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Eamon Arasbard

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Eamon Arasbard last won the day on May 30 2015

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  1. How exactly does Mexico devaluing their currency negatively impact the United States? And if it does, wouldn't that mean that we have the right to ban trade involving pesos? (Since inflation is a form of fraud, making a law against the use of pesos self-defense.) If that's the case, then the decision should be made based on whether or not such a policy is prudent, as well as whether or not it's consistent with the Constitution.
  2. I think I agree with this basic sentiment. I think that with Trump's election and the influence Steve Bannon appears to have over him (Bannon was directly responsible for legal immigrants green cards almost being deported under Trump's executive order, which Trump signed without reading) we have evidence that the Alt-Right poses a serious threat. But I also agree that promoting better philosophical ideas is the way to defeat them. I actually think that the shifting political environment is a great opportunity for Objectivists and individualists to win support, and shows that there's a better answer to the anti-white, anti-male ideology of the radical left than white nationalism.
  3. I would say that Michael Moore's claims dismissing the evidence are highly dubious. This is a leaked cable from a foreign embassy in Cuba from an organization which has long track record of honest reporting. Claiming that this is some sort of evil plot by politicians to discredit the film makes no sense whatsoever.
  4. Question: Imagine the situation were reversed, and the woman you love was forced to cut ties with you in order to protect someone else she cared about. Would you have a desire to continue the relationship at that point?
  5. I think my position is pretty much in line with the opinions everyone else on here has expressed. I would not consider it moral to interfere if someone wants to eat their dead cat, but I would consider that action to be profoundly immoral. An animal that someone has an emotional attachment is one of that person's values, and disrespecting the dead animal by eating it "just out of curiosity" is not consistent with upholding one's own values by any stretch of the imagination.
  6. It would be immoral if we accept moral absolutism as a standard for how to wage a war. I do agree with you that collateral damage is different from intentional or avoidable killing of innocents, and that it not the moral fault of the party defending itself. What I meant by the statement you quoted is that if we reject the non-aggression principle (Or non-initiation of force) as an absolute constraint on the actions of people fighting a dictatorship, then the best moral principle to follow is utilitarianism, which in this case means minimization of harm. (Though maybe utilitarianism isn't the best term to use, because we are acting on a fundamental moral principle; but upholding justice against a tyrannical government in the way that will cause the least amount of suffering to the people we're trying to help.) I also think, if we accept that it's only moral to use force against aggressors, then any unnecessary collateral damage is a violation of that principle. It may be best for us to stop arguing over this, for now. I'll keep responding to Eiuol, though, and anyone else who comes on and is willing to discuss this topic in a civil manner. I think we both agree that it is unjust for dictators to remain in power, though, and that causing avoidable collateral damage in the process of removing dictators is wrong. Our disagreement seems to be on what 1) we consider to be avoidable collateral damage, and 2) who should make that judgment. Might be good to discuss it another time.
  7. Would you agree that the good of the people being liberated should be the moral goal of any tactic pursued? I don't think you need anyone's consent to take action in that situation, if we're talking about nuclear weapons. This is true, obviously. 5000 people do not have the right to violate the rights of one person. And if we're talking about civilian casualties, then I'd also agree that this adds another dimension. I don't think it makes sense to hold 5000 people who support a dictatorship as innocent, and if their deaths are the only way to secure freedom for those who want it, then I don't think I can morally argue against it. We also can't know specifically where every single person's loyalties lie, especially if we're talking about a dictatorship where anyone who dissents risks getting sent to a concentration camp. But I think the people who would best know would be people who actually live there, which is another moral argument in favor of letting the people living under a dictatorship decide if they want to stage a violent revolution, killing their neighbors in the process, or try to change things peacefully.
  8. Is there a section on this site for discussing history? I wouldn't mind starting a thread somewhere else to discuss some of the history behind U.S. foreign policy.
  9. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/retaliatory_force.html This is what the non-aggression principle. Not pacifism.
  10. Utilitarianism is the belief that happiness should be maximized by sacrificing the good of a few to the good of the majority. The reason it's generally immoral is because it holds the sacrifice of some people to others as virtuous. But in the situation we're talking about, it's impossible to act without sacrificing some people, so I think in a situation like that it's best to take whatever course of action will lead to the least amount of suffering. If we reject utilitarianism in this situation, then we have to follow the same moral principle that we would follow under normal circumstances -- namely, the non-aggression principle. This would imply that it is immoral to do anything that will lead to collateral damage. But I think we all agree that that's impossible. I agree with this, but they should be brought down in a way that will be minimize suffering. If that means staging peaceful demonstrations, then that's the appropriate response. If it means declaring open war in order to protect protestors from being bulldozed by tanks, then I have no objection to that. And I think that any dictator, once removed from power, should be prosecuted for their crimes. But I think it's important to understand the reason why justice is a virtue. Justice (Including retaliation against evildoers) is necessary in order to protect the values which evil people pose a threat to -- the most fundamental value being human life itself. But if the actions we're taking are themselves destructive to human life, then we are not acting justly. If your own government is violating the rights of others, then they also pose a threat to your rights. But a foreign dictatorship does not (Currently) have control over you, so your life is not affected by how they treat their subjects. Yes, and I appreciate the fact that you have, although my own philosophical understanding of this issue has evolved a bit since my "Golden Rule" thread. Yes, if it is unavoidable. I think I agree with that. But I think you also realize that the criminal justice has to conform to certain moral constraints to avoid harming innocent people when it is avoidable. In the case of the criminal justice system, this is done by placing restraints on the legal system's ability to punish, and I think we need an analogous set of constraints on our foreign policy to prevent innocent deaths from military actions which are unnecessary. I would argue that the government does have an obligation to protect my rights. They have assumed that obligation by claiming a monopoly on the use of force. Yes, there is a selfish motivation, for someone who lives under the same legal regime that I do. If a violation of one person's rights (Whether by the government or by a criminal) take place within a country, then by allowing that to stand unchallenged, others are surrendering their own rights. Yes, because we don't have to live under the laws imposed by the government of North Korea, as long as we are able to maintain a strong military that can protect us against being invaded by North Korea.
  11. What I view as playing God is deciding that we have a right to look at a situation in another country, and judge that the lives of some people can be sacrificed for a greater good (Liberating the country from a dictator) and then start a war which will lead to innocent casualties. I'll admit that I'm still working out my position on this (Which is why I originally started this thread), but I think I've come to a position which is a bit more exact. The issue of a nation's sovereignty, and the right to life of the people living there, are two entirely separate issues. If we declare a preemptive war against a free country which has not attacked anyone, it's not just the civilians we're killing unjustly; it's also the soldiers whose job it is to protect the freedom of the people living there. However, if we declare war on a dictatorship, the soldiers who die on the other side are dying because they're defending a regime which oppresses its own people, so they are not victims of aggression. This is where Rand's argument against applying the right to sovereignty to dictatorships is relevant. The issue of civilian deaths is a separate issue. Any unnecessary deaths of civilians in any war constitute a violation of the NAP. This includes both deliberate targeting of innocents in an otherwise just war, and starting a war which is unnecessary which leads to collateral damage. But we do have a right to declare preemptive war on any dictatorship that we have an objective reason to believe pose a threat, because it has given up any right to sovereignty by oppressing its own people. In order for freedom to exist, people need to create some institution to protect their rights, including protection against outside invasion. In today's world, governments are the institution that exist for this purpose. Nations are better able to maintain just governments when they remain free from outside interference. While this position doesn't apply to dictatorships, this doesn't change the fact that their subjects still have rights, and free nations have an obligation to respect them, even if their own governments do not. As far as a rebellion within the territory controlled by a dictator, the leaders of the revolt also have an obligation to respect the rights of their fellow countrymen, which means they should seek nonviolent means of overthrowing their government, if possible. They have a moral right to use violence only if the innocent casualties will be less than would die in a peaceful revolution. (For instance, if there's a choice between staging peaceful demonstrations to bring down a regime, and launching an inurrection, and the number of civilian casualties from a violent uprising is less than the number of people who be crushed by tanks if they tried marching in the streets.) If no one is revolting, however, then I don't think another country has a right to initiate war because of the innocents who will die in the process. That's only justified in order to save the lives of other innocents. As far as a foreign country getting involved in the scenario I just mentioned, I don't think I'd consider that to be an act of aggression in itself. If there was a violent revolution in Cuba, I would probably be in favor of sending troops down there, because Cuba is along our border, and we would probably be more secure if they were liberated. But if there isn't a strategic benefit to helping a rebellion in another country (Like in Libya or Syria) then I would consider intervention to be an act of altruism, and also dangerous because as a general policy it will likely lead to imperialism, even if the initial intentions are benevolent.
  12. I think that if you're going to wage war and kill many of the same people you're fighting on behalf of, you need consent from at least as many people as will die as collateral damage in the attack. I don't think we have a right to make that decision on behalf of other people. I agree, if there's reason to think your own rights are in danger. Do you think there is any legitimate reason for someone to turn against you if you kill their family as collateral damage in a war to liberate their country?
  13. I think that equating corporations with human beings is absurd, and writing that into the law as justification for the contractual rights of private individuals discredits capitalism. I also think it's immoral for the government to force non-consenting third parties to submit to liability limitation agreements. And if a corporation does something that violates another person's rights, then everyone within the corporation who is responsible for this action needs to be held accountable. While regulations should be abolished, it is appropriate to have laws against fraud and infringements on property rights, and these laws need to be enforced against businesses.
  14. I agree with you on Hitler, because he posed a threat to the rest of Europe and the free world. What I disagree with is the position that we have a right to assume the role of savior and attack other countries, killing innocents in the process, because we think it's better for the people living there. I think I agree with that to the extent that the aggressor's ability to get away with their crimes poses a threat to the freedom of others. National sovereignty doesn't create that barrier. The non-aggression principle does, because of the innocents who will die in the process of waging a war. There are, however, situations where it is necessary to wage war in defense of a free nation, and in those situations, the deaths of innocents on the other side are the responsibility of the government which is threatening the freedom of its neighbors. The war against Germany was an act of self-defense, while the war in Vietnam was a war which was fought for altruistic reasons. So it was immoral whether or not it was better for the people of Vietnam to be liberated. The three questions you mentioned are whether a military action is justified under particular circumstances, whether it is rendered immoral if there's a risk of innocent casualties, and whether specific actions taken within the context of a conflict are justified. There's also the question of how the tyrannical nature of an enemy government affects the morality of the war being waged. I would argue that the first two questions are closely related. If the actions of the enemy pose a threat to our survival as a free country, and it is necessary to take actions that will lead to collateral damage to protect ourselves, then I think it is better to kill a few people living in a dictatorship, who have no hope of living free lives in their own country, than to be enslaved ourselves. However, I do not believe that this argument is appropriate if the existing dictatorship does not pose a threat to us. Personally, if we were living under a dictatorship, I would be willing to give my life in order to see it destroyed. But I don't think we have a right to make this decision for other people in situations which do not affect us. I think that this addresses the issue of the enemy state being a dictatorship. And as far as particular actions taken within the context of a conflict, if a mission can be completed without civilian casualties, then it is a violation of the non-aggression principle to take any actions which will lead to the deaths of innocents. Otherwise, I think it's best to accept that there is no way to avoid innocent deaths, and focus as much as possible on protecting the lives of our own troops. (I think I can make a solid philosophical point why reducing our own military casualties should take precedence over reducing civilian casualties in this type of situation; but I'd like to stay on topic.) That's not the argument I'm trying to make here. I don't believe that Hitler or Ho Chi Minh had any rights under the circumstances, but the people forced to live under them had a fundamental right to life which all free nations had an obligation to respect. Morally, I'd say if there's enough people still trapped there who want to be liberated that they would exceed the number of people who would be killed in the process of liberation, then that's enough to justify intervention. (I hate even this position, because it's still sacrificing some lives for others; but it's the least of all evils.) As far as how formal the process should be, I'd say we should have enough intelligence to establish that the rebels are genuinely fighting for freedom. I'd say that this decision should be left up to military experts, with oversight from people who can ensure that the decision is made according to the correct moral principles. Well, in line with my previous paragraph, it would depend on whether the number of people threatened by your government's actions exceeded the number of people who would be killed in an attack. Ideally, I would say that any nation has the right to intervene, if there's enough evidence to establish that this is the appropriate course of action. In practice, I think it's dangerous to trust any government with the right to make that judgment. No, I don't think it would. If they pose a threat to our town, we should take them out. I think we would be justified in coming to the aid of a neighboring town that was already taking up arms in its own defense as well. However, I don't think it would be appropriate to go around the desert running down gangs if it would lead to innocent bystanders being killed. The number of people killed in the Holocaust probably exceeded the number of innocent people who would be killed in that situation. I think that addresses all the points you made in your last post. Let me know if I've missed anything.
  15. I don't have time to do a full response right now, but I do want to clarify one point: I don't think isolationism was the right policy toward Hitler, and I agree with you that any free nation which he posed a threat to at that point had a right to take him out. In general I think isolationism is the ideal policy to follow, but I agree with Rand that we have a right to take out any dictator if it serves our own national interest.
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