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Is it moral to kill people who are ideologically dangerous?

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cliveandrews
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Wasn't he an armed guard?

And he was also assisting helping keep Galt hostage, even though he was not an immediate threat himself.

That's like the police capturing the driver of a group of bank robbers while they're in the bank. It's perfectly moral, because he was assisting in the initiation of force.

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My earlier remark about Dagny initiating force was intended to be facetiously provocative, but didn't come off that way without a smiley.

Here is the passage from Atlas Shrugged. This guy isn't dangerous in any way, and is the only one of the guards killed.

Dagny walked straight toward the guard who stood at the door of "Project F." Her steps sounded purposeful, even and open, ringing in the silence of the path among the trees. She raised her head to a ray of moonlight, to let him recognize her face. "Let me in," she said.

"No admittance," he answered in the voice of a robot. "By order of Dr. Ferris."

"I am here by order of Mr. Thompson."

"Huh? … I … I don't know about that."

"I do."

"I mean, Dr. Ferris hasn't told me … ma'am."

"I am telling you."

"But I'm not supposed to take any orders from anyone excepting Dr. Ferris."

"Do you wish to disobey Mr. Thompson?"

"Oh, no, ma'am! But … but if Dr. Ferris said to let nobody in, that means nobody—" He added uncertainly and pleadingly, "—doesn't it?"

"Do you know that I am Dagny Taggart and that you've seen my pictures in the papers with Mr. Thompson and all the top leaders of the country?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Then decide whether you wish to disobey their orders."

"Oh, no, ma'am! I don't!"

"Then let me in."

"But I can't disobey Dr. Ferris, either!"

"Then choose."

"But I can't choose, ma'am! Who am I to choose?"

"You'll have to."

"Look," he said hastily, pulling a key from his pocket and turning to the door, "I'll ask the chief. He—"

"No," she said.

Some quality in the tone of her voice made him whirl back to her: she was holding a gun pointed levelly at his heart.

"Listen carefully," she said. "Either you let me in or I shoot you. You may try to shoot me first, if you can. You have that choice—and no other. Now decide."

His mouth fell open and the key dropped from his hand.

"Get out of my way," she said.

He shook his head frantically, pressing his back against the door. "Oh Christ, ma'am!" he gulped in the whine of a desperate plea. "I can't shoot at you, seeing as you come from Mr. Thompson! And I can't let you in against the word of Dr. Ferris! What am I to do? I'm only a little fellow! I'm only obeying orders! It's not up to me!"

"It's your life," she said.

"If you let me ask the chief, he'll tell me, he'll—"

"I won't let you ask anyone."

"But how do I know that you really have an order from Mr. Thompson?"

"You don't. Maybe I haven't. Maybe I'm acting on my own—and you'll be punished for obeying me. Maybe I have—and you'll be thrown in jail for disobeying. Maybe Dr. Ferris and Mr. Thompson agree about this. Maybe they don't—and you have to defy one or the other. These are the things you have to decide. There is no one to ask, no one to call, no one to tell you. You will have to decide them yourself."

"But I can't decide! Why me?"

"Because it's your body that's barring my way."

"But I can't decide! I'm not supposed to decide!"

"I'll count to three," she said. "Then I'll shoot."

"Wait! Wait! I haven't said yes or no!" he cried, cringing tighter against the door, as if immobility of mind and body were his best protection.

"One—" she counted; she could see his eyes staring at her in terror—"Two—" she could see that the gun held less terror for him than the alternative she offered—"Three."

Calmly and impersonally, she, who would have hesitated to fire at an animal, pulled the trigger and fired straight at the heart of a man who had wanted to exist without the responsibility of consciousness.

Her gun was equipped with a silencer; there was no sound to attract anyone's attention, only the thud of a body falling at her feet.

She picked up the key from the ground—then waited for a few brief moments, as had been agreed upon.

Francisco was first to join her, coming from behind a corner of the building, then Hank Rearden, then Ragnar Danneskjöld. There had been four guards posted at intervals among the trees, around the building. They were now disposed of: one was dead, three were left in the brush, bound and gagged.

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See this, then this.

Free speech (along with privacy) is a derivative of property rights. Like in relation to all aspects of rights, the government has no business taking any action unless people are using their property to violate others' rights. Free speech arises because have the right to use our property in any way we so wish except as an instrument in a specific act of initiation of force. Publishing ideas does not count. Only a direct command for others to act to use force counts as a violation, in which case the property owner is actively an accessory to a specific crime.

Hat-tip: Billy Beck.

JJM

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If you're a hyperliberal pro-bureaucracy asshole and a pro-tax ideologue like one particular economics professor I'm thinking of an you intend to spread your ideas to the masses with the end goal of plundering my bank account and forcing me into some shitty governmnt run healthcare cesspool, doesn't that give me the right to use force against you in my defense? In any case, the more involved I get in political debate, the more I realize that there is simply no getting though to most people- at best they will dismiss me as a conservative extremist or Ayn Rand cultist- and that a much more practical solution would be to just hoist the black flag and start slitting throats, as someone once said... it would certainly be a lot more satisfying.

What you are promoting here is a pretty stark antithesis of Objectivism. Bad ideas should be fought with good ideas, force should be fought with force. But you are inverting this, and claiming that bad ideas should be fought with force. But what kind of world would you achieve with this? After slitting all the throats of people with bad ideas, you suddenly think that people in the society will embrace ideas instead of force, when you have just been doing the exact opposite.

In any case, the more involved I get in political debate, the more I realize that there is simply no getting though to most people- at best they will dismiss me as a conservative extremist or Ayn Rand cultist.

At this point the rational person would conclude that getting involved in political debates is not worth the effort, instead of fantazising of slitting throats. Political debates, if the participants are adults, is usually completely pointless, and if you really want to do some sort of intellectual activism, focus on the young people. However, if the ideas you are promoting are the kinds you present in your post, the best thing you can do is just stay home.

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What about bureaucratic force? If you know a person is going to write an unjust law that puts you under arbitrary authority?

That depends on the context:

Is life still worth living, despite that bureaucratic force?

Is it possible to simply escape that force, and live in another, better country?

Is there a better way of defeating that bureaucracy? (like through elections, or the spread of better ideas)

Is there a chance that fighting that bureaucracy, with force, will lead one to victory?

Will you be able to bring about a better political system?

In the case of the US, the answer to those questions is yes, yes, yes, no and no. So no, killing a lawmaker is still murder.

In the case of Iran the answers are maybe (it depends on the person's own conditions), not really, no, yes and yes (the protesters want more freedom). So for them, killing their tyrants is justified.

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Yes! Time to bring back the good old days boys and girls! Time to dust off the old tongs and pinchers! Think of all the souls I could save if I just removed a few unsavory characters from the world! I'm feelin it! Are you feelin it?

It's time to bring back...

The Inquisition!

If it becomes standard practice to whack people who have 'dangerous ideas', then I'm afraid everyone in this board, including me, is in for it.

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If it becomes standard practice to whack people who have 'dangerous ideas', then I'm afraid everyone in this board, including me, is in for it.

And people who are directly responsible for the creation/enforcement of laws that imprison/rob/kill people on unjust grounds?

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The creators/tyrants/enforcers you're talking about are people using force to implement the tyrannical philosophies of the ideologues that the original poster wants to bump off. One is using force to extinguish liberty, the other is having 'dangerous thoughts'. Kill tyrants using force to enslave = good. Kill jerk coming up with lousy philosophy = not good.

The inquisition, here we go!

The inquisition, what a show!

I know you're wishin' that we'd go awaaaay!

But the Inquisition's here and it's here to stay!

The inquisition, oh boy!

The inquisition, joy joy!

The inquisition, oy! oy!

Can't get that song out of my head for 3 damned days now.

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It would be better to ask "What sort of actions can I take in self-defense against taxation (which is force)? Would violence be immoral against the people demanding your money to be collected and sending the cops to your house?"

It's private property. How does one protect their private property against the ever growing looter/moocher class that has the force of government and police at their disposal?

Well, it's not exactly private property in the sense that most people think it is. With the exception of a few isolated (and legally contested) cases in Nevada, there is no such thing as free and clear private ownership of land in the US (allodial title). All territory in the US is technically property of the US government and we "lease" it, for lack of a better term. That's why we pay property taxes whether or not your property has been "paid off". It's also why the government can seize your land in cases of eminent domain, national security, or any number of other reasons. The only right you have in that case is the right to just monetary compensation.

This form of taxation (along with income, slave, and capitation taxes - of which the latter two no longer exist) was built into the Constitution. It gave congress the right to tax "arbitrarily or at discretion" "without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

It's not some repressive idea of recent administrations.

Edited by shadesofgrey
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Well, it's not exactly private property in the sense that most people think it is. With the exception of a few isolated (and legally contested) cases in Nevada, there is no such thing as free and clear private ownership of land in the US (allodial title). All territory in the US is technically property of the US government and we "lease" it, for lack of a better term. That's why we pay property taxes whether or not your property has been "paid off". It's also why the government can seize your land in cases of eminent domain, national security, or any number of other reasons. The only right you have in that case is the right to just monetary compensation.

This is a statist view, period.

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That may well be, but it's written into the US Constitution. An apparently "capitalist" country. I quoted it in the previous post.

Ok, quote where is says "what most people think" trumps individual liberty. Or does the US Constitution recognize the rights of men before the government?

Then quote where contracts are void as a result of our "leasing", for lack of a better term.

What US law has become is no longer representative of the proper and moral value of the US Constitution. Rule has replaced representation in reducing this nation from one of individual rights to a collectivist state, and the collectivist attitudes that are perpetuated by those that don't recognize the difference only serve to generate more irresponsibility as a result.

Edited by SD26
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Ok, quote where is says "what most people think" trumps individual liberty. Or does the US Constitution recognize the rights of men before the government?

Then quote where contracts are void as a result of our "leasing", for lack of a better term.

What US law has become is no longer representative of the proper and moral value of the US Constitution. Rule has replaced representation in reducing this nation from one of individual rights to a collectivist state, and the collectivist attitudes that perpetuated by those that don't recognize the difference.

I'm not really sure what to tell you man, I didn't write it. First of all though, I'm not disagreeing with you, we're probably on the same side. I'm only quoting a document. The "rights of men" are probably better defined in the Bill of Rights or the Declaration than in the Constitution, and if you're not white or a guy in those documents, you're kind of screwed (I refer to the use of the terms "savages" and "slaves"). On paper anyway. Clearly written as a product of the times, but the fact remains.

It obviously never says contracts are void anywhere, BUT "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" clearly implies that private property CAN be taken for public use. In addition, amendment 4 protects us against unreasonable search and seizure, but with the highly relative and debatable terms "unreasonable" and "probable cause". Consider how many lawsuits swirl around those two terms.

The founders could not have known all of the complexities that would develop that would have to be scrunched into a few fundamental laws, but the fact remains that Americans get screwed quite often and these passages are the justification used. Hell, look at Guantanamo. People still can't figure out how to apply amendments 5 through 8 and 11, but if you read them, you'd think it'd be pretty clear that you can't hold an American citizen with no charge for an indeterminate amount of time without bail, access to legal counsel, or a jury.

I'm not happy about it either.

Addendum: It's not a perfect document, but it's pretty damn good and that's probably why it's been around longer than any other constitution.

Edited by shadesofgrey
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It obviously never says contracts are void anywhere, BUT "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" clearly implies that private property CAN be taken for public use.

If the mention of justice (in "just compensation"), to you, clearly implies that private property can be taken by force, in exchange for the amount of money the person doing the taking decides to pay, you have an odd view of justice.

The downside of your definition of justice is of course that I can wire the market value of you house into your account tomorrow, and throw you out by next week. By your own definition of justice, you would not have any moral claim to further justice: you will have been justly compensated.

I, on the other hand, think that just compensation is that which the owner is asking for his property.

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The downside of your definition of justice is of course that I can wire the market value of you house into your account tomorrow, and throw you out by next week. By your own definition of justice, you would not have any moral claim to further justice: you will have been justly compensated.

That is exactly how the doctrine of eminent domain works in practice.

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Can you please get straight the distinction between identifying what is and what ought to be?

I am asking you. What is your moral value? Morality or "what is"...

If the state tells you it will be so, it does not make it moral. Is a state more rational in its decision making for you or are you? Decide what you value.

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How come I understand perfectly (and have understood before this argument even started) that you both think eminent domain is immoral, but a reality?

Perhaps the difficulty is ambiguous usage of the word "you" in some general sense of a hypothetical example person, but being interpreted as a personal reference?

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