the purpose of punishment perfectly" and "is an act of justice." As I explained earlier, execution is no more of a deterrent than life imprisonment. Further, the percentage of inmates who have actually escaped from jail is less than 2% each year.
  16. I think the answer to this dilemma is that people and communities have the right to take lives in the name of self-defense because the agressors are a direct threat to innocent lives. When you are in a kill or be killed situation, you are justified in killing the aggressor. However, once a man has been disarmed, contained, and removed from society, he is no longer a threat to the public. Executing him would be entirely unnecessary and would serve no purpose.
  17. I see- You said, "[Justice demands that] the punishment must fit the crime (i.e. must be proportionate)." I suppose that makes sense in a super-vague kind of way, but it doesn't offer much more than 'drunk drivers should be punished less severely than serial killers.' What punishment do drunk drivers deserve? What about serial killers? How do we figure out the answers to these questions? In the system of proportionality you mentioned earlier, you said that we can't do anything to murderers (ie: torture them) because that is not proportional to the crime. You also said that death is the worst punishment, meaning torture is a less severe punishment than death. If that's the case, shouldn't criminals who commit crimes less severe than murder be tortured? Why would they not be? So your reasons for supporting the death penalty are: 1) murderers don't deserve to live, 2) murderers must be executed because execution is the only punishment proportional to the crime, 3) many murderers are not deterred by the death penalty, and 4) some form of punishment is necessary to deter criminals from committing murder.
  18. I think the problem I'm having is that I'm trying to combine what I said above with the moral legitimacy of the right to self-defense and the taking of lives in times of war. (The reason it is moral to 'kill' in these situations is because the criminal poses a direct threat to your life and is infringing upon your right to life/right to private property.) However.... if it is moral to 'kill' in these situations, why is it immoral to 'kill' convicted murderers? My first thought is that we all have the unalienable right to life and that cannot be forfeited. But then how can I say it's moral to take the life of another in self-defense? There is a contradiction here
  19. First you say the punishment must fit the crime. If you mean that the punishment must be equal to the crime (ie: following the lex talionis principle, an eye for an eye), then how do you propose that to work, in general, for all crimes? (ie: how would you deal with drug dealers, torturerers, rapists, etc? If the principle can't be applied generally for all crimes, there's no reason to apply it to only one crime (murder). If you mean that the punishment must be proportional to the crime (as I think you do), then again, how does that support the death penalty? We can set the upper limit on punishments to be less severe than the death penalty, such as life imprisonment without parole. We would do that to avoid treating criminals inhumanely. Andrew von Hirsch, the creator of the proportionality system, notes himself that there is no requirement to set death as the most severe form of punishment. He also notes that there can multiple possible punishments for a crime. As for your claim about deterrence, it's widely believed that the death penalty has no greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. This is supported by 1) comparing murder rates in states that have the death penalty to those that don't, and seeing that murder rates are generally *not* lower in states that have the death penalty, and 2) understanding that people who can be rationally deterred from comitting a crime will already be deterred from life imprisonmen, as Conway explains below: [Source]
  20. I'm a little confused about this. Everyone who is against the practice of cruel and unusual punishment implicitly agrees that we don't have the right to do anything we want to murderers, rapists, etc. Why not? Because even though these criminals are dispicable, they are still human and deserve to be treated as such. Of course we have the right to punish those who commit crimes, but we don't have the right to do anything we want to them because some rights are unalienable, meaning they can't be taken away.
  21. I finally got a chance to go see The Butler and I'm really glad I did. The movie follows a white house butler from his childhood (where he worked in the cotton fields of georgia) up through Obama's election in 2009. After Obama was elected I remember watching the news and seeing everyone crying and saying how remarkable it was that a black man was elected president. At the time I didn't think much about it- I didn't think it was that important- but now I realize what an achievement it is and how emotional it must have been for those who had been fighting for racial equality for so long. I wasn't alive during this time so sometimes it feels like the civil rights movement happened hundreds of years ago instead of a mere 40 years ago. It takes movies like this to remind me that this DID happen recently, and to help me understand that Obama's election was an achievement on its own, regardless of his politics.
  22. mdegges

    Guantanamo Bay

    That's where I started my search. Still haven't found him.
  23. mdegges

    Guantanamo Bay

    Washington Times: "One [detainee] appeared on the Internet after the United States released him, bragging about how he fooled Americans into releasing him. He was also a supporter of al Qaeda, he said, and the dumb Americans believed him when he said we captured him by mistake. The prosthetic limb that the United States issued to him in Gitmo was clearly visible in the footage." http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/23/dont-close-gitmo/ Anyone know which detainee this author is referring to?
  24. When you don't understand something the prof is saying, the best thing to do is raise your hand and ask about it. You're paying for the class, so you might as well get your money's worth from it! If you think two concepts contradict each other, ask about it. If you're too nervous to ask during class, ask afterwards or in office hours. Prof's like it when you ask questions (it lets them know you're actually paying attention and thinking deeply about what they have to say), and they like it even more when you challenge them. What do you mean when you say the discussion got no where? Don't leave until you get an answer that clicks! Ask questions like, "Can you explain it a different way?" or "I still don't understand- how does this relate to XYZ?" If you really do want to understand what's being taught, this is the only way it's gonna happen.
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