Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by JeffS

  1. So, in order to get out of unsustainable debt, we must make that debt more unsustainable? Welcome back, Mr. Keynes. You were not missed.
  2. I haven't seen the movie, but I finished the book recently. Honestly, I wasn't impressed. It seems to me the entire premise of the book was built around, "What if I wrote a serial where the protagonists of each section had something to do, if even tangentially, with the other sections?" In fact, the author actually points out this premise in the book. I may not be intellectual enough to understand what he was getting at, but in the end I was left thinking, "Meh, and?"
  3. I'm involved in a new software product that I think has the very real possibility of changing the presentation industry forever. We're soft-launching today after years of very hard work. I'd love some level-headed feedback on the site, and if you're interested, and ever do any presentations, I'd love your feedback on the software as well. A slightly modified evaluation version is available for download. (The only feature it lacks is the ability to publish your presentation.) Thanks!Ooops! Too excited! The website is www.mediaconnexus.com.
  4. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you softwareNerd.I mean "threatening" in any sense, and your response sort of demonstrates what prompted my question. How would one go about properly defining it legally and objectively? I can certainly imagine someone doing something, saying something, or acting in a particular way toward me that would cause me to fear for my safety, but I can't be certain those same actions or words (whether written or spoken) are objectively threatening to all.
  5. I think this might have been me during this conversation. Reading your responses here, I wonder what we ever disagreed about.
  6. What would be the distinction between "threatening" and "non-threatening"?
  7. I agree with that logic, too. And I agree that it may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. (to mix metaphors) I think it would be a good thing to have it all come crashing down. People don't seem to get that communism doesn't work, socialism doesn't work, socialism-lite doesn't work, a mixed economy doesn't work, and crony capitalism doesn't work. They need to be slapped in the face with consequences of their choices. The faster it falls apart, the quicker we can get to rebuilding it.
  8. My impression was the former, Jaskn. She killed Coin because Coin was just the opposite side of the same... coin - she's just another dictator in the making.
  9. Maybe I'm missing your point, but would you also argue that WalMart, for example, does not have the right to prevent you from entering any of their stores? If you would not argue this, how is it any different from the government preventing you from driving on any of its roads?
  10. I did. The text and the fact that none of my questions were answered led to my interpretation. However, I'm more than willing to admit we're working in an imperfect medium for debate and meaning can be imprecise. Perhaps better word choice, such as "various" rather than "scattered", would've helped. So, JASKN, you have my apology for misinterpreting your post. Here are the definitions you requested: 1) Property - a difficult one, and I'm still working through Grames' link. However, on the spot I would have to say that property is any thing to which property rights can be applied. 2) Public Property - as difficult as property since they share the same term. However, we can't define it since it doesn't really exist (see Grames' post #15). On the other hand, it's a useful fiction for discussion purposes since "public property" is commonly understood to be property owned by the government. In other words, it's things to which the government can assert its rights. 3) Property Rights - this, really, is the lynchpin of the debate. Like all rights, property rights are rights to actions. They are the rights to gain, keep, use, or dispose of the thing to which those rights can be applied. Now, I don't really see how that helps us. I don't believe any of my posts stated or implied that my definitions differed markedly from the common (to this forum) definitions. If anyone should provide their definitions, I think it should be you. However, I thought we could get there by just working through the implications of your implied definitions, as I pointed out in post #13. You argue the government does not have property rights with respect to roads. You then state, "... in the very unlikely scenario that the government suddenly decides tomorrow to break up all illegitimate property into private hands, the best way to do this would probably be a bidding war; the government gets some (presumably) needed money...." How can the government have the right to dispose of roads when the government has no property rights with respect to roads? Surely you can see the contradiction? And, again, you have my apology. It's seems so common for internet posters to quickly devolve into rudeness and this board is no exception. I was so happy with your conduct up until post #17 that perhaps I too quickly interpreted that post in its negative rather than its positive light. I did want to remember to thank you for the debate so I'll do that now. Thank you for the civil tone.
  11. That's so unfortunate. Just before I loaded up the forum this morning I was thinking, "The discussion with JASKN has been a nice change of pace. No ad hominems, no hiding behind internet anonymity to be a complete and utter prick. I must remember to thank JASKN for keeping it together and continuing a rational debate without devolving into school-yard antics." Oh well, so much for that.
  12. How can the government sell something it does not own? How does the government sell something it has no right to sell? I encourage you to read my posts again. I haven't argued that the government creates property. I haven't defined property as "'stuff' sanctioned by the government."
  13. And I suppose that's where our disagreement lies: you're not altering principles, you're altering the concept of property. This alteration leads to not just the problem with money, but across the entire spectrum of property. Suppose President Joe Rational took office tomorrow and said, "Owning vast swaths of the North American continent is not a proper function of government. Starting today I will begin the dispossession process of all Federal lands, including Federal roads." How should he go about doing this? Using your altered principle of property, he can't sell the land or the roads to the highest bidder because the government has no right to them. He cannot make any decision about the land and the roads because, again according to your altered principle, none of it is property and the Federal government has no rights pertaining to its use or disposal. Another example: I own a house. I bought it from a developer. The developer (I assume) built it on land purchased from some farmer. That farmer (I assume) bought the land from someone else many, many years ago. Without going through too many iterations, eventually we get to the point where some guy bought (or was given) the land from the US government. The US government bought the land from the French government in 1804. The French government didn't buy it from anyone. They planted a flag, said, "All of the land from here (pointing at a map) to here (pointing somewhere else) is ours - it is our property to do with as we wish." Now, according to your altered principle of property, I don't own a house; the house I am in right now is not property and therefore I have no property rights. The French government never had the right to sell it to the US government. The US government never had the right to sell it to that long-dead farmer, so he never had the right to sell it to the next guy, and so on until the developer never had the right to sell it to me. If the concept of "property" can be negated simply because the government is involved, then there is no property in the US (or anywhere in the world). If the concept of "property" can be negated simply because the thing in question was obtained through illicit means, then there is no property in the US (or anywhere in the world). Property means nothing without the concomitant right to decide how the thing asserted to be property can be used and disposed of. To say the government does not have the right to determine how roads are used and disposed of is to say that roads are not property. Value is moot.
  14. I liked them very much, and based on the casting so far I'm eager to see the first movie. They're really well written (though I usually don't like first-person narratives), and I wouldn't necessarily categorize them as YA. From an Objectivist standpoint, there are some themes that really resonate: rugged individualism, out-of-control government, using one's rational mind to solve dilemmas. On the other hand, the moral conflicts aren't as clear-cut as a Rand novel. However, I think this is a good thing given the characters make realistic moral decisions that could be seen as rationally self-interested.
  15. I don't see the distinction. Both are owned by the government. Forgive me for the long parse, but it should help to clarify my earlier point. You argue that if something serves the legitimate functions of the state, then it is property and one can assume all rights pertaining to it. If we extend this principle to money then it should follow that money cannot be property, therefore no rights are applicable. "Money is created by the government," which is not one of its legitimate functions. Therefore, it can not be property; therefore, no one has any rights to US currency. Certainly not, but that only puts us back to the earlier question of whether or not it would be moral for you to steal a cop car. Is it? If roads were obtained through illicit means, then so was the cop car. There is an easy answer to your original question, and Jake had it from the beginning: The morality or immorality of any choice is dependent upon how the consequences of the choice will impact your own life. You mention you have "accumulated hundreds of dollars in speeding tickets." So, how has your choice to violate the speed limits impacted your own life? Has violating the speed limits enabled you to lead a happy and productive life?
  16. So, you'll let government have property rights if it's property required for the legitimate function of government, but you won't allow property rights if it's not a legitimate function of government? It's not really about whether the money was taken coercively or not, right? I'm not sure what you're trying to argue here, but the definitions of public and private are not being debated here. What is being debated is whether or not there is such thing as "public property". If so, are roads public property? If not, why not? If it's because roads are not part a legitimate function of government, then what does that mean for other supposed property; e.g. - what about money? Creating a form of money is not a legitimate function of government, does that mean all US currency is not property?
  17. Why? You wrote that "private and pubic property are dissimilar all the way to the core" several times, but never provided the reasoning for why roads should not be handled the same as any other property. You mention something about coercion, but I don't know what you mean by that. Are you saying the government owns nothing because it paid for everything it has by taking the money from others? Can anyone take anything from the government and the government has no right to prosecute them or get the property back? If I drive off with a cop car, have I not stolen property?
  18. Does a property owner have the right to determine how his/her property should be used?
  19. Jesus is coming for my birthday. He promised. Sorry it has to end the world, but a promise is a promise. I wonder if he's burned any bridges, e.g. not paid his bills, not signed a contract to continue his show, etc. Now that would be committment worthy of committment.
  20. You should ask your father what he values more: his daughter, or his desire not to be in the same room with Jon.
  21. Violence would be required to stop someone from speeding on your road if they didn't want to stop speeding on your road. And if there's no real downside to speeding on your road, then people are going to speed on your road. Why voluntarily stop if stopping is only going to result in negative consequences? You wrote that police wouldn't be involved in non-crimes; you defined crimes as having an element of violence; you defined violence as force that is "swift, intense, rough, and/or accompanied by fury." You then wrote that it's okay for the police to evict people who evince no signs of violence, i.e. it is okay for the police to get involved in situations where there is no violence, and therefore no crime. If some non-violent actions are initiations of force, why is speeding not an initiation of force, if it is indeed non-violent? If some non-violent actions require police intervention, then why does speeding not require police intervention, if it is indeed non-violent? If the police can get involved in situations where no violence is present, then why bring up the distinction between crime and non-crime in the first place? The very fact that a speed limit is set makes travelling over that speed disruptive. A speed limit is set to provide order to traffic. Speeds over that limit are, by definition, out of order - disruptive. Reverse it - suppose I set a minimum speed on my road, would not travelling slower than that speed be disruptive? 1) That's conjecture. If I own I70, and you hop on my highway in NC with plans to drive to CO, you're not going to be off my property for a very long time. Furthermore, this suggests someone just walking through your house (or your park, or your building) is not committing a crime. 2) My road is not a public thoroughfare - it is private land. We've already established that posting a sign is a barrier to entry, or at least notification enough that you are not to enter my property without my permission. 3) See above. I disagree. It's no less arbitrary than saying we'll arrest people for stealing cars, but won't arrest them for stealing candy bars because losing less than $20 is a reasonable amount of money to lose. I understand the physics argument for setting a speed, but presumably the road owner would take this into account when setting the speed. It would not be rational for him to set a speed of 100 on a tight curve when travelling at that speed would only result in accidents. The road owner would set a maximum speed at which that curve could be safely taken. He wouldn't set the speed assuming everyone would factor in some arbitrary amount over that speed that they could travel at. Since it's a maximum speed, going over that speed by any amount would be objectively, and demonstrably, bad. A speeder is immediately and continuously disrupting the use of my property for as long as he stays on my property, just as if he were standing in my home or business and refusing to leave. If it is a crime, or requires police intervention to stop the behaviour of a home/business invader, then it requires police intervention to stop the behaviour of a speeder. I pulled this out because, frankly, it bums me out. I don't know what would give you this impression. I've read every one of your arguments, I've addressed every one of them to the best of my ability, and I've tried to stick to the principles involved. What makes you believe I am not arguing in good faith? But she specifically states the police ought to enforce traffic regulations: If she wasn't writing in the context of laissez-faire capitalism, if she wasn't writing in the context of an objective reality, then that would be very unusual to the way she typically writes.
  22. But there's nothing violent in me just remaining in your house after you've asked me to leave. If I don't want you travelling faster than a certain speed on my road, doesn't posting a sign satisfy this first step of informing you that you're not welcome if you're going to travel over that speed? Would this be a special service requiring a fee, or would you being on my property after I've asked you to leave be a crime? If the latter, then why is it that you being on my road (my property) after I've informed you that you're not welcome driving at that speed, not be a crime? Why is this amount not arbitrary? What makes 5mph over the limit not reckless, but 10, or 15, or 20 is? If, for example, travelling 20mph over the speed limit is reckless, why isn't 19mph over the limit reckless? But they haven't initiated violent force. Presumably, you would have to use physical force to remove me - that would be violent force. But she spoke directly to police enforcing "rules of how to drive." One of those rules would be at what speed to drive. Would this speed be a rule set up by the road owner, or would it be a law which applies to everyone, and therefore violating it would be a crime?
  23. I wouldn't classify setting fire to a house as fraud, but I would classify it as using another's property without their permission, and I would classify both as crimes. If I understand you correctly, you would not classify using another's property without their permission, or against their wishes, as a crime. Do I understand you correctly? A speeder initiates force by breaking the contract first, he usually does it intentionally (and there would be little chance of proving intent), and loss can at least be logically deduced from the road owner's rationally arrived at reasons for setting the limit in the first place (i.e. he could show the probability of revenue loss due to lost customers if he didn't set the limit, or could show an actual reduction in revenue due to the prevalence of speeders on his road). It seems clear to me that speeding fits all the requirements for crime other than "violent," and "apply to everyone." I'm not sure how "violent" and "non-violent" would be distinguished, what their differences are, or why speeding couldn't be considered "violent." "Apply to everyone" is the end of my argument, though. Clearly, the limits would only apply to those traveling on that road. Still, I'm left with the fact that someone's rights are being violated in the case of speeding on private roads. I don't have a problem with the road owner enforcing his own contract; I don't have a problem with the issue being decided in court; but it doesn't seem rational to me that an agency of the government, charged with protecting the rights of its citizens, would stand idly by while a clear violation of rights is occurring. Aren't you the one initiating force at this point then? What do you think Rand meant when she wrote:
  24. I'm trying to understand the distinction between crime and non-crime. You've asserted that speeding is not a crime, and therefore the police should only get involved if the road owner is willing to pay extra for that service. I maintain that speeding is a crime because it is the fraudulent use of another's property - it is using their property without their permission - therefore the police should get involved with speeders in the normal course of their proper duties. Starting a fire in your living room is analogous to speeding on private roads because both are fraudulent uses of another's property. Is the distinction between crime and non-crime based on whether or not something is destroyed? Then we agree that, even though you let me onto your property, a crime was still committed? That's not really germane to the debate. I'm not arguing that the road owner can not pull over speeders himself (or pay others to do so). I'm arguing that the police will still pull people over for speeding on private roads. Again, I'm not arguing that you can not. I'm asking whether or not it is in the proper duties of the police to eject me, or will you have to pay a special fee for that? Is my being there, even though you asked me to leave, a crime? Two issues here: 1) The purpose of the lemonade stand scanario is described above. Again, my question is, even if you asked them, is it within the proper duties of the police to eject me and my lemonade stand, or is that something I should have to pay extra for? 2) The lemonade stand scenario provides no objective evidence to the police that a crime is being committed. So, yes, you would probably have to ask them to kick me out. However, speeding on a private road with posted speed limit signs has objective evidence the police can use to determine whether a crime is being committed.
  • Create New...