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Stealing from an Altruist

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Anirudh Silai

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What would Rand say about this scenario: If Al subscribes to an altruistic mentality, and is stolen from by Bob, is Bob justified in stealing from Al? That is, if Bob steals from Al at gunpoint, and Al, though he doesn't want to be stolen from, sighs and says "whatever" to get Bob away from him, is Bob justified? Does the fact that Al has an altruist mentality justify Bob's theft?

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Al may say he is OK with this scenario, and might even join hands in a government handout scheme with hundreds of millions of other people using the same principles as justification. However, reality tells us that altruism does not work for humans. So, either Bob has bad principles similarly to Al, or Bob does not believe the "good" principles, proving so by stealing from Al.

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Stealing presupposes "theft".

What are the fundamental differences between the concepts:  "theft" and "gift" and "neither theft nor gift" with regard to the physical taking or receiving of something?

If someone came up to you and threatened you with a gun that you had to give her your wallet "or else", and if you proceeded to hand her the wallet... was that theft, gift, or neither and why?

Would it matter if you were an altruist in general?


Edited by StrictlyLogical
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Gift = Willingness

Theft = Unwillingness + Violent or fraudulent initiation by the taker

Neither gift nor theft = Given voluntarily and presumably unwillingly, but without the violent or fraudulent initiation by the taker. Rather, it is initiated by the giver with altruistic intention.

With Bob and Al, it's certainly theft.

Edited by Anirudh Silai
Unclear explanation
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