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Nothing left but heckling, Ethan?

:)

It's a bitch, ain't it?

Michael

No, it isn't.

Okay Michael,

I'll head out. Some day you may publish your treatise and I'll read it then and give it it's due. I assure you that I look forward to it.

Despite your claims, you haven't shown me anything to prove your point. I honestly wanted to give your ideas a hearing after the nasty turn it took on RoR. I spend a great deal of time thinking about things, and have gone rounds in my head and with people about Objectivism as I learned and integrated. That will never stop. I will always be willing to listen to a challenge, as that's the only way to learn and understand. I'll refrain from saying more becasue I find I regret saying nasty things, even if I feel they are deserved. You and I don't argue the same way, and I'll leave it at that. Make of it and my brief visit what you will.

Ethan

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Ethan,

I appreciate the cordiality.

Anytime you have anything more specific to ask or say than "you haven't shown me anything to prove your point," I will be more than glad to give it my best shot. After all that has been written over all this time, I just cannot take a comment like that seriously.

Michael

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Wolf,

This is in response to your post #405. I didn't copy the prior sequence, since we were getting progressively farther from communicating. You'd said that you didn't understand my description of rights as paired obligations/freedoms. I'd thought that the graphic violence of describing a right as "a freedom the gendarmes can be called on to protect" would help in revealing "essentials," but it backfired, forgive the pun. I'll try again.

The freedom/obligation pairing I'm speaking of is like the two sides of a curve such as a parenthesis, which is convex looked at from one side and concave looked at from the other. If I'm considered to have the freedom by right to engage in X action, this means that others are correspondingly considered obligated not to try to prevent me from engaging in X action by using force against me. It further means that if they nonetheless do try to prevent me from engaging in X action by using force against me, then I'm considered morally permitted to defend myself against them by using force against their force.

Hence my graphic characterizing of a right as "a freedom the gendarmes can be called on to protect." I don't mean that one is necessarily going to call the police in any given rights-violation circumstance. I'm just pointing out that rights are a category of freedoms which are considered (in a particular social mileau) legitimately defensible by force. A way I've often seen this point made is by saying: "Rights have teeth." It's this feature of rights -- that they can legitimately be insisted on by force when they're violated -- which differentiates rights from other moral principles of social relationship.

In an earlier post I quoted a brief definition of rights which I like as stating the basics in few words: "Rights are enforceable moral claims." This references the same domain as Rand's longer definition: "A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context." Hers adds detail the shorter definition lacks. On the other hand, the shorter definition states explicitly what's included only by implication in her wording: that rights are enforceable. They aren't simply moral principles which one might hope others will honor; they're principles the honoring of which can be forceably insisted upon. (Her wording could also include principles of etiquette and other social courtesies, the defense of which by force wouldn't be considered legitimate.)

None of the above says anything about what particular list of rights is right according to a given moral code. It's merely meant as describing the category of phenomenon being discussed.

I hope that clarifies.

Ellen

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...freedom by right to engage in X action... morally permitted to defend myself...

"Rights have teeth"... insisted on by force when they're violated...

"Rights are enforceable moral claims."

"...a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context."

I think I'm beginning to see the problem in our conversation: I've spent entirely too much time with anarchists and average joe sociopaths. Get in my way and I'll bash your teeth in. Typical of governments, drunks, hoodlums, criminals, and playground bullies. The clever ones use libertarian Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) or Non-Initiation of Force (NIOF) as an excuse to justify "retaliatory" use of force whenever they feel like throwing their weight around. Governments do this routinely, claiming to defend the community as a whole in pursuit of populist legislation and rubbery general welfare.

A right to public justice means exactly the opposite. It's the right to be heard, to accuse, demand, deny, defend whatever you like in court, in writing or oral testimony. If your opponent doesn't show up when summoned to answer, he could be found in contempt. (Post #405)

I had to define a standard of justice, else the whole thing might slide back into the slime of Roman consent or Lockean 'first-use' homesteading. Is liberty a natural right? No. It is merely the least worst enterprise of public justice... (Post #398)

Where you and I are at odds is the right of self-defense. In Article IV, I tied it to the police power and provided the sternest possible punishment for misuse of "retaliatory" or punitive force of any kind. The only thing a citizen or cop can lawfully do is haul someone into court.

Non-aggression

I've criticized NAP because ( a ) it doesn't provide any guidance concerning NAP-rights violations, and too many guys think it's a license to kill if they believe someone 'broke faith' with an abstract categorical imperative, and ( b ) NAP denies the existence of any legal regime other than or prior to 'non-aggression.' It's a child's view of the law: You be nice and I'll be nice, okay? No rule for bankruptcy, property, probate, or family law. The Rule of Law

Due Process

Men are incapable of confessing openly that they want to escape justice. Friend or enemy of due process, we declare with one voice that our conduct is fair and honorable, with malice toward none. The claim is usually false. In simple, 18th century language: Men are not angels. Our protestations of innocence and truth are frequently exaggerated and unwarranted. That's why we need courts of justice, with compulsory production of evidence, cross-examination, and felony penalties for perjury. Men lie. We also remember wrongly, forget, etc. Evildoers should not be allowed to judge their own innocence. Nor is it sane or wise to treat accusation as proof, condemning someone without fair trial of fact. Defects in The Freeman's Constitution

W.

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Get in my way and I'll bash your teeth in.

Is that what you think I was saying? I think I'll give up if so.

Typical of governments, drunks, hoodlums, criminals, and playground bullies.

How flattering.

A right to public justice means exactly the opposite. It's the right to be heard, to accuse, demand, deny, defend whatever you like in court, in writing or oral testimony. If your opponent doesn't show up when summoned to answer, he could be found in contempt. (Post #405)

How is it "opposite"? And note that you used the term "right" and that the procedure you describe is a procedure of enforcing the claim, including with a penalty for failure of the opponent to appear.

Where you and I are at odds is the right of self-defense. In Article IV, I tied it to the police power and provided the sternest possible punishment for misuse of "retaliatory" or punitive force of any kind. The only thing a citizen or cop can lawfully do is haul someone into court.

Are you supposing that I would be in favor of "misuse of 'retaliatory' or punitive force of any kind"?

Hauling someone into court is an exercise of force.

But are you saying that, supposing someone were assaulting me and I injured or even killed that person in defending myself, you would call this unlawful?

Meanwhile on a different thread you posted:

It's not easy or prudent for me to speak informally about rights violations. So, I'll quote the Constitution as we go along and try to draw reasonable inferences about the case as Michael presented it. I'm willing to certify that the complaint on its face is probable cause to investigate felony.

All felony prosecutions shall be conducted on behalf of a living natural person whose enjoyment of life, liberty, or settled claim to property are alleged to have been impaired...

Kids A, B, C have been grievously impaired by addiction to drugs, supplied by Dealer D and others. Kids A, B, C are hereby remanded into provisional custody and care by the local Kid Charity, qualified volunteer advocates are appointed, and their cases transferred to Family Court.

Legal philosophy addresses... the combined might of a community...

The complaint alleges a pattern of continuing criminal conduct which affects the community at large, as well as theatening future kid victims E, F, G. I'm willing to appoint a barrister-procurator and empanel a Grand Jury of limited duration to hear testimony and bring charges against all those who supplied or facilitated the supply of drugs to local children, including parents who failed to properly supervise and care for such children.

The right to keep and bear arms and to use reasonable force in defense of one's life and innocent liberty, or the life and liberty of another, describes the police power generally. Every person signatory to this Constitution is lawfully empowered to arrest and detain a perpetrator or willing accessory apprehended during the commission of a crime.

I order the arrest and detention of Dealer D. If he resists arrest, you're allowed to use proportional and reasonable force to capture him. If he draws a gun or threatens the life of another, kill the bastard. Please remember to video the whole thing.

:angry:

Huh? How does that "integrate," as the O'ists say, with your objecting to the idea of a right as an enforceable moral claim?

Ellen

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Dear Ellen,

Please accept my word for it, that I very sincerely appreciate the opportunity to discuss these issues with you. It's the first time anyone rigorously inquired about my theory of justice. Your questions are very important.

Get in my way and I'll bash your teeth in.

Is that what you think I was saying?

No, certainly not. It was rather the prevailing attitude I found in life...

Typical of governments, drunks, hoodlums, criminals, and playground bullies.

How flattering.

Again, not speaking of you, but those I named, especially governments.

A right to public justice means exactly the opposite. It's the right to be heard, to accuse, demand, deny, defend whatever you like in court, in writing or oral testimony. If your opponent doesn't show up when summoned to answer, he could be found in contempt.

How is it "opposite"?

The way things stand at present, courts are a branch of government, judges nominated or appointed by political power brokers. The "law" today has no independent jurisdiction, no fundamental source, no logic or purpose save enforcement of legislative edicts, administrative agency rules and executive decrees. The executive can declare certain evidence secret and certain prisoners denied due process. Executive branch attorneys can prosecute or grant immunity, suppress evidence and fabricate as much as they please. The government does not have to answer a complaint against it and denies you legal standing to sue to compel them to follow their own rules. So much for the current state. I have proposed to create a judicial system independently of extant governments. All cases are A v B.

note that you used the term "right" and that the procedure you describe is a procedure of enforcing the claim...

There's no presumption of anything beyond your right to public justice. A jury would be empaneled to determine the facts. The judge's job is to admit evidence, rule on questions of law and procedure, instruct the jury, enter a judgment, decide a remedy if needed. It's not at all certain that your claim will be a slam dunk.

...including with a penalty for failure of the opponent to appear.

Contempt is a very big deal, a bill of attainder. I spell this out in detail in Article I.

Where you and I are at odds is the right of self-defense. In Article IV, I tied it to the police power and provided the sternest possible punishment for misuse of "retaliatory" or punitive force of any kind. The only thing a citizen or cop can lawfully do is haul someone into court.

"Are you supposing that I would be in favor of "misuse of 'retaliatory' or punitive force of any kind"?

No, ma'am. Others will. Cops, criminals, soldiers do it routinely.

Hauling someone into court is an exercise of force.

Well, yes. But it's done by court order, a warrant or indictment. Due process.

But are you saying that, supposing someone were assaulting me and I injured or even killed that person in defending myself, you would call this unlawful?

Not at all. Defending yourself means exercising the police power, so you may be answerable for misuse of that power (killing someone you dislike and claiming self-defense). The dead assailant's girlfriend or mother could accuse you of murder, you know. Happens frequently.

Meanwhile on a different thread you posted:

It's not easy or prudent for me to speak informally about rights violations. So, I'll quote the Constitution as we go along and try to draw reasonable inferences about the case as Michael presented it. I'm willing to certify that the complaint on its face is probable cause to investigate felony.

All felony prosecutions shall be conducted on behalf of a living natural person whose enjoyment of life, liberty, or settled claim to property are alleged to have been impaired...

Kids A, B, C have been grievously impaired by addiction to drugs, supplied by Dealer D and others. Kids A, B, C are hereby remanded into provisional custody and care by the local Kid Charity, qualified volunteer advocates are appointed, and their cases transferred to Family Court.

Legal philosophy addresses... the combined might of a community...

The complaint alleges a pattern of continuing criminal conduct which affects the community at large, as well as theatening future kid victims E, F, G. I'm willing to appoint a barrister-procurator and empanel a Grand Jury of limited duration to hear testimony and bring charges against all those who supplied or facilitated the supply of drugs to local children, including parents who failed to properly supervise and care for such children.

The right to keep and bear arms and to use reasonable force in defense of one's life and innocent liberty, or the life and liberty of another, describes the police power generally. Every person signatory to this Constitution is lawfully empowered to arrest and detain a perpetrator or willing accessory apprehended during the commission of a crime.

I order the arrest and detention of Dealer D. If he resists arrest, you're allowed to use proportional and reasonable force to capture him. If he draws a gun or threatens the life of another, kill the bastard. Please remember to video the whole thing.

Huh? How does that "integrate," as the O'ists say, with your objecting to the idea of a right as an enforceable moral claim?

I try to be as precise as I can. The Constitution says enjoyment of life, liberty or settled claim to property. Doesn't say 'right to' life or liberty or anything except public justice, a fair hearing. Exercise of the police power is a double edge sword. Based on Michael's complaint, naming three kids he dragged into court and a dope dealer that all three identified, who was separately known to private security guys operating in Michael's neighborhood, I sent the kids to a shelter and ordered arrest of the bad guy. The kids seemed impaired. Maybe I made a bad decision. I dunno, might be reversed on appeal. Courts have to deal with live litigants who show up expecting impartial justice. It was only an arrest warrant, not summary punishment, and I cautioned them to video the procedure.

:ermm:

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Dear Ellen,

Please accept my word for it, that I very sincerely appreciate the opportunity to discuss these issues with you. It's the first time anyone rigorously inquired about my theory of justice. Your questions are very important.

Gee, I'm surprised to read that no one's "rigorously inquired about [your] theory of justice" before. I would have thought that your theory would have been of considerable interest to at least segments of the broadly "libertarian" populace even if not to the whole spectrum of "libertarian" thinkers.

I will have to take a break through next Tuesday. One of the reputed two inevitables (the other being death) looms: tax deadline. Our itemized deduction calculation is time-consuming. Plus an unanticipated event came up which will occupy most of Sunday.

Something which you might want to address meanwhile though...

A right to public justice means exactly the opposite. It's the right to be heard, to accuse, demand, deny, defend whatever you like in court, in writing or oral testimony. If your opponent doesn't show up when summoned to answer, he could be found in contempt.

How is it "opposite"?

The way things stand at present, courts are a branch of government, judges nominated or appointed by political power brokers. The "law" today has no independent jurisdiction, no fundamental source, no logic or purpose save enforcement of legislative edicts, administrative agency rules and executive decrees. The executive can declare certain evidence secret and certain prisoners denied due process. Executive branch attorneys can prosecute or grant immunity, suppress evidence and fabricate as much as they please. The government does not have to answer a complaint against it and denies you legal standing to sue to compel them to follow their own rules. So much for the current state. I have proposed to create a judicial system independently of extant governments. All cases are A v B.

I can understand your describing the situation today as "opposite" what you'd like to see. But I was understanding you to mean "opposite" my generic definition of "a right," and I don't grasp how it would be "opposite" to that.

note that you used the term "right" and that the procedure you describe is a procedure of enforcing the claim...

There's no presumption of anything beyond your right to public justice. A jury would be empaneled to determine the facts. The judge's job is to admit evidence, rule on questions of law and procedure, instruct the jury, enter a judgment, decide a remedy if needed. It's not at all certain that your claim will be a slam dunk.

I wasn't attempting to say that one's claim would be a slam dunk -- even in a case where one injured or killed an assailant by whom one was being assaulted -- only to give a generic definition of "a right" (by which I mean a definition which would apply whatever particular rights a given theory of rights proposes). I'm still unclear as to what you mean by the term. Could you attempt a definition?

Ellen

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The clever ones use libertarian Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) or Non-Initiation of Force (NIOF) as an excuse to justify "retaliatory" use of force whenever they feel like throwing their weight around.

Wolf,

Something went click as I was going about my business. I think maybe where we're failing to understand each other hinges on the word "retaliatory."

I'm not talking about "retaliation." "Retaliation" would pertain to a theory of punishment. I'm talking about "defense" -- putting a stop to an aggression against one.

I wrote in my post #428:

The freedom/obligation pairing I'm speaking of is like the two sides of a curve such as a parenthesis, which is convex looked at from one side and concave looked at from the other. If I'm considered to have the freedom by right to engage in X action, this means that others are correspondingly considered obligated not to try to prevent me from engaging in X action by using force against me. It further means that if they nonetheless do try to prevent me from engaging in X action by using force against me, then I'm considered morally permitted to defend myself against them by using force against their force.

I meant there, as I said, "permitted to defend myself against them." A right is a freedom it's considered legitimate to defend -- that is, to put a stop to interference with. I wasn't talking about going out to get the aggressor and punish the aggressor after the aggression has been stopped. What would be considered just as punishment (whether punishment is even considered just) would be an additional question. How much use of force is legitimate in putting a stop to the interference is also an additional question.

It seems to me that your "innocent liberty" is your way of naming what I'm talking about when I say "a right," but somehow my description isn't clicking for you.

Ellen

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Merlin notes the views of Richard Epstein [post #366]:

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.

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

Regarding Epstein and the rules of evidence, he published a famous article in The Journal of Legal Studies in 1973, "A Theory of Strict Liability." I have seem much discussion of Epstein's paper, but haven't been able to get my hands on it yet. From my reading of the commentary, it appears no part of the argument rests on questions of evidence. His objections to duty to rescue obligations rely on the distinction both Merlin and Ellen have made between positive and negative rights; no actor should be compelled to assist in a dangerous situation that he or she has not created. Liability is strictly apportioned to those who cause the harm.

In other words, if you haven't created the dangerous situation, but are a mere witness, nothing can compel you to render assistance to a stranger. The exceptions in law apply to those who have a special relationship to the person in danger or who have a professional or contractual duty (parents, guardians, school and medical personnel, police, etc). The presumption is that the state has no right to compulsion.

(as before, contrast with Civil and criminal law in Europe, where the duty to rescue is explicit)

I invite list members to read Nancy Levit's article on duty to rescue (she argues against the status quo). She highlights the case of DeShaney v Winnebago County -- in this case, the US Supreme court decided that child protective services did not abridge the constitutional rights of a minor who, although known to the authorities as at risk of abuse, was not taken into custody of the state. In this case, the father beat the child severely, causing brain damage, and the mother sued the state on behalf of her child.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court found there was no legal obligation for the state to rescue

With regard to the slippery slope, most slippery slope arguments are fallacious -- if one doesn't show that the event or action in question unavoidably leads to the feared consequence.

In any case, I underline again that the common law tradition renders no right to rescue, and common law jurisdictions (with the exception of Vermont, Rhode Island and Minnesota) have no statutes that impose a general duty to rescue.

Against this rock bottom legal reality, what positions jostle for attention in this thread? It's hard to summarize the 430 replies to Barbara's Auden quote, "We are here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here for, I don't know."

Several lines of discussion have emerged around the pole of liabilty: legal reality, social reality, moral principle qua law, the principle of compulsion. Lots of somewhat sticky areas that invite Objectivists and its critics to look closer. I think we can disregard some excursions into polemic, personal squabble and nit-picking digressions . . . and that we can forgive certain descents into fundament. Something must be compelling the 6,350 views of the discussion to date.

We most of us feel enmeshed in a net of chosen and unchosen obligations, from unspoken expectations to legal notice, from duties of citizenship to strictures of contract and liability. Laws flock around all humans, either as protective shield, or pocket-picking beaks.

Unchosen obligations attend our birth. At once born (if duly registered) one acquires the benefits of citizenship as well as its fearsome duties. America grants its citizens a panoply of entitlements, but also exacts its tithe: you will obey and you will pay.

Unchosen ideologies are also affixed to the citizen. Consider membership in subcultures such as the FLDS. Obligations to submit to marry and breed were enforced on girls in their mid-teens. Where do Rand's opinions matter in this case?

These burdens of citizenship and culture chafe, and most of us would throw off all but a tiny remnant of compulsion. But one cannot throw off one small binding without loosening many others. Evade the taxman, expect a penalty. Transgress a law or regulation, see you in court. Citizen, you are warned. Obey or be punished.

So there is a simmering outrage at the bindings. We here more or less live in the same Western World of heavy bindings, with heavy governments and heavy obligations.

In an unusual way the baby in the woods shows up a situation where the heft of law meets the heft of custom. On meeting the baby in the woods our obligations are put to the test, be they explicit in law or graven in our hearts.

Thanks to all the non-hysterical discussants. This discussion gave me impetus to study. I hope to return to this thread with fresh angles on the baby drawn from breaking news.

Until then, some news from the woods of the world:

Ujjain families fight over baby boy

NDTV.com, India - 3 hours ago

Two farmer families near Ujjain are squabbling over a baby boy, while a three-day-old baby girl lies unwanted and abandoned. Both babies were born almost at the same time on Friday at the Ujjain Civil Hospital.

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Liability is strictly apportioned to those who cause the harm.

In other words, if you haven't created the dangerous situation, but are a mere witness, nothing can compel you to render assistance to a stranger.

William,

You made some interesting comments that sent my thoughts in different directions.

The above is one: causality. In Objectivism, the general identification is that entities are the sources of cause.

I wonder which causes human nature engender. Volition is the primary one in Objectivism (what I have read of it) and this sets forth chains of actions and reactions based on the choices of an organism, not on the nature of anything else, i.e., the nature of the rest is reactive, not the thing that puts it all into motion. When this collides or aligns with other prime movers, we have society.

I wonder if society should reflect only the prime mover aspect of human nature. Obviously it needs to reflect it to a large degree because this is such a large part of our make-up. But things bump into us all the time and we bump into other things (on many levels, not just the slapstick one). No one chooses all that bumping. It just happens. We try to avoid bumping into other people too hard so we don't screw them up badly. I suppose there is the principle of reciprocity based on NIOF (Christians would say "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"), but that doesn't ring true to me as to what the fundamental value is underneath.

Why do we avoid being bullies and get pleasure out of seeing them taken down? A principle like NIOF? I don't think so. I think we value human life as a basic part of our core beings and watching someone use his volition in a manner to harm that value causes outrage. I note that when I get mad at watching a bully, I am not mad at seeing him violate rights based on NIOF against a particular person. That person is interchangable with any other with similar weakness—I would feel the same anger regardless of who was there. And I am certainly not outraged at an abstraction.

I think I am outraged at seeing someone use volition—the same faculty that I have—as a prime mover to assault human life, real human life right there in front of me, when it is in a moment (or state) of weakness.

I am just musing right now, but one thing is clear to me. When we find the real nature and the real value (I am talking about fundamental nature and value, not whether such simply exists), we find the real fundament of our ethics. A good example of this is selfishness deriving from life and volition as causal agents.

When we get to children, as this entails species considerations like reproduction, growth of individuals and so forth, I believe other fundamental values (derived from fundamenal nature) get added to volition (and adult or mature volition at that).

There is another quirky part to the reasoning of using causality as the reason to exonerate a witness from liability. If we accept the premise that a person who did not cause an emergency has no liability within the society he lives in, that should go the other way to be logical and claim that he has no right to any benefits he did not cause.

On the surface this looks OK and the argument that Rand stressed is that all such benefits are gifts from prime movers. When I look closer, I see that this can be translated into a person has an unalienable right to receive gifts, but not an obligation to provide any in return.

Even this sounds OK until I start looking at things like legal tender. We have a monetary system so we can exchange produced goods and services. However not one person I know of created that monetary system. In essence, it is a gift.

What does this mean if we claim a person has a right to use the monetary system for his own purposes (exchanging values with others)? By right, according to the above standard, it can only mean one thing: we are only able to exchange values in an organized fashion because we are all charity cases. That is a benefit we did not cause, but we use as a fundamental tool in our affairs.

Either we are charity cases or recipients of theft: i.e., the government forcably took over the system from the dude who created it and now makes being able to use legal tender to exchange values (and settle disputes of value) a right for all. By what right did it do that? The need of others?

Talk about a slippery slope!

This is merely one reason I think NIOF is not suffient as a sole foundation for human nature, human values or rights.

Michael

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This is merely one reason I think NIOF is not suff[ic]ient as a sole foundation for human nature, human values or rights.

Where, oh where, do you get such a bizarre, and false, idea? Here is Ayn Rand on rights again: "Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights" (Man's Rights).

NIOF is an important -- not the sole -- element of rights, because the IOF is the most flagrant way rights are violated.

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Merlin,

It's a two way street. Rights according to NIOF only reflect NIOF, yet the claim is that they are based on human values. Why only NIOF and not other human values as well?

In your opinion, is NIOF the only human value worth protecting?

I find that bizarre, to be honest, or to be more precise, arbitrary. We chose NIOF, but not the others. Why? Just because. Because what? NIOF, otherwise NIOF is violated.

It goes in a circle.

Since you stated that it is not the sole element of rights, what else is and how is it reflected in rights?

Michael

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Rights are based on ethics. NIOF is merely a libertarian formulation used because libertarians are only politically and economically oriented. To state as did Rand, that rights can only be violated by NIOF is not to say they are based on NIOF; it's a circular formulation--a merry-go-round: you see NIOF on one of the horses and jump on board. Real life is back on the ground.

--Brant

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One last-ditch effort (why do I keep posting on this thread!?!). Michael, rights are NOT based on every aspect of human nature, nor do they need to be. What would it mean to expand the concept beyond non-initiation of force? It is either-or. Either you have the right to be left alone, and that's basically the only right you have, or you have a whole slew of rights of the "it'd be nice if everyone had this" variety. If you have the whole slew of rights, either you discard the right to be left alone, or you have a contradiction wherein one person has a right to violate someone else's rights! That is all there is to it.

(Michael, just make my day and post, "Oh, OK, I get it now!" ;-) )

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Rights are based on ethics.

No, rights are based on right to life. A right to life means a right to perform actions that sustain that life, implying the other, derivative rights. The deduction from right to life to the others is not complicated and I do not know why there is a debate about it going on in this thread, I haven't followed it.

Rights are as absolute and individual as an individual's right to his own life because derivative rights are merely aspects of right to life. The only limit to "right to life" are the rights of others--if you take an action that violates someone else's right, then you have violated the idea of rights, making retaliation against you proper and not itself contradictory.

Shayne

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Rights are based on ethics.

No, rights are based on right to life. A right to life means a right to perform actions that sustain that life, implying the other, derivative rights. The deduction from right to life to the others is not complicated and I do not know why there is a debate about it going on in this thread, I haven't followed it.

Rights are as absolute and individual as an individual's right to his own life because derivative rights are merely aspects of right to life. The only limit to "right to life" are the rights of others--if you take an action that violates someone else's right, then you have violated the idea of rights, making retaliation against you proper and not itself contradictory.

Shayne

Rights are based on rights is all you're saying. It's circular. The right to life IS the basic right, but not the basis of rights generally, only the derivative ones. That lies in the natural individualism of the volitional, cognitive human mind in turn rooted in the objective axiomatic epistemological/metaphysical matrix it occupies. You are completely stuck in Libertarianism which is arbitrary for it eschews a true philosophical base. Self-interest flows directly out of the aforementioned explicitly identified (cognitive) individualism. What Objectivism needs is a broader understanding of what self-interest actually entails for the great varieties of moral human being--and a better understanding that in a perfect world--insofar as one is really possible--there will still be shit to be fought and dealt with, even tolerated for being tolerable for being small next to large lives. You can't, for instance, achieve a perfect vacuum or absolute zero and after a point it makes no sense to keep trying. It is the idea of absolute perfection that needs to be given up save as an abstract point of rational reference.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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Rights are based on rights is all you're saying. It's circular. The right to life IS the basic right, but not the basis of rights. ... You are completely stuck in Libertarianism which is arbitrary for it eschews a true philosophical base. ...

"There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life."--Ayn Rand

Rand and I are not saying anything circular, the point has simply gone right over your head.

Shayne

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Rights are based on rights is all you're saying. It's circular. The right to life IS the basic right, but not the basis of rights. ... You are completely stuck in Libertarianism which is arbitrary for it eschews a true philosophical base. ...

"There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life."--Ayn Rand

Rand and I are not saying anything circular, the point has simply gone right over your head.

Shayne

I agree with Rand. I disagree with you. I see no point in repeating my previous explanations.

--Brant

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I agree with Rand. I disagree with you. I see no point in repeating my previous explanations.

--Brant

You can only agree with someone by first understanding what they said. You don't understand Rand.

Shayne

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Laure,

I get it. If you leave somebody alone, they will be left alone.

That's your entire basis for rights? It sounds circular to me. A rose is a rose is a rose.

I thought rights were supposed to derive from human nature, not replace it.

You affirm that rights are not based on every aspect of human nature. I agree. I don't see where toenails or digestion create rights qua aspect of human nature, but I fail to understand what your criteria is for leaving some parts of human nature unprotected within a group when survival is at stake (especially with regard to children). I thought I mentioned it before, but if you leave those human beings alone, they die.

I do agree with you that if you leave children alone, they will be left alone. But in survival terms, this means they have the right to die, not to live. I have yet to understand why this fact should be eliminated from consideration.

Michael

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Rights are based on ethics.

No, rights are based on right to life.

Shayne,

I don't understand your objection. Ethics is based on values which are chosen based on life. I don't understand what right to life means without values in Objectivism. Saying right to life is just another way of saying that life is the supreme value and standard.

If we want to quote Rand, she stated the fundamental right is the right to life, but she also stated that rights are moral principles take to the social realm.

Michael

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I agree with Rand. I disagree with you. I see no point in repeating my previous explanations.

--Brant

You can only agree with someone by first understanding what they said. You don't understand Rand.

Shayne

Like I said ...

--Brant

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I don't understand your objection. Ethics is based on values which are chosen based on life. I don't understand what right to life means without values in Objectivism. Saying right to life is just another way of saying that life is the supreme value and standard.

If we want to quote Rand, she stated the fundamental right is the right to life, but she also stated that rights are moral principles take to the social realm.

I think may actually making a similar objection of circularity to yours. If right to life is allegedly based on ethics, then what is ethics based on? Something is prior. I'm saying right to life is prior to the field that elaborates and expands on the concept. Right to life is probably an unidentified axiom, I don't think you're saying that, you're trying to figure out something equivalent. I'd call it an axiom because in order to state any arguments or justifiably implement them, you need a right to life.

Shayne

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I don't understand your objection. Ethics is based on values which are chosen based on life. I don't understand what right to life means without values in Objectivism. Saying right to life is just another way of saying that life is the supreme value and standard.

If we want to quote Rand, she stated the fundamental right is the right to life, but she also stated that rights are moral principles take to the social realm.

I think may actually making a similar objection of circularity to yours. If right to life is allegedly based on ethics, then what is ethics based on? Something is prior. I'm saying right to life is prior to the field that elaborates and expands on the concept. Right to life is probably an unidentified axiom, I don't think you're saying that, you're trying to figure out something equivalent. I'd call it an axiom because in order to state any arguments or justifiably implement them, you need a right to life.

Shayne

This is like pulling teeth. I told Shayne what ethics was based on and he never addressed it. Shayne, if you aren't going to read me I can do the same with you.

My last post on this thread.

--Brant

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