George H. Smith

Thoughts on Rand, Government, and Anarchism

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Didn't want to start a new thread so I did a search to find one relevant to what I was wondering:

Is there a reason that the right to retaliatory force is as important on an individual level to the right to life, action, and property?

Rand thought this right could be sacrificed, even though it is this right in particular that allows for civility. More accurately it is the expectation of retaliatory force that allows for civility (and therefore freedom), though not necessarily on an individual level.

My other question is about consent. Why is 100% consent necessary for a government to be rightful? Surely those being arrested for breaking laws will disagree with those laws.

Also: Has anyone read Escape from Leviathan?

Thank you for raising Hobbes with Rand.

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Didn't want to start a new thread so I did a search to find one relevant to what I was wondering:

Is there a reason that the right to retaliatory force is as important on an individual level to the right to life, action, and property?

Rand thought this right could be sacrificed, even though it is this right in particular that allows for civility. More accurately it is the expectation of retaliatory force that allows for civility (and therefore freedom), though not necessarily on an individual level.

My other question is about consent. Why is 100% consent necessary for a government to be rightful? Surely those being arrested for breaking laws will disagree with those laws.

Also: Has anyone read Escape from Leviathan?

Thank you for raising Hobbes with Rand.

The right to retaliatory force is the right to protect your rights and she didn't sacrifice it only gave most of it over to government for delimited government reasons. That is, the right is delegated to government to avoid anarchy. This right comes from the more basic right of acting in self defense although, maybe ironically, it has a much broader scope of action, getting into law the source of government monopoly in this area. In nature you actually have and can use a right to retaliatory force, I suppose, but in nature would mean no tribe and no state--you would be alone (banished) or with no more than your clan or family.

A human being's nature is the "natural" in "natural rights." "Rights" are a human invention and don't actually exist until laws based on the nature of human nature are created (codified): hence the government "monopoly" on force, for men can conflict but laws should not. But just as the good guys fight the bad guys (actors) within a group of actors the good guys (must) fight the bad guys for control of the government so government itself won't be mostly a bad actor (bad actors acting through government). Randian "minarchists" and libertarian "anarchists" share the same practical fallacy in imagining their perfect Utopias, but the minarchists triumph because the anarchists cannot get there from here. The minarchists say move toward the perfection while the anarchists say impose it or go along with the ride complaining as they go about how some non-consenters are having their rights violated and how the minarchists are sanctioning that by sanctioning delimited (or any) government--which is the state, as opposed to some kind of supposedly completely voluntary governance. This moral one-upmanship has more to do with Rand than the libertarians, for the power of her fiction and the purity of her views crashed into the statist intellectual monopoly breaking it open. They should have called her out on the purity instead of trying to beat her over the head with their own version. It's nice and powerful to be in a morally impregnable position and that's the real monopoly the libertarians complain about by making their own, but these are all fantasy worlds. In a real sense Rand created the libertarian anarchists by telling the libertarians to get out of town. She told the conservatives to take a hike too, but they have tremendous cultural mass and tend to eschew real political philosophy anyway. So they contemned her albeit for different reasons aside from her contemning them. That Chambers' AS review was a honey for that.

Of course any government is going to violate rights to some extent and that is not to be consented to so you get on your horse and right out to do battle (revolution) or get inside (evolution). Or, if you consent to a government you consent to (sanction) what it does in the most general, overall sense. What is not to be consented to is all government actions for some of those will be rights' violating. What no one has is the right to initiate force simply because someone claims he's living under a government he didn't consent to, for it's the old two wrongs don't make a (it) right, especially when one wrong is so attenuated as "consent" compared to going out and killing people.

--Brant

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I know you're editing, Brant, but I did say "on an individual level", which I intended to mean that everyone would be in control over when and how much retaliatory force is used, even through another agent.

We would never all 100% consent to the laws, though, so I don't know what the "ideal" really is. I think Escape from Leviathan may have the answers, that's why I asked about that, too.

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Didn't want to start a new thread so I did a search to find one relevant to what I was wondering:

Is there a reason that the right to retaliatory force is as important on an individual level to the right to life, action, and property?

Rand thought this right could be sacrificed, even though it is this right in particular that allows for civility. More accurately it is the expectation of retaliatory force that allows for civility (and therefore freedom), though not necessarily on an individual level.

My other question is about consent. Why is 100% consent necessary for a government to be rightful? Surely those being arrested for breaking laws will disagree with those laws.

Also: Has anyone read Escape from Leviathan?

Surely you mean "defensive" force? The right to life, action and property extrapolates to the right to defend oneself to an ultimate extent, and can never be abnegated or surrendered, I'd suppose.

"Retaliatory" force, otoh, should be brought under objectively consistent and predictable, central control - otherwise we would all be vigilantes using whatever force we subjectively deem necessary to 'get our own back'.

I don't think government has to be 100% consensual, but consent to a Constitution, one upholding individual rights, would be close to that target: a free nation, leave it, enjoy it - as you choose!

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I know you're editing, Brant, but I did say "on an individual level", which I intended to mean that everyone would be in control over when and how much retaliatory force is used, even through another agent.

We would never all 100% consent to the laws, though, so I don't know what the "ideal" really is. I think Escape from Leviathan may have the answers, that's why I asked about that, too.

I addressed the "individual level," but for your context there is no individual "right" to retaliatory force. You have the right to both defend yourself and defend yourself, naturally enough, with something appropriate. Self defense is a subcategory to retaliatory, so if you confine yourself to that, you're okay.

--Brant

(haven't read Hobbs)

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Escape From Leviathan is J.C. Lester. He attempts to make the case for libertarianism from a Popperian perspective.

I have to read posts still, but I just want to clarify that I do mean retaliatory force. If you are injured, self-defense is out of the question--you have already been injured. While the expectation for retaliatory force is certainly necessary, should it start from an individual (as the state apparently derives its powers from) level, as in, every crime must have a victim and the victim must be involved in deciding and even carrying out the punishment(though not being able to change the limitations of such punishments which would be decided on a collective level)?

Retaliation is not to do with justice, but order. I get the sense that if it were tied more directly to victims of crimes, then it would be much more effective in maintaining that order and creating an environment where there are less victims.

I don't know, though.

And would you consider forcing someone work to pay back money they stole from you retaliatory or defensive?

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And would you consider forcing someone work to pay back money they stole from you retaliatory or defensive?

Retaliatory, but with possible defensive consequences--i.e., future crimes that don't happen.

--Brant

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It is like what Inago Montoya says in -Princess Bride-. "Give me back my father, you son of a bitch."

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And would you consider forcing someone work to pay back money they stole from you retaliatory or defensive?

Retaliatory, but with possible defensive consequences--i.e., future crimes that don't happen.

--Brant

Is the purpose of law to be:

a) vengeful (eye for an eye) b) compensatory to victim c) protective of society from future threat, by removal (incarceration)

d) restraining of certain acts of the citizens by foreknowledge of such law - or, e) an objective -and consistent- punishment that fits the crime.

?

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1) to defer crime and 2) what the law says its purpose is: read and interpret it. I assume you are mixing up criminal and tort. "e)" makes no room for judicial latitude. There's a reason the court has a judge. I see you said "to be," then the (rightful) purpose is to protect individual rights for the sake of justice and civil society. If a victim gets no justice then he may go get vengeance or even start a revolution. Then there is always the perspective of the state and its minions. They want to protect the power and existence of the state. Even George Washington did that. Americans don't fight too well for their freedom, having been emasculated by public education. What they do fight for are goodies dished out by their masters so they sanction their masters and their masters' doings even unto war. This is called "patriotism." In 10 to 20 years it might be called "nationalism" (overt fascism) or "socialism" (fascism by another name). It won't be called "communism" or "Nazism" even though both were fascist too; those names are worn out, even the latter even in Hollywood.

--Brant

gets worse before better, a lot worse

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e) an objective -and consistent- punishment that fits the crime.

Why? If this "objective" and, I'm assuming, "just" (whatever that means) punishment did not have positive societal effects, and since law is a societal concern, what the hell would be the point? If someone "gets what they deserve" but nothing good comes of it, that seems the opposite of rational.

The purpose of law is to warn people of punishments, and those punishments must be carried out to create the expectation of retaliatory force for both the good people and the bad people--the good people should expect protection so that they take the economic risks necessary for optimal prosperity, and the bad people must fear retribution for messing up the system.

Brant is right that I should not have called it a "right". The legitimacy of retaliatory force is a societal issue--rights and the right to defend those rights go hand in hand, but to punish those for violating those rights would not make the violation go away.

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1) to defer crime and 2) what the law says its purpose is: read and interpret it. I assume you are mixing up criminal and tort. "e)" makes no room for judicial latitude. There's a reason the court has a judge. I see you said "to be," then the (rightful) purpose is to protect individual rights for the sake of justice and civil society. If a victim gets no justice then he may go get vengeance or even start a revolution. Then there is always the perspective of the state and its minions. They want to protect the power and existence of the state. Even George Washington did that. Americans don't fight too well for their freedom, having been emasculated by public education. What they do fight for are goodies dished out by their masters so they sanction their masters and their masters' doings even unto war. This is called "patriotism." In 10 to 20 years it might be called "nationalism" (overt fascism) or "socialism" (fascism by another name). It won't be called "communism" or "Nazism" even though both were fascist too; those names are worn out, even the latter even in Hollywood.

--Brant

gets worse before better, a lot worse

Deterrence is a factor - but if a society's security depends over much on the deterrent factor of laws, it speaks of a largely non-self-responsible, non-self-accountable society of individuals, I think - one that has already got trouble: a tipping point which won't be fixed by more and greater penalties..

The more rational and individual the citizens are (MY life, my freedom to act, my property - extends to YOUR life, your freedom...etc.) surely would lead to fewer instances of crime.

Going the other direction, reliance upon the State breeds an entitled, collectivist culture in which crime is increasingly viewed as a righteous response to one's (so-called) disadvantages, one's upbringing, etc.- or, again, that it is the primary duty of law and society to rehabilitate criminals.

Morality can not be the preserve of government or society.

Wtihin a clearly presented and published range of punishments, objective laws should be implemented without compromise, almost robotically. Though this is the fundamental, because few crimes are exactly alike, context and hierarchy should always be introduced and considered. Mitigating or aggravating circumstances, or helping the police in their inquiries, and so on. But, for example: to be found guilty of manslaughter, the sentence is between X and Y years. Period.

It's this 'culture' in which a citizen is most likely to feel satisfied that due justice has been meted out to his violater.

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e) an objective -and consistent- punishment that fits the crime.

Why? If this "objective" and, I'm assuming, "just" (whatever that means) punishment did not have positive societal effects, and since law is a societal concern, what the hell would be the point? If someone "gets what they deserve" but nothing good comes of it, that seems the opposite of rational.

.

I must guess what you mean by "positive societal effects".

What is the "good" that should come of it? It could be consequentialist to expect that good can come from bad.

An individual is violated by another individual. Justice - in the Objectivist sense (of the violator's 'reward' in reality) - and in the legal sense - is voluntarily ceded over (by the violated man) to the machinery of the legal system. At root, it is still personal and individual, with the law acting on the victim's behalf. Society doesn't come in to it at this stage and benefits to society are secondary to this, in my view.

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An individual is violated by another individual. Justice - in the Objectivist sense (of the violator's 'reward' in reality) - and in the legal sense - is voluntarily ceded over (by the violated man) to the machinery of the legal system. At root, it is still personal and individual, with the law acting on the victim's behalf. Society doesn't come in to it at this stage and benefits to society are secondary to this, in my view.

An individual's desire for revenge should have nothing to do with it. Laws are a collective product, and so the collective benefits can be weighed against a personal sense of justice for the sake of order. Order is infinitely more essential for protecting rights than "social justice".

An example of positive societal consequences would of course be deterrence of future crimes, compensation to the victim, keeping a criminal off the street etc. I am talking about the results of the punishment, not the crime. I don't know what "good coming from bad" has to do with it.

A mostly rational society would still have laws and punishments to prevent "crimes", because while some people will commit crimes regardless of the cost, most would weigh the odds of being caught and the severity of the punishment against the profits of committing the crime.

I believe that the ideal capitalist world and socialist one look very similar. One is attainable, one is not. I believe a rational society is possible with punishments for crimes, because though laws, in a way, force people to be somewhat moral, they certainly do not prevent anyone from behaving morally voluntarily (or should not).

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1) to defer crime and 2) what the law says its purpose is: read and interpret it. I assume you are mixing up criminal and tort. "e)" makes no room for judicial latitude. There's a reason the court has a judge. I see you said "to be," then the (rightful) purpose is to protect individual rights for the sake of justice and civil society. If a victim gets no justice then he may go get vengeance or even start a revolution. Then there is always the perspective of the state and its minions. They want to protect the power and existence of the state. Even George Washington did that. Americans don't fight too well for their freedom, having been emasculated by public education. What they do fight for are goodies dished out by their masters so they sanction their masters and their masters' doings even unto war. This is called "patriotism." In 10 to 20 years it might be called "nationalism" (overt fascism) or "socialism" (fascism by another name). It won't be called "communism" or "Nazism" even though both were fascist too; those names are worn out, even the latter even in Hollywood.

--Brant

gets worse before better, a lot worse

Deterrence is a factor - but if a society's security depends over much on the deterrent factor of laws, it speaks of a largely non-self-responsible, non-self-accountable society of individuals, I think - one that has already got trouble: a tipping point which won't be fixed by more and greater penalties..

The more rational and individual the citizens are (MY life, my freedom to act, my property - extends to YOUR life, your freedom...etc.) surely would lead to fewer instances of crime.

Going the other direction, reliance upon the State breeds an entitled, collectivist culture in which crime is increasingly viewed as a righteous response to one's (so-called) disadvantages, one's upbringing, etc.- or, again, that it is the primary duty of law and society to rehabilitate criminals.

Morality can not be the preserve of government or society.

Wtihin a clearly presented and published range of punishments, objective laws should be implemented without compromise, almost robotically. Though this is the fundamental, because few crimes are exactly alike, context and hierarchy should always be introduced and considered. Mitigating or aggravating circumstances, or helping the police in their inquiries, and so on. But, for example: to be found guilty of manslaughter, the sentence is between X and Y years. Period.

It's this 'culture' in which a citizen is most likely to feel satisfied that due justice has been meted out to his violater.

The sentence should be what the law says it should be assuming the law shouldn't say something else. But if someone is guilty in fact of first degree murder but cooperation or what not with a DA results in him pleading guilty to second degree murder or manslaughter, where goes your "robotically"?

Self-responsible people is a matter of growing up and maturation. As a child I was much more self responsible than most of my peers but generally less than an adult (should be). Ayn Rand (Branden) complained about living in a world of children. In the movie A River Runs Through It the father rebukes his almost grown but still wayward sons, "Boys, what have you done"? The way he said it and the context of their lives in Montana made it extremely powerful. There was no "robotically" instilled/installed discipline where he, a minister, took them to the woodshed and took a leather belt to their bare asses. In the broader context of society and laws political governance provides the banks of the river for society flowing.

--Brant

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Brant, The DA wheeling and dealing with the criminal charges, imo is actually avoiding his responsibility to the victims and their families. Here is the gravity of the individual handing over to the State the monopoly of retaliatory force. It should, beyond mitigating contexts as I've mentioned, take the DA's complete effort to get the victim his justice. Agreeing to lesser charges - to reduce his work load and get a quicker conviction, or whatever - is actually unethical, objectively - I believe.
He's spreading the responsibility, and less-discouraging, -deterring other would be criminals who see this. Otherwise, length of sentencing for co-operation provides lee-way as I said.

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An individual is violated by another individual. Justice - in the Objectivist sense (of the violator's 'reward' in reality) - and in the legal sense - is voluntarily ceded over (by the violated man) to the machinery of the legal system. At root, it is still personal and individual, with the law acting on the victim's behalf. Society doesn't come in to it at this stage and benefits to society are secondary to this, in my view.

An individual's desire for revenge should have nothing to do with it. Laws are a collective product, and so the collective benefits can be weighed against a personal sense of justice for the sake of order. Order is infinitely more essential for protecting rights than "social justice".

An example of positive societal consequences would of course be deterrence of future crimes, compensation to the victim, keeping a criminal off the street etc. I am talking about the results of the punishment, not the crime. I don't know what "good coming from bad" has to do with it.

A mostly rational society would still have laws and punishments to prevent "crimes", because while some people will commit crimes regardless of the cost, most would weigh the odds of being caught and the severity of the punishment against the profits of committing the crime.

I believe that the ideal capitalist world and socialist one look very similar. One is attainable, one is not. I believe a rational society is possible with punishments for crimes, because though laws, in a way, force people to be somewhat moral, they certainly do not prevent anyone from behaving morally voluntarily (or should not).

As they stand, laws may indeed partially be a "collective product", and that's the error.

If one comes at this bottom-up, from the rational individual, first and last, it changes one's perspective.

As I see it, an orderly society is made by the people, not by law (or decree). In fact, a capitalist society may be disorderly (in a way) but most peaceable and rights-observing. Whereas a socialist one could be orderly: by force. Capitalism is rationally moral; and then it works, too. Socialism, pragmatic and/or utilitarian by nature, only works for the 'good' of the collective, and attempts to borrow its morality from that.

(I haven't been advocating the "desire for revenge" in the least. The violated individual implicitly hands over to the government the process and outcome of the law).

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An individual is violated by another individual. Justice - in the Objectivist sense (of the violator's 'reward' in reality) - and in the legal sense - is voluntarily ceded over (by the violated man) to the machinery of the legal system. At root, it is still personal and individual, with the law acting on the victim's behalf. Society doesn't come in to it at this stage and benefits to society are secondary to this, in my view.

An individual's desire for revenge should have nothing to do with it. Laws are a collective product, and so the collective benefits can be weighed against a personal sense of justice for the sake of order. Order is infinitely more essential for protecting rights than "social justice".

An example of positive societal consequences would of course be deterrence of future crimes, compensation to the victim, keeping a criminal off the street etc. I am talking about the results of the punishment, not the crime. I don't know what "good coming from bad" has to do with it.

A mostly rational society would still have laws and punishments to prevent "crimes", because while some people will commit crimes regardless of the cost, most would weigh the odds of being caught and the severity of the punishment against the profits of committing the crime.

I believe that the ideal capitalist world and socialist one look very similar. One is attainable, one is not. I believe a rational society is possible with punishments for crimes, because though laws, in a way, force people to be somewhat moral, they certainly do not prevent anyone from behaving morally voluntarily (or should not).

As they stand, laws may indeed partially be a "collective product", and that's the error.

If one comes at this bottom-up, from the rational individual, first and last, it changes one's perspective.

As I see it, an orderly society is made by the people, not by law (or decree). In fact, a capitalist society may be disorderly (in a way) but most peaceable and rights-observing. Whereas a socialist one could be orderly: by force. Capitalism is rationally moral; and then it works, too. Socialism, pragmatic and/or utilitarian by nature, only works for the 'good' of the collective, and attempts to borrow its morality from that.

(I haven't been advocating the "desire for revenge" in the least. The violated individual implicitly hands over to the government the process and outcome of the law).

Law is necessarily a collective product. It is an agreement to tolerate retaliatory force for the purpose of preventing crimes. You can warn people of retaliatory force you are ready to exhibit, but you cannot have your own laws.

If the purpose of law is justice, then you'd have to be able to define justice, which nobody can. You cannot prove what a criminal deserves, only what will work to deter future crimes and promote a civilized society.

Edit: What I meant about capitalism and socialism sharing the same ideals is that socialists do not want people to be forced to be moral, either, they want people to voluntarily cooperate on a massive scale. Capitalists want this too, but only want to achieve it a completely different way, by allowing it to happen organically.

Socialism justifies force to help us get to where we want to be, while capitalism justifies force to prevent us from moving backwards.

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Brant, The DA wheeling and dealing with the criminal charges, imo is actually avoiding his responsibility to the victims and their families. Here is the gravity of the individual handing over to the State the monopoly of retaliatory force. It should, beyond mitigating contexts as I've mentioned, take the DA's complete effort to get the victim his justice. Agreeing to lesser charges - to reduce his work load and get a quicker conviction, or whatever - is actually unethical, objectively - I believe.

He's spreading the responsibility, and less-discouraging, -deterring other would be criminals who see this. Otherwise, length of sentencing for co-operation provides lee-way as I said.

Didn't realize I had posted that post; I thought I had deleted it, not that I wanted to. I was going to change "asses" to "posteriors" and delete "the ash can." OL software glitch. Oh, well, I made one correction, keeping "asses."

Oh well, as a practical matter you cannot get rid of plea bargaining without increasing the number of active criminal courts by several fold even if you got rid of the drug laws. You need to get rid of most bad laws. Here's what happens: the Feds decide to prosecute you for X. They investigate you and find 25 other associated or not associated charges and threaten you with prosecution with all of those unless you plead guilty to X, for which you'll get seven years instead of the threatened 35. Pleading guilty the judge will then robotically--he has not much choice--impose the penalty prescribed by law. On the state level the judges aren't quite so constrained. There is no probation for a Federal sentence, BTW; you only get a little off your time for good conduct while incarcerated. Call the President. Maybe he'll give you a pardon or reduce your time.

--Brant

Utopianism or idealistic construct vs realism or presentism

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An individual is violated by another individual. Justice - in the Objectivist sense (of the violator's 'reward' in reality) - and in the legal sense - is voluntarily ceded over (by the violated man) to the machinery of the legal system. At root, it is still personal and individual, with the law acting on the victim's behalf. Society doesn't come in to it at this stage and benefits to society are secondary to this, in my view.

An individual's desire for revenge should have nothing to do with it. Laws are a collective product, and so the collective benefits can be weighed against a personal sense of justice for the sake of order. Order is infinitely more essential for protecting rights than "social justice".

An example of positive societal consequences would of course be deterrence of future crimes, compensation to the victim, keeping a criminal off the street etc. I am talking about the results of the punishment, not the crime. I don't know what "good coming from bad" has to do with it.

A mostly rational society would still have laws and punishments to prevent "crimes", because while some people will commit crimes regardless of the cost, most would weigh the odds of being caught and the severity of the punishment against the profits of committing the crime.

I believe that the ideal capitalist world and socialist one look very similar. One is attainable, one is not. I believe a rational society is possible with punishments for crimes, because though laws, in a way, force people to be somewhat moral, they certainly do not prevent anyone from behaving morally voluntarily (or should not).

As they stand, laws may indeed partially be a "collective product", and that's the error.

If one comes at this bottom-up, from the rational individual, first and last, it changes one's perspective.

As I see it, an orderly society is made by the people, not by law (or decree). In fact, a capitalist society may be disorderly (in a way) but most peaceable and rights-observing. Whereas a socialist one could be orderly: by force. Capitalism is rationally moral; and then it works, too. Socialism, pragmatic and/or utilitarian by nature, only works for the 'good' of the collective, and attempts to borrow its morality from that.

(I haven't been advocating the "desire for revenge" in the least. The violated individual implicitly hands over to the government the process and outcome of the law).

Law is necessarily a collective product. It is an agreement to tolerate retaliatory force for the purpose of preventing crimes. You can warn people of retaliatory force you are ready to exhibit, but you cannot have your own laws.

If the purpose of law is justice, then you'd have to be able to define justice, which nobody can. You cannot prove what a criminal deserves, only what will work to deter future crimes and promote a civilized society.

Yep, what a criminal "deserves" - measuring objective punishment - is a poser.

(Somewhere in between too little, and too much, ha!)

We could do with a law expert here, and certainly an Objectivist and legal scholar laying out a proper philosophy of law, because I'm backward in these matters. Still, never stopped me yet...

My rough intent all along is to refer crime back to reality and the individual, rather than where it seems to me it has always been:- traditionally based on god's Commandments and then Talmudic law, evolving to more sophisticated protection of societies, which meant governmental force. "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord" was the first legal 'floating abstraction' - "Justice is ours, the People's" followed suit, and just as abstract .

There's a movie line that resonated with me, spoken by the character played by Eastwood in 'Unforgiven'. He's this retired hired gunman who has grown sick of killing, and warns this eager youngster: "It's a hell of a thing to kill a man. You take away everything he has, and everything he's ever gonna have."

Isn't this an objective recognition of what the nature of crime, specifically murder, really is? By killing someone, you have eliminated all of his property and actions and knowledge - and his future potential for more of the same.

Quite fitting to the O'ist meaning of justice being a person's "justice in reality".

Of course! it is a boon for society for the law to remove such a person, and to send a deterrent warning to his ilk - undoubtedly -although I see these as a secondary effect. We need a switch of perception back to the personal, individual nature of the injustice commited to the victim. Then as well, to the other individual,

the criminal, to reinforce that every man is responsible for his acts. The attitude that "society failed him", has to be emphatically countered. Society didn't kill, he did - society wasn't violated, the single individual victim was.

Rather than people implicitly holding to that enduring Platonic ideal of "Justice", let's bring justice down to earth: identify the reality of crime, and its consequences as objectively as we can; then perhaps we can approach an objective definition of justice, and come closer to find objective punishments. Maybe then violent crime would start becoming the aberration it should be (or am I dreaming?)

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An individual is violated by another individual. Justice - in the Objectivist sense (of the violator's 'reward' in reality) - and in the legal sense - is voluntarily ceded over (by the violated man) to the machinery of the legal system. At root, it is still personal and individual, with the law acting on the victim's behalf. Society doesn't come in to it at this stage and benefits to society are secondary to this, in my view.

Tony, not to hijack the thread but do you have any thoughts on the Pistorius case? Could he really have believed that in such a heavily guarded compound that his girlfriend was an invader locked in the bathroom?

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We need a switch of perception back to the personal, individual nature of the injustice commited to the victim. Then as well, to the other individual,

the criminal, to reinforce that every man is responsible for his acts. The attitude that "society failed him", has to be emphatically countered. Society didn't kill, he did - society wasn't violated, the single individual victim was.

Who is "we"? When you speak from the perspective of the collective you validate it; good. I partially agree. Society, the collective, is made up of individuals, so when people blame society for creating bad individuals, they are thinking in reverse.

What we need is personal accountability, yes--but why? The statement is made from the perspective of the collective: it wasn't "I need a switch of perception..."

The reason that you are right is that society benefits from what you are proposing.

You speak of "justice", though, as if it is natural. It isn't--obviously. There is no such thing as justice or injustice, just shit that happens. Some shit that happens is good for people, and some is bad. So let's avoid the bad, on a collective level, because there's no point talking about the personal level (we can all handle that privately).

Again, if there is no positive effect of this "justice" that you can articulate, what's your point? What is it and why do it? (Sticking to the topic of retaliatory force.)

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Carol, I'm as mystified and skeptical as you - interesting to see how the NPA, our bunch of incompetent buffoons, can crack Pistorius' story. They bragged that they had a case - the day after the shooting: is it they can match the forensics to OP's gun? Found his prints on the door? Doh! Or perhaps they have a witness - say, a goldfish?

Apart from that he is quite unsavory, with some record of tantrums and anger, verging on violence to women, and flashing his firearm publicly. A restaurant owner who knew some rough types who knew him, told me that they'd have "got him" way back if they hadn't felt sorry for his disability. Anecdotal, sure.

He won't be the last egotistic star believing his public image, but aside from that, I have the sense that he is at minimum self-obsessive or a narcissist, and maybe more.

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Carol, I'm as mystified and skeptical as you - interesting to see how the NPA, our bunch of incompetent buffoons, can crack Pistorius' story. They bragged that they had a case - the day after the shooting: is it they can match the forensics to OP's gun? Found his prints on the door? Doh! Or perhaps they have a witness - say, a goldfish?

Apart from that he is quite unsavory, with some record of tantrums and anger, verging on violence to women, and flashing his firearm publicly. A restaurant owner who knew some rough types who knew him, told me that they'd have "got him" way back if they hadn't felt sorry for his disability. Anecdotal, sure.

He won't be the last egotistic star believing his public image, but aside from that, I have the sense that he is at minimum self-obsessive or a narcissist, and maybe more.

The "maybe more" could save him. If he was paranoid and/or drug-addled, he may genuinely not have known what he was doing.

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We need a switch of perception back to the personal, individual nature of the injustice commited to the victim. Then as well, to the other individual,

the criminal, to reinforce that every man is responsible for his acts. The attitude that "society failed him", has to be emphatically countered. Society didn't kill, he did - society wasn't violated, the single individual victim was.

Who is "we"? When you speak from the perspective of the collective you validate it; good. I partially agree. Society, the collective, is made up of individuals, so when people blame society for creating bad individuals, they are thinking in reverse.

What we need is personal accountability, yes--but why? The statement is made from the perspective of the collective: it wasn't "I need a switch of perception..."

The reason that you are right is that society benefits from what you are proposing.

You speak of "justice", though, as if it is natural. It isn't--obviously. There is no such thing as justice or injustice, just shit that happens. Some shit that happens is good for people, and some is bad. So let's avoid the bad, on a collective level, because there's no point talking about the personal level (we can all handle that privately).

Again, if there is no positive effect of this "justice" that you can articulate, what's your point? What is it and why do it? (Sticking to the topic of retaliatory force.)

The "we" is all libertarian-cum-Objectivist thinkers who can bring intellectual influence to bear.

What I was getting at (in a more genteel fashion) is: screw "Society" (and social engineering). Left alone, every citizen is the nucleus of his own created society, don't you think? The government should have only one major responsibility which would be alloted to it, and this is not the protection of collective-human-social-rights. It must stay within its bounds. Each law abiding individual could receive the benefits of individual rights, and live a life uninterrupted by the transgressors.

'Natural' justice for the good, the other sort of Justice for the bad.

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