Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Have any prominent Objectivists addressed this point?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Can one give consent to the violation of their own rights, and in doing so provide legal protection to the violator who has received such consent? 
 

I see no reason why not. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t have the right to their own life. 
 

An individual can make it a condition upon entry to their private property that entrants agree to specific potential violations of their rights, like any harm from a covid 19 infection, which would provide legal protection to any entrants who transmit the virus. In these properties, this would remove the justification for government intervention in the name of protecting individual rights. 

Edited by TruthSeeker946
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it makes sense to even say that you can consent to the initiation of force. That's really what you're asking about.

It might be easier to think about distinct cases. Can you consent to being a slave? Can you consent to being killed? Both of these necessarily deprive you of your life, which is the basis to thinking about right in the first place. Besides, you can't have the government, which deals with rights violations, to enforce any hypothetical "slave contract" or any agreement to have your right violated. Imagine part of your slave contract that you are whipped any time you ask to see your family. How would the government enforce that?

Can you consent to a violation if violations include acting against your consent? You would have to simultaneously consent and not consent; it doesn't make sense to say that you consent to being raped, because being raped means you didn't consent. 

At best you would have some unenforceable agreement, and at worst it's a confusing contradiction.

Potential violation is a different question though. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

An individual can make it a condition upon entry to their private property that entrants agree to specific potential violations of their rights, like any harm from a covid 19 infection, which would provide legal protection to any entrants who transmit the virus. In these properties, this would remove the justification for government intervention in the name of protecting individual rights.

It's kind of like I will agree to be stolen from.

I agree to be blind folded and beaten.

I will agree to a life where all hope has been taken away from me and I will experience excruciating pain from now on.

Who would agree to that?

What exactly is the point?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If somebody punches you, that's a crime, unless it's part of a boxing match that you agreed to participate in. Even then, boxing has rules, and if your opponent breaks the rules, that can be "unsportsmanlike conduct," and there is a point beyond which it can be a crime, too, like if he shoots you with a gun. (Or maybe if he bites off your ear...) That is not part of boxing.

Duels used to be legal, where people who got into a dispute could settle it in the streets, but those have since been banned, I suspect in part because they are dangerous to bystanders.

Ayn Rand did say that the government cannot be compelled to enforce just any arbitrary contract. She said this in the context of marriage in Ayn Rand Answers, I think, but I take it to be more generally true. For example, how could the government enforce a self-contradictory contract? (If a contract requires a contradiction, the government has no means of providing it...)

Also, the government might not enforce a contract if: one party was too young to understand it, one party was too drunk to understand it, one party was physically threatened concerning the signing of it, or other such things.

A lot of it depends on, basically, whether it's an honest or a dishonest contract (including such issues as informed consent), and on whether it's an honest or a dishonest dispute, too. Whether and how to enforce a contract can be a complex issue.

Contract enforcement can also be open to abuse, as when the government decides to base its decisions on some sort of agenda of its own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, necrovore said:

unless it's part of a boxing match that you agreed to participate in

But the OP seems to ask about a "violation of your rights" that you agree to. You agree to be punched based on some rules as you say. Is that a violation of your rights that you are agreeing to?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But the OP seems to ask about a "violation of your rights" that you agree to. You agree to be punched based on some rules as you say. Is that a violation of your rights that you are agreeing to?

I think you can agree to surrender some of your rights in exchange for some other value. This is what happens in a boxing match where you might agree to get punched in exchange for a chance at some prize money or something. But if you surrender some of your rights, they aren't being violated. A rights violation requires that you didn't agree to it.

It's an important characteristic of contracts that they are legally considered civil matters and people in contract disputes aren't in any danger of life and limb. Even if a contract is breached, the legal idea is that the breach can be compensated for by some amount of money. This is completely different from a matter of infringement of rights, which is a crime.

Suppose we have Alice and Bob, and Bob declares that he can predict the weather, and is far too sure of himself. Alice is annoyed by his arrogance, so she challenges him to enter into a contract with her where he agrees to die if it rains in Memphis on Thursday. He does agree to it, and they sign it, and get it notarized, and advertise it in the newspapers and everything. Then, when Thursday rolls around, it rains in Memphis. As you might expect, Bob does not die as agreed, and makes a bunch of excuses, so Alice takes Bob to court and demands that the government execute Bob, since he agreed to die. I think a reasonable government would decline to execute Bob -- and if Alice decided to take matters into her own hands and kill Bob, she'd be charged with murder notwithstanding the existence of the contract or the witnesses or any of that. You can't really agree to give up your life in that way. (The judge might order Bob to pay Alice some money in lieu of dying and to teach him a lesson about engaging in frivolous contracts.)

There's also the people who say, "By living in our country you agree to abide by our laws, and our laws require that you die just because of your ancestry, even though you personally didn't do anything. So you have already agreed to die and it isn't an infringement of your rights." That's the same sort of thing: it's a rights violation masquerading as a contract. So is the "social contract" nonsense that keeps floating around.

So, no, you can't agree to a violation of your rights.

Edited by necrovore
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, necrovore said:

A rights violation requires that you didn't agree to it.


As Eiuol pointed out, I’m essentially asking if one can consent to the initiation of physical force against oneself (actual or potential).

Your response seems to be that yes you can, so long as there is something to be gained (potentially). That is the guiding principle? So, what about the hunger games? And my covid 19 example?

If you or anyone could post that Rand passage on arbitrary contracts it would be very helpful. I own the book in audio form so it would take a long time tracking down the passage.

 

17 hours ago, Eiuol said:

It might be easier to think about distinct cases. Can you consent to being a slave? Can you consent to being killed? Both of these necessarily deprive you of your life, which is the basis to thinking about right in the first place.

Euthanasia? 
 

I suppose you wouldn’t be a slave if you consented. It would be voluntary work free of charge.

But same question to you assuming you approve of the legality of boxing, what is the guiding principle?

12 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But the OP seems to ask about a "violation of your rights" that you agree to. You agree to be punched based on some rules as you say. Is that a violation of your rights that you are agreeing to?

 

Do you oppose boxing then? If not why not, despite the fact that it involves the initiation of physical force? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

But same question to you assuming you approve of the legality of boxing, what is the guiding principle?

Boxing is different because there are well-defined boundaries of how force is used, not to mention that there is no legal enforcement of staying within the boundaries (in the same way no one is going to arrest you for playing baseball wrong). And you can withdraw any time. The guiding principles I think are what ways consent is possible, the ways that consent can be withdrawn, and exactly what the person is being deprived of.

2 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Euthanasia

I don't think you can consent to that actually. You can't really enforce it either if you make an agreement with a doctor. In this case, being deprived of life I don't think is something that can be placed in the hands of another person while at the same time having your own right to life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Can one give consent to the violation of their own rights, and in doing so provide legal protection to the violator who has received such consent? 
 

I see no reason why not. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t have the right to their own life. 
 

An individual can make it a condition upon entry to their private property that entrants agree to specific potential violations of their rights, like any harm from a covid 19 infection, which would provide legal protection to any entrants who transmit the virus. In these properties, this would remove the justification for government intervention in the name of protecting individual rights. 

This exposes the faulty basic premise of all these arguments and public controversy: one is NOT initiating force by transmitting an infection; one does NOT have the right to not be infected. The consequences of trying to uphold and enforce that 'right' would be insane. About a thousand 'rights violations' a day might have occurred during the spread pf this pandemic.

A business owner however could rightfully disclaim as many have always, that injuries (etc.) on his premises are non-liable. "Enter at your own risk".

Edited by whYNOT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think when Ayn Rand spoke of initiating force, she meant using force as opposed to using reason and voluntary cooperation.  There are lots of things that involve doing something physical to someone else, such as giving an injection, drawing a blood sample or blood donation, having sex, pulling someone back from a dangerous accidental fall, or lifting someone up to help them reach something or as part of a performance.  If it is done by mutual consent, it is not an initiation of force in the sense Ayn Rand was using.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, whYNOT said:

This exposes the faulty basic premise of all these arguments and public controversy: one is NOT initiating force by transmitting an infection; one does NOT have the right to not be infected.

This does not follow logically from what has been said here.

Also, the violation consists of wrongly increasing the physical risk to the victim.  It is an initiation of force to recklessly shoot a gun in a crowded place, even if you don't know whether it is loaded with live rounds or blanks and even if you don't hit anyone.  By the same token, it is an initiation of force to recklessly increase the risk of the spread of disease, even if you don't know whether or not you are infected and even if you don't actually infect anyone.

Edited by Doug Morris
Correct typo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Doug Morris said:

This does not follow logically from what has been said here.

 

That's what is a premise. It precedes what has been said here, not follows.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, TruthSeeker946 said:

Do you oppose boxing then? If not why not, despite the fact that it involves the initiation of physical force?

Boxing is not an initiation of force.

It is not an agreement to allow violation of your rights.

You seem to be equating an agreement that has risk involved as always being a violation of your rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Doug Morris said:

This does not follow logically from what has been said here.

Also, the violation consists of wrongly increasing the physical risk to the victim.  It is an initiation of force to recklessly shoot a gun in a crowded place, even if you don't know whether it is loaded with live rounds or blanks and even if you don't hit anyone.  By the same token, it is an initiation of force to recklessly increase the risk of the spread of disease, even if you don't know whether or not you are infected and even if you don't actually infect anyone.

 

They are out to get us!

This is a pessimistic view of humanity. Sort of, for every victim there must be a victimizer, no?

With the best of intentions by the great majority, and in spite of the failed or very dictatorial interventions to stop it, it's the nature of viruses to spread. This one, and the results evident everywhere, proves that.

One can't blame 'the people' or any individual.

It is irrational to depend on others' 'social responsibility' towards one, or Gvts to protect one from an invisible entity. That is how freedoms are lost, and then the end of individual rights.  

 

 

Edited by whYNOT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

That's what is a premise. It precedes what has been said here, not follows.

What you said is a conclusion about the premises, not a premise. 

Anyway, potential risk is something you can consent to, but that isn't the same as consenting to a violation of rights. Risk has to do with unpredictability. It isn't unpredictable that poisoning someone will kill them. The difference is that in one case no one can reasonably predict what will happen (as is often the case with getting a transmissible disease), while in the second case anyone can. 

Please try to stick to the topic of consent and consenting to your own rights being violated. If you really want to talk about covid specifically, then do that in the multiple threads already out there. 

Edited by Eiuol
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

What you said is a conclusion about the premises, not a premise. 

Anyway, potential risk is something you can consent to, but that isn't the same as consenting to a violation of rights. Risk has to do with unpredictability. It isn't unpredictable that poisoning someone will kill them. The difference is that in one case no one can reasonably predict what will happen (as is often the case with getting a transmissible disease), while in the second case anyone can. 

Please try to stick to the topic of consent and consenting to your own rights being violated. If you really want to talk about covid specifically, then do that in the multiple threads already out there. 

The Covid instance of consent was the only one mentioned by the OP, and his concern with that is which clearly motivated his question.

In that regard, he rightly said:

 

On 8/16/2021 at 7:40 PM, TruthSeeker946 said:

 

I see no reason why not. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t have the right to their own life. 

I replied to him, not to the other instances raised. You and anyone can make all the arguments in other scenarios, but above I am sticking to "the topic of consent" re: Covid and you're nitpicking.

By the act of entering the private premises which display their policy of non-liability, one is entering into and implicitly agreeing upon a contract.

 

Edited by whYNOT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

One can't blame 'the people' or any individual.

One can blame an individual who is in fact determined to be "the initiator of force".

But you seem to be arguing for a collectivist point of view that Covid is "the people" initiating it (and therefore blameless).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

One can blame an individual who is in fact determined to be "the initiator of force".

But you seem to be arguing for a collectivist point of view that Covid is "the people" initiating it (and therefore blameless).

That's the perception at large, not my view. General collectivism - a 'collective' virus to be treated by a 'collective' effort by everybody and for everybody, is exactly what I argue against. And that scientific-governmental policy hasn't worked. Promoting individual self responsibility (and respect for others' rights and consideration of their preferences) while most go about their lives has been my stance from the start.

I never heard of any with supposedly sinister motives who deliberately want to infect other people. Whether the infection was mumps or measles or chicken pox, all communicable and sometimes fatal, and now corona, the (most often, anonymous) transmitter of the disease wasn't 'outed' as an initiator of force.  It was the disease not the person which was blamed.

Edited by whYNOT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:
7 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

This does not follow logically from what has been said here.

Also, the violation consists of wrongly increasing the physical risk to the victim.  It is an initiation of force to recklessly shoot a gun in a crowded place, even if you don't know whether it is loaded with live rounds or blanks and even if you don't hit anyone.  By the same token, it is an initiation of force to recklessly increase the risk of the spread of disease, even if you don't know whether or not you are infected and even if you don't actually infect anyone.

 

They are out to get us!

This is a pessimistic view of humanity. Sort of, for every victim there must be a victimizer, no?

With the best of intentions by the great majority, and in spite of the failed or very dictatorial interventions to stop it, it's the nature of viruses to spread. This one, and the results evident everywhere, proves that.

One can't blame 'the people' or any individual.

It is irrational to depend on others' 'social responsibility' towards one, or Gvts to protect one from an invisible entity. That is how freedoms are lost, and then the end of individual rights.

whYNOT seems not to have read my post. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, whYNOT said:

I never heard of any with supposedly sinister motives who deliberately want to infect other people. Whether the infection was mumps or measles or chicken pox, all communicable and sometimes fatal, and now corona, the (most often, anonymous) transmitter of the disease wasn't 'outed' as an initiator of force.  It was the disease not the person which was blamed.

A person who needs to be forcibly quarantined does not necessarily have sinister motives.

Sinister motives could initiate force but somehow you gloss over negligence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Negligence implies a knowledge of contextual facts. The public at large relies on health officials for the appropriate facts and contexts , ideally to use that knowledge to guide their presumably appropriate actions. But no one should be exempt from evaluating the ‘knowledge’ presented . Blindly following the dictums of health officials doesn’t inoculate one against possible poor outcomes.

The public at large will bear the consequences of our own negligence by abiding the lockdowns and mandates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, whYNOT said:

I never heard of any with supposedly sinister motives who deliberately want to infect other people.

Drunk drivers normally don't have "sinister motives" and normally don't deliberately want to cause accidents or deaths.  But they are still endangering people in a way that amounts to an initiation of physical force.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/16/2021 at 1:40 PM, TruthSeeker946 said:

An individual can make it a condition upon entry to their private property that entrants agree to specific potential violations of their rights, like any harm from a covid 19 infection, which would provide legal protection to any entrants who transmit the virus. In these properties, this would remove the justification for government intervention in the name of protecting individual rights. 

If a person exempts a property owner from liability, that does not necessarily mean that they permit anyone to engage in reckless behavior.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, whYNOT said:

The Covid instance of consent was the only one mentioned by the OP, and his concern with that is which clearly motivated his question.

I mean, it was part of the OP, but I'm trying to say that it's not the focus, and if it is, I encourage you and everyone else to post on an existing covid thread if that's all you want to talk about. It makes for more productive conversation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, tadmjones said:

Negligence implies a knowledge of contextual facts.

It's related, but most importantly, negligence is an indication of the choice to NOT obtain or abide by such facts.

If there is no way to get the facts then you can't be negligent/responsible.

It is also related to survival. If you do NOT give any thought to consequences ... there will be consequences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...