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Everything posted by TheAllotrope

  1. @ Kainscalia: What about when the photographer is on publicly accessible land, with a long range camera peeking into someone's window? I would think a more appropriate rule would be to make the subject completely off-limits when the subject is in a location obviously intended to be private. On the streets, fine, in the house, not fine (regardless of the photographer actually setting foot on the lot).
  2. TheAllotrope


    A.G., I think you're taking my words to mean something they don't. What I meant was, your arguments about "What would our government do if there were no aggressors, if everyone was law-abiding, etc" are irrelevant because there ARE aggressors, people ARE NOT law abiding, etc. Arguing for or against torture in a context divorced from the concrete reality we experience here and now simply does not make sense. Productive, certainly, innovative, certainly. But what are we producing? What innovations do we have? I wouldn't doubt that our factories would be more efficient, but that's not the issue. Are our factories producing weapons, or consumer goods? We can be as efficient as we want, but if we produce the wrong kind or mix of things, we can still lose. Think Simpson's Paradox. You have also identified torture as a last resort, which I see as a concession that it might just be necessary. @ Dan: Effectiveness in preventing infringements of our rights is certainly a consideration. I think it's also important to ask if torture might also be in itself a threat to our rights, considering that government has historically (though certainly not always) misused power delegated to it for legitimate purposes. Also, we have no necessary indication that a suspect is, in fact, a criminal/terrorist, or the extent of his knowledge. No one advocating torture has indicated what happens in the case of someone who is wrongfully tortured, or what means would be used to screen out innocents? I have not resolved these issues (and others I've mentioned before), but at the very least let's not go off half-cocked.
  3. A big point is that this thought is linked to an action. It's not thought in a vacuum, the person is doing something and therefore can be considered culpable for any damage he causes. Consideration of motivation has a lot to do with moral judgment. Example: Doctor gives pharmaceuticals whose side effect is an improbable life threatening condition, and one such patient has the side effect. Or, evil doctor gives drugs he knows will kill people (and for simplicity's sake, we're not talking assisted suicide). The fact that the second is acting willfully informs us that his is not an error of knowledge or judgment but one of specific malicious intent. Malicious intent combined with a negative consequence describes an offense that others have the right to penalize that person for - a crime.
  4. I think also that the subject line is misleading - governments have the power to tax, not the right. They only have this power to the extent necessary to fulfill the political ends of their citizens. The principle of voluntary taxation helps ensure this limitation.
  5. TheAllotrope


    Sorry if my posting caused any confusion, Dave. I'm not trying to make blanket statements or drop rhetorical questions for the sake of arguing a policy move either way (nor am I playing the agnostic refusing to take a side). My intent was to pose questions that I do not consider to have been answered conclusively; until they are, I withhold a final judgment. If you do have conclusive evidence on any of the points (not suggesting that you don't!) I would like to see it for my own benefit. Regarding governmental abuses of power, I am not suggesting that government will necessarily abuse that power - though it certainly doesn't have a perfect track record, and it's not a situation I would take lightly. What I'm getting at is not that the sitting administration will or might abuse those powers, but that future administrations will. The political landscape changes rather rapidly, and it would comfort me to know that even if my government might get lax in preserving rights, it doesn't have the powers to actively oppose them. You probably could have also picked a better example: In your example, government HAS abused that power, which is why there were court cases such as Mapp v. Ohio (the Exclusionary Rule came from that case). As for Andrew Grathwohl, I think you're dropping quite a lot of context. Policy doesn't exist in a vacuum, and in a vacuum, no one really favors war or crime. Wars and wartime policies can't be dismissed by saying retroactively, "well, we shouldn't have been there anyway" - what's done is done, and that's the situation we're in. Nor is it especially logical to me that a free country would be the most heavily militarized (or if you prefer, the most advanced militarily) or have the best possible information (particularly considering many avenues of information gathering are closed to it).
  6. TheAllotrope


    The problems I see with torture are first, that you have to KNOW the person-to-be-tortured has information. As far as I'm aware, only a very small percentage of folks sent to Gitmo or otherwise tortured were ever convicted of anything, which isn't particularly convincing evidence that they actually did know/do anything. Without hard proof that the person is in fact criminal/terrorist, any torture is an initiation of force against someone who is potentially innocent. What kind of restitution is available to someone who is wrongfully tortured? Also, how do we reconcile the possibility of government misusing this power which we are delegating to it? Since our administrations change significantly every few years, it is dangerous to give legal and moral sanction to an institution that can be easily warped. Then there's the question of whether torture is effective (either as a last resort or a general tool) compared to other methods (or even at all). I've heard both sides: many interrogators find it's ineffective, but other military personnel I know personally swear by it. And even if it is effective, does it encourage criminal/terrorist activity in the long run? The burden of proof is on the person advocating the policy; I, for one, would like to see these concerns addressed more systematically and completely before supporting such a policy.
  7. If I understand your argument, it seems mostly alright, but it's very hard to follow. Syntactical problems, shifts in tone/voice, etc are hard to wade through. Try to ensure every sentence is structurally sound, easy to read, and so forth. The commentary, as I understand it, boils down to: Understanding cannot be compelled. (Self evident) Current policy attempts to force acceptance of other peoples' views. (True, this is an immoral and ineffective policy, for multiple reasons, some of which you touched on) "Applied Tolerance" leads people to misunderstand what tolerance even means. (Properly understood, tolerance means allowing others to hold views opposed to one's own, but when tolerance is enforced what ends up happening is simply that people stop making judgments about those other views, and leads them to blind acceptance of bad ideas). Tolerance is a social, not political issue, and people must be free to accept or reject arguments, not have blind acceptance thrust upon them by government. (Agreed) Forcing tolerance destroys the social skills needed for mutual understanding, fragmenting society and setting people against each other unnecessarily. The system's erosion of judgment reduces personal responsibility in other areas. "Applied Tolerance" has an end result of people enforcing tolerance for tolerance's sake, to the detriment of man's mind, his judgment, his property, his liberty, and his life. You mention something about duty to society, and I'm not sure what you intend to communicate here. Society is not a super-organism, and individuals have no duty to it. You might mean something other than what I am interpreting, I'd clarify this. The home equity part did not make sense to me. I'm not sure how it applies. You also say "Earthly, and thus corrupt" while saying that an individual's reason is not corrupt. Earthly does not imply corrupt, and if it did, individuals' reason would be too, since we are of this Earth. You also say there is no right to judgment. In fact, that is one of the requirements of man's nature that makes rights possible. You go on to say that the issue must be taken in the context of an "Imperial Federal Government". Principles are universal, they do not depend on the nature of the government. To assume such a government does no benefit to your argument (your argument about the nature of understanding and toleration would be valid only in the context of an evil, hyperactive government). It's a somewhat twisted world-view that requires an evil government. Is evil government a metaphysical requirement, or is it the product of particular evil men? I might just be misinterpreting.
  8. Along Jason's lines, someone violating your rights has implicitly asserted that you do not have the rights which were violated. Rights are abstract principles governing human social interactions, and by their nature are universal (The Rights of Man, not the rights of some men). Anyone who claims rights to which you are not also given is trying to exempt himself from his identity as a human being and the nature of rights. It is only just that someone who denies one person rights can claim none for himself. As for whether someone loses ALL rights as a consequence, that's a matter for government to define. Some, such as the US, consider petty theft to require restitution or some relatively minor punishment. Other countries will chop off the offender's hands. Dave: I'm quite confused by the deck analogy. That seems to me to be a regular contractual agreement, an exchange of value. Now, one party NOT fulfilling their contractual obligation would be where "forfeiture of rights" might be invoked, but that wasn't mentioned. Also, there was no mention of talking about throwing someone into a chipper...the original post specifically introduced an action, crime.
  9. By "intent to mislead" I was trying to introduce the Clintonesque style of "communication", with lines like "I did not have sex with that woman", which (whatever you think of the justification of the investigation or the technical accuracy of the claim) was calculated to give people the wrong impression.
  10. Strong concurrence with above post by Jake on selling something that isn't positive, and Alex on honesty being in your best interests. Tangential, rhetorical question: Is an intent to mislead the same as lying? I think so. Being "not false" isn't enough. An honest advertisement is one that puts forth the positives of the product. It doesn't need to necessarily indicate the limitations of the product, but it should not give people the even the impression of meeting needs that it doesn't. Downplaying or spinning negatives is dishonest and makes you subject to the ignorance, stupidity, or irrationality of others.
  11. Hi all, This is my first post to the forums, I've been reading for a while and only just decided to post. I'll start with the affirmation that "climate change" is not grounded in any conclusive science, but I'll accept the initial premises for arguments' sake. The issue is essentially: First, it is possible to mitigate such a problem by the operation of the market. If I believe the mere existence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is destructive to my life, I can buy products that produce less or none of it (electric cars, solar panels, etc...which are probably actually terrible examples because their production is energy-intensive anyway). If no such product exists, I can make it, commission it, or start collecting capital to form a joint venture that will try to produce it. I can also refuse to purchase certain products. Again, for arguments' sake, assume I cannot do such a thing, and government action is the only thing possible to mitigate carbon dioxide. Government does quite a lot that does not really demand either the initiation or even the use of force. As an example, defining property rights, particularly with something like airspace. Do I own all the air above my house? Some of it? None of it? Who's to say? Government creates objective laws so that people can coexist without stepping on each others' toes by claiming mutually exclusive rights. In the airspace example, mutually exclusive rights would be (simultaneously) "I can fly wherever I want with no restrictions as part of my owning a plane" and "You can prevent me from flying over your work or house as part of your owning your workplace or home". Government CAN come in and assert where one person's property ends and begins, so long as there is an objective need to do so and the actual law has a rational, objective basis (ie, is not arbitrary, overreaching, etc). From the Lexicon: (Incidentally, this is where the carbon dioxide argument dies - it has not been demonstrated conclusively to be a pollutant). I interpret this issue and the above quote to mean that, in this case, everyone makes carbon dioxide as a part of life, and everyone is causing harm to themselves and others in so doing. So government can do something to mitigate the problem (and mitigate it only to the point where the maximum combined value of environmental and industrial concern is reached; one cannot favor industry if it causes excessive sickness, nor environment if it causes poverty). It is preferable to do something as benign as possible, such as modify definitions of property rights (pollution markets are one example). I am not clear on whether imposing an aggregate pollution cap is an initiation of force given the context of the problem. I'm inclined to think that a cap on aggregate emissions, or a pollution tax, or whatever might be deemed most effective in mitigating the problem is not an initiation of force since it is agreed that the problem exists and that it should be fixed by some particular means. But whatever government does, the extent of such actions must be reasonable, and cars should not be singled out over oil lamps over electric lightbulbs over factories - carbon is carbon, regardless of the source, and it should all be treated as equally as possible. Again, this whole post rests on the rather tenuous arguments that climate change is necessarily bad, and that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the problem, so don't take any of it as an endorsement of policy.
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