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TruthSeeker946

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  1. I think you are underestimating how scathing Rand was for most of humanity in its current state and how widely she used the term "savage". In Collectivized Rights, she speaks of "all forms of tribal savagery, ancient or modern, primitive or 'industrialized'" She laments the "savage tribes of Asia and Africa" being "granted the sovereign "right" to slaughter one another in racial conflict" She is referring to nation states here, evident by the use of the term sovereign. In The Roots of War, referring to prehistoric savagery, she says "this savage ideology now rules nations armed with nuclear weapons" In Theory and Practice, she laments the American failure to champion its political system and says: "this is what we should have been teaching the world. Instead, we are deluding the ignorant and semi-savage by telling them that no political knowledge is necessary, that our system is only a matter of subjective preference—that any prehistorical form of tribal tyranny, gang rule, and slaughter will do just as well, with our sanction and support. It is thus that we encourage the spectacle of Algerian workers marching through the streets and shouting the demand: “Work, not blood!”—without knowing what great knowledge and virtue are required to achieve it." Is she suggesting Algerian workers are semi-savage? It appears so. In the Anatomy of Compromise, she speaks of "epistemological savages" and "the “mysterious” power moving the events of the world is the awesome power of men’s principles—which is mysterious only to the “practical” modern savages who were taught to discard it as “impotent.” Contrasting the US to the rest of the world and criticising the intellectual leaders of today, she says: "There is one country—the United States of America—who is not acceptable to them, who must renounce her tradition and, in atonement, must crawl on her knees, begging the savages of five continents to choose a new name for her system, which would obliterate the guilt of her past." I will leave it there, but I have barely searched all her works with these quotes. It seems pretty clear she would regard a substantial proportion of Mexicans as semi-savage at the very least, and certainly third world migrants from Asia and Africa. I find it impossible to believe she would be in favour of open borders in the modern world.
  2. Fair points, I agree it's difficult to draw the lines, but that is the nature of the law. This problem arises in every area of the law. There could be the reasonable assumption that those who cannot positively articulate a rational morality and its social application (i.e rights), pledging loyalty to those principles, can be presumed not to recognise individual rights. The burden of proof would be on them. But it is a secondary issue. Before it is even considered, one must accept that: 1. Those that do not recognise rights cannot claim them for themselves. 2. Blocking the entry of foreigners who do not recognise individual rights is a legitimate function of the government.
  3. In Counterfeit Individualism, she said: "one man cannot claim the moral right to violate the rights of others. If he denies inviolate rights to other men, he cannot claim such rights for himself, he has rejected the base of rights." (Emphasis my own). In Man's Rights, Rand describes "rights" as the "logical transition" between the "moral code of a man and the legal code of a society" and that they "protect individual morality in a social context" Therefore, it's quite clear that Rand held that a rational mind which recognises the requirements of man's nature and its proper application in a social context is the prerequisite to claim individual rights. Regarding indigenous Americans, she said: "Since the Indians did not have the concept of property or property rights – they didn't have a settled society, they had predominantly nomadic tribal "cultures" – they didn't have rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights that they had not conceived of and were not using." So even though they mixed their labour with the land, they still had no right to it because they did not recognise the concept. Rand frequently referred to irrational humans as "creatures", "savages", and I think she used the term "sub-human" or "semi-human" In The Missing Link, she said: "But the development of a man’s consciousness is volitional: no matter what the innate degree of his intelligence, he must develop it, he must learn how to use it, he must become a human being by choice." i.e those that do not, are not human, or at least not fully human. Only human beings can claim rights. To summarise, it's pretty clear that Rand did not believe that individual rights are automatically granted by one's mere existence. Like any claim to something, there are prerequisites which must be satisfied. In the case of rights, the prerequisites are a sufficiently rational human who recognises the requirements of man qua man and understands and accepts the application of those requirements in a social context. Only then can he claim individual rights for himself. Regarding her off the cuff comment about immigration - her only mention of the issue - she is referring to the impact of immigration on living standards. That is wholly different to the impact on rights themselves I.e the basis of a free society. And regarding her last sentence, I am not advocating closing borders, only controlling them.
  4. Preventing the initiation of physical force includes preemptive action. Taking preemptive action against savages even if they have not yet initiated force seems perfectly reasonable to me. Considering what Rand said about the colonisation of North America, I find it hard to believe she would disagree. It seems extremely unlikely she would be in favour of open borders and the consequent millions of irrational savages pouring into the country. I am using savage in the same way she did i.e an irrational brute who does not recognise individual rights and is willing to use force to achieve his ends. Please address Rand's point about people who do not recognise individual rights having no rights themselves. If this is true, no rights are being violated by blocking the foreigner's entry (assuming the foreigner does not recognise individual rights).
  5. Anywhere, it doesn't matter. Pushed beyond the boundary of the country with guns pointed at him.
  6. Why not? Why do people who do not recognise individual rights have the right to enter the country? Someone who does not recognise individual rights is clearly a threat to those that do, and the purpose of government is to protect the rights of those that do. This is merely an extension of your point about voting. If we ought to be careful about who we allow to vote, we ought to be careful about who we let into the country.
  7. How is it squarely at odds with objectivist ethical principles? Could you elaborate? There are no rights violations against people who do not recognise individual rights according to Rand. Regarding your vagueness point, that problem arises frequently in the application of law. It's so easy to talk about ethical principles, but much harder to draw the lines in law. We could talk about the vagueness of when a child becomes an adult, or the expiration of a patent, or the appropriate punishment for theft, or what constitutes causation, or what constitutes reasonable doubt and so on... All difficult, all debatable, no different to setting the threshold for deportation.
  8. By potential migrant, I just mean someone trying to enter the country. I'm not sure about unification with Mexico. I don't know enough about the cultural differences and tensions. I am British. But the key part of my point is about rights. If the government has a duty to protect individual rights and those who do not recognise individual rights are: 1. A threat to individual rights 2. Forfeit their own rights. does it not follow that the foreigner loses the right of entry and the government has the right to block entry? Yes I agree with your point about the constitution. Pledging allegiance to the principles properly expressed in a constitution.
  9. Rand suggested that the colonisation of North America was fair play because the inhabitants did not recognise individual rights. Therefore, if a potential migrant does not recognise individual rights, does he lose the right to enter the country? I would suggest that migrants must pledge allegiance to individual rights and the principles of a free society, as must all residents who come of age. Any migrant who refuses to, or does so unconvincingly, would be blocked from entry. And anyone, migrant or domestic born adult, who violates those principles beyond a certain threshold would be eligible for deportation. What are the problems with this from an Objectivist perspective?
  10. So you're saying punching a man in the face does not prevent the survival (qua man) of that man?
  11. It's one and the same. The initiation of physical force (between humans) can have a matter of fact dictionary definition or an Objectivist definition. The dictionary definition is along the lines of objects colliding between humans or any kind of physical resistance/force between humans, like a playful push or a vaccine injection, or boxing etc. The Objectivist definition appears to be 'the type of initiation of physical force which is unjust'. Which begs the question. Which types of dictionary definition physical force are just and which types are unjust?
  12. But of course it does. The government's duty is to protect individual rights. The initiation of physical force is a violation of individual rights and it is banned under the law. Therefore, the government has a duty to intervene. So if you cannot give away/surrender/trade away your right to life (partially or otherwise), then as long as it is considered a violation of your right to life, the gov would have a duty to intervene. Then the only question is determining whether it is or is not an initiation of physical force. It's still a violation of your right to life from the POV of the violator. They committed the act of force. Unless you mean the transmission of covid is not an initiation of force or a violation of anyone's rights as long as the person who transmitted it didn't know it? So it comes back to defining the initiation of force. I acknowledged this.
  13. It was in reference to the covid example. If the transmission of covid is considered an initiation of physical force then the entrant could enter the property at their own risk i.e giving up their right to claim damages against anyone inside the property who transmits the virus to them causing them harm. Of course, if it is not considered an initiation of physical force then the 'enter at your own risk' disclaimer isn't a rights based issue. But that leads me to the central issue of my post regarding the definition of the initiation of physical force.
  14. So what is the guiding principle for assessing assisted suicide? That is what I've been getting at. That is a situation where you are consenting to another person killing you. When I say 'trade', I didn't mean someone else gains possession of it. You 'surrender' some of your right to life in exchange for some values. So it is a personal trade in that sense. You're giving away your right to claim damages from someone who transmits covid to you and harms you as a result. Now if the above sentence cannot be described as trading, giving, surrendering etc part of your right to life, then how can it be described? And would it contradict Objectivism? The alternative seems to be that: "Because my right to life is derived from the facts of nature and is therefore unalterable, any initiation of physical force against myself, direct or indirect, is a violation of my right to life. Even if I sign a contract in which I give consent to the initiation of physical force against myself, such a contract would be void by default. If I consequently receive physical force, the government has a duty to intervene to protect my right to life, even if I insist that the government does not intervene." If this is true, it destroys the 'enter at your own risk' argument (which I was/am sympathetic to). So are not the ultimate questions here 'who decides what is and is not the (illegal/immoral) initiation of physical force?' and 'how exactly is it to be defined?'? Perhaps it is the crux of the issue though. I think it does need clarifying. "preventing" by what means? "unfettered" in what way? And according to who? A fist to the face is a collision of objects. That is physical force. Physical force that does not involve the collision of objects is known as indirect physical force i.e fraud. I understand the 'indirect' part to mean that the collision of objects would have or will take place if the victim tried to prevent the crime from taking place or in attempting to reclaim his property. How is boxing any different from a more extreme version of a similar game, on a sliding scale from smashing knee caps, acid wars etc all the way up to a hunger games fight to the death? What is the principle that separates boxing from the rest? i.e why is it not an initiation of physical force when it comes to boxing but it is with more extreme games? (And not just games. Anything that involves consenting to physical violence against oneself or initiating against a consenting person). Why shouldn't the government intervene the moment the first punch is thrown?
  15. Exactly right. What’s the logic here? Even for a deadly virus that would kill man at his best i.e fit and healthy? It seems to me your claim rests on divorcing the virus from the individual even though the latter carries the former. For covid, there is perhaps a case to be made. I’m not sure it can be considered a violation if the damage is primarily due to the ‘victim’s’ own poor health. Right, this seems like the obvious solution to me, and I’ve been left baffled by the libertarian and Objectivist controversy over how to respond to Covid. At the very least, it does the bulk of the heavy lifting. Do you know of any prominent Objectivists who have argued along these lines? Then what’s your definition of “initiation of force”? Punching someone in the face complies with the literal definition of those words. If the initiation of force (literal interpretation) is illegal only when it is involuntary receipt of the initiation of force, as Doug suggests Ayn Rand meant, then the individual can dispense of his right to life (and its derivatives) in any way he pleases meaning he can consent to the receipt of physical force (guaranteed or potential). As necrovore argues, man can “surrender” some of his rights in exchange for other values. In other words this is ultimately down to the discretion of the individual. If not, why? Since he owns his life, he has the right to incrementally trade it off (or incrementally risk trading it off) for other values. In the case of covid, when one enters a premise “at their own risk”, they weigh that risk against the values to be gained from entering. By entering they trade away some of their right to life (they’d be losing their right to be free of the initiation of physical force from covid, assuming one considers the transmission of covid an initiation of force). A more extreme example: a group of men dying from cancer agree to a televised fight to the death for big sums of cash which they can pass onto their family. One might object on the basis that the the “surrender” of rights for values, or the “weighing” of force and values must be rational (like receiving a vaccine) and so voluntarily fighting to the death for money is fundamentally anti-life and irrational. But we know from Objectivist literature that one has the right to live the life of a heroin addict which is also fundamentally anti-life and irrational. One has the right to sabotage oneself.
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