Regulation of Drugs


howardahood

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Let's posit that a parent has the right to raise their child as they see fit. Does that make illegal all interactions between non-parental adults and children that are not explicitly approved by one or both parents?

It should make illegal all interactions that would infringe the parent's right of course. Obviously not all "interactions", that would be ridiculous.

Clearly drugs are life-altering, and no one but the parent should make decisions regarding what drugs the child takes. I don't see how anyone would argue otherwise. It surprises me that you are even arguing this.

What if the parent told the child not to take things from strangers but the parent allowed the child, through intention or neglect, to come into contact with a drug dealer, who was unaware of this parental order, and the child defied the parent's order, accepting drugs and subsequently voluntarily consuming them?

Which right of whom has been violated and exactly when?

The child should not be legally construed as "voluntarily" doing it. A 10-year old who "voluntarily" has sex with an adult is in fact being raped. Likewise, a child who "voluntarily" takes drugs from a dealer giving them to him is in effect having them forced down his throat.

Shayne

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I don't think the scientific evidence exists to substantiate your claim that any illegal drug use by a minor will cause permanent brain damage. The burden of proof is on you.

You said "I think it's a stretch to call giving a kid cocaine or heroin mutilation." NOT "illegal drug use by a minor". Heroin and cocaine are not just ANY illegal drug - they are highly addictive and could easily do irreparable damage to an immature nervous system.

What consent is required in order to provide a gift of something to a minor?

A gift of heroin to a minor?? Get serious, this is so ridiculous it's not worth answering.

Drug Dealer gives drugs to boy which can be used on a voluntary basis to cause self-harm.

Scoutmaster gives a knife to boy which can be used on a voluntary basis to cause self-harm.

Carpenter gives a hammer to boy which can be used on a voluntary basis to cause self-harm.

Writer gives a sharp pen to boy which can be used on a voluntary basis to cause self-harm.

How are these "false" analogies? In each case an object is given to a minor. Said object has the potential to be used by the boy to harm himself.

Will you say the difference is the purpose of each object? Each individual defines their purpose for any given object. A dollop of lead may be a poison to you and a paperweight to me. A knife may be a weapon to you but a harmless letter-opener to me. An ounce of an illegal narcotic may be pleasure for one person and unthinkable to another.

The difference is heroin, crack, crystal meth etc. don't have any purpose other than alter a brain function to the point where it is almost useless, as opposed to the other objects you listed which DO have bona fide uses. That's false analogy.

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It should make illegal all interactions that would infringe the parent's right of course. Obviously not all "interactions", that would be ridiculous.

And which ones infringe on the parent's right? What about if a parent tells the child not to eat chocolate but the child goes trick-or-treating and someone gives them a chocolate bar, which they subsequently eat? Has the gift of a chocolate bar infringed on the parent's right to raise their child as they see fit?

Clearly drugs are life-altering.

You say "clearly" but that does not constitute a justification or proof. Cyanide is a life-altering drug because consuming it almost certainly means death. You could argue that everything you consume is life-altering since it changes in some way, no matter how minute, your life. In other words, "life-altering" is not especially meaningful.

no one but the parent should make decisions regarding what drugs the child takes

What if the parent is not around, the child needs urgent surgery and/or the doctor wants to give him morphine. In this case must they wait for the parent to arrive even if that means the child will die, or suffer excruciating pain?

The child should not be legally construed as "voluntarily" doing it. A 10-year old who "voluntarily" has sex with an adult is in fact being raped. Likewise, a child who "voluntarily" takes drugs from a dealer giving them to him is in effect having them forced down his throat.

You're implicitly making an analogy between sex and consuming illegal drugs. I think that's false because the two acts are very different. The analogy might be less false if the adult was actually putting the drugs into the body of the child, for example if he was administering an injection.

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George,

When I said you should investigate matters further on addiction, I had a hunch that you were not aware of the damaging effects of crack cocaine. This cuts much deeper than a volition problem or a boogie-man kind of scare issue. The effects are observable and many have been documented in scientific and clinical studies. For some reason they are not widely publicized in anti-drug literature.

I can understand why skeptics are doubtful, too. If you look at the literature, it is full of affirmations without any kind of hint about how you can verify this. Here is an excerpt typical of this approach: HEALTH RISKS FROM DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE (FACTS ABOUT DRUGS) (used with permission of Parlay International). This was published by Ramapo College. The section dealing with crack cocaine is given below:

CRACK COCAINE/How It Can Hurt You: Shaking, muscle twitches, seizures, severe anxiety, compulsive repetition of actions with no meaning. Paranoia, psychosis, heart related effects, nausea and vomiting, changes in breathing, increase in body temperature. Cold sweat, dramatic mood swings, hallucinations, sensation of insects crawling under skin and other continuing psychotic effects. Eating and sleeping disorders, impaired sexual performance. Extreme social problems can develop from irritability, depression, and financial difficulties.

Death from overdose is common, as are suicide, homicide, fatal accidents while under the influence. Snorting can be fatal in itself. Breathing is often stopped when combined doses of cocaine and heroin are taken. Lethal doses vary by individual and are not predictable. Dependence occurs as a psychological craving and physical withdrawal process. Unlike other drugs, intense psychological dependence is developed with even occasional low doses. Street purchases are commonly substitute or diluted drugs. The unsuspecting buyer risks having no knowledge of what he or she is taking or what the effects may be.

Blah, blah, blah.

Actually, a good deal of these symptoms are correct, but putting it the way they did does nothing other than say: "Believe me because I say it's true." It's preaching and nothing more. I think this kind of literature does more harm than good, especially for hardheads like myself (before I found out on my own).

I did not have time to do a lot of Google searches right now, but I did come up with some interesting things. Apparently here in the USA, the clinical studies on the damaging effects of crack are more with HIV patients than any other group. I imagine that this is because those infected with the HIV virus are there in the hospital and go back for repeat sessions, so they can be studied. Crack users are usually hiding from the slits in the wall and the keyhole in the door, thinking that the police are going to come busting through them at any moment. (Been there... :) )

Here are some links:

Cocaine-Related Psychiatric Disorders

Midfacial Complications of Prolonged Cocaine Snort (not crack, but it shows bone loss clearly)

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2005 (several articles)

One day when I get more time, I might put together a list of clinical studies that have been published that clearly spell out the physical damage this drug causes. From my own experience and what I witnessed during the 5 years I inhabited that world, I can report the following:

1. Crack induces extreme paranoia at the time it is used. Crack users (in Brazil) call each other "noias" because of this. Over time, the paranoia surges increase.

2. Crack erodes bones, especially dental bones. A common symptom among long-term crack users is that many or all of their teeth fall out. Nobody talks about it, but go look for yourself. When I stopped, I was able to take my front teeth and wiggle them back and forth a little with my fingers. Lots of calcium supplements were part of my recovery and I feel lucky to have kept most of my teeth.

3. Crack expands blood vessels in a sudden surge and causes immediate sweating. This causes heart problems and propensity to strokes and aneurysms over time. (This part is not so bad for the little kids, but those who actually make it to adulthood have their circulatory system impaired.)

4. Since it results in lack of appetite, crack users don't eat and this causes all kinds of problems related to malnutrition with prolonged use.

5. The long-term effects of dopamine floods on synapses have not been studied very much (or, at least, I have not found such studies on the Internet), but I have no doubt that some damage to the receptors occurs. From observing behavior of crack users, it is easy to hypothesize that biochemical cell function has been impaired. The receptors and transmitters were not designed to keep dopamine in place for more than an instant at a time. In plain language, this means your brain cells get really screwed up.

6. Watch somebody take a hit (if you are ever close) and observe their muscle spasms. Then notice their nervous twitches when they are not using the drug. I don't know of studies on this, but from 5 years of seeing it up close and watching it get worse with chronic users (including myself), I am confident that in physiological terms, there's a there there (as the saying goes).

There is plenty more to mention, but I think you get the idea. Rather than rely only on what you see on TV or newspapers, or in your own environment, especially the bullshit served in ample quantities by fear-mongers and goody-goody-two-shoes (or worse, know-it-all know-nothings), I strongly suggest you go to where hardcore crack users hang out and look with your own eyes. If that seems too dangerous to you, NA meetings are a good place to find some of them. Then you can ask these people what the drug has done to them and hear it from the horse's mouth.

I get a bit angry when I discuss this (although I do not transmit it) because the plain facts are ugly enough to impress the bejeezus out of anyone if they see them up close or properly documented. Nothing more than simple observation and testing is needed. But people prefer to preach, speculate, accuse, condemn, justify, oversimplify, whatever.

This is a very serious issue and it deserves serious study.

(And thinking about the jerks who do this to little kids to keep them in line and facing the street risks gets me really wound up.)

Michael

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The difference is heroin, crack, crystal meth etc. don't have any purpose other than alter a brain function to the point where it is almost useless, as opposed to the other objects you listed which DO have bona fide uses. That's false analogy.

You can read about other uses for Meth here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine

Heroin has been used as a pain killer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin

Cocaine is used as a topical anesthetic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine

re/ crack: "Cocaine is a substance that affects the brain chemistry of the user. Its main effect is to release a large amount of dopamine, a brain chemical inducing feelings of euphoria."

This does not constitute altering "a brain function to the point where it is almost useless."

You guys arguing that adults can't give drugs to minors, your argument boils down to: "But, but ... it's WRONG!" And there is undoubtedly something wrong with it but I don't think anyone has solidly identified WHY.

It is up to the parents to be the first enforcer of their right to raise their children. If you let your child roam the streets without supervision and direction and he consumes drugs, or raw sugar, or chocolate bars or a beer, you, the parent, screwed up.

I'm not saying it's ok to provide children with objects that could do them harm. I'm just saying it's the parents' job to police their children and I do not clearly see the philosophical foundation for prosecuting the ones who provide the potentially-harmful objects.

As for the issue of regulating the exchange of drugs between consenting adults, you who advocate it have decisively failed to prove your point.

Those who like to fall back on name-calling and cries of "false analogy!" would do better to say nothing because you only demonstrate that you indeed have nothing to add.

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You guys arguing that adults can't give drugs to minors, your argument boils down to: "But, but ... it's WRONG!"

You guys?

???

I don't follow your identification nor your reasoning. I don't know who you are talking about (except maybe GS), nor which arguments boil down to your conclusion of an intrinsic value judgment.

As far as the difference in time between my last post and yours, there is a lapse of 11 minutes. You could not possibly have read it and the links and written your post within that interval. So I am pretty certain that I can safely speculate that you did not examine it to come to your conclusions.

Michael

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I had a hunch that you were not aware of the damaging effects of crack cocaine. The effects are observable and many have been documented in scientific and clinical studies.

I am aware, though certainly am no expert. I have never been an addict but I have seen plenty up close in North Philly (5 days/week for 4 years in high school), Chicago (4 years at U of Chicago, 2 years as a cabdriver) and in Colombia (5 days/week for 2 years transiting the downtown to go to work). And I have seen plenty of alcohol and nicotine addiction much more up-close than I preferred. But I'm not sure how relevant this is.

The fact is that people voluntarily choose to use these nasty drugs. Here in Colombia where the drugs are too expensive for certain poor people, they sniff glue, shoe polish and do all kinds of other crazy stuff to get highs from common household items.

Which goes to show that certain people refuse to deal with reality and will do anything to escape from it. Ban heroin, cocaine and meth. They sniff glue. Ban glue. They eat fungi. Ban fungi [!]. They sniff nail polish, liquid paper, permanent markers. They will always find something.

Are you going to ban all of these items? Just the ones that do the most damage? Where do you draw the line and when someone disagrees why do you get to impose your opinion on them?

The bottom line is that people are free to choose from either the good or the bad. Consenting adults must be allowed to make their own choices, and accept the consequences for them. Once you require people to select the good (or your conception of what is good) you have a slippery slope to dictatorship.

[i read your post, but not the links. I may read the links later.]

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Let's posit that a parent has the right to raise their child as they see fit.

Sorry, I don't think that's correct. Custody is a burden, an office of responsibility and duty of care.

On giving children drugs, whether by a parent or someone else:

Throughout history children have been maimed, exploited, assaulted, stunted, abandoned, starved, denied care, mentally crippled, murdered, you name it. The same is true of adults, especially in war. Drugs and alcohol are the bane of modern life, but religion and culture are often no better, and arguably they are linked or coincident -- a broad campaign of carnage and threats. It keeps dictators in power. Drug dealers, bad parents, popes and party bosses gain; neighbors cower and kids lose.

If we're talking about moral rights, the kid has no option: he/she has to struggle for survival, for knowledge. Age 10 is widely regarded as 'the age of reason.' If you induce kids to take debilitating narcotics before age 10, for the purpose of enslavement or sexual exploitation, I'd call it murder. I don't know if a jury would agree. Every case is different.

What we know for certain is that human life, especially kid life, is pretty cheap in parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. The Western democracies are entitled to some credit for their liberality and rule of law. By limiting the power of government and denying demented shamans a monopoly of 'faith,' most Western kids have adequate shelter, protection, nutrition, care, elementary education and other opportunities to explore and learn.

George, it doesn't matter a hoot whether drugs are banned. What matters is culture.

W.

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The fact is that people voluntarily choose to use these nasty drugs.

...

The bottom line is that people are free to choose from either the good or the bad. Consenting adults must be allowed to make their own choices, and accept the consequences for them.

George,

My context was not consenting adults. I thought we were discussing adults who made addicts out of small children. You asked what rights were violated and what mutilation. I believe the damage I documented constitutes a serious mutilation and a serious violation of the children's rights. Saying that they voluntarily choose to use the drug is to sever reason from volition.

For consenting adults, I have stated my opinion. With a substance as addictive as crack, I believe in a prescreening control at point of sale similar to buying arsenic or a handgun, since it can easily be used to commit crimes against others. Having information on record is good and a nice warning. Other than that, I believe the substance should be freely available for purchase to those who really want it for their own use.

Actually, if that were the case, the public image of the monstrosity the few hardcore addicts who would be regular customers would turn into would be a great deterrent for the majority. I see major advertising headaches for the manufacturers, too. Can you imagine the following?

Sexy lady getting ready to go out with sexy man. Closeups on eyes. Soft dark lighting. She takes a hit off a crack pipe, licks her lip sexily and blows the smoke in his mouth while he nonchalantly sucks it in. They look lovingly in each others eyes, full of insinuation of delights to come. He puts his arm around her back, she puts her head on his shoulder and off they walk slowly into the night. Soft Kenny G music.

Voice over: "Use crack responsibly."

Heh.

Anyone who believes that deserves to get addicted. :)

(Not really...)

I fully agree with you that people wanting escape from reality is a huge problem, but that is another issue.

Michael

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Wolf: I thought there were no responsibilities and duties in Objectivism?

Michael: I'm not convinced but I don't have anything else to add.

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Which goes to show that certain people refuse to deal with reality and will do anything to escape from it. Ban heroin, cocaine and meth. They sniff glue. Ban glue. They eat fungi. Ban fungi [!]. They sniff nail polish, liquid paper, permanent markers. They will always find something.

Are you going to ban all of these items? Just the ones that do the most damage? Where do you draw the line and when someone disagrees why do you get to impose your opinion on them?

I certainly never said we should ban anything, this is another of your little argument tricks. I said at the beginning of this argument that dangerous,"hard" drugs should be given FREE to addicts with clean needles so they don't spread disease. At the same time they should be given counseling and encouraged to enter into rehabilitation. You seem to be more concerned with the "right" of a drug dealer to make a gift of crack to a child than you are with a serious social problem. Perhaps this gives Objectivism a bad name?

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Wolf: I thought there were no responsibilities and duties in Objectivism?

From the FMN archive, on the responsibility of self-government:

Personally, my freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. I earn and spend this metaphorical coin moment-by-moment, which seems like a chaotic (almost laughably disorganized) "random walk" until we consider the long-term outcomes. For instance, I'm not married to B any more. I'm not young any more. The arc of my life has crested. I ain't gonna suddenly get smarter, so this is it, more or less. To have a beautiful little baby in my arms is a wonderful prize, which I think I earned. Like C insists, we make our own luck. I often smile in polite disagreement with her, because I know that much of life is fixed by fate at birth, channeled into a cultural time and place. But to the extent that men have any moral, willful control over the progress of their own, individual karma, I am indeed a lucky guy who stumbled around and guessed the right answers more often than not -- since I ended up with everything I wanted, including fulfillment of at least one impossible dream. So, I know something about happiness that could not have been understood before the fact of it. All I knew on a daily basis was my commitment to reason, purpose, and esteem for myself, which was awfully hard to maintain through adversity and seemingly endless failures and embarrassment. I make an enormous number of mistakes, especially with C's two older kids, with my writings, with folks at LFC, with neighbors in Nosara, etc -- but most of all in respect of my own best interests. I haven't been sleeping well recently [during the Israeli invasion of West Bank]. If I had to judge freedom/responsibility + happiness/satisfaction on a daily or hourly basis, I'd conclude that life was a choatic soup of random urges, obstacles, illusions and unwanted results (all of which is existentially inaccurate and metaphysically false). Life seems splintered, but presents the same coaxial moral questions recursively: What is important? What do I care most about? What do I want from life?

Objectivism had no philosophy of law, so I made an effort at it. Unlike the statists, I saw the rule of law as primarily limiting arbitrary government. Most of what happens among private citizens and families and neighbors is determined by voluntary action, especially jobs that impose a duty of care (parenthood, medical practice, nursing, child care, daycare, primary school) or fidelity and prudence (banking, engineering, pharmacy, food service). The division of responsibility, ethical and legal goes something like this:

The world becomes progressively less idiotic, less cruel, because men learn over time that infamy carries shameful consequences.

Shame? Who the fuck cares about being named and shamed ?? The good opinion of others is no guide to success in self-government, or much of anything beyond an opinion poll that liked Bush half a percent better than Gore -- both of whom were dumbshit standardbearers of entrenched, corrupt political dynasties with four-letter names!

Still, what's laid is played. The American electorate cannot escape moral responsibility for what happens next at the imperial White House. Likewise, an individual man is bound by consequence to his moral purpose and values. This, as flimsy as it seems, is the basis of most progress. An egoist rightly ponders outcomes. Kill and eat a few babies -- your pursuit of happiness will be irrevocably expended, lost in fatal perversion and villainy. Victims are not my first concern. I worry about the mental health of ungovernable freemen, unless the function of morality is understood.

I hereby certify that the law cannot catch or deter a clever evildoer. That's not the purpose of law, which exists first as a means of restraining mob violence, ignorant prejudice, and statist tyranny. If we apprehend a callous predator, from time to time, that's laudatory. But ending systemic, wholesale injustice is far more urgent, especially the heavy lifting of securing constitutional rights, which are few in number -- no summary punishment, fair trial by jury, no perjury, no secret evidence, and the right of appeal to ensure fundamental fairness.

To the clever predator, who does as he pleases without fear of coffee-sipping, donut-munching lawyers and cops, I suggest a review of moral purpose. Thy will be done. If you kill babies and torture morons, you will live the rest of your days in an irreversible interior hell of your own making, a black madness in perpetual fear of discovery, which will happen sooner or later. There are very few serial killers at large, except cattle ranchers and hog producers and flag-waving, stupified, weary, ultimately doomed armies of occupation. There is no ethical free ride.

The Rule of Law see also The Best of Questions

It occurs to me to say something else here, of which I am most certain indeed. My work is done. What I've written is unimportant in the sense that I merely opened a door, tried to illuminate a passage that leads to an undiscovered continent. Other writers and better brains will do the real work of exploration and integration someday in the future. They'll look back and say with charity, well, DeVoon was kind of a doofus.

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You seem to be more concerned with the "right" of a drug dealer to make a gift of crack to a child than you are with a serious social problem.

So you are only concerned with the rights of the "good" people? or the people you like? Protecting the rights of the unpopular is the front line in the war on liberty.

I am simply trying to comprehend the precise rights situation that exists when adults present minors with objects that can harm them. Michael is the only one that has made a real effort to explain that.

Perhaps this gives Objectivism a bad name?

It is extremely sad when people worry more about what others will think than about identifying the truth and the right.

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My reaction here is the same as Shayne's, Howard is a frustrated little social tyrant who feels it's his right to force other people to live how he demands they ought. Speaking as non drug user (up until a year ago I had never even consumed a drop of alchohol) I never the less do not go around demanding no one else ever drink or smoke or shoot heroin.

MSK I am sure you've heard the argument that it is only because drugs are illegal that kids get caught up in the dealing mix in that manner. If you could by heroin at walmart, there certainly wouldnt be kids forced to sell it by adults.

Careful of utilitarian arguments here too Howard, Utilitarians would be content in fixing foot long spikes to steering wheels in cars, this would surely drop the accidental death rate as everyone would be a lot more careful driving, but such a thing is certainly completely unjust. I don't care if more guns = less crime when having the right to own a gun is a manifestation of mu right to life (which necessitates the material ability to defend it) I don't care if SUV's kill more people because it is idiots who don't know how to drive them, I on the other hand will be safer in one. And I don't care if legalizing drug use will cause more people to become addicts and generally make things worse (though most evidence suggests otherwise) when we each have a right to our own life and bodies, even if that includes ruining it.

If Howard wants to help people kick bad habits WITHOUT COERCION more power to him, if he wants to descend on us with swat teams and automatical rifles that's a different story entirely.

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Wolf I enjoy and admire your work, but AR has this to say about duty:

In reality and in the Objectivist ethics, there is no such thing as "duty." There is only choice and the full, clear recognition of a principle obscured by the notion of "duty": the Law of Causality.
One of the most destructive anti-concepts in the history of moral philosophy is the term "duty."

Having been raised a Catholic and a conservative republican (frequently resenting it) I could not agree with her more! Duty is a load of horsecr*p.

I don't have as much leg to stand on as I thought wrt responsibility, though I remember her saying she disliked the word, maybe on Phil Donahue.

The acceptance of full responsibility for one's own choices and actions (and their consequences) is such a demanding moral discipline that many men seek to escape it by surrendering to what they believe is the easy, automatic, unthinking safety of a morality of "duty." They learn better, often when it is too late.
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one that claims it is a disease and the other that claims it is a choice. The truth is that addiction is not just one thing: it is multi-faceted. It is biochemical, volitional, spiritual, psychological, often social

Such is true of all human behavior, As Aristotle opined so presciently, it is all a very complicated interaction of randonmess, genes, social habits, and volitional choice. Volitional choice appears to be able to over ride all other influences of human behavior, if a person so chooses to. If they do not live an informed critically examined life, social habits and genetic influences dominate. The idea that human behavior is either nature or nature is not only a false dichotomy, as behavior can be complicated influences from both, but excludes other possibilities from consideration explicitly, such as chance and volition. I believe ultimately that volition can completely over ride all other influences, but no doubt in some circumstances and in some people there is a much stronger genetic influence or social influence that makes it more difficult to over ride than it is for someone who might not have a genetic tendancy. Though I confess to be no master of absolutely all my habits and behavior and certainly some behavior can be extremely difficult to change.

MSK, even with extreme difficulties, do you think ultimately any behavior, as long as one remains conscious, can ultimately be dominated by volition?

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So you are only concerned with the rights of the "good" people? or the people you like? Protecting the rights of the unpopular is the front line in the war on liberty.

I am simply trying to comprehend the precise rights situation that exists when adults present minors with objects that can harm them. Michael is the only one that has made a real effort to explain that.

Perhaps this gives Objectivism a bad name?

It is extremely sad when people worry more about what others will think than about identifying the truth and the right.

I am not concerned about anyone's rights, it seems you are. I am concerned about a serious social problem and what is the most effective way to deal with it. It is extremely sad to me when a person believes it is possible to "identify the truth and the right" as if this had some objective existence independent of said person.

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It is extremely sad to me when a person believes it is possible to "identify the truth and the right" as if this had some objective existence independent of said person.

... said GS, presuming his evaluation had any objective relation to existence.

Shayne

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I am not concerned about anyone's rights, it seems you are. I am concerned about a serious social problem and what is the most effective way to deal with it.

If you don't care about rights how are you able to identify any situation as a "problem"? Blind instinct? Gut feeling? Psychic vibrations?

It is extremely sad to me when a person believes it is possible to "identify the truth and the right" as if this had some objective existence independent of said person.

... said GS, presuming his evaluation had any objective relation to existence.

You made my day! ROFL!

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Michael,

I have no idea where you got the idea that Howard is a social tyrant from his few posts. Hitler was a social tyrant. Sadam Hussein was a social tyrant. Stalin was a social tyrant. Howard is a simply poster on an Internet forum who used to be close friends with Harry Binswanger and drifted away from Objectivism.

I personally wanted to sound out his thinking to see why he distanced himself from the philosophy. Shayne told him to fuck off, he got offended and left. Even if he wanted to come back, I am certain he would not want to engage people who call him a social tyrant and so forth.

So I am now sitting here without fresh ideas from an intelligent person who knows Objectivism in depth to examine. We can regurgitate the party line and call each other nasty names day after day. How about that? Let's pretend like we're saving the world that way or some other such nonsense.

Bah. I see no value in this.

If there is anything I detest about Objectivism, this propensity in some Objectivists to call other people rude oversimplified names bearing only some minimal slender thread of connection to reality and based on little or no evidence, but instead on a comment or two, is one of them.

In layman's terms, this kind of thing is immature. (Notice I did not say psychotic. Immature is accurate. Psychotic is not. There is no excuse for that kind of exaggeration, yet I see it all the time on Objectivist forums.)

This crap keeps people away from Rand's ideas. They look and think, "If I am going to learn how to be like that, I want none of it." Then they go to church and be happy around nice people.

Good job at persuasion!!!

Part of persuading is being a high-quality example of value. Objectivists need to learn this. One of the things I admire in TAS is that they have learned it. Nobody wants to become a snarling nasty little soul who barks at the drop of a hat. They want to admire greatness. And they don't want to be told about it only. They want to see it. They want to see how practitioners turn out.

Look at what they see. We are in public.

We have some terrible poster-boys for Objectivism. I wouldn't mind them being nasty in private, but they insist on getting up on the poster to show themselves off. I have no idea what is gained by that other than scratching some kind of itch.

I will deal with the other questions in the next post.

Michael

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Shayne told him to fuck off, he got offended and left.

Actually I said that if he thought it was OK to put a gun to my head (or the equivalent), then he could fuck off.

Your opinion has been the standard fare at TAS for some years now and look where it's gotten them. You act like my stance is something emotional, when in fact it's a well-thought out position, based in fact on Rand's idea that to fight evil you don't sanction it. I never made a judgment about Howard, but his idea is evil. It in fact results in horrible consequences in today's world, far more reaching than terrorism in fact.

"Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of

it. Both are despotisms: the one assumes to itself the right of

withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it."

-- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

Shayne

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Michael,

I have no problem with addictive drugs being sold at places where alcohol is sold, although I believe prescreening is needed (like with arsenic and handguns, as I mentioned above). Whether Wall Mart would want to sell them, I don't know. I doubt it.

As to volition, when the pleasure-pain mechanism kicks in, it can be a tough contest. There are many stories of people overcoming great pain through volition, but any manual on torture will teach you that everybody has a breaking point. You can overcome their volition through torture. I believe that, in biological terms, this is because pleasure-pain is a more fundamental form of awareness of value than volition. The normative part of volition in Objectivism is even based on pleasure-pain.

I have seen nothing in Objectivism, no exercises or even discussion of it, that would teach a person how to strengthen his volition in the face of extreme pain.

The issue of addiction is that craving is a form of pain. Self-loathing is a form of pain. Even extreme insecurity is a form of pain. Dealing with addiction is learning how to alleviate this pain in addition to strengthening a person's volition. This last is done by overhauling the value system on a person's premise level, but that is not the be-all and end-all of addiction. You just can't tell a person who is in dire pain that his problem is will-power and the pain is only in his mind. It doesn't work. Whining about discomfort is one thing (and I agree that it deserves contempt). Acute suffering is another.

I have known addicts at NA who have died from cancer. They loathed drugs and what drugs had done to their lives so much that they refused pain medication and preferred to live out the rest of their lives in agony.

Do you see anything in Objectivism that teaches how to do this? I never found it. But that is overcoming pain with volition.

So yes, volition can overcome pain. But pain can overcome volition, too, as the torture manuals teach. Why does there have to be a contest? At the extreme end, it's a tug of war with no winner. We can deal with both.

I think it is unrealistic and unwise to use volition severed from pain-pleasure as the best form of valuing. That's not even Objectivism. Nowadays, I use balance as my standard of evaluation. This starts with correct identification. If you want a good root for volition, start with the choice to make uncorrupted cognitive identifications.

Pretending that pain does not exist in a person suffering is an incorrect identification. Belittling it compounds the cognitive with the normative and sets the person who is judging outside the realm of human experience. He's in mental la-la land.

For those brave people who chose to die in agony, their volition was used for a negative. They did not choose agony. They rejected drugs.

I don't want to live my life choosing negatives all the time, not even to solve problems. I prefer to get in touch with my nature, become aware of it, and be true to that. This means volition, but it also means all the rest.

Michael

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