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Post 0

Sunday, April 9 - 7:37pmSanction this postReply
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Ethnicity is a garbage pail concept - all kinds of things tossed in it.  It includes race but without mentioning it.  It includes things like language, which in of itself is certainly not something to judge the character or value of a person by.  Many people share a set of values based upon the culture they identify with and some of those cultures are full of foul values, but we need to pick out and name the undesirable values. 

 

I believe a nation has the right to regulate immigration and to choose those people that will benefit the nation and allow in those numbers that won't overrun our societies ability to absorb and integrate them.  But that is a totally different road to the one where we would let anything like racism or non-essentials start to drive our immigration decisions.  I wish there was a way to look inside people's minds and see if they understand and value individual rights or not and make that the way we decide whether they come in to the country... but we don't, and probably never will be able to do that.

 

All that said, as long as there are many Muslims who would accept Sharia Law over the constitution in a conflict, I don't want those Muslims in this country.  But I don't know how to sort them out from those who willingly put secular liberty ahead of forced Islamic fundamentals.



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Post 1

Sunday, April 9 - 8:46pmSanction this postReply
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The controversy over the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state motivated me to post this poll.

 

What is special about Jews that allows them but no other "ethnic" group to do this?

 

This is my own poll, but I am not sure yet how even to answer it, hence this discussion.

 

The current mouthpiece of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), Yaron Brook, was born and raised in Israel, and I think that unduly influences his "official" pro-Israel positions advocated in his speeches, podcasts, and writings.  Why "open borders" for every nation but Israel?  No answer.

 

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 4/09, 9:41pm)



Post 2

Sunday, April 9 - 9:19pmSanction this postReply
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Israel has a lot of bad principles at work.  Lots of socialism and they are fierce in their defense of their race and their religion.  There was some outright terrorism in their beginning.  But I look at that culture today in terms of a long history of horrific anti-Semitic behavior - going back not just centuries but millennia.  And it didn't culminate in the Holocaust - they are still facing nations that want nuclear weapons to erase every single Jew in Israel from the face of the earth.

 

Look past their politics and past the way they stand by what are racist and religionist (is there such a word?) positions (which, by the way are pro-Jew, not anti some other race or religion) and there stands a nation that embraces life, independence, courage and intelligence.  For the most part I really like their sense of life. 



Post 3

Tuesday, April 11 - 9:15amSanction this postReply
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Right now I am leaning toward "no" because of the many questions begged, namely those of marriage and reproduction outside the "sanctioned" ethnicity.

 

A rational nationalism would center on life-affirming secular virtues any average person can practice, not unchosen traits like race.



Post 4

Tuesday, April 11 - 10:47amSanction this postReply
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It is not morally defensible to establish a government for any purpose other than the protection of individual rights. 

 

Government by its nature can only do these things:

  • Use of force, threaten to use force (including imprisonment) - these are the basic functions of government.
    • They are used primarily to prohibit and confiscate. 

Here is our question: "What purpose will direct government in its exercise of those functions?  Protecting individual rights or violating them?"

 

My book on the Nature of Government (small and unedited though it is) covered just that issue.  Maximize choice for individuals by the way you restrict force in government.



Post 5

Tuesday, April 11 - 11:11amSanction this postReply
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SW observed:

 

"It is not morally defensible to establish a government for any purpose other than the protection of individual rights."

 

Does this make Israel "not morally defensible" since it was established by and for Jews as a nationally privileged class on land they had not occupied in millennia and to which they claimed ownership based in part on mystical Zionism?

 

I really am trying to understand this.  Someone on another forum contended that the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) has devolved into a de facto Israeli Defense Fund.  There is some truth to that.  Something strange is happening here.



Post 6

Tuesday, April 11 - 12:18pmSanction this postReply
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Luke, "morally indefensible" was intended to apply to the concept of "purpose" or motivation for the forming of a government.  Were the settlers of modern Israel attempting to defend their individual rights?  Given the long history of being attacked and killed for being Jews, I can see why they chose to base their rights in that religous/racial context.  I don't agree with using that context in structuring their government.  But I also don't buy into that progressive anti-Israel stuff that seems to arise out of being pro-Palestinian and is beyond any understanding.

 

Aspects of the Israeli government don't begin to meet Objectivist standards and should be changed.  But those who are attacking Israel in the context of the Arab/Palestinian/Persian Nazi-like hatred for Jews and their totalitarian, terrorist-supporting governments are being absurd.

 

I'm no expert on the ancient history of the middle-east, but I'd say that there were ancestors of the Jews and the Arabs - both - living there from very early times.  But in a clash of civilizations, which is inevitable when one is barbaric and the other is based upon the flourishing of humans in a society that values freedom, we know who SHOULD prevail.  Look at the arguments about the American Indians being here before the European settlers.  Personally, I'm suspecting that all of this anti-Israel furor is to deflect from the immoral nature and aims of their self-declared enemies.



Post 7

Wednesday, April 12 - 11:36amSanction this postReply
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I answered "Sometimes" because "some" populations that adhere to "some" key cultural values are morally defensible while all others are not.



Post 8

Monday, April 17 - 3:49amSanction this postReply
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"In the United States today, most claims regarding differences between ethnic ‘populations’ in relationship to IQ test performance are based on statistically derived data that relate to scholastic aptitude tests (e.g. Flynn, 2006). With this in mind, and acknowledging the superior educational attainment of African blacks in the United States (and elsewhere) it can thus be argued, because of their superior educational attainment levels, that they must also surmount far more in number and more difficult scholastic aptitude tests, in general, which in turn would require higher level IQs (see Gottfredson, 1998; Ostrowsky, 1999). As whites on average do not, or are unable to attain the same levels of academic achievement within these (their own!) academic institutional frameworks, they must also by the racialist thinking employed by some, possess significantly lower cogitative indices on the group level (e.g. Jensen, 1980; Gottfredson, 1986, 1998). In fact, attainment differences of these ‘grand’ magnitudes would suggest that American whites, in particular, are at a significant intellectual handicap when matched against immigrants of black African, East Indian, and East Asian descent. Incidentally, most American whites themselves are the children or grandchildren of “self-selected,” voluntary immigrants from Europe (Ogbu and Simons, 1998), and thus these trends can not be said to result from immigrant selectivity."

-- and much more here:
https://www.africaresource.com/sci-tech-a-business/genetics/528-race-intelligence-and-iq-are-blacks-smarter-than-whites

 

Lest we make too much of that, I am pretty sure that it was meant as a reductio argument. The point here is that there is no way to pre-select for "favorable" people from a group.  You have to let individuals find their own outcomes.  



Post 9

Monday, May 1 - 9:37pmSanction this postReply
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If the United States has the "right" to regulate immigration, then people lack the right to sustain and promote their own lives. That is a logical problem with the idea of excluding folks from moving here.

 

Desperate people trapped in totalitarian hell have little recourse outside of immigrating to a more benevolent society. I think they have the right to move here, or anywhere else they choose, without approval from some board of bureaucrats.

 

It is true that bad people with bad ideas would pour in under open borders policy. It's also true that this would pollute the aggregate mind set of the population, over time. Moreover, many would do what Americans do, which is attempt to live at the expense of others. So I can't pound the table and shout for open borders, because we're headed for hell in any case and it would speed us on our way.

 

Obviously, part of the solution is to shut down the welfare state, so immigrants and everyone else would have to pay their own way. Failing that, we could prohibit immigrants from taking any public services and assistance, but exclude them from income tax. Hear the left shriek over that idea. 

 

As to excluding people based on bad ideas, in a social democracy in which bad ideas are used as a tool of oppression, it is necessary. But it is a rear guard action, not a permanent defense in our culture in which there is already a lot of irrationality.

 

In a free and rational society, open borders would be entirely appropriate, unless one is a bad criminal.

  



Post 10

Thursday, May 4 - 3:36pmSanction this postReply
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Mark,

 

I understand the quandry you find yourself in when you consider the horror that would result from an open border.  And I certainly agree that it would make things less horrible if we weren't a welfare state.  (I suspect that we both believe that forced redistribution is a problem that should be ended because it just plain wrong regardless of its effects on immigration).

 

And I agree that attempting to use immigration controls to defend against Jihad would be a rear guard action - defensive - and not a good answer to that problem and not a good answer to the overall problem of having too many people that might arrive with too many really stupid beliefs and the resulting  negative effects of that.

 

And anyway, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of excluding people based upon bad ideas, since we don't want government to be deciding which ideas are good and which are bad. 

 

This is a good time for me to make an important distinction.  Some rights are civil as opposed to individual rights (moral rights).  The right to vote, for example, is a civil right.  Civil rights apply to our citizens whereas individual rights apply to all humans.  In addition to the concepts of civil versus individual rights, we have the concept of jurisdiction.  Our government has a moral obligation to defend individual rights - but only of those who are within its juridiction.  Our government doesn't have an obligation to arrest, try and convict murders in Peru, or England, for example.

 

The right to be free of the initiation of physical force is a direct derivative of the individual right to choose.  Here is the importance of that distinction between civil and individual: Your home is your property.  And because of the concept of property, you can exclude someone from your home.  AND, if they attempt to enter your property without your permission, and even against your wishes, you can use force to exclude them.  Because of the nature of property rights, you are not initiating force to exclude them, you are exercising self-defense of that which is yours by right.  Their attempt to enter your property against your wishes is the initiation of force.  If it weren't for the concept of property rights, you wouldn't be able to stop others from 'sustaining and promoting their own lives' - in your living room.

 

Of course you see where I'm going with this.  It is how I arrived at the conclusion that there are things we all own in common and that the word 'own' should not be dismissed just because a thing is owned in common or is 'public' property.  The United States is a land of laws not by accident, nor has it existed since the beginning of time.  It was created by humans for humans.  As is in the nature of a government, it has a jurisdiction - that geographic area and those people to whom it applies.  There are benefits that acrue from being in the jurisdiction of America.  And those benefits were the product of efforts and the application of resources and there were costs.

 

To whatever degree life here in the United States is superior to other nations in sustaining and promoting each individual's life through free association is a degree of its attractiveness.  If I lived in some third world shit-hole, I'd want to come here by almost any means possible.  But if, as I maintain, we who are citizens are the public owners of aspects of our nation (however badly managed, no matter how unclear the nature of ownership, no matter how ineffectual the best efforts to manage it properly), then we do - collectively - through our management (government), have the property right to exclude others from the jurisdiction.  There are legal rights associated with ownership - it couldn't be otherwise.  I have certain limited rights in Ford Motors Company, if I own some of the companies shares.

 

It is in our best interests as a nation to let in a steady steam of new blood, of intelligent, independent, deserving, hard working people who want to become American.  That is, they want to be in a nation that respects the rule of law and that subjugates the rule of law to individual rights.  That should be our goal for immigration: those that will benefit the nation and will want to assimilate in that fashion.  That's hard to achieve - impossible if one either demands anything near perfection, and also impossible if one doesn't try.

 

We, the owners of the legal jurisdiction - of the set of laws - should act in that context to our best interests.  That is, just as the shareholders of a corporation should act to benefit the shareholders.  We should act as citizen voters (owners) telling our representatives (managers) how we want to exercise immigration (the offerings to new owners).

 

Who owns the county court house?  It is a thing of worth.  If it were private property leased to the county government, there would still be the value of exclusive use by the county government and that would be a thing of worth that they make lease payments for.  So who owns it?  The people of the county.  But like the stock in Ford Motor Company their ownership is very limited.  It is collective in nature.  The decisions they get to make are done by a shareholder vote.  They have little choice in decisions made and limited choice in managers.  Government is the manager of those things owned by the people.  It is a different kind of ownership than publically held corporations and only similar in some ways.  But it is the proper approach to those things that must be held commonly.  (Note the only two alternatives to this approach is to fall to the assumption that government can arbitrarily do what it will since the citizens have no property rights in those things that are under the control of the government.  Or, to say that there should be no government at all and I've argued elsewhere about the fallacies of anarchy).

 

Please note that it would be impossible to legally or morally deny the entry of a bad criminal to your house without the concept of property rights.  The criminal could claim moral rights to pursue his desire to better his life and you would no grounds upon which to stop him.  The same is true for our nation.  If we don't have a border (walls and doors) that the government controls and has the moral and legal right to use to deny entry, then how is it going to stop criminals?  Either we, as a people, with the government acting on our behalf, are able to treat entry into the country by non-citizens as a privilege granted by laws and NOT as a right of every foriegner, or open borders is the only moral choice.



Post 11

Saturday, May 6 - 3:11amSanction this postReply
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We all inherited an intellectual failing from common education, public or private: the acceptance of "dictionary definitions" as an intellectual standard. In Orwell's 1984, it was the active use of Newspeak in daily life.  We victimize our intellects with short, declarative sentences expressing broad truths.  Such truths do exist: A is A. But immigration policy is more complicated than that. It depends on context, and not just one context for one truth, but several truths, each in several contexts.  You cannot write enough laws to satisfy every possible requirement.   A good expression of what is required is found in the basic law that, ultimately, matters at trial come down to the judgment of 12 reasonable people.   Steve's reply in #10 above is one start to an informative discussion.

 

On a separate but related topic, for the past year, I have been reading about military counter-insurgency.  My degrees (2008, 2010) are in criminology.  So, I have to ask: what is the difference between an immigrant who commits a crime, and an enemy soldier sent in as a saboteur?  And then: what is the difference between a large number of criminal immigrants and an invading army?  And, on the same point, how is "crime" differentialble from a military insurengency? 



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Post 12

Monday, May 8 - 8:18pmSanction this postReply
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I am not sure that I buy the idea of collective ownership, unless each member of the collective explicitly and voluntarily agrees to stipulations. Government is an institution whose proper purpose is to uphold justice, which requires proper definition and defense of individual rights. If it is founded on voluntary consent, as it ought to be, then individuals truly delegate certain responsibilities to it.

 

Government has no rights, I think; only individuals do. If government has no rights, the collective  government is said to represent also lacks rights. Except that I do not think any collective has any rights. Rights have as their purpose the defense of individual moral agency. Collectives can't choose, and therefore lack rights. Properly constituted government represents, in an agency relationship, not a collective; but rather an assortment of individuals, all of whom maintain an identical reciprocal relationship with that government.

 

As to ownership of minimal assets held by government, as long as those assets are acquired without recourse to coercion (taxation etc.), then it  seems to me that those assets are owned by those who fund the government, on a pro-rated basis; the government holds the assets for those who funded their acquisition, literally as an agent. 

 

If government exists to defend properly defined individual rights, then it has no right to abrogate the rights of its citizen clients, including for instance, of an employer who wants to hire, or an entrepreneur who wants to move here to facilitate cross border commerce, or a woman who wants to bring in eligible marriage candidates. As soon as the government restricts immigration, it violates the natural rights of its citizens, and also violates the rights of foreign individuals to peacefully sustain and promote their own lives. 

 

However, life in a social democracy poses dangers. People vote to get free stuff and special privileges. If mass immigration threatens trouble, then defending individual rights ought to respect that danger. The only real solution is to move toward the establishment of a free society. That won't happen anytime soon, so as a rear-guard defensive action, shutting some foreign folks out is an imperfect solution.

 

Of course, the democrats favor illegal immigration, only because they want to extend to these people the right to vote for democrats, legally (or otherwise). If it turned out that most immigrants instead favored their political rivals, the democrats would immediately dispense with gauzy nonsense about "rights". They're all opposed to individual rights.  Many republicans oppose most immigration, it seems, because they are nativist and protectionist. 

 

I went on too long.



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Post 13

Tuesday, May 9 - 10:32amSanction this postReply
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Mark,

 

I am not sure that I buy the idea of collective ownership, unless each member of the collective explicitly and voluntarily agrees to stipulations.

 

Let me start by breaking down ownership as a concept.  If you view ownership as a bundle of rights - each to certain actions relative to an object - then you can see that we have, for example, a moral right to breathe in the air that our life requires.  And breathing is an action relative to our body (the object in question).  Owning our bodies, means having a bundle of rights - each being an action and each being relative to the object that we own.  Each of the rights is not just about an action, but implies the relationship between the object and the individual.  It is MY right to breath.  But, we are able to define rights by our nature as individuals (it is an individual right, so it is Steve's right, Mark's right, etc. - common to all individuals.)

 

Notice that we can have moral rights without first explicitly or voluntarily agreeing. 

 

But there are legal rights as well.  The right to sell stock in a company is an action that you acquired the legal right to take when you purchased the stock.  When you purchased the stock you became a collective owner.... and, in that example, it was done explicitly and voluntarily.

 

I would say that the "collective" part of the ownership (when it is that kind of ownership) is not directly tied to the "agrees" part.  Some things are owned collectively (corporations, partnerships, property held in common by marriage), and not everything has an explicit, voluntary agreement... like the intestate inheritance one has a legal right to (parents die in an accident and have no will.  Kids inherit.  They own that right to inherit upon the death of their parents absent any agreement to the contrary).
----------------

 

Government is an institution whose proper purpose is to uphold justice, which requires proper definition and defense of individual rights. If it is founded on voluntary consent, as it ought to be, then individuals truly delegate certain responsibilities to it.

 

I agree with the part about the purpose of government and the definition and defense of individual rights.  But not on the part about voluntary consent... at least not so much.  Here is why.  If a career thief is also a citizen and has given his voluntary consent, what are we going to say?  That his consent was invalid because he planned on violating rights?  Does that make the government's attempt to arrest him when he steals wrong (he didn't give proper consent)?  Or if the thief refused to consent, does that mean government has to give him a free pass to steal?  What about a man who was born here, therefore is a citizen, but, like me, never explicitly gave consent?  Does that mean govenment, even when it acts true to its proper purpose, is illegitamet?  What about a government that is 95% acting to defend individual rights and 5% violating them?  No one has the right to consent to a government violation of rights.  Contracts, which are civil agreements, grant legal rights, and must, by their nature, be explicit and voluntary.  But with government I just don't have what feels like the definitive answer to the issue of "consent of the governed."  At this point, I have an answer that is just made up as a kind of intellectual place-holder.  We all grant our moral consent to the protection of individual rights - and no more - not explicitly, but just by being creatures who have individual rights and who live among men. That consent is logically derived as opposed to voluntarily given, but it only grants the authority to defend individual rights and is not a blanket authorization.  It is a kind of axiomatic consent in the sense that no one can consent to the violation of the rights of others, and no one can have a moral right to object to the protection of individual rights.

 

I'm not entirely happy with that answer, but it is what I have now.  It has the value of making proper government moral and any action of any government that violates an individual right is not sanctioned by that 'consent.'
----------------

 

Government has no rights, I think; only individuals do. If government has no rights, the collective  government is said to represent also lacks rights. Except that I do not think any collective has any rights. Rights have as their purpose the defense of individual moral agency. Collectives can't choose, and therefore lack rights. Properly constituted government represents, in an agency relationship, not a collective; but rather an assortment of individuals, all of whom maintain an identical reciprocal relationship with that government.

 

Government has no individual rights... only individual have individual rights.  That's true.  But government has legal rights (granted by the constitution, which was granted by the ratification of a majority of the states at the time, whose representatives doing the ratification were elected by a majority of the citizens of those states).

 

A corporation keeps track of its "owners of record" - usually this is done by a bank for the corporation.  This is a record of who were owners of stock (and how many shares and of what stock issue) at any given date.  With government what we have is citizenship.  Looking at this as a legal ownership right in the common property, it is something we inherit (from whom?) at birth, if we are born here.  Hey, those are just the rules governing this legal right as it currently exists.  (I think that citizenship should NOT go a person by being born here, but that everyone should have to take a test before becoming a citizen - a test that you take at age 18 or so.  If you are born to a couple, at least one of whom has a legal right to be here, then you should inherit the legal right to be here (not citizenship)  That's how I see it). 

 

A collective would have no individual rights.  True.  But it can be a way of talking about the legal rights of those individuals who make up that collective.  For example, if a group of individuals all sign a contract saying that they will put x number of dollars into an investment, then sell that investment vehicle in 10 years and divide the money, they, collectively have legal rights relative to the investment.  That is, we can talk about their rights in that fashion.  If you are member of this collective, you have this or that right.  Collectively speaking humans have the capacity to choose, but the collective can't choose, just the individuals.

 

Legal rights should always have, at their base, moral rights.  I have a right to my life, hence I should have a legal right to defend myself, and it should be against the law (legally prohibited) for someone to murder me.  Contracts are a recognition that we own certain things (have rights to take certain actions relative to some object) and that we can trade or give away those rights.  So, if I have full legal title to an autombile, I have the right to drive it around, and I can trade that right to someone else.  They can drive it around for a period of time in exchange for money.  In that rental agreement for my car. we are dealing with legal rights, but they rest upon moral rights (individual rights).

 

Collectives do choose... in a sense.  We vote.  We do that as shareholders in a corporation, as homeowners in a homeowner's association, as citizens in our elections.  It is how we exercise the degree of choice the context allows.  When I'm in a romantic relationship, if I'm wise, I'll give up - not my moral agency - but some of my choices, to share in the decision making that is part of the context of our relationship.  The collective 'us' will choose to do some things and not others.   A 'collective choice' is just a way of saying that by some mechanism we adopted one choice over others as the action accepted by the collective.  It is how we exercise our capacity to choose when we share in something... hopefully because that shared concern benefits each of the members over the long haul more than not belonging to that collective.

 

When you say that "Properly constituted government represents, in an agency relationship, not a collective; but rather an assortment of individuals, all of whom maintain an identical reciprocal relationship with that government,"  that is true in the sense of where government derives its just powers... from the soverign individual who has individual rights.  But we often must talk, when talking government, about things that are relative to all citizens as opposed to those who are not.  E.g., citizens should vote, others should not.  And about the citizens as a group versus the government.  Citizens should be able to do anything that doesn't violate the individual rights of others and government should not be able to do anything unless the constitution specifically authorizes it.  When we do this, we are talking about the collection of individuals as a group.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as we don't attempt to imbue that collection with an identity or properties that it doesn't have.
----------------------

 

If government exists to defend properly defined individual rights, then it has no right to abrogate the rights of its citizen clients, including for instance, of an employer who wants to hire, or an entrepreneur who wants to move here to facilitate cross border commerce, or a woman who wants to bring in eligible marriage candidates. As soon as the government restricts immigration, it violates the natural rights of its citizens, and also violates the rights of foreign individuals to peacefully sustain and promote their own lives. 

 

That would all be totally true... unless you recognize that we have property in common that justifies the government, as the custodian/manager of that property, from preventing those who are not owners of that property from using it.  Government can stop people from trespassing on government property - like a military base - it is acting as the agent of the property's owners to protect that property.  If a person is from another country and has not been given a legal authorization to come to this country, then stopping them at the border is justified as long as one recognizes that government is managing a jurisdiction of laws that is property that the citizens hold in common.  An employer has no right to hire someone to work in your livingroom, unless you, as the owner of the right to be in your livingroom, grant your permission.  That is why an employer can't hire someone who would be trespassing on our jurisdiction to take the job - because that person doesn't have the right to do the trespass.  The employer can hire him, but the worker can't come here, just as the employer can hire him to work in your living room, but the worker can't go into your living room.

 

Our jurisdiction of laws is of huge value.  Even with the great number of bad laws, we have a legal environment that is better than most other places on the globe.  This value is the product of our efforts, our thoughts, our history.  We built it.  We own it.  We need to act in our self-interest as a nation to protect it because it is part and parcel of what protects our individual rights.

------------------------

 

And you were concerned that your post went on for too long :-)



Post 14

Tuesday, May 9 - 9:37pmSanction this postReply
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The central point I tried to express is that rights are a subset of morality (ethics) which derives from the necessity of individuals to make appropriate choices in order to live. 

 

Collectives of any kind do not think or choose. So collectives have no rights, including to property.

 

The examples you presented don't constitute problems, in my view. Legal rights or civil rights only become valid if they congrue with natural rights. The right to vote has problems, for instance, because of the actions that voting initiates. 

 

I'm coming from the perspective of Nozick, who argued just government can emerge voluntarily in a state of,nature. It's all a huge subject.



Post 15

Wednesday, May 10 - 8:46pmSanction this postReply
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This is my second attempt at posting this brief remark.

 

My central point is that collectives have no rights. Rights are a subset of morality (ethics), which derive from man's nature as a thinking choosing being. The individual needs moral and ethical principles to make appropriate choices that sustain and enhance life. Collectives do not think or choose, and so lack moral agency, which rights exist to protect. So collectives do not have rights, including to property.



Post 16

Friday, May 12 - 7:43pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Mark,

 

I guess one of the problems with writing really long posts, like I did, is that you get misunderstood or aren't read.  My fault.  I'll be brief.

 

You said, "The central point I tried to express is that rights are a subset of morality (ethics) which derives from the necessity of individuals to make appropriate choices in order to live. "

 

And I agreed.  I did point out that there are also legal rights, which we hope derive from a proper understanding of moral rights.

---------------------------

 

You said, "Collectives of any kind do not think or choose. So collectives have no rights, including to property." 

 

I think we disagree here - somewhat.  Not about collectives thinking or choosing.  We agree they can't do that.  But they can own property (have legal rights to it).

 

We have collectives that do make decisions - decisions resulting from the votes of their members.  The members who are individuals can think and choose.  The outcome of the vote can effect things like property (say a family-held corportation's members vote on whether or not to sell a piece of property held in the corporation's name.)  I'll repeat, I'm talking about legal rights when talking about a collective - not moral rights.  The ownership of a piece of property is in the name of the corporation, but the corporation is owned by share-holding individuals (and maybe one of the shareholders is a corporation - but its shareholders are humans - it all has to go back to humans).



Post 17

Friday, May 12 - 8:01pmSanction this postReply
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Mark,

 

You mentioned, "Collectives ... lack moral agency, which rights exist to protect. " 

 

I completely agree that a collective lacks moral agency, and I agree that moral rights are the very definition of what should be protected. 

 

But I want to point out that the mechanism for protecting rights via government is to make laws.  Properly done, a law prohibits each category of action that would constitute a violation of a moral right.  And in doing that, the law gives specific definition to what actions are prohibited.  Like laws that define first degree or second murder, manslaughter, assault, and rape - each of those laws stands as a prohibition of the initiation of violence  with specific definitions.  Thatt allows for objective law enforcement, and a just court of law acting to protect the moral right to ones life by the creation of legal rights and legal prohibitions.  Property rights start as moral rights, but we need to codify them in law to make them actionable in an equitable, just, objective fashion.  We define real property, for example.  Then we can have legal descriptions of a the legal right to occupy a piece of property.

 

On the vote:  The problem isn't with the idea of resolving a decision by a large number of owners using the vote as a mechanism.  The problem is that people put things up for vote that violate laws, violate the constitution that the law should be consistent with, and violate moral rights which are the foundation for the constituion and the purpose of government.  For example, you should be able to vote for a local representative, but not for an school bond that people will have to pay for who did not want such a bond.  Nor does the representative gain any special moral stature by being elected.  He can't morally vote for a law that violates a single individual's moral rights.  The vote is just a mechanism and confers no special moral authority that would allow the outcome to over-ride the moral rights of a single citizen.



Post 18

Saturday, May 13 - 7:09amSanction this postReply
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In the historic past, immigrants to America were required to have sponsors. The sponsor guaranteed that the immigrant would have employment or otherwise be provided for.  In that case, the government had removed itself from that much of "controlling the border."  Anyone who has a job (or a sponsor) has a right to be here; and the government has no right to prevent it.   And in the historic past, it did not matter what that employment was. There was no such thing as "taking a job away from an American."  

 

Today, we have an irrational mix of laws on immigration. Apparently, all are based on logical fallacies. 

 

In response, some people come to sites like this one to argue solutions, many of which are based on science fiction - a world without public streets, etc.

 

There is no way to argue the proper instantiation of the H1B visa. In fact, we have seen injustices typical of the mixed-premise mixed-economy government.  H1B workers are supposed to have skills not found here, but the employees they replace are expected to train them - and if they refuse, they will be denied the retirement benefits, severence pay, and other values  that were originally in their contracts. Of course, no one is complaining about the influx of illegals who insist on cleaning restrooms.  But it is part of the same problem. 

 

I believe that we here pretty much agree that the ethnocentric assumption is wrong.  

 

Some people call for "ethic-centric" limitations: not letting anyone in who does not share "American values" ... whatever those might be...  Some people claim that we do not want to let "criminals" into the country.  But millions came here specifically because they violated laws elsewhere regarding military conscription, religious practice, and even language.  Some were accused of heinous crimes in their homelands.  They came here anyway.  And as a result of that, here we all are, trying to close the door behind us now that we are here.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 5/13, 7:10am)



Post 19

Saturday, May 13 - 9:08amSanction this postReply
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Marotta says, "Anyone who has a job (or a sponsor) has a right to be here; and the government has no right to prevent it."

 

But that's so wrong!  Clearly there is no legal right for just anyone to enter the country.  No matter how muddled the law are, they don't say, "Anyone who has a job (or a sponsor) can cross the border."

 

As to a moral right, that also doesn't exist.  Do I have a moral right to enter Marotta's home if I feel like it?  No.  Can Marotta grant some third person the right to enter my home (as their sponsor, for example)?  No.

 

Can you even have a country in today's world without a border?  Very questionable.  Marotta is clearly taking the anarchy/progressive/open-border position.  He only offers these two arguments: 1.) that the current laws are a mix of rational and irrational and, 2.) that historically there was little attention paid to controlling the border.  So, fix those laws that irrational (as well as can be - perfection isn't required), and because something was done a certain way in the distant past doesn't make it right. Those were not exactly tough arguments to shoot down.

 

Notice how he sort of sneaks up to the edge of calling those who support control of the border racist?  He does it with a mealy-mouthed reference to 'ethnocentric assumptions'.  This is the just the progressive talking-point: "If you oppose open borders, you are a racist."  I don't even grant it the status of honest argument.  It is just a cowardly form of demonization of anyone who has a different opinion - defame them.

 

Marotta is snarky, in true progressive fashion, about American values, saying "whatever those might be" - gee, do we have to explain values like rule of law, not men.  Values like a constitutional republic (Oh, that's right, Marotta holds the "living Document" view of the constitution - so it isn't so much a value as an obstacle).  What about the value of a government whose purpose is the protection of unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  What about the bill of rights?

 

How many people here would be willing to bet good money that Marotta doesn't have a lock on the door to his home, and use it?  (By the way, it is a useless waste of time trying to change the mind of a progressive by pointing out logical inconsistencies or hypocrisy in their arguments.  They don't accept those as constraints.  Those aren't ends to which they tailor their means.)

 

We have the right to protect a court house from being bombed... "We" being the owners of that court house - that is, the citizens of the legal jurisdiction over which that court presides.  We have the right to say who can or cannot enter a military base (the same "we").  We have elected representatives for given jurisdictions whose job is to make the rules for managing our common property.  They haven't done a very good job, and often violate the very principles they are suppose to be constrained by, but that is what we need to fix... not to throw out the very idea of rules, representative managing, or ownership.  Borders mark the geographic edges of our national jurisdiction.  Enter that jurisdiction legally and you gain the value built into that jurisdiction - a very great value - an American value.

 

Progressives and anarchist don't understand this.  That's reason enough to reject their ideas.



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