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Everything posted by rebelconservative

  1. I'm not suggesting you'd support the state murdering drug dealers/smugglers. I am pointing out that this is why we have due process; we can't trust government to restrain itself.
  2. And how do we know he was an "enemy combatant"? All we know is that he was a spiritual advisor to someone who attempted a terrorist attack and that he edited a jihadi magazine. He was not killed in a firefight with US troops, he was taken out. What will you say when (and if) they start killing people who are smuggling weed in defiance of their "war on drugs"?
  3. I wonder how long it will be until the US government dispenses with the court system in their "war on drugs" and just starts taking people out instead, a lot easier and cheaper.
  4. I don't think that it is clear that al-Aulwaqi had "taken up arms." He'd been a spiritual advisor to a terrorist and edited a magazine. He was hardly killed on a battlefield. The problem is that it is not clear, we just don't know what al-Aulaqi was or what he had done. That was for a court to determine, not the whims of the executive branch. To use your example, if a US citizen working for Hitler was on a battlefield, kill him without compunction. If he was just editing a Nazi magazine in Bavaria, then you have no justification for killing him. Arrest him if you can, if not try him in absentia.
  5. True... it describes a value, but is neutral on whether it is rational or not. I incorrectly conflated value and rationality.
  6. And the proper domain for government is killing its own citizens? Of course it is, but that does not give the government free reign to do as it pleases in order to fight that war. I assume you oppose the draft?
  7. Except this was not what happened, al-Aulaqi was not killed in daily combat. It was a targeted strike. If al-Qaeda recruit US citizens, try them in a court. If you need to kill them to stop an imminent attack (e.g. suicide bombing) then do so - but you will have to back that up with evidence of guilt at a later stage. Police in London shot a suspected terrorist, they pinned him down to the floor of a tube train and they shot him in the head. Sadly, it turned out that the "terrorist" was an entirely innocent Brazilian man with no connections to Islam or terrorism of any kind. The police lied, contradicted themselves and tried to cover it up. This is why we have due process. This is why we need to hold to government to account. I don't have a problem with the shoot to kill policy, my problem is in giving government an entirely free reign to do as it pleases without being subject to any kind of judicial oversight. Again, the "prohibition" is against "direct offensive action" against (ie murder of) citizens - who are not engaged in the act of terrorism - without trial. If the US army is under attack in Afghanistan, they should destroy their enemy and check their passports later. If they are surveilling a suspect they can not just blow him up on the say-so of the President. I don't think the distinction is too difficult. If al-Aulaqi was actively engaged in terrorism against the US, I would not have a problem with military action that kills him in the commission of terrorism. This is not what happened. I would not have a problem with a targeted assassination if the government had a) gone through the proper legal channels of a declaration of war against a specified enemy trying him in absentia or c) at least provide some evidence of his guilt after the fact.
  8. I am surprised that people who generally oppose the power of the state can so readily accept the murder of an American citizen (or anyone) without any real evidence of guilt being presented with the government arguing that it doesn't have to bother supply any proof. Aside from the Constitutional / legal protections, what about the right to life? Can the government ignore that on a whim? On the say so of a bureaucrat? or should it have to provide evidence? Aulaqi's character and alleged actions are irrelevant, the only things that matter are that the government violated the Constitution, violated his rights (and therefore set a precedent to violate the rights of every man, woman and child). This hawkish, neo-con, dare I say collectivist, nationalistic approach to foreign policy is confusing to me, I find it contrary to the rest of Objectivism. The government says we are at war, he was an enemy, we killed him and we are supposed to accept that? If this was the case, the government should declare war, against a stated enemy that can be defined objectively. If he was an enemy, let us have the proof. By all accounts Aulaqi was not going to be nominated for "Patriot of the Year" but editing a jihadist magazine is no a sufficient justification for killing him nor is alleged involvement in actual terrorist plots in the past. Don't get me wrong, if we were in imminent danger, if we had a 'Jack Bauer' situation where they had evidence that he was currently implementing a plot against the US, then the government were entitled - indeed, morally required - to take him out (and any innocent bystanders). However, this does not appear to be the case. A legal, just solution was there, charge him, issue a subpoena and try him in absentia if necessary, if you get a guilty verdict declare open season. When you drop the bar so low, when you give government free reign to tackle "terrorism" don't be surprised when the government starts locking up "enemies of the state" like Leonard Peikoff and Yaron Brook.
  9. I don't know about US voters softwarenerd, but here in the UK, the electorate doesn't like any public services being cut and whilst they don't like paying taxes, they are happy enough for "the rich" to pay them. Even though we have the example of Greece (and now Italy) all over the media, the Left are still opposing every single cut the our Coalition govt is making (and they are not really making many) and they have a strong lead in the polls (and this is with an embarrassingly inept and boring leader). They say they agree cuts need to be made, but you specify a particular area and "You can't cut that!!! , offer another area "Are you crazy?!" ok... how about.... "You heartless evil person!" - so what you would cut? "Y'know... erm... well... hmmm... just tax the rich, they can afford it!" I fear that the politicians will do everything they can to keep the Euro together, which will mean Germany accepting "quantitative easing" (something they are keen to avoid for obvious historical reasons). If this happens, the hard choices can be avoided until further, more damaging economic crises arise and the Euro will be ultimately torn apart leading to market chaos. Looking into the future, I don't see many positive outcomes. I'd like to say that we can educate enough influential people or that people will wake up to the reality before their eyes, but I fear that they won't. Our intellectuals are so wedded to collectivism that they are beyond hope. Further problems will be up ahead and, as always, the market will be to blame so of course we will need more government...
  10. I'm not going to psychoanalyse their motives, but the fact is that the dominant theme of our culture is one of altruism, one where a man is heralded as moral not for making millions but for giving money away. The businessman is not congratulated for providing a great product and service to consumers at a profit, but only when they "give back to society" (I hate that term). In our culture people receive psychological rewards when they give to other people, the rich man likely feels good about himself for giving money - less guilt about amassing riches beyond the imagination of the 99%. This is the culture in which the rich min finds himself, the culture that serves us trash like this from a business paper... http://www.businessweek.com/management/idolize-bill-gates-not-steve-jobs-11012011.html?campaign_id=rss_topStories If a rich man does not have a strong grounding in philosophy, he will very likely accept the moral message of the altruist, even though his life is testament to its impracticality. It is possible for a rich man to give away millions of dollars entirely rationally. I'm not just talking of rationally self-interested motives like funding research into diseases you may die of, but if you have more money than you could ever spend and if you value education, then supporting schools in Africa is entirely rational even though you won't directly benefit.
  11. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this essentially a tautology? You are setting this up to prove that every act, no matter how self-destructive, is selfish because you are defining value as the actions people take. If this were the case, people could not possibly act in a way that is against their rational self-interest. If someone acts to take heroin, they must value it, therefore they are being selfish - yet this is nonsense, they are not acting in their rational interest.
  12. I've been training in shotokan karate for over two years now, I am 1st kyu and will be grading for my 1st dan (black belt) some time next year. It has had an incredibly positive effect on my life, I am now significantly stronger and fitter than I was and my general health has improved. I had problems with my hip before I started doing it, which has not been an impediment, the exercise has helped it and I now have problems only very rarely. I think it has also been a great benefit to my mental health as well. I do have more confidence and self-esteem and I carry myself much higher and stronger now than I ever did before. Whilst there is an element of irrational spirituality behind most Eastern martial arts (and my Sensai's Christianity), there are quite a few cross-overs from karate to Objectivism. The Dojo kun recited after every session are as follows - To strive for the perfection of character To defend the path of truth To foster a spirit of effort To honour the principles of etiquette To guard against impetuous courage The first three are fully consistent with Objectivism. Our club motto is "do mu kyoko" - no limitations in life I've never been in a situation where I have needed to use my training and hope I never am! However, it is good to have the confidence of knowing that I can handle myself if some mindless thug seeks to use force against me. Best of luck in your training.
  13. **Mod Note: Merged Topic. -Dante** Just spotted this online philosophy course on Rand and Objectivism, given by a Rothbardian. http://academy.mises.org/courses/ayn-rand-and-objectivism/ He invites Objectivists to join in.
  14. I have no problem with the claims, accepting that they are true doesn't lead to a belief in a highly improbable event - it certainly doesn't constitute proof or probability.
  15. 1 - True 2 - True 3 - I'll take their word for it. 4 - True 5 - True I fail to see how that means that Yeshua was resurrected. That is a massive leap. There are many, simpler explanations for the tomb being empty and two men changing their minds.
  16. He sounds like most Labour politicians (and voters) in the UK
  17. Not if you take the correct, strict constructionist view. Liberals want to apply 20th century definitions to an 18th century text, in keeping with the monstrous idea of a 'living' (that is worthless) constitution.
  18. I am not a constitutional scholar by any means, but I have always read the GW clause as referring to the fact that laws should be made objectively, without regard for special interests.
  19. People support Social Security (national insurance in the UK) because they believe that it is a contract and far too many still think that the money they are paying is actually going into a specific pot with their name on it to be drawn down later in life. This impression is deliberately cultivated by the Left, the unions and government. In reality, it is nothing more than a super-massive Ponzi scheme the likes of which would land a private citizen in jail for many years.
  20. I agree that it is best not to confuse philosophical and political mindsets, because a subjectivist might define the good by opinion poll, but socialists have very definite ideas about what constitutes the good and can be very hostile when their ideas are rejected by the public. You only have to look to the UK at the moment, or Wisconsin, where the democratically elected government is trying to implement policies in the face of massive opposition from the Left. A socialist would most probably fit best within the religious category if you were to change 'clergy' to something else that encompassed liberal opinion formers and religious clergy and the Bible to 'received wisdom'
  21. Robin Hood took back from the state the money it has stolen from the people.
  22. I don't see how anyone could accuse an Objectivist of agreeing with that nonsense. These people are nothing more than your garden variety anarchist squatters. We have a terrible problem with them in the UK (particularly London) as the law is heavily weighted in their favour, not the property owner.
  23. Whilst a shockingly high number (around half?) felt he is a Muslim, they did not all accept that ludicrous notion - several stated his 'religion' as liberalism which is much closer to the mark. It is scary that these people have the vote though, particularly in an important primary (I still don't think it is as vital as it is made out to be by the media). It is concerning that so many people hold this bizarre idea, what are the causes of this?
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