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Everything posted by Seeker

  1. Of course an appendectomy is not a disorder. An appendectomy is a procedure. Appendicitis is a disorder. But wait, maybe you're accusing me of a non sequitur, in which case you would be wrong: the original post stated, "[] feeling like you need to have vital parts of yourself manipulated with hormones, drugs and often with genital mutilation ... is a disorder", i.e. that feeling a need for a solution to the disharmony IS the problem. Since I dispute that trans-sexuality is matter of arbitrary self conception or merely a feeling, I would not call the sense of the same (or desire to correct it)
  2. Actually, the nature of trans-sexualism is that the actuality of a person's physical being has mixed attributes, and manipulation is an attempt to bring these attributes into harmony one way or the other. I would safely say that the attempt to do so is not a disorder.
  3. I suppose that social context plays a role here. Since this is not the 18th century, and duels are not commonplace nowadays (if not completely unheard of), just the fact that a duel is said to be taking place might raise reasonable suspicions for the police to check out. On the other hand, since the issue is largely hypothetical anyway, I doubt that laws regulating dueling per se would be proper. Rather the issue would be the enforcement of laws against murder, and whether those should permit some special 'out' for consenting adults. This would cover the hypothetical of duels, and also such no
  4. This is the premise that you need to check. A duel does not involve force if it is freely consented to (force and freedom being opposites). Why someone freely consents is beside the point. The more interesting question, I think, is how is it known (by whom, and for what purpose) that the duel is a duel? Would the government, for the purpose of controlling the use of force, be right to insist in advance upon a legal attestation (something like a will) proving that the parties to the duel freely consent?
  5. Here is the basic principle of representative government. I have a question and theory about its application. Does the application of this principle permit or even require indirect modes of election? Let's compare Madison's description of a republic from Federalist No. 39: I think that this description of a republic conforms to Rand's principle. In addition, man's representatives in government have responsibilities not only to represent political principles, but to make judgments requiring specialized knowledge beyond the basic political principles held by citizens generally. I
  6. It directly leads to the government deciding what the PhD requirements for being a Senator are. People who earn PhD's in a different way would still have their PhD's, they simply couldn't serve as Senators. And the task of putting the details of that qualification into objective law would be a matter for legislators and no different than their task of writing objective laws in other spheres, once the constitutional requirement is set. The better argument, I think, is over whether it ought to be a constitutional requirement in the first place. I am certainly not wedded to the idea, but I did fi
  7. I still don't understand why the choice (to drive recklessly) and the consequence (the actual collision) are treated as separate and distinct. To me, this flies in the face of causality: what caused the actual collision IOF, other than the choice to drive recklessly? We are dealing here with culpability of the most important kind. I don't dispute that there is force involved in the actual collision, I am asking at what point was that force initiated? Is force not initiated by and with the conscious choice of the individual who initiates it? I submit that force cannot be initiated by circumstan
  8. The problem I have with this reasoning is that, in my view, the initiation of force begins with a conscious choice. It can't be that one chose to behave recklessly, but force was initiated only at the point where that choice had damaging consequences. For example, I think that firing a gun at someone, if it can be considered the initiation of force at all, is the initiation of force when the choice is made to pull the trigger, even if the bullet misses the target. It follows that if driving recklessly can be considered the initiation of force at all, that the initiation begins when the choice
  9. Criminals and terrorists aren't going to follow the law anyway. I think that the issue of contagious diseases is special because a well-intentioned immigrant might not realize that he is sick and contagious. As a matter of rational principles, not only should he be denied entry, but it would not be in his rational self-interest to infect others. There would be no conflict between his interests and those of the law. But then, the problem is that this law requires immigrants who are not sick to be turned away. An immigrant who thinks he is well has no incentive for a screening check, because
  10. Agreed; I misunderstood your statement. The question should be whether force is initiated. However, my question then is this: can force be initiated by conscious and deliberate recklessness? Driving a car should not be prohibited, but what about driving a car recklessly on a crowded highway in a manner that puts others' safety at risk? Does that count as initiation of force?
  11. I think that ad hoc determinations would be a problem if all laws were proper, i.e. rights-protecting. That would cover, for example, the litigation of contract disputes. The issue here is that the law protects no one's rights (I am here excluding, for the moment, the issue of screening for contagious diseases which I think is a special case you raised that needs to be addressed separately). Because of that, acting within this particular law is not a requirement for civilized society, because the action does not entail the initiation of force (which is what makes the law against it objectively
  12. Maybe not grounds for building codes in particular, but maybe a requirement to exercise proper care with your candle or to not light it at all if you're a butterfingers. Going with your hypothetical, there is a known possibility ("could") that it will damage your neighbors property if proper care isn't exercised. Risky behavior is threatening behavior if undertaken with conscious, hence deliberate, recklessness.
  13. If an act is known to be dangerous, then how is it different from an act that is threatening? Furthermore, is not an inability to take responsibility, though involving a derivative question of compensation, ultimately entailed by the concept of 'threat', i.e. the threat that, once wronged, you won't be compensated for the wrong done against you? I am suggesting that a dangerous act and inability to take responsibility for foreseeable harm is a kind of threat, hence properly within the ambit of government prohibition. An example would be the requirement to carry auto insurance to compensate vic
  14. Perhaps it would help illuminate my reasoning if I offer a comparison. In the law, civil money damages may be awarded as restitution to compensate a plaintiff for actual injuries suffered due to the actions of the liable party. Not a criminal penalty, not jail time, not deportation -- but compensation to make the injured party "whole". By contrast, we are dealing here with individuals who have neither initiated force against others nor inflicted any type of damage whatsoever. Not even civil restitution could be gained by a plaintiff, because no actual wrong was committed. No crime could be
  15. No one here is advocating ignoring laws at whim; nor is anyone advocating anarchy. What the appeal to the principle to the rule of law ignores in this context is both a higher principle of morality and the fact that present immigration laws are manifestly contrary to that higher principle. When the principle of rational self-interest is set aside, as (for example) of an immigrant who initiates force against no one but is seeking a better life for himself and we demand of him fidelity to our immoral laws for the sake of the law -- as though man is cognitively impotent to discern right from wron
  16. It is not the right one. It is a non sequitur to identify a free-ranging right of a nation to exclude anyone it wishes as the proper basis of retaliation against murder, trespass on private land, and other actual transgressions. To the extent that Arizona has identified a real problem, it has created a solution fundamentally unrelated to it. If the immigration law were tailored to apply only to those who commit (or threaten to commit) actual wrongs, then that would be justifiable IMO. That law would be fundamentally different from the one enacted by Arizona.
  17. This is certainly consistent with the historical notion of sovereignty (as is rex non potest peccare), however, Objectivism (while upholding the concept of sovereignty) is very clear that it entails only those attributes which follow from its task to defend individual rights. Sovereignty resides primarily in individuals; national sovereignty draws exclusively upon the delegated power of self-defense. No one here (I think) is advocating that anyone can cross the border; the issues are whether, on the one hand, certain restrictions on the books are a just exercise of that power, and on the other
  18. Private television networks have censors. They are private entities, and I wouldn't think per confusion that the network censors were government officials. To censor means to remove or suppress by one who is authorized to do so. The question turns on whether such authority legitimately exists. In fact, private censorship is the only legitimate kind. So I say, let's take back the word "censorship". What government does when it initiates force to suppress speech is not, properly speaking, censorship. It is force, plain and simple.
  19. Inasmuch as presidential candidates don't choose their running mates until after winning their party's nomination, the idea of Romney-Palin is waaaay premature. For starters, Mitt Romney is a horrible candidate. The Massachusetts healthcare debacle alone should disqualify him politically. Unfortunately, there aren't any good contenders out there that I am aware of (fortunately, it's only 2010, so there is still a year for that to change although I'm not optimistic). As far as Palin, she should not be on any ticket. It's bad enough she's on Fox News jumbling her words and personifying the a
  20. It's an excellent question. As a preface to my answer, since the philosophical basis of this defense is often incorrect and confused in political circles, change on a level that would be satisfactory to us is going to take a long time. I think that's a given in any of these discussions. That said, I would not discount the public's opposition to ObamaCare and the ability of political efforts such as the tea party movement to effect at least some noteworthy change in the upcoming election cycles. To acknowledge the reality that the Republicans are bad is not to say that electing Republicans who
  21. The idea is not serious. As the article states, "even the proponents say they don't know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates". Meanwhile, people are organizing in ways that have potential for change through peaceful means such as elections and lawsuits. If anyone is standing by while others undertake the real work of defending individual rights, it is the militia proponents.
  22. States each have their own constitutions. Just because the U.S. Constitution does not secure an individual right, does not mean that nothing can or does. Not every right in a federal republic is implemented at the federal level. Numerous individual rights are secured at the state level. The writers of the federal constitution can be forgiven for this; their task was to create and limit the federal government. It could be reasonably thought, then and now, that those individual rights not secured by the U.S. Constitution and laws should be secured by the states. And the opponents of ObamaCare (e
  23. Looks like the law has a loophole. Could this be a way out for insurance companies until Obamacare can be repealed? Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print
  24. Obama probably views himself as a crusader for "social justice". His stock in trade is "community organizing", writ large. To understand him, look at the premises underlying the notion of "social justice" -- economic egalitarianism, progressive taxation, income redistribution, etc. He wants a greater equality of outcome, is willing to effectuate a "dictatorship of the proletariat" to achieve it, and in that sense his views are consistent with Marxism. This is basically a child's view of equality wherein unequal power is viewed as "unfair" -- which also explains his unease with the projection o
  25. Apologies for the double post, but I think I was wrong about this. I was reading from Section 1501 of the bill, but I missed Section 10106 which amends Section 1501 (in a perversion of all reason, the bill amends itself). It does appear to add a percentage of income to the penalty calculus, but only if it is greater than the flat dollar amount but less than "an amount equal to the national average premium for qualified health plans which have a bronze level of coverage, provide coverage for the applicable family size involved, and are offered through Exchanges for plan years beginning in the c
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