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Firstly, you are obviously not reasoning with him (which is, I presume, why you quoted it). But in that event you are busted and out comes the muzzle. You hope that you can deceive him and, in fact, the category of deceit is obviously designed to accomplish just that. You are applying your reasoning to the task of deceiving him as opposed to genuinely reasoning with him (or using violence against him).

And to tie that to directing into his brain an argument (based on reason or deception, in the case of a black market) or a bullet, in the case of the black market, you have to stand as protector of your own individual rights, as they are not being upheld and protected by the socialists, should it reach those extremes again.
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As to "going Galt", the earlier point of seeing the valley being a resort, a place to withdraw from "getting one's hands dirty", I find this forum to be a place to one can go and interface with like-m

Establishing context, in other words? If so, I would put game theory in there, because its level of specificity may be too much for philosophical inquiry. The topic is specialized enough that while it

Where did I say "sit down and shut up?" But, yes, I am questioning the utility of talking. To whatever extent they do, yes, but my point is that the usual arguments for free markets

Violence by an individual or small group especially against large groups and/or the government is a bad idea even if they are blatantly violating your rights and nobody seems to be stopping them. The problem there is that it would become a pretty literal suicide mission. Too much power on their side, not enough on yours.

...

Oh, by the way, in Objectivism we regularly lump "deception" (fraud) in with physical force when we mention "force" because the two have some important similar functions which lead to us having to frequently talk about both of them together and just having one term we need to use when everybody knows what we mean is much less of a hassle than constantly writing out each one as distinguished from the other one. So, I think most of us at least were already considering deception among potential options though noting that one can also have substantial risks and drawbacks, particularly when you try to fool the guvamints. Remember I mentioned earlier that we often cite an example of a time when not telling the truth could be a good idea would be if one was in Nazi Germany and being asked by officials if you knew where some Jewish neighbors were.

You come very close to a comming the sin of equivocation here and now I suspect something may have been lost in the process. Violence by the weak against the strong, just on a practical, tactical level, is usually suicidal. (Things are more subtle in war but let's stay away from that for now.) Deception is the generally favored tactic.

Ah, but you've categorized deception with force. Is force violence? Or is it a broader concept that includes mere deception? If the later then it is absolutely wrong to say that a small force cannot use "force" against a larger one. (I note you said "violence" but I think you get my drift here.)

"Force", defined as you have in the "Oh, by the way" is certainly an appropriate option by the weak against the strong.

When it comes to cases where the odds are not so awfully set against an individual or small group, probably against one or a few people when they are unlikely to get caught, it gets to be a more complicated issue to explain. The short answer is, "they haven't become permanently devoid of all their rights just for playing some part in getting just any kind of rights violation perpetrated against you." There are other threads around the forum I'm sure that could probably be found through the on site Google search which already have talked in depth about 1) the nature and source of rights 2) who/what they apply to 3) why retaliatory force is up to the government, though force to prevent or stop an immediate threat to one's rights or those of others is justified. Anyway, physically attacking individuals and small numbers of people even when unlikely to get caught runs afoul of the previously mentioned thing about retaliatory force being the government's domain. Why is this retaliatory though and not just self-defense? An individual only has the right to use force to do what is necessary when it comes to self-defense and force is not necessary, or probably even realistic, as a way to combat government enforced collectivism's popular support. We have other options. Now, one may wish to ask about why one should leave retaliation to the government still when it comes to people who are helping mess the government up or why one should pay any heed to the rights of somebody who supports and is to some extent helping with violating your rights or stuff about maybe what kind of retaliatory force, if any, would be justified against such people if the government went through its proper chanels to do it. If so though, let me know and I'll get to it later. I'm going to get something to eat now.

Yes, indeed, this is what I had in mind when I raised the matter for further discussion. And this is why this entire topic is not some simple exercise in applying Objectivism to one's particular situation. This is the start of a very deep discussion about the "rules of resistance", analogous to the rules of engagement in war. What youv'e described above is very similar to Just War theory.

(And, by the way, retaliation does not necessarily mean violence. I could retaliate against my state by moving a factory to a neighboring state or by outsourcing and laying off my workforce.)

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And to tie that to directing into his brain an argument (based on reason or deception, in the case of a black market) or a bullet, in the case of the black market, you have to stand as protector of your own individual rights, as they are not being upheld and protected by the socialists, should it reach those extremes again.

I can't quite make out what you are saying in the first part. Obviously we are discussing the "hypothetical" situation where Socialists are obstructing your rightful actions e.g. by force of law and muzzle of gun.

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Figuring out how to make this post is kind of tricky. Disagreement and misunderstanding here I think has to do with the Objectivist position on force.

Earlier, I was explaining two perspectives on force, neither of which is the Objectivist position. One is that any impediment against action is force, because you are "forced" to make a decision based on a new context. If a tree falls in the road, I no longer have the choice to drive straight on the road. Another viewpoint is that only the most extreme instances probably best left to the realm of science-fiction (mind control devices) would qualify as force, because your capacity to choose remains intact otherwise. If you point a gun at me, I can do some fancy martial arts to steal the gun from you to protect myself. Now, the issue with both is how choices are described in the first place, that is, with regards to the metaphysical and the man-made. You questioned the importance of this distinction earlier. Perhaps I'll provide a different angle for you to consider.

With the first one, a tree falling in the road would fall under the metaphysical side. That was something that just happens in a natural circumstance. To avoid complications, let's say a bolt of lightning hit the tree, then it fell. Suggesting a choice is forced here is like saying you're "forced" to ride a plane if you want to fly - you can't flap your arms and then start flying. Mainly, I find this viewpoint to be frustration directed at reality because one's mind doesn't decide how reality works. The world works with limitations due to identity of various entities in the world. Any choice to be made depends on limitations in the first place. Choosing to drive on the road is done by at least some comparison with what is possible and defined by the nature reality. Teleportation isn't going to happen, walking is dangerous during a thunderstorm. While these are all possible in any way in your imagination, a choice is made precisely because there are limitations.

From here, you'd probably say that is support for your ideas about force. "Why, yes, there are limitations, so why is pointing a gun force?" In other words, I'm arguing against the second viewpoint. Considering that people are able to make choices about the world in a manner that trees, ants, or rocks cannot, the man-made distinction becomes relevant. Events caused by person aren't caused by entities outside of them. Rocks can only act when force is applied, in a literal sense. Instead, they're caused from within, by whatever mechanisms the mind uses to operate. Shoving you can't cause you to suddenly believe that 2+2=5. Such an action cannot have the power to force a change. To that degree, Objectivism would say force is fruitless to change someone's mind (I'll return to this later - you probably see this as evidence of Objectivism being inherently disposed towards persuasion as a means to achieve an ideal world.) The mind, again, has to operate internally, by its own mechanisms. Still, it's stopping too short to then conclude with viewpoint two, ending the inquiry into force at that stage. The man-made distinction also suggests that since a choice is made internally, there are many things that people consider when making choices. As I was pointing out in the paragraph before, imagination is not infinite, and choices are made when considering the nature of reality.

Let's go back to the tree scenario again, except this time, I chopped down the tree, which according to my plan and intention, hit your car as you were driving to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. I'm changing the situation to the man-made side. By my own doing, and my internal choices, I caused that tree to fall on your car. Perhaps you'd see me as equivalent to a lightning strike, but how the tree fell is clearly different. Before the tree hit the car, you had long-range plans, perhaps even a business deal was planned, or any number of plans. Planning is a crucial element of choice, so how that is impacted can't be ignored. With nature, there is no use complaining - it is not anyone's fault. In this case, it is my fault. I am willfully preventing action in a way to interfere with your planning. To some extent, I am by personal power removing an option of your consideration, telling you that you can't drive on the road. I am a different type of entity than a lightning bolt, so it be said I am actually paralyzing your mind from making a certain choice *that is otherwise possible to make* with different consequences than is dictated by nature for other choices. Keep in mind the physical action on my part - I can't remove options for you unless I forcefully interact on your environment.

Certainly, I am not suggesting all possible choices have been eliminated. I've just constrained your decisions. But the constraint is in terms of how you are able to think rationally, not just constraint in general. The impact goes wide enough if pursued on a national scale that individuals aren't able to think rationally to their fullest, which is why socialism is seen as bad. For the most part, potential for blame is the difference between metaphysical in man-made for a discussion about the moral implications of force.

With that lengthy post on force in attempts to integrate many ideas discussed earlier, it will be easier to explain philosophical ideas of what one can do. This post is long already, so I'll stop here for now to see if there are any really big objections before I proceed.

Edited by Eiuol
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Figuring out how to make this post is kind of tricky. Disagreement and misunderstanding here I think has to do with the Objectivist position on force....With that lengthy post on force in attempts to integrate many ideas discussed earlier, it will be easier to explain philosophical ideas of what one can do. This post is long already, so I'll stop here for now to see if there are any really big objections before I proceed.

What you've demonstrated, above all, is the depth and complexity of this subject and why it deserves serious treatment.

I presume you've seen my last reply to bluecherry or perhaps you merely (correctly) anticipated my concern. Before we can even get to agreeing or disagreeing on facts we have to be careful with our use of language so as to avoid confusing others or even ourselves. This force/deception matter is particularly prone to misunderstanding. I don't really care if deception is included under force or not. But which ever way you go, you must avoid the error of equivocation.

Beyond that, I find your post a worthwhile contribution to the thread and (hopefully) the first step in further elaboration of the subjects.

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Do you have a preference between Plato and Aristotle?

Strictly between the two, Aristotle hand down. I have little patience for Plato. I do like Socrates, though.

I know Aristotle is the official patron philosopher of Objectivism. But I don't go to Aristotle for philosophy although I have the utmost respect for his role in the history of philosophy (and science, etc.).

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I guess you could say Aristotle is a patron philosopher. So you aware that most , I think, in Oist circles would feel Aristotle improved on Plato, and Rand improved on Aristotle, yes?

Yes, though if I were interested in pursuing this discussion further I'd question the extent that Aristotle improved on Plato as opposed to setting himself against him. But you're going to this this back into the thread, right?

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I can't quite make out what you are saying in the first part. Obviously we are discussing the "hypothetical" situation where Socialists are obstructing your rightful actions e.g. by force of law and muzzle of gun.

Miss Rand had written: "There are only two fundamental methods by which men can deal with one another: by reason or by force, by intellectual persuasion or by physical coercion, by directing to an opponent's brain an argument—or a bullet."

In the case of a black market, there are still only two methods they can deal with one another.

In the case of reason, it breaks into two aspects, reason and "deception."

Reason is resorting to exchange of value for value. Trading goods for goods that are unavailable from "legal" avenues. The "legal" avenues have made what goods are available scarce through laws prohibiting actions that might normally take place in a free, rather than a socialist marketplace.

Deception is resorted to when the exchange encounters something unexpected. The unexpected could be the contact you made was someone working undercover for the "legal system" which made those goods less available, or it could be a bobby that is working to uphold a "legal system" that made those goods less available. At this point, it is no longer a trade of value for value.

If you have encountered someone working undercover, usually the trade has been confirm, and you are busted for "illegal activity". Do you submit to arrest, surrender of the values you brought in hopeful exchange for being permitted to walk, or take matters into your own hands?

If in the process of making an exchange with your contact and the bobby shows up, or a ruffian happens upon you, you may try to deceive the bobby or dissuade the ruffian. If the bobby doesn't buy your deception, or the ruffian is determined, you are back at submitting to arrest, robbery, and in case of the ruffian perchance being murdered, or taking matters into your own hands,

In the case of deception or dissuasion, if these methods fail, the system is not upholding individual rights nor intervening to ensure them. The task of upholding your rights by force falls upon you.

In a deeper sense, the task of upholding your rights always fall onto you. One either has to uphold them by their own might, or by the consent of the governed, implement a system that is predicated on upholding the rights of the individual. If the latter is not implemented, or becomes corrupt i.e.: immoral, then the onus is returned directly to the individual who then has to uphold against all who are immoral and might seek him harm for himself without the backing of the corrupt government.

FWIW, Eiwol seems to be developing something similar in scope from a different angle, which bluecherry has also alluded to.

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Hernan

I asked about Plato and Aristotle to try and get a feel for some of your more basic tenents as regards philosophy. I see your arguements here as making a case , through the example of the outline for a book, based on what I believe are very rationalist premises. For Rand rationalism was a normative description of a school of thoght she considered not based on consitent application of logic, and here she meant logic as the art of noncontradictory indentification. Rationalism is characterised by a type of thinking that gives primary importance to ideas and abstractions as such, and treats consciousness as a primary and not dependent on reality akin to the Patonic world of forms.

Context dropping and floating abstraction are other pejorative terms Rand used based on her epistemology. Without outlining her entire philosophy with every post , on this and similar forums, I assume other posters are familiar with these terms.

In my view the actions you advocate as antedote to socialism are to a large extent based on rationalistic foundations.

The reason/force dichotomy is not grossly simplistic, one either deals with individuals by use of reason or one forces their will on another. One approach is moral the other malicious. Evil , those things which are against man's life, is impotent. Evil is the destruction of value. To destroy something there must first be a target of the destruction.

While I applaud any effort to seek the reduction of irrationality, it must come from a reason based, logically consistent foundation. I think what you describe as the proactive tendancies of Oism toward relying on only arguement and persasion are really just the attempts to establish such a base. I know this seems circular , and while my rhetoric may be clumsy at best(I am no academic), point being to persue a Oist 'solution' to the problem of collectivism, collectivism itself needs to be understood for what in reality it is. As I stated b efore the actual referent to the abstraction collectivism is a contradiction.

History can viewed from the perspective of gauging the level of freedom enjoyed by man in different societies and or cultures. Scoring on an overall view , I'd say 'we' are winning. Logic and reason will always 'win'. Any advancement in mankind's standard of living must procede from reason. Collectivism/socialism is the negation of reason and as such evil. But it can only exist parasitically , no amount of irrationality will ever produce values. Evil has only the power to destroy value.

Any utopian ideas you may think Oism holds or somehow seeks to bring to fruition, are more analagous to ideal health certainly an attainable goal but to achieve that end one must practise a consistent course of identification of the means to that end and then follow those means.

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Miss Rand had written: "There are only two fundamental methods by which men can deal with one another: by reason or by force, by intellectual persuasion or by physical coercion, by directing to an opponent's brain an argument—or a bullet."

In the case of a black market, there are still only two methods they can deal with one another.

In the case of reason, it breaks into two aspects, reason and "deception."

Reason is resorting to exchange of value for value. Trading goods for goods that are unavailable from "legal" avenues. The "legal" avenues have made what goods are available scarce through laws prohibiting actions that might normally take place in a free, rather than a socialist marketplace.

Deception is resorted to when the exchange encounters something unexpected. The unexpected could be the contact you made was someone working undercover for the "legal system" which made those goods less available, or it could be a bobby that is working to uphold a "legal system" that made those goods less available. At this point, it is no longer a trade of value for value.

If you have encountered someone working undercover, usually the trade has been confirm, and you are busted for "illegal activity". Do you submit to arrest, surrender of the values you brought in hopeful exchange for being permitted to walk, or take matters into your own hands?

If in the process of making an exchange with your contact and the bobby shows up, or a ruffian happens upon you, you may try to deceive the bobby or dissuade the ruffian. If the bobby doesn't buy your deception, or the ruffian is determined, you are back at submitting to arrest, robbery, and in case of the ruffian perchance being murdered, or taking matters into your own hands,

In the case of deception or dissuasion, if these methods fail, the system is not upholding individual rights nor intervening to ensure them. The task of upholding your rights by force falls upon you.

In a deeper sense, the task of upholding your rights always fall onto you. One either has to uphold them by their own might, or by the consent of the governed, implement a system that is predicated on upholding the rights of the individual. If the latter is not implemented, or becomes corrupt i.e.: immoral, then the onus is returned directly to the individual who then has to uphold against all who are immoral and might seek him harm for himself without the backing of the corrupt government.

FWIW, Eiwol seems to be developing something similar in scope from a different angle, which bluecherry has also alluded to.

My point is simply that it is entirely possible to distinguish violence and deception. In the above example, it is entirely possible to engage in deception (of the authorities) and eschew violance against them. If you are busted, you're busted, and that was the downside risk that you undertook when you chose not to submit.

I understand why Rand lumped deception into force, but as I pointed out to bluecherry, it invites eqivocation.

More generally, I think your statement that "the task of upholding your rights always fall onto you" is something I would agree on and which is entirely consistent with my claim that your freedom does not end at the muzzle of a gun. Assuming that it ever makes sense to rely on another to uphold your rights (an interesting question), the situation we are discusing, wrongfully pointing the muzzle at you by the lawful authorities, certainly dumps the task back into your lap.

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Hernan

I asked about Plato and Aristotle to try and get a feel for some of your more basic tenents as regards philosophy. I see your arguements here as making a case , through the example of the outline for a book, based on what I believe are very rationalist premises. For Rand rationalism was a normative description of a school of thoght she considered not based on consitent application of logic, and here she meant logic as the art of noncontradictory indentification. Rationalism is characterised by a type of thinking that gives primary importance to ideas and abstractions as such, and treats consciousness as a primary and not dependent on reality akin to the Patonic world of forms.

Context dropping and floating abstraction are other pejorative terms Rand used based on her epistemology. Without outlining her entire philosophy with every post , on this and similar forums, I assume other posters are familiar with these terms.

In my view the actions you advocate as antedote to socialism are to a large extent based on rationalistic foundations.

The reason/force dichotomy is not grossly simplistic, one either deals with individuals by use of reason or one forces their will on another. One approach is moral the other malicious. Evil , those things which are against man's life, is impotent. Evil is the destruction of value. To destroy something there must first be a target of the destruction.

I would suggest calling it "reason" and "other" but as I pointed out to bluecherry and dreamweaver, my main concern with that simple (if not simplistic) categorization is that it invites equivocation. There is an important distinction between violence and deception that risks getting lost.

While I appreciate the above it may be that we have finally arrived at the point where I diverge from Objectivism. Let's press on to find out.

Let's look first at the statement "Evil is the destruction of value." When the Allies bombed Nazi Germany and Tojo Japan it was certainly destroying things. We could go on all day with similar examples. There are two ways to look at that: 1) this was using destruction against evil and threfore the destruction was not evil in and of itself but righteous. That's essentially what Just War concludes. Or you could take the pacifict view and beleieve that any willful destruction is evil.

Now I know that Objectivism is not pacifist. But as with the danger of eqivocation on decetion as force, we run a very serious risk on these bland statements like "Evil is the destruction of value" of losing out on a lot of crucial subtelty.

I know where Rand was coming from, she was looking at how people ought to treat one another and urging that it be by reason and not force (or "other" as I would prefer), but in the real world you often face situations where it's either sit by and watch value destroyed (perhaps things that you value) or act in ways that destroy value, i.e. of those that are destroying value. Pretending that you can sit passivly and do good is happy-passifist talk.

Bluecherry provided the standard Nazis asking for Jews example but let me provide a more direct example: imagine that Objectivism were outlawed. Would you report to the nearest detention center or move your Objectivist books under the floorboards and replace them with Marxist books?

While I applaud any effort to seek the reduction of irrationality, it must come from a reason based, logically consistent foundation. I think what you describe as the proactive tendancies of Oism toward relying on only arguement and persasion are really just the attempts to establish such a base. I know this seems circular , and while my rhetoric may be clumsy at best(I am no academic), point being to persue a Oist 'solution' to the problem of collectivism, collectivism itself needs to be understood for what in reality it is. As I stated b efore the actual referent to the abstraction collectivism is a contradiction.

That's not what I have a problem with. What I have a problem with is the apparent Objectivist tendency to regard the establishment of such a base as a completion of the task. That's how intellectuals think (and I use that term here in the pejoritive sense). But there is little point in thinking things through if you are not prepared ever to act on your conclusions. Understanding the pathology of collectivism, and communicating that widely, is all well and good as a start but if you think it is the end of the matter you are deluding yourself.

History can viewed from the perspective of gauging the level of freedom enjoyed by man in different societies and or cultures. Scoring on an overall view , I'd say 'we' are winning. Logic and reason will always 'win'. Any advancement in mankind's standard of living must procede from reason. Collectivism/socialism is the negation of reason and as such evil. But it can only exist parasitically , no amount of irrationality will ever produce values. Evil has only the power to destroy value.

Any utopian ideas you may think Oism holds or somehow seeks to bring to fruition, are more analagous to ideal health certainly an attainable goal but to achieve that end one must practise a consistent course of identification of the means to that end and then follow those means.

In nature, parasites do quite well. They do best when they are left to feed undisturbed. To the extent that Objectivism submits to Sociaism it is laboring as slaves for the master.

One question we're pondering here is whether using force against force (or "other" against "other") is consistent or inconsistent with Objectivism. I've outlined above why I think Objectivists risk slipping into passivism without really answering that question simply by the use of language and structure of ideas and orientation on utopia.

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"Ah, but you've categorized deception with force. Is force violence? Or is it a broader concept that includes mere deception? If the later then it is absolutely wrong to say that a small force cannot use "force" against a larger one. (I note you said "violence" but I think you get my drift here.)"

I was being very deliberate when I used the word "violence" there instead of "force." ;) I wanted to specifically exclude fraud/deception there. Violence would be suicidal in that situation I was talking about above, but fraud/deception is indeed much less likely to have such life threatening results usually. Violence is one form of force I'd say, but not all forms.

The next paragraph is generally still focused on violence. "3) why retaliatory force is up to the government, though force to prevent or stop an immediate threat to one's rights or those of others is justified." <-- Here, I think I should have added the word "physical" to the retaliatory force being up to the government part. It's what I had in mind, but I admit that may easily not be evident to a reader. My bad. XD The second time in that sentence that I used "force" both types do apply.

Lying by non-government agents to other non-government agents in retaliation as opposed to mere self-defense against having your rights violated isn't necessarily something one should be in trouble with the law for (though it probably would still be immoral). This is supposing that your form of lying in retaliation isn't leading to some other illegal thing like false advertising, feeding somebody false information that leads to physical injury of somebody or in some other way tricking a person into commiting a crime.

Lying to the government in retaliation for things they are doing that violate rights or otherwise fail to uphold rights would morally have to be limited to only lying about things which would not involve you violating other citizens' rights. For example, robbing a store and then lying about it to the government because, "Yeah, screw you government and your health insurance mandate," is not okay because you shouldn't be robbing stores in the first place and thievery is something the government really does belong dealing with. Retaliating against an unjust government is not a legitimate excuse to commit or try to avoid detection and some of the consequences of injustices yourself. Census information being incorrect on the other hand doesn't involve violating anybody's rights as far as I'm aware. Stuff along the line of the census thing and not along the line of the shop lifting thing would then have to be evaluated for cost and risk versus potential benefit/efficacy.

"Now, one may wish to ask about why one should leave retaliation to the government still when it comes to people who are helping mess the government up or why one should pay any heed to the rights of somebody who supports and is to some extent helping with violating your rights or stuff about maybe what kind of retaliatory force, if any, would be justified against such people if the government went through its proper chanels to do it. If so though, let me know and I'll get to it later."

You didn't ask about this, so for now at least I've not written up more on that. :P

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My point is simply that it is entirely possible to distinguish violence and deception. In the above example, it is entirely possible to engage in deception (of the authorities) and eschew violance against them. If you are busted, you're busted, and that was the downside risk that you undertook when you chose not to submit.

Where's the choice in that?

I understand why Rand lumped deception into force, but as I pointed out to bluecherry, it invites eqivocation.

More generally, I think your statement that "the task of upholding your rights always fall onto you" is something I would agree on and which is entirely consistent with my claim that your freedom does not end at the muzzle of a gun. Assuming that it ever makes sense to rely on another to uphold your rights (an interesting question), the situation we are discusing, wrongfully pointing the muzzle at you by the lawful authorities, certainly dumps the task back into your lap.

Lawful authorities. The brown shirts of the German SS were the "lawful" authorities. The Soviet Union, Cuba, and how many others have their "lawful" authorities. I guess if you look at the role of govenment is simply to make and enforce whatever law they happen to whim into existence, then the govenment can never wrongfully point the muzzle at you, providing it has passed legislation giving themselves permission to do so.
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j'accuse

I can not see how your statements concerning understanding of Rand have any merit. I get the sense any continued discussion by me on this thread , would be the equivalent of having a conversation with someone who speaks Russian while I only speak english and try to facilitate that conversation by using a Cantonese interpretor. Sorry I'm out.

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Where's the choice in that?

This is really the reason that I chose the title for this thread. Even under the muzzle of a gun, you have choices. And without actually advocating for a dangerous world or suggesting that one should seek out danger, I would suggest that danger is exciting. Life is dangerous!

Let us suppose, for example, that in our hypothetical socialist society a cost/benefit/risk analysis shows that engaging in black market activity yields, on average, a higher payout than hiding at home. Do you do it or not? My impression at this point is that Objectivists would be hiding at home reading Rand and dreaming of a rational world.

Lawful authorities. The brown shirts of the German SS were the "lawful" authorities. The Soviet Union, Cuba, and how many others have their "lawful" authorities. I guess if you look at the role of govenment is simply to make and enforce whatever law they happen to whim into existence, then the govenment can never wrongfully point the muzzle at you, providing it has passed legislation giving themselves permission to do so.

Yes they were and they do, in fact, enforce whatever law they happen to whim into existence. Whether or not they can be in the wrong depends on your philosphical perspective and I presume all here would regard due process of Nazi law a wrong. But that is not the question. The question is what to do about it.

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I was being very deliberate when I used the word "violence" there instead of "force." ;) I wanted to specifically exclude fraud/deception there. Violence would be suicidal in that situation I was talking about above, but fraud/deception is indeed much less likely to have such life threatening results usually. Violence is one form of force I'd say, but not all forms.

The next paragraph is generally still focused on violence. "3) why retaliatory force is up to the government, though force to prevent or stop an immediate threat to one's rights or those of others is justified." <-- Here, I think I should have added the word "physical" to the retaliatory force being up to the government part. It's what I had in mind, but I admit that may easily not be evident to a reader. My bad. XD The second time in that sentence that I used "force" both types do apply.

I think we can broadly categorize the options into these:

1) Submissive compliance with the letter and spirit of the law.

2) Compliance with the letter but violation of the spirit of the law (e.g. Papa Johns).

3) Deception (e.g. black market).

4) Violence (e.g. armed attack).

I think we are all agreed that violence is off the table for various reasons. (And, anyway, who wants to publicly argue for that even in situations where it might be feasible?)

Obviously there is no risk in 1. 2 carries some risk, just look at how Papa Johns has become targeted by the mob.

But it is the third option that I think we should focus on here. And just to set the table, let me suggest that if you have ever paid a gardener or baby sitter in cash or slowed down when you see a cop car you have engaged in "force" against the government.

Lying by non-government agents to other non-government agents in retaliation as opposed to mere self-defense against having your rights violated isn't necessarily something one should be in trouble with the law for (though it probably would still be immoral). This is supposing that your form of lying in retaliation isn't leading to some other illegal thing like false advertising, feeding somebody false information that leads to physical injury of somebody or in some other way tricking a person into commiting a crime.

Lying to the government in retaliation for things they are doing that violate rights or otherwise fail to uphold rights would morally have to be limited to only lying about things which would not involve you violating other citizens' rights. For example, robbing a store and then lying about it to the government because, "Yeah, screw you government and your health insurance mandate," is not okay because you shouldn't be robbing stores in the first place and thievery is something the government really does belong dealing with. Retaliating against an unjust government is not a legitimate excuse to commit or try to avoid detection and some of the consequences of injustices yourself. Census information being incorrect on the other hand doesn't involve violating anybody's rights as far as I'm aware. Stuff along the line of the census thing and not along the line of the shop lifting thing would then have to be evaluated for cost and risk versus potential benefit/efficacy.

Yes, let's also assume for this discussion that we're not talking about robbing banks in Nazi Germany or whatever.

"Now, one may wish to ask about why one should leave retaliation to the government still when it comes to people who are helping mess the government up or why one should pay any heed to the rights of somebody who supports and is to some extent helping with violating your rights or stuff about maybe what kind of retaliatory force, if any, would be justified against such people if the government went through its proper chanels to do it. If so though, let me know and I'll get to it later."

You didn't ask about this, so for now at least I've not written up more on that. :P

I think this is an example of the complexity and subtlty of the subject. In an early reply to another I cited the example of Allied bombong of Nazi Germany and Tojo Japan. It's simple enough to talk about that in vague generalities but what that entailed was killing thosands of civilians irrespective of the wilfulness of their support for the respective regimes. People buned alive in those attacks. Or consider simply someone who is drafted against his will to fight for the Nazis and your job is to sneak up on him while he's on sentry duty and slit his throat. War is horrible.

Taking violene off the table will certainly reduce the horror but it won't relieve the fact that those who go along become part of the problem.

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History can viewed from the perspective of gauging the level of freedom enjoyed by man in different societies and or cultures. Scoring on an overall view , I'd say 'we' are winning.

One other thing that I just realize was wafting through my nostrils: historical determinism. I sure hope I'm misreading that.

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This is really the reason that I chose the title for this thread. Even under the muzzle of a gun, you have choices. And without actually advocating for a dangerous world or suggesting that one should seek out danger, I would suggest that danger is exciting. Life is dangerous!

Let us suppose, for example, that in our hypothetical socialist society a cost/benefit/risk analysis shows that engaging in black market activity yields, on average, a higher payout than hiding at home. Do you do it or not? My impression at this point is that Objectivists would be hiding at home reading Rand and dreaming of a rational world.

Yes they were and they do, in fact, enforce whatever law they happen to whim into existence. Whether or not they can be in the wrong depends on your philosphical perspective and I presume all here would regard due process of Nazi law a wrong. But that is not the question. The question is what to do about it.

Is that what you consider to be a form of mentoring? Taunting?

Do you want to understand choice? Choice is you looking at the world of opportunities as you see and judge them to be possible.

No, a gun does not eliminate all the choices, but it restricts them to the choice available of the immediacy of the moment. Submit, dissuade, take the chance to overpower the gunholder. But you do not have the choice of looking at the world of opportunities as you see and judge them to be possible while the gun is pointed at you by someone demanding otherwise. This is what we mean when we reply that the muzzle of the gun eliminates the possibility of choice.

My impression at this point is that you would rather just try stirring the pot.

If you want to accept, or have just accepted on the basis of unexamined premises, that life is dangerous, that socialism is a disease for which there is no cure, that the world is hostile, it too, is something over which we have no power to change. You have asked how Objectivism reasons about these things. You have come to the right spot. Do you have to accept our reasoning? I think the answer is obvious.

The arguments are, after all, only effective when accepted by the mind to which they are directed, providing of course, they are evaluated by the criteria consanant with the reality from which they were created.

Edited by dream_weaver
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Do you want to understand choice? Choice is you looking at the world of opportunities as you see and judge them to be possible. No, a gun does not eliminate all the choices, but it restricts them to the choice available of the immediacy of the moment. Submit, dissuade, take the chance to overpower the gunholder. But you do not have the choice of looking at the world of opportunities as you see and judge them to be possible while the gun is pointed at you by someone demanding otherwise. This is what we mean when we reply that the muzzle of the gun eliminates the possibility of choice.

Danger and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. For every opportunity there is a danger and in every danger an opportunity.

I understand you'd rather be left alone to pursue life but that's not the way of the world. Start with evolution if you seek understanding on this.

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"Let us suppose, for example, that in our hypothetical socialist society a cost/benefit/risk analysis shows that engaging in black market activity yields, on average, a higher payout than hiding at home. Do you do it or not? My impression at this point is that Objectivists would be hiding at home reading Rand and dreaming of a rational world."

What is it one would be selling/doing on the black market? How much higher is the average? Sometimes we may not do it just because we aren't interested in selling that product or performing that service in general or maybe you have low interest to the point that you'd be willing to do it only for quite good pay. Supposing somebody is very interested and the pay is not insufficient, then we may do so. I think you said you've read at least a lot of Atlas, right? Just as an example of something we would support, at one point Hank Rearden is facing such huge regulatory obstacles that he cannot get enough rescources to keep his otherwise entirely legal business running, so, thinking it was sad that it had to come to this, he secretly bought some of his supplies anyway which he could not get while following all the regulations. The main thing is that since risk of getting caught (or perhaps injured if you are dealing in a dangerous situation) goes up the more and the longer you keep operating on the black market I think it is unlikely it would ever be worth it to any of us to try to make a living long term this way. We'd probably keep participation in such illegal exchanges to fairly short term or rare and few unless maybe there were really minimal legal consequences if you got caught. For example, prohibition - we may make and/or buy and share some drinks with a few friends from time to time, but we probably wouldn't be running a speak easy or smuggling large quantities of the stuff across the country.

"2) Compliance with the letter but violation of the spirit of the law (e.g. Papa Johns).

3) Deception (e.g. black market)."

These are the two we're most likely to use. 1 is just not something we have any reason to want to do and 4 is pretty much a non-option. 2 is popular for activities that will be fairly public. 3 may involve creating false accounts in response to unjust laws, but more typically it just involves working quietly, secretly, just not saying anything and perhaps simple denial if asked. The main question though in my mind is where you, hernan, would determine the secretive stuff is not just self-defense but an act of retaliation.

Actually, I already talked about what we would see as justified in an actual country versus country war when your country is on the side of defending its citizens. The bombing thing is, of course, really sad for anybody innocent who gets caught in the middle, but we do support in a proper war doing whatever will get victory in as quick a manner with as little lives of our own citizens lives lost or injured as possible and possibly aiming to keep monetary costs down. (Once at least the first two of those things have been covered then we can try to factor in not doing more damage than the speed and keeping our people as safe as we can requires to the potentially innocent citizens.) Bombing in those cases killed a lot of people, potentially innocent ones among them, but that was much quicker and safer for our side and likely resulted in many fewer deaths and injuries to people in those countries than there otherwise would have been too. At least, this is what I've heard. The alternative of attacking the mainland of Japan with ground forces was a really bleak looking option, even bleaker than the bombing in the end. Now, as to how we see the unfortunate potential deaths of innocent people in these other countries among the bad guys, it's certainly not something we like to or want to do, it's something which is the result of another country initiating force against our's (or in some other case, perhaps condoning and letting go such actions against us by some of their citizens) and creating a situation where inevitably somebody is going to have their rights violated, it just becomes a matter of who. Because these other people left only the option of some party or another getting their rights violated there is no real nice, winning answer here and the one who created the situation via initiating force against us is culpable for whatever may happen to whoever in the process of people trying to defend themselves. Similar applies on smaller scale - for example, one movie I was watching years ago involved the main character suddenly getting chased on foot by people trying to kill him in the midst of a busy outdoor market area and the main character took a motorcycle by the side of the road to try to get away from the people chasing him. Sucks to be the person whose motorcycle went missing, but the blame goes on the people chasing the main character, not the main character who was trying not to get killed.

War and individual conflicts aren't the focus here though, individuals versus their unjust government is.

"One other thing that I just realize was wafting through my nostrils: historical determinism. I sure hope I'm misreading that."

That line says "are winning", not "will win." It's noting a trend, not proclaiming that such a trend will inexorably be followed to its end. (Generally though, unless something beyond human control kills us all off first, either our ideas are the ones that will gain greater influence or we can expect everybody to die off from their errors due to reality not bending to conform to them.)

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What is it one would be selling/doing on the black market? How much higher is the average? Sometimes we may not do it just because we aren't interested in selling that product or performing that service in general or maybe you have low interest to the point that you'd be willing to do it only for quite good pay. Supposing somebody is very interested and the pay is not insufficient, then we may do so. I think you said you've read at least a lot of Atlas, right? Just as an example of something we would support, at one point Hank Rearden is facing such huge regulatory obstacles that he cannot get enough rescources to keep his otherwise entirely legal business running, so, thinking it was sad that it had to come to this, he secretly bought some of his supplies anyway which he could not get while following all the regulations. The main thing is that since risk of getting caught (or perhaps injured if you are dealing in a dangerous situation) goes up the more and the longer you keep operating on the black market I think it is unlikely it would ever be worth it to any of us to try to make a living long term this way. We'd probably keep participation in such illegal exchanges to fairly short term or rare and few unless maybe there were really minimal legal consequences if you got caught. For example, prohibition - we may make and/or buy and share some drinks with a few friends from time to time, but we probably wouldn't be running a speak easy or smuggling large quantities of the stuff across the country.

Let me just summarily answer that there are two variables here to consider: expected (average) return and variance. It's easy to construct examples where your surival depends on deception but let's stick with the more mundane case where deception of the authorities, on average, yields a higher return than compliance. In the long run, over a large enough sample, those defy the law have a higher rate of survival and flourishing than those who comply with the law. Now there is the additional consideration of variance. If the variance is high, if for example there is a very low probability of getting caught but a severe punishment, then you might hesitate to engage in deception even if, on average, you will do better. Some people simply have a higher tolerance for risk than others.

Regarding the risk of getting caught, itself, one of the interesting phenomenon of black markets is their ability to corrupt the authorities. Those who operate black markets tend to prosper and to have the resources to pay off officials who then turn a blind eye to the activity. It is thus less risky than it appears. And this is possible precisely because the black market behavior is economicaly constructive and the law destructive.

"2) Compliance with the letter but violation of the spirit of the law (e.g. Papa Johns).

3) Deception (e.g. black market)."

These are the two we're most likely to use. 1 is just not something we have any reason to want to do and 4 is pretty much a non-option. 2 is popular for activities that will be fairly public. 3 may involve creating false accounts in response to unjust laws, but more typically it just involves working quietly, secretly, just not saying anything and perhaps simple denial if asked. The main question though in my mind is where you, hernan, would determine the secretive stuff is not just self-defense but an act of retaliation.

I was using the term "retaliation" a bit differently. In game theory you might choose a strategy that appears to cost you but really it doesn't. So on the face of it, a retaliation is any action that costs you to undetake but which also costs your opponent. By this definition, burning your oil wells and your mines is retaliation. If you signal your willingness to do this then you discouarge the behavior that would necessitate it. If I say, for example, that if you raise my taxes I'll quit and go on welfare, even though it costs me you might think twice about the cost to you. You can take this a step further by binding yourself to a retaliatory stance. The classic example was my namesake burning the boats upon landing on the Mexican coast. In effect, this is a pre-retaliation, you've already incurred the cost.

Anyway, my point is that this all becomes very interesting and complex. Just the sort of thing you'd expect reasoning people to thrive on.

Actually, I already talked about what we would see as justified in an actual country versus country war when your country is on the side of defending its citizens. The bombing thing is, of course, really sad for anybody innocent who gets caught in the middle, but we do support in a proper war doing whatever will get victory in as quick a manner with as little lives of our own citizens lives lost or injured as possible and possibly aiming to keep monetary costs down. (Once at least the first two of those things have been covered then we can try to factor in not doing more damage than the speed and keeping our people as safe as we can requires to the potentially innocent citizens.) Bombing in those cases killed a lot of people, potentially innocent ones among them, but that was much quicker and safer for our side and likely resulted in many fewer deaths and injuries to people in those countries than there otherwise would have been too. At least, this is what I've heard. The alternative of attacking the mainland of Japan with ground forces was a really bleak looking option, even bleaker than the bombing in the end. Now, as to how we see the unfortunate potential deaths of innocent people in these other countries among the bad guys, it's certainly not something we like to or want to do, it's something which is the result of another country initiating force against our's (or in some other case, perhaps condoning and letting go such actions against us by some of their citizens) and creating a situation where inevitably somebody is going to have their rights violated, it just becomes a matter of who. Because these other people left only the option of some party or another getting their rights violated there is no real nice, winning answer here and the one who created the situation via initiating force against us is culpable for whatever may happen to whoever in the process of people trying to defend themselves. Similar applies on smaller scale - for example, one movie I was watching years ago involved the main character suddenly getting chased on foot by people trying to kill him in the midst of a busy outdoor market area and the main character took a motorcycle by the side of the road to try to get away from the people chasing him. Sucks to be the person whose motorcycle went missing, but the blame goes on the people chasing the main character, not the main character who was trying not to get killed.

War and individual conflicts aren't the focus here though, individuals versus their unjust government is.

There are a couple advantages of talking about war, though. First of all, it's a shared experience that can exemplify theoretical points. And it is a safe topic for public discussion. We can safely discuss, for example, how Mao's weak guerrilla band defeated the powerful Nationalists, mostly by deception but, obviously, by some violence as well.

But there is another aspect to this: to what extent are the subjects different? Do different moral rules apply to nations and individuals? Mainstream philosophies say yes but Objectivism takes a much more individualistic view of morality. In the extreme case, we could say that there is no moral difference between the two.

That line says "are winning", not "will win." It's noting a trend, not proclaiming that such a trend will inexorably be followed to its end. (Generally though, unless something beyond human control kills us all off first, either our ideas are the ones that will gain greater influence or we can expect everybody to die off from their errors due to reality not bending to confor to them.)

I'm just saying, though, that historical determinism is certainly a good excuse for leaning back and letting others do the work. I do sense that some of the posters in this thead are leaning on this. While you are literally correct, he did say "are winning", not "will win," I sensed the implication from him and at least a couple others.

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I think I'm joining this at a random point, but I wanted to add that I don't think there can be a "theory of resistance" along the lines of what you're describing. I think there can be more of a theory of strategy for liberty, but that might be something different. In that case, I don't htink there's anything wrong with calling for revolution. It was objected to earlier that revolution was a bad idea because it was violent and dangerous, therefore electoral politics should be seen as the answer, but I think this gets it backwards. Roderick Long has the following example:

Under ordinary circumstances, if we’re planning an evening out and discussing what movie to see, it’s understood that if we cannot reach agreement on a particular film there is always the possibility of cancelling our plans and heading off to separate movies. The possibility that, in the event that consensus is not achieved, one of us might simply compel the other, by force or the threat thereof, to go to a particular movie is simply not contemplated. Discourse and persuasion in the legislative arena, by contrast, take place under the shadow of the truncheon and the gun; these conversations have a winner, and the losers are conscripted into the winners’ projects. The whole process of discussion has as its aim and presuppositon the externalisation of the costs, and internalisation of the benefits, winners’ favoured schemes. Legislation – at least the kind of legislation practised by states – is not an alternative to violence but is rather a mode of violence.

Revolution, on the other hand, need not necessarily be violent, if it is aimed at bypassing, rather than capturing organizations of violence and power. Thus the libertarian revolution, since it doesn't aim at taking over the reins of power, is the only one that doesn't require (and indeed cannot include) violence. Instead, just ceasing to prop up the statist society (non-participation) and focusing on building alternative (non-governmental) institutions for problem solving is better suited to achieving liberty.

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