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Everything posted by sanjavalen

  1. I could probably *make* a "suicide vest" out of fairly common household chemicals, given a little patience and after brushing up on my high school chemistry. Its silly to outlaw things, when actions are what should be outlawed. The main (rational) standard I think that would be applicable is *threat*. Obviously, I have every right to have a machine gun nest if I really want to. What I don't have the right to do is load them all up and point them at my neighbor's front door. That is a threat (assuming we're not good friends and he knows I'm just joking, though I would say thats a pretty stupid pair of friends.) When you get into even more destructive devices (explosives, chemicals, etc.,) the principle remains the same - but an explosive is like a gun pointed in all directions, out to its maximum destructive range. So, while I don't think licensing is an issue, it certainly would be within the rights of my neighbors to call the cops and report me if they see me handling a truckload of dyanmite into my 1br apartment. This also means that nukes are, de facto (though, importantly, not de jure) outlawed in almost every context you can think of. This kind of law, however, leaves room for things like mining uses and private, Orion-like spaceship uses (assuming either is feasible,) while also forbidding Jihad McJihadenstein from packing one into his hotel room. I think its important to be able to point to an objective principle in law, and not say "We are balancing conflicting interests are arbitrarily saying the proper balance is x." Thats not a rational basis for making criminal law. A principle is - and I think the principle I defined here is the only relevant one when it comes to restricting weapons ownership.
  2. How did I misunderstand that paragraph, then? That is what I took from it.
  3. Hey, how does the govt outlawing gun ownership protect me better? There are numerous studies that show that in virtually any society where a systematic study has been done, allowing the lawful ownership of firearms of all types decreases rather than increases crime. So there is that. Moreover, though, I have a perhaps a solution: lets outlaw murder, mugging, rape, and the initiation of force in general, instead of initiating force against me under the guise of protecting me from the initiation of force.
  4. I used to be an evictions specialist in Dallas. Section 8 tenants never seem to work out. And I have heard my share of horror stories that stem from Section 8 jerking landlords around for various kinds of things. I would not recommend it. I have never seen anything but classless section 8 tenants, even when I was just an assistant to a real estate investor (he owned 125+ properties in the DFW area.) I can tell you some truly disgusting stories about evicting section 8 tenants as well. Basically, they are paying you more money because you are taking in the lowest of the low, as a rule. I have yet to meet a landlord who used section 8 and paid attention to the costs associated with it who didn't end up losing money on it, eventually.
  5. Why the focus on politicians? Pay attention to your culture and the philosophical ideas in your environment, they will have more immediate and long-term impact.
  6. The foremost difference is that Christians today aren't very good Christians, by any objective measure.
  7. I personally have doubts that a 3-way relationship can work, in the long run. I don't have any hard data as to whether thats because many people absorb cultural ideas that are very negative regarding 3-way relationships, or if its just difficult to manage / contrary to human nature period. Is one or the other girl your highest value? Its difficult to honestly say that they are both of completely equal value to you - human beings are, of course, not identical. I would think that almost all, if not all, of these situations, the person in your position actually values one or the other person more highly than their counterpart. This is deceptive to the girl who isn't your highest value, and unfair to the one that is, for reasons that should be obvious.
  8. David, Specifically I reject non-punishment of deeds done on accident / without knowledge that they were evil beforehand, which the USA's justice system does not apply consistently. Now, as outlined in the "Should justice be retributive or restorative?" thread, I also disagree highly with prison sentences not expressly connected to the damages done. Please refer to that thread and my link to "The Perfect Prison" article as background for my thoughts on the matter, as it is fairly important to distinguish that from the current *criminal* justice system (where sentences are often internally consistent, ie, murder gets more time than assault, but not necessarily connected to reality in any concrete way, I feel) and what I think would be an ideal justice system. Anyway, just as, for example, if I were to accidentally destroy a window you owned (say, playing baseball, I hit a home run and your window is destroyed,) I would be responsible for the damage caused and (rightly) legally held responsible to replace it. In this situation no would could rightly say that I knew I was doing something wrong or evil or had any way of knowing that such a thing would happen beforehand (let us, for the sake of argument, agree to this instead of going round and round about particulars of baseball fields relatively close to house.) Similarly, regardless of whether or not the particular mentally ill person knew what he was doing was wrong or not, he is responsible for the damages so long as no force (gun to your head) or fraud (stolen merchandise in suitcase) is present. I suppose you could make a claim, as you might with a child, that whoever is guardian of the person might be held responsible for their acts, but that still leaves the problem of mentally ill who have not been identified and who do not have a guardian.
  9. If a person's mental illness is brought to the attention of the court, the court can recognize that the right to life for an extremely mentally ill person is applied differently than a mentally healthy person (this is why even adult people with severe mental disorders, for example, typically cannot agree to contracts, have to have a guardian, etc.) So if beforehand it is brought to the attention of a court, they can take steps to ensure that the person does not harm others, up to and including imprisoning them (not with criminals, perhaps, but some minimum security deal where essentially the state is the "legal guardian" of a bunch of mentally ill people.) After the fact - ie, suppose someone (for whatever reason) is mentally ill to the point where they commit a heinous crime, such as murder - the proper response is to imprison them for that particular crime. After they serve their sentence (if it isn't life in jail or the death sentence) they should be transferred imediately to a facility like I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Its a difficult question and I think the particulars would need to be worked out by legal thinkers in such a manner that mistakes are minimized, appeals are possible, and some objective standard of insane is used (as opposed to now, which I believe is nowhere near the case.) A system of appeals, the proper principles of how to treat human beings who still retain their right to life but do not have the mental faculties to exercise some of the derivative rights that most adults take for granted, etc. All of these require thought and careful planning on the part of legal professionals. But I think the above gives a rough outline of how it ought to be. As far as "should the law take into account intent?" I think that is material for another topic and should not be gone over in detail in this one.
  10. Well, the Broncos sure don't stand a chance, though they will have tons less dumbface on their team
  11. Go Cowboys! They will win so hard, that they will retroactively declare them winner of last year's superbowl, too.
  12. No one has heard the standard complaint of how terrible it is that they make "so much money" "just for acting/playing a game"? Especially when more "socially important" people like teachers or welfare workers make so little?
  13. You'd be shot in about 30 minutes in Zimbabwae or anywhere else similar, and uncerimoniously dumped into a ditch.
  14. So you expect the international community to secure your rights for you, now? If not, what do you mean by " the rights of such a micronation (and all the people in it) would be ignored" As far as "backing," what "backing" do you mean? For the most part the whole of the world stays out of the affairs of other countries, especially failed nations like Somalia.
  15. Being big enough to need to be ignored seems to me to be a nice problem to have. Don't go jumping ahead of yourself.
  16. As an actual possible rather than a convoluted, ridiculous fantasy, there are at least a handful of places in Africa that combine a very sparse population (<1/km^2 pop density,) natural resources (simply too much trouble to claim for any 'legit' company, who would be forced to play by the rules by their home country,) and de facto no government (and/or conflicting claims by often unrecognized governmental entities.) Somalia, the epitome of a failed state, is a good example. Its northern coast holds the city of Bosaso, one of the largest ports in Africa. East of that is mostly unpopulated, to all accounts - though of course there hasn't been a census up there in a long time. Bosaso is in the territory of Puntland, which is technically a state within Somalia, but no longer answers to the central government. East is Somaliland, a state that has formally seceded from Somalia - but of course, no one recognizes that it has, so no one deals with it (or cares about it.) Between the two is a large swath of mostly-abandoned "disputed territory." Allegedly, the mountains there are rich in many minerals, along with oil and natural gas. North Somalia is different from south Somalia in that, other than a couple of "big" cities (the biggest being Bosaso,) there is very little population there. Middle-somalia and southward is where the population density goes up, and with it the presence of warlords, bandits, etc., in numbers. In the north you find little of that - what population there is, outside of the city, are mostly subsistance herders; in other words, not enough loot for a bandit to make a living off of. So other than the occasional clash between Puntland and Somaliland militia in the "disputed territory," there is not much going on there. If you could find somewhere off the beaten path to settle, and if you could, beforehand, set up some way so that you didn't have to live as barbarians (ie drill for oil or natural gas,) then it wouldn't be the worst place in the world to be. There is no one to overthrow, and no one owns the land out there. Of course, if you really want to do that you also have to take responsibility for your own defense, from bandits and militias - I think the police and US Army do a splendid job of keeping the nasties away, in that regard. Also please understand that the international community looks down on people attempting to overthrow a government recognized as "legitimate." A lot of the international order is based on accepting the status quo and defending it like hell. Not too long ago some mercenaries were arrested for being invoolved in a coup plot down in southern Africa somewhere (I forget the specific country.) They are now spending their time in prison and will be there for a very long time. So if its your dream to overthrow a country anywhere, please also insert into that dream a decade or more in prison, which is where you will in all likelihood end up. Personally I see no actual rational reason to want to do that. Overthrowing a government comes with it the attendant problems of ruling a populace that doesn't like you and isn't interested in freedom. I have better things to do than rule a bunch of illiterate goat-herders, even assuming I had the forces at my disposal to even attempt the feat. Settling in a basically unpopulated area, where no "legitimate" government actors operate, is a different story, and at least in the realm of possibility, both from a success standpoint and from an expense standpoint. Contrary to your games of Civilization a private army is neither cheap nor easy to assemble nor particularly effective. In the end settling "somewhere" in the barbarian lands in order to establish a free society is not necessarily an irrational idea - once things get so bad that rational people would consider it an alternative to living in normal, Western society - but most people who actually toss the idea around are so far into the realm of fantasy (hey, if your plan starts with and depends on a phrase starting with "Somehow..." then toss the idea out, its stupid) as to make these kinds of threads ridiculous.
  17. The term "rationing" designates that a central authority - some body of men, or some man, or a computer or whatever system is eventually put into place - is what determines who gets what. The market system is differentiated from any system of government-run rationing in that no force is involved. Men are not forced to give certain kinds of care (or withhold certain kinds of care) to certain people; rather, medical care is freely exchanged among people for whatever prices the providers can and wish to charge for it. The fact that unlimited medical care is not available anywhere is not really relevant; the difference between a free market system and a government run system is that no body forces providers and patients in any direction. That is the essence of rationing, and it is the difference that you (intentionally or not) attempted to obfiscate in your post.
  18. The actual issue in Europe is that they combine immigration with a values-system that plays to the Muslims' contempt of western values, a welfare system which allows the unproductive Muslims to idle and encourages the worst in any country to move there in hopes of a free meal ticket for life. A rational, capitalist country would attract only the best from any segment of any population; only the most rational, this-worldly Muslims, Christians, atheists, etc. This is because, unlike in Europe, an immigrant could not count on being able to live off the public teat. The problem is not immigration per se (it never is,) the problem is why is your country attracting the scum of the earth? Those thousands (millions?) of "idle youths" in France, for example, would not be idle, if they were honest men; and they would not be there, if they came to a capitalist country expected to be fed and housed for free.
  19. Instead, lets have a constitution, not up for vote, that respects individual rights.
  20. In an Objectively run legal system, people delegate (they do not give up) their right to retaliatory force. They are not allowed to mete out judgment; however, they are allowed to defend life & property with a reasonable amount of force ("reasonable" being defined here as any force that the weilder thinks is proper, given the fact that they are responsible for the use of it, ie, if you detonate a 1 ton bomb to stop a man from leaving the apartment you leased, your landlord would have a fairly good case against you.) Your fundamental right is your right to your own life, but your right to your own property is a derivative of that, and cannot be separated from it in principle without abrogating the entire idea of the right to your own life. Therefore, I think it is proper to use force (including lethal force, with the above caveat) to stop someone from attacking you, who is breaking into your property, or who is fleeing with your property. It is not, on the other hand, proper to do so if the bad guy is simply fleeing.
  21. SNerd, are you saying that you support the idea of Cap & Trade in principle, but not in a specific implementation that classifies carbon dioxide as a pollutant?
  22. Government has a legitimate interest in extending police protection to everyone. Creating a class of people who criminals don't have to fear victimizing encourages criminality and, more importantly, is against the basic principles of justice.
  23. What is even funnier is the response of US media, which equates to a few comments on it followed by a shrug. At least everywhere I've heard.
  24. That is a simplification, and also assumes a culture of unobjective, immoral judges. In a proper system of checks and balances, the law courts would have no close relationship with, for example, the executive branch of the government. In addition, courts would have no close relationship to each other - so, for example, one judge would not have any real incentive to rule in accordance with another judge if a case was appealed, simply because there is no real benefit to him doing so. This is actually more or less the case in the court system now - while precident is respected, higher courts look at the facts of the matter, and usually do not give much if any weight to the ruling of the previous judge. So I do not understand where this issue comes up unless you assume a totally corrupt, unobjective judicary, in which case no system (public *or* private) is good.
  25. It is worth noting that it is a dubious claim to say that Christians "flirt with free market principles." 50 years ago this may have been the case, but Christians (and the GOP in general) are all firmly in the camp of medicare, social security, "green" alternatives, etc. They simply do not push it as hard or as consistently as their counterparts on the "left" do. The label of "conservative" is actually the best one for their frame of mind; they do not particularly care what changes get made, so long as they are made slowly. Once made, the conservatives accept it as the status quo within about a generation, and suddenly medicare - not the free market - is what must be "conserved." I would not call current GOP/Christian/Conservative political philosophy very free market. Some of the rhetoric they use is - but it rings hollow and hypocritical in the face of all the very not-capitalist programs they endorse and support. For the latest example, witness the Obama plan to regulate the financial industry even more. The Republican response hasn't been "laissez faire!" but simply a spineless, whining mantra that we must be cautious in enacting new regulations, so as to "do it right." They are not against regulation, in principle or even for purely pragmatic reasons - they simply wish to take more time in figuring out what regulations will work. That is not the stance of a politician who flirts with free market principles, thats simply the stance of a quasi-socialist conservative.
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