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Everything posted by JeffS

  1. I put up signs and stakes around it. I didn't put up any buildings or dig any holes. I like looking at the moon just the way it is.
  2. I'm trying to understand the rational, objective principle(s) which should guide David's and my actions. As a rational individual, I don't believe David would initiate force against me if I refused to let him develop a piece of the moon - law or no law. Under an objective moral code, should he? But then my question is, "What have I done to make David, a rational individual, believe he needed to get my permission?" I just put up a few stakes and signs. Should he just say, "Hell, there's no law here, therefore no property rights. I can do whatever I want." If he then proceeds to develop the moon, has he initiated force against me, and therefore I would be morally correct in defending my property? Or, would I be the one initiating force against him since there's no law and I don't actually own the property? Edit: Oops! It takes me a long time to post. David posted his reply before I finished mine. David - I agree with everything in your post, but I'm still looking for the underlying principles. In essence: Why would you respect my property? What have I done that makes you believe it's my property? I understand that you may determine it's not in your rational self-interests to get in a fight with me, but what would signify "gratuitous?" Perhaps I just like looking at the moon and thus couldn't leave any evidence of actually taking possesion and using. Would the absence of that evidence morally absolve you for developing on the land?
  3. Okay, so my "claim" would only be relevant if someone else also wanted to own that hemisphere of the moon? Suppose you also wanted to own the same hemisphere of the moon, or perhaps only a piece of it. I don't want you to have any of it. How would we two rational individuals reconcile the conflict? Would we have to fight?
  4. I've a couple questions on the issue of land ownership and the above quote is a good place to start: How would one claim new, unowned land, for example on the moon? Does one need to actually go there and "squat?" Suppose I do - I travel to the moon and stake out my claim. Do I need to stick around? Suppose I stake out the entire hemisphere which is visible from Earth, claim it as my own and don't do anything to it, then travel back to Earth. It's a value to me - I like the view of it from Earth. Is that enough to make an objectively valid claim of ownership?
  5. Agreed. Parents don't have an obligation to provide for their children simply because the parents brought the child into existence; parents have an obligation to provide for their children because they voluntarily brought their children into existence knowing their children would be dependent beings. For those who have a clear understanding of rights, I think Diana was clear in this. However, for those who don't have a clear understanding of rights, I think her argument could be miscontrued as meaning children have additional rights; i.e. some class of citizens have different rights from other classes of citizens. But age as a criterion is arbitrary precisely due to the existence of those details. We need to look at the details and develop an objective law around them. What defines "self-sufficiency?" It would have to be based in one's capability for rational thought, yet that's also a can of worms - does a third party (i.e. a judge) determine whether any particular individual is capable of rational thought? If so, what objective evidence would they use? How would anyone prove they have a fully developed rational mind? Is a fully rational mind even necessary to prove self-sufficiency? Imagine a scenario where someone refuses to provide for their 18 year old child beginning on the child's 18th birthday. How would it be proved that the child is still entitled to parental support? For that matter, who would be obligated to prove it? The child certainly couldn't do it because that would presume a level of rational thought indicative of self-sufficiency (the child knows enough to develop a rational argument intent upon protecting his rights). Similarly, the child couldn't employ the services of a lawyer because that also presumes a level of self-sufficiency (the ability to understand, and enter into, contractual agreements). It's the state's obligation to protect the rights of the child, but how would the state even get involved? In an objective society, how would this particular violation of rights come to the attention of the state?
  6. You're absolutely right. I should have been more absolute in what I wrote, since I've yet to see an argument which refutes it. Thanks for the advice. So, it's my neighbors and fellow citizens who have the right to force me to act for the benefit of another individual? Then why pick any one age? I've mentioned this several times, so how is it I'm dropping context?
  7. Everyone's pretty much dinging me on the same things, so forgive me for replying to all in one post. I might not quote you specifically, so if you feel I've missed an important part of your argument, please repost it. The problem I have with this argument is that it sounds an awful lot like the collectivist claim that it's okay to take wealth from some and give it to others because everyone has the right to do it. If you're rich now, you have to "contribute," but if you ever get "down on your luck," you can "take." Everyone has the same basic right to welfare (despite the fact that some never avail themselves of that right). In a simple syllogism, their argument would look something like: 1) Poor people have the right to demand support from everyone. 2) Poor people and rich people have the same rights. 3) Therefore, rich people have the right to demand support from everyone. We can how this is flawed because the first premise is flawed. Your argument would be: 1) Children have the right to demand support from their parents. 2) Adults and children have the same rights. 3) Therefore, adults have the right to demand support from their parents. Why is this not flawed? What is the principle underlying a parent refusing to support his adult child? Yes, this was the point I was attempting to make. I think this is the best way to describe the relationship between parent and child. However, I still need to understand the demarcation point between "child" and "adult." At what point can a parent morally, and under objective law legally, throw off the shackles of their children (to wax poetic )? The former seems arbitrary to me, and the latter seems to be child directed - by which I mean the child seems to be controlling when he'll consider his parents' debt paid - and that's probably the way it should be. I can see the latter working in an objective court of law. If some erstwhile, self-supportive adult tries to demand parental support, it can be proved that he has already forgiven the debt his parents owe him for bringing him into the world dependent by striking out on his own. But what about the child who never leaves his parents? Is there some recourse for the parents, or does the debt go on? LOL! I think you're safe checking who has children, parents or children, every few millenia. However, I don't think I'm dropping any context. My question was only whether children have additional rights from adults. I can certainly have the right to a hamburger... if I pay for it, but those aren't the kind of rights we're talking about. We're talking about rights as derived from Man's nature. Now, if we're going to argue that it is Man's nature to be born dependent, and that it is by the parents' actions that Man is born into dependency, therefore it is their moral and legal responsibility to provide support until the child is independent, then I can agree with that. However, I think there are more questions to be answered: Does the right end, and if so, based on what principle? With SoftwareNerd's explanation, we can argue that the right doesn't exactly end so much as it cannot be applied - an independent adult can't demand support from his parents because he is, by definition, no longer dependent. But then that begs the question: when is a child, objectively, no longer a child? That brings up another question: is a child's right to demand support based upon his ability to provide for himself, or something else? If a child becomes an independent adult, then suffers some accident which precludes him from supporting himself, are the parents on the hook again?
  8. Cool, though I would prefer something less well done - mismatched fonts, tears and holes. After all, if the producers left, you shouldn't be able to create anything at all, much less anything of quality. Do you have to pay royalties? If so, can you tell me where I would get information on using Ms. Rand's property?
  9. Partially, yes. Do children have rights adults do not? Can a child demand support from his parents while an adult can not? That's the first part and needs to be answered before we can move on to whether there's an objective way to delineate adulthood. If all humans have the same rights, then we shouldn't need to determine whether they're adults or not. However, if children do have this additional right that entitles them to force the actions of another individual, then we'll need to objectively determine the difference between a child and an adult. How is this done? Both you and Dante basically gave the same response, so I'll just address both here. I understand the flaw in the collectivist's argument; it's based on a flawed premise. The argument that some implied contract exists between a parent and a child is also based upon a flawed premise - that parents and children can enter into contracts. Contracts require that the parties are capable of rationally understanding the terms of the contract. We certainly wouldn't claim that a newborn child understands much of anything, much less his obligations (are there any?) under some implied contract with his parents.
  10. I'm not sure I understand the argument. Are you arguing that a child's right to provision stems from the parents' act of bringing the child into existence? If so, I see a few problems with it: Does this right end, or are children entitled to parental support from womb to tomb? If it does end, when, and by what principal? Does it end when they are capable of supporting themselves? What does it mean to be "able to support yourself"? The concept of a "tacit agreement/contract" seems to me very close to the collectivist argument that we tacitly agree to whatever the Constitution says, and whatever its interpreters determine it to say, by staying in the country. Don't get me wrong, I agree with the sentiment and I would love to see an objective reason why a parent is obligated to take care of their children. But the questions above vex me.
  11. Marc K., I'm sure I don't understand your position. Does an objectively insane man have rights? Does an irrational person have rights? Who decides what is irrational? I mean, believing in gods is irrational - do all deists lack rights? Would going to church be the action which determines a judgment of irrationality? If I killed a justly convicted and imprisoned human, would I be guilty of violating his rights? Why, or why not? Do criminals have any rights? What principle determines what rights they have?
  12. There is another option: http://www.aboardtheworld.com/ As I understand it, you need a net worth of at least $5M. My guess is that if things get really bad, more and more producers will opt for this type of escape.
  13. lol Just a poor attempt at guessing where you're heading - China? To your post, I read, or heard, once that only about 5% of the US is actually inhabited. If we cut out the nether reaches of Alaska, I'd bet one could quit this country without actually quitting its borders. I need to do more research on this, but it seems a much more viable option than actually leaving.
  14. Agreed. Thanks for the discussion, Grames.
  15. I think the answer is there, though I'm not sure if it's what you meant. It doesn't make sense (to me) to assert prisoners have any rights at all. Everything about their situation goes against my understanding of rights and life. I don't think their situation is similar to children or the incapacitated. Children and the incapacitated have rights, and their guardian acts to protect those rights. I think the answer is, when convicted of a crime, the state denies your right to live. It might deny your right to live permanently (it might kill you), or it might deny your right to live for a limited period of time (it might simply imprison you). If convicted of a crime that objectively requires only imprisonment, allowing one prisoner to harm or kill another prisoner would go against the state's monopoly on force. The prisoner who injures or kills another prisoner violates not the rights of the injured or killed prisoner, but the rights of every individual who has empowered the state's monopoly on force. @Hotu Matua - If I need to ask permission to perform some action, can it be said I have a right to perform that action? If I am prevented, through the use of force, from acting in a way which will enable me flourish and live a full life, can it be said I have a right to live? If a thief only takes $1 of my millions, can it be said that I have a right to choose the disposition of my property? You must try to think in principles.
  16. You began by asserting a man could have his rights taken away piece-meal. I replied that locking a man up effectively takes away all his rights. You replied that a locked up man still has a right to live. However, that doesn't mesh with the way Ms. Rand explained the concepts of "life" and "rights." My question is: How do you reconcile what Ms. Rand wrote with what you wrote? Ms. Rand wrote: "...the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life." A man in prison does not have "the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life." Therefore, a man in prison cannot be said to have a right to life. If a man is denied this fundamental right, then where would any other rights derive from?
  17. So, in her use of the word "life" in the passage I quoted, Ms. Rand meant only death avoidance, not living a full and productive life? That doesn't seem to mesh with everything I've read about her view of "life." Okay, that makes sense. Thanks.
  18. The only problem with that I see (and this might be ancillary to the current discussion) is "there is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. " (AR) If you take away a man's right to freedom (e.g. lock him in a cell) aren't you effectively taking away all his rights? I mean, he no longer has "the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life." (AR) Do convicted felons have rights? Certainly they can't take "actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fullfillment and the enjoyment of [their lives]." Neither can an insane or otherwise irrational person, whether they are locked up or not. Okay, great point. So, to reference an earlier post, rights are assumed to be held by a being based upon its DNA (that which matches human) until proven to lack a rational faculty? Or, would you rephrase that to "a being based upon its recognizable human form" since DNA isn't something immediately observable? Or, would it be something else entirely?
  19. Sure. Much of Roosevelt's "100 Days" legislation was deemed unconstitutional by the SCOTUS in the 30s.
  20. I'm afraid I still don't get it. I understand why children have rights - they are beings with a volitional, rational faculty and the concept of rights is necessary for their continued living as such beings in a society. These children grow to adults and maintain all the rights they had since birth. I understand why someone who is accused of being insane (or otherwise incapable of volitional, rational thought) must be assumed to have been a being with a volitional, rational faculty at one time, therefore had rights, including the rights necessary to protect himself against false accusations. However, if this person actually is insane, and is objectively proven to be so, does he still have rights? If he does have (any) rights, then what is that based upon? He is no longer capable of volitional, rational thought, so why does he need rights? I don't understand why those who are born insane (or otherwise incapable of volitional, rational thought) should have rights. As above, what is that based upon? They are beings who from the beginning do not possess a volitional, rational faculty - something that is required for the concept of rights to exist.
  21. But isn't the concept of rights only applicable to beings with a rational faculty in a social setting?
  22. Well, so far, there are still those two irritating amendments #9 and #10: #9 "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." #10 "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." They haven't helped so far, but we can hold out hope. If the SCOTUS doesn't strike this down, perhaps these states' AGs can start a movement toward an amendment to prevent the Fed from doing anything like this again.
  23. Hmmm, okay. So, if I stand up and say, "I believe someone, someday, will value whales (for example)." The state should initiate force in order to protect those whales? We could put anything we want into that statement: whales, dogs, poor people, sick people, trees, air, money, etc. ad nauseum and pretty much end up with any collectivist's wet dream for a government. Is that what you're advocating? If not, how is it different in principle?
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