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Post 60

Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 5:16pmSanction this postReply
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Jeremy Nelson wrote at length: "In all the posts you are addressing symptoms with these historical facts. Admittedly, so was I in my original post. ... So by far the hardest thing is to engage our creative thinking and come up with a way to implement the correct philosophy without forcing anyone. In doing so we can eliminate the need for government at all."
Jeremy, I appreciate the way you derived your statements from more basic (commonly agreed) truths in order to make your points.  Overall, I agree with just about everything you said.  Allow me to focus on some points of agreement and disagreement.  (Perhaps a new topic would be the best way to keep this discussion centered and at the same time, allow bandwidth for the shooting of traitors.)  I agree that we could go back and forth on many of these anciliary points.  For instance, your model for a scientific theory does not address certain observations of mine, but hacking that out here would be off-topic, and in the main, I generally agree with the foundation you laid.  Similarly, you wrote: "No one can predict the future."  Yes, this is commonly accepted as true, along with "A stitch in time saves nine" but "Haste makes waste."  We all "predict the future" when we make plans for the next moment or next decade.
Jeremy Nelson wrote: The major problem that we have is that reality does not require others to think the same way. Sure these people that attempt to defy reality will suffer the consequences of their actions but most will not associate the effects being directly related to their choices."
One solution to that is to create a workable, personal philosophy that does not require the existence of other people.  Given that other people are in your world, that philosophy, if correct, would still be operative, taking into account the existence of other people, without demanding that they accept your philosophy. "Crusoe concepts" are a beginning. (See www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/six.asp.)
 
I agree that "most people" do not connect the effects of their thoughts and actions back to the causes.  With lower animals (or children) we know that reward or punishment for an action must be quick because time soon erases the link. However, treating other people like dogs might be personally unsatisfying. On the other hand, it might be the rational course of action. 
     Also, the funny thing is that unless you are a pollster, you probably do not know what "most" other people really think.  You only know yourself.  When someone says, "Most people are idiots who need to be ruled for their own good," they are really making a very personal statement.  
Jeremy Nelson wrote: "We have three options. One is to try to teach everybody how to come to the logical conclusions. ... The second option is to figure out a technology that will eliminate murder, personal force fields for example. ... The third option is force."
Lindsay Perigo and many others are working on the first option, spreading Objectivist ideas. The second option does not need to come from science fiction.  A good idea can be a good defense.  Many self-defense strategies are available depending on what you want to defend yourself against. Bradley J. Steiner, the author of Subway Survival, once wrote an essay for Loompanics: Sellers of Unusual Books on how to use the Loompanics retail sales catalog as a weapon of self-defense. (I think more in terms of defending myself against old age by taking vitamins, but when I lived in Albuquerque, I never went out of the house without being armed in some way.) The point is that "shields" do exist.  I must reject your third option: "If we know our theories are true then we must force others to follow these theories."
Jeremy Nelson wrote: To live with others and be able to engage in relationships with them we must implement control mechanisms.
Actually, the history of trade and commerce demonstrates just the opposite. Merchants go to places where people have different cultures and different ethics and customs, as well as different languages.  Merchants usually had no "legal" protections in strange lands.  They succeeded without forcing other people to do the right thing.
Jeremy Nelson wrote:  I don't find whining and crying over the wrongs in the world to be productive. So by far the hardest thing is to engage our creative thinking and come up with a way to implement the correct philosophy without forcing anyone. In doing so we can eliminate the need for government at all."
I agree with all three sentences. Perhaps somewhere along that road, we can eliminate the need for war.




Post 61

Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 5:40pmSanction this postReply
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Objectivism has always attracted patriots.  Ayn Rand praised the American Constitution and called America the greatest nation on Earth.  If memory serves, then in discussing the successful spread of Objectivism about 1965 or so, both the Objectivist Newsletter and a lecture by Nathaniel Branden proudly revealed that an FBI agent had used the alias "Wesley Mouch." Apparently, the Objectivists considered the FBI to be good guys.
 
Having come to Objectivism from the conservative right myself (Young Americans for Freedom), I was ambivalent about the FBI, a secret police organization that served anyone in power, including especially Roosevelt and his New Deal. The FBI pursued people for doing perfectly good business in alcohol, gambling, and prostitution, none of which were any business of the govrenment. 
 
In discussing bootleg romanticism that she approved of, Rand cited Ian Fleming's James Bond and the televisions show The Avengers.  She said that The Avengers played out the "moral princple" of "patriotism versus foreign agents."  Even at 17 years of age, I held some reservations about that.  It might be a plot-theme, but "patriotism versus foreign agents" is not a moral principle.  Proof of that is Ayn Rand's endorsement of The Scarlet Pimpernel which was all about the heroism of a monarchist "foreign agent" subverting a "democratic republic."  In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark and Mike meet in a speakeasy.  They could have met in a restaurant.  The author put them in an illegal bar.  Where was their patriotism?  What if they were arrested by the FBI? 

If America is the freest and greatest nation in history and on Earth today, then is opposition to America congruent with opposition to freedom?  In Richard Hofstadter's The American Politcal Tradition, the word "the" in the title was not accidental. Hofstadter identified four basic tenets that define the political mainstream of America: individualism; free markets; competition; equal opportunity. 
 
Being a liberal, Hofstadter included both progressives and conservatives in his definition of our tradition. The purpose of the New Deal was not to destroy free enterprise, but to save it by strengthening opportunity. Similarly, anti-trust laws encourage competition.  Of course, I understand the fallacies here, the same as you do.  The point is, however, that one of the greatest historians in American academia wrote in one of the 100 greatest books of the 20th century that the New Deal was in the American political tradition. If you attempted to defy Executive Order 6102 by shipping gold out of the country, then were you not a treasonous, traitorous, betrayer of America?
 
Who is to say?  What is the standard of judgment?  How do you apply such a standard once you find it? 

Does "rational patriotism" exist?  I do identify myself, at least in part, with the economic, social, and political history of America. What is interesting is that so do many other Americans, even as we disagree on very basic issues. Those basic disagreements allow us to view each other as enemies, outside the (true) American political tradition. Perhaps, then, this  indicates that like Christians arguing over whether the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ, were are working from within the same "tradition" and nowhere near the facts of reality.





Post 62

Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 7:31amSanction this postReply
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Michael,

Thank you for the link (www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/six.asp). It's very interesting.

Regards,

Jeremy



Post 63

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 - 5:20pmSanction this postReply
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The only response I can think of - to those who support the concept of killing soldiers who decide to opt out, to leave, to desert - is this: it's a clear example of statist shit of the highest order.

If the army is voluntary - then a soldier signs up for a career, a job. And just like any other job, he should be free to leave at any time - for whatever reason. It's his life after all.

If you join the police - but later change you mind, you can just quit.

The fact you can't just leave the armed forces clearly exposes the concept of "voluntary" as bogus. If you are not free to leave at any time - then you are simply not free. You are conscripted.

This brings up the question of the issue of following orders. Is there, morally, any case for NOT following orders? Certainly I believe so. We would be quick to praise any enemy soldier who refused to obey orders - for example a German soldier refusing to execute Jews during WWII. And the basis for this approval is that we believe a soldier is not exempt from moral decision-making. In other words, "following orders" is simply not an excuse.

Leaving, deserting or whatever you want to call it is the part of the same moral issue - the right to refuse to fight.

Certainly, in a totalitarian state - where soldiers are conscripted - being shot for "quitting" is not surprising. But to be shot for quitting your job - in a voluntary army - is another thing entirely.



Post 64

Wednesday, January 5, 2005 - 8:19pmSanction this postReply
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well you don't sign up for a three year stint to work at Burger King. Not many jobs have a term of serivce in their contract but the military does. You don't just sign up, you sign up for a specific period of time. If you leave before then, you're breaking a contract and breaking your word; both of which are unforgiveable in my view. And if you do it and put another's life in danger, you deserve to dragged back and shot.



Post 65

Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 9:31amSanction this postReply
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Hardy,

Once again you are the voice of reason in a thread dripping with liberal queasiness over holding people accountable for evading their freely chosen obligations.

Now to depart slightly from you.  While I would "drag" deserters back to face the music, like you would, and I think capital punishment should remain as the maximum penalty for desertion, I don't think it is called for except in the rarest cases of desertion.  Most desertion cases are a failure to report to duty.  Very few are the extremely serious case of battlefield desertion.  Even then execution is justified only if necessary to restore a wide-ranging breach in discipline.

Pukszta




Post 66

Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 4:00pmSanction this postReply
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So what do you say then, to those soldiers whose terms have been extended beyond their stated contract - unilaterally, without their permission? Like I said - it's conscription by the back door.



Post 67

Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 7:44pmSanction this postReply
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Well, as a disclaimer, I did say “put another's life in danger” but to clarify I would say that when your unit is at or going to combat. Even if you’re in the states and you decide to desert right before your unit ships out, they are leaving one man short and you would be putting their lives in danger.

As for the extensions, they signed up knowing they could possibly be made to stay if they were needed. America has too often signed men up for a fixed period and when their time is up, half the men leave right before a battle. So the possibly that they would have to stay for a while longer is in their contract and my argument stands.



Post 68

Friday, January 7, 2005 - 5:29amSanction this postReply
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MacGregor,

I know this was directed at Hardy, but I have an answer to "So what do you say then, to those soldiers whose terms have been extended beyond their stated contract - unilaterally, without their permission? Like I said - it's conscription by the back door."

No, it's not.  Upon enlistment soldiers agree to enter the ready reserve when their active duty term ends.  Officers have an unending commitment to return to duty unless they resign their federal commission, which they can freely do upon the end of their active duty.  Most of the stories of people being "shanghaied" back into the service involved officers who didn't resign their commission.

The bottom line is that volunteering to serve in the armed forces of this country involves taking on commitments that are not analogous to just another job.  By enlisting or obtaining a commission you agree to a duty to defend this country which is not entirely defined within the four corners of a contract.

Those who join the service with the idea that it's merely employment are fools for whom I have little sympathy when they discover otherwise.  However, I do think justice requires informing volunteers that they do submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the Pentagon and the Congress, which can unilaterally (although not arbitrarily) alter the terms of their enlistment or commission.

Pukszta




Post 69

Friday, January 7, 2005 - 5:31amSanction this postReply
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Clarence,

I should've taken better notice of your phrasing which did temper your fiery rhetoric.

Pukszta




Post 70

Friday, January 7, 2005 - 6:25pmSanction this postReply
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Ha, I was trying to be politic, not temper it down. I try to be as clear as possiable when I type so there is no confusion.



Post 71

Monday, January 24, 2005 - 12:57pmSanction this postReply
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A case of this could be seen in Britain where a reservist in the T.A. (territorial army) refused a call-up to Iraq. He defence was along the lines of "....illegal war..." and "...corrupt government..."

I would consider this as indefensible. He signed the contract. He signed up and knew what the contract entailed. He made sure his name was going to be on the list. He allied himself with the "corrupt government". To sign a contract and not fullfil your half of it is initiation of force (as I have read), and in that case the government can rightfully go back to claim as per their contract.

He places every soldier in Iraq at risk by not being there himself. Treason/cowardice/dishonour? Take your pick.




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