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5 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

Automatically labeling something as “initiation of force” is anti-reason. Presenting a clear line of reasoning from principles to conclusions is what it means to “reason”. So let us reason.

Many such cases

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This discussion has been rather far removed from the fundamental principles regarding man’s rights, and has focused instead on notions of aggression, spreading (versus other means), sensory inputs, af

https://youtu.be/ssvSsMqTtjo Kibbe on Liberty: Pandemic imprisoning and the culture war. Perspectives from Britain and the USA. Great conversation.

I wear one when required, out of respect for the fact that a private business is required to enforce the mandate. I never decided on a consistent policy to use in situations where I have a choice. I g

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"But you must care when your actions do “harm”, what if your actions are "likely to do harm" based on contextual science (what we currently know which might be contradicted later)?

If you knowingly harm a person or their property by an action, you should compensate the person for the harm. “Knowingly” does not refer to absolute certainty that harm will result, it refers to having reasonable knowledge that harm will result from an action. If A is allergic to shrimp, you know that fact, and bring unlabeled shrimp curry to a potluck at A’s house, that is an immoral choice given your knowledge. If you know nothing of A and don’t know that your chicken curry happens to contain some shrimp juice, your actions are innocent and you are not to be blamed for harm done to A.

“Likely to do harm” is exactly the right way to look at the question. “Likely” is past the midway on the certainty scale – “probable”, not “possible”. If you adopt the principle that you should take no action if it is even conceptually possible that harm to another will result, then you should take no action, and life is impossible. Even then, the question of whether you should take an action to live must be answered in terms of the alternatives that you face and the consequences of those choices for your life. Being lost in the desert, if I find water and drink it to save my life, the consequence may be that another lost stranger may die of thirst because I drank that water. The alternative “my life” vs. “his life” is almost always answered with the choice “my life”.

Applying this reasoning to the mask issue, I would focus strongly on “what we currently know”, because knowledge is individual and cognitive, and because there tend to be popular confusion over “claim” versus “know”.

 

 

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On 2/2/2021 at 1:26 PM, DavidOdden said:

The same as if you walk your dog, drive your car, or grow a tree on your property. If you walk your dog and do not control it,

If there's rabies going around, and you let your dog loose, and this creates a danger that your dog will get rabies and pass it on to other people or their pets or livestock, you may properly be subject to a penalty for endangering other people, even if it can't be proven that you actually did harm.  This is true even if you can prove that your dog has not yet left your property.  The point here is not to compare COVID-19 and rabies, but to establish a principle that endangering other people or their property can rise to the level of physical force.

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On 2/2/2021 at 1:26 PM, DavidOdden said:

It is always possible at any time that any person has some transmissible disease and does not know it. It cannot be a principle of civilized society that one must self-quarantine if it is possible that one has a transmissible disease (that virtually contradicts the notion of a “civilized society” – we must always self-quarantine; life is not possible). This discussion needs a better principle. What principle underlies the distinction between covid and the common cold? What scientific facts underlie claims about covid versus the cold or the flu? I don’t mean, what do the newspapers say, I mean what are the scientific questions and findings? Then how do those facts relate to a person’s proper choices?

There are two prerequisites to a discussion about rights and COVID-19.  You have identified one - understanding what scientists currently know, and what they currently don't know, about COVID-19.  If we are evaluating a past action, we would have to apply this as of the time of that action.

The other is sufficiently clarifying the concept of physical force by one person against one or more others.  That is what I am trying to address.  In particular, can spreading germs rise to the level of physical force, and can increasing the risk that germs will spread rise to the level of physical force?  JASKN is challenging me to explain the difference between the physical effects of spreading germs and the physical effects of spreading ideas, and that is what I am trying to address.

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On 1/31/2021 at 7:56 PM, JASKN said:

If so, a communicated idea can easily cause a physical brain change which interferes with its functioning, or which interferes with a person's integrative process of self-generated, self-sustaining action. So, why would ideas be excluded as an initiation of force?

I can see that my definition of "damage" needs more work.  To "damage" something, in its functioning as opposed to its appearance, is to physically alter it in a way that reduces the functioning it can perform.  It is not enough to influence the functioning performed at a given time.  Their must be a reduction in the functioning it can perform.  Thus distraction is not damage, although it might be physical force for some other reason, if it interferes sufficiently with a person's freedom of action, in which case it would fall in the category of usurping control.

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On 2/3/2021 at 11:17 AM, DavidOdden said:

“Likely to do harm” is exactly the right way to look at the question. “Likely” is past the midway on the certainty scale – “probable”, not “possible”. If you adopt the principle that you should take no action if it is even conceptually possible that harm to another will result, then you should take no action, and life is impossible.

We need to consider not only where something is on the certainty scale, but also the degree of harm that can be done and the cost of reducing the likelihood.  Not acting at all is an unacceptably high cost.  Wearing a mask is a low cost.  If there were a coronavirus much deadlier than the COVID-19 virus, with much less of an identifiable pattern as to who would be most vulnerable, and somewhat more easily spread than even the new variants, there would be a strong case for a mask mandate, and possibly for other restrictions.  COVID-19 requires a more careful analysis.

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If there were a more serious plague going around, and someone you didn't know approached you in a fashion that they could pass the plague on to you, if they were a carrier (let's say it's not obvious), I expect most here would recognize the justification for taking steps to defend yourself against the real possibility of harm their encroachment entails.

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7 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

 If there were a coronavirus much deadlier than the COVID-19 virus, with much less of an identifiable pattern as...

All the more cause, always, to ... protect your self. By whatever means one can according to the risks. So you want make any and every stranger look after and be responsible for your life? Good luck. A society of other-responsibility would be hell on Earth. Oh, too late - that already exists?

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36 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

Doesn't that mean "ask people around you to wear a mask"? Or is that asking them to take care of you?

It is. If one estimates the health risks are high enough, one wouldn't permit other people to be "around you"- ever. One would voluntarily self-quarantine until getting vaccinated. 

Sure, and this is rights-respecting and simple good manners, if needing to enter another's personal space or property, one would accede to their request. But not as a moral duty, and not in public areas and not because of initiation of force. 

Enforcing the behavior through reason of punishable culpability and 'initiation of force', must enforce altruism, not benvolence, in society. (Whose life is it, anyway? Who knows and values it best?) One does not own others' lives and their outcomes, nor they one's own.

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Florida Supermarket Sparks Outrage Over Customers and Employees Openly Rejecting Mask-Wearing Rules

Note the outrage is by outsiders exerting the peer pressure to conform with the rest of the world, or at least the NBC viewing audience. Was his concern for his own health and well being so great that he immediately walked out, or is he so committed to public safety that he stayed and shot some footage so other concerned shoppers could avoid this particular venue?

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6 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

So to be left alone (unharmed and undamaged) is not the moral duty of another person? In other words, it's okay for another to put you in danger.

You put yourself in danger (if you want to avoid contracting a virus badly enough). One can't have one's cake (venture out in public) and eat it (demand that others protect one). Would you stroll onto a shooting range or walk across a busy highway - and claim it's others' moral duty to not accidentally injure you? Or have traffic and the guns banned? No one has the 'right' to escape reality.

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Police *and* citizen-enforced masking for the sake of others is insidious. Since everybody with the best of intentions, is capable of "initiation of force", i.e. transmitting a virus, you turn people against one another in anxiety, fear, and resentful duty to others. Who should be protecting themselves (and their dependents) if they need and choose.

Bet your last dollar that with moral self-responsibility** as the key phrase from the very start of the pandemic, fewer people would have died. There is something about "the Govt. will take care of us, it always knows best" or "other people will selflessly act for our sake", which soothes people's normal sensibilities of self-preservation and softens minds.

(**and observing others' property rights)

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23 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

The other is sufficiently clarifying the concept of physical force by one person against one or more others.  That is what I am trying to address.  In particular, can spreading germs rise to the level of physical force, and can increasing the risk that germs will spread rise to the level of physical force?  JASKN is challenging me to explain the difference between the physical effects of spreading germs and the physical effects of spreading ideas, and that is what I am trying to address.

The key identification that Schwartz makes about force is that it is a physical action to which we are subjected against our will, being taken by a volitional being to neutralize the choice of another volitional being. “Action to neutralize choice” distinguishes the case where a person pulls out a weapon in order to cause him to abandon his property (mission accomplished) from the case where a person pulls out a weapon to check it and accidentally scares another person into abandoning his property (neutralization of choice is not the purpose). I take it that you are not satisfied with this, and instead focus on the effect of an action, irrespective of intent. You seem to hold that creating a risk of harm to others can be initiation of force, or perhaps is by definition initiation of force. It’s not at all clear why you don’t make the stronger claim that it is force, unless you have some further condition that you want to add. A really significant difference between these views is that you seem to deny the relevance of a person’s intent.

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39 minutes ago, DavidOdden said:

“Action to neutralize choice” distinguishes the case where a person pulls out a weapon in order to cause him to abandon his property (mission accomplished) from the case where a person pulls out a weapon to check it and accidentally scares another person into abandoning his property (neutralization of choice is not the purpose).

If it were reasonable to fear someone pulling out a weapon in the manner you suggest, such that a person might abandon his property in the name of self defense (or suffer some other, worse fate), then it would also be reasonable to "regulate" the pulling out of weapons in such manner -- by which I mean to regard it as the initiation of force.

If I drive my car swerving down the road, and people leap out of the way or swerve their own cars to avoid collision, and injure themselves, I am responsible for their injuries. This is true even if I have no intent to harm them or even scare them (perhaps I am simply seeking my own thrill; maybe I'm teaching myself to drive). This is true even if it's accidental on my part. If someone were swerving their car down the road, putting all and sundry in danger, it would be reasonable to take action to stop them -- i.e. defensive or "retaliatory force." And it is further reasonable (insofar as we have "public roads") to make explicit the requirement that cars do not swerve their way down the street, and to regard such as the initiation of force.

The fact of a pandemic is... a fact. It describes something real happening. It is context that matters to our reasoning and assessments of specific situations. While people here have mentioned the fact that a person always bears some measure of risk when venturing outside -- and that is true -- a pandemic is a meaningfully different state. Good philosophy means that we take everything into account, insofar as we are able.

I invite people here to reflect on the notion of a more serious disease going around. One that kills more routinely, more certainly, and with less discrimination (with respect to age, etc.). Suppose it were granted that masks provided protection, and otherwise people must not come within six feet of one another lest they potentially transmit this very deadly disease. We would soon come to regard it as "the initiation of the use of force" for an unmasked individual to come close to us -- even if we did not know whether they had the disease or not. And we would be justified in using force in response, to avoid them or to stop them from approaching us. This may not have been true before the onset of the disease, and it may not continue to be true after the disease has been mostly contained (even if some risk of getting the disease persists in perpetuity), but while the disease rages, it is a fact of reality that matters to our assessments and cannot be ignored or rationalized away.

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3 hours ago, whYNOT said:

One can't have one's cake (venture out in public) and eat it (demand that others protect one).

What if someone is not demanding that you protect them. Just exercising their right to be unmolested.

When you quarantine another, aren't you imposing a sort of prison on them? As a retaliation? (are you saying we don't have that right?)

You seem to conflate "not being harmed" with initiation force against another. As if, "I request that I be left alone" means you lose your liberty.

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54 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

What if someone is not demanding that you protect them. Just exercising their right to be unmolested.

When you quarantine another, aren't you imposing a sort of prison on them? As a retaliation? (are you saying we don't have that right?)

You seem to conflate "not being harmed" with initiation force against another. As if, "I request that I be left alone" means you lose your liberty.

How does someone acquire the 'right' to not catch a disease? The 'right' to go "unmolested" by a virus? Anyhow, with masking being a most dubious form of protection (Fauci admits that tacitly - wear TWO masks he recently suggested, a little late) - anyone can pass it on to anyone.

You don't have the right to not being infected. You have the right to take actions to protect yourself. And I don't understand "quarantine another". I clearly said to selfishly "self-quarantine" if one wants.

Really, all this "initiation of force" is a floating abstraction, a way to pass the buck onto others, to pressure them to be liable for one evading self-responsible actions. 

I request that I be left alone - means exactly that. Stay away from the public, if one chooses, not the public must defer to my expectations because I want to go out.

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What was that about not "questioning a folly", only look at what it achieves?

Economies shattered

People in misery

Everyone is responsible for everyone else's health

Social relations destroyed

Political situations - hmm, you tell me.

And - many people having died anyway from Covid.

Not enough, lets add some more poison to the brew: How about decreeing it "initiation of force" when someone catches the virus? More distrust, guilt and worry.

That should do it.

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48 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

You don't have the right to not being infected. You have the right to take actions to protect yourself. And I don't understand "quarantine another". I clearly said to selfishly "self-quarantine" if one wants.

The "right to not being infected" by the virus is not being discussed here (you're creating a strawman and arguing against yourself). There is no such right as rights are in a social context, between people.

  • You have a right not to be infected by another person.
  • You have a right not to be prevented from breathing by another person.
  • You have a right to not be harmed by another person.
37 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

Everyone is responsible for everyone else's health

Any person who damages another or another's property should be "held" responsible.

  • If you damage someone's else's health, you are responsible. 
  • That is not to say that one has a non-contractual duty to another's health. (written in stars) 
  • We will be and should be held responsible for damaging another's health when we are carrying a "harmful" disease.
  • This can be done preemptively using a Quarantine as the threat has been initiated by the sick person

What exactly do you disagree with?

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58 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

What was that about not "questioning a folly", only look at what it achieves?

You're aware that it's Toohey who says this, right? Not everything Rand wrote out of her characters' mouths, let alone her villains', is meant to be reflective of her own beliefs. In her non-fiction writings, after all, Rand spent a lot of time and ink questioning various follies. But even if Rand had said such a thing in a straightforward fashion somewhere, it would be a mistaken sentiment. Understanding generally, and the nature of the mistakes people sometimes make specifically, is a good thing. Sometimes through our greater understanding we even discover that what we had once considered a "mistake" and a "folly" is not one at all.

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3 hours ago, DonAthos said:

If it were reasonable to fear someone pulling out a weapon in the manner you suggest, such that a person might abandon his property in the name of self defense (or suffer some other, worse fate), then it would also be reasonable to "regulate" the pulling out of weapons in such manner -- by which I mean to regard it as the initiation of force.

It seems that your threshold for detecting initiation of force is “reasonable fear”, which is a bit of a problem. Fear is an emotional reaction, and we know that emotions are not a source of cognition. The principle should be framed in terms of reasonable conclusions, about a proposition, such as “he intends to shoot me”. Not all fears are about initiation of force, so we have to have a way to identify those things that cause fear which are initiation of force as opposed to those that are not. I fear that such-and-such an investment may not be so wise, but that has nothing to do with initiation of force. Before we can properly regulate actions, we have to establish that they are initiation of force, which then may justify the regulation. Or, we have to establish a different basis for prior restraint: that in addition to initiation of force, some actions are so dangerous that they can rightly be prohibited by law. Is this your claim? Before zooming in on covid-politics, we need a clearer understanding of what constitutes force (first and foremost), and how the government may properly use force.

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7 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

A really significant difference between these views is that you seem to deny the relevance of a person’s intent.

Damage done is damage done regardless of intent.

Granted, their intent to  initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man is necessary to determine if is force assuming force means "compulsion" as opposed to simply "causing damage".

  • The significant factor seems to be ownership and contracts.
  • As in if you don't own what was damaged, you don't have a right to compensation.
2 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

I fear that such-and-such an investment may not be so wise, but that has nothing to do with initiation of force.

You would agree that "Initiation of force" is in the context of person to person action?

  • The investment is not going to threaten you. 
  • If your trusted financial advisor (another person) convinced you to do a bad investment, then it was an initiation of force on his part.
  • If they threaten to tank your investments, that would also be an initiation of force.
2 hours ago, DavidOdden said:

we need a clearer understanding of what constitutes force (first and foremost), and how the government may properly use force.

You have to add, how an individual can properly use (retaliatory) force too.

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7 hours ago, DonAthos said:

You're aware that it's Toohey who says this, right? Not everything Rand wrote out of her characters' mouths, let alone her villains', is meant to be reflective of her own beliefs. In her non-fiction writings, after all, Rand spent a lot of time and ink questioning various follies. But even if Rand had said such a thing in a straightforward fashion somewhere, it would be a mistaken sentiment. Understanding generally, and the nature of the mistakes people sometimes make specifically, is a good thing. Sometimes through our greater understanding we even discover that what we had once considered a "mistake" and a "folly" is not one at all.

So it is, yes, Toohey. Not perceiving and identifying foreseeable consequences, so failing which, later one observes what bad thinking has arrived at in action, and will expose the bad thinking.

A pandemic's corrective measures (by Govt. and society) have created anti-mind, anti-life environments - which we can see - that are worse than the pandemic.

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

The "right to not being infected" by the virus is not being discussed here (you're creating a strawman and arguing against yourself). There is no such right as rights are in a social context, between people.

  • You have a right not to be infected by another person.
  • You have a right not to be prevented from breathing by another person.
  • You have a right to not be harmed by another person.

Any person who damages another or another's property should be "held" responsible.

  • If you damage someone's else's health, you are responsible. 
  • That is not to say that one has a non-contractual duty to another's health. (written in stars) 
  • We will be and should be held responsible for damaging another's health when we are carrying a "harmful" disease.
  • This can be done preemptively using a Quarantine as the threat has been initiated by the sick person

What exactly do you disagree with?

Rights:

Primary - The right to life. Life requires one's self-directed action; Therefore, the right to freedom of action. Therefore, individual rights.

What is being proposed here, is that it is initiation of force to transmit a virus, right? Therefore, it is the imposition to not infect others, and the corollary, indeed you are arguing IS the "right to not being infected". No strawman.

Or else you all would have no arguments.

These arguments lead to greater moral obligations/duties to universal 'others', greater regulation, hugely more litigation and a great reduction on one's freedom of action. Can anyone cast doubt on these causal facts?

Whereas, the "moral self-responsibility" case leads in the reverse direction. The right to freedom of action, as one sees fit. Back to the primary, one's right to life.

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