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Should duels be legal?

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The only justification has been that such action is voluntary.
Similarly, the government should not take any kind of action against companies and customers by recognizing the right to engage in a sale. No further justification needs to be given. Are you assuming that parties must first establish that their proposed interaction meets some higher standard?
The basis for legality should be "rights."
That is correct. You have the right to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn't involve initiation of force -- you are prohibited from using force to obtain a choice from another person.
Likewise, I would think it important to know why someone is dueling if one wanted the government to respect, legally, such an action.
So you're saying that if a person wants to do something, they need to demonstrate something to the government? What would that thing be?
If the reason for a contract, or the duel, is off topic for the legitimacy of the contract and the expectation of government enforcement, then I don't understand your position.
How can you fail to understand? If a person has a right to engage in an action -- such as being addicted to drugs -- then if someone asks "should taking drugs be legal", the answer "taking drugs is immoral for the following reasons" is off topic. If the question had been "Is it moral to get addicted to drugs (or engage in a duel), then the question of whether it is legal would be equally off topic.
When the government arrest someone for murder, it is not just the act of killing someone that is illegal, it is the reason for the death of the other person that is relevant.
Because there is a distinction between just killing and unjust killing: the government is only concerned with unjust killing.

The proper legal stance, for a government that does what a government is supposed to do, is that dueling is not a coercive act therefore it is not against the law, although of course an investigation may be in order to determine that there was indeed a duel and not just a shooting. The government need not be concerned with determining the subject matter that caused the dual, and it need not judge the morality of the dual, since only the participants are in a position to make a correct judgment.

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I've stated in the chatroom, and I'll state here, that I believe duels should be legal. So long as every last bullet stays on -their- property, I'm perfectly fine with it. The duel does not infringe o

Someone explain to me why two people cannot make an informed, voluntary contract between each other on any terms they want. /thread

No, that is not correct. It is not correct to say that because men are ends in themselves, no man may initiate the use of force against another.

Similarly, the government should not take any kind of action against companies and customers by recognizing the right to engage in a sale. No further justification needs to be given. Are you assuming that parties must first establish that their proposed interaction meets some higher standard?That is correct. You have the right to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn't involve initiation of force -- you are prohibited from using force to obtain a choice from another person.So you're saying that if a person wants to do something, they need to demonstrate something to the government? What would that thing be?How can you fail to understand? If a person has a right to engage in an action -- such as being addicted to drugs -- then if someone asks "should taking drugs be legal", the answer "taking drugs is immoral for the following reasons" is off topic. If the question had been "Is it moral to get addicted to drugs (or engage in a duel), then the question of whether it is legal would be equally off topic.Because there is a distinction between just killing and unjust killing: the government is only concerned with unjust killing.

The proper legal stance, for a government that does what a government is supposed to do, is that dueling is not a coercive act therefore it is not against the law, although of course an investigation may be in order to determine that there was indeed a duel and not just a shooting. The government need not be concerned with determining the subject matter that caused the dual, and it need not judge the morality of the dual, since only the participants are in a position to make a correct judgment.

But a duel does not involve one person taking actions that harm himself, as it does in drug use. A duel involves the use of physical force by one person against another and that is the specific province of government, which holds a legal monopoly on such action. How does one distinguish just from unjust without knowing "why"? When companies engage in a sale, is it legal if they are voluntarily selling human beings, stolen property, weapons to terrorists? Voluntary action is only in play within the context of rights, i.e., that force is not being used. A duel clearly involves force and the government has every right to control it. So I clearly disagree with your statement that "dueling is not a coercive act."

If a person wants to do something and if they want to subsequently claim any legal status, they need to demonstrate that rights are not being violated. And just because two people voluntarily engage in a duel is not a demonstration that rights are not violated. I could not walk up to your house with a friend of mine, begin to voluntarily bargain with him over the price that I would sell your house to him, then draw up a contract based upon our voluntarily agreed upon price, and then kick you out because of our agreement. So, yes, if someone wants to do something, they had better be prepared to demonstrate something to the government. (Of course, in most cases this is implicit in that no one is actually running to government offices before or after every action. But if you expect to take any legal action at some point in the future, you had better be sure the transaction has some legal status. I could tell you I'm going to give you a dozen roses tomorrow, but I doubt you'd have any legal recourse if I forgot or changed my mind.)

You asked, "If a person has a right to engage in an action..." Where in this thread was it established that there is a right to duel? The assertion that voluntarism serves as a basis has been denied by me. How can it only be argued that something is legal without asking if there is a right? Why should it be assumed that there is a right to duel but just argue over whether it is legal? Perhaps that's not the distinction being made in this thread, but that's the distinction I see you making in your statements.

Edited by A is A
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A duel clearly involves force

This is the premise that you need to check. A duel does not involve force if it is freely consented to (force and freedom being opposites). Why someone freely consents is beside the point.

The more interesting question, I think, is how is it known (by whom, and for what purpose) that the duel is a duel? Would the government, for the purpose of controlling the use of force, be right to insist in advance upon a legal attestation (something like a will) proving that the parties to the duel freely consent?

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If a person wants to do something and if they want to subsequently claim any legal status, they need to demonstrate that rights are not being violated.

I'm sorry but I think you have it wrong here.

It is the government that must prove that rights are being violated (or at least have very strong reasonable suspicion) before interfering.

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A duel involves the use of physical force by one person against another and that is the specific province of government, which holds a legal monopoly on such action.
Shaking hands involves physical force, as does boxing.

The most important fact to remember is that man's actions by nature are chosen, not given, and it is right for him to choose his actions according to his own judgment. The only time the government should be involved is if a person's free will is being overborn. From VOS p. 110:

The concept of a "right" pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

Where in this thread was it established that there is a right to duel?
It's not established: it's being discussed. So far, there does not seem to be any argument that dueling should be legally prohibited, or that dueling violates the rights of the participants. If you have an argument on the central issue, which is about rights, then trot it out.
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It is the government that must prove that rights are being violated (or at least have very strong reasonable suspicion) before interfering.

I suppose that social context plays a role here. Since this is not the 18th century, and duels are not commonplace nowadays (if not completely unheard of), just the fact that a duel is said to be taking place might raise reasonable suspicions for the police to check out. On the other hand, since the issue is largely hypothetical anyway, I doubt that laws regulating dueling per se would be proper. Rather the issue would be the enforcement of laws against murder, and whether those should permit some special 'out' for consenting adults. This would cover the hypothetical of duels, and also such non-hypotheticals as assisted suicide. I have no doubt that once the reasonable suspicions are disposed of, the government must butt out of the way of consenting adults. The question I have is how properly to dispose of those suspicions.

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The question I have is how properly to dispose of those suspicions.
Well, there are usually more witnesses than shooters at these events. In an analogous case involving alleged self-defense, if there are 4 witnesses saying that it was self-defense and none speaking contrarily, then that would (usually) be the end of the inquiry.
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A duel involves the use of physical force by one person against another and that is the specific province of government, which holds a legal monopoly on such action.

Is it possible you should reconsider whether a duel actually involves the use of "force", particularly since the parties are both consenting? Force in this context typically implies "coercion" or against the consent of the party on which the physical action is being performed. For instance, people that consensually engage in "rough sex" are not using force against each other though their actions may fit the legal definition of assault. Boxers would be another example.

And as QuoVadis points out, the burden of legal proof rests on the government to demonstrate guilt, not you to demonstrate you are not guilty. Your defense comes in response to their accusation, not the other way around.

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That is incorrect.

By definition murder is an unlawful killing. If dueling were legal the death could not be murder.

This is incorrect.

Everything not prohibited is legal. My point is that no law acknowledging dueling as legal or illegal is necessary so long as there is a death penalty for murder.

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This is incorrect.

Everything not prohibited is legal. My point is that no law acknowledging dueling as legal or illegal is necessary so long as there is a death penalty for murder.

You aren't making sense here.

This is what you said:

"Lethal dueling can be legal only so long as the victor gets the death penalty for murder. "

You are stating a contradiction.

If dueling is legal then no murder occurred.

There can still be a death penalty for murder in theory, but it couldn't be applied to a death that takes place within a legal voluntary activity.

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Yes. If there is consent on both ends. Yes. I think if it was legal it would happen few and far between because today's society is a little more future and goal oriented. But it should be legal.

CONSENT is the key word.

Edited by LandonWalsh
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I guess it must be easier for some people to live in a fantasy world with duels and such than live in the real world.

Does any of this have ANY relevance on anyone's life?

Yes, in fact it has clear relevance to your life. Specifically, it is relevant to the question of what principles govern proper government action, and whether indeed "principles", i.e. moral concepts, are possible.
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No. Back when dueling was legal, there was no law stating "Dueling is legal." According to Wikipedia there are 30 states today with no laws against dueling. They don't need one, dueling is just another excuse for murder.
Well, all you've done, really, is identify a problem in accurately delimiting laws that protect the rights of individuals. It's clear that dueling is not murder, that murder and killing are not coextensive. So the underlying question remains, whether the legal system should be changed so that the death of a dueler caused by his being shot by his dueling opponent is not classified as "murder".
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I'm having a difficult time seeing why this should not be legal. IF I own my life, an idea every Objectivist should agree with, why can I not allow someone else to either end it or risk ending it for me? Is it my life up until I want to end it and then it is no longer my life and the state claims the right to continue it against my will? I mean, I know that is how it is now, but we are discussing how it should be.

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I guess it must be easier for some people to live in a fantasy world with duels and such than live in the real world.

Does any of this have ANY relevance on anyone's life?

If you don't care for the discussion, please do not participate.

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No one agrees to lose a duel. The presumption of consent is invalid.

Your first sentence itself involves presumption.

They both agree to the risk of losing (just like any endeavor) therefore the consent is valid. I think the burden would be to demonstrate that the consent was invalid in any individual case rather than presuming by default.

When a person invests in the stock market, they don't agree to lose money, but they agree to risk losing money.

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Your first sentence itself involves presumption.

They both agree to the risk of losing (just like any endeavor) therefore the consent is valid. I think the burden would be to demonstrate that the consent was invalid in any individual case rather than presuming by default.

When a person invests in the stock market, they don't agree to lose money, but they agree to risk losing money.

They both agree to jointly attempt murder. By virtue of the arrangement only one will succeed, but neither had any right to even attempt murder. Consent is invalid and irrelevant to the matter.

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No. Back when dueling was legal, there was no law stating "Dueling is legal." According to Wikipedia there are 30 states today with no laws against dueling. They don't need one, dueling is just another excuse for murder.

How so? If we both sign, with witnesses and get it notarized, a statement that states that we will duel, with the rules, time, and location, then how is that murder? I consented to it, explicitly. It is no different than an assisted suicide, accept that in this case, I may or may not die. Of course, that whole thing might be a little extreme, but it isn't impossible. The main point is that you have to be able to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that your activity was consensual (so for example, both proclaiming in a bar with a dozen witnesses that they are going to go in the alley way outback and duel). If you can show this, which really isn't that difficult, then how can you be said to have murdered anyone? They consented to be killed, provided they get the simultaneous opportunity to try to kill you. Result, they died. Where is the initiation of force? Where do you make someone do something without consent? Where do you separate their will from their actions? I don't see it.

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They both agree to jointly attempt murder.

David has already pointed out that killing is not synonymous with murder. They each have a right to their lives, even the right to end or risk ending their own lives. The consent is valid.

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