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Bill Clinton's Impeachment.

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ggdwill
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Lanthanar,

Where is all of this talk about morality coming from? This thread was created to discuss what should be the legality surrounding sexual topics, not necessarily their morality.

I am confident that most, if not all, pornography is immoral. As Dr. Peikoff has discussed before, the only contexts in which pornography is acceptable is in it's moderate use as some sort of sexual/psychological maintenance. If you find yourself in an isolated or heavily regimented environment, it might be helpful to use pornography to stay in touch emotionally with the value of your sexuality. The other context might be if two people are in a committed, stable relationship, and they wish to use it to enhance their sex life together the same way they would use candles or lingerie.

But none of that matter anyways, because that's not what this thread it about.

- Grant

[edit]: Not that I should have to say this, but I hope those exceptions make it clear that it's not the pornography itself that is immoral, but rather it's relationship to human life; it's use.

Edited by ggdwill
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Where is all of this talk about morality coming from? This thread was created to discuss what should be the legality surrounding sexual topics, not necessarily their morality.
Out of curiousity, are you a legal positivist? Because you seem to be suggesting that the law/politics is somehow divorced from ethics/morality. Any sense of rational law and political function is derived from a code of ethics, if you think that ethics is somehow divorced from law, I fail to see how a law can be established other than by arbitrary means. I think that a good deal of our laws nowadays are quite arbitrary, and that is part of the reason why our legal system is such a mess.

I am confident that most, if not all, pornography is immoral. As Dr. Peikoff has discussed before, the only contexts in which pornography is acceptable is in it's moderate use as some sort of sexual/psychological maintenance. If you find yourself in an isolated or heavily regimented environment, it might be helpful to use pornography to stay in touch emotionally with the value of your sexuality. The other context might be if two people are in a committed, stable relationship, and they wish to use it to enhance their sex life together the same way they would use candles or lingerie.

Pornography essentially devalues sexuality on many levels, primarily by reducing an expression of personal values to a mechanical practice. I guess it could be argued that at times this can have maintanence purposes, but the drive of my arguement was that a form of deception applied to pornography can constitute a violation of one's rights.

But none of that matter anyways, because that's not what this thread it about.
I got distracted onto this particular tangent, it was meant primarily as an example to illustrate the senario.

Who said that I advocate moral subjectivism? Pornography is not immoral. No picture is immoral - not even "certain [one's]." I was responding to Dark_Unicorn's interpretation of your statement. The only thing I said was that the definition of pornography isn't absolute but by it's nature has to change in response to the culture where it is viewed.

I'm going to clarify my statements as it appears I may have misread your post slightly. My assertion of moral subjectivism was aimed towards the idea that pornography, like pretty much anything else, can be used for questionable purposes. One point where I strongly disagree with the blanket statement that pornography is not immoral is the issue of child pornography. Some cultures may view this as a perfectly acceptable practice, but I for one do not think it's morally defendable, for more reasons than I care to get into now.

I don't think that pornography's identity is relative to cultural reactions, it is a clear application of visual sexuality, for sexuality's sake. I don't think the human practice of intercourse is relative to culture, the man's genitals have a specified purpose, as do the female's. A culture may choose to label something pornographic that doesn't itself lend to sexuality, that does not make the image pornographic, any more than Josef Stalin declaring that 1+1=3 makes it true.

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Lanthanar,

Where is all of this talk about morality coming from? This thread was created to discuss what should be the legality surrounding sexual topics, not necessarily their morality.

Oh yes it is. Pornography is ALL ABOUT sex. Anyone who views pornography and claims he doesn't think of sex is like the Iranian government when it says it only wants to pursue nuclear technology for its energy needs: totally transparent.

This is where the talk of morality comes from, I was addressing this statement which I view to be false. If you want to completely remove morality from the equation, this should broadened to include any objectable material, whether it's pornography or not. Why should pornography be held to a different standard than other forms of expression, if not because of the morality involved.

I am confident that most, if not all, pornography is immoral. As Dr. Peikoff has discussed before, the only contexts in which pornography is acceptable is in it's moderate use as some sort of sexual/psychological maintenance. If you find yourself in an isolated or heavily regimented environment, it might be helpful to use pornography to stay in touch emotionally with the value of your sexuality. The other context might be if two people are in a committed, stable relationship, and they wish to use it to enhance their sex life together the same way they would use candles or lingerie.

I'd be interested in where he has talked about this, the literature I have does not mention pornography that I can find.

[edit]: Not that I should have to say this, but I hope those exceptions make it clear that it's not the pornography itself that is immoral, but rather it's relationship to human life; it's use.

I am confident that most, if not all, pornography is immoral.

How can pornography not be immoral and be immoral?

Who said that I advocate moral subjectivism? Pornography is not immoral. No picture is immoral - not even "certain [one's]." I was responding to Dark_Unicorn's interpretation of your statement. The only thing I said was that the definition of pornography isn't absolute but by it's nature has to change in response to the culture where it is viewed.

I think I read your post wrong, I was reading it as the morality of pornography changes with culture, not the definition. My bad.

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I don't think that pornography's identity is relative to cultural reactions, it is a clear application of visual sexuality, for sexuality's sake. I don't think the human practice of intercourse is relative to culture, the man's genitals have a specified purpose, as do the female's. A culture may choose to label something pornographic that doesn't itself lend to sexuality, that does not make the image pornographic, any more than Josef Stalin declaring that 1+1=3 makes it true.

I believe this is why myself and a few others have asked what exactly is the definition of pornography, because what falls into those confines has changed culturally. What's allowed on TV now would have caused an uproar of righteous indignation in the 60's.

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I haven't been following this thread closely enough to know if it needs to be split, but there was a long discussion about pornography in this earlier thread (link).

They started out trying to define what pornography was, but never got a consensus before it degraded into sideshows and tangents much as this thread by going off into pornography. It was mentioned in the thread that Peikoff was at one point didn't really view pornography as being immoral then changed his mind, but no references for where this was mentioned which I would still like to look up his reasoning. I'm going to drop the whole porn line of thought since it doesn't really have anything to do with the original question.

The "consent" point is still valid though, I still think that consent is being used in place of the idea that we have a right not to be offended. I don't see how someone exposing himself to another is a violation of rights, even if it's context might be immoral. I think this issue with Clinton is a bit different than when Rand said "This protects the unconsenting, and has nothing to do with censorship".

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My "notion" of the Objectivist position on rights is not a libertarian distortion - and unless you can prove that it is, I suggest you retract that remark.

You are asking me to prove a claim I never made. Go back to my post and read what I actually wrote.

It appears to me that you and some of the other posters often just read my posts, get some fuzzy idea about what I could be saying, and respond to that, instead of trying to understand what exactly I mean. The army of strawmen regarding "offense" is a case in point, as is the conflation of my uses of the terms sex, pornography, and sexual activity. It is not possible to have a serious debate with someone who is using this kind of "fuzzy logic."

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The context is different, certainly - and completely arbitrary. I submit that this would never happen - an airline that presented potentially offensive media runs the risk of decreased sales or boycotts. Depending on company policy they would either have to inform the customer that this was a "themed" flight or lose business.

By the same logic, murders would never happen either, because people wouldn't want to face the risk of life in prison or capital punishment. Our legal system would be very different--and much less busy--if everyone could be counted on to act according to his rational self-interest. The law's main target are precisely those people who choose not to pursue their own rational interests.

You can enter a store because the owner has given tacit permission by virtue of opening a publicly accessible store.

Not necessarily. In a free country, a store might have a policy of not allowing in customers with specific attributes. For example, they could have a policy to reject customers who have 1. a smelly breath, 2. stained clothes, 3. ... and so on, through ... 100. unruly children. They could place this list on the outside of the store, or anywhere inside (perhaps behind the counter, in illegibly small print), or not have it in writing at all. No matter where they put it, it means that people covered by the list do not have the owner's permission to be in the store.

Nonetheless, a person with a stain on his shirt (who is otherwise normal and civil) may rightfully presume that the owner consents to his entering. Even if the list is displayed on the outside of the store, customers are not required to go through every single one of the 100 items to see if they are covered before entering. Unless there is some sign at the entrance so obvious that the customer couldn't have missed it, he is free to enter on the presumption that the owner does welcome him. If he has a stain on his shirt, he is in innocent infringement of the owner's property from the moment he enters. He may be asked to leave, but--since he could rightfully presume the owner's consent until he found out otherwise--he cannot be sued.

If, however, he is not normal and civil, but say is carrying a goat with him and has his sexual organ inserted into the animal's rear orifice, then he cannot presume the owner's consent, and the owner has a legal case against him.

Why the difference? Because stores normally do allow in people with stained shirts, so the guy with the stained shirt couldn't have known that he was not welcome in there. But the guy with the goat could know that the owner wasn't likely to allow him in.

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But the shopper entering Wal-Mart consents to anything the owners may do inside? Why the asymmetry?

Because Wal-Mart OWNS the property.

Wal-Mart owns the store, but I own myself. It's their property against mine. Whenever the properties of two parties come into contact, there is a set of rules governing what they may do to each other. The parties involved may set any rules they wish by mutual voluntary consent, but as long as they haven't agreed on specific rules, the general presumptions pertaining to their context of interaction are in effect.

In a predominantly rational society, these presumptions are formed by reason, established by convention, and identified by law. As with all good laws under capitalism, the lawmakers do not choose for the citizens what they may or may not do, but rather express in writing the facts of reality that determine what kinds of actions are rightful or wrongful. Among these facts of reality are the facts about man's nature, especially his inalienable rights, and also the standard conventions for interaction that make it possible for strangers to communicate and trade despite their limited knowledge of each other.

Language itself is one of these standard conventions. Two people who know each other may agree to assign whatever meanings they please to any of the words or phrases of the English language; for example, they might agree that by "Slap me on the butt," they mean "Turn down the volume please." But if one of them says this to a stranger, she wouldn't have a legal case of any kind if the stranger interpreted it according to its standard English meaning.

Does this mean that the law foists an "arbitrary social convention" on that poor young woman in violation of her right to choose the language speaks and her sovereignty over her behind? No, it means that it recognizes the established standard English meaning of words and their applicability to situations where the parties haven't agreed on a different interpretation.

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I haven't been following this thread closely enough to know if it needs to be split, but there was a long discussion about pornography in this earlier thread (link).

I think this thread addresses a different topic.

For the first time on this thread, I agree with Myself. :P Pornography is only tangentially related to what we are discussing here; the actual topic could be described as "the legal aspects of abnormal behavior." I just put that into the thread description.

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Not necessarily. In a free country, a store might have a policy of not allowing in customers with specific attributes. For example, they could have a policy to reject customers who have 1. a smelly breath, 2. stained clothes, 3. ... and so on, through ... 100. unruly children. They could place this list on the outside of the store, or anywhere inside (perhaps behind the counter, in illegibly small print), or not have it in writing at all. No matter where they put it, it means that people covered by the list do not have the owner's permission to be in the store.

The question at hand is what the customer is consenting that the business owner can do in his business, not what the business owner is allowing the customer to do. I don't think businesses should even really be brought into this, what went on with Clinton was not a public place like a WalMart.

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I believe this is why myself and a few others have asked what exactly is the definition of pornography, because what falls into those confines has changed culturally. What's allowed on TV now would have caused an uproar of righteous indignation in the 60's.

Just as the Christians of the Dark Ages were revolted by Ancient Greek art works. Cultural trends being the guide for defining things is where I think the fallacy lies here. Pornography and Erotica both lend themselves to sexual expression on a rather narrow level, I would argue for the sake of satisfying physical desire divorced from any other value judgement. Although some would argue that Erotica is a bit more artistic than pornography, they both divorce the cognitive response of having a live partner. You do not know the values of the persons that you are viewing, nor do you think of their persons outside of the fantasy, so the result is a form of objectification. Whether this is right or wrong is a separate issue, but I would argue that just like junk food does to the body, excesses in pornography will confound your sense of reality. I personally don't support any laws regulating junk food, so I would apply the same logic to pornography.

How does this apply to the Clinton situation? When someone knowingly fools you into thinking that food is good for you, and it isn't, we have an issue of a kind of fraud that can cause a measure of harm to the victim. Granted, there are varying levels of harm depending on how long this was going on and how bad the food was for the person. By the same token, if we assume that Ms. Flowers was decieved into thinking that her and her employer were discussing some separate business, and he then exposes himself, this can be construed as a breach of contract, and civil charges can actually be filed, whether criminal court should take this up is a bit harder to determine. I say "if we assume" because the assertion that she initiated the event, made early by ggwill I believe, is not something that I think has been objectively proven to have occurred.

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But there is no request to leave in my example. They just grab you without saying a word and haul you off. Is that an initiation of force, after you began disrupting the wedding?

Actually, it would be an intiation of force - by definition.

You probably haven't seen Dr. Peikoff's lecture "America vs. Americans," have you? You'll be in for a surprise.

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How does this apply to the Clinton situation? When someone knowingly fools you into thinking that food is good for you, and it isn't, we have an issue of a kind of fraud that can cause a measure of harm to the victim. Granted, there are varying levels of harm depending on how long this was going on and how bad the food was for the person. By the same token, if we assume that Ms. Flowers was decieved into thinking that her and her employer were discussing some separate business, and he then exposes himself, this can be construed as a breach of contract, and civil charges can actually be filed, whether criminal court should take this up is a bit harder to determine. I say "if we assume" because the assertion that she initiated the event, made early by ggwill I believe, is not something that I think has been objectively proven to have occurred.

If it was deceit. If it was supposed to be work related even in a hotel room, and your work has nothing to do with exposing yourself, then sure. But if it's not work related, and he asked her to come to his hotel room and she agreed to come, then it's just a horribly bad attempt at a pass.

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The question at hand is what the customer is consenting that the business owner can do in his business, not what the business owner is allowing the customer to do.

The two are really just two sides of the same issue. With one correction: "... what the customer is consenting that the business owner can do in his business to him (the customer)." What the business owner does to other (consenting) people or to himself is none of the customer's business, provided that it does not infringe his rights.

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I contradicted myself in my two most recent posts when I said in one that pornography is beyond the realm of morality and in another I said that pornography is immoral. I should have been more specific because I did not intend to pronounce contradictory judgements upon the same object.

What I meant in the first post is that, yes, pornography (more specifically it's use - something I didn't bother to specify initially because I assumed [wrongly] that everyone would recognize this) is immoral; however this shouldn't matter when it comes to pornography's (again, it's use's) relationship to the law.

This brings me to the wider abstraction that I was alluding to that I should have made explicit - and I think is the crux of this entire thread. Of course I believe that the nature of a government and the laws it enforces are derived from some set of moral principles, contradictory or not. However, when I argue in favor of allowing property owners to display "offensive" material and/or objects with impunity it is because I believe that the prohibition of it constitutes an immoral act of greater degree (the violation of the sanctity of property rights). Consequently, to knowingly a subordinate a greater value (freedom) for the sake of a lesser value (feeling comfortable) is an immoral course of action, and thus should not be pursued by anyone - certainly not the government. This is what is commonly known as utilitarianism, which an incorrect moral system.

That should adequately address the question posed to me earlier about whether or not I was a logical positivist.

The other half of the contradiction in my posts that I created was in my post exclusively discussing the moral status of pornography as it relates to adults explicitly consenting to it's use. Since this is an unrelated topic, I should not have allowed myself to go on this tangent. However, I would like to help out the person that asked for the source of Dr. Peikoff's comments that I cited. I read it in a transcription of one of his radio shows. It has been a few years, so I don't know which one it is.

- Grant

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If it was deceit. If it was supposed to be work related even in a hotel room, and your work has nothing to do with exposing yourself, then sure. But if it's not work related, and he asked her to come to his hotel room and she agreed to come, then it's just a horribly bad attempt at a pass.

In both cases we are obviously dealing with hypotheticals, as I don't think we can yet fully determine what the actual nature of that particular meeting was. However, I haven't yet been given any logical reason to doubt Ms. Flowers' honesty, while Bill Clinton has proven himself to be a compulsive liar on multiple occasions. So, my suspicions lead me to believe that Clinton probably used an amount of deception, granted my suspicions alone don't merit material proof, but only a likely senario. It is also quite possible that Ms. Flowers was interested in pursuing a more recreational visit, as Bill Clinton's obvious social appeal was well known. One thing is for certain though, Bill Clinton was one lousy president, on just about every issue he acted on.

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Here are some brief explanations of the terms I mentioned above. These are not meant as formal definitions and are not necessarily exhaustive of their referents, but they should give you a more precise idea of what I have in mind when I use them.

sex - An interaction between humans, or between a human and an animal, involving a prolonged touching and purposeful arousal of sexual organs.

pornography - A depiction of deliberate sexual activity including images of exposed sexual organs.

sexual activity - An action by a human that is closely related to or used as a substitute for sex, such as:

  • Kissing or being kissed on the mouth or an erogenous part of the body
  • Touching or being touched on a sexual organ out of arousal or with a view to arouse
  • Fantasizing about sex
  • Deliberate viewing of exposed sexual organs for arousal
  • Unexpected seeing of exposed sexual organs
  • Unexpected seeing of erect human penis, even if covered

sexual organ - Human penis, vagina, teenage girl's or grown-up woman's breasts

A good test for whether a given action is a sexual activity is to take a reasonable man who hasn't made an effort to learn not to think of sex in given situations and make him perform the action in question. If he can avoid thinking of sex, it isn't a sexual activity; if he cannot help but to think of sex, it is one.

For example, to take our favorite girl in bikini scenario, her appearance may prompt you to think of what it would be like to be in bed with her, but not without your volitional choice to do so. While there may be many people who invariably think of sex when they see a girl in a bikini, they do it as a result of their choices and value-judgments. People with other priorities might think of very different things; for example, a proud father may be reminded of her daughter who wants to be an Olympic swimmer.

On the other hand, if you unexpectedly see a movie showing people having sex, then you have no choice: what you see already IS sex, not just a potential cue that gives you a chance to think of sex if you want to. It literally puts an idea into your mind by force.

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In both cases we are obviously dealing with hypotheticals, as I don't think we can yet fully determine what the actual nature of that particular meeting was. However, I haven't yet been given any logical reason to doubt Ms. Flowers' honesty, while Bill Clinton has proven himself to be a compulsive liar on multiple occasions. So, my suspicions lead me to believe that Clinton probably used an amount of deception, granted my suspicions alone don't merit material proof, but only a likely senario. It is also quite possible that Ms. Flowers was interested in pursuing a more recreational visit, as Bill Clinton's obvious social appeal was well known. One thing is for certain though, Bill Clinton was one lousy president, on just about every issue he acted on.

Taking this solely in context of deception, regardless of the means of the deception (forget about the sexual aspect), should it actually be illegal. Thinking about it, I don't see why it should be unless it can be shown that damage was caused.

Bringing the sex back into it, I agree with sexual harassment laws that protect people from losing their jobs or other types of damage if they don't submit to sexual advances, and in this case I don't think any threats of that nature were made, just an advance. I don't agree with the law trying to protect people from being offended. That's a matter for company policy and human resource department, not the law, if your coworkers are offensive individuals and the means of correcting the situation in the company don't work, quit.

Bringing this back to the original post, if deception, then I could see them questioning Monica Lewinsky about how Clinton made advances to her to show pattern, but not to question what they did with each other. If it was threat, I'd also question Lewinsky about whether threats were made to her too.

One last thing, if my memory serves right, wasn't the impeachment because they asked Clinton if he had sex, not actually what he did, but simply had sex with Lewinsky and he said no under oath? I think he would have been better fighting off the question rather than lie, the question really was not needed, only whether he made advances and under what circumstances.

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Bringing the sex back into it, I agree with sexual harassment laws that protect people from losing their jobs or other types of damage if they don't submit to sexual advances

You do? Why?

IMO, if a boss makes a sexual advance to an employee (which I take to be a request for consent to have sex, made in a manner that does not infringe on her rights) and she refuses, then the boss has every right to terminate her employment according to the termination provisions of her contract, just like he always had. In other words, the employee's saying no to sex does not cancel her contract's termination clauses. Why would it?

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You do? Why?

IMO, if a boss makes a sexual advance to an employee (which I take to be a request for consent to have sex, made in a manner that does not infringe on her rights) and she refuses, then the boss has every right to terminate her employment according to the termination provisions of her contract, just like he always had. In other words, the employee's saying no to sex does not cancel her contract's termination clauses. Why would it?

Because they are attempting to force them into sex, I put it almost at the same level as attempted rape. An employer could try and make an employee do a lot of things that the employee may not want to do, and the employer has every right to fire them if they do not comply, unless there's some sort of contract involved. I think this only applies though if it's something the employer wishes to gain through an employee's labor or efforts. If the employer wishes to violate an employees rights, take something away from an employee with the threat of firing, such as forced sex, or telling an employee he must surrender personal property to continue to work, I think the line has been crossed to where it's initiation of force.

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Because they are attempting to force them into sex, I put it almost at the same level as attempted rape. An employer could try and make an employee do a lot of things that the employee may not want to do, and the employer has every right to fire them if they do not comply, unless there's some sort of contract involved. I think this only applies though if it's something the employer wishes to gain through an employee's labor or efforts. If the employer wishes to violate an employees rights, take something away from an employee with the threat of firing, such as forced sex, or telling an employee he must surrender personal property to continue to work, I think the line has been crossed to where it's initiation of force.

You couldn't be more wrong. If an employer makes a request that the employee doesn't wish to do, then the employee has every right to quit. If a boss threatens to fire the employee if she doesn't have sex with him, that should be his right. It's simply his right to do what he wants with his property - his property being the job. The job that the employee is hired to do is not hers, it is the boss', and so it cannot be taken away from her. If he decides that he will include "having sex with me" in the job description, then the employee has a right to accept the changes or quit.

My original post addressed that it's not the what is said that determines if it's harrassment, but if it's said after a request to stop in a location that an individual has a right to determine what goes on. To allow it to be defined in type-specific ways is what leads to the fascistic micromanagement advocated in the quote above.

This is the difference between a real violation of rights like rape and what you call "almost" a violation of rights like 'sexual harassment'. If you're going to acknowledge that they seem similar, but are not, then it seems rather pointless to devote the rest of a paragraph to explaining how they're the same.

- Grant

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If he decides that he will include "having sex with me" in the job description, then the employee has a right to accept the changes or quit.

That description should be ether included at the beggining of a contract period so a person can make a choice not to enter into that contract or introduced when the contract is up so a person can choose not to renew it.

A job contract is an agreement that unless otherwise stated implies job related activities as specified. If a person was hired as a prostitute than yes 'getting the boss off' would be a part of her job.

If a person was hired to invest money - for the duration of the contract signed - the person's only responsiblity would be to perform activities involving investing money successfuly. Such contract can be terminated on the basis depending what the contract specifies - it maybe for example due to poor performace. If the contract says that an employee can be let go for any reason - that is the contract.

A contract for investing money, with good performance, unless otherwise specified - objectively should not be allowed to be terminated based on "not wanting to sleep with the boss". That is just not objective.

Such contract need not be renewed if the boss wants a person who will invest his money and get him off.

Edited by ~Sophia~
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