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StrictlyLogical

Aliens and Proper Government

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Alien Invasion

 

Imagine an invading alien force which quite accidentally came to Earth via an errant asteroid.

The aliens themselves are quite unusual.  They are passive, non-sentient, and they multiply under the right conditions.

Most alarmingly the aliens are quite small, they invade humans, multiply and pass from human to human... and they are miniature, unpredictable, terrorists who seemingly at whim, can kill the human host they have invaded including themselves.  A sort of miniature non-sentient suicide bomber who kills the host and themselves without much rhyme or reason... although statistically we can detect a pattern regarding which hosts are more likely to trigger the attack.  There is also much evidence regarding how they multiply and propagate from human to human... oddly they can be modeled on something from Earth we more commonly know as a "virus".

 

In a world with a proper government whose responsibility is to protect individual rights from domestic and foreign invaders, a council is assembled, and the issues debated...

 

How do we protect the individual rights the very right to live of our citizens from this blind insidious invading alien force?

 

[Edit: not sure if this should be added here or added as a new thread... actually I'd like to request Dream Weaver move it to a new thread called "Aliens and Proper Government"   :) ]

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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In protection of individual rights, whatever defense is mounted needs to be voluntarily implemented. If it cannot, that would mean the end of the human race and that will be the argument for authoritarian control.

 

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

In protection of individual rights, whatever defense is mounted needs to be voluntarily implemented. If it cannot, that would mean the end of the human race and that will be the argument for authoritarian control.

 

I suspect this above is an oversimplification.

 

What do you mean by voluntarily implemented? 

If a person has reasonable suspicion that they are a host then "voluntarily" approaching others becomes taking a risk with regard to those other's individual rights to life and bodily integrity which risk is criminal negligence, and the initiation of force (real threats/risk constitute force).   It is opening up others to the risk of death by the enemy aliens... this risk to individual rights is a violation of those rights certainly once the person knows he is a host... and in fact can be violation of others rights (and a crime) when it is only that he is being negligent regarding his reasonable suspicion that he is already a host and poses a risk to life.  The innocent person being approached does not initiate this harm, the negligent person who approaches them and risking that other person's life against their will is initiating it.

 

Voluntary behavior of approaching others by persons who know they are hosts or who should reasonably know that they are hosts is a violation of rights, the initiation of force and the rights of those others deserves to be protected by a proper government.  This must be done contextually and in proportion but it must be done. 

 

Protection of individual rights does involve the authority of law and if needed the legitimate use of force, but legitimate force is not authoritarian as such.

 

This is not about fighting aliens per se, but about protecting the rights of people, by fighting the aliens, and protecting people from each other's aliens.

 

The proper approach of a proper government must be nuanced but also take into account the complexity and the unknowns of the problem.

 

 

 

 

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This is identical to a virus infection in principle (you acknowledged that already). It doesn't matter where a microscopic threat originates given that it is non-sentient with regards to quarantines, social distancing, government response, etc. It would matter to the medical community, and science and scientists tasked to fight an alien pathogen though of course.

What point are you trying to make given that the two situations are nearly identical except for how science fights the terrestrial or alien pathogen?

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Without probable cause to suspect that a particular individual has been invaded by this terrestrial ar alien pathogen, the political authoritarian mindset is quick to erect a border through which none may pass. The presumption of innocence is supplanted by the presumption of guilt.

The distinction of how which science fights the terrestrial or alien pathogen is missing. In the realm of the seen contrasted to the unseen, most envision the scientist with a microscope with a slide containing the pathogen slide under its lens in a laboratory geared toward understanding the identity of the agent in question.

Instead of the "rest assured, it is being looked into" one might think this should generate, the empty shelves and clamoring voices project that the public had better "be as unreassured as it has the wits to be."

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19 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What do you mean by voluntarily implemented? 

What I mean is "not implemented via an authoritarian regime". So, the people would be watching out for their own benefit, doing what is necessary to live without harming others.

Now, when we say legitimate use of force, isn't that basically in retaliation or in defense or self defense? In other words non-initiation (which is too broad without a context)

The fundamental justification for use of force would be to defend against this alien thing (aggressor).

That is where a quarantine is legitimate if someone has the alien in them. (this is not an initiation of force but rather defense against initiation)

If we base the argument on the objectivist necessity of rights, which are freedoms required to survive, then in this case what freedom is necessary to survive these aliens?

The number one item will be "good information", accurate, timely and accessible. Each citizen will want it and should be willing to pay something for it. That will "require" transparency by the government. This implies a "right to find out", maybe an element of freedom of the press.

"The right to try" is another important one to be protected which is it play right now. The relaxation of the rules to bring to market both testing and potential medicines was a move in the right direction. Hopefully more of it will remain even after the "emergency".

  • It should be illegal for someone to infect others if they know they are "contaminated"
  • It should be illegal to prevent or give people fraudulent information like the Chinese government did.
  • It should be illegal to prevent people from trying a medicine even if it may kill them.

We should still be free to set a price that the market will bear for our services as long as competition is allowed of course. Price gouging may look ugly but is a voluntary transaction.

Finally, freedom, "the right to be left alone if you are not harming anyone" should be upheld, respected and enforced.

This is voluntary as opposed to a government saying "all of you will use or not use this medicine (at the price that we will determine) and we will tell you what you need to know when we see fit."

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6 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

What I mean is "not implemented via an authoritarian regime". So, the people would be watching out for their own benefit, doing what is necessary to live without harming others.

Now, when we say legitimate use of force, isn't that basically in retaliation or in defense or self defense? In other words non-initiation (which is too broad without a context)

The fundamental justification for use of force would be to defend against this alien thing (aggressor).

That is where a quarantine is legitimate if someone has the alien in them. (this is not an initiation of force but rather defense against initiation)

If we base the argument on the objectivist necessity of rights, which are freedoms required to survive, then in this case what freedom is necessary to survive these aliens?

The number one item will be "good information", accurate, timely and accessible. Each citizen will want it and should be willing to pay something for it. That will "require" transparency by the government. This implies a "right to find out", maybe an element of freedom of the press.

"The right to try" is another important one to be protected which is it play right now. The relaxation of the rules to bring to market both testing and potential medicines was a move in the right direction. Hopefully more of it will remain even after the "emergency".

  • It should be illegal for someone to infect others if they know they are "contaminated"
  • It should be illegal to prevent or give people fraudulent information like the Chinese government did.
  • It should be illegal to prevent people from trying a medicine even if it may kill them.

We should still be free to set a price that the market will bear for our services as long as competition is allowed of course. Price gouging may look ugly but is a voluntary transaction.

Finally, freedom, "the right to be left alone if you are not harming anyone" should be upheld, respected and enforced.

This is voluntary as opposed to a government saying "all of you will use or not use this medicine (at the price that we will determine) and we will tell you what you need to know when we see fit."

I agree with most of what you say here.  However, I think the term "voluntary" has a narrow application where it is necessary in this context.

Government has its proper role and people will act on their own volition... whether peacetime or wartime.

The opposite of "authoritarian" government (one which violates rights) is not associated with "voluntariness" in any general sense but is the presence of a proper government which acts according to Objective law to protect rights and not violate them...

 

6 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

the people would be watching out for their own benefit, doing what is necessary to live without harming others.

The role of government is not premised upon nor dependent on the voluntary choice of people to behave lawfully ... in fact the proper role of government includes protecting rights of the innocent from those who voluntarily act inappropriately.

 

That said, when it comes to wartime resources, forced appropriation of resources and people (the draft) would be authoritarian and improper, so in the sense only that people and resources must have been volunteered or donated,to properly become part of the government's legitimate war machine.. I agree with use of the term "voluntary". 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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16 hours ago, EC said:

This is identical to a virus infection in principle (you acknowledged that already). It doesn't matter where a microscopic threat originates given that it is non-sentient with regards to quarantines, social distancing, government response, etc. It would matter to the medical community, and science and scientists tasked to fight an alien pathogen though of course.

What point are you trying to make given that the two situations are nearly identical except for how science fights the terrestrial or alien pathogen?

For some... use of an "unusual" perspective is necessary to distill principles or to bring concepts into clarity.

"Unpredictable alien suicide bombers who hide in host humans" might bring the mind to a level of attention and alertness which might not be reached by thinking about "just an uncommonly dangerous and unpredictable cold".

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4 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The opposite of "authoritarian" government (one which violates rights) is not associated with "voluntariness" in any general sense but is the presence of a proper government which acts according to Objective law to protect rights and not violate them...

I see what you mean. The word voluntary does not do it justice.

But ... There is a continuum between

Authoritarian <--------- vs ------------>Voluntarian (if there were such a word i.e. based on free choice rather than oppression).

Once the voluntary aspect of people's actions is removed, they are by definition oppressed, the system, authoritarian.

But the awareness of the continuum is gone. ONLY "somewhere in between" exists, not the two poles.

As a consequence, to solve societal problems we use some sort of chemotherapy, at all times, rather than striving for "the cure". There is no other way and there is no better way.

The prevailing understanding in the culture is that "some oppression is necessary". Somewhere in the middle with "moderate oppression" is what is good. After all, taxation is not slavery, just a touch of slavery (which is "the" good).

The alternative is not "rightful" freedom (Liberty) vs oppression, it is now "moderate oppression" vs. oppression.

So fighting this alien entity is inevitably going to be through some sort of oppression.  

And the proof is in the pudding! A six-trillion dollar locked-down toilet-paper-shaped pudding.

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On 3/28/2020 at 12:05 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

A sort of miniature non-sentient suicide bomber who kills the host and themselves without much rhyme or reason... although statistically we can detect a pattern regarding which hosts are more likely to trigger the attack. 

This detectable pattern reveals which hosts are currently under siege. The jihad only continues if fresh territory is readily available to perpetuate the process of developing more non-sentient jihadists in a quest to propagate a successful world-wide conquest.

Edited by dream_weaver

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It is questionable whether the word "success" applies to either viruses or these virus-like aliens, since neither is alive.  But if we want to apply it, perhaps a virus is "successful" if it becomes endemic; that way it doesn't "die" out.

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On 3/30/2020 at 1:12 AM, Easy Truth said:

So fighting this alien entity is inevitably going to be through some sort of oppression

I do not know if oppression is the correct word.  Certainly times of war require action which is not “normal” but a proper government MUST be ready for and capable of conducting war.

Even if conventional ground warfare is all we speak of...

suppose the enemy has successfully overrun some domestic territory, and occupy houses and farms of our citizens up to the new “front lines”, some of them have taken hostages.

The situation is bleak and proper military action aims to free as many hostages and return control and possession of as much of the occupied/stolen territory and property to its rightful owners.as possible.

Actions which are taken here although often tragic and involving loss is not oppression it is liberation, it is that which is required to make life possible again.

 

Aliens or no aliens, proper governments conduct warfare as part of its proper role and it is not oppression.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Actions which are taken here although often tragic and involving loss is not oppression it is liberation, it is that which is required to make life possible again.

 

You seem to be arguing that when there is chaos, "might over right" is justified until the dust settles. This would be justified in states where rationality is not possible. Where free will is not possible. Where everyone is drunk perhaps.

Are you talking about a state beyond ethical guidance?

We possibility have to talk in terms of "the ethics of war", not the implementation of a fight, but the ethics of being overrun without a plan of defense or capability to organize one. 

Isn't this the ethics of emergencies. I am not clear about the morality, immorality, and amorality that comes into play here.

Is this a situation where one has to do the best they can and sort it out later?
The main problem with this is that it is the justification for authoritarians taking over. That is the excuse that is usually used for the benevolent dictator.

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Just now, Easy Truth said:

You seem to be arguing that when there is chaos, "might over right" is justified until the dust settles. This would be justified in states where rationality is not possible. Where free will is not possible. Where everyone is drunk perhaps.

Are you talking about a state beyond ethical guidance?

We possibility have to talk in terms of "the ethics of war", not the implementation of a fight, but the ethics of being overrun without a plan of defense or capability to organize one. 

Isn't this the ethics of emergencies. I am not clear about the morality, immorality, and amorality that comes into play here.

Is this a situation where one has to do the best they can and sort it out later?
The main problem with this is that it is the justification for authoritarians taking over. That is the excuse that is usually used for the benevolent dictator.

This is a straw man.  Do not twist my words. These issues, this subject and the principles involved deserve more... as do I.

According to Objectivism the military is one of the few legitimate branches of government, and protection as against foreign invaders IS a proper role of a proper government NOT the role of some emergency response initiated temporary autocracy.

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2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

According to Objectivism the military is one of the few legitimate branches of government, and protection as against foreign invaders IS a proper role of a proper government NOT the role of some emergency response initiated temporary autocracy.

Isn't this where your analogy fall short? The alien non-sentient beings may be an invader in a loose sense of the term. The protections of enemies, foreign and domestic surely refer more to packs of wild animals, than tsunami's, earthquakes and a viral outbreak.

Until science develops an understanding of the nature of their causes and what counter-measure can be implemented, a government plan, at best, can really only seek to uphold the rights within the stricken area(s). As the degree of enforcement of current executive orders ratchet up, it will approach the scenario  where one's grasp of a course of action reality demands runs counter to the gunman's expectation of compliance.

Edited by dream_weaver

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On 3/28/2020 at 9:05 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

a proper government whose responsibility is to protect individual rights from domestic and foreign invaders...

Nuh-uh.

If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government. A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws. The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. (non-consecutive quotes)


 

I understand how tempting it is to generalize from “rights” and “initiation of force” to “protect”, “threat”, “foreign” and “invasion”, but flies don’t “initiate force”, and novel facts are not foreign invasions, so it is not the job of government to protect citizens from the threat of an invasion of flies. It is not the job of government to fight “things from the outside”, or “things that endanger people”.

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1 hour ago, DavidOdden said:

If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

The flies are not the problem, if the flies imbedded a virus that can be transmitted from human to human, if the human can infect others, the human is the initiator of force.

This "thing" is working through a member of society to initiate physical force/damage on another. In this scenario, one person is threatening and causing harm to another. This activity, be it (volitional or non volitional) should be barred. The exploration here is: How can it be accomplished without elimination/diminution of individual rights.

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1 hour ago, DavidOdden said:

Nuh-uh.

 

If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government. A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws. The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. (non-consecutive quotes)

 


 

I understand how tempting it is to generalize from “rights” and “initiation of force” to “protect”, “threat”, “foreign” and “invasion”, but flies don’t “initiate force”, and novel facts are not foreign invasions, so it is not the job of government to protect citizens from the threat of an invasion of flies. It is not the job of government to fight “things from the outside”, or “things that endanger people”.

I wonder if Rand ever implied that only sentient beings can violate rights and hence implied that whether an invasion of aliens is the government’s responsibility or not is based, not on the level of the threat to life and liberty, but based on whether or not that threat is sentient... I’m no expert on Rand but I do not see her making so big an issue out of such an irrelevant consideration given the real and dire consequences. 

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A "right" as in "right to be left alone" requires a potential aggressor to "understand" the boundary. A virus can be exterminated at will, a virus does not deserve due process . There is no point in telling a fly that it has the right to an attorney before we swat it.

Question is if it is the government's purpose to be every kind of insurance company. Services of the Police, Military, Judicial System are tantamount to functions of an insurance company. Protection against flood, tornado, hurricane, earthquake and fire can be handled by private companies. They don't require a monopoly on force.

The market can regulate the level of the insurance/defense against the virus. Voting can do it too, but the market is more indicative of what should happen. The more afraid you are of it, the more money you put into protection (rationally speaking).

Assuming the society is not in starvation mode, some will be protected more than others, but a level of protection is available to ALL (unequally).

With governmental egalitarian intervention, some will have no protection at all. In Louisiana, there were people selling ice at much higher prices. That was price gouging. Once it was prevented, no one got ice at all.

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

A "right" as in "right to be left alone" requires a potential aggressor to "understand" the boundary. A virus can be exterminated at will, a virus does not deserve due process . There is no point in telling a fly that it has the right to an attorney before we swat it.

Question is if it is the government's purpose to be every kind of insurance company. Services of the Police, Military, Judicial System are tantamount to functions of an insurance company. Protection against flood, tornado, hurricane, earthquake and fire can be handled by private companies. They don't require a monopoly on force.

The market can regulate the level of the insurance/defense against the virus. Voting can do it too, but the market is more indicative of what should happen. The more afraid you are of it, the more money you put into protection (rationally speaking).

Assuming the society is not in starvation mode, some will be protected more than others, but a level of protection is available to ALL (unequally).

With governmental egalitarian intervention, some will have no protection at all. In Louisiana, there were people selling ice at much higher prices. That was price gouging. Once it was prevented, no one got ice at all.

Here the ultimate threat which is non sentient resides in a human, who thereby also becomes a threat, but also happens to be sentient.

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Back to the issue of individual rights.

Individual rights, basically means no group based rights. That no group has privileges, all individuals have equal rights. But the group of infected does loose certain rights that "we all have".
There is an unavoidable and justified temporary loss of certain rights for people infected.

But is this an attack on individual rights?
No, for the most part, the framework of individual rights does not change. Except for the exception below (last paragraph):

One has a right to be left alone (as long as one is not harming anyone). But in this case, the "as long as" is violated by an infected person. So the framework of individual rights still stands. The rule (as a whole) is not eliminated, in fact it is obeyed. The respect for the individual is still there. Meaning "everyone" is not quarantined. Only the potentially or actual harmers are locked down by force.

The shift in rights for this group is based on the right to quarantine by a government which is a defensive move (right to retaliate, right for defense and self defense).

This right of defense and self defense is also part of the individual rights framework.

Furthermore, the right to be left alone includes the right to boycott. To not interact with the infected. Any business or individual has the right to avoid, to have nothing to do with an infected person, as in: forcefully prevent entry into the business.

Our (specific and final) rights don't exist without any justifications. Some people lose their right of free movement. It is contingent on the presence of the alien in the person. They temporarily lose the right of  movement until the alien is separated from them. All the (general) individual rights are intact and preserved awaiting for this contingency to be removed.

The infected are not identified as a group. The are individually identified, and individually put under quarantine. That is again a respect of individual rights.

But, there is one element that is an attack on individual rights. The indiscriminate lock down of EVERYONE, infected and noninfected, (in a sense, criminal and innocent). 

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21 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

The flies are not the problem, if the flies imbedded a virus that can be transmitted from human to human, if the human can infect others, the human is the initiator of force.

This "thing" is working through a member of society to initiate physical force/damage on another. In this scenario, one person is threatening and causing harm to another. This activity, be it (volitional or non volitional) should be barred. The exploration here is: How can it be accomplished without elimination/diminution of individual rights.

This has to be wrong. A person walking by me in a crowd, infected with a potentially deadly virus (or alien!), while having no symptoms or any clue that he's infected, is NOT an "initiator of force". That requires, at a minimum, knowledge of one's infection.

Edited by EC

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18 minutes ago, EC said:

This has to be wrong. A person walking by me in a crowd, infected with a potentially deadly virus (or alien!), while having no symptoms or any clue that he's infected, is NOT an "initiator of force". That requires, at a minimum, knowledge of one's infection.

That is an interesting differentiation. 

1. consciously initiating force
2. unconsciously initiating force

But there is a problem with not considering it initiation of force, an infected person can't be held responsible.

Looking at it from the eyes of the victim, the one who has the right to be left alone, it looks like aggression. Granted there is no intention on the part of the other individual to harm, but he is harming.

There is another complication and that is when both perpetrator and victim don't have knowledge of what is going on until after it has happened.

But ultimately it is the issue of ownership and responsibility that governs the situation. If you own a car, and through an act of nature, your car rolls down the street and destroy property or harms people, won't you be held responsible? Even if you did not initiate it? Should it not be that way?
 

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1 minute ago, Easy Truth said:

That is an interesting differentiation. 

1. consciously initiating force
2. unconsciously initiating force

But there is a problem with not considering it initiation of force, an infected person can't be held responsible.

Looking at it from the eyes of the victim, the one who has the right to be left alone, it looks like aggression. Granted there is no intention on the part of the other individual to harm, but he is harming.

There is another complication and that is when both perpetrator and victim don't have knowledge of what is going on until after it has happened.

But ultimately it is the issue of ownership and responsibility that governs the situation. If you own a car, and through an act of nature, your car rolls down the street and destroy property or harms people, won't you be held responsible? Even if you did not initiate it? Should it not be that way?
 

Exposing others to dangers of an alien when there is grounds to suspect you are a host, likely would already fall under criminal negligence under existing legal principles.

But mens rea or "guilty mind" is required for most real crimes.

 

As for responsibility with respect to the car, the question is whether you were negligent in how you parked it, or whether the manufacturer was negligent in how they made the car...

 

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