Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Is it ever OK to hit someone?

Rate this topic


cliveandrews
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 75
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Can any form of verbal or psychological abuse, such as an extremely offensive oral statement, ever justify physical retaliation?
By "justify", surely you must mean "render morally good". What is your concept of "abuse"? Is a threat against a person's life a case of abuse? Is fraud a kind of "abuse"?

Leaving aside verbal acts which are violations of rights (punishable with physical retaliation by the state), no non-physical "abuse" can morally be answered with force.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I certainly enjoyed watching Buzz Aldrin deck that "moon landing hoax" loony.

Yes, so did I. He was aggressive, and in his face, so Buzz reacted: at first, he asked that he get away from him, because his personal space was being invaded. Then he reacted, in self defense. I would react the same way, I see nothing wrong with that. But of course, I'm in my twenties, and have basic martial arts training, so that coward would think twice before yelling in my face and refusing to move.

That's not the same as attacking someone for nothing but words, without the physical threat. That can never be justified.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This probably is not what the OP is asking, but if a verbal statement gives cause to imagine an impending physical threat (ie mugger comes up and says "let me hold your wallet") then I'd say sure physical retaliation is justified. Just insults, not so much. Besides, in a civil society, people tend to notice the person throwing out the insults at least as much as the victim. Damaged reputation and refusal to trade can be powerful consequences by themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By "justify", surely you must mean "render morally good". What is your concept of "abuse"? Is a threat against a person's life a case of abuse? Is fraud a kind of "abuse"?

Leaving aside verbal acts which are violations of rights (punishable with physical retaliation by the state), no non-physical "abuse" can morally be answered with force.

I agree with David. Abuse is one thing, exercising freedom of speech is another.

Punish those who violate our rights and dismiss the ignorant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can any form of verbal or psychological abuse, such as an extremely offensive oral statement, ever justify physical retaliation?

Yes, but only after one fair warning.

While no amount of verbal abuse actually violates your rights, it does affect your mood and emotions, as it is intended to do. If you warn the other person to "shut up or I'll kick the crap out of you," and he continues, well, he's earned it fair and square.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but only after one fair warning.

While no amount of verbal abuse actually violates your rights, it does affect your mood and emotions, as it is intended to do. If you warn the other person to "shut up or I'll kick the crap out of you," and he continues, well, he's earned it fair and square.

I disagree. Your emotional state is not an excuse for violence. If it were well then following through on your threat to kill some ass that continues to call you names after you warned him not to is ok too. I mean after all he deserved it... he was warned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you warn the other person to "shut up or I'll kick the crap out of you," and he continues, well, he's earned it fair and square.
Uh, that is a flaming rejection of Objectivism. Since when do you have a right to another person's life? Since when do your wishes constitute a valid claim one another person's life?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree. Your emotional state is not an excuse for violence. If it were well then following through on your threat to kill some ass that continues to call you names after you warned him not to is ok too. I mean after all he deserved it... he was warned.

Do we agree no one has a right to verbally abuse you, at least not without provocation? If so, then you have a right to make him stop. First you should ignore the abuser and move on, but it's not always possible or practical to do so. Next best thing is to involve some authority to make him stop. If that option is also not available or if it fails to work, then I say you give warning and let him proceed at his own risk.

To spare you the next question, yes, I've done just that. Back at school, many years ago, when 1) leaving the classroom was not an option, 2) the teacher refused to do anything, and 3) the jerk ignored the warning. I got beaten up, too. I wasn't aprticularly strong nor skilled in hitting other kids effectively. But the mere willingness to fight stronger, bigger boys made them quit bugging me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no right to silence. You do not have a right to hit someone who does not pose a threat of violence toward you. Me calling you names is not a threat of violence, however if I threatened to kill you or beat you up you are right to have every expectation that I would follow through and would (in my opinion if not in legal fact) have the right to move in your own defence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do we agree no one has a right to verbally abuse you, at least not without provocation?

No, we don't. People have a right to say anything they wish, and address it to anyone they wish. It is irrelevant if you think that what they are saying is abusive.

As for when you were in school, if it is true that other kids would not threaten you, only insult you, then you should've learned to defend yourself using wit, and insult them back, instead of threatening physical violence. It doesn't matter that you don't have the option to leave (a. because your parents want you in school and b. because in the end you probably preferred to be in school, because the positives outweigh the negatives), you still have no right to initiate violence against people who insult you.

You should've been willing to fight only when someone chose to go there. Kids will be opinionated, and mean to each other, no matter what. The problem is some choose to protect themselves from insults with their fists. They are the cause of the violence in schools, and they deserve to be punished, not the ones who "provoked" the fight with words.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, we don't. People have a right to say anything they wish, and address it to anyone they wish. It is irrelevant if you think that what they are saying is abusive.

As for when you were in school, if it is true that other kids would not threaten you, only insult you, then you should've learned to defend yourself using wit, and insult them back, instead of threatening physical violence. It doesn't matter that you don't have the option to leave (a. because your parents want you in school and b. because in the end you probably preferred to be in school, because the positives outweigh the negatives), you still have no right to initiate violence against people who insult you.

You should've been willing to fight only when someone chose to go there. Kids will be opinionated, and mean to each other, no matter what. The problem is some choose to protect themselves from insults with their fists. They are the cause of the violence in schools, and they deserve to be punished, not the ones who "provoked" the fight with words.

I agree with most of this.

However, I don't think children should have the same free speech rights in schools that we all do in public. Therefore I think it is sometimes appropriate to punish both kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The key question is whether the hitting constitutes force. If it doesn't cause any injury to the person, and he has been "asking for it" with his behavior, then the case can be made that he had implicitly consented to being hit.

What does the extent of the injury have to do with it?

"asking for it"??? implicitly consented??? really???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"asking for it"??? implicitly consented??? really???

Asking for it is exactly right. If your words or actions are designed to make someone angry, then you should expect negative consequences from that anger towards you.

It's just like people who drive too fast when it's raining or snowing, or who eliberately run red lights when they're in a rush. They're asking to have a traffic accident, even if that's not what they want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's just like people who drive too fast when it's raining or snowing, or who eliberately run red lights when they're in a rush. They're asking to have a traffic accident, even if that's not what they want.

A road can't walk away from a speeding driver. Are you seriously suggesting that a man who is taunted is just as optionless as a piece of asphalt?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A road can't walk away from a speeding driver. Are you seriously suggesting that a man who is taunted is just as optionless as a piece of asphalt?

I'm saying is the same evasion of reality that takes place (damage to the road in traffic accidents is usually minnimal anyway). You may drive 75 through a snowstorm. You may expect nothing bad can possibly happen. You can expect a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, too. But you won't find a pot of gold and you're very likely to wind up dead driving like that.

If someone you're taunting gets msd and hits you, would you complain "but I was only trying to make him furious!"

Oh, some kids who bugged me expected me to hit them in order to get me in trouble. I suppose you'll say they weren't asking for it either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, we don't. People have a right to say anything they wish, and address it to anyone they wish.

Careful. You seem to be almost suggesting that the speaker has a right to be heard by anyone they wish, which would conflict with the would-be hearer's right not to have to listen to whatever it is the speaker wants to say.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is certainly a situation in which you should use pre-emptive force. Those people that walk right into your face, with their nose right next to yours, have invaded your space so greatly and are showing that they are such an extreme risk to you, you need to defend yourself from them. If you just let them hit you first, there is really no possibility that you could defend that swing. Good boxers keep people on the outside, they know that it's really hard to defend a punch if someone closes the space.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asking for it is exactly right. If your words or actions are designed to make someone angry, then you should expect negative consequences from that anger towards you.

Do you understand what principles you're advocating?

If you say something that makes someone angry, you ought to expect physical force in retaliation to your words. Are you an Objectivist?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you understand what principles you're advocating?

Yes, the same principle contained in the statement "if you play with fire you'll get burned."

If you say something that makes someone angry, you ought to expect physical force in retaliation to your words. Are you an Objectivist?

Look, even if I were to grant that it's always immoral to react violently to any kind of non-physical provocation, lots of poeple are immoral. If you try to make someone angry chances are you'll wind up hurt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...