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Gary Brenner

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    Gary Brenner
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    I am a home security specialist, working on a degree in criminal justice. I am interesting in the philosophical and cultural underpinings of a free society.

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  1. It's a fair question, but it doesn't apply exclusively to a condition of anarchy. Suppose a citizen of the Republic of A has a conflict with a citizen of the Republic of B. Is the final arbiter Government A or Government B (or the Supreme Court of the United Federation of Planets)? As Ayn Rand and others have pointed out, the only monopoly worth worrying about is a coercive monopoly: The necessary precondition of a coercive monopoly is closed entry—the barring of all competing producers from a given field. This can be accomplished only by an act of government intervention, in the form of special regulations, subsidies, or franchises. Without government assistance, it is impossible for a would-be monopolist to set and maintain his prices and production policies independent of the rest of the economy. For if he attempted to set his prices and production at a level that would yield profits to new entrants significantly above those available in other fields, competitors would be sure to invade his industry. http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/monopoly.html The "barring of all competing producers" is what individualist anarchists say is the contradiction in laissez faire government.
  2. The question “Does anyone have the right to take what is mine without my permission?” answer itself, doesn't it? Isn't the act of calling something “mine” an assertion that it does not by right belong to someone else? As to whether anyone has made a case for the opposite of Rand's position, no, I have never encountered a convincing argument that the power to take another’s possessions (things one has acquired through his labor and free trade) gives one a right to such possessions. So, in the case of my car, you may very well be able to take it from me, but what is the basis for saying you have a "right" to it? Is it a legal right? Does the law say the car belongs to you? Is it theological? Does God prefer that you own the car? Is it a “natural” right? Does nature, whatever that is, choose you over me in the struggle to gain possession of the car?
  3. Since the ideal government is funded by each individual donor making the decision to give, what would happen if every possible donor said, "Me personally overthrowing my country's enemy is not a realistic undertaking"? That's why we need leadership, SkyTrooper: one or a few valiant souls who blaze a trail and touch the masses with their suffering and inspire them with their bravery.
  4. I’ve never asked you to prove Saddam’s evil intentions. Re-read the thread. My request was for some proof that Saddam “threatened the West.” All sorts of grisly murders are committed around the globe a thousand times a day without disrupting the lives of average Americans. The gassing of Halabja, horrible as it was, didn’t make a dent in my ability to conduct my business or live my life. (Footnote: “The provision of chemical precursors from United States companies to Iraq was enabled by a Ronald Reagan administration policy that removed Iraq from the State Department's list State Sponsors of Terrorism.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_poison_gas_attack ) If you can offer no proof that Saddam wanted to sell the world less oil than any other petro-dictator, then you’re not very convincing. First of all, Rumsfeld didn’t say, “We don’t know for sure where Saddam’s WMDs are.” He said, “We know where [iraq's WMD] are.” Secondly, if we don’t know for sure that X is a threat to the West, then we have no business claiming, “X is a threat to the West.” What threat? Okay, then why shouldn’t the U.S. come home now that Saddam is dead? What difference does it make whether he was shot by U.S. soldiers at his hiding place or hanged by Iraq’s finest at Camp Justice?
  5. I'm sorry that you don't take a bloody, costly war based on false premises seriously.
  6. I make a distinction between hearsay and evidence. You seen these devices and the evidence that links them to Saddam?
  7. I see. Not to change the subject, but I was wondering if you could see the contradiction between the principle that a composer “exclusively controls the right to make copies” of his work and the actuality that there is copying that exists legally beyond his right to control.
  8. One could be well versed in copyright law and have no clue as to the moral foundations of it. Now if in fact it is legitimate for the law to enforce the creator's right to make copies of his work, we should be able to point to some ethical principle as to why whistling the Fifth Concerto by Richard Haley is not making a copy of a tune, but performing it at the Hollywood Bowl or on PBS is.
  9. I've read several threads on this forum about the voluntary funding of government. Now it seems to me that if the ideal government is funded by donations, then that same method could be employed to finance projects that government is not currently undertaking. If the U.S. is not invading N. Korea or Iran at this moment, is there any reason you, SkyTrooper, could not volunteer your own life and fortune to that purpose? Remember, "Anyone could invade a dictatorship."
  10. Okay, let's continue with 1): "the probation officer gets word that the convict is violating this part of his probation (among others). The cops enter the convict's home to search for suspected weapons and force compliance." The convict says, "I ain't got no weapons." The cops say, "You're lying." Thereupon they begin firing rockets at the house and reduce it to rubble. Weeks later after sifting through the debris, they find no evidence of weapons. At that point they say the invasion was really about spreading "democracy."
  11. Actual evidence, you say? Very well. Let's take a look at it.
  12. The world has more than a few oil-producing nations with tyrannical rulers. On what basis would we conclude that the unelected Saddam is less willing to export oil than the unelected Saudi princes? If the safest, surest, leave-nothing-to-chance option is what we want, why not invade all oil fiefdoms? I’ll put it another way: if the basis for invading Somalia is that it was an anarchy that might host those who intended to do the U.S. harm, on what basis do we not invade the Sudan or other chaotic nations? When someone comes up with a reasonable defense of the statement that Saddam was threatening the West, I’ll stop nit-picking it. Pretty much the same conditions you would need before you would invade someone’s home.
  13. And as I responded there is nothing to suggest that any less oil would have been available on the world market or to U.S. consumers. Must the U.S. invade anytime there's a weak government in the world? In that case, the Marines should prepare for landings in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Sudan, the Republic of Colombia and many other areas around the globe.
  14. More recent reports suggest that it was less an assassination plot than a propaganda ploy. See the link I provided in Post #9.
  15. Okay, whistling a tune while walking down a street is not copying. How about playing it on a clarinet while walking down the street? How about playing it on a clarinet in a concert hall? How about playing it in a radio studio that broadcasts it across the continent? At what point exactly when does a repeated tune become a copy? More importantly, if I am the composer of the tune and I “exclusively control (own) the right to make copies” of my work, why shouldn’t I be the one who decides whether this whistler or that clarinet player gets to reproduce the tune?
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