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Legal foundation for public decency, lewdness, nudity

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Absence of a government is not the only meaning. Check your dictionary.

If you want to define anarchy in a way that means anything else other than abscence of government, at least have the rationality not to equivocate that definition of anarchy with the one that means "a situation in which there is effectively no government".

This is the problem with using a term with two different definitions. If you intend to use a word with multiple meanings, either it must be clear which definition you are using (assuming the definitions are essentially different) or else you run into the problem of equivocation. For example, real and imaginary in terms of cognition means something else than real and imaginary in mathematics. Something else ENTIRELY. However, causality has a different meaning when you ask Hume than it does when you ask Ayn Rand. The defining characteristics are similar enough to be confused, but the details are different enough so that you cannot use the two interchangably. This is when equivocation occurs.

It does not make sense to be for anarchy and against governmental regulations that suppress it given the standard "no government" definition of anarchy, but in other cases governmental intrusion would not only be unnecessary, but evil, given that you're using a definition of anarchy that subsumes your ideal of ettequitte, IE anarchy being the lack of rules of conduct which would prohibit noncoercive activities. That is the problem of using the term anarchy the way you do.

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See this thread: Bill Clinton's Impeachment--The legal aspects of abnormal behavior. It's quite a long one and full of pointless bickering, but there is about 10% or so of the posts where you will fin

I disagree with this in part; positive emotions (or any emotions, for that matter) are not the standard of value, but they are values.

And it still stands that first: you must show how this is a violation, simply asserting it will not do and second: you must show how my principle is at odds with the fact that touching someone without their permission is a violation of their right to their instrument of enacting their mind to their life. Man is a being of body and mind, to say that rights exist to protect the mind means that the body must also be protected. You are separating the two, not I, my argument stands. Just because I did not hold your hand and walk you through the entire deduction and application doesn't mean its not there.
-my bold.

I see. Since man is a being of body and mind, protecting my mind is protecting my body. O-kay. So, let's see... Feeding my body is feeding my mind, and feeding my mind is feeding my body. Having a strong body is having a strong mind, and having a strong mind is...

(This could just be a Copernican breakthrough in epistemology!)

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Secondly (following from the same mistaken premise), proof of "harm" is also not absolutely necessary for a discourse on human rights violations. I'm not sure I understand why you and Inspector have agreed to work from that premise in your protracted exchange.

I'm using the legal definition of "harm," as in:

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law -

Main Entry: harm

Function: noun

: loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being : INJURY

Also, Maartin, if you walk over someone's property line uninvited and refuse to leave ("it's a free country!"), have you initiated force? What right is being violated?

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I'm using the legal definition of "harm," as in:

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law -

Main Entry: harm

Function: noun

: loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being : INJURY

Also, Maartin, if you walk over someone's property line uninvited and refuse to leave ("it's a free country!"), have you initiated force? What right is being violated?

Well, you have the right to determine what happens on your property. So I suppose in that case they do initiate force by moving onto your property without your consent. By extension, the most basic property rights a person has is their own body, I would say. So it should follow that they can determine who has physical contact with it.

I'm not convinced that seeing someone do things on their property necessarily violates your property rights, though. That depends on whether the action is harmful or not. There is a clear difference between someone smoking on their property, and the wind carrying the smoke to your property, and someone walking on your property.

Also, it doesn't follow from your right to your own body that you get to determine what sights you see in public. If you're walking down the street, then you are not on your property, so property rights are beside the point (you wouldn't have any right to tell others what they could do on their property, it's none of your business, unless it violates your most basic rights (i.e. life, property)).

Edited by Maarten
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Also, sub-divisions and housing societies can have rules and to the extent that laws are currently acting as stand-ins for such rules, that's fine with me -- analogous to my support for public schools upholding certain standards.

That certainly could be the way such a law would be implemented; with the default assumption simply being that people do not consent. And you have a community that does, just put up a sign.

One has to make a distinction between threatening behaviour and repulsive behavior.

Yeah, you're right. I was trying to bring that into the example to remove all doubt about whether it was a sexual act, but it is a threat. How about if the masturbating guy was encased in a glass box (with air holes of course), with another guy pulling him around on a little red wagon?

I think it is fine for the law to lay down a simple "non exposure of genitals" rule which would be the default assumption if no notice is posted.

That's what I figure; unless you have the express permission of the property owner. And if the property owner ever gives out said permission, he needs to post a sign at the entrance warning people that he does do so. Without "public" parks and "public" sidewalks, only private parks and private sidewalks, this issue is a lot clearer.

Also, it doesn't follow from your right to your own body that you get to determine what sights you see in public. If you're walking down the street, then you are not on your property, so property rights are beside the point (you wouldn't have any right to tell others what they could do on their property, it's none of your business, unless it violates your most basic rights (i.e. life, property)).

I told you I would get to this, didn't I? People have no patience these days, I swear!

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Secondly (following from the same mistaken premise), proof of "harm" is also not absolutely necessary for a discourse on human rights violations. I'm not sure I understand why you and Inspector have agreed to work from that premise in your protracted exchange.

I disagree. If something in no way objectively harms a person's life or property, then it cannot be a violation of rights. You don't have the right not to experience things you don't like. Your image of an ideal society is not something that others have to provide you with. So if something happens that you dislike, but doesn't harm you in any way, then there is really no good reason to say that your rights are being violated.

Again, consent only makes sense when something objectively harms you (or your property, by extension). It's utter madness to say that your rights have been violated because people show you things without your consent. Consent is only a valid concept when somethins has already been determined to be harmful, because you have the right to consent to that and be subjected to it if you wish it. But for objectively harmless actions, it doesn't make any sort of sense that consent should be required. Surely you see how completely subjective this consent thing is? You can not consent to just about anything other people do, and demand that they stop doing it.

I know that the examples given are about much worse things than seeing clashing colors. However, they can only be worse because they are harmful to you to a greater extent. So please, focus on the harm, and not the consent. The consent is completely irrelevant until we have determined that the action is indeed harmful a person's life (and property by extension).

I told you I would get to this, didn't I? People have no patience these days, I swear!

You should hurry up, then! Didn't they tell you we had to have a draft version of this law finished by the end of the week? :lol:

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Fair enough. By that reasoning, would a poster of James Bond firing a gun at someone be involving the passer-by, against their will, in a violent act?

No, but a poster with armed Jihadists that says "We will kill all unbelievers" would. And a poster of them sawing someone's head off would also be a problem, although I don't know if for the same reason. Of course the natures of sex and of violence are different.

My goal here is to simply see if the point Ayn Rand made in the passage is a legitimate one. I really am not motivated to find out the details of how exactly such a law would be constructed, and what specific things it would cover or not cover, and what principle differentiates them. These are all important questions, but my first concern is whether any of this is even in the realm of possibility. That's why I say "first things first," and why I am uninterested in the arguments against this which say "well, you could outlaw purple houses if you define it that unclearly." Yes, obviously it does need to be defined more clearly. But before that: is it even legitimate at all? Does a man's property rights include the right to be free from his neighbors displaying certain things in view of his property?

Then, after that, we can get into how private property extends to "public" places, and after that into differentiating which acts do and do not fall into that category (though I'll probably bow out at that point).

Well, you have the right to determine what happens on your property... [but] I'm not convinced that seeing someone do things on their property necessarily violates your property rights, though. That depends on whether the action is harmful or not.

How about if a man painted your garage yellow without your consent? Can you prove that that action is harmful?

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How about if a man painted your garage yellow without your consent? Can you prove that that action is harmful?

I think so. Painting my garage yellow (assuming I didn't want it to be like that!) changes the nature of my garage. Similar to how spraying a person yellow changes the way they look. It will cost me time and money to undo that action, and I think that is where it is damaging. Perhaps to state it differently, someone else changed my property to something that it was not before, so I lost (some of) the value of the property as it was before.

Edited by Maarten
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I think so. Painting my garage yellow (assuming I didn't want it to be like that!) changes the nature of my garage. Similar to how spraying a person yellow changes the way they look. It will cost me time and money to undo that action, and I think that is where it is damaging. Perhaps to state it differently, someone else changed my property to something that it was not before, so I lost (some of) the value of the property as it was before.

Why would this not extend to them projecting a beheading video onto that same garage?

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Why would this not extend to them projecting a beheading video onto that same garage?

I think it would be fair to say that by extension you have the right to determine what is presented on your property. So, someone projecting mutilated corpses on the wall of your house (or inside your living room) violates your rights. But all these things are interactions with your property itself; i.e. the act occurs on your property.

(I posted this as an edit, but this way it's clearer for others to read)

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I disagree. If something in no way objectively harms a person's life or property, then it cannot be a violation of rights. You don't have the right not to experience things you don't like. ...

Again, consent only makes sense when something objectively harms you (or your property, by extension).

Maarten: i gave an example in my post that i believe you missed. If you like the very long hair of the Indian woman who is sleeping on the seat right next to you on a bus (or plane), would you be NOT violating her rights if you start touching that hair (lightly) to feel it to your own satisfaction? If so, can you show me the objective harm that has been done to such a woman's life or property? Or do you believe there is no violation of rights in this case?

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Maarten: i gave an example in my post that i believe you missed. If you like the very long hair of the Indian woman who is sleeping on the seat right next to you on a bus (or plane), would you be NOT violating her rights if you start touching that hair (lightly) to feel it to your own satisfaction? If so, can you show me the objective harm that has been done to such a woman's life or property? Or do you believe there is no violation of rights in this case?

I must admit that I'm not sure whether that would be a violation of her rights. I know there are certain things that are definitely not violations of your rights that you did not give consent for. Lack of consent alone is not enough to make something a violation of your rights. I think it makes the most sense to say that an action only violates your rights if it objectively harms you in some way. What standard would you advocate that also includes actions such as touching someone without their consent, but excludes such things as perceiving clashing colors?

The main thing is that I'm wary to say that you have complete control over what happens on your property. If you say that you have the right to determine exactly what happens there, then that would make all sorts of mundane occurances violations of your rights. I must say that I'm not completely sure yet what the proper principle should be. I am still leaning more towards the one I proposed.

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A proper principle has to be able to distinguish all the rights violations from situations where rights are not violated. In order to do that, you have to capture the essential difference with said principle. The only way to know whether that is the case, is by applying the principle to many different situations and seeing whether or not it accurately predicts rights violations. A sort of hypothesis testing, if you will :lol: If the principle includes things that are clearly not rights violations in the category of rights violations, then it must be wrong.

For reasons I've pointed out earlier, the "something is a violation of your rights if you didn't consent to it" captures a complete non-essential. I admit that the principle I proposed is much stricter, but I think it is also much more objective. The only thing you would have to prove is how something is harmful to you (which would mean that it either expropriates your values or makes you act against your own judgement... these situations are probably almost exclusively about the expropriating values part), and it becomes clear that it is a violation of your rights. You remove all subjectivity from the issues involved in this way. Basing the violation of rights primarily on consent makes all these issues a veritable swamp of ambiguity, especially when you have to rely on implicit consent to determine whether or not something was a violation of rights or not. In those cases it becomes impossible to know when you have violated rights and when you haven't, and THAT is a problem.

Consent IS an important issue, but it is a derivative that should only come into play when something is already determined to be a violation of your rights. Giving consent can make a rights violation a non-rights violation. It cannot turn a non-rights violation into a rights violation on its own.

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I think it would be fair to say that by extension you have the right to determine what is presented on your property. So, someone projecting mutilated corpses on the wall of your house (or inside your living room) violates your rights. But all these things are interactions with your property itself; i.e. the act occurs on your property.

A projection is a visual image that crosses your property line. If he projected it onto his garage, which is directly opposite your living room window, so that it is no less visible, then how is that different from projecting it into your living room?

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A projection is a visual image that crosses your property line. If he projected it onto his garage, which is directly opposite your living room window, so that it is no less visible, then how is that different from projecting it into your living room?

When it is projected on your living room wall, it is clearly on your property. He is using your property as an advertising billboard, so to speak. I think it is different because of that. Similar to how there is a difference between someone spraying a swastika on your wall, and on his own wall.

I think the surface that is being used to portray something is the issue here. Projecting a picture of flowers on your wall would just as much be a violation of your property rights as projecting a headless corpse on your wall.

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The main thing is that I'm wary to say that you have complete control over what happens on your property. If you say that you have the right to determine exactly what happens there, then that would make all sorts of mundane occurances violations of your rights. I must say that I'm not completely sure yet what the proper principle should be. I am still leaning more towards the one I proposed.

Agreed, clearly you don't have a right to control absolutely everything that happens. And should you agree that you do have a right to control certain things vis a vis your neighbors' making you see certain things, then we would have to produce a principle that distinguishes the two categories.

A proper principle has to be able to distinguish all the rights violations from situations where rights are not violated. In order to do that, you have to capture the essential difference with said principle. The only way to know whether that is the case, is by applying the principle to many different situations and seeing whether or not it accurately predicts rights violations. A sort of hypothesis testing, if you will :lol: If the principle includes things that are clearly not rights violations in the category of rights violations, then it must be wrong.

Yes, I agree; that is a proper way to do this.

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You cannot own the view you have from your property. So any changes in what the surrounding land looks like could never violate your property rights (unless, perhaps, you bought the house under the condition that the view wouldn't change, but I don't see how that could be part of the contract unless the guy who sold you the house owns the whole neighborhood).

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I think the surface that is being used to portray something is the issue here. Projecting a picture of flowers on your wall would just as much be a violation of your property rights as projecting a headless corpse on your wall.

You cannot own the view you have from your property.

Good point; you're right. It basically comes down to harm, and that he doesn't have the right to project harm onto your property. In no-mans-land, he may simply claim you must look away, but on your property, he would have to cease and desist.

Are we good so far? (other than agreeing on what is harmful)

Edited by Inspector
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Good point; you're right. It basically comes down to harm, and that he doesn't have the right to project harm onto your property. In no-mans-land, he may simply claim you must look away, but on your property, he would have to cease and desist.

Are we good so far? (other than agreeing on what is harmful)

Yeah, I agree with that, if by projecting harm you mean that the harm actually enters your property (so that the images are actually on your property, and not just that they can be seen from your property). I think that's what you said, but I want to be absolutely clear on this before we continue. :lol:

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Yeah, I agree with that, if by projecting harm you mean that the harm actually enters your property (so that the images are actually on your property, and not just that they can be seen from your property). I think that's what you said, but I want to be absolutely clear on this before we continue. :lol:

Ah, no. What I mean is that the harm can happen to you on your own property - whether it is a projection or simply something visible - and that that is the issue, rather than an issue of altering the color of your wall.

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Well, I don't think any sights are actually harmful to a person. If you can prove to me that seeing something can actually harm you, then I would agree that you shouldn't be subjected to that view. But, like I said earlier, what you can see from your house doesn't violate your property rights, because you don't own what is outside your property. So it could only be said to harm you if it harms you personally.

That last distinction makes the analogy between someone actually projecting something ON your property a bad one, because that is a violation of your property rights. Projecting it on his own wall doesn't violate your property rights. So we can't equivocate both situations.

Edited by Maarten
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That last distinction makes the analogy between someone actually projecting something ON your property a bad one, because that is a violation of your property rights. Projecting it on his own wall doesn't violate your property rights. So we can't equivocate both situations.

Right.

Well, I don't think any sights are actually harmful to a person. If you can prove to me that seeing something can actually harm you, then I would agree that you shouldn't be subjected to that view. But, like I said earlier, what you can see from your house doesn't violate your property rights, because you don't own what is outside your property. So it could only be said to harm you if it harms you personally.

Property rights are still involved, as it is an issue of invading your home with harmful things. But they are not in the sense of you having a right to control the view, which you do not. As to the proof? Well, watch the videos, I guess.

But, other than proving the existence of harm-through-vision, we are square, correct?

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It does not make sense to be for anarchy and against governmental regulations that suppress it given the standard "no government" definition of anarchy, but in other cases governmental intrusion would not only be unnecessary, but evil, given that you're using a definition of anarchy that subsumes your ideal of ettequitte, IE anarchy being the lack of rules of conduct which would prohibit noncoercive activities. That is the problem of using the term anarchy the way you do.

You are right perhaps I should have been more precise in my meaning.

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I must admit that I'm not sure whether that would be a violation of her rights.

Jesus. Let's extend your imagination a bit: imagine that instead of touching the hair with just his hands, he is touching it with both his hands and his lips.

Are you now sure? Coz if you're not, we could extend that imagination even further, and replace his lips with another member of his body (the pun is intended to give the clue!), but we won't do that! Bottom line is, i can find you situations which you will agree to be rights violations and which will not involve your harm condition. And you need only ONE situation to show that a principle is false.

I'm using the legal definition of "harm," as in:

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law -

Main Entry: harm

Function: noun

: loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being : INJURY

Inspector: you can't use a definition of harm that includes (loss of or damage to) rights in formulating a principle that is supposed to determine the violation of rights. At least Maarten's "definition" of the term does not suffer from that circularity - he means real harm. (If you have the time, i'm pretty sure i can show that the definition from that Dictionary of Law is in fact epistemologically flawed, but this is not necessary to show that *you* can't use that definition in your particular principle.)

Anyway, my point is that the two of you cannot rationally continue to look for the harm condition in situations if someone has shown you an example of rights violation that (you agree) does not involve harm. Is my woman's hair example still unconvincing?

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