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The General

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  • Birthday 01/12/1979

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  1. I'm happy to help! I too feel ambivalent about my position, for just the reason that you highlight - the person cannot consent to the treatment. I'm definitely open to opposing arguments, and would love to have someone demolish my argument for that very reason. This is definitely a topic with broader ramifications for the law in general, which I've been mulling over in my extremely limited spare time.
  2. Wow, interesting topic everyone! It's been like forever since I last visited here. Some quick thoughts, more on fundamentals than on the particulars of this discussion. The general rule in tort law is that there is no liability for nonfeasance - that is to say, you are not liable to a third party for failing to give him assistance. The way my torts professor expressed this concept was to hypothesize Dr. Destructo, who happens upon an innocent baby on railroad tracks, as a train is slowly approaching. He breaks out a cigar, pulls up a chair, and waits for the show. The train runs over and kills the baby. Dr. Destructo is not responsible for the harm, and will not be found liable for failing to save the baby. The general rule for a hospital would be the same - not helping someone who is severely or fatally injured does not lead to liability. However, I wouldn't be surprised if there are certain laws/statutes which would impose liability today if a hospital did refuse to help someone. (I should add, parenthetically, that the law in many states has slowly been trying to squeeze in different ways to find liability in what many of us would consider "nonfeasance" situations.) As for contract law, because the person is unconscious, he is incapable of accepting the offered help, and I don't think a court would find an implied contract here. Implied contracts generally assume a situation where a party manifests their willingness to enter an agreement without saying so explicitly (or making a written contract), such as ordering in a restaurant. However, there is another branch of law (which I haven't studied extensively) which might allow someone who helped the unconscious, injured person out to recover his costs. That is the law of restitution. The general principle of restitution is that a "person who has been unjustly enriched at the expense of another is required to make restitution". (Restatement of Restitution, Section 1) The basic idea is that in certain situations, if you confer a benefit onto another person, you are entitled to payment even if they never agree to it. The benefit generally must be measurable, and it must not have been made officiously or gratuitously. A classic example of an officious benefit is a carpenter who comes by your house, and sees that your garage is run down. He quickly gets his tools and begins making repairs on your garage, while you aren't home. You come home, to find him waiting with a bill for his work. He would lose in court, because he officiously conferred a benefit upon you, without your consent. This result makes sense - he has no right to your property unless you voluntarily contract with him in exchange for his services. Interestingly though, a treatise of mine notes that if he was called to work on your neighbor's house, but mistakenly worked on yours, and you knew about it but silently let him do his work, then you would have to pay him for his services. Now, if we slightly change the example so that a doctor comes upon an injured driver who is unconscious on the side of the road, and the doctor gives him care to save his life, the man today would be liable to the doctor for restitution. The doctor conferred a benefit upon the injured man, and did not do so officiously, because a court would consider it reasonable that a person would want to receive and pay for medical services, where he needs them and is incapable of agreeing to pay for them. (Parenthetically, a pedestrian who attempted to administer such first aid to an unconscious person would probably be considered officious.) I have to admit that I am somewhat swayed by that reasoning. One of the things I've noticed throughout my studies in law school is that courts often have to decide what a reasonable default rule will be. I certainly think in the case of someone coming to fix your house or wash your car, etc., its unreasonable for the law to impose liability on you, because the person generally could actually talk with you and see if you were interested in contracting. But in the case of someone who is unconscious and seriously injured, I don't think its unreasonable for a doctor to assume that you do want to live, and that if you were conscious you would agree to pay the doctor to fix you. As an interesting followup on that, even if some of you wouldn't think the man should be found liable to the doctor for his aid while the man is unconscious, what about subsequent recovery, supposing the man accepted further treatment, but didn't explicitly consent to receive the treatment? The law would certainly consider this grounds for restitution (if not an implied contract), but I'm interested in hearing what others have to think/say about this.
  3. Yes, McGeorge. Small world indeed. State Supreme Court Justice, eh? Sounds like a job I could put up with...
  4. That's great news Matt, I hope that everything works out there for you. If I do well enough on my spring exams, I have a very good chance of being my Torts professor's research assistant for the summer (and TA the following spring). Here's to both of us achieving our values!
  5. I agree with Diana, and would like to second her nomination of The New Intellectuals.
  6. Thanks Christopher, I'll have to check it out!
  7. It wasn't an accident that I listed that song second.
  8. Christopher, I agree with you entirely, especially about your reservations. I saw Prince last year when he came to Sacramento, and his performance was stellar. My wife has told me that this was the last concert that he would ever perform his "older" material due to his conversion to the Christian sect of Jehovah's Witnesses. Too bad. Also, thanks for bringing up "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" - another great song which I forgot to mention. I only know D'arby through his biggest hit, "Wishing Well", which I thought was pretty good. Any other recommendations (songs or albums) from his work?
  9. Since we've already had a thread dealing with Billy Joel, I thought I'd mention another artist who I love, Prince. I bring him up because I've found that he has quite a diverse following, and wanted to see if any other Objectivists enjoy his music. I realize that this is an issue of taste, so no hard feelings if you dislike him. Here's some of my favorite songs by him (first three are my absolute favorites: Purple Rain Little Red Corvette The Beautiful Ones I Wanna Be Your Lover When Doves Cry Raspberry Beret Erotic City Kiss 1999 Cream He's also written two songs which I like, "Nothing Compares 2 U" performed by Sinead O'Connor (which I personally think is fantastic) and "Manic Monday" performed by the Bangles (which is just a good, fun song).
  10. Thanks for bringing up James Taylor guys - not one of my top favorites, but definitely someone I like listening too.
  11. As a former programmer who also was quite interested in learning an array of languages, I would suggest looking into Perl, PHP, Python (and its Java implementation, Jython) and Ruby. All are "higher" level languages which I found very useful in my studies of computer science.
  12. I drive a very beat up '92 Toyota Corolla. It has no virtues other than that it gets me to work and school. My wife drives our exquisite 2002 Toyota Camry SE. It is an enriching experience to drive this car (especially as a contrast to the other). It is like riding on air, with state of the art climate control and an excellent sound system. My goal after finishing law school (in addition to becoming a California homeowner - no small feat) is to buy a much nicer car than my current "ride".
  13. Christopher, I agree 100%, "Just the Way You Are" is light years ahead of the other three. I would like to tout "Goodnight Saigon" however. I think it is a poignant, lyrical description of the Vietnam War, especially the opening four lines: Also, I remembered another song that I think deserves an honorable mention, "Allentown". I agree with you that this is a personal issue, and I'm glad that we both agree on the older and much better Billy Joel.
  14. Great thread! I also love Billy Joel, even his more recent stuff (though I agree with Christopher that his older stuff was the best). Some of his other good songs not mentioned: "Just the Way You Are", "Goodnight Saigon", "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "Tell Her About It". As for Frankie Valley, come on guys, he was pretty good. Granted nothing sophisticated, but I loved listening to his stuff in my late teen years. Some of his great songs were Dawn, Rag Doll, Working My Way Back to You Babe, and later in his career, Oh, What A Night. There's more, but they don't come to mind right now.
  15. First of all, you are correct that the geographically diffuse nature of terrorism makes it somewhat more difficult to tackle than a traditional war with a country which openly declares war on us. However, this is one of the principal reasons why we need to destroy any government which harbors and/or supports terrorism. It is only with the aid of governments that terrorists are capable of operating at all. So to answer your question, if the French government where aiding terrorists, we would have every right to dismantle that government. Whether or not we ought to declare full scale war with nuclear weapons or simply assasinate certain government officials is a tactical question that would depend upon the circumstances. We don't need to eradicate Islam itself, just the governments which fund and aid Islamic terrorists. That means demolishing the governments of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. After those three have been eliminated, we can whittle off any other governments which aid terrorists. Again, the use of nukes is a tactical question. The destruction we wrought in Japan during World War II was not principally from nuclear weapons; we destroyed more lives and cities through firebombing. Of course, all of the above is wishful thinking, because Bush will never take the actions needed to stop the terrorists. Our best hope is that Israel will buck the trend as it did in 1981 when it bombed Iraq's attempted nuclear facility, and destroy any nuclear developments on the part of Iran.
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