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The Golden Rule as a basis for rights

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If urban warfare is coming home, it is because the lines are already blurred.   In a case like Ferguson, the reaction is fueled, not by careful consideration of the facts that culminated in the inci

Do any of these examples demonstrate that hardened resistance due to unprovoked attack ultimately led to victory?  Vietnam perhaps, and if one concludes that the Vietnamese prevailed in a practical te

The evasion of reality it must've taken to get to this conclusion is mind blowing.

Writing off is an expression for showing little or no regard for.  What makes it less bad to shoot into a crowd of foreigners than having our own police do the same on domestic soil?

The straw man is that little or no regard was shown to the "innocents." Regard may be desired or even shown, and yet the right thing to do may still be to kill an "innocent."

No, in fact it has been my presumption that this is the calculation that is being used; what I've referred to as choosing the lesser of two evils.  What remains to be justified is how writing off one group of innocents is morally preferable to acting consistently towards all innocents, particularly when neither group poses any credible threat to each other.

Here's another argument that no one is making. Who is arguing under the context of "no credible threat"? And, the contention is with the idea of "lesser evil." Killing an "innocent" may be not evil at all, depending on the circumstances. It's not about acting "consistent toward all innocents," it's about consistently acting in your own self-interest.

And yet, as an Objectivist, it is in your interest to recognize and respect the rights of others if you choose to have your own rights recognized and respected; that's the ethically reciprocal part.

sNerd answered this when he described the reasonable expectation of the "innocents" in one country for the defending country's primary concern to be eliminating a credible threat. Get out of the way or it's on the "innocent," not the guy defending himself.
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What makes it less bad to shoot into a crowd of foreigners than having our own police do the same on domestic soil?

Why are you focussing on the location of the soil they're on? Do you think the soil has something to do with why it might be a good idea to shoot at them?
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The straw man is that little or no regard was shown to the "innocents." Regard may be desired or even shown, and yet the right thing to do may still be to kill an "innocent."

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There is certainly less regard for the lives of the innocents being shot at than the ones being defended.  It has been implied (post 123) that one may target innocents during war, when one is doing so to protect other innocents.  If both groups are innocent of aggression or wrong doing, why is it good to shoot into one crowd and not the other?

 

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Here's another argument that no one is making. Who is arguing under the context of "no credible threat"? And, the contention is with the idea of "lesser evil." Killing an "innocent" may be not evil at all, depending on the circumstances. It's not about acting "consistent toward all innocents," it's about consistently acting in your own self-interest.

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Again, neither group represents a credible threat to each otherthey are both innocent of any act of aggression.  A concrete example of how "killing an innocent may be not evil at all" when they are only guilty of being in the way of you defending yourself would be much appreciated.  And how is consistently acting in your own self-interest accomplished by respecting the rights of some non-aggressors, but not other non-aggressors?

 

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sNerd answered this when he described the reasonable expectation of the "innocents" in one country for the defending country's primary concern to be eliminating a credible threat. Get out of the way or it's on the "innocent," not the guy defending himself.

 

Is it your reasonable expectation to be shot at for aggressive actions you haven't made?  How reasonable is it to kill someone who isn't a credible threat in order to get at someone who is?  For example, is it reasonable to expect that innocent bystanders can simply get out of the way of carpet bombing, or a nuclear warhead?

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Why are you focussing on the location of the soil they're on? Do you think the soil has something to do with why it might be a good idea to shoot at them?

 

You indicated that you're OK with shooting into a mixed crowd of innocent and aggressive individuals, so long as some innocent individuals are being defended.  My question simply takes that option from foreign to domestic soil.  If it's OK to shoot into the crowd in a military conflict overseas, why not do the same in a criminal conflict here at home?  For example, a bank is robbed and a teller is shot.  The armed robbers disperse into a crowd of innocent bystranders as the police arrive.  Is it OK for the police to open fire on the crowd in order to get at the bank robbers??

 

We can agree that it's morally acceptable to defend yourself and others who aren't guilty of aggression; that is after all the kind of security one looks for in defending a right to life.  I also get that innocent bystanders should duck and cover when "the good guy" is trying to get at "the bad guy" in their midst.  What I can't get my head around is this notion that it becomes morally acceptable, that it's a good thing, that innocent bystanders are killed in order to defend innocent bystanders.

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Are you just having an argument with yourself or what?

 

I'm trying to understand the moral distinction being used to allow shooting into a mixed crowd of innocent and aggressive individuals, so long as some innocent individuals are being defended, as proposed by softwareNerd and agreed with by JASKN.  If there is none other than "doing whatever it takes", then yeah, this has become a circular argument and I'll let it go at that.

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If there is none other than "doing whatever it takes", then yeah, this has become a circular argument and I'll let it go at that.

A number of contexts were hinted at, bringing proximity, seriousness, and immediacy into play. But you're not even acknowledging that, much less refuting it. With no context, "innocent" is code name for "intrinsic good."

Here's a very specific example, since you asked:

Islamic crazy man with body bomb walks into skyscraper lobby and grabs nearest bystander, puts knife to her throat. Security guard happens to be between hostage and bomber. He doesn't think twice and shoots the bomber, with the bullet also passing through the hostage's skull. Was he wrong to defend his life?

Or, journalist is beheaded in third world country by terrorist group. Was it right to let him die and not give the terrorists what they wanted, be it weapons or whatever? He was innocent.

Or, Japan does not back down in uncertain and deadly world war, with no end in sight. Was it right to nuke their cities?

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A number of contexts were hinted at, bringing proximity, seriousness, and immediacy into play. But you're not even acknowledging that, much less refuting it. With no context, "innocent" is code name for "intrinsic good."

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Not really.  With no context, innocent means not guilty of a crime or offense, or not responsible for or directly involved in an event yet suffering its consequences ~ Google definition innocent

code name, "non-aggressive victim"

 

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Here's a very specific example, since you asked:

Islamic crazy man with body bomb walks into skyscraper lobby and grabs nearest bystander, puts knife to her throat. Security guard happens to be between hostage and bomber. He doesn't think twice and shoots the bomber, with the bullet also passing through the hostage's skull. Was he wrong to defend his life?

Or, journalist is beheaded in third world country by terrorist group. Was it right to let him die and not give the terrorists what they wanted, be it weapons or whatever? He was innocent.

Or, Japan does not back down in uncertain and deadly world war, with no end in sight. Was it right to nuke their cities?

 

I will respond by presuming your answer to #1 is no, and #2 & #3 is yes.

1)  As a last resort, no.  Reviewing his actions later, I'd want to know why a skilled marksman, one who can apparently take out his target by shooting through the hostage, wasn't able to position himself with a better line on the target, or failing that, shoot through some less lethal portion of the hostage.

2)  Yes, because apparently there wasn't anyone in proximity to rescue the hostage.  In any case, as usually happens, he was a goner no mater what was done.

3)  I am uncertain here.  If this relies on what actually happened, I credit the following article for providing a very interesting perspective on how necessary it was to nuke Japan...

 

"The most illuminating perspective, however, comes from top World War II American military leaders. The conventional wisdom that the atomic bomb saved a million lives is so widespread that … most Americans haven’t paused to ponder something rather striking to anyone seriously concerned with the issue: Not only did most top U.S. military leaders think the bombings were unnecessary and unjustified, many were morally offended by what they regarded as the unnecessary destruction of Japanese cities and what were essentially noncombat populations. Moreover, they spoke about it quite openly and publicly."

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-real-reason-america-used-nuclear-weapons-against-japan-it-was-not-to-end-the-war-or-save-lives/5308192

 

So on this particular question, the best I can say is, perhaps.

 

--

Now I have one for you...

 

A grenade is tossed into your house and you have the oppertunity to toss it into your neighbor's home before it explodes... Should you?

 

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I meant the "innocents" you are referring to in this thread, in a discussion about moral principles.

My answer to all three was yes, and also yes to your final example. In all four examples, it was necessary to kill some innocent bystanders in order to secure the livelihood of the people doing the killing. It boggles my mind that you would choose to kill yourself instead of throw a grenade away from you. And it's also clear as day to me that some unlucky bystanders may have to die in order for me to defend against an attacker, either directly or using a government.

You're clearly not using your own life as the standard behind the Golden Rule or any other ethical principle.

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Your security guard was wrong to defend his life??

 

Actually, my answer to the grenade scenario was yes.  Why? Because my death would have allowed a grenade tosser to procede to his next target, which may have been next door anyway.

 

In any case, I appreciate your feedback, and now that your position is clear to me, I won't trouble you further.

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For example, a bank is robbed and a teller is shot.  The armed robbers disperse into a crowd of innocent bystranders as the police arrive.  Is it OK for the police to open fire on the crowd in order to get at the bank robbers??

Did a majority of these bystanders vote for these robbers, and are many of them cheering on the robbers? More importantly, are these robbers going to kill people if you do not take them out? If so, what is the type of threat they pose and how?

Basically, your example is not worth much when one compares it to real-life situations where an army takes out an enemy.

Edited by softwareNerd
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The other potential targets are your ethical standard?

 

They are derived from it to the degree that I would appreciate a little help if someone comes crashing through my door, but no, my ethical standard is to deal with a mortal threat in a effective way that doesn't compromise what I'm fighting for.  That's why I look to the Golden Rule as a measure of justice, and Billy Jack where there is no to be had...

 

"When policemen break the law, then there isn't any law - just a fight for survival."

 

Love that quote :thumbsup:

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Did a majority of these bystanders vote for these robbers, and are many of them cheering on the robbers? More importantly, are these robbers going to kill people if you do not take them out? If so, what is the type of threat they pose and how?

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"a bank is robbed and a teller is shot.  The armed robbers disperse into a crowd of innocent bystranders"

 

Do you really need additional facts to react to this situation?

 

 

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Basically, your example is not worth much when one compares it to real-life situations where an army takes out an enemy.

 

Urban warefare is coming home, the lines are already blurred.  Anyway, thanks again for the feedback.  Time to give this a rest.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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If urban warfare is coming home, it is because the lines are already blurred.

 

In a case like Ferguson, the reaction is fueled, not by careful consideration of the facts that culminated in the incident, but from folks who see Michael Brown's body lying in the street and draw conclusions based on unquestioned rationalizations of why the world is unfair, how justice is never served, others are just out to get us - a sort of dog eat dog mentality.

 

The response is shackled by miscarriages of justice, where an officer is punished for doing his job by a culture that does not fully understand what his job entails. The two officers in Detroit imprisoned for doing their job, because the perpetrator dies, not from an injury sustained in an attempt to take the officer's gun, but a heart failure brought on by years of substance abuse.

 

Israel's handling of Hamas, notifying when and where a strike is going to occur to allow people to leave the vicinity, have repeated found munitions stored in schools. This is a case where their enemies are purposely using children as shields to protect themselves from otherwise legitimate retaliation. Israel puts the safety and security of their citizens at risk bending over backwards to ensure that "no child is left behind" in a target zone.

 

Upholding and protecting individual rights is the purpose with which a legitimate government is charged, not the ensurance that an innocent is never injured or killed in the maintenance of that charter.

 

In Germany, where the "innocents" allowed to leave, knowing that a war was taking place, that it might not be safe to remain? If not, are the allies to be held responsible for their deaths, or the government that forbade their seeking higher grounds?

 

If a crowd of people gather and stick around while Molotov cocktails are lit and hurled at police - by sticking around (during and after), are they sanctioning the action of the perpetrators of such an activity? Is such a sanction an act of innocence?

 

It seems to me that what is being asked here is when should someone who blatantly violates individual rights be granted immunity simply because they discovered that using an innocent individual(s) as a shield(s) will shield protect them from the otherwise just consequences of their action?

 

Edited: Added, removed.

Edited by dream_weaver
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They are derived from it to the degree that I would appreciate a little help if someone comes crashing through my door, but no, my ethical standard is to deal with a mortal threat in a effective way that doesn't compromise what I'm fighting for.

 

How is that even an ethical standard? That's a policy that presupposes an ethical standard. And you said above quite clearly that the reason you would throw the grenade into the other house is to protect 'other potential targets'.

Edited by CriticalThinker2000
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How is that even an ethical standard? That's a policy that presupposes an ethical standard. And you said above quite clearly that the reason you would throw the grenade into the other house is to protect 'other potential targets'.

 

The grenade scenario only gives me two options; death and uncertainty, or life and uncertainty.  I don't know who is tossing grenades or how many they have.  I don't know if the neighbors house is occupied at that moment, and if so, if anyone is in the room when the grenade explodes.  I only know that if I do nothing I cannot prevent more grenades from being tossed, and the "other potential targets" will always include me unless I do something about it.

 

Suppose I fall on the grenade to protect other lives with the expectation that others will do the same.  Who stops the grenade tosser?  The defense of my life and others depends on stopping the bomber, so I toss the grenade next door (because that's all I can do to live) and go after the bomber (because that's the only way to end the threat to the community I live in).

 

I will defend my life because I choose to live, and I expect others to do the same ~ the Golden Rule

 

Because I choose to live with some measure of security, it's in my interest to recognize and respect the lives of the community I live in ~ the Right to Life

 

I think the rest has been adequately discussed, and you may refer to posts 94, 100, 108 & 114 for pretty much everything else I have to say about the Golden Rule as a basis for rights.

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The grenade scenario only gives me two options; death and uncertainty, or life and uncertainty.  I don't know who is tossing grenades or how many they have.  I don't know if the neighbors house is occupied at that moment, and if so, if anyone is in the room when the grenade explodes.  I only know that if I do nothing I cannot prevent more grenades from being tossed, and the "other potential targets" will always include me unless I do something about it.

 

By other potential targets you actually meant yourself??? :confused:  That implies that the reason you save yourself is to save yourself- completely circular. It's OK to retract a statement or say you were wrong...

 

 

I will defend my life because I choose to live, and I expect others to do the same ~ the Golden Rule

 

That is not the golden rule. That is the golden rule as applied according to your ethics.

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By other potential targets you actually meant yourself??? :confused:  That implies that the reason you save yourself is to save yourself- completely circular...

 

In terms of a community threat, I am a potential target by definition.  That implies that securing the community secures my life as well.  What you call "circular" is actually reciprocal**.

 

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That is not the golden rule. That is the golden rule as applied according to your ethics.

 

X unto others as you would have others X unto you ~ the Golden Rule

 

X = defend the right to life ~ application of the Golden Rule

 

-- added --

 

** reciprocal ~ Merriam-Webster

 

used to describe a relationship in which two people or groups agree to do something similar for each other, to allow each other to have the same rights, etc.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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In terms of a community threat, I am a potential target by definition.  That implies that securing the community secures my life as well.  What you call "circular" is actually reciprocal**.

 

You said:

 

"Actually, my answer to the grenade scenario was yes.  Why? Because my death would have allowed a grenade tosser to procede to his next target, which may have been next door anyway."

 

Then in an attempt to explain the other-centric standard behind your decision, you say:

 

"I only know that if I do nothing I cannot prevent more grenades from being tossed, and the "other potential targets" will always include me unless I do something about it."

 

Notwithstanding the fact that it's completely unclear how throwing the grenade next door stops the thrower from proceeding onward, you are CLEARLY stating that you would throw the grenade next door to stop the tosser from proceeding to attack you again. Which means your reason for saving yourself is to save yourself in the future. That is not reciprocal. That is circular logic.

 

 

X unto others as you would have others X unto you ~ the Golden Rule

 

X = defend the right to life ~ application of the Golden Rule

 

Thanks for making our points. Since you can substitute anything you want for X, the golden rule does not have ethical content. "Be consistent" is a rule of logic, not ethics.

Edited by CriticalThinker2000
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...

Notwithstanding the fact that it's completely unclear how throwing the grenade next door stops the thrower from proceeding onward, you are CLEARLY stating that you would throw the grenade next door to stop the tosser from proceeding to attack you again. Which means your reason for saving yourself is to save yourself in the future. That is not reciprocal. That is circular logic.

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It's not clear that choosing to live allows you attempt (because you are alive) to stop the tosser from proceeding to attack you or anyone else again??

 

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Thanks for making our points. Since you can substitute anything you want for X, the golden rule does not have ethical content. "Be consistent" is a rule of logic, not ethics.

 

You can substitute anything for "do whatever it takes" as well, and without socially secured rights that's the kind of ambiguous ethics you'd be acting on.

 

Being ethically consistent is what the Golden Rule evaluates, specifically if your actions unilateral or reciprocal.  Only the latter addresses respect for a "right" that is mutually beneficial to members of the community who will then be motivated (by thier own self-interest) to reciprocate in your defense.

 

If the point is to justify securing a right to life, justice requires partners who treat each other equitably.  If your point is something else then let's move on.

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Thank you for the clarification of "equity".

 

Being ethically consistent is what the Golden Rule evaluates, specifically if your actions unilateral or reciprocal.  Only the latter addresses respect for a "right" that is mutually beneficial to members of the community who will then be motivated (by thier own self-interest) to reciprocate in your defense.

 

This same reasoning could lead one to advocate the Welfare Statist's "safety net".  It could oppose gay marriage and support drug prohibition, on the basis that everyone's decisions would be force-fed to them, reciprocally.  At the same time and in the same way it could support anarchy on the basis that nobody would be organizing or coordinating their decisions, reciprocally.

 

You can substitute anything for "do whatever it takes" as well, and without socially secured rights that's the kind of ambiguous ethics you'd be acting on.

Not if you define what "it" is.

For example, to "do whatever it takes to get a million dollars" would be consistent with a huge number of possible actions, while unambiguously contradicting any large expenditures.  If your goal was to "buy and enjoy some million-dollar item" then your range of options is even narrower; you would have to earn that million legitimately and retain your capacity to use it afterwards. 

 

Within the context of Rational Selfishness "it" is self-fulfillment and "it" leaves an astonishingly small amount of grey area, if you really think about "it".

 

As for whether the deliberate murder of innocents can truly further "it", even in a crisis, I don't know one way or another (although I don't believe the question, as it has been phrased and referred to throughout this thread, is nearly precise enough).  I do however know that reciprocity as such is no moral principle for anyone who intends to live on Earth.

 

The Golden Rule cannot be used to distinguish between mutual benefits and mutually-assured destruction, and that dictates its objective value to anyone who cares about the difference therein.

 

In short: it has no such value.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Thank you for the clarification of "equity".

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Thank you for pointing me in the  direction of the Croods.  Finally saw it; loved it :thumbsup:

 

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This same reasoning could lead one to advocate the Welfare Statist's "safety net".  It could oppose gay marriage and support drug prohibition, on the basis that everyone's decisions would be force-fed to them, reciprocally.  At the same time and in the same way it could support anarchy on the basis that nobody would be organizing or coordinating their decisions, reciprocally.

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If it did, you wouldn't mind because you'd agree with it, reciprocally.

 

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Not if you define what "it" is...

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Then please do so.  The "it" in moral reciprocity is whatever you prefer.

 

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As for whether the deliberate murder of innocents can truly further "it", even in a crisis, I don't know one way or another (although I don't believe the question, as it has been phrased and referred to throughout this thread, is nearly precise enough).  I do however know that reciprocity as such is no moral principle for anyone who intends to live on Earth.

 

The Golden Rule cannot be used to distinguish between mutual benefits and mutually-assured destruction, and that dictates its objective value to anyone who cares about the difference therein.

 

In short: it has no such value.

 

Funny how moral reciprocity, for all its apparent lack of value, finds representations of itself in nearly every religion and philosophy, including Objectivism.  However when I cite these representations, I get criticized for appealing to authority.  Let me just say that I agree with a certain author of a certain philosophy on this issue :whistle:

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