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Castle last won the day on May 19 2014

Castle had the most liked content!

About Castle

  • Birthday 08/12/1979

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    Outside the obvious (Objectivism) I have an interest in philosophy in general, fiction writing, ethics, psychology, medicine, science fiction, movies, economics, adult cartoons (the Metalocalypse kind, not the tentacle kind), and much more. I still consider myself a video game lover, but honestly games have been a near endless procession of crap for a few years. Wikipedia and my iphone have my back at all times.

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    I am a 30 year old man who began my study of Objectivism during a tour in Afghanistan after a rather long search. I have two associates degrees, an AA in general studies and an AS in emergency medical services. A great deal of my 20's was spent within the military, and I'm still partially involved. The bulk of my knowledge has been aquired "on the ground" so to speak and through personal study. I really don't look it, but I'm a complete nerd and proud of it.
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    I'm a paramedic and plan to progress further in medicine.

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  1. Describe how you intend pay for military protection and other legitimate functions of government and I'll happily concede the point. These are provided whether you pay for them or not, and they are necessary. This is not to say that compulsion, waste, and abuse of authority under our current system is justified, just that you use some legitimate services that should be paid for. If I am reading your point correctly, I agree. We live in a mixed system, where some functions of the system are legitimate and some aren't. This must change. However, at the current point while the system is still salvageable the only moral choices are comply under compulsion while operating to change the system, or decided that the damage is too great and escape/destroy the system. Illegally boycotting funding of legitimate services personally used as part of a general boycott does not seem moral to me. Demanding free defense from people providing legitimate services to you on the basis that other components of the protective organization are flawed and unjust is unethical. Ethically, a total boycott of payment should be accompanied by a total boycott of services. The compulsion must be removed from government funding. The rampant corruption and waste must be removed from government funding. However, legitimate services are still provided and anyone enjoying those services has an ethical responsibility to pay. To me, only if they manage full escape. Not if they do so while appealing to government protection from force and fraud. A hero to me fights or escapes. Not hides while expecting the other subjects to pay for his defense. The context given was not a large tax boycott movement. Such a thing would be a deliberate action of change or destruction of the entire system. Such a thing would be welcome (by me at least). No other information was given outside of a citizen in the current system not paying taxes, and presumably continuing to appeal to the system for defense. If the intended context was otherwise I've already made my point that general boycott combined with general refusal of use is moral. There certainly is. Every scrap of land in the world is not legitimately owned, not do we live in a world without revolution. What there isn't is a way to exit the system or jump the fence while maintaining the comfort you are accustomed to. Having hard choices doesn't mean having no choices. I agree that limiting what you're forced to contribute is absolutely moral, if done through ethical means. Appealing to the rule of law while simultaneously personally defying the law is an unethical contradiction. If you have determined that defiance of the law is your only recourse then do so. Declare yourself an outlaw reject the system of law that you defy in total, including the parts that you like. "What you can get away with" is not a barometer of morality. The current system is a bullshit package deal for sure, but rejection in total or change from within are the only moral responses. I agree. Name any tax that specifically funds areas of the system that the taxpayer will never rely on and I'll show you a tax that it is ethical to boycott. Show me a tax that specifically funds an area of the system the taxpayer personally relies on and I'll show you a thief. In your example of road use you pay for their use. No one is at fault for being caught in the system (until they advocate for it), but a person can be at fault for unethical use of a system. Name one illegal tax evader that has ever made a private contribution to pay for the defense and adjudication services that they needed to make their money. I would say he has acted morally then. Whenever you have an ethical choice. Avoiding helping the people who create the system where private roads, hospitals, rails, energy etc. cannot exist while avoiding paying people providing services you personally agree are needed and the government's purview is not a moral imperative, particularly when you are not in a totalitarian state and have options. And there are MANY other ways to work to end the system, not just the singular way you mention, provided you are not in a totalitarian slave state. I agree. However, the debate isn't regarding blanket support of the government because its super. The debate is whether you have the right to rely on the legitimate defensive services of the government without paying. Ethically, when you receive a desired service you do have to pay for it. "You provide me with a service that I want and agree with, but I refuse to pay for it" is not an ethical statement.
  2. Do you want to say that individual taxes are a mistaken premise or provide an example of an individual paying taxes? Also, a dealership paying taxes is not a tax on you as you implied. One of the mistaken premises you apply is that paying taxes one has no legal way of avoiding changes the nature of what one is doing when taxes are illegally avoided while drawing benefit from the tax system. Paying a sales tax on a pack of gum doesn't punch a "payed taxes" ticket that gives the payer an ethical pass to work the system for maximum benefit while illegally avoiding funding for those benefits. The only ethical choices are to play by the rules while working to change them or exit the system if one can.
  3. This debate is pretty much being beaten to death, so I'll just add the 2 cents that adds a different context to the OP. I would feel morally and ethically justified in striking someone who was intentionally verbally harassing or attacking my child (she is 6). The response would be solely on the basis of the child's inability to cope and the verbal assailant's clear intent to damage it's developing mind. In other words, the prick would be attempting to permanently affect her development to her detriment.
  4. Is your definition intended to be one for correct ethics or a non-specific concept of ethics? If your intent is correct ethics then a lot of elaboration is required. For ethics as a concept and not a specific system I would say only slight modification is needed. This is all just opinion on my part, of course. "Ethics are the standards/rules that must govern behavior for the achievement and protection of values to be possible." seems a little closer to the mark to me. "Morality is a system of principles for determining the propriety of proposed values." might help keep out of that circular reasoning you're talking about. I'm sure there is significant room for improvement in the above definitions, but they seem a good place to start.
  5. Is this a question or an advertisement? I found it well written and pretty spot on except for one statement you made. Society is aggregate. In my opinion it is incorrect to say that ethics is primarily a guide for an individual and not a society. A society has no rights or ethical guide that are not derived from its constituent individuals. The above statement is similar to saying that gravity is primarily a force on atoms, not on larger structures. Ethics are primarily a guide for individuals and by extension society.
  6. I would say that it is absolutely moral to avoid or reduce taxes through legal means, just as it moral to participate in public programs funded by taxes, provided you have no hand in establishing or supporting that system. The system is compulsory, so it is not immoral to survive as best you can under the compulsion. Illegally evading all taxes has a feel of immorality to it for me. I suppose I could think of many situations that I wouldn't feel that it is immoral, but for the most part it seems so. The basis for that opinion is that an illegal tax evader is attempting to cherry pick the system, going on the assumption that tax evaders don't forsake all government agencies and programs legitimate and illegitimate. If a person had a chance to evade the entire system altogether thats one thing, but to seek benefit from injustice inflicted on others reeks of immorality. This is a you can't have your cake and eat it too situation. If you desire to evade the system, evade the system. People have the right to jump the fence and make a run for it, they don't have a right to sit down and demand their ration of confiscated goods that weren't confiscated from them.
  7. SD26, No my premise is that if you find yourself in a situation where your body is shedding dangerous biomatter it is immoral to intentionally expose others to it. Whether you could have prevented your own situation is irrelevant. Whether they could have taken precautions to prevent the danger your body exposes them to is irrelevant. An intentional act that exposes others involuntarily to risk of injury or death is immoral. Refusal of a vaccine is not immoral because the risk is to you. The morality of a refusal of a child's vaccination is debatable.
  8. I agree with most of the argument here, particularly Jake's. A person has no moral obligation to get vaccinated. I do have to strongly disagree with the following statement. In such a case, you potentially are at fault. The fault would not be related to your choice to vaccinate, it would be related to whether you knowingly exposed another person to a pathogen or not. You have a right to refuse precautions and get sick. You do not have the right to intentionally expose others to infection risk.
  9. My info is about 1-2 years out if date, but going off of the situation when I saw it firsthand our priorities are fatally out of whack in Afghanistan. I would have never thought that I would ever hear a general issue a directive that convoys should drive slowly through known dangerous routes because the locals don't like the dust, but I did hear exactly that. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Winning hasn't been in the plan for a long time, Obama has just stated what was the implied policy before. Our government is asleep at the wheel.
  10. He is being investigated if I recall correctly. I think it was a mental breakdown. It didn't even look like he attempted to get away with it. This was right after he went public on refusal to take federal bailout style funds. He pretty much got politely informed that the governor doesn't count for jack shit anymore and he needed to shut up and color. He's been acting like a Hunter S. Thompson character since then.
  11. I was impressed by this guy for about 3 minutes because of his opposition to the bailout funds. Then the bizarre behavior, negligence, and probable outright fraud stuff came to light. He discredits everything he says he likes. I swear he's a freakin manchurian candidate.
  12. I didn't catch it, but I can imagine other reasons for the decision outside of altruism. Desire for control over one's fate, suicidal motive, preserving value he sees in the other crew, etc. Not knowing the full plot I can't say if any of the above fit, but such a decision is possible without altruistic motive.
  13. Just a quick note on a post that crossed mine. Simple identification doesn't create value. By that I mean very simple identification such as "That land over there looks useful". But any further identification of specific utility does. Spending part of your life to walk to the land you see and think is fertile, looking at and determining the usefulness of flora, fauna, and minerals you discover, planning a use for them, and denoting what you have claimed for use DOES add value to the land as Randroid asserts. The process would be simpler in a more civilized society, one would just need to register one's claim on the property with the government charged with defending your claim from criminals.
  14. Saurabh, now I'll try to address some of the issues at hand in India that I found online as that context seems to be the one you are working within and using as a basis for your initial determination that land property rights are unjust. Feel free to correct inaccurate data I found on the Indian situation. The biggest issue I can find that has to do with the deplorable state of India is a conglomerate problem. Namely, the Indian hereditary caste system combined with the Indian government. Everything I could find indicated that the upper castes (comprising around 10%) of the population overwhelmingly dominate any government, political, or economic institution of any sort of relevance. My understanding is that those castes inherited those positions from the British, a prior conquering invader. So the significant mechanisms of economic activity AND utilization of force are under control of a small hereditary social/religious/ethnic minority. The resources and positions were no earned or inherited in the manner described earlier as the proper foundation of property rights, they inherited them by unjust means and reserve them amongst themselves for the "deserving".......by birthright. The Indian government is a nuclear power and is believed to maintain an arsenal of between 40-95 weapons. Submarines and other military projects are proceeding successfully, so I can only assume that defense spending is a huge component of the government's expenditures. Honestly, I looked for data but really couldn't find anything specific before I got tired of wading through the published Indian budget. It certainly isn't clearly stated. The CIA says 2.5% of GDP in 2006. Thats 2.816 trillion in period US dollars. Thats a lot of green. Using confiscated resources the Indian government has managed to become a nuclear power while at the same time power outages and brownouts are a systemic problem. This is how the government allocates "the people's" resources, and you propose giving them control of MORE? There's also a lot of coal, natural gas, and petroleum there. The political, military, and economic is so toxic noone seems to be interested in exploiting those resources to fix the problem. The upper castes seem to virtually control the economy. 1/4 of the GDP is accounted for by about 36 elite upper caste families, presumably they control the economic apparatus involved as well. As previously discussed, possession of property and power was not allocated by objective ethical action, but unjust force. Something like 80% of jobs in emerging industries like biotechnology, services, software, etc are held by the 3 upper castes. Wealth begets wealth, even illegitimate wealth, and the upper castes are probably applying it judiciously to maintain dominance of the economy. Single source data indicates that India is woefully under-banked. Probably due again to the toxic economic and political environment. Under-banked means the majority of people have no method of saving even a meager sum. Under-banked means investment capital is difficult to accumulate for improvements and innovations. Under-banked means less protection from theft. The castes on top don't have that problem, they probably bank internationally with institutions in locations where you can't be summarily killed and oppressed by the government for being born wrong. Countries that afford a stability and respect for human rights the upper castes are apparently unwilling to cultivate at home. In other words, less risky circumstances. A lot of those problems likely have to do with systemic corruption and violation of human rights of all types, not legitimate control and usage of private land. Some studies indicate that 25 % of Indians paid bribe to obtain a service. 68 % believe that governmental efforts to stop the corruption as ineffective. More than 90 % consider police and political parties as the worst corrupt institutions. 90 % of Indians believe that corruption will increase within the next 3 years. “ Who invests or even attempts economic activity in such an environment? The only people that could possibly would be the connected elite. One report indicated that only 5% of development funds ended up with the intended recipients. Your government is consuming the seed stock of your economy and forcefully maintaining stagnation and unearned property allocated by status. Dalits are murdered at a furious pace, and sources indicate much of it goes unreported out of fear of force from their own government. Privacy international states that the Indian government has an abysmally low opinion of privacy rights. Fake encounter killings are a widespread problem. Meaning the government finds and executes perceived criminals and undesireables without judicial process with virtual impunity. One source indicated that this practice is partly inspired by certain Hindu texts. It is reported that 66.2% of prison inmates are pretrial. Considering the upper caste dominated judiciary is backlogged by more than a century thats a pretty bleak sentence. The media's key positions are about 70% upper caste. Free speech and exchange of ideas? Not so much. Despite the vicious abuses of the police and judiciary, the crime rate in India is very apparently very high. Most economic crimes and many violent crimes go unpunished, again due to systemic one sided control of the organizations responsible for policing and committing the crime. According to the world bank, India is very antagonistic to business, even without the corruption. It takes much longer to get approval, and costs for transport are much higher. Even power costs are significantly higher, despite available resources and apparent nuclear proficiency. Tourism, which could be a major economic boon, is extremely small despite beautiful countryside and history. The government is reported to make it difficult to visit. All of these points are not to bash India, my own country is headed right down a lot of these paths as well. Not to mention being complicit in all of the above abuses because our government props them up. My point is that private ownership of property is not India's problem. Hereditary de facto unethical control of virtually all major methods of production and force by prior violence and birthright is. If one group has unjustly attained land and position, and claims it is right because of an arbitrary birthright, justice is NOT to discard the underlying right or rewrite the arbitrary birthright to include others. The unjust birthright has to go and the individual right all people possess must be reaffirmed and protected. India's problem is not, and has not ever been, a moral deficiency inherent to property rights, but an ethical and moral deficiency in the caste system, religions supporting such a system, the character of the system's supporters, the government that uses unjust force to maintain such a situation, and foreign governments complicit in such things by support and recognition of the Indian state as legitimate. Discard those principles as immoral and affirm the right of a person to fully own what he earns and many of the above issues will go away.
  15. Saurabh, I'm going to briefly address the points you raised to me and then attempt to show you how the unjust debasement of property and human rights has contributed to the situation that you describe in India, based on cursory online research. Feel free to correct any point I make about the situation in India. I'm doing this because I think you may be coming at this problem backwards. Your original post presented a discussion of property rights as such, but from your last post to me it seems to me that you are specifically exploring property rights in relation to a specific context. The injustice and death in India. That is a backward approach because you're starting at a fundamentally unjust system that gives lip service to some of the rights you're exploring but in practice ignores them and labels injustice as a "right". Hopefully I'll be able to give you an inkling that the bleak hell I previously described as a world without property rights is exactly the bleak hell that modern India is for most citizens. You are trying to identify "healthy" by starting at "diseased and dying". Hopefully I'll explain what I mean well enough that you'll see what I mean. Fallacious because the communal mass has done nothing to "earn" the land either. A birthright, which you assert, is not earned. It is gifted by someone who did earn it. Your hierarchy is reversed. Man can't apply rent without ownership, he can't have ownership without constructive action (earning), constructive action is the province of individuals. I am not assuming it, it is what is inevitable under a communal principle. A government's only mechanism of action is force. Anytime an argument is made for a government regulation or response, an appeal to force is made. One cannot say that in the organization you are proposing free market principles determine anything, because a free market requires rigorous protection of all rights and strict nonintervention in everything else. The proposed system requires government force effecting everything from contract law to personal property. Contracts for service or goods would be regulated by the government land license period. Government overriding of other property rights are assured as current licensees will have to be moved off the land with all property whether they want to or not. Nonportable improvements must either be summarily destroyed or confiscated upon expiration of the current use license and reassignment. Government control of all means of production (all means of production start at the land) is not a minimalist government, its a totalitarian one. First, to correct an error either in my presentation or your comprehension. State-property does not imply communism. Total state ownership of all property from a communal principle implies communism. I used that term due to the communal basis of your argument. It does have an implication in the moral question you raised, because if the principles you're asserting are true, communism in some form is the inevitable end result. I addressed the issue with society/government owning all land above. I noticed you dropped the totally of the ownership you're proposing above, probably inadvertently. The issue you presented is total government ownership of all land, not simple ownership of land. The fallacy of asserting renting rights for an entity that did not earn the land has been discussed above. The principle of applying rent on a valueless resource is completely incorrect as well. Rent is compensation to the owner of something for the use of his property for a period of time. A renter is compensating the owner for the loss of immediate value he can gain from his property, because it is under the delegated control of the renter. If the property is essentially valueless, what possible rent can be charged justly? If the government is the owner, not a simple defensive entity, what keeps it from setting unjust terms and forcing compliance with them? If the communal mass decides to not charge rent until improvements are made on the land based on value, but then charges rent on the value given to its property by an individual that is the same as asking a person to be a slave or serf and then charging them rent on their own work.
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