Recommended Posts

You say, though, that none of the hypothesis I proposed is correct, which means that you agree with my belief that children would be best off in such a system.

Ellen,

This is the crux of the problem in my communication with you. I stated—more times than I care to count—as clearly as humanly possible—that I have suspended all beliefs until I reconstruct the concept. And what do you do? You not only ignore the beginning of the concept I am examining, you say things like "which means that you agree."

That does not mean I agree, as you claim. It means I have not gotten to that point yet in this re-examination the concept—a re-integration of it from the premises. And I will not be pushed, regardless of what your opinion of me is.

Michael,

I'll try to explain the logic one more time. I proposed an hypothesis as to why you're so persistent on this whole subject. One part of the hypothesis was that "you don't understand that [...] CCE [...] rights theory would produce by far the best results for children as well as for adults [....] that, instead, you think [...] that a lot of children would go hungry with a CCE approach." (Full hypothesis here.)

You answered that "your alternatives [sic, though it was a singular complex hypothesis] are not what is in my head." (here).

This means that no part of my hypothesis is correct, including the part about not understanding that CCE "would produce by far the best results for children as well as for adults," which means you DO understand that. This is the straightforward logic of your response, though it's apparently not what you meant.

So long as we are going to be up front, I also have a very poor opinion of your rhetorical behavior. It started with that business about you claiming that Al Gore lied about his classromm experiences, which you had no way of knowing.

Except that I didn't state that he had lied about it, only that Lindzen had expressed scepticism and had made some comments about the scientific irrelevance of it to the point Gore was insinuating. And I mentioned it only because I was still amused by Lindzen's dinner remark about the likely anachronism of the tale. And I attempted several times to straighten out that whole issue with you, yet here you are still saying that I said what I didn't say.

In case anyone besides Michael is reading this and actually wants to read what happened in that whole LONG sequence, here's the starting comment. The boldface is added.

A minor though indicative tidbit about the Gore film which you probably won't find mentioned elsewhere: Near the beginning, Gore tells a couple stories about incidents from his educational past which he says made a big impression. One of those pertained to a fellow student who was pooh-poohed by the teacher upon asking if the continents had ever fit together. During the U. Conn event last Friday featuring Dick Lindzen, Lindzen said he's sceptical that this incident really did happen in Gore's highschool science class, if it happened in anyone's. Lindzen said (a) that he'd heard variants of the same story years back, reported as supposedly having happened in person X's highschool science class; and (b ) that by the time Gore was in highschool, his teacher would have had to be behind the times to have reacted by pooh-poohing the student's suggestion as ridiculous. Gore then goes on to use that story as if it provides significance to his saying, "Look, these two graphs fit together." Even if the plate tectonics story did really happen in Gore's highschool science class, it's irrelevant to the issues of those graphs. And as Lindzen said, since when is science done by fitting a couple graphs together? Look, gee. The stage is set for Gore's further trick-playing with the actual scientific details.

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Replies 567
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Jesus H. Keeerist!

Are you taking lessons from Valliant? What does one have to do with the other? And how does one exhaust the options of the other?

Do you not even know what an exhaustive and mutually exclusive either/or looks like?

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't mind being ignored.

:unsure:

I hope not, since thus far you mostly have been ignored. Probably the thing to do is to try to ignore Michael. But that's difficult, considering how much volume he posts and his status as list owner.

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't mind being ignored.

:unsure:

I hope not, since thus far you mostly have been ignored. Probably the thing to do is to try to ignore Michael. But that's difficult, considering how much volume he posts and his status as list owner.

Ellen

___

What the heck. Really. Was that necessary? I was speaking primarily to you, ma'am. Conservative Christian Ethics (CCE) or Enlightenment or whatever explains nothing except a tussle between authority and dissent, unless I am historically unenlightened. Moreover, your campaign of vituperation shut down thoughtful discourse on the subject of the rights (if any) of children.

Natural rights are 'nonsense on stilts' as Bentham put it. Far worse to shut off inquiry with the silly assertion that political science ended in the 18th century.

I don't mind being ignored. What bugs me is argument to the man -- in this case, a man who opened an interesting line of discussion.

DeVoon

Link to post
Share on other sites
I would like to understand where the discussions with Ellen have lapsed into intimidation.

[ . . . ] if I don't fess up to that (what she says I think), she will have a poor opinion of me.

And yes, I call that kind of rhetoric intimidation.

Okay, I think I understand you or at least your reaction: Ellen doesn't seem to engage with your argument as you believe it has been clearly presented.

Mind you, Michael, there are a few people who haven't quite grasped the main and subsidiary lines of your thinking. I'll be upfront here -- I am one of those.

I wonder if you might be pursuing too many lines of discussion at once, without always being careful to keep the lines separate with different intervenors. Thus, Merlin Jetton argues with you on technical aspects of Objectivism and its application, Laure argues with you on a personal/proto-philosophical level, examining principles for their extensions . . . you interrogate Randian metaphysics, Ellen plumps for principle . . . I digress into practical reality.

I wonder which definitions are at issue and how they pertain to altruism/duty to rescue laws . . .

I wonder why people keep missing this.

I'll admit to a Barnes-like narcolepsy when debate gets mired in definitional regression, and your from-the-ground-up interrogation of reality may take some time, so I should also admit that I snore through your excursions into metaphysics. Definitions of human nature, values, ethics are not really at issue (since we more or less agree on the parameters), and take us further away from where the real clash of ideas lie. I am afraid I am completely nonplussed to discover that you don't actually have much opinion on duty to rescue/altruism/state welfare for children . . .

Is Ellen wrong to suggest you have a worry about those children who 'fall by the wayside'?

No.

That is not my primary philosophical concern, however. And to treat it as such is an error. To pile intimidation on top only compounds the error.

Oi.

I think not. Not if we are trying to keep on topic: altruism, child rights and obligations, law and morality.

As to the rest of your post, you presume I have a philosophical position already.

Well, if you don't, why not? Everyone else here has one all buffed and presentable.

Michael, I think you will find more agreement/sympathy for what you feel than you will with your style of argument.

Anyhow, some newsy briefs to shine light on our struggles to understand each other in this thread. In the first, a baby dies in a school toilet, mother may face charges. In the second the state seizes children and removes women from their home. In the third, both state and non-state actors try to alter the grim fate of abandoned babies in Sudan.

Baby was alive before mom, 14, tried to flush it, officials say

BAYTOWN, Texas — A baby born to a 14-year-old mother in a restroom at her junior high was alive at birth, dying only after she tried to flush it down the toilet, officials said Thursday.

[more]

++++++++++++++++

Some of West Texas sect's residents transported

ELDORADO, Texas -- The morning after authorities entered the temple of the polygamous compound outside of Eldorado, 10 buses gathered outside the Schleicher County Courthouse and began transporting many of the 183 residents taken from YFZ Ranch in West Texas to new locations.

398-355417-295099.embedded.prod_affiliate.58.jpg

[more]

+++++++++++++++++

Overcoming Customs and Stigma, Sudan Gives Orphans a Lifeline

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Like so many babies at the Maygoma Orphanage, Nariman Siddiq Ahmed Ali was brought here the day after he was born, sickly and barely alive, weighing less than four pounds.

[ . . . ]

Orphans at Maygoma faced a Dickensian existence of want and neglect, many growing up nearly mute and badly stunted, cared for by workers who barely spoke to them and never held them, recoiling from them much like the society that viewed them as irredeemably corrupt by dint of their unfortunate birth.

[more]

Link to post
Share on other sites
Definitions of human nature, values, ethics are not really at issue (since we more or less agree on the parameters)

William,

Actually, this is the point I am examining. I am not so sure we all agree on those parameters. And rights derives from them.

Why don't we keep rights and throw out the humans? That would be simpler...

:)

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
Moreover, your campaign of vituperation shut down thoughtful discourse on the subject of the rights (if any) of children.

Oh, piffle. Possibly you aren't aware of how long and on how many threads Michael has been saying that he's going to re-examine the issue of rights from the ground-up, and claiming to see some sort of basic contradiction in the Objectivist theory of rights as it pertains to children, while never presenting anything which those who are well familiar with Objectivism find even intelligible as a supposed critique of that philosophy's approach. His proclaimed project of investigation started at least as far back as a 359-post thread on the old SOLOHQ, the opening essay of which (by Joseph Rowlands) is dated Monday, February 6, 2006 and the last post of which is dated Friday, March 10, 2006. See. The subject has been re-opened on several subsequent threads before this one. If he in fact has something, isn't it about time he got to work writing and submitting for response the formal essay he says he's going to write, instead of his repetitive complaining about how misunderstood he is?

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyhow, some newsy briefs to shine light on our struggles to understand each other in this thread. In the first, a baby dies in a school toilet, mother may face charges. In the second the state seizes children and removes women from their home. In the third, both state and non-state actors try to alter the grim fate of abandoned babies in Sudan.

William, you and I don't get to interact very often, so I'm glad you surveyed the real world. Roughly half the globe is hell for kids, the other half a sort of well-stocked, cheery prison camp. This brings me to a pair of quips from the past:

I woke this morning dreaming of clouds and saw the certainty that there is no intrinsic merit in life. These days are golden, painted, illuminated, furnished from a vast store of value that no one could have guessed we would someday squander. (Human Goodness Proved Beyond Doubt)

The sad truth of our time is the glory that was decadent Rome, ancient Athens, Louis XIV Paris, a great shower of wealth soaked through to the weakest seed, you and me included. (Wolf Daily, 1998)

The first beholds the saddest news: We're living on borrowed time, our forefathers' savings and discoveries.

The second sighs reget: We're dodos pouring aid into Africa, multiplying its kleptocrats and starving waifs.

Lockean 'human rights' quintupled world population and aims at doubling it again this century, keeping everyone alive, well fed, sheltered, clothed, cared for, defended, medicated and nurtured. Whatever it costs to educate a normal kid, spend ten times more to pamper the chronically sick and malformed. No child left behind. The simple alternative is social darwinism: survival of the fittest, devil take the hindmost. In practical terms, racism. In history, eugenics and genocide.

That's why I like Ayn Rand so much. Ignore the rest of the world. Live your own life. Period.

:)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, piffle. Possibly you aren't aware of how long and on how many threads Michael has been saying that he's going to re-examine the issue of rights from the ground-up, and claiming to see some sort of basic contradiction in the Objectivist theory of rights as it pertains to children, while never presenting anything which those who are well familiar with Objectivism find even intelligible as a supposed critique of that philosophy's approach. His proclaimed project of investigation started at least as far back as a 359-post thread on the old SOLOHQ, the opening essay of which (by Joseph Rowlands) is dated Monday, February 6, 2006 and the last post of which is dated Friday, March 10, 2006. See. The subject has been re-opened on several subsequent threads before this one. If he in fact has something, isn't it about time he got to work writing and submitting for response the formal essay he says he's going to write, instead of his repetitive complaining about how misunderstood he is?

It is little irony that most of the posts in those discussions have the same intellectual content as this one, if not less.

Wolf, I am used to this crap. This round was lightweight compared to before. (At least I was able to go a bit further this time and noticed that thing about Rand's premise of life not including growth, etc.) It makes you imagine that they really do want to shut you up by heckling.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
Moreover, your campaign of vituperation shut down thoughtful discourse on the subject of the rights (if any) of children.

Oh, piffle. Possibly you aren't aware of how long and on how many threads Michael has been saying that he's going to re-examine the issue of rights from the ground-up, and claiming to see some sort of basic contradiction in the Objectivist theory of rights as it pertains to children

I dunno. I'm the new kid. Worse, I think Rand flubbed rights in general, did no work on the philosophy of law. So, I have an open mind. Well ventilated, perhaps. And I'm not mad at anybody. Appropo of nothing, just as coincidence, I titled an important chapter of my space opera 'The Piffle.' Probably my favorite chapter. I'll quote a little passage for fun:

The blast of noise that shook the table and sent cups flying, followed by Rosenthal's cryptic tirade at the computer, was a passage of inexplicable sound and blind faith in Laura's ability to protect him. After the initial shock, Harry waited patiently, resting easily in the rhythm of life, for as long as life was his. He knew it was a gamble -- that fear and anger would be directed at them, that MCorp wanted him dead. Somehow it was okay. It didn't matter any more if he lived or died, if his diplomacy succeeded or failed, if this was diplomacy or folly. He didn't care. He was in a state of grace, content to be himself as long as possible, to trust his wife, to speak his truth without fear or shame.

And Harry smiled, because he thought of Laura as his wife, and its truth was beautiful and inviolate. He turned to face her, gently moving from the experience of delight, to a candid confession of need. Whatever happens next, dearest, I love you, he kinesthetically transmitted and knew that she would receive.

Laura wasn't surprised by Rosenthal's tantrum. She expected it. And she was ready to act if necessary. But the expression on Harry's face when they turned to look at each other simultaneously was a spiritual earthquake. Laura expected to see a twitch of uncertainty or maybe a smile of achievement, since Rosenthal was writhing in a painful hammerlock. But not this. She had never seen it before in a man. Laura saw his depth of dignity, free to rejoice in life and death because it's all one. She and Harry were one, would always be one, and their lives were bonded to all of life. Something shifted in Laura, like the combination of tumblers opening a lock. She was suddenly quite certain about the meaning of love.

:afro:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Starving Child in the Wilderness Revisited

Abandoned baby found head-first in Sask. toilet

May 23, 2007

CanWest News Service

A baby boy abandoned after being born in a department store washroom was found face-first in a toilet.

Chad Fraser, manager of the Prince Albert, Sask., Wal-Mart, was the first to find the child Monday afternoon.

"I couldn't see his face, but he was head-down," he said. "He was barely moving when I picked him up. There was blood everywhere.

"It was unreal."

Fraser cleared the baby's airway and massaged his chest until emergency services arrived to perform CPR and hook the baby up to an IV.

A spokesman for the Parkland Ambulance service said it was only Fraser's quick thinking which saved the child from drowning or death by hypothermia.

I believe that Mr. Fraser morally did the right thing and, as a personal preference, I want no part of advocating his right to stand over that child in the toilet, eating a candy-bar, watching the child die and deriving pleasure from that. Paraphrasing Patrick Henry, if this be treason to Objectivism, make the most of it. I cannot live on those terms.

Fortunately, I do not think that defending such a right is what Objectivism is about. I am firmly convinced that it is possible to arrive at a logical solution.

My present position is to (1) add the missing parts to the definition of human nature and (2) reformulate some parts of the ethics by taking the expanded definition into account. (Not an "ethics for mankind" but one for "me as an individual member of the human species.") Then it will be easy to arrive at how to resolve the question of conflicting rights. This is no more than a proposal at this moment.

How are things coming along with this project? It's been eight months, ferpitysake. :o

[ . . . ]with regard to the purely legal issue, there are (as I pointed out during the discussion) valid legal arguments as to why the refusal to save the baby should be considered criminal -- "depraved indifference" being one of them, as well as the fact that one would be an accessory to the murder of the child whose parents had initiated a murder by abandoning it.

-- I got lost trying to find the discussion Barbara was referring to. Can anyone give me a key word or a pointer?

My tentative belief is that certain minimal governmental agencies connected with the court function would always be needed (and would be fundable with voluntary funds). For instance, suppose a child is being physically abused and has to be removed from the care of the child's current legal guardian(s) (parental or otherwise), where is the child to be kept during legal procedures transferring the guardianship? That's one possibly unavoidable need I can think of for a government-care facility; I anticipate that I might think of others if I were to try to examine the nitty-grittys.

Most placements are to a home in the short term. Contract workers are on call to take emergency placements. It's an adjunct of the massive CPS fortress.

A far more likely circumstance of someone not helping an abandoned child -- a type of circumstance which I imagine does happen -- is what if someone sees a newborn abandoned in a dumpster and doesn't report this? Are there either federal or state laws covering such situations? If so, on what basis are they worded?

In post 62 I noted four states and one province that have duty to assist or duty to rescue laws; here's the Rhode Island statute.

§ 11-56-1 Duty to assist. – Any person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to, or has suffered, grave physical harm shall, to the extent that he or she can do so without danger or peril to himself or herself or to others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.

-- it looks like all EU countries (save the socialist hellholes of Sweden and Finland) have duty to rescue statutes. I post the Dutch law at bottom in a ploy to bring back Dragonfly to the thread as translator. See (especially pages 5-6) "The Good Samaritan in European Private Law" for a decent summary of European legalities.

[ . . . ] ideally, with full awareness of how far we are from this, I would like for some woman who gives birth to a child she doesn't want . . . to have the recourse of taking the child to a foundling home and renouncing the guardianship rights.

Please, no, not a foundling home -- it is in these places, as in the Sudanese story, as in Romania's hideous orphanages, that damage is done to infants by further neglect. There are laws across the US (most date from the 1990s) that do provide what is called 'safe surrender' or 'safe abandonment' protection to mothers. This means that the baby can be given up at hospital, police station, or other designated place without penalty for the person who does the drop off, be they parent or not (see here and here for more detail).

I don't know if the US has yet managed this, but here is a picture of a "baby drop" in Germany. Ellen, chances are there is a baby drop off in your metro region!

051030_savingbabies_hmed.hmedium.jpg

`Hij die, getuige van het ogenblikkelijk levensgevaar waarin een ander verkeert, nalaat

deze die hulp te verlenen of te verschaffen die hij hem, zonder gevaar voor zichzelf of

anderen redelijk te kunnen duchten, verlenen of verschaffen kan, wordt, indien de dood

van de hulpbehoevende volgt, gestraft met hechtenis van ten hoogste drie maanden of

geldboete van de tweede categorie'

Link to post
Share on other sites
My present position is to (1) add the missing parts to the definition of human nature and (2) reformulate some parts of the ethics by taking the expanded definition into account. (Not an "ethics for mankind" but one for "me as an individual member of the human species.") Then it will be easy to arrive at how to resolve the question of conflicting rights. This is no more than a proposal at this moment.

How are things coming along with this project? It's been eight months, ferpitysake. :o

William,

I am so glad you dug that up!

The project comes and goes because I am firmly engaged in another more urgent one at the present. I am able to write a bit abuntantly and quickly about it right now because of the work I have already done. I don't have to go around reading a large section of a book in order to find what I want to discuss (for instance, the quotes by Locke and Paine, or by Rand), or try to figure out where to look something up. I am not too worried about the time. Slow is good for an issue of this importance. That is why I said proposal and not project. I do think a book would be good, though. I am still undeecided on the final form, and even if it will be presented in a nonfiction format.

I am totally gratified to see this part: "My present position is to (1) add the missing parts to the definition of human nature and (2) reformulate some parts of the ethics by taking the expanded definition into account."

So far in the present discussion, only the missing parts to the definition of human nature have been worked on. The more I think about "animal that develops a rational faculty" as a definition of man, the more I like it. Finally I feel that children have a premise using an Objectivist framework. They are no longer premise-orphans. :)

I want to think some about animal, also. I really like the fact that I was pushed into looking at Rand's essay "The Objectivist Ethics" in more depth and finally noticed that a huge problem lies in Rand defining life in terms of processing fuel only.

Obviously, all this is going to impact ethics when I get to it.

There is another critical point to examine first, however, and this pertains to "animal." Is man strictly an individual qua individual, or does being a member of a species affect his survival and values? If so, I see this impacting ethics and being one of the elements that give rise to social ethics (rights)—not just self-interest. Or more precisely, the self would be defined with a group component in it. Actually, it already is with "rational animal." The genus is already a group.

I once proposed an 80%-20% division for individual-species values in looking at ethics (i.e., code of values), but this was simply a proposal to get started. A lot more needs to be looked at and mulled over before something like that can be defined to that precision and turned into a project.

I am delighted that I have stayed true to my inquiry over time and had expressed it so clearly before.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
[....] I think Rand flubbed rights in general, did no work on the philosophy of law.

Well, that I'd be interested in talking about, since, au contraire, I think that Rand came closest to getting it right in her theory of rights than in any other part of her system, probably with significant help from her lessons with Isabel Paterson and others. (That she "did no work on the philosophy of law," granted.)

I haven't had a chance to read more than a few of your own writings to which you've linked, and I'm fuzzy as to where our disagreements lie. Sometimes you post something which I interpret one way, and then your reply indicates you meant it differently. I'm not yet attuned to your "vocabulary," though I do appreciate your skill at writing.

Ellen

___

Link to post
Share on other sites
I haven't had a chance to read more than a few of your own writings to which you've linked, and I'm fuzzy as to where our disagreements lie. Sometimes you post something which I interpret one way, and then your reply indicates you meant it differently. I'm not yet attuned to your "vocabulary," though I do appreciate your skill at writing.

Thanks, Ellen. I appreciate that very sincerely. I'll try to be brief. I relied on Ayn Rand to see me through a difficult passage, the past 35 years to date, all of which proved to be quite difficult. I have no quarrel with her ethics, although I tweaked it (deformed is more accurate) in The 51% Solution. Not an important matter. Let's say that Objectivist ethics are spot on, no need to improve or reconsider. Reason, purpose, self esteem. Evil requires the sanction of the victim. Stop supporting your destroyers.

Nor did I hope to contradict Locke or Paine, both of whom made important contributions, Paine particularly. In The Rights of Man, he made a breakthrough of tremendous importance, that government could not lawfully author or amend its own constitution. Unfortunately for me, I became convinced that every political system is (often implicitly) founded upon a single principle. Otis, Jefferson and other Americans saw justice in equality. It proved to be rhetorical and figurative, although it was useful and applicable in declaring independence from England and its monarchy.

For a number of years I searched for a political principle, a constitutional one-liner. In the meantime I honored Rand's ethics by saying "The right to life is contingent on responsibility" -- a highly unsatisfying amalgam of 50% rubber and 50% hokum. Then I was thrust into the practical job of nation-building, and I could no longer evade the work I had prepared for a very long time.

The Freeman's Constitution was the result. It hangs on a single political axiom, that justice is the armed defense of innocent liberty, and a logical standard for constitutional due process: that no man may legally judge his own cause. No connection with Rand's natural rights thesis IMO.

Thanks very much for the implicit invitation to speak of it again.

W.

Edited by Wolf DeVoon
Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, I've found that a duty to help in emergencies is commonly called "easy rescue law". A book I recently read (about health care) specifies three conditions of an "easy rescue."

1. A substantial benefit can be provided, or substantial harm avoided, to the person in need.

2. The risk of harm to the would-be rescuer is insignificant or at least much less than the benefit to the person in need.

3. The would-be rescuer must be practically capable, acting alone or with others, to effect the rescue.

I also found that Richard Epstein, a noted libertarian University of Chicago law professor, has objected to the indeterminateness and impracticality of implementing such a duty via tort law. I haven't seen Epstein's arguments and they may be only in law journals. Since I have not seen them, I will guess that a key part of his argument is about rules of evidence. In some cases the evidence will be pretty clear, but not others.

It seems to me hard to know the evidence in the hypothetical starving baby in the woods scenario. How does a passerby stranger know the baby is starving? Starvation is not immediate; it takes a few days. How does a third party know the passerby saw the baby? What does "practically capable" mean if the passerby has a more pressing priority, e.g. rescuing somebody else?

Then there is the larger question raised here: "After all, if the majority of the world's population lives in dire poverty and suffer from easily preventable diseases and deaths, couldn't utility be increased by increasing taxes slightly on wealthy Americans and using that surplus to provide basic medical aid to those in desperate need?"

Lastly, every law enacted and court decision makes a precedent and can be expanded beyond the initial impetus. Thus a slippery slope.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Lastly, every law enacted and court decision makes a precedent and can be expanded beyond the initial impetus. Thus a slippery slope.

I agree. Legislation is not the way to encourage people to care about each other. We have so many laws it's a joke and this only encourages disrespect for the law.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Let's say that Objectivist ethics are spot on, no need to improve or reconsider. Reason, purpose, self esteem. Evil requires the sanction of the victim. Stop supporting your destroyers.

Wolf,

This is one of the things I am looking at. In terms of values, is any of that of value to an infant? For instance, does evil to an infant require its sanction? How?

What you mentioned are all adult values.

Should a government of adults protect the survival values of its infant citizens? If so, why? If not, why? These are my questions. I have never come across a single solution that has satisfied me on logical grounds, much less personal ones.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
Let's say that Objectivist ethics are spot on, no need to improve or reconsider. Reason, purpose, self esteem. Evil requires the sanction of the victim. Stop supporting your destroyers.

Wolf,

This is one of the things I am looking at. In terms of values, is any of that of value to an infant? For instance, does evil to an infant require its sanction? How?

What you mentioned are all adult values.

Should a government of adults protect the survival values of its infant citizens? If so, why? If not, why? These are my questions. I have never come across a single solution that has satisfied me on logical grounds, much less personal ones.

Michael

You've heard of limited government? Well, I'm operating with limited brainpower. <_<

Children and morons have a right to be heard if they cry out within

earshot of a doctor, lawyer, or extended family member. Kids and

dumbbells have the right of innocent liberty from birth. Custody is

not a first principle, and it is always challengeable.
The Rule of Law

What little I established is a fundamental constitutional principle, that every natural person (Mom,

Dad, and each of the kids) has the right to petition the courts on their own behalf or to appoint an

attorney to represent them.
Defects in The Freeman's Constitution

So, infants and kids are no different than adults in legal standing. They have a right to petition and to be represented by competent counsel, or by a lay advocate or charitable group. It's pretty easy to gain custody of a starving child in my system. But it's important to see government as a much more limited, less muscular institution in a free society, nothing like today's triumphal, coercive sovereign. In laissez faire jurisprudence, law courts exist to decide cases and controversies, not to enforce those decisions. Think of Galt's Gulch as a model.

The law is mostly voluntary, folks. I acknowledged this openly and emphatically... If there is to be law

and order, you yourselves will be the police of it... relying on the civic strength of a free society to

mostly police itself, which means: settling your disputes by seeking legal guidance voluntarily from

an unarmed judiciary, whose chief weapon is reason.
Defects in The Freeman's Constitution

If people believe that a free society is impossible, that we need a coercive state, I say it's an illusion:

Obedience is a choice. Government is therefore an illusion. The evidence isn't hard to gather, and it requires no special twist of language, no cognitive somersault. Just pick up the telephone and summon a policeman to attend a crime in progress (robbery, rape, murder, kidnapping). Good luck getting help in time. Nor is it clever to claim that the state's protection exists in a more diffuse, but efficacious realm beyond the average response time of emergency services. In any public street, the law is observed by its citizenry without police... Our dwellings are rendered safe from fire by homeowners and tenants, employing nothing more coercive than an individual desire to survive. All instrumentalities of community protection and public welfare existed first as private, voluntary organizations (constabularies, fire brigades, libraries, schools, hospitals) before dilettantes and ward-healers proposed that a bureaucracy should monopolize and run them badly...

[sovereign coercive] government is the sole, permanent source of repression and waste. It does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms. It is daft to moan about crime. Government cannot stop a thief, a lunatic, or a kid playing with matches. It took the Nazis twenty years to flatter and frighten the German nation into collective obedience -- and still someone shoved a bomb under the Fuhrer's conference table. The state does not and cannot triumph by coercion. Ayn Rand was correct: "Evil requires the sanction of the victim" ...

In fact and in reality, we are ungoverned and ungovernable. I defy anyone to name a single instance of governmental action that succeeded in achieving its intended outcome. Above all, please don't tell me that you filed an honest tax return, or that you know someone who did. No public work was raised without delay, confusion, cost overrun, graft, or outright disaster as a final consequence.

Defacto Anarchy republished as Government Is A Quack Faith-Healer

I've worked out a proposal for defending the borders and local law enforcement, but the main idea is that we each of us have the right and responsibiity to act in our self-interest. Some will see that as cleaning up the neighborhood or the planet. Some will devote their lives to prayer, others to charitable abuse of neglected war orphans. In the main, selfishness beats altruism. If you were a young barren female or soft-hearted but devoted squire, adoption can be just as rewarding as natural parenthood.

Let the free market and laissez faire law courts handle this.

W.

Edited by Wolf DeVoon
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wolf,

I am doing a lot of thinking nowadays. I am going to confess something that should leave my critics scratching their heads. I am probably more anarchist than most Objectivists and libertarians. I don't like government. But this is not on principle. It's personal. I don't like people telling me what to do.

Just because I am probing the meaning of certain issues right now, especially as regards children, human nature, the derivation of rights, etc., this does not mean I endorse a certain form of government. I am simply trying to come to terms with the theory, none of which makes sense to me. That is, many things make sense up to a certain point, but beyond that point, they don't.

For example, in your formulation (which, I admit, I need to digest and internalize more to discuss it intelligently) I still don't see where the right to appoint counsel does an infant any good. He doesn't have the mental capacity to appoint anyone for anything at that stage of life. He doesn't know what's good for him beyond things like pain and hunger telling him something is wrong. Please understand, this is not criticism. It is simply not understanding how such a right protects an infant in any way that is of value to that infant. (But I do like that right a great deal, so I am thinking.)

Back to my personal anarchy, I admit that I am an infractor of the law without a single smidgen of guilt. I also admit I have been more prudent here in the USA than I was in Brazil, but this is not from a moral posture. I am simply unfamiliar with the lay of the land and prefer to err on the side of caution. I may not have much respect for the law, but I really dislike jail.

I love Brazil precisely because of this. In legal terms, Brazil is a horror chamber of laws piled on top of laws and a bureaucratic nightmare. In practical terms, if you play it right, don't give a crap about the laws, infringe them without making a huge issue out of it, and act according to your own moral compass, Brazil is one of the freest countries on earth. I like places where it is easy to break the law and get away with it, but people are basically good people.

I read Objectivists and libertarians constantly say that this is more or less what they would be like under minimum or no government. Well, I have not talked about it. I have lived it (in fact, not in form). And Brazilians—who are really, really good people—are not rational individualists in terms of philosophy. They are in the majority Catholic with some African deity worship thrown in where nobody can see it. And there is a hodge-podge of other religions just like there is here in the USA. But there are crapheads down there, too, so it is not Shangri-La or Galt's Gultch.

Thus, I conclude that most people are mostly good by nature and most everybody has their moments. People do not become good by being molded by a philosophy or religion or any law or right. I think they have to choose to want to be good, then they adopt a system of morality and wed it to that choice. This is why the religious texts can be so full of atrocities, yet most of the religious people are good decent folks. And on the other end, I have seen some real pieces of work use everything from devout Christianity (or whatever) to strict Objectivism to justify an almost pathological cruelty of spirit. (I used to read those books about true crimes. I was surprised to come across a few cold-blooded murderers who were into Rand and mentioned The Fountainhead or Atlas as their favorite books. One day when I get in a real ornery mood, I just might document this. It's ugly, but it is fact. To be fair, there are also plenty who claim they prefer the Bible or Qur'an or other morality texts as favorite reading.) So I think the choice to want to be good is much more important than any detail or development or system that follows.

(The system actually is important, but for other reasons, not to mold people.)

At the present, in theoretical terms, I consider myself an outlaw in the strictest sense. I am outside the law trying to understand it. I feel no inner resonance with the law. If the law gets in the way of something I am building or tries to hurt those I love, I break it without blinking if I believe there is a good chance of getting away with it. If I think there is not, I look for a way. And I feel no inner resonance of truth when I read all this theoretical stuff about rights. If rights can't be for human beings at all stages of human life, then what the hell are they? Rules? Rationalized arbitrary rules?

Bah.

To hell with them if that is all they are.

I am seriously thinking that if a certain part of human nature remains as nasty as I have seen some people be, including some real mean-spirited and petty Objectivists I have known, then maybe the ideal government is a holy mess instead of an efficient organization. The power-mongers and eternally grumpy people thus have a place where they can pretend they are in charge and rule everybody while life goes on for the good folks.

Until rights can be for people, all people within a country, including children, then I have no personal use for them except to note more rules that are sometimes in my way and need to be broken so I can build and protect those I love. That is one of the reasons I am trying to understand them philosophically—to see if they can be of any personal value to me.

btw - I like most of the rights originally written into the Constitution. They make sense to me. They were even intended to cover children. I do not like what has been done to them by later government and I do not like the Objectivist and libertarian interpretations of them I have read so far. Neither side makes sense to me after I reach a certain point in examining them.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
People do not become good by being molded by a philosophy or religion or any law or right. I think they have to choose to want to be good, then they adopt a system of morality and wed it to that choice.

What if you replaced 'good' with 'sane' in the above? What do think about the proposition that people can become unsane "by being molded by a philosophy or religion or any law or right"? What if instead of trying to determine what is good or moral behaviour we tried to figure out what is sane behaviour and tried to teach that?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael,

For someone who doesn't like government, and doesn't like being told what to do, you seem strangely willing to support a law for punishing people who don't do what you think should be done. :logik:

In any case, I look forward to seeing the final conclusions you draw in your investigations. Once you have it all together and thought out I'll read it and discuss it then. I assume we'll see it here sometime?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael, regarding post 370:

How can you say this??

...Until rights can be for people, all people within a country, including children, then I have no personal use for them except to note more rules that are sometimes in my way and need to be broken so I can build and protect those I love....

1) Rights ARE for all people, including children. How can you say that there's no use to a law that forbids people to murder or injure a child?

2) As to the justification of the concept of rights as deriving from man's nature as a rational animal, and his rationality being his means of survival - This holds true for children as well! Reason IS their means of survival; if not yet their own reason, then the reason of their guardians.

3) Just because a child cannot fully exercise his rights does not mean they're of no use to him. It's like saying, "what good is an automobile as a means of transportation if an infant can't drive one?" Well, he can ride in one, can't he?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now