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About amadeus-x

  • Birthday 04/24/1980

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    Right here.
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    1. High speed guitar solos<br />2. Ayn Rand (I know, I'm really swimming upstream with this one in here!)<br />3. Intelligent women (see above, et al.)<br />4. Intelligent women in small bikinis (with exceptions, see above, et al.)<br />5. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro! (Forza Scuderia!)

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amadeus-x's Achievements


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  1. Greetings, I'm a songwriter. I am sometimes inclined to write lyrics that are not exactly, say, "uplifting." This is not to say that my doing so is the rule rather than the exception, it is only to say "sometimes." My bass player (Groovenstein) sometimes objects to my doing so. If any of you would like an example of what I'm talking about, please visit www.myspace.com/poormansoperamusic and click on the song entitled "Another Disaster." Also, I have read "The Romantic Manifesto" and pretty much everything Ayn ever wrote. Thus, one might expect that I'd be able to hammer out this issue on my own and with relative ease. Regrettably, I'm not terribly bright. *wiping drool from my chin* A couple points that perhaps you could help me resolve: 1. When I'm in a funk (in the emotional, not musical sense), I find that penning a song about it helps me to deal with it. Though it may seem counterintuitive, the help does not come from penning a song that amounts to "I'll get through it." Rather, the song will generally be a description of the situation or general mood that I'm in, like a "snapshot in time." The lyric may not address any forward thinking at all in either the positive or negative sense. For example, I wouldn't say, "I'm miserable and I always will be." I also wouldn't say, "I'm miserable, but I won't be for long." Rather, I would say, "I'm miserable right now." For the life of me, I don't see anything terribly wrong with doing so. There are many things, however, that I would NOT do. Some examples of things I would NOT write about: using drugs to be evasive, suicide or some other willful act of self-destruction, that life is hopeless (though there would be instances where I would not affirmatively state that "life is hopeful"), etc. Am I being inconsistent? When my car breaks down, I want to sing, "Damn it! My car broke down. I'm going to be late for work. This car was really expensive, and you would THINK that, for that much money, the thing wouldn't stop running every 15 miles." I don't want to sing, "Damn it! My car broke down. Gladly, I have a good job, so I can afford to fix it. Also, the guy at the repair shop is really friendly and punctual, so it won't be a terrible burden to get it fixed." I simply want to be pissed off at a situation that can properly result in me being pissed off! And I want to sing about it*. 2. IF it is okay for me to write such songs, does it follow that it is okay for someone to listen to and enjoy them? Can I put them on our next record, even though the negative situation will likely have passed by that time? I think the answer is "yes." Of course, if I was terribly confident in my answer, I wouldn't be asking for help now, would I? Some people can't or don't write songs. Thus, they depend on others to do so for them. This is much akin to my innate inability to do laundry. Thus, I depend on my wonderful girlfriend to ensure that I have clean skivvies. So, is it wrong for me to give these people songs that they may relate to and, as a result, enjoy? Again, they may relate to feelings of suicide, but the won't get a song about it from me, because I don't think that suicide is a rational choice (except in very, very rare situations). However, I don't think that being situationally downtrodden is necessarily irrational in every instance. *I would never actually write a song about that situation as doing so would be incredibly corny, but you get my drift.
  2. (Paragraphs in quotes are from Odden. Sorry, I don't know how to use the "quote" feature on here.) [Edit: I started fixing it for you. I also took off your italics in sections that were wholly italicized. I assume you didn't intend that. If you think I screwed up anything, let me know. Word up.] I believe that we are addressing "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." I believe that this standard can be met in spite of a "shred" of exculpatory evidence. I don't believe that the arguments on here are predicated on an idealization. I believe that the examples are. The examples help me, at least, understand the underlying principles. A criminal defense attorney can both protect against government abuse and be intellectually honest. Is dealing with intellectually dishonest men "immoral" per se? If so, I think it would be difficult to be in nearly ANY profession. Methinks that the context in which one "deals" is relevant as is how one deals. I'm not ready to accept that there is not one single intellectually honest defense attorney in the free world. A politician's constituents may well want the politician to serve their desires, but that doesn't mean that it is necessarily proper for the politician to do so. Suppose a developer wants the politician to vote to eminent domain a neighborhood in order for the developer to build a factory there. Would it be proper for the politician to do so? Of course not. Okay, so maybe a morally proper politician wouldn't have a snowball's chance in Hades of getting elected, that doesn't mean that would-be politicians can properly suspend or abandon their morals in order to have a career in politics. Also, where is the promise of a "less than vigorous defense?" Is there some sort of implied promise that the defense attorney gives to the client that the attorney will be intellectually dishonest if the client wishes for such? Not only that, but you're presupposing that a vigorous defense necessarily includes intellectual dishonesty. The judge and juror can make determinations based on fact and reason. Maybe a would-be politician could only get elected by having improper platforms. Maybe a rapper can only sell records by rapping about murder, rape, and freaksweatness. Maybe an urban condo developer can only build units by lobbying for eminent domain. Obviously, just because an action is "required" in order to "make" a living doesn't mean that taking the action is proper. A person in any profession has to determine whether there is a market and means of production for the product or service that they offer. If the morally proper politician doesn't have support from voters, he won't be elected. If white, suburban boys don't want to hear raps about functional, beautiful architecture and/or freaksweatindustrialism, a morally proper rapper won't sell records. If there aren't properties for sale, a proper developer won't be able to build. And maybe, if there aren't enough intellectually honest defendants, a proper criminal defense attorney won't be able to make a living doing nothing but defending defendants. Perhaps all of the above will have to do other things as well. The would-be politician may have to work for a proper civic organization. The MC may have to write some jingles. The condo developer may have to build some townhouses in the suburbs. The criminal defense attorney may have to draft some wills.
  3. An instance of a judge, in essence, "vetoing" a verdict occurs when the judge grants a party's motion for a JNOV (Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict) in a civil case. This usually happens when the jury's verdict is "against the great weight of the evidence." Mind you, a judge should not grant such motion based on a factor such as witness credibility, as witness credibility is the exclusive province of the jury to determine. A JNOV will be granted when the judge determines that there is basically no fathomable way the jury could have rationally reached its conclusion. (Why the case was not disposed of in Summary Judgment is another topic.) A JNOV or modified verdict will also occur where the jury rules on something that it wasn't supposed to rule on (yes, this happens). Say Mr. X is suing Mr. Y for injuries caused by Mr. Y's negligence. Mr. Y has filed no counterclaim. The jury comes back and says that Mr. X was negligent toward Mr. Y and awards Mr. Y damages. Well, Mr. Y hasn't sued Mr. X, and whether Mr. X did anything negligent wasn't even at issue!
  4. Dark: I don't believe that we've necessarily hit on your first point ("using only intellectually honest arguements"), but it is a conclusion that I've been coming to after re-reading this thread 8,645 times. I've actually started what has turned into an essay on the matter (maybe I'll post it when I'm finished). I wish it hadn't taken me so long, but I've realized that there is a difference between the notion of "protecting against government abuse" and "trying to get an acquittal for the client." In theory, I suppose that a defense attorney could do virtually nothing and, at the same time, guard against abuse. Really, if the government puts on a rational case with sufficient evidence to convict beyond a proper determination of reasonable doubt, I'm thinking that, as Groovenstein put it, a defense based on "magic toads" would be improper and have nothing to do with guarding against government abuse. Now, regarding your question as to the honesty of your first hypothetical, it think it may be one thing to say to the jury, "Jury, the prosecution has not presented sufficient evidence for you to be able to reasonably infer that the defendant was at the scene of the crime," and quite another to say, "Jury, the defendant was not at the crime scene." In the above examples, the first statement could be merely an arguement as to what is a sufficient basis for finding reasonable doubt. In other words, the defense attorney is saying that a proper system would require further evidence before a conviction could properly be decided. The second statement is a lie. Thank you for chiming in on this topic. I've really been wrestling with this issue, but I think I'm making some good ground with it.
  5. So, if I lie to the madman with the blade, I'm "evading reality?" I'm a "dishonest person?" I certainly think that saving my or another's life is more important than smoking pot. However, it appears as though your logic would apply to both. I believe you are correct in saying that any time a person lies, they are being dishonest. However, I do not belive that every instance of dishonesty is "faking reality" and/or immoral. Thus, I believe that when a person has been dishonest, but not immorally so, I think it is unfair to call their legitimate, moral character into question. In other words, if the definition of "honest" that we are now operating under is correct, then I see no way that one's "honesty," in and of itself, can every be a pronouncement on their character. Under this definition, I can imagine a scenerio wherein I could say, "Rick is a dishonest man, and highly moral" or "Rick is an honest man, and a dirtbag." Knowing whether or not he is "honest," by itself, tells me nothing of his morality or of his disposition to tell the truth when he should. If I was in the basement, my girlfriend had a knife to her throat, and she told the nutjub that nobody else was home, I do believe that rather than thinking, "Gee, I have a dishonest, reality evading girlfriend. I can't legitimately believe her when she says that she doesn't cheat on me," I would think, "Wow. My girlfriend kicks arse!"
  6. Okay, so now I have quite roughly 74,006 more questions! I'll start with this one: How on earth is a man who brings some pot back from Amsterdam "dishonest" in such a way as to legitimately affect his credibility? Take this example: My friend and I are in my house. My friend is in the basement. A machete wielding madman kicks in the door. He holds his unholy blade to my throat and asks, "is anyone else here?" I say, "no." Okay, so I've been technically "dishonest." I had every right to be. In the former example, our man had every right to bring some bubonic chronic back from Amsterdam. He certainly lied by omission on his customs declaration, but they didn't have any right to ask. I say he did nothing wrong, and I fail to see how it would be appropriate to tell others that he is a "dishonest man." To me, that sounds like telling people that I am a dishonest man because of my actions in the later example.
  7. Just to make sure, are you saying that "this is a case about mistaken identity" is dishonest and/or improper? Are you also saying that "asserting anything about the case or client" that is explicitly or implicitly dishonest is improper, even if the system allows and/or encourages doing do? Isn't entering a "not guilty" plea, when the client IS guilty, dishonest?
  8. I apologize, but I'm not seeing where the line is between "rhetorical jibber-jabber" and lying (i.e., "This is a case about mistaken identity . . ."). Also, I'm now back to being confused about the conflict (if there is one) between the value of the process and what the process should result in (the innocent going free and the guilty being punished). The process itself permits tactics that I would argue are dishonest. I can say, "This is a case about mistaken identity" when I happen to know that it isn't such a case. I can use a witness' conviction for drug possession to imply to the jury that the witness is dishonest, even if the witness ISN'T dishonest. Perhaps answers to these questions would help: 1. Why would I feel guilty for helping a rapist go free? The reason I ask is because, even if the answer points to an error in my thinking, I would like to know what that error is, so I can correct it. 2. Should I, or should I not, feel guilty in the above example? Why? 3. If, under the standards, procedures, and rules of the system, a rapist goes free, is that "justice" simply because it is the product of the standards, procedures, and rules of the system? In other words, is "justice" defined by the result of the system, or is it defined by the result that should have been reached morally? If it is the second, then aren't I, the defense attorney, fighting for the incorrect one? I can stand before a jury and present a closing argument that is riddled with fallacy, semantics, and explicit or implicit lies or lies by omission. Politicians use the same all the time - and it is extraordinarily effective. The politician doesn't care if 49% of the population knows that the candidate is lying through his teeth, so long as the other 51% can be counted on to be illogical, irrational, or and/or not very bright (which they usually are). As a defense attorney, I'm in a much sweeter position than the politician. I only need to count on one, or a few, of the jurors to be illogical, irrational, and/or not very bright! The system allows these tactics. There is no "objection Your Honor, fallacy of appeal to popularity." Sure, the prosecution can (try to) explain the fallacy, but maybe there is one juror on the panel who just doesn't understand what the prosecutor is saying. Exactly as I had hoped/counted on. I wonder if the Francisco speech on money is analogous here. In it, he asks whether one had earned money by pandering to men's vices or stupidity, through fraud, doing work "you despise for purchasers you scorn," etc., and implies that having done so would be be devoid of virtue. In my above paragraph, would not the defense attorney using such tactics (again, permitted by the system) be playing off of the juror's stupidity? Isn't a lie, even one permitted by the system, a "fraud?" Isn't a rapist, the client, a "purchaser you scorn?"
  9. Perhaps I've gotten confused about the assumptions that people are operating on. My question involves a scenario that is tantamount to a would-be client sitting down at my desk and saying, "I'm charged with murder. I'm guilty as hell. Will you defend me?" Professor Odden, have you changed your overall stance since your earlier posts? It appears so, however, I'm a bit confused about some of the contexts people have been operating in, in recent posts.
  10. Qwertz: Is it time to quit? Because of THIS? My good man, countless are the reasons to quit! This is simply a drop in the bucket! Oh the misconceptions I had when I started law school (in 2003). On a positive note, you'll learn some incredibly valuable skills in law school, most of which carry over into many areas other than the practice of law. Now, to address your question. Your question may raise the same fundamental issue that mine does: What is the value in preserving "the system" versus what the system should rightfully accomplish? In my Professional Responsibility class, the professor posed this hypothetical to the class: Your client is innocent, but charged with murder. You know, for a fact, that unless you fabricate a piece of evidence, your client will go to the gas chamber. You also know that you will never be caught if you fabricate said piece of evidence. The professor asked for a show of hands as to how many people in the classroom would fabricate the evidence. I was the only student with a hand up. He then said that he too would fabricate the evidence. Now, I'll go ahead and flagrantly expose an inconsistency (I think) in my thinking. If the hypothetical above was directed at a prosecutor and asked, "Prosecutor, if you knew that a man guilty of murder would go free unless you fabricated a piece of evidence, and you knew you'd never be caught, would you?" I wouldn't feel quite as confident in the rightness of a "yes" response. But maybe I should. After all, it would appear that both versions of the hypo lead to a just result. I hope you continue in this discussion. I'm faced with making a partial career decision (signing up for criminal defender appointments from the court). You may well be deciding whether to do the same in a couple very, very short years.
  11. Professor Odden (and others): Thank you very much for your replies. I haven't ignored them. I've been reading them over several times. I want to be sure that I'm understanding everything properly so as to avoid wasting anyone's time asking questions that have already been answered. Professor Odden, Groove said: "I don't think "the client's interest" is the way to put it. I see value in making the government prove its case. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" has to mean something. While I might know that my client is guilty, what does the fact-finder know about it at the outset? Ideally, nothing. And what should the fact-finder know by the end of the trial? Only what they've seen and heard in court, under the rules of evidence, Constitution, etc." I would be interested in reading what you have to write about the above quote, if you're inclined. Is what the fact-finder (the court, jury) knows or should know relevant when the issue is whether I should defend a guilty party? If not, should a guilty party, by default, be forced to defend himself? I would also like to note that I have not yet aided in the defense of any criminal case. I am certain that on some level I would feel sick if my work contributed to, say, a rapist walking the streets. I should say, however, that on some level I would be glad to have prevented the government from convicting someone if the government had less than a "beyond a reasonable doubt" measure of evidence. However, it is the risk of enormous guilty that prevents me from acting until I am at least fairly certain that doing so would be proper. Thank you again. I'm sure I'll have more questions on the topic rather soon.
  12. Greetings, fellow Shipmates of Industry! My question is: Is it moral for an attorney to defend one who is guilty of violating a proper law? I have some thoughts (which are actually just primarily more questions) on the matter that I will share. However, it may not even be necessary for you to read them in order to answer said question. However, do so if you'd like. I would also like to note that I'll be explaining, in very general terms, certain legal terminology. I don't do this to be condescending. I would just hate to miss out on getting some valuable insight from someone because they weren't familiar with a particular term or concept. My primary conflict is this: I want the government to have to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. I also want the guilty (meaning: "those who have violated morally proper laws") to be punished. Assume for a moment that I'm representing a client whom I know to be guilty. It seems to me that if I work to accomplish the first (making the gov't prove its case), I am simultaneously working for a result that I don't want (a guilty man going free)! A few related problems: 1. The Federal Rules of Evidence, as well as many, if not all, state rules of evidence, permit a lawyer to impeach a witness by presenting to the jury any conviction that the witness has had for a crime relating to the witness' lack of truthfulness. So, I know that I can make said witness look like they are lying. Is it okay for me to create an argument that the witness is probably not telling the truth, even if I KNOW that the witness IS telling the truth? 2. Many effective closing arguments have "themes." A theme, in this context, is like the hook of a song. For example, "Members of the jury, this is a case about mistaken identity." "Mistaken identity" is the theme. So, let's say that throughout the case, I have been trying to introduce the notion that the government hasn't really proven that it was my client who did the crime. That's all well and good, but if I come right out and say, "this is a case about mistaken identity," to the jury, aren't I lying? I KNOW that there is no mistaken identity. Of course, I could say, "this is a case about the government not being able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that it was MY client who did the crime," but that just sounds weak. Weak or not, is that what I SHOULD say (as opposed to the first theme)? 3. Suppose my client takes the stand and proceeds to lie through his teeth. Can I explicitly or implicitly tell the jury that he is an honest man? That they should believe him? 4. Suppose a cop takes the stand. Also suppose that the cop is nervous and/or not very articulate. Can I make his stuttering appear to be due to his dishonesty? Can I make his mistakes of wording appear to be inconsistencies or lies? 5. The Federal Rules of Evidence allow an attorney to present to the jury the fact that a witness has been convicted of any crime punishable by more than one year in prison (this affects the witness' credibility in the eyes of many jurors). Well, suppose I think that the "crime" they were convicted of is bogus. Should I try to smear the word of an honest man who was in prison for bringing some pot back from Amsterdam in order to help free my lying, thieving client? 6. Has anyone seen my keys? Thanks in advance for any insight that you share!
  13. First off, greetings all! I am not an Objectivist. I'm working on it. I have read every book authored by Ayn Rand at least twice however and have read a couple Peikoff books as well. So there is my background. Anyway, Rand sometimes refers to a "benevolent worldview". I would very much appreciate a definition of what constitutes a "benevolant worldview". Perhaps I am missing the point (certainly wouldn't be the first time). When I see the politicians that get elected, read letters to the editor, watch the news, listen to popular music, watch blockbuster movies and interact with people, it seems as though the overwhelming majority of people either have IQs below room temperature or are just plain evil. Either way, that does not seem all too in line with a "benevolant worldview". Seriously, I just cannot fathom how somebody can both vote for Bush or Gore and have the mental capacity to drive a car. I just do not get it. Have you seen the "logical" conclusions that people draw when supporting laws? For example, I read a letter to the editor the other day. The purpose of the letter was to address a city ban on movie theatres that have more than six screens (the city partially funded a 12 screen theatre and didn't want the competition). This man supported the ban. His reason.. ...you are simply not ready for this.. Hollywood is not making any good movies so we don't need bigger theatres!!! I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Then I got pissed off (sorry if that is unacceptable language here). The sad thing is, that type of "reasoning" is not uncommon. I mean, the paper actually printed it! And not in the comic section! This man can vote! I am honestly starting to feel very isolated. It is getting to the point where I have a hard time giving anyone the benefit of the doubt. As a matter of numbers, I think it is reasonable to say that if you meet a random person, the odds are that he or she would have the critical thinking skills of a carburetor. And if they did have more than an outdated engine componant's ability to reason, they would likely not even recognize the possibility that humans have rights (gasp). I am very much looking forward to someone on here giving me a firm-handed intellectual spanking on this topic. I really do want to belive that people are not only good but great. I know very well that there are a few giants among us, but they just seem like such a statistically insignificant number compared to the unholy legions of intellectual toddlers following the commands of the tyrannical leaders whom they adore. (Corrected typo in title - softwareNerd)
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