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May I Have An Atom Bomb?

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McGroarty
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As I said, the NH situation was not brought up to establish the "deadly" aspect so much as it was to counter you ZERO evidence assertion.
When I said "zero evidence" I was speaking of machine guns in the absolute strictest definition, such as the M249 or M240. Again this was said before I understood what you meant by machine gun.

As I clarified at the end of my last post, my summarized point refers to common criminal situations. I realize you did not know this when you posted this. However, serial killer cases are not that common. Bank robberies are more common, but still not "common". If we wanted to establish the deadliness of weapons based on examples of serial killers, we could probably take all guns right out of the picture so I don't accept that the Malvo case (or serial killers in general) really establishes anything. You suggest changing the time period (or in my words the context) doesn't make a difference, but I disagree.

I can accept this.

Please point me to the per capita stats you are comparing? That would be prior to 1934 vs. now. That was when the maching gun act went into affect. I'm not saying you are wrong, but you apparently have some information that I don't have.

Damn, wish you didn't catch that (I deleted it), I was thinking of the assault weapons ban. So just ignore that idiotic statement. :dough:

I surrender, just don't shoot me when I'm down;)

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Ayn Rand interview on gun ownership :

Interviewer : I’d like to turn to politics. You have stated that the government ought to be the exclusive agent of the use of force under objective law and justice.

Ayn Rand : That’s right.

Interviewer : Yet at the same time today we see an alarming rise in violent crime in this country and we see more and more people applying for gun permits to protect themselves. Do you see this as a dangerous trend, number one, and number two, do you favour any form of gun control laws ?

Ayn Rand : I have given it no thought at all and off hand I would say no, the government should not control guns except in very marginal forms. I don’t think it’s very important because I don’t think it’s in physical terms that the decisions and the fate of this country will be determined. If this country falls apart altogether...if the government collapses…bankrupt…then having a handgun in your pocket isn’t going to save your life. What you need is ideas and other people who share those ideas…and fighting towards a proper civilized government, not handguns for personal protection.

There was also an essay written called "Philosophy for the defence of firearms ownership." or something like that, but the link I had to it appears to be dead. I've still got the article in a .pdf, though, if anyone wants to read it.

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As AR stated, "a government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force."

AR also states in VOS:

"The necessary consequence of man's right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may only be used in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. "

She later states that:

"There is one basic principle to which an individual must consent if he wishes to live in a free, civilized society: the principle of renouncing the use of physical force and delegating to the government his right of physical self-defense, for the purpose of an orderly, objective, legally defined enforcement."

So, does an individual right to physical self-defense actually remain intact if he surrenders that right to the government but the government is not present when he/she is attacked and/or faces being killed? Or is the larger context to include that I can defend myself with a use of physical force, provided that it is subject to legal review through courts?

The government providing for my self-defense does me no good when I'm facing or about to face the point of a gun. This is what brings up the question of gun ownership. The desire to own defensive weaponry does not challenge the government's monopoly on force, it's a recognition that the government is simply incapable of using that force in all cases where it would be needed for self-defense. Their monopoly remains in tact in that an individual who does use defensive force remains susceptible to the consequences of applicable laws.

In short, what good is it for me to live in a civilized society if I'm still subject to the whim of the criminal and I am not allowed to defend myself?

VES

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Doesn't everyone have the right to use retalitory force?
Yes - and the exercise of that right is precisely what is delegated to a proper govt.

isn't giving the Government a monopoly on the use of force a pragmatic idea and not a moral one?

No. It is a profoundly moral one. It is the subjugation of force to reason.

So, does an individual right to physical self-defense actually remain intact if he surrenders that right to the government but the government is not present when he/she is attacked and/or faces being killed? Or is the larger context to include that I can defend myself with a use of physical force, provided that it is subject to legal review through courts?

Since the govt has the legal monopoly on the use of force, your unsanctioned use of force is most definitely subject to legal review through the courts.

Just so you know, this topic has been broached a few tiimes on the board already. If you do a search, you should find much more definitive answers to these questions - including some I made on the subject.

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Just so you know, this topic has been broached a few tiimes on the board already.  If you do a search, you should find much more definitive answers to these questions - including some I made on the subject.

Actually, I know the definitive answer. If the time comes, I will defend myself from an assault. When I have to deal with legal issues after that, so be it. If anyone else chooses to stand by and be assaulted or killed as they wait for the government to provide for their self-defense, then that is their choice.

If this means I can't be an Objectivist, I guess I'll have to live with that. But at least I'll have the opportunity to live.

VES

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Actually, I know the definitive answer.  If the time comes, I will defend myself from an assault.  When I have to deal with legal issues after that, so be it.  If anyone else chooses to stand by and be assaulted or killed as they wait for the government to provide for their self-defense, then that is their choice.

If this means I can't be an Objectivist, I guess I'll have to live with that.  But at least I'll have the opportunity to live.

VES

Hmm - you say you know the definitive answer, but then you imply that this answer may be in opposition to Objectivism. Since the question related to the objectivist position, it does not appear that your 'definitive answer' provides an answer in the context it was asked.

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Making nuclear weapons or any WMDs illegal kinda sounds stupid. Its not like a terrorist is gonna come to the US and see that nukes are illegal and say:

"Damn, i dont want to brake anti-nuke laws so I guess i cant nuke L.A. now".

I think the solution to this problem is to still actively look for these weapons but not necessarily make them illegal.

Treat them like you would treat a man who puts a gun at peoples heads but doesnt pull the trigger(except this is on a mass scale), hes not violating anyones rights but he is a possible threat and people have the right to consider him a threat and act accordingly. Idont think anyone would say it would be wrong for the cops to put him in jail.

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Making nuclear weapons or any WMDs illegal kinda sounds stupid. Its not like a terrorist is gonna come to the US and see that nukes are illegal and say:

"Damn, i dont want to brake anti-nuke laws so I guess i cant nuke L.A. now".

According to this 'logic' nothing should therefore be illegal.

"Making murder illegal kinda sounds stupid. Its not like a murderer is gonna come to the US and see that murder is illegal and say:

"Damn, i dont want to brake anti-murder laws so I guess i cant murder anybody now"."

or

"Making rape illegal kinda sounds stupid. Its not like a rapist is gonna come to the US and see that rape is illegal and say:

"Damn, i dont want to brake anti-rape laws so I guess i cant rape anybody now"."

or

"Making theft illegal kinda sounds stupid. Its not like a thief is gonna come to the US and see that theft is illegal and say:

"Damn, i dont want to brake anti-theft laws so I guess i cant steal from anybody now"."

In other words, you REALLY need to check the premises you hold. Because they lead to absurdity.

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Hmm - you say you know the definitive answer, but then you imply that this answer may be in opposition to Objectivism.  Since the question related to the objectivist position, it does not appear that your 'definitive answer' provides an answer in the context it was asked.

Only to the questions you quoted, not to the question I ended that particular post with which was not addressed. It is quite in keeping with that question.

That one should delegate ALL right to physical self-defense to the government actually seems to benefit the collective more than the individual. This seems to be the theme for many totalitarian governments throughout history, particularly with guns and/or weapon ownership in mind.

There is no true monopoly on the use of force if but one person is willing not to yield to that concept. And the facts of reality strongly suggest that not merely one person, but many will refuse to relinquish that power to the government. Since no true monopoly of that power can really exist, and since the government cannot protect all people in all places all the time, one MUST be able retain some ability to defend themselves from the initiation of physical force when their life is threatened.

I can honestly say the times in my life when I have had to use defensive physical force outside of my employment are very minimal. However, in my employment, I have extensive experience in the use of force coupled with the concept "minimal force necessary to stop the threat and/or affect the arrest". This is a concept that I carry over into personal self-defense. I understand many of the legal issues relating to the use of force and how to document the chain of events which describes the escalation of minimum necessary force. In short, I am very confident with the idea that if I have to use force to defend myself, I can justify it in a rational manner before an objective third party, such as a judge or jury. Feel free to doubt that if you wish.

So I have two questions:

1) Does my 'definitive answer' appear to you to be in opposition of Objectivism?

2) If faced with the real threat of physical force which could result in your death, would you defend yourself with the use of physical force if necessary?

VES

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I agree intuitively, but I'm hoping to discover objectivist logic that solidly backs up the position. Objectivism is new to me, and so I want to test it against positions I hold as givens.

I'm sorry, I did not mean to imply that it is absurd to give thought to the issue, but rather that after doing so I find the position of those who would allow my neighbor a nuclear bomb, to be an absurd position. In essence, there can be no rational justification to allow my neighbor a nuclear weapon, the very existence of which represents a threat of force to the extreme. In a proper society such weapons must be under control of the government, to whom we have delegated such powers of retaliatory force. Neither should the stockpiling of weapons be allowed, nor military maneuvers as manifest by those forming a so-called militia. Any special circumstances, such as the use of extremely powerful weapons for purposes such as mamouth construction or the like, would be exceptions to be handled by some proper procedures and methods. But the notion that the right of property entitles my neighbor to harbor a nuclear weapon in his house, is an affront to and an obliteration to the distinction between rightful property and the use of force.

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Actually, I know the definitive answer.  If the time comes, I will defend myself from an assault.  When I have to deal with legal issues after that, so be it.  If anyone else chooses to stand by and be assaulted or killed as they wait for the government to provide for their self-defense, then that is their choice.

If this means I can't be an Objectivist, I guess I'll have to live with that.  But at least I'll have the opportunity to live.

First, no one on this board speaks for Objectivism, so do not necessarily judge your consistency with Objectivism by what is presented here. Note also that this issue is discussed by Leonard Peikoff in OPAR in his discussion of government, page 363.

"By its nature, government has a monopoly on the use of force. In a rational society, individuals agree to delegate their right of self-defense; they renounce the private use of physical force even in self-protection (except during those emergencies that require action at once, before the police can be summoned)."

Clearly it is entirely reasonable to defend yourself in an emergency when your life and being are being threatened and the police are not there to perform their prescribed duty. This does not negate the fact that in ordinary circumstances the right to retaliatory is put under objective control in a proper government.

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Where do you draw the line between legally owning weapons and "stockpilling them"? It seems to me that it can not be rationally defined. Also I don't see how stockpilling weapons would be a threat to the Government's monopoly on the use of force. I can understand military manouvers and militia's but certainly not stockpilling weapons.

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First, no one on this board speaks for Objectivism, so do not necessarily judge your consistency with Objectivism by what is presented here. Note also that this issue is discussed by Leonard Peikoff in OPAR in his discussion of government, page 363.

Thanks for the straightforward response and quote Stephen. I may have been misinterpreting an earlier post (not from you) but it seemed to suggest ALL use of physical force must be relinquished, no exceptions.

VES

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So I have two questions:

1)  Does my 'definitive answer' appear to you to be in opposition of Objectivism?

2)  If faced with the real threat of physical force which could result in your death, would you defend yourself with the use of physical force if necessary?

This is PRECISELY why I suggested you do a search. These questions have already been asked and answered (in great detail). My point was, IF you were ACTUALLY interested in an answer, you would have done the further reading. Instead of pursuing that course of action, however, you dismissed that idea, insisting that you already knew your answer. Furthermore, you explicitly indicated that you are not concerned with whether or not your answer is compatible with objectivism.

Both of these facts say alot. As such, I will let them speak for themselves.

The only thing I WILL say is that if you are truly interested in the answers to you the questions you have posed, then I repeat my earlier suggestion that you read the previous, in depth discussions which were held on this topic.

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This is PRECISELY why I suggested you do a search.  These questions have already been asked and answered (in great detail).  My point was, IF you were ACTUALLY interested in an answer, you would have done the further reading.  Instead of pursuing that course of action, however, you dismissed that idea, insisting that you already knew your answer.  Furthermore, you explicitly indicated that you are not concerned with whether or not your answer is compatible with objectivism. 

Both of these facts say alot.  As such, I will let them speak for themselves. 

The only thing I WILL say is that if you are truly interested in the answers to you the questions you have posed, then I repeat my earlier suggestion that you read the previous, in depth discussions which were held on this topic.

First, I am ACTUALLY interested in an answer. Just because I don't elect pursue YOUR means of seeking these answer doesn't mean I'm not interested. (with the possible exception of your specific responses as you clearly don't wish to repeat them) Other people seem to be interested in discussing this issue here and now, in this thread.

Second, Stephen was kind enough to simply point me in the right direction and it didn't take a great deal of effort on his part to do so. So I got an answer, which appears to be compatible with Objectivism.

Third, no one made you participate in this topic, but in your choosing to do so, it appeared to me that you wished to discuss the issue even though you had done so apparently many times before. Therefore, I retract the questions I asked of you as I don't wish to further waste your or my time. Had I known it would be such a terrible burden on you, I would not have bothered.

Yes, please let the facts speak for themselves, I'm willing to do that as well.

My apologies if I have offended you in some way as it appears from the tone of you post.

VES

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This is PRECISELY why I suggested you do a search. These questions have already been asked and answered (in great detail). My point was, IF you were ACTUALLY interested in an answer, you would have done the further reading. Instead of pursuing that course of action, however, you dismissed that idea, insisting that you already knew your answer. Furthermore, you explicitly indicated that you are not concerned with whether or not your answer is compatible with objectivism.

Both of these facts say alot. As such, I will let them speak for themselves.

I think you are being unduly harsh to RationalCop. First, I can sympathize with long-time members of this forum, such as yourself, who have answered certain questions more than once in the past, but that RationalCop chose not to do a general search does not indicate that he is "[not] ACTUALLY interested in an answer." In fact, my own observation of RationalCop over an extended period of time has shown me that, though he can be stubborn [aren't many of us], he is consistently interested in understanding.

Second, I personally did not take his response as indicating that he was "not concerned with whether or not [his] answer is compatible with objectivism[sic]," but rather that he was more interested in being right according to the rational judgment of his mind, than being in accord with how he interpreted (or misinterpreted) Objectivism according to what you or others said. I find no fault with such an attitude.

And third, I must point out that if all you wanted to do was to point RationalCop to prior threads for reading, you could have done so rather succinctly. The fact that you answered as you did gave me the impression (and, I suppose gave the same impression to RationalCop) that you were actually interested in discussing the issue with him.

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I just want to say that it is purely coincidental that RationalCop's first/second/third comments preceded mine. I only just now read his post, after I had made mine. A funny coincidence.

I think we were typing pretty much at the same time. :)

VES

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Apparently either I am greatly misunderstanding the posts which have been directed towards me, or my posts have been greatly misunderstood. As such, I believe a recap is in order to determine which is the case.

1. My first post to this thread was a response to a question posed by Godless Capitalist. He essentially asked why he had a burden placed upon his ownership of weapons. I pointed out that a govt has a legal monopoly on physical force.

2. Praxus asked two questions, seemingly aimed at my response.

3. RCop responds to my quote of AR with quotes of his own, asking, among other things, if individual defensive force is subject to legal review by the courts.

4. I responded briefly to both questions asked by Praxus and provided a brief answer to RCop as well - indicating that a use of force which was not sanctioned by the monopoly holder of force would INDEED be subject to that monopoly holder's review.

I then advised RCop that this topic had been discussed in great depth in other threads, and if he wanted more answers to his questions he could pursue them there.

5. The VERY next post, RCop dismisses the notion of reading any other materials for answers (REGARDLESS of what they may be). He states he ALREADY has the answers.

Maybe it's just me - but in response to a post where one is directed to reading materials and the person indicates he doesnt need to bother with those materials because he already has the answer - that indicates to me there is no 'discussion' going on at all. It indicates to me that the person has made up his mind - and that he does not consider other materials necessary to validate or invalidate his conclusion.

COMBINING this fact with his flippant remark about it possibly meaning he can't be an Objectivist, but he is going to stick to his guns on the topic none the less, and I conclude the person IS being 'stubborn' concerning the topic. That he would rather stick to his way and his understanding REGARDLESS of fact or reason.

6. Even given the above, I STILL cut RCop slack. I COULD have made numerous comments about coming to conclusions without fact, etc - ie without even bothering to peruse the postings I referenced. Perhaps that was a mistake on my part. perhaps I should NOT have cut him the slack and come down on him BECAUSE he hadn't bothered to even look up the referenced material. Perhaps I should have then and there insisted he read the material instead of ignoring it and making others REPEAT the information instead.

But I didn't. Instead I simply noted that his response was not within the parameters of the discussion, since the question related to objectivism's view, and he was asserting that he was sticking with his view, whether it was considered objectivist or not.

7. After that, I responded to a post of a completely different focus, made by al K.

8. RCop replies to my post indicating, among other things, that no 'true' monopoly on the use of force can exist (a seeming repudiation of the AR claim that govt is such a monopoly). This statement certainly corroborated his position about sticking with his own ideas rather than understanding and accepting Objectivism in this instance.

After this he then essentially REPEATS the questions I indicated were already answered ELSEWHERE.

9. Given all of the above I made a final response - one in which I indicated that IF he WERE interested in more definitive answers than had been offered so far, he should indeed follow the suggestion I had made at point 4 in the thread - ie reading the suggested material. I pointed out that his refusal to do so and his decision to abandon objectivism on this point if he disagreed with it, spoke volumes - to which I would simply repeat the original suggestion I had made.

Now - IF I have 'musunderstood' or been 'too harsh' with RCop, I apologize. But given the above facts, I do not see that being the case.

--

Now - to specific points made:

A. Rejecting elaborate material on the subject matter and instead asking that it be repeated is your perogative. Just as it is mine NOT to repeat it. Next time, instead of trying to be HELPFUL and pointing people to materials in an effort to SAVE time and effort, I will simply not waste MY time at all. I will REFRAIN from trying to provide people with materials which will help them.

Thanks. Lesson learned.

B. Stephen DID point you in the right direction. SO DID I. You simply didnt WANT to BOTHER with my direction.

C. I did wish to discuss it - enough to indicate that a discussion had occured previously and IF you had any questions AFTER reading the previous materials, I would be willing to partake in such a discussion. Of course, as I have indicated above, I have now learned my lesson and if I am not willing to duplicate entire threads worth of intellectual effort because others do not want to be BOTHERED to read back on other threads, I will not BOTHER to say ANYTHING on a topic.

As I said, lesson learned.

D. For reasons I have indicated above, I do NOT believe I was being 'unduly harsh' with RCop. As you say, I know you can sympathize with me on the subject of repeating whole arguments, for I know you yourself have refused to do so - instead indicating where those arguments may be found.

Now, I cannot speak to your past experience with RCop. I can only speak to the conversation at hand. And his responses, as identified above, were not consistent with such an interest in understanding. REJECTING past readings on topics - SIMPLY because they are past - certainly does not seem to be the mark of one who is interested in 'understanding' - at least NOT on the given topic. Whether this is true of OTHER topics - that he is earnest in them - I cannot say. I can only say about this topic. And an earnestness to understand does not seem to have been in evidence in the thread as identified above.

E. When you direct people to other threads, are you indicating that you are not interested in discussing the subject with them at all? As I indicate in C, I am quite willing to discuss a topic even after having recommended additional reading - so long as that reading is done. I dare speculate that you do the same. If someone reads what you recommend and they do not understand it or have questions about it, you do discuss the issue further. And I am also willing to do the same.

Both of you seem to indicate that one should not give such an impression - that one should very tersely provide a reading reference and make no other comment whatsoever on the topic.

Very well. In the future I will hold my tongue completely unless I am willing to engage in a discussion on the terms set by someone else.

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Not only did Ayn Rand oppose individuals posessing nucelar weapons... she spoke against them posessing machine guins as well.

Those are machines of mass murder in the hands of civilians. No other possible purpose.

Except of course in a modern age where one would need a machine gun if one ever wanted to stage a rebellion with any possibility of success. There is nothing wrong with civilians owning machine guns, nuclear weapons yes, guns no.

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Apparently either I am greatly misunderstanding the posts which have been directed towards me, or my posts have been greatly misunderstood.

May I respectfully suggest a third alternative. Perhaps you are not seeing the harshness of the tone and attitude expressed in some of your posts, as seen by others. Perhaps instead of spending so much effort defending your perspective in your recap, it might have been worthwhile to take a step back and try to see what is going on from another perspective. Just a helpful suggestion as an alternative approach.

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