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Everything posted by nanite1018

  1. There are legal aspects, certainly. How will you get there? You must travel by land. Someone has property rights to the vehicle you use, and the land you go across. Does your friend own the property where he lives? If not (for example, he lives in an apartment building, or in his parents house, or with roommates), then you must be concerned with whether or not the person who does have control of the property will allow you onto their property. In getting there, did you infringe on anyone's rights, for example hitting a car on your way there, or shoving someone to the ground because they were walking too slow? Then you will have to be detained by police and punished for your infraction. The list can go on, but I think you can see that there most certainly are legal concerns to take into account when picking your friend up by 7 p.m. One final one might be this- did you set forth some form of punishment for if you did not pick him up before 7? For example, did you say you would pay for his movie ticket? In that case, you would have created a verbal contract which (depending on how you worded the promise) might be enforceable. That's another possible legal matter which might enter into the case. So, your example DOES have legal aspects to it, as does all action by a human in society, as men have rights to property, and all action employs property in some manner, and so you must be concerned with the property rights to the material you employ in any action you take. Conversely, there is no such thing as a purely legal thing, as all such things are actions by people, whose moral purpose is their rational self-interest, then all "purely legal things" also have moral components. Every action has both legal and moral components. Morality is contingent on a far larger set of things than legality, with moral actions being a subset of legal ones (as laws are concerned with rights, which are derived from the nature of man, whereas morality is derived from the nature of a specific man, and is therefore more restrictive). So any moral action is necessarily legal, but any legal action is not necessarily moral. We are in the latter case in this thread.
  2. Mindy: Your position seems to be this- the purchase/sale of a book is a purely legal thing, and as such the legality or illegality of the question answers the question of its morality. The fundamental problem with this can be seen with this example- I am a rich newspaperman. I aim to get maximum viewership, and buy out everyone who seems to oppose me on any question. I buy businesses so as to use them to manipulate other people in order to get my way. I never threaten anyone with force, but I happen to like the view of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who said "... the law is too slow. I'll ruin you." I do this to a number of my enemies, creating competing companies, running them at an enormous loss so as to force them out of business, then buy out their company for pennies on the dollar, so that I can lord it over them and thrill in their destruction, for it is a testament to how powerful I am. My name is Gail Wynand (approximately). Do you see the issue? You can be immoral, even if you don't do anything illegal. Seeking to, in Wynand's case, have as much power over people as he possibly can, is immoral while not being illegal (as it doesn't serve his life, as it is a second-handed sort of life, while not violating anyone's rights). The question of the OP is if his action is immoral while not being illegal (it obviously isn't illegal). There is no such thing as a purely legal thing. Every action has some legal component (involving property rights and the like) as well as a moral component (the rational self-interest of everyone involved). That is the flaw in your argument, and why the OP's question is not addressed by your line of argument.
  3. Rand is in the Aristotelian tradition, and acknowledged her debt to Aristotle and Aquinas. Another Aristotelian with similar views in the political room (though distinctly different) is Murray Rothbard. I don't know about Nietzche. Aquinas and Aristotle are the biggest influences on her, from what I can tell from her writings. What does it matter though? How would her being inspired by another philosopher, or adopting some of their ideas (in somewhat modified form) as her own, corrupt the philosophy? If it is internally consistent and refers to the real world (as opposed to being some rationalist circle-jerk, which it isn't), then the philosophy is true and not "corrupted" in any way. With your quotes surrounding "philosophy" in your post, I surmise that you are not an Objectivist, or even remotely interested in Objectivism, as it is not philosophy, in your opinion. Might I ask why you're here?
  4. Agreed. If Jacob really wanted to return all his books, then he should say something like "I'll probably be returning this book after I'm done with it." Question Does it matter if he says it to the cashier of the bookstore (they are almost always not managers/owners of the store)? I don't think it would, as they are responsible for carrying out the policies of the store.
  5. That is inappropriate. And Rand never covered refunding books, so that doesn't even make sense. Anyway, my thoughts on the matter, and my reasoning: In purchasing the book, you enter into a contract with the store to give them money and they will give you a book, and in that contract it also states you may return the book within 30 days for a full refund, presumably with "no questions asked" or "for any reason." By putting that in the contract, the store owner acknowledges the possibility that you will return the book, and has factored that in to the price of the books. Are you stealing anything from anyone? No, as they agreed to the contract of their own free will. Also, if they notice you have spent a net 0 dollars in the last 12 months but have purchased 30 books, they can ban you from the store (or at least stop you from getting refunds, the movie theater I work at has done that with repeat offenders). So, you aren't violating anyone's rights. The question then is whether it is in your interests. Well, that depends on if you think the book is valuable enough to keep; whether you want to support that particular store because you find it valuable, or just don't care where you get your books; and probably most importantly is if you feel you are being honest. Honesty seems to be the key here. Are you pretending that you won't return the books? Or is it fairly obvious, for example, by you saying, when you return the books "I didn't like it," or "I love your return policy, I get to see if I like a book, and if I don't, I return it!" Or do you lie to the cashier and say "I never read it, I swear." Or do you just say nothing and say "I would like to return this book please." If you are being honest, and not trying to hide your intentions or the nature of your actions, and it is in your interest (didn't care for the book, don't want to keep it, etc.), then I can't see a problem with returning the books. Of course, if they refuse you a refund, or ban you from the store, don't complain about it, it is their right.
  6. I'm tempted to agree. Though perhaps I can explain the problem in this way: It is in your rational interest to see those who violate others rights punished (there are all the arguments for that already). You have violated someone's rights (in this hypothetical). Therefore, it is in your rational interest for you to be punished. Doing what is in your interest is good. So cooperating with the punishment is good. So, if you choose to be a good person, cooperate. If not (which is quite possible, even likely, since you violated someone's rights), then don't.
  7. Well, actually, attempted murder is a threat of committing force, which is almost (perhaps equally?) bad as committing the force itself. So the punishment for attempted murder would have to be just somewhat less than the punishment for murder (so, maybe not execution, but maybe 20 years in a work-camp or something like that). It would take a serious misunderstanding of the meaning "initiation of force" to claim that all "attempted" crimes should just get warnings. That wouldn't make any sense at all. Also, any coerced work may be called "slavery" (though perhaps better would be "indentured servitude"?). Though, 100 hours of slavery/service (only four days), isn't that bad. I mean, that'd be, say, 2 weeks of jail time or time in a work camp (or community service), if each day counted as eight hours. That's not that long really at all. Seems roughly proportionate to the crime. So while I disagree with your reasoning David, I agree that 100 hours of slavery/service is probably an appropriate punishment. I'm curious, do you think 6 months in prison is justified for this crime though? I would think something on the order of a couple weeks would be more appropriate (which is part of why I think 100 hours is about right, give or take say a factor of two).
  8. Only problem is that it is actually MORE expensive than the paperback version (you know, the one that has production and shipping costs associated with it). I noticed that most Objectivist works had prices on the Kindle greater than or equal to their physical counterparts, including AS (which is fully 4 dollars (about 25%) more on the Kindle than any other copy of the book. With ebooks having near zero production and distribution costs (on the order of a few cents), I have no idea what the publisher is thinking. You lose some things when you switch to a digital format (the feeling of a book in your hands, that huge bookshelf stuffed with books, the smell of the paper, etc.) and gain exactly one thing: convenience. Now that might be an okay trade at an equal or lesser price for the vast majority of people, but very few (I think) will ever pay 25% more for a digital copy of anything than for a physical copy. Strikes me as a near suicidal business move. But maybe I'm just odd. Haha.
  9. After browsing much of this thread, and reading some essays on the subject (including "Fact and Value"), I've decided I will never call myself an Objectivist, even if it seems that what differences I have are resolved. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and anything that wasn't written or reviewed by Rand herself cannot be shown, with certainty, to be part of that philosophy. As such, my own philosophy, which must necessarily encompass more than Rand wrote in her lifetime (she said once that no philosopher can ever write their entire philosophy in their lifetime), can never be shown to be the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and therefore can never be called Objectivism. I think it much better to call myself "loosely" or "broadly" Objectivist, or "Objectivist-influenced", so as to make it clear the connection between my own philosophy and Rand's. Perhaps "Randian", that oft-denounced term that critics of Miss Rand use instead of "Objectivist", might be the best term. It evokes all the other philosophers in history. Rand was in the Aristotelian tradition. There are many Platonists, Kantians, Popperians, etc. None of those terms are taken to mean "in absolute agreement with every single aspect of the philosophy that was in the head of Plato/Kant/Popper/Aristotle", but rather "heavily influenced by and in agreement with most aspects of the philosophy of Plato/Kant/Popper/Aristotle." In that sense, Peikoff, Binswanger, myself, most of us on this forum, Kelley, etc. are all "Randian", but not all (or, depending on your position, none of us, really) "Objectivists." I think this would be helpful. "Objectivism" is the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and "Randian" is the philosophical movement inspired by her work, in the same sense as "Aristotelian" and "Kantian." Might that be the answer to whyNOT's concerns about division and not focusing on common similarities, while also taking care of distinguishing the important differences between, for example, Peikoff and Kelley?
  10. Just one objection. In mathematics, the meaning of "arbitrarily small" is "no matter how small you wish to make it." So, e=.02 is NOT arbitrarily small. For any given value you give for e, I can always, for example, divide it by two and get it smaller. It doesn't mean "come up with a number arbitrarily", which seems to be how you are using it. I don't want to dive into the larger conversation, but I did want to correct that point, as it was an error in usage of a mathematical term.
  11. Yes, it was disappointing, because it didn't definitively end the movie on the side of reality, which had been the whole struggle of Cobb. Though, I think, perhaps it hinted enough to get the real point across.
  12. Yes, that is basically it. A just law should ban the initiation of force, including the threat of force (threat in the sense, not of risk, but rather of separating action and thought). An action which may lead to some violation of rights but is not in itself a violation of rights cannot be subject to legal restriction out of "justice", as justice, in the political realm, is about punishing violations of rights. DUI is not, in itself, a violation of other drivers rights, for as I said before, no one could know you were drunk driving unless you were driving badly (in which case you are breaking other traffic laws, which are necessary to prevent road chaos). Since I can't know you are drunk driving, and therefore can't know you are an increased risk, your actions cannot fit under the "threat of force" category, and the action itself does not involve the use of force against me, and so it isn't a violation of my (the other drivers) rights. From that standpoint, I do not see how laws against DUI serve any purpose except that of a deterrent, which is not alone sufficient cause to outlaw something. There can be no laws regulating private conduct unless there is the use of force or the threat of force. Drivers must accept the rules, whatever they are, for the private road they are driving on, and so assume whatever risk there is in driving on said road. As a result, unless someone violates one of those rules or actually hits someone, a driver on that road is not violating anyone's rights, and so no regulations on roads or driving could be just in a private road system. So they would not be a matter of law. I'm not convinced of the existence of negligence as a crime in an Objectivist system, because any given act of negligence would also have to fall under the category of "threat of force" or "force", I don't see how it could be otherwise (except for the case of DUI and other similar "under the influence" actions). Indeed, negligence is the only possible area of the law that I could see you fitting DUI under with any legitimacy, but as I said above, I'm unconvinced as to whether negligence could ever constitute a "threat of force" all on its own.
  13. I pick on DUI laws because they are not necessary given all the other laws on driving. I don't see the need for them. That is all. Take away DUI laws, and the road system keeps functioning just fine (if you enforce the other laws), even as a government owned system. And so I don't see why we should add another regulation which, in a just society, shouldn't exist. Also, your comment on licensing is true. All such laws should be gotten rid of, and roads privatized. But the thread is specifically targeted against DUI. I don't see what "improving law over time" has anything to do with it really. If you could explain how that could apply, I'd like to know. DUI laws have no place whatsoever in a just society, as the government wouldn't own any roads (except perhaps those on military bases, but they own the whole base, so that'd be very very different). They aren't necessary given you enforce the other laws already in place for driving. So I view them as "superfluous", more than necessary, a greater restriction on individual action than is necessary in our mixed-economy society. Another item of note is that we both agree there should be no DUI laws at all in an ideal system, and that it should be up to the owner. So we are both against DUI laws, we simply disagree about whether they should be repealed now or when we privatize the roads.
  14. So your position is that any law about driving is perfectly fine, and that the government could agree only to only allow green cars on the road, because it's their property and using it is a privilege? And you wouldn't have any problem, nor a right to claim that it is unjust, because, after all, it's not MY property so I just have to accept the decision. I am saying, NOT that laws against drunk driving are by their nature immoral (when considered in the context of a government-owned road system), but that they are unnecessary and superfluous. They claim that drunk driving is a threat because drunk drivers force others to behave differently is false. They do not do so, unless they start violating other traffic laws, like rules on speed limits, lanes, traffic signals, etc. A rule against "weaving" within a given lane is also legitimate, as it means that others on the road cannot know where you are actually trying to go, or what you will do, with any precision whatsoever. If you aren't doing any of that, then you are driving reasonably well and aren't threatening anyone else with your driving at this point. If you can be shown to be driving recklessly, that is having control over the vehicle (and the only legitimate evidence that that is the case is you actually driving the vehicle in a manner which is reckless, i.e. speeding, weaving back and forth within a lane, crossing lanes without turn signals, veering into oncoming traffic, etc., as otherwise the police have no reason to stop you), then you should be fined/arrested. Indeed, one point that I think should be made is that, excluding traffic stops, police officers do not just randomly pull people over for DUI, but rather pull over those who are violating other traffic laws in some fashion. If you are going the speed limit, using signals properly, and not weaving back and forth, you aren't going to get pulled over for DUI, as there is no evidence of it. Laws against DUI are not, given our present conditions (i.e. exempting those from the moral evaluation), invalid. They are superfluous, in my view, and so should be eliminated.
  15. As I've stated before, I think that a very strict "get back what you gave" policy is the best. If someone, for example, was raped in a particular fashion, then theoretically the victim and/or state could rape them in a similar manner. If they don't want to be raped, the parties could negotiate a prison sentence, a restitutive payment, etc., with the criminal deciding whether he is better off (that is, hurt less) with the offer or his sentence, and the victim/state deciding whether it likes the offer better than the sentence. Similarly for assault, murder, theft, etc. Determining a set prison sentence for a crime is impossible, if your goal is equal retribution (rather than proportional). And even, for example, saying that a rape is worth 20 years whereas a beating is worth 9 and a theft is 5, etc. isn't going to be right. Who is to say that the beating was 1.8 times worse than a theft of value x, or 55% less bad than a rape? If you want the punishment to be proportional to the evil done, then I'd say give 'em back what they dished out (plus fines for all costs incurred for trial, etc., with interest). Seems straightforward and very very clear what punishment one would receive for a crime.
  16. If no man can use force against another man, than no man can use force against a murderer trying to kill him. So banning the use of force, period, is not a just way to go. The fundamental law must be "No man may initiate force against another man." Perhaps you'll say "But a police officer isn't a 'man' in that sense, but the government." I believe that all law must apply to all men all the time, and that government officials cannot be exempt from any law, ever. So if you ban all force, then there can be no police. I don't know if that is objectionable to you or not, but it seems obvious to me. If the fundamental law, from which all others are derived, is no force may be used by men, then there can be no police. Or, is it perhaps your point that humans who use force are not really "men", and you wish this fundamental law to act more in the manner of a definition, such that any person who uses force is not a man and so one can legitimately use force against them? If that is what you meant, than I can agree with you.
  17. Well, we would obviously, as a starting point, have the law code of a government of the standard Objectivist ideal as a starting point for this new society (violent revolution would only lead to chaos and another oppressive government, and so whittling down what government does until it is a minarchist state without power of taxation is obviously the only way to go). Obviously that would be a great law code and would be agreed upon by almost everyone (as by that point society would have to be heavily influenced by Objectivism and similar philosophies). Then, principles of law would come from a few places: 1) defense agencies/insurance companies would make rules about its clients, and make agreements with other agencies about how to decide cases and the rules for property appropriation, trade, etc. 2) contracts among people will create rules about how they will interpret certain laws, or contain the rules under which the contract is to be interpreted, applied, and enforced, etc. 3) Court decisions using the society's rational philosophy as a background will develop a system of common law, which is what the vast majority of law is now anyway. This is the problem. You say that men have the right to alter or abolish government when it becomes destructive of the ends of protecting individual rights. Then who is to decide when it has become so destructive? If the government is to decide matters of justice, then it must necessarily decide whether an act of rebellion was just too, and obviously that's just a destruction of the whole idea of a right to alter or abolish destructive government. The other option, that it cannot judge the justice of a rebellion, is to leave the government without the power to stop or prevent anyone from leaving and switching governments, or seceding, and thus to eliminate its monopoly. I just don't see how you can have both monopoly government and a right to alter or abolish bad government. Also, perhaps in my analysis I was being a little vague. People own property, and so would contract with various defense agencies to protect that property, including land. So on any given square inch of land property, there would be some government in charge, and the only thing is that it would have lots of visiting citizens of other governments on its grounds at any given time, and its territory is probably not contiguous. That is, in my mind, the best representation of a system of defense agencies that I can think of, and in that representation, perhaps you could say that each government has a "monopoly" in its territory. I don't know if that would influence how you saw my argument at all. Well, if we have the right to rebel and change the government, than society as a whole (as in, in general, not every single individual member) decides on the law, and the law is whatever the great bulk of society says it is (as they can, always, change it whenever they wish if that great bulk changes its collective minds). That was all I was saying. There is a law against murder because everyone says there is. If no one said there was, there would be no such law (in any meaningful sense). It is illegal for anyone to assault another. But whether an action was "assault" has to be determined, and since we live in a society, it is determined by society at large by the rules it has for such things. That is, it is determined by the vast majority of the other people in society according to the standards that they each individually set. Presently, we all (well, most of us) rely on certain people to decide on such things so long as they follow certain standards (i.e. judges, due process, standards of evidence, etc.). The same would occur without an enforced monopoly organization called government. We'd still have well respected judges or arbitration agencies whose reputations for just rulings would lead to their decisions being respected as final by people in society. Well, it isn't legal, but you can hire someone to kill someone, they're called hitmen. The "particularly" was to designate that it is a legitimate such trade to hire someone to, say, lock a murderer in jail, or some such thing. See, I don't know if I agree with this or not. Initiation of force is indeed a rejection of reason as your means of survival. But reason dictates that you retaliate against the initiation of force in order to protect yourself and your own life. How is obeying a dictate of reason possibly a rejection of it as your means of survival? Perhaps I do, though I often find that it is difficult to engage in a discussion on principle without discussing concretes, if only as examples (and inevitibly, people criticize via the example, and back and forth). In order to try to move the discussion more in that vein, I'm going to respond to the conclusion of your post in a separate post. Also, thanks for the advice.
  18. I agree with what you wrote about public property and the nature of driving, but I do not agree that it applies to my current argument. My argument is simply this: there are traffic laws regulating how one must drive. There have to be rules about driving patterns, or there will be total chaos. As the government claims ownership over roads, and every rational person knows there would need to be some traffic rules regardless of private or public ownership of roads, then the government can, so long as it claims ownership, make traffic rules. Now, what type of rules are appropriate? My reply is that rules governing the actual driving itself so as to maintain some order while having flexibility. We need speed limits (I tend to think that most are too low as of now, but that is beside the point). We need traffic control signs and lights, and we need lanes, rules about how one must drive (use of turn signals, etc.). If you have those, a law against drunk driving is unnecessary. If I'm driving drunk, but haven't violated any traffic laws (for example, a legitimate one might be one against "erratic" driving, such as weaving around inside a lane), then what wrong have I committed? All the problems with drunk driving come from the breaking of other (objectively necessary) rules of the road, such as erratic driving, speeding, ignoring signage, etc. It's superfluous. Government shouldn't be in the road business. But it is. So long as it is, it must make rules, because rules are necessary for driving (or at least, would exist in a market). But a rule against drunk driving is a rule that isn't necessary for driving, as someone who is drunk but hasn't violated a traffic law cannot be said to be doing anything wrong (as they are not yet driving in a manner dangerous to others). There are rules against traffic collisions, and there are rules about speed, method of driving, etc. So long as one obeys those rules, one is not, as Mindy argued, doing the vehicular equivalent of firing a gun into a crowd. One is obeying the rules of the road, and so would be, in that analogy, merely carrying a weapon in a crowd, and is not threatening anyone. If you violate traffic laws, then you have begun firing (and are thus a threat), and when you hit someone, well you've hit someone. Carrying isn't a violation of rights (its just a risk), firing is a threat. That's the difference between driving drunk and driving erratically, and the two should not be conflated.
  19. Why require driving lessons or a license? We have laws that say how you must drive (examples- speed limits, turn signals, lights, signs, lanes, etc.). If you don't drive like that, you are justly fined (given the present government system of roads). If you enforce the other laws on the road, laws against drunk driving or mandating a license are unnecessary. People who don't want to suffer the punishments and risks that come with violating traffic laws will take driving courses and perhaps take a test to show (to themselves) that they are competent, and they'll avoid driving drunk. Both such things, to me, are laws which exist solely as a deterrent to breaking other laws, and to me that is both silly and an illegitimate practice. If you have a law which is legitimate (no murder, stop at red lights), enforce it and you have no need of other laws (such as no guns, or no DUI). Indeed, having laws whose only purpose is to deter people from breaking the major laws (the ones where you are ACTUALLY threatening or harming others) is a "slippery slope" shaped more like a cliff than a gentle hill. For, if you allow them, you allow infinite violations of rights because for example: alcohol increases likelihood of committing a crime, drugs increase likelihood of crimes, poor education increases likelihood of crimes, poverty itself increases the likelihood of someone committing a crime, etc. There's no objective dividing line once you say you can pass laws that, when broken, harm no one, and only serve as deterrence measures for real crimes. I don't think it has anything to do with anarchy, and everything to do with what objective law is and should be. It is about barring the initiation of force. DUI is not an initiation of force in the context of driving, breaking traffic laws (stop signs, lights, lanes, etc.) is. And so DUI should not be a crime, while breaking traffic laws should be.
  20. You're right, that isn't correct. Though, I do think that those later choices are only moral given the original immoral choice, and that given a different choice (say, no taxes) then they would lose their moral legitimacy (unless they are moral for another, independent reason). Would that be correct? As for the primary topic, it seems that it hinges on what qualifies as a "threat" of force. To respond to Mindy's criticism, there is a difference between a "threat" in the sense of a necessary risk, and a threat of force. So, in the case of a car, I would say someone driving recklessly is a case of a threat in terms of a risk, rather than a threat of force in the morally significant way. An overt threat (shooting a gun in my direction) is fundamentally different than a risk of harm (for example, driving badly, which is really what DUI is about). By getting in a car and driving, one is accepting certain risks and also to abide by certain rules (the rules set by the owner). So long as one does not violate any traffic laws (which are necessary for order on the streets), then there is no problem with driving under the influence. If you do violate traffic laws, then you are already in trouble, and should only be punished for the violation you actually committed. DUI is about preemptively punishing people before they ever actually committed a legitimate crime, in the hopes for reducing the number of such legitimate crimes. It is akin to banning guns because guns make it easier to kill people. My argument from before probably wasn't the best. This one is much stronger, in my opinion, and really gets to why I have a problem with laws against DUI then what I've said before.
  21. Exactly. It is morally good to administer justice. So a rational person would enjoy administering justice. The enemy (the Taliban) kills innocents, steals, beats and represses women, etc. They, therefore, deserve to die. So a rational person should enjoy watching them die/killing them. Seeing someone get what they deserve shouldn't be something one feels bad about, one should revel in it and feel elated that justice is being done. Example: I imagine most people (including the rational ones) who saw "Inglorious Basterds" felt elated when they saw the ending, because it was a depiction of a tremendous good being done (even if it was extremely violent and involved many people dying).
  22. But if your property is ill-gotten, then you making rules about it is unjust, as it isn't really yours. They stole money to build roads. Now they claim to own the roads. They don't though, as the roads were bought with stolen money (and very blatantly so, it isn't a question of tracking down money). So while one may legitimately make rules about one's legitimate property, the government, at this stage, cannot as it doesn't have any legitimate property. that doesn't mean that it shouldn't make rules, as rules are necessary as a result of their theft, but it does mean that the whole enterprise is illegitimate. Traffic laws are bad because government roads are bad, but they must go together. Either we have government roads and traffic laws or we have private roads and no traffic laws (rather rules applied by property owners). So while you are right that the mere fact that public roads are funded illegitimately does not mean that we shouldn't have traffic laws on illegitimately-government roads. But that doesn't make traffic laws legitimate, it simply means they are coupled in their illegitimacy with government roads, and that as goes the one, so goes the other.
  23. Alright, let's suppose that they say this. The problem is that both of those judgments will have been ordered by the defendant's side of the case, and so will not meet the requirement that both sides order a hearing in court. So I wouldn't be done. Also, if they did this sort of thing repeatedly that organization (and the people in it) would be declared, by the rest of society (other enforcement agencies, courts, etc.) to be outlaws who flaunt the law, with repercussions of isolation and violence against them. If there be a need to solve this issue, it would be created. Take judges at present, for example. Within their role as judges, they are immune from all law (as they are interpreters of law). That is obviously ridiculous, as all people, at all times, must necessarily be subject to law. So if a judge makes a decision which grossly violates the law, they must be punished. The only way we've gotten around this problem at present is to rationalize that judges who make grossly illegal decisions aren't acting as judges, but that isn't a satisfying solution whatsoever. By ruler, though, I was actually discussing a designated and unquestionable decider who uses force to make their views law. So the "government" as a whole is the ruler here, not so much any one individual. One question that occurs to me, is that if the government is the final decision maker on what is and is not just and must necessarily be so, then how could any revolt against government be justified? After all, that would require someone not in government to declare an action of government unjust and to be justifiably subject to the use of force. But that is the government's exclusive domain. I would like to hear your answer, as I've never really heard much of one (and I think it is the major question that has to be answered). And get destroyed because they are a tiny part of the population with few resources and are subject to continual internal betrayal because they are, after all, criminals. I just don't see how they would thrive any better than they do today. Hm, well I have always interpreted the purpose of the justice system as a means to exact justice on criminals. That is, not about deterrence and protection (that would be the job of the police who patrol, etc.) but rather exacting just punishment on the rights-violator. A just punishment is a) restitution and retribution. Perhaps you have a different view, but I'm not sure if deterrence is at all related to the concept "justice". It certainly shouldn't be the primary goal of a justice system. I don't understand this remark at all. How so? Is your point that the deaths that occurred weren't registered as murder? Perhaps that was the case. You can read the article I was referring to. It is titled "An American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild West". Well, we had a system of common law in place which functioned well for centuries prior to the rise of state courts. I was thinking along those lines, rather than a specific document (except insofar as the principles of common law would be written down in various documents). If we had a particular document (say the legal code in place before the dissolution of the state) that served as a legal code, it would be enforced by society at large, as we would all expect that it be enforced. Really, that is what we have today, with the law being what we all, collectively, say it is, and we require our courts to use a particular code of law (as ultimately our government must rule by the consent of those governed). Really? Actually, you are referring to populations ruled by non-objective philosophy, with bad principles of justice and ethics. So of course popular opinion does not justice make. My point is that we get the legal codes, in all societies, that match our philosophy. If we're rational and objective, then we'll have good law. If not, then we'll have bad law, and injustice. There has never been a society fully controlled by a rational philosophy, though America at its founding was fairly close, and lo and behold we had the best government around. Then our philosophy started to change, and voila, the law changed with it and got worse. If it had been the other way (with or without government), I'm sure the law would have gotten better. In this example, you are describing a robbery. One of the participants (the aggressor) is illegitimately using force. Who decides? Everyone else in society. And virtually all of society (provided we have an objective guiding philosophy in this society) would declare the one an aggressor and punish him (and anyone else who tried to stand in the way of said punishment). Agreed, but I can trade for the use of someone's services, in this case their arbitration services, or services as protection services, or as detectives, or as jailers, or bounty hunters, etc. And those can be trades. You can't trade force, but you can trade services, among those is the use of force, particularly against aggressors. I agree that only evil can win in compromises with evil, and that force is all that gives evil power. Initiation of force and mind are opposites, legitimate retaliation against force is a requirement of the mind to survive (otherwise we could not be justified in ever retaliating, either through government or individually). I have modified my position on free will and determinism for example (originally was a determinist, now believe that determinist physics and free will are compatible, as they are discussing separate fields- those of particles and fields, and those of ideas and people). At one point I thought the Single Tax was legitimate, now I see it is not. At one point in my life I was a socialist, but reading Friedman, Hayek, and Rand convinced me that was fundamentally incorrect. I am convincible, if someone makes a convincing argument that I cannot meet. The issue is that often they do not. I am assessing my view on the usefulness of "libertarian" as a concept and what use it and other similar terms such as "conservative", or "liberal" might serve and what their basis is in terms of Rand's epistemology (not necessarily saying that I have ruled against it, just assessing the situation), and am also considering my position on reckless endangerment (see the DUI thread). I don't change my positions often because I think through them, and also during a debate, I don't like to abandon my position until it has been exhausted (and so disproven), so while I may not seem to change much at all in the context of a thread, I may end up changing my mind over the longer term. It is rare that a thread goes until I am forced to accept defeat, so I don't admit it often (as it is usually no longer relevant, i.e. that thread is buried way down somewhere).
  24. This is ludicrous. Firing a gun into a crowd is a direct threat to other people's lives. Under the circumstances, it is impossible to determine what your intentions are, and so one must assume you are trying to kill people (there is no other conceivable reason to do this recklessly dangerous activity, and if you are indeed trying to kill people then I must defend my life, and so that is the assumption one must logically act under). So, since you are apparently trying to kill people, and get kill you in self-defense. Whether you were actually trying to do so is irrelevant, the only basis of information I have is that you are shooting into a crowd (and that justifies defense). Now, suppose it was your property, and you didn't harm anyone, and they got control of you and you apologize. Well, no harm no foul, you didn't actually cause any damage, so you can't be put on trial for anything. If you are driving drunk, then what do others see? A car that's a little wobbly, maybe going a bit too fast. What should they assume from that? That you are probably not paying too much attention, and they should back way off you so as to give themselves time to react to any possible accidents. They do NOT properly think that you are aiming to kill people. The only reason to think you were doing that is if you were veering off and making pedestrians jump out of the way, or swerving into the other lane just as cars pass you on the other side of the road (and hadn't been doing such things sans pedestrians and cars). So you aren't trying to initiate force against others, just being stupid and reckless. Obviously, in both cases of random gun firing or drunk driving, if you ever actually harm someone, then you are to be held to account. The key difference is that drunk driving does not justify the use of defensive force and random gun firing does (and that alone will keep people from doing that activity). Making drunk driving illegal (or random gun firing, or any other act which is not itself a use or overt threat of force) would itself be a use of force against an innocent person. The only difference is whether or not a given reckless act justifies the use of defensive (rather than retaliatory, after the fact) force; that depends on the facts of the case at hand (drunk driving, no; gun firing, yes). The freedom to act is the freedom to act in any way except to initiate or overtly threaten force. Shouting fire in a crowded theater should be legal, because it is not an initiation of force. Of course, you are probably violating several people's property rights by doing so (theater owners, other customers), and so should be punished for that. You can shoot randomly because you feel like it, but be prepared to get justifiably shot in return since no one else knows you aren't trying to hit people (and so their use of force would be justified given all available information). We can legally drive cars when we can't operate them properly. The only conditions bounding your actions are 1) the rules of the property owner and 2) the ban on initiation or overt threat of force.
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