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Do warriors create value?

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I want to throw a question out there. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think it's an important topic, though maybe not in modern-day USA. Police force and all that.

If you are a warrior, that is, someone who fights for the preservation of values, is this consistent with an Objectivist philosophy? To clarify:

1) I am not sure whether a warrior actually creates values or adds to them. For example, if you are getting mugged on the street, and I, the warrior, come kick the mugger around and make sure that you are unharmed and nothing of yours was taken, I didn't give you anything you didn't already have (your physical safety or your possessions), though were it not for me just then you would have been deprived of those things. This is not to say a warrior could never create value (he might have a veggie garden in his backyard or write brilliant treatises on quantum physics in his spare time), but does he create it AS A WARRIOR? Does objectivism conclude that everyone must produce his own values and is the warrior therefore some kind of moocher?

2) There is an initiation of force issue too. Presumably in the above mugging scene I did physical harm to the mugger or at least threatened it. Chances are I've never seen him, or his victim, in my life. He never initiated force against ME, but he initiated force against SOMEBODY. Does his obvious lack of concern for the rights of others cause him to abdicate his own right not to be harmed by me (a stranger), or is it that only the mugger's victim has the right to fight back in defense of his own life and property? Does the situation change or not change if the victim is incapable of fighting back (that is, he is perfectly willing, but he is not strong enough/good enough of a fighter to successfully defend himself)? Does it change if he specifically asks for my help ("Wow, I'm sure glad you showed up! Help, he's gonna take my little kid's birthday present money!")

Like I said, I know in a modern world this question isn't as relevant because we have a police force (that we pay for, I might add, so in my eyes we traded fairly for their protection). But somehow I feel these questions are still important because of the question they raise about creating vs. preserving.

One last thing to add lest somebody catch me on this point (and I know they would): the warrior is NOT running around saving people altruistically, because he feels that other people's suffering is a claim on his skill and bravery. This warrior fights because he values a world in which people's rights are protected, not just in word but in deed, knowing that if the rights of some are not secure then no one's are. Defending the values others have created and defending his own and others' rights is his PURPOSE, because that is what gives his life joy and meaning. In other words, he wouldn't have been happier or better off as a stockbroker.

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I want to throw a question out there.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think it's an important topic, though maybe not in modern-day USA.  Police force and all that.

If you are a warrior, that is, someone who fights for the preservation of values, is this consistent with an Objectivist philosophy?  To clarify:

1) I am not sure whether a warrior actually creates values or adds to them. 

Sure, he does create a value: the value of being safe from attack. He creates an environment where one is free to pursue his values. That's the whole purpose of government: to use force against the initiators of force in order to allow a free society to exist.

Is there a greater value than being free from attacks against your life, property, and freedom?

2) There is an initiation of force issue too.  Presumably in the above mugging scene I did physical harm to the mugger or at least threatened it.  Chances are I've never seen him, or his victim, in my life.  He never initiated force against ME, but he initiated force against SOMEBODY. 

Yes, the mugger abdicates his rights the moment he tries to violate someone else's rights. In a lawful society - his rights are going to be stripped from him by the legal system (police, courts). In an unlawful society, he knows he might be dealt justice by a just outlaw, or as you call it a "warrior".

The same moral principle applies to government justice and to "street" justice - in case there is no efficient government to protect rights.

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Just to augment erandror's comments a bit.

So long as the "warrior" is on the side of the good guys and upholding rights, then what he is doing is preserving values. This is clearly a good thing for survival and happiness.

Remember, a value is that which you act to gain and/or keep. To keep a value is to preserve it.

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Isn't this, more or less, discussed in the "Ethics of emergencies" in VOS? I seem to recall that that essay addressed that specific issue. Since you apply Warrior to anyone defending One or other's rights (and we're not talking about police and military), I would say that that essay would cover all that you want to know.

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...

If you are a warrior, that is, someone who fights for the preservation of values, is this consistent with an Objectivist philosophy?  To clarify: ...

What is your "warrior"..? What do you mean by the (rather loaded)

term "warrior"..?

If your warrior is an agent in the service of the government's sole purpose, then

your warrior is a policeman, and is right in his actions.

If your warrior is anything else, then he is a thug and a criminal.

That was simple. Got another simple question? :D

-Iakeo

Edited by Iakeo
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Looks like most people took this to be the equivalent of cops and soldiers. That makes sense. In ref to Iakeo's question, i think I meant it more along the lines of comic book hero (i.e. Spider-Man) In other words, the presumption was that the normal functions of government were either unable to help (you're fighting Magneto) or are unwilling (cops suck/are corrupt/you're living in feudal times). This was why I gave the disclaimer about it not being entirely relevant to the here and now, though it could be argued that there are some people out here the cops would be unwilling to touch, even if they hurt you. The USA is not entirely free, though it's probably the best we're gonna get.

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In ref to Iakeo's question, i think I meant it more along the lines of comic book hero (i.e. Spider-Man) In other words, the presumption was that the normal functions of government were either unable to help (you're fighting Magneto) or are unwilling (cops suck/are corrupt/you're living in feudal times).

If you're living in feudal times, for example, there is no police. If I remember correctly, during those times, the closest thing there were to police, was the royal / imperial guard, dealing with issues at the court. As for the countryside, there was no law enforcement institution, just judges (usually the mayor or the elderly). In this case, theoretically speaking, you could be a warrior just as you could be a butcher, since the state provides with no police institution - a warrior would be just another job.

If the police doesn't do its job, you could be a warrior as part of a privately owned security company -- but then again, you'd only be a warrior because the state institution doesn't exist / is immoral. In this case, you'd have limited powers: you couldn't hold someone captive, and you couldn't kill someone who tries to escape you.

Finally, if the case were about some totalitarian regime, the term would not apply, as you would probably decide not to recognize the regime, thus leaving you with anarchy.

However, in a capitalistic society, the general assumption is that the police exists, and does its job -- and if it doesn't do its job, you have a way of getting someone to sack the policeman who didn't do his job -- therefore, there is no need of 'independent' warriors, since the institution in charge of protecting values is functioning properly.

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If you are a warrior, that is, someone who fights for the preservation of values, is this consistent with an Objectivist philosophy?

First, what you are doing is creating a neologism ("warrior") -- which means, in this case, unnecessarily using a standard term in a new way. There is no objective reason for doing so.

Your question boils down to this: Is fighting for one's values consistent with Objectivism? Of course it is. The nature of the fighting must be appropriate to the circumstances; and the value must be worth the risk.

To make sure this discussion avoids rationalism, it would be helpful if you explained how this problem arises in your own life.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I want to throw a question out there.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think it's an important topic, though maybe not in modern-day USA.  Police force and all that.

If you are a warrior, that is, someone who fights for the preservation of values, is this consistent with an Objectivist philosophy?  To clarify:

1) I am not sure whether a warrior actually creates values or adds to them.  For example, if you are getting mugged on the street, and I, the warrior, come kick the mugger around and make sure that you are unharmed and nothing of yours was taken, I didn't give you anything you didn't already have (your physical safety or your possessions), though were it not for me just then you would have been deprived of those things.  This is not to say a warrior could never create value (he might have a veggie garden in his backyard or write brilliant treatises on quantum physics in his spare time), but does he create it AS A WARRIOR?  Does objectivism conclude that everyone must produce his own values and is the warrior therefore some kind of moocher?

2) There is an initiation of force issue too.  Presumably in the above mugging scene I did physical harm to the mugger or at least threatened it.  Chances are I've never seen him, or his victim, in my life.  He never initiated force against ME, but he initiated force against SOMEBODY.  Does his obvious lack of concern for the rights of others cause him to abdicate his own right not to be harmed by me (a stranger), or is it that only the mugger's victim has the right to fight back in defense of his own life and property?  Does the situation change or not change if the victim is incapable of fighting back (that is, he is perfectly willing, but he is not strong enough/good enough of a fighter to successfully defend himself)?  Does it change if he specifically asks for my help ("Wow, I'm sure glad you showed up!  Help, he's gonna take my little kid's birthday present money!")

Like I said, I know in a modern world this question isn't as relevant because we have a police force (that we pay for, I might add, so in my eyes we traded fairly for their protection).  But somehow I feel these questions are still important because of the question they raise about creating vs. preserving.

One last thing to add lest somebody catch me on this point (and I know they would): the warrior is NOT running around saving people altruistically, because he feels that other people's suffering is a claim on his skill and bravery.  This warrior fights because he values a world in which people's rights are protected, not just in word but in deed, knowing that if the rights of some are not secure then no one's are.  Defending the values others have created and defending his own and others' rights is his PURPOSE, because that is what gives his life joy and meaning.  In other words, he wouldn't have been happier or better off as a stockbroker.

By the Social Contract, someone who initiates force against another being has waived his own rights; henceforth, any rights he holds are held only by the allowance of the government. But note that if this is not scrictly an emergency situation (the victim will die if the mugger is not dealt with) attacking the mugger would be an initiation of force, not a retaliation against it.

No, the warrior would not be creating a value, only preserving it. But to preserve a value is no less moral than to create it. After all, a value is "something which one acts to gain and keep." It is moral to be a "warrior" (I take this to mean a policeman or soldier) so long as the warrior has some selfish interest in the preservation of others' values, and is not endangering his own life beyond necessity.

A good example of a perfectly moral "warrior" is Ragnar Danneskjoeld in Atlas Shrugged :). He is interested, not in sacrificing his life for the sake of others' property, but in seeing a world in which men have a right to the fruits of their labors (and in knowing he helped to make it.)

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A good example of a perfectly moral "warrior" is Ragnar Danneskjoeld in Atlas Shrugged :P. He is interested, not in sacrificing his life for the sake of others' property, but in seeing a world in which men have a right to the fruits of their labors (and in knowing he helped to make it.)

Remember Ragnar is neither a soldier nor a policeman. In fact in todays world he would be branded a "terrorist".

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Remember Ragnar is neither a soldier nor a policeman.  In fact in todays world he would be branded a "terrorist".

Yes, he would indeed to be branded a terrorist. What I meant is that, whether he does so within the bounds of the law, he is acting in the only *proper role* of a policeman. The "police" of the society in Atlas Shrugged acted more often as robbers than as proper policemen.

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Yes, he would indeed to be branded a terrorist. What I meant is that, whether he does so within the bounds of the law, he is acting in the only *proper role* of a policeman. The "police" of the society in Atlas Shrugged acted more often as robbers than as proper policemen.

Which leads to an interesting discussion on the merits of vigilanteeism, and to what degree they are proper if a civilized society is breaking down or unable to face certain threats.

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By the Social Contract, someone who initiates force against another being has waived his own rights; henceforth, any rights he holds are held only by the allowance of the government.

Would you mind explaining/defining what you mean by "Social Contract" here?

Thanks.

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Wow, this seems to be a point of diverging thought and application of ethics for a lot of people here.

Sure, he does create a value: the value of being safe from attack.

No, the warrior would not be creating a value, only preserving it. But to preserve a value is no less moral than to create it.

So long as the "warrior" is on the side of the good guys and upholding rights, then what he is doing is preserving values.

I think ingok and Thales are right here, since the value of being safe from an attack is actually the rights to life and pursuit of happiness in disguise, and I don't think you can create rights that all people have (whether they are observed or not).

Yes, [Ragnar Danneskjold] would indeed to be branded a terrorist. What I meant is that, whether he does so within the bounds of the law, he is acting in the only *proper role* of a policeman.

If your warrior is anything [but policeman or soldier], then he is a thug and a criminal.

If the warrior beat up muggers to protect the victim, and their values, then I would hardly call him a thugh or criminal. Even in the case of Ragnar, where was a criminal by definition of the government, he acted morally which should keep him from being considered a criminal in the eyes of all other moral men.

Yes, the mugger abdicates his rights the moment he tries to violate someone else's rights. ... The same moral principle applies to government justice and to "street" justice - in case there is no efficient government to protect rights.

...the general assumption is that the police exists...therefore, there is no need of 'independent' warriors, since the institution in charge of protecting values is functioning properly.

You don't need a situation where the police don't exist for some of the questions raised by this post to be practicle. While in todays world roaming the streets looking for wrongs to right isn't needed because of the police force, and would most likely be pretty boring..., the police obviously can't stop every rights violation from happening.

I think that any of us could become de facto warriors if we happen upon a mugging and possibly defend the victim. Then we would step out of the temporary role and go about our day as we had previously planned knowing that we had preserved value and acted justly.

Your question boils down to this: Is fighting for one's values consistent with Objectivism? Of course it is. The nature of the fighting must be appropriate to the circumstances; and the value must be worth the risk.

Which qualifies the possibly in my above statements. If the mugger has a gun or knife I would need to be absolutely certain that I could get the jump on him before I physically entered the situation, but I would still contact the police and get help for the muggee.

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Would you mind explaining/defining what you mean by "Social Contract" here? 

Thanks.

Here is the basic idea of the Social Contract (somebody correct me if I am slightly off): When someone violates the rights of others, they have waived their own rights. If, thenceforth, they have any rights, they hold them conditionally, i. e., by the allowance of the government or by the allowance of the offendee.

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