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Posts posted by ggdwill

  1. I know this has been debated for years by alot of prominent people, but what I want to know is if Ayn Rand/Leonard Peikoff actually literally own - and I hesitate to use a big "o" but I know it's required on this website - Objectivism. Did he or she ever actually get it copywritten? And if so, should they have been able to from either a legal or a moral standpoint, or both?

  2. With that aside though, one could argue that if the citizens wish the government to protect their rights and punish those who break the law, then they are the ones who need to foot the bill for it, i.e. through a voluntary tax that would be used to support those who break the law while being sentenced. If a person does not wish to pay the tax, he reliquishes the government from having to protect his rights and cannot avail of the courts for help. There are several ways that this line of reasoning could be taken.

    Now you're moving into a discussion of theoretical anarchism and competing governments and all that jazz. There's probably another thread on here about that.

    All I want to say about it is that you're right, if citizens want to be protected from criminals, then they need to foot the bill for it. Hence, why I advocate privatizing the prisons. I don't advocate privatizing the jails. If the government is going to be responsible for dispensing justice objectively, as they should be, then they should have the ability to detain people until their trial.

    By the way, what is a "voluntary tax"? I've read Ayn Rand's essay "Government Funding In A Free Society" and I'm not sure if that's what you're talking about. But that is for another thread aswell.

    I do not myself think that a system set up so that anyone who breaks a law could end up being put to death because no one wishes to support them while serving their sentence is a moral system. It places a monetary value on a person's life, not the severity of the crime they commited.

    Please see my post in response BurgessLau's question "Who do you mean by objective?" for my position on that. As to wether or not you can put a monetary value on someone's life, although that's deserving of another thread aswell, I can't help but point out that's there's a reason why some people have more valuable life insurance policies than others.

    I do not see the conclusion that you draw that the criminal places the government in an unfair position, I see it that the citizens are placing the government in an unfair position if they wish it to take action upon something which they are not prepared to pay for.

    Who's doing that? I think that the only people who aren't willing to pay for prisons are those that don't want the government involved anyways.

  3. What do you mean by "objective"?

    That's a pretty cryptic question, so I'll try my best...

    By "objective" I mean that there is no way to ever fully repair the damage (the supposed "objective standard") incurred by the victim of a crime. Even if you pay back all of the money you stole, the time I was without the money can never be recovered. Or, if you're executed because you killed my wife, my wife doesn't come back to life. Not to mention the annoyance and/or psychological trauma of dealing with your apprehension, trial, etc. Even in very petty crimes, the same phenomenon occurs, albeit to a nearly insignificant degree.

    So if the proper object(ive standard) of criminal justice is that it makes ammends, then it will never be fully accomplished. Even if this somehow were possible, to base the severity of punishment upon the severity of the crime, while ignoring the questions of just how this person will be punished, opens the door to future crimes - mostly likely in the form of government taxation to pay for prisons.

    Rather, the proper object, or motivation, for criminal justice should be how best to prevent future crimes. There is an objective way to ensure that, which is what we have been debating.

    Or, are you just asking in general what I consider "objective"?

  4. What then should this rich person's friends do to make sure he is serving a sentence? Make him wash his own clothes? Deny him maid service? No cable? What does this kind of punishment gain anyone?

    Even if this did happen, the loss of one's liberty is punishment. Not that it matters to me anyways, since I don't care about punishment and I only care about making sure that they person does not have the opportunity to commit another crime. You can feel outraged that this punishment does not fit the crime all you want, but you have no objective standard to base it upon. Hence, the perpetual controversy about things like the death penalty, cable TV in prison, some prisoners preying upon others, parole, etc, etc.

    But besides all that, why would someone pay a high price for someone else (remember that there would be alot of competing bids for skilled prisoners - a rarity) just so they could "punish" him in a strange and petty ways? Like most companies, those that employed prison labor would be large and efficient. They would have very clear goals in mind for their new purchases and very clear standards of selection. This would exclude speculators and weirdos from buying prisoners just to play games with them.

    So if I am understanding your arguments here, anyone incapable of leading a rational life would be "put down" since they are a failed individual. If a person commits a crime then they are also an irrational person, so once again they should be disposed of. I think it is arguments like this that cause others not understanding objectivism to call it facist. Give me one logical reason why a person who commits the smallest crime deserves death. A government that only protects a rational reasoning person and disposes of those that aren't is not a good reason, that is not what a government is about.

    In this paragraph, you begin by failing to differentiate between a peaceful irrational action and a criminal one. Then you go on to properly point out that there is a distinction. Then you go on to discuss the government's role in criminal justice as if this distinction went away again. I don't think that people that commit small crimes deserve death - at least not in some cosmic sense. However, when someone committs even a small crime, they put the government in a bad spot. Either the government can begin stealing on behalf of the criminal (ie: taxation), or they can release the criminal before he is reformed. That is why I advocate the 3rd option of private prisons, so that there is no burden on the taxpayers nor any threat of this person being in society. However, since private prison operators should not be forced to take prisoners they don't want, the only other option (if government wishes to protect the rights of the innocent from criminals aswell as from itself) is to put criminals to death.

  5. "I hate Steve because he stole my car" and "I hate Steve because he's black" are different; just because I hate Steve in both cases doesn't mean I hate him for the same reason. "Jimmy is a criminal because he stole 5 bucks from the supermarket" and "Jimmy is a criminal because he raped, murdered, and then raped my wife again" are different; just because Jimmy is a criminal in both cases doesn't mean he's a criminal for the same reason or degree.

    It's true that different crimes have different motivations. This should be irrelevant, not only in a court of law (which at least until the recent advent of "hate crimes " it was), but also when determing "punishment". Also, I already acknowledged that different crimes have different impacts on their victim(s), but said that I think that it is irrelevant when determining "punishment" awell. What is the purpose of this paragraph?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I have serious doubts that Objectivism supports an absolute as extreme as "Slavery or death!" to all crimes. Lets say a paraplegic teenager stole my Rolex. I accidently dropped it in her lap and she turned and gunned her little motorized wheelchair out of there. Yet when caught, she was unable to produce anything of value to anyone (and no one participating in your slave-trade wanted a paraplegic), your answer would be: kill the @^%#$! If the experience is enough to rehabilitate her (but she lost the watch), what then is your answer? Since all criminals must either repent for their sins or get a bullet between the eyes, you kill a rehabilitated paraplegic? The severity of the crime is, after all, "irrelevant!" She's just as bad as any crazed necrophiliac chainsaw murderer, so if she can't offer a return on anyone's investment, cap her! She has forfeited her right to life and as such is at the disposal of anyone who wants to dispense a little "justice."

    This is a fantastic hypothetical situation. I suppose the value in this is to demonstrate the apparent absurdity of my position in real life? When I said in my original post that I was straining to come up with an example of a completely worthles, unpurchasable convict, I also considered coming up with an example of the best, most marketable criminal. I didn't strain myself because it just seemed so pointless and obvious. Why wouldn't this girl's parents, who apparently have cared for her these many years and even bought her a motorized wheel chair, make the sole $5 bid and take her back home so they can sit down with her and give her a good talking to?

    It is virtually impossible that someone, somewhere will fail to see some value in eveyone put up for auction (even if that value is simply sentimental). But even if it did happen, why should the government be the bidder of last resort? It is not the government's responsibility to act as some kind of safety net against the inevitable death that doing nothing independently (which is a position the criminal has forced society to put him in) will bring.

    As for your colorful language surrounding shooting and guns and bullets. Admittedly, I put that in my original post to be provocative. I apologize. I only suggested the firing squad option since it is more efficient and perhaps more humane. However, I am open to having the government run some kind of "out to pasture" facility - essentially a big empty space - where they let the unbought convicts simply die of starvation.

    If someone does a crime, it is not my obligation to support his prison or buy his food or anything else. That doesn't mean I have to or even should kill him if he is of no value (or threat) to me. What rational self-interest do I have in killing a 13-year old paraplegic girl? Because I have a profit motive and she's a dependent (but not mine), I should kill her? Do I really like that spiffy new wheelchair? I think it's pretty obvious she's not stealing from me again, unless I accidently drop my watch into her lap *again*. So maybe it's my responsibility to society that should prompt me to kill her. I mean, her mom's probably sick of supporting her, so I should probably just shoot her. After all, because it's no one's obligation to support a dependent, I should just go ahead and assume that no one's holding that optional value.

    I don't know why you think that I said that the bidders should do the killing. Only the government should be able to intentionally kill convicts (or to intentionally let them starve). Like I said earlier, when a convict's sentence doesn't last his entire life, he has a right to any life he may live after his sentence is completed. However, during his sentence he lives by the grace of his captors. Why they would kill, or allow to starve, an asset that they paid money for I do not know. If he's totally uncooperative during his sentence and he ends up dying in a fight with guards or as the result of a hunger strike, that's his problem, and the company just has to write him off.

    "To refuse to sanction evil does not necessarily involve accosting its representatives, if no purpose is served thereby." -OPAR p285

    What is this supposed to mean to me? Are you quoting from scripture or something? All I can infer from this out of context snippet is that actively pursuing evil is pointless. Am I right? Well, if I am, I agree. That's why throughout my posts I've only been discussing criminals - people who actively practice evil (to whatever degree) and have forced the government's hand upon them. Yes, it's evil to sit and preach communism and ultimately nothing good will result, but people should be free to do so. However, this is another topic for another day.

  6. Some good points guys...

    This would never work simply for the fact that those with rich friends could buy out the prisoner and set him free with no punishment at all.

    Requiring that the bidder keep his new purchase in custody the entire length of his sentence would be part of the terms the government sets at the time of sale. To do otherwise would be a breach of contract, and probably a criminal act itself. I can see how you misunderstood me. I should have specifically pointed that out. I was just relying on a literal appreciation of the word "sentence"; something not commonly experienced in today's legal environment.

    The other side is that all infractions of the law are not the same. A child shoplifting a 5 dollar toy does not equal the crime of a murderer or rapist.

    This is the most common objection I hear. You're right, not all crimes are the same in terms of the impact they have on their victim(s). What I'm pointing out is that that is irrelevant. Here's why: The government, in a free society, would not differentiate between someone who was born with some handicap that made them incapable of supporting their own life and someone who lazily pissed it away. Neither situation is a valid reason to have the government - ie, the taxpayers - continue to suppor their lives. So why is committing a crime a valid reason?


    I don't want criminals to be advancing and earning better living conditions, I want them to sit in a cell and think about what they have done.

    Well, under my plan, that would literally be none of your business.

    Also, the value of a prisoner would be very high I think. This is what I was saying before, that there is an incentive to have prisoners. An example would be in the film "Shawshank Redemption". The guy was a very valuable prisoner by doing all the tax forms, and so the head of the prison kept him there.

    As I pointed out a moment ago, just as a bidder would be required to keep the prisoner the length of his sentence, he would also be required to release the prisoner once the sentence is completed.

    But sorry, not good enough :homestar:

  7. Wow, it has been so long since I've visited ObjectivismOnline, and even longer since I posted anything. In fact, I had to start all over and create a new account. It's nice to see all of the progress that has been made. This really has become a fine website!

    I'm excited about jumping right in to a discussion about a subject that I happen to have a fairly solid position on. It may turn out to be just a grandiose theory after you chaps and chapettes are done with it, but I'll put it out there nonetheless.

    Even though I haven't been around for awhile, it's still safe to assume that the notion that no person has a right to the time, effort, or property of another person is widely accepted in these parts right? Well, if that notion is correct when it comes to private, innocent citizens in a society, it certainly should be the case when it comes to their relations with convicted criminals.

    Not only do I reject prison, I reject any and all forms of criminal punishment or rehabilitation as qualifying for the government's attention.

    My position is rather extreme and on the surface may seem illogical. However, after entertaining alot of credible objections to it, I have yet to find one that I consider valid. Let me tell you why. Although they are commonly thought of as seperate approaches, punishment (simple incarceration) and rehabilitation (incarceration with frills) amount to the same thing and travel on the same altruistic track; one rail being made of contempt and the other of compassion. Yes, ultimately, the selfish interests of the individuals making up society are served with either, but at what cost? This is not a question that society, through it's spokespeople in government, should have to answer. Why should society have to pay at all to correct the ills caused by the immoral actions of individual citizens?

    When a criminal is sentenced to a term in prison, he loses all of his rights as an individual. If he retains any right to life, it is only the right to any life he may enjoy after the completion of his sentence. During his sentence, however, he exists by permission of his captors - be that the government or a private entity. His actions have proven to the world that he does not understand or respect the principles necessary for life. Just like anyone on the outside, an incarcerated criminal should have to earn his living.

    Which brings me to the nuts and bolts of my theory. I believe that once a criminal is tried, convicted, and sentenced, an auction should be held where that criminal is sold to the highest (private) bidder. If no one bids, that criminal should be summarily executed (And pay for the cost of the bullet if possible), regardless of the severity of the crime he committed or the length of his sentence.

    Of course, this would rarely happen since some sort of value can be squeezed out of virtually everyone - even the most hardened of criminals. In fact, as I'm writing this I'm desperately trying to think of an example of someone who is absolutely useless - even when compelled to be useful at the point of a gun. But even if such a creature did exist, the point would be moot since the trigger would be pulled anyways.

    This is where private enterprise enters my house of cards. Companies that own and operate prisons would compete for the least violent and most cooperative prisoners. In fact, amongst the best of them, I can imagine some prisons existing as job training institutes, that receive their revenue from the companies that hire their "graduates". From my understanding, this is essentially the thinking behind the government subsidy-laden halfway houses we have today.

    On the other hand, the prisoners themselves would compete for better assignments within the facilities of their new owners, or for transfers ("career moves") to better facilities with possibly more opportunity and better living conditions. All the while, whether they realized it or not, these inmates would be cultivating all the virtues that extended participation in a market-economy requires.

    Of course I only addressed the extremes; the best and the worst. The vast majority of criminals, and the companies that acquire them, are somewhere in between. While their redeeming qualities are overshadowed by their negative qualities, the notion of advancement in these places would only extend as far as an extra meal, a fluffier pillow, or a slightly less back-breaking job. But unlike in a government prison, where those things are acquired by intimidation and brutality, they would be the result of for-profit cooperation amongst a freely selected aggregate of prisoners.

    So now I suppose I must address the issue of security. The government must make it perfectly clear to any bidder that he is assuming a dangerous liability. I do not think it is necessary for the government to proscribe specific standards of security for guarding prisoners for the same reasons I do not think it is necessary for the government to set security standards for anything. If a company wishes to stay in business, and avoid massive negligence lawsuits and devestation to it's reputation, it will take the steps necessary to protect itself (and in turn, society). It's the same situation if the dangerous substance being guarded is TNT or flesh and blood. Now that I think about it, this is similar to BurgessLau's earlier post discussing the concept of bonding out - only better.

    So there's my theory, I hope I didn't elaborate too much or we won't have anything to haggle over. However, I think I framed my arguments in a manner compelling enough to ensure that I won't be laughed off of ObjectivismOnline for another 3 years!



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