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Ali Shannon

Trade and production of bombs

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I will have to start with an assumption before I ask the question, so if I got the assumption or the conclusion wrong, please point it out.

If we assume that a free country will adopt the freedom of trade and production and the weapon manufacturers decide to sell their products of mass destruction to anyone who can afford such weapons. Now assume that a terrorist organization takes hold of such a weapon and purchases a property in the heart of NYC. How would the government stop them from unleashing havoc? And why would the government stop them if they have not initiated the use of force and violated anyone's rights yet? Even if the government bans its use, wouldn't they have to ban its trade and production?

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3 hours ago, Ali Shannon said:

if I got the assumption or the conclusion wrong, please point it out.

 

3 hours ago, Ali Shannon said:

a terrorist organization [that has] not initiated the use of force and violated anyone's rights yet

They sound like a bunch of harmless wankers. I'd worry more about the EPA shutting off the Ghostbusters' containment system.

 

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9 hours ago, Ali Shannon said:

If we assume that a free country will adopt the freedom of trade and production and the weapon manufacturers decide to sell their products of mass destruction to anyone who can afford such weapons.

Taking a step back here, I don't think there is a reason to assume that weapons should be traded freely in the manner that food, cars, books, etc. are sold. People on this forum have debated whether nuclear weapons should be allowed for private ownership, the same for attack helicopters and tanks.

My position is on the side that all weapons should be regulated and controlled in some manner. We are talking about tools of force, whose purpose and use are for the implementation of force. If the use of force is to be regulated (which we do when we say initiation of force is forbidden), it implies that the means the tools to use force should be regulated. That isn't to say that banning of all weapons is appropriate, just that they must be regulated. Some weapons, like nuclear bombs, might be appropriate to ban outright. In other words, force is not a right.

If we use your assumption, there is indeed nothing the government can do.

 

Edited by Eiuol

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

My position is on the side that all weapons should be regulated and controlled in some manner. We are talking about tools of force, whose purpose and use are for the implementation of force. If the use of force is to be regulated (which we do when we say initiation of force is for bidding), it implies that the means the tools to use force should be regulated. That isn't to say that banning of all weapons is appropriate, just that they must be regulated. Some weapons, like nuclear bombs, might be appropriate to ban outright. In other words, force is not a right.

This is the answer I was looking for. I was making the assumption based on the final part of Atlas Shrugged that says "congress shall make no law abridging freedom of trade and production."

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13 hours ago, Ali Shannon said:

This is the answer I was looking for. I was making the assumption based on the final part of Atlas Shrugged that says "congress shall make no law abridging freedom of trade and production."

If this is origin of the assumption, what of Hank Reardon's refusal to sell his metal to the state department of an example of how producers should act on principle?

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The proposed amendment saying that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of trade and production is similar to existing amendments that prohibit Congress from restricting speech or freedom of the press. Laws against fraud and threats exist, even with the First Amendment: that is because the rights recognized in the Constitution exist in a hierarchy. The purpose of government – protection of individual rights – is presumed (mentioned in the preamble), and what follows is a specification of how the government may do that. Most of the Constitution says what the structure of the government is and how laws come into being, but part of it describes the powers and limitations on those powers. Laws against fraud and threatening are minimal limitations on an unfettered right to say anything you want, and to use legal parlance, they pass “strict scrutiny”, meaning that those laws are passed to achieve a compelling government interest (protection of individual rights), it is narrowly tailored to meet that need, and it uses the least restrictive means to achieve that end. The “no trade restriction” amendment is, effectively, the repeal of the Commerce Clause.

I disagree with the stance that all weapons should be regulated by the government, but do not hold that the government has no business putting impediments in the way of backyard nukes. The apt question is, what is the most narrowly tailored, least-restrictive means of protecting individual rights? This is a tough question to answer, because it deals in an overly-broad concept “weapon”. One approach (the bad approach IMO) is to define weapon in terms of potential use – anything that can be used to violate the rights of another person. A moment’s thought reveals that you are, at this very moment, surrounded by an arsenal of “potential weapons”. The other approach (better, IMO) is to say specifically what things are prohibited. Shotguns can be made, sold, and used. You cannot shoot a person with one – that’s a separate law. Let us say that an H-bomb has no legitimate use by civilians, though it can be used by a government to protect rights. Then Congress can rightly pass a law that prohibits individual ownership of H-bombs, sale of H-bombs other than to rights-respecting governments (let’s leave asign for a moment who decides that), and manufacture of H-bombs, except for sale to rights-respecting governments. This precludes sales to terrorist organizations.

A seeming flaw in the above scheme is that it assumes that we are in a rights-respecting society where use of force is subject to objective law. Obviously, individual rights in the US are frequently violated by the government, but still, the fundamental principle of government protection of individual rights is alive in the US. Even more obviously, individual rights in North Korea, Iran and Syria are massively violated, and it is vastly harder to maintain that the notion of “individual rights” has anything to do with the conduct of those regimes. The Second Amendment was not passed to allow men to have hunting weapons or to shoot home-invaders, it was passed because the previous rights-trampling regime did lawfully seize gunpowder and arms (without a warrant) and prohibited importation of arms into America; these weapons were demonstrably necessary for the colonists to resist infringement on their rights by the British government. Times have temporarily changed (maybe that sounds pessimistic, but I do not believe that the Golden Age will last forever), so surely we do not need to have a supply of weapons in order to throw off the yoke of government oppression.

But: backyard nukes would not solve the problem of a North Korean style regime qua US government. Even as a means of protecting against government abuse, they are not a reasonable exercise of one’s right to self-defense.

 

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23 hours ago, Ali Shannon said:

And why would the government stop them if they have not initiated the use of force and violated anyone's rights yet?

You said they're a terrorist organization planning to obtain a bomb to kill people. You don't have to wait for force to be actualized to defend yourself. Why? Because initiation is a process, a concept of continuum. Planning, funding, obtaining, and organizing is all part of initiation of something.

Wouldn't it be a bit silly to go "oh this terrorist organization is trying to obtain a bomb and blow people up, but ah damn it, they haven't actually detonated it yet, so we can't do anything. Guess we'll just sit here until there's a crater in NYC"?

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