My issues with Objectivism (Or - Why I am NOT an Objectivist)

Tore's picture
Submitted by Tore on Sat, 2014-06-21 08:37

I've been reading Objectivism literature and listened to Objectivist courses for ten years now. I know now that I never could be an Objectivist, because there are issues.

First of all, I do not see why animals cannot have protection from cruelty by law. If my neighbour beat my dog to a pulp, Objectivism says he could do that without even recieving a fine because "animals don't know what rights are"! If muslims want to slit their goats throats (hah), Objectivism says they could do that, fine, no problem.

And while we're on the subject of Islam... I am scared of even going there. Objectivism says they should be able to practice their religion as they see fit, unless they use physical force. Let's just say that I disagree. Any decent law in the West should BAN hijabs, for example.

Taxes should never be voluntary. Are you kidding? Risking anarchy just because "you cannot be a champion of individual freedom and the use of government force at the same time"? Count me out.

That was politics, a horribly boring subject. Hope I never have to talk about it again.

Elsewhere, Perigo, I almost always agree with your critisisms of Objectivism. Rational ANIMAL, social animal, romantic love, all that. I hope you start posting about Authenticism soon, because I am just so fucking curious about it! I know it will kick ass, of course, or should I say that it will be KASS? Maybe this will be "it" for me, y'know Smiling


Steve

tvr's picture

Your "Have", is it meant to imply compulsion? If it is then you are effectively advocating regulating and/or licensing pet breeding and ownership. That is no solution to upholding rights. Certainly, it is a good idea to advocate to breeders, but I think it is already quite widely practiced. Here is an example contract of a Poodle breeder for instance: http://my.ilstu.edu/~cahuff/ge...

I have the solution

Jules Troy's picture

Have would be buyers sign a contractual obligation as part if their ownership a standard of care for said property.  If in the event that the breeder discovers that the animal under contract is being abused the contract is forfeit and ownership returns to the breeder who could then sell the animal(or give) to a home and transfer that contract to them.  Depending on the amount of abuse and length of abuse the animal in question may need to spend time with a rehabilitation and training center who's costs would be payed for by the animal abuser.

Ever download and read the terms of use for software? You never actually own "the software" you are only granted a licence of use.  Something similar could be drafted up for animal ownership.

Tore

tvr's picture

Welcome back.

"Propertising animals prevents them from abuse from people other than the owner, which is good. But what about the owner? Condemning him, boycotting him, etc. if he's tormenting his dog doesn't really work.:

Condemning and boycotting worked with this cruelty:
http://www.nytimes.com/1991/09...

As for pet dogs, if their sentience were propertized separate from their body, and made a primary, given the cost of buying bred dogs do you not think that there would be a lucrative market for dog rescuers to compete with breeders and claim property in dogs from tormenting owners on the grounds of their having been abandoned, and then reselling them to a loving home?

The whole point is that criminality should be based exclusively on the provable violation of someone's rights. Animals can't enter the rights equation other than as property without introducing contradictions. Rights, to be a logically consistent concept grounded in the facts of reality, i.e., objective, must be based on and derived from a being's dormant, active or developing capacity to comprehend and exercise them. As I posted below, "bestowing" non-reasoning animals with 'rights' would be the thin edge of the wedge. Once adopted in law, next thing people will claim that "intelligent" and "feeling" plants have rights. And that the earth itself has rights. And so on it will go. An eco-fascist's wet dream.

Arguing for rights to function to uphold one's moral sensibilities rather than to function to widen to the maximum compossible extent the moral sphere open to individual action under the law is to lose sight of the source and purpose of rights and to make the concept subjective.

Haha!

Tore's picture

Laughing hard right now. Thanks for the hilarious posts, everybody!

But in all seriousness,

Both Peikoff and Rand complained that they wished there was some way to give animals protection from the law somehow, but, alas.

This means that the philosophy falls short. Objectivism itself prevented them.

Therefore, HAIL AUTHENTICISM (when it arrives)!

Propertising animals prevents them from abuse from people other than the owner, which is good. But what about the owner? Condemning him, boycotting him, etc. if he's tormenting his dog doesn't really work. At least not in the world as it is today. I know about a lot of people that were complete fucking assholes towards their pets. They recieved no social consequences of this what so ever from anybody. "It's not our business", and so on.

I have to say, though, it's cool that most Objectivists are/were animal lovers.

Aerocoons...Ha!

Frediano's picture

See, this is why I prefer to hang with Objectivists.

I swear, there are raccoons on that album cover...

Raccoons must seem like nuthin' after dealing with a moose in the attic.

regards,
Frediano

Wonderful :D

VSD's picture

if you ever do a recording I'll buy it - that's another contract you can have in writing ; )

Lol Fred

Jules Troy's picture

Next album - Aerocoons - Toys in the Attic!

I put the deal in writing.

Frediano's picture

So far, no reply.

On a dark forest highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of cantelope rinds, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering attic light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell"
Then she lit up a strobe light and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel Frediano
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel Frediano
Any time of year (Just give the soffet a tear)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in my attic, sweet summer sweat.
Some chew on the wiring, some crap up their bed

So I called up Erlich,
"Please remove these vermine"
He said, "I haven't wrangled raccoons since nineteen sixty nine"
And still those critters are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel Frediano
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel Frediano
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Marshmallows in the Havaheart,
Pink froth awaits the vice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, inside this wiry device"
And in the .22s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
No need to stab it with steely knives,
Because JHP will kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the spade
I had to dig a hole again
Near other places I had made
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

I think they'd take the deal ...

VSD's picture

... have you tried?
might take some negotiations to get over the distrust of trigger-happy two-legs, but once they get it that you're the good guy they'll love Hotel Frediano ; )

Raccoons are clever, but can't be reasoned with.

Frediano's picture

I dis-invited another raccoon just the other day.

I can't believe how clever they were to find the one spot on my house -- way up in a blind spot where two roof lines come together-- where they could simply break in by tearing the soffet away.

There was no hole in the soffet...they 'created' the hole. They were clever. They broke in. And then they made themselves at home and chewed on my attic wiring and so on, endangering my family, me, my property, and themselves.

I checked the law in PA. If an exterminator removes a 'nuisance animal' they have one set of requirements. They can't release them, and they must dispose of them using a CO2 tank. If a homeowner traps a 'nuisance animal' the law says that the homeowner may not release them elsewhere, nor give them away. The homeowner is obligated to dispose of the animal on his own property after killing it, and then, for statistical purposes only, report the event to the game commission.

OK, so, without paying an exterminator $400/wk to do this, I'm obligated to bait a trap, pull a trigger, and dig a hole. I'd rather -reason- with the raccoons, but that isn't possible. We can't -reason- with raccoons.

It would be easier for me to -reason- with raccoons. "Hey guys, stay out of my attic; you are just going to either kill yourself where I can't reach your carcass and stink up the house, or worse, start a fire by chewing on the wiring. And its a nuisance for me to trap and shoot you and dig holes and bury you. So here's a deal; I'll build you a little hutch back in the woods all your own. I'll throw in an occasional cantaloupe slice. In exchange, I get to look out my back windows and safely watch your cute little antics, I don't have to endlessly bait traps and dig holes, and you don't get shot in the head. That's a big plus for you and I see this as Win-win. What do you say, is it a deal? Is that reasonable?

Of course...there is no reasoning with raccoons. So my next best alternative is to bait traps with cantaloupe and marshmallow, shoot a few raccoons in the head, dig some holes and bury them.

So far there has been no recidivism in my non-reasoning approach. I doubt there will be.

regards,
Fred

Man, men, and some men

Frediano's picture

Terry:

"Irrational men know, deep down, that they cannot survive without men who possess reason and know how to use it."

That is a special application of the word 'know.' Existentially terrified men know only one thing; they must and will do anything to survive, including, climb up the backs of others on a sinking lifeboat that is sinking because of their earlier attempts to enslave men who possess reason.

Man is not reasonable; some men possess reason and know how to use it and are reasonable.

Man is all kind of things.

Look at a typical school classroom filled with 30 children. 25 are docile, well behaved, and on a good day, at least do approximately what they are told to do while they slump in their chairs and wait for the end of the day. Maybe 2 are misbehaving. Another 2 are reaching up out of their chairs and going after their education by the throat, as if their life depended on it.

But there is always 1 who looks around and learns exactly enough math to count heads and no more. He realizes that his easy path to power is to pander to the majority and promise them that he will tax them all 'fairly' and pay some of them to make the stuff to fight the wars he will send them to fight and die in. He will tell the 25 that he offers protection from the 2 misbehavers, which he provides by telling the 25 to police them up and pay for and staff the jails; he will be nowhere near those dangerous jobs that the 25 will do for themselves. He tells that group of 27, including the misbehavers, that he will eat the 2 and deliver them into service to them, and they are mollified by that never fulfilled promise, forever living in the economies of waiting, an endless Thirteenth Grade of Life.. And he tells the 2 that he will protect them from being eaten by the 27, or at least, he tells that to his crony friends. He is Leader Maximus, and he creates nothing, he builds nothing, he neither fights nor dies in the wars. He doesn't make stuff he doesn't break stuff. He prints zeros on bonds.

In a free nation that elects honorable state plumbers to keep the plumbing of state clean and free flowing, to paint the double yellow lines fairly down the middle of the road and so on, he interprets the plunger given to him as a scepter.

Because he can. Because without extraordinary precautions against it, government -- including self-government -- becomes a kind of asshole magnet, and inevitably devolves to the kind of freak show currently going on in Washington DC.

regards,
Fred

Fred

tvr's picture

Yes, I think that we are pretty much on the same page. Except I would question whether men's differences are truly irreconcilable. In a game of chicken, which is what all this is going to boil down to in the end, I think reason will prevail. Irrational men know, deep down, that they cannot survive without men who possess reason and know how to use it.

We are basically in agreement

Frediano's picture

Terry:

It is precisely because "fleeing to free association is no longer possible" that arriving at a compossible formulation of rights is now essential for humanity to survive.

Yes, I've expressed this elsewhere in another fashion: precisely because the opportunities to flee disagreement have been diminished -- we've all but consumed the concept of 'frontier' and our C^5(command, control, communication, computing, commerce) now all but dominates the surface of the planet and virtually renders the concept of borders obsolete, the result is a kind of circumstantially impressed forced association. We are increasingly -forced- to reconcile the irreconcilable, whereas in the old world of civilization/frontier, there was increased opportunity(even if inferior means)of fleeing irreconcilable difference. In addition, there was increased gradient of opportunities/needs/markets between developed/civilization and frontier, but that was a positive factor in fueling broad economic opportunities. Today, there are still frontiers, but they are increasingly concentrated in narrow intellectual fields toiled in by the educated few while seven billion fester in stalled broad economies of waiting. Of waiting for what? Without a positive act, this end condition of 2D surface development is not going away. What is left is endgame without a new game. And there is a new game, but we haven't deeply pursued it.

But this is a relatively new human condition; the last time we paused on the shores of a vast gulf, staring out an impenetrable sea, the Dark Ages resulted. Stasis is death. On the other side of that period was a renewed age of Exploration and a New World. Very recently -- last 50 yrs -- no longer 'New.' Last star on the US flag was 50+ years ago. That 2D surface gradient driven period of economic growth is over, quickly, replaced by purely intellectual frontiers. Far too quickly for the broad population to adjust.

With the happenstance of 2D surface gradient, in the old New World, the intellectual frontiers more often(not perfectly, but easier than today)spun off as a consequence broad economic opportunities. (Beth Steel once employed 330,000; today, $100B thrown at FaceBook employs 3500, and FB just threw $19B at an entity that employs 55. That is trying to tell us something about the current endgame.

So yes, I agree. This circumstance has resulted in a new forced association, diminished opportunities for free association, and a -new- requirement to reconcile even the irreconcilable. As in, there really is no reconciliation between process based justice and outcome based justice; we can't have both. And so, endless political conflict. There really is not reconciliation between political contexts based on struggling theocracies and a secular West, unless the West is made to struggle(and by so doing, not be perceived as a threat by the power structures in theocracies simply by existing.) And so, endless conflict-- even if the secular West, because of its secular bias, doesn't regard theocracies elsewhere as an existential threat simply by existing; the converse is not true, and in their struggling political contexts, they are absolutely right: it is them or us. That we don't believe that in the West when regarding them is hardly the point as long as they (correctly, in their political context)believe that.

We can call that a circumstantial instance of forced association, but it is still forced association. And just because it is not deliberate does not make the tractability of reconciling the irreconcilable any easier.

Will the West give up its secular bias? Will theocratic power structures secularize? One of those two must happen in order to end this festering conflict. I don't see either as likely. A solution would be to peacefully separate...but we cannot.

I did some business in Bangladesh about 15 years ago, a few years before 9/11. I got the chance to ask educated Muslim naval officers the question, 'Why does the Muslim world hate the West?' They corrected me; "The Muslim world does not hate the West; the Muslim world fears and loathes the West. The West is led by America, a nation that is in writing a Godless state. The most powerful nation on earth is led by a government guided by no morality, and so, it is a thing to be feared and loathed. This we are taught from a young age." I asked them if they thought I was guided by no morality, and they politely laughed: "We understand the difference between the American People and the American State."

A lot being lost in translation there; in our context, we are taught the meaning of our secular bias. But they are educated in their context, and even nominally civil governments are totally controlled by the local theocratic power structures, especially education. There might be modern/moderates who are educated in those Muslim nations, but they do not control the Street. The Theocrats do, and they (correctly) see even the simple existence of a thriving secular West as an existential threat to their power, and so, an irreconcilable conflict(with their current theocratic power structure, at least) and the secular West.

Unless...the secular West is seen fleeing falling towers in terror and struggling in ruined economies. And as we have seen, it is far easier to break than to build.

regards,
Fred

Fred

tvr's picture

Your tone comes across as perfectly congenial, even without a 'regards'. I can very easily visualize you with beer in hand as your type what I am reading.

I agree with you that what ultimately prevails is brawn, not brains, not because it may, but because it can. The West and its ideals did not (re-)ascend on the world stage because it has been the most right (even though it has), it has done so because it became the most powerful.

I didn't write that free association is a nebulous concept, just that it is a nebulous concept when not underpinned by a properly formulated concept of rights, and in particular, property rights. It is precisely because "fleeing to free association is no longer possible" that arriving at a compossible formulation of rights is now essential for humanity to survive. The necessary consensus to be reached is that rights, in order to qualify as rights, must be compossible and in recognition of and in accordance with man's identity as a rational being function to maximize each individual's freedom to practice their chosen morality. That is the necessary starting point to turning this titanic around. None of this UN Declaration stuff where "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others ... No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property" yet "Everyone has duties to the community" and "to protection against unemployment", etc. These things are not compossible. As isn't "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers" when juxtaposed with the former and "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." But I digress. Operating by rule of thumb, which is what the concept of free association is when divorced from an objective formulation of rights, may work for you at a personal level, or for others when fleeing to free association is possible, but it cannot work in law in the context of an inescapable, highly complex, inter-connected world. That requires a digital solution. Rules of thumb are analog solutions. Once a society has surpassed a certain level of complexity, law, to be just, needs to possess a digital nature. Example: intellectual property rights. Is one not a victim of theft when another appropriates one's work for commercial exploitation without one's consent? How does the concept of free association divorced from property rights deal with that situation without creating a contradiction if the appropriator has "disassociated" themselves from the idea of IP?

Re "a" versus "the": for a formulation of rights to qualify as "proper" it must necessarily arrive at the same end solution as other proper formulations do, that is, the same rights. That is my point. And "proper" means objective; two conflicting rights make a wrong, as does any "right" that operates contrary to man's nature qua man. Another's "right" to appropriate my work without my consent and my right to keep my work cannot both be recognized in law as "rights" without destroying the concept of rights.

I do not subscribe to fatalism. It denies the existence of free will. Social problems are man made, not metaphysical, therefore for so long as man exists, they can still be righted, and should be. Peaceful reformation remains a possibility for so long as one is free to communicate ideas with others. "That nation" needs both renewing and towing (i.e. duplicating) offshore. And in that order.

Cheers,

Terry

And I sure as hell didn't write this

Frediano's picture

New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

"Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" are today becoming the latest huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Wither exiles today? Seeking what? to flee forced association ('huddled masses') and seek free association ('to breath free').

Time to do one of three things with the Statue of Liberty:

1] Renew that nation
2] Tow the bitch somewhere else
3] Burn her down.

1] Looks iffy. 2] may not be possible.

So far, we are working overtime on 3].

regards,
Fred

caveat emptor

Frediano's picture

all of which is a very enjoyable read BTW - you have a nice way with words, but...

You are wise to cling to that 'but;' never encourage an engineer to put forth with words, or he will plow ahead and do what he cannot do well.

Writing is my cheap substitute for much needed therapy.

A skill I have never mastered is 'tone' in this medium. Tone is too easy to misinterpret. Please do not misinterpret my lack of tone. My exchanges here or anywhere are best interpreted if you imagine a can of beer next to my keyboard; they are intended in a collegial, not confrontational, manner.

regards,
Fred

P.S. I often end posts with 'regards.' It is not a meaningless affectation. I do so as a personal reminder to myself to strive to remain civil. (Some of us need a crutch or two.) It sometimes works.

Free association as relates to enforceable rights

Frediano's picture

tvr:

My point relating to 'rights' is really that, there is no universal agreement on 'rights' and so the benefit of free association -- of free political association -- is as a kind of 'lubricant' to permit mankind in disagreement over 'rights' to peacefully both diss-associate and re-associate under compatible spheres of state enforcement of 'rights.' Even with a single nation, but to the extent possible, even among nations.

Whether 'permitted' or not, people will actively demonstrate this principle in action by attempting to vote with their feet. The world is filled with refugees. America itself was once a land of refugees fleeing forced association, but it has rotted-- maybe rotted is too inflammatory a word-- it has matured. Ripened. Lost its ability to be the place where one flees forced association. It is becoming yet another place of forced association because it is no longer The New World. It is 50 years since America has sewn a new star on its flag. It is a static flag for the last 50 yrs, something new in the history of America. Coincidentally those 50 years have corresponded with America's creeping economic, military, economic, cultural global decline.

War, strife, subjugation, conflict ...I see all of them as being fomented where forced association is at its greatest, where there is limited opportunity for free association. And the global movements loose for centuries to address this seething heap of mankind are largely based on evolving forms of forced association...with one brief, shining, fleeting and now largely extinguished exception.

The report card on the center of mass of mankind is a sad thing. We are on average largely naked, sweaty apes forever lining up behind warlords and Leader Maximus, seeking the next better boot to kiss.

When fleeing to free association is no longer possible-- a geopolitical accident of 2D surface growth, the frontier is long gone-- then what comes next is another static dark ages, where that center of mass is all, and all gradient has been consumed.

regards,
Fred

'a' vs. 'the'

Frediano's picture

re: But surely one must start with a proper formulation of rights before one can (or should) 'effectualize' rights in law let-alone put force behind the concept?

I would surely agree with that; especially since you correctly(IMO)assert 'a' proper formulation of rights and not 'the' proper formulation of rights. As I wrote, I don't think there is 'the' (as in Universal among mankind) proper formulation of rights.

The more thought that goes into such a formulation, the better. The brain before the brawn. But ultimately brawn-- including the brute force of pure numbers -- can prevail, not because it may, but because it can.

I don't claim that free association is a kind of universal solvent or magic talisman, but I disagree that 'free association' is a nebulous concept; there is no ambiguity about what distinguishes gang rape from an orgy; it is not the number of participants, it is not the sexual act, it is not even the energetic and event forceful/violent nature of the acts. It is exactly the existence or absence of free association. Even if a peaceful vote was held and the vote was 9-1 in favor of the majority under well thought out rules of 'majority rule.' We all instinctively know what makes gang rape or any rape 'rape.'

Ditto distinguishing '12 years a slave' from '3 yrs from my 15yr pin here at the firm.' It is not the requirement to work to live. It is precisely the existence or absence of free association.

We also know what distinguishes theft of property from either acts of commerce or charitable donation, and that is the same element; free association. Victims of crime rarely if ever willfully choose or seek to be that victim, or else it would not be a crime, it would be a self-inflicted event. Suicide might often be unlawful but it is hardly a crime, and it is for sure self-inflicted or it would be murder, not suicide. Whose life is it? Yours or The Tri be? A fundamental political question.

I don't regard free association as 'the' universal axiom for judging tribal law, I regard it as my axiom. An axiom, not the axiom. I have found it useful to make sense of justifications for the use of state force to enforce justifiable(in my view)law. Take for example 'Clean Air Laws.' What is the principle at the foundation of those laws? Ultimately, IMO, the inhibition of forced association -- the forced association with the harmful effects of the commerce and industry of others. If others wish to smoke and take the products of incomplete combustion into their lungs because the act gives them pleasure, then I support their right to do so, and let them weigh the costs and benefits of their acts; it is their life, not mine. But when others operate an industry or conduct their commerce in such a manner as to significantly pollute the commons-- the un-propertied air and water we all share -- then their third party acts are a kind of forced association with others, and I accept the state's use of force to inhibit or regulate that based on that principle. I understand the state use of force as supportive of free association.

Murder: an act of forced association. I understand laws against murder.
Theft: an act of forced association outside of commerce or charitable giving. I understand laws against theft.
Fraud: an act of forced association. Individuals do not freely choose to be the victims of fraud.
Extortion: an act of forced association. etc.
Speeding: an act of forced association, for as long as we all share roads with thickly painted double yellow lines being the only thing separating our loved ones in the back seat from another's ability to aim a million ft-lbf of destructive force at a target mere feet from where they are sleeping. An other's act of speeding on public roads is an act of forced association with their ability to direct kinetic energy and momentum. We would understand the issue more clearly if they setup a target ten feet away from us and out passengers and aimed a RPG at it. Are we really more comfortable when perfect strangers are aiming just a million ft-lbfs of K.E. at targets mere feet from us everytime we pass them on the open road? In the USA, states set their own maximum speed limits and even local municipalities; there is not 'the' speed limit.

Although, there is 'the' Minimum Wage...even as states set their own MW. It spills across state borders via the truly nebulous 'commerce clause.' I can't find anything but forced association in MW wage laws and do not support them in the least, but largely moot; my 'forced association' with them is primarily in their secondary effects, and we live with thousands of such 'princess on the pea' impacts in our daily lives.
...

And then we get to things like ACF/Obamacare in the USA, which is the imposition of forced association by the state. Not for 'the' really good cause, but for 'a' really good cause; the really good cause imagined by some, not all.

There are obvious glaring examples of forced association in our lives; our experience as children. We don't 'choose' our families. Our relationship with them as children is an example of a forced association. But this is a natural boundary condition. As children we are in no condition and have no ability 'to choose.' Children are totally unable to choose for themselves their own families(and little of anything)becuase they are children. And in fact, when we are of age and of a condition to choose, we do 'choose' our family. I am not an advocate of the state outlawing families with children just because it is an example of forced association. And equally, I am not an advocate of the state treating adults as if we were all children.

So I view the concept 'free association' as a, for me, useful clarifying axiom, a tool with which to assess justifiable state use of force to enforce just law. When I can find the principle at the foundation, I understand the law. When I find it lacking, or worse, when I find instead a foundation of forced association, I find not ethical basis to support(or adhere to) the law, and do so only under threat of force, like any unjust law.

It is clear-- to me-- why some political agendas eschew the concepts free vs forced association; that is because some agendas require at their foundation an embrace of forced association. ie, that which makes rape 'rape' and slavery 'slavery.' I can't imagine the embrace of ethical gymnastics needed to try and justify a clean path around that unfortunate forced association, but in modern US politics, we live it every day. Sometimes that embrace involves simply never uttering the words or examining the concept.

It is not a concept I would likely ever dismiss lightly, without examination, without consequences; the biggest consequence would be, it would leave me nearly rudderless in navigating a seething sea of people who want things from each other and who will do anything, including acts of violence, to get what they want.

regards,
Fred

Fred

tvr's picture

I agree with much of what you wrote, all of which is a very enjoyable read BTW - you have a nice way with words, but...

"And this is key in making that model work: free association. The ability to vote with our feet. "

Free association is a nebulous concept without the concept of (individual) rights, and in particular, property rights, at its moral base.

"We -always- want something of and from others-- even if that is 'to be left alone.'"

The vast majority of the time it is our property (as opposed to our persons) others want to interfere with and which we want left alone, hence the need for property and rights (and person) to be properly conceptualized before one brings in the concept of free association.

"Rights without enforcement (by who or what) are wishes on paper; might as well have been used for tinder when they burned Joan of Arc at the stake."

But surely one must start with a proper formulation of rights before one can (or should) 'effectualize' rights in law let-alone put force behind the concept? As I wrote below: "Institutionalization of rights is required for rights to be fully effectual." "Fully" because mutualized-but-as-yet-not-institutionalized rights (properly conceived) are still partially effective in that they are effectual between those individuals and groups of individuals who do recognize and subscribe to them, even though they will have no effect against a politically enfranchised "mob" that doesn't.

"Local consensus; because there is no universal consensus of rights, and the many failed attempts to create such a global horror have murdered millions. And so we form nations."

But rights are not arrived at by consensus. Having first been objectively identified, giving them effect is. Nations that are not based on an objective formulation of rights are not nations based on a consensus of rights - they are nations based on a consensus about something else. Let me ask you, by your reckoning is the Organization for Islamic Cooperation's Declaration of Human Rights a valid mandate to form a nation based on rights? 45 states have reached a consensus on it.

Rights why free association is critical

Frediano's picture

Rights Enforced by who or what? La Cosa Nostra. Our thing. Our local mob of like minded individuals, huddling under our local consensus of 'rights' and a loose agreement to mutually enforce those rights.

Local consensus; because there is no universal consensus of rights, and the many failed attempts to create such a global horror have murdered millions. And so we form nations. And even within some of those nations, separate states, like fifty of them in the USA. And within those states, counties and municipalities with local laws.

And this is key in making that model work: free association. The ability to vote with our feet. To migrate either towards or away from the local consensus of rights. Free association vs. forced association. The collection of individuals under local variants of 'rights' under rules of free association. Which is why America's current flirtation with Totalitarianism and an all powerful inward looking national government is destroying what was once on the way to being a free nation. What was once an external threat to freedom -- Totalitarianism -- has long become an internal conflict in America and most of the West. Like a global rot-- the Social Disease -- destroying civilization. Ideas can kill.

In an free association nation(nowhere to be seen)the function of the national government would be limited to enforcing that concept: free association. Yes, that would empower the federal government to prohibit slavery; all forms and manner of it. Expecially to the state. Exactly the point. A nation dedicated to the defense of free association and the inhibition of forced association. Nowhere to be seen, in fact. A pipe dream. Precisely because ... the mob is the biggest slobbering beast in the Jungle and does not need to justify what it wants -- including forced association -- to anybody or anything--and can be pandered to as a path to power.

In reality; some push for and advocate those ideas where they can, and others push for and advocate just the opposite, an imperfect tug of war over the concept of 'rights' including the right to free association vs. subjugation under forced association.

"politics": the art and science of getting what we want from others using any means short of actual violence.

"megapolitics": the superset that includes actual violence.

Examples of what we want: forced association. To ride others like public property ponies, without regard to their willfull benevolence, charity, or discretionary kindness. To forcefully take from them that which they provide which we claim is ours based on our need, period, guided by our existential terror that they might say 'no' if we were restricted to asking them in our polite interactions with peers. Or, since we might, simply by our discomfort at the need to ask them. If that existential terror/discomfort can be pandered to by others who claim(and never deliver)to be able to enslave others on our behalf and obviate the need for our asking, then votes and power can be had by appealing to the soft spot in some spines.

Another example of what some want from others: to be left alone except under a model of free association. To be asked, not told, to provide something of value outside of commerce.

Both are examples of things that some want from others. Both are examples of politics. On a moral scale, they are no equivalent wants, but that is on a moral scale, not 'the' moral scale...and so, the endless political conflict.

As Mencken said, a man who says he is not interested in politics is like a drowning man who says he isn't interested in water.

We -always- want something of and from others-- even if that is 'to be left alone.'

Under a model of free association, we would be free to seek our socius that agrees with that model of enforcement of rights. But that want is not symmetric with or compatible with the model of forced association and those who seek it. The world has run this experiment and we've seen the results. The wall around West Berlin was not to keep people from fleeing away from free association, but from fleeing forced association. They couldn't arm enough guards, they couldn't make the walls high enough or the barbed wire thick enough to keep people from fleeing really lousy ideas.

That is why the forced association camp cannot tolerate even one free nation in a world of 192; there would be no way to build the walls high enough. The dream of those who embrace forced association is a world in which there is no place left to flee...

...and then watch the Totalitarian fun begin.

Freedom has historically been a minority point of view. Look at the world, as it is. The political struggle is rigged to run downhill.

And so, other tactics to pursue 'freedom' in that reality are necessary, such as, the ability to hide in plain site.

Rights

Frediano's picture

Joan of Arc possessed rights when she was burned at the stake. She just didn't enjoy them; they were ineffective in keeping the local slobbering mob(sorry for the redundancy)from doing what it will. The mob is the biggest beast in the Jungle; it is not effectively restricted by what it may do, no matter how elegant the wishes on paper, and no matter how thick that paper is. It is restricted only by what it will do.  It might be slowed down, for while, by ultimately lessor force, but in the end, the mob is the biggest force around-- especially in an instrument of state that courts it for power.

Rights without enforcement(by who or what)are wishes on paper; might as well have been used for tinder when they burned Joan of Arc at the stake.

Posessing only moral rights, as opposed to enforced rights, while being burned at the stake might warm the heart, but needlessly so.

Lack of "Fellow-Feeling" Immoral Or Amoral, Not Criminal

tvr's picture

Lindsay,

You wrote:

""We humans conceive rights—we do not have them as a fact of nature, even after we have conceived them and effected them legally."

By "conceive" do you mean in the sense of conceptualize, as in "To apprehend mentally; understand", in which case I agree with you that rights are conceived, or do you mean in the sense of "To form or develop in the mind; devise" or "To be of the opinion that; think", which would, I submit, to make rights subjective?

""Principles do not become metaphysical entities just because we have conceived and implemented them."

If nature comprises all that exists viewed in its interconnectedness, are not principles qua mental entities also a fact of nature? Why cannot principles, when conceived of as being a mental recognition of the facts of nature, themselves be deemed as being a fact of nature, just not in the metaphysical sense?

""humans have it within their discretion"

Surely what is pertinent in identifying what rights are is whether one should exercise that discretion in arriving at the concept of rights?

""a human has the right to torture his/her pet"

If one recognizes that what is ultimately being tortured is the animal's sentience, not its flesh, then using my formulation below a tortured sentience cannot be claimed to be a torturer's "property". Thus saying "his/her pet" is to beg the question by smuggling in a false premise. A person can no longer be said to have a pet once they turn torturer, at best they can only thereafter claim property in the animal's body, a secondary property. In such a circumstance, applying my formulation, anyone may then proceed to lay claim to ownership of the former pet on the basis that they will homestead property in its sentience, the torturer having abandoned any property they may have had therein. What is it about my formulation you object to?

""the situation is that neither the human nor the pet has rights intrinsically"

I agree. But humans have rights objectively, right? If you accept that rights are a recognition of truth, but are at the same time open to someone's discretion, how can one set of rights then be made to co-exist with another conflicting set without making both subjective? And if rights are not a recognition of truth, how are they not then ipso facto subjective?

"fellow-feeling, I submit, is another unit that ought to be included among those integrated in the process of forming the concept "rights.""

I fear you have conflated the immoral with the criminal. Unless an animal possesses reason or is someone's else's property, in which cases its torture should be criminal, cruelty to animals should properly fall into the former category and not the latter, making it a civil matter. For an act to be criminal and rights compossible, I submit that one must be able to point to a victim who has had their rights violated. To maintain compossibility, I submit that those rights must be based on the victim's active or dormant capacity to conceive of and exercise rights. By my reckoning, any other formulation necessarily introduces contradictions and thus subjectivity into what rights are.

Bestowing rights on non-reasoning animals on the basis of "fellow-feeling" instead of referring to property rights as the means to protect non-reasoning animals against cruelty cannot benefit rational man, it can only benefit "feeling" man, irrationally. If the premise were accepted, next thing someone will be arguing for plant rights. Wouldn't that make the the eco-fascist's day! After all, science is already demonstrating that plants also "feel" and possess "intelligence"(see http://www.pri.org/stories/201...)

To return to the point ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

We humans conceive rights—we do not have them as a fact of nature, even after we have conceived them and effected them legally. Principles do not become metaphysical entities just because we have conceived and implemented them.

Animals do not have rights—but humans have it within their discretion to afford animals protection from gratuitous cruelty (as opposed to humane killing for the unimpeachable purpose of eating steak), by law.

The folk who quail that this is the end of civilised life, or Objectivism, as we know it, must defend their own tacit view that a human has the right to torture his/her pet—when the reality of the situation is that neither the human nor the pet has rights intrinsically; we should be driven in this instance by fellow-feeling for other sentient beings—which fellow-feeling, Objectivism, to its cost, denies and disdains.

This fellow-feeling, I submit, is another unit that ought to be included among those integrated in the process of forming the concept "rights."

Naturally, the world will come to an end as a result. Eye

Rubbish!

Roll on Authenticism!

:)

Jules Troy's picture

Hahah Fred!

Haha

gregster's picture

Our cat takes care of the golf course rodents, if they're small enough. But we have the cat flap on exit only so no trophies are brought back inside. Summer evenings when the human door is open a tired rabbit will run through tossed around by Trigger. He knows we're pleased and knows we'll forgive. The trophies still end up at the bottom of the front door steps so we know he's earned his keep.

The State of Pennsylvania's Defense of Animal RIghts

Frediano's picture

Had some noise in my attic. Scratching, bouncing around. Climbed my a$$ up the access door with a little flashlight and ladder, to reach the attic area over our great room. Now there was some actual vermin. Chewing on the wiring. Tearing up the insulation. I do the 'humane' thing, and install really bright strobe lights (12VDC) in the attic. Find some loose soffet outside, repair it. Don't hear anything for three years.

Suddenly, a few months ago, noises are back. Climb back up, sure enough, the lights have burned out after three years of flashing once every second. I go back up to replace them. I have a flashlight, am climbing back up the ladder. Suddenly, a raccoon is above me, looking down at me, like 'What are YOU doing here?'

My wife, staring up from down below, announces the obvious: "that is no squirrel.' I have some squirrel traps, they are too small for these things. I have to go get a bigger trap, a 12" x 12" trap. I don't want to poison the things and have them crawl somewhere unreachable to die, and don't want to shoot them in the attic and have them bleed out where I can't reach them for the same reason. (It is an irregular space not finished, just joists and insulation and wiring and ceiling drywall.)

I can't help but tease my wife when I climb down through the access door; "I need to go buy bigger traps; you stay here and make sure the raccoon doesn't jump down through the hatch." As if. I said it with a straight face, as if I meant it. Why waste an opportunity to get a rise out of her?

I set up trail cameras and the traps in the attic, bait them with apples and marshmallows. Wait a while. Get some video of raccoons partying but that is about it. Usually 4:00am when we are asleep.

So I decide to call in the paid professionals. I call 'Erlich' the local pest control firm, who advertises 'raccoon control.' He shows up and I ask him, 'Youve handled raccoons before?' and he says 'To be honest, once in 30 yrs. A lot of squirrels.' I start to tell him about the problem, what I've done with the strobe lights and traps, and he stops me, 'Wait a minute-- I can't go up in your attic.' "Why not?" "Insurance company won't pay if I fall through your attic floor or cause any damage." "Oh. So what can you do?" He tells me, "to be honest, you are already way ahead of anything we could do; but for $400/wk, we will setup some traps outside your house and maybe catch a few."

Seriously? I can do that, for much less than that. "Why so expensive?" "Well, we need to humanely dispose of the animals we catch."

"Really? How is that?"

"Well, for years, we used to just drown them in the traps in a barrel of water, but the State now makes us buy a special CO2 tank and we have to gas them."

????

'That is more humane?'

"I guess. it's the law."

Not to mention...it's CO2.

So I thank him, and send him on his way. I'm on my own.

I finally found where they were coming in -- a blind spot up on the roof that can't be seen anywhere from the ground. Fixed that up, but what they did once they can do again. Like I am going to weld barbed wire around all the Aluminum soffet...

Meanwhile, I set up some traps outside and immediately around the house..and caught a few raccoons.

How did I humanely dispose of them? .22lr , hollow point, to the skull, between the ears. Instant lifeless slump. No idea what hit them. No suffering.

I say a few words(few of them pleasant) and then dig a hole and bury the carcass in the woods out back.

The cute little f'ers chewing on my attic wiring have rights right up until the second I shoot the little f'ers in the head, and the Commonwealth of PA can shove their mandated CO2 tank where the Sun doesn't shine.

We live in a nation that kills 37 million chickens every day, that yet also angsts over 150 flying rats(pigeons)getting shot every year in an event at Higgens to raise money for the community park, all over 'animal rights.'

37 million chickens a day? I guess only cute animals have rights.

I'm going to ponder animal rights tonight over a nice steak, complete with A1 sauce.

Have a nice day.

Off, offf!!!

VSD's picture

darn off-button is stickeing : D
and sorry for not arguing as precisely as you do - I can see where the wording distracts from the intended meaning ... I still stand by the 'agree to disagree' without going into any further 'fixing' - though sorely tempted ; )

I Press Off, You Turn (Back) On

tvr's picture

Par for the course in "Vera logic"? Smiling

"What would you accept as reason in an animal? Certain behaviour? Which?"

It looking up and purposefully contemplating the sky. The sky, not a bird or plane flying overhead. Or after teaching it to differentiate between two oranges and one orange, teaching it to run around a lap once, then without any other lap training have it follow the command to run twice around the lap. These are both examples of falsifiable and thus scientific tests for the existence of reason. They would not prove the presence of reason (that would require more scientific testing), but it would at least constitute evidence that the animal may be reasoning. All evidence of so-called animal reasoning gathered to date that I have seen is evidence of intelligence, not reasoning. They are not the same thing.

"And a seed that does not germinate…"

Does not versus cannot. Again, you treat the absent and dormant as equals. Fix that error of yours and you should find yourself in agreement with me on rights Eye

another one pushing my button :D

VSD's picture

no Terry - faith is the very last resort I'd never turn to ; )

we can argue about definitions of reason for the next 200 years - personally I think mine is not so far away from yours - but as long as I cannot bring you human-interpretable proof of reasoning animals I'll just have to admit, that by your definition of reason animals don't have any and will most likely never have reason.
What would you accept as reason in an animal? Certain behaviour? Which?

And a seed that does not germinate is of less value to me than a rock - that I can at least use to build a house or throw stones at my cave-neighbor : D

EDIT:
short version from the OED ... "The power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically"

Identity Of Rights

tvr's picture

Lindsay,

Rights are conceptual. Concepts possess identity - mental identity (not concrete identity). If the concept "rights" did not possess identity, then rights would not and cannot exist. If my reasoning here is correct, which I submit it is, then my formulation stands; one identifies rights. I invite you to demonstrate otherwise so that I may learn.

conceptualise

VSD's picture

I think some animal species (or even only single forms of some species) can form concepts - but as long as I cannot talk to them I'm doomed to second hand observation and (human) interpretation of that behaviour ...

Countering Sign Off

tvr's picture

Vera, you wrote:

"if you only allow that (currently) only humans are capable of reason"

What would you have me do? Take it on faith that non-human animals reason? You haven't provided (nor is there) a shred of evidence that animals other than humans can reason, and, I suspect your definition of "reason" is not a conventional (or logical) one...

"other species that do not speak human and do not reason human"

… as evidenced by your premise that "human" is a branch of reason and a language in its own right.

"animals … lacking reason … [versus] humans not having mastered reason"

All other illogic aside, this is the real crux of our disagreement. You treat the above two things as being worthy of equal treatment, I do not. A rock and a seed should not be treated equally in respect of life, that is, an entity lacking life and an entity possessing dormant unrealized life are not equals in respect of life. The same line of reasoning should be applied to entities lacking reason and those with a dormant capacity to reason apropos rights.

I shall not be joining you watering rocks while "conversing" with cats. Not my thing Smiling

I thought it was about

Richard Wiig's picture

I thought it was about conceptualization, Vera. If animals were conceptual creatures, then they could most definitely communicate on a conceptual level with humans - they would have a need to categorise the world just as humans do, and have to deal with all the attendant things that come with that, such as superstition, religion and philosophy. The vocal cords of a cat would be no hindrance to it reasoning with you. If cats could conceptualise and reason, then their behaviour would change vastly from what it currently is. It is clearly evident that they are outside the realm of ethics. Ethics mean nothing to a cat.

Great to see Solo back :)

VSD's picture

I was under the impression Solo was 'down for philosophical maintenance' ; )
don't worry Linz: I'm not driven away by arguments I cannot follow (though I readily admit I have to read Terry's posts several times to 'get' all that's in them). However I do often have to take longer brakes from HomoSaSa. I'm with you on the 99,99(999999999....)% but in some venues like here I find the tolerable humans rises to the very optimistic 10%, so in that context I'll let them stand for the rest of humanity.
Looking forward to more posts on Solo, even if I don't always reply : )

Terry

VSD's picture

we can 'sign off' on agreeing to disagree ; )
The discussion has certainly not been for nought - exchange of ideas never is (at least to me).
However we'll never find common ground if you only allow that (currently) only humans are capable of reason, or can communicate that reason to argue it's valid points (or lack thereof). That by definition excludes all other species that do not speak human and do not reason human. Anything else is not reason because homo sapiens cannot recognise it as such.
Same goes for my counter argument, that animals can only be considered property as they are lacking reason, but humans not having mastered reason and not being able to speak (or write) human (which starts much earlier than the baby without a brain) should still not be considered animals and as such property, but a ward - again sth 'human' above animal.
Hope you're not too disappointed with my answers ... signing off this discussion, not Solo ; )

Hahaha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You're on to it! Keep going!!

Mulling...

tvr's picture

... on "identify".

My brother once said to me,

Richard Wiig's picture

My brother once said to me, animals have no rights, and some people have no rights because they are animals. It's always stuck with me.

Lindsay

tvr's picture

"Allowing rights to 10% of humans would be hopelessly optimistic and extremely careless. They should be withheld from 99.99%"

The complement of rights is not an all or nothing proposition. One's application/granting of rights to others should emerge in accordance with that other's capability to exercise a particular right/s. Are you saying that by your concept of rights that 99.99% of humans do not qualify even for the right to life?That is how your statement reads. I shall assume you were just being facetious. By my formulation 99.99 (or whatever) percent of people may not possess the right to life, that is, they have not conceptualized the principle, but they certainly qualify to benefit from that right - that is, to have that right in law, by virtue of the rights that I (and others) possess and which they may one day possess (excluding, of course, all those who have by their actions forfeited the right to life).

Now, as to identifying this elusive 'nub'. If one replaces "rights" with "true principles", which I understand we both agree is what rights are in fact (correct?), show me where I am creating a contradiction. I have already conceded that rights may be granted (and by extension, withheld), but not misconceived rights, which can be, but shouldn't (hence my objection to Vera's use of those terms). Thus, first things first: identify/conceptualize rights. Granting rights to others is the final but necessary step of their being realized, it is not however the essential step, which is, I submit, their correct conceptualization.

I shall change "enjoy" to "enjoy the benefit of" in my formulations, and just to be really pedantic, the "are" in my original formulation to "may be", which for all intents and purposes is what I meant.

If the above tweaks and clarifications do not bring out the sunshine, then let it rip! I want this dark cloud that is the dreaded "Intrincist" label to clear one way or other...

Terry

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The context of that excerpt is that Vera objected to my grounding rights in "the 'necessities' of humans" [her words, but on the button], and her stipulation that rights should be "withheld" from anyone who she doesn't think qualifies for them, being "90% of humans",

I agree with you that Vera is wrong on this. Allowing rights to 10% of humans would be hopelessly optimistic and extremely careless. They should be withheld from 99.99%.

Does the above reformulation and supporting comments bring us into agreement, or, at least, enough into agreement that you will now stop misapplying the "intrincist" label to me?

No, nor does it seem an exercise in clarification (I'd hate to see an exercise in convolution!). Remember, I'm not coming at it from Vera's angle. In your original formulation I think lay the nub of our disagreement and your intrinsicism (if I'm not mistaken). I'd love to see if you can spot it. Eye

Not Conscientious Enough It Seems!

tvr's picture

Lindsay,

I am trying my best to retain Vera with my objectivity Smiling.

The context of that excerpt is that Vera objected to my grounding rights in "the 'necessities' of humans" [her words, but on the button], and her stipulation that rights should be "withheld" from anyone who she doesn't think qualifies for them, being "90% of humans", yet she seemingly wants rights "granted" to non-humans on the basis of a "meaningful exchange of values" with them, whatever that is supposed to mean (she herself concedes that that standard would be a "toughie" to conceptualize and implement). This made her use of the term "grant" one that I object to. Rights are not dependent on her mistaken conceptions of them, nor on her (or anyone else's) discretion to "withhold" them as they happen to see fit.

Note that for one to "recognize and respect" rights involves another sense of 'grant', that is: " to concede; acknowledge the validity of;" and "to consent to perform or fulfill". The sense of grant I object to is the one along the lines of "To accord as prerogative or privilege", as in: "give over; surrender or relinquish", as may be inferred from Vera's use of the term is the sense she must mean. Rights are not something that one holds onto for someone else in the actual sense, just the potential sense. Rights are an emergent principle.

For clarification's sake, here is a reformulation of what I wrote in my last post so as to be more accurate and covey more clearly what I mean and meant:

Rights do not come into existence by grant alone. As true principles that pertain to the facts of reality, they must first be identified and conceptualized objectively by conferrers, whereafter any granting of them necessarily involves a conferrer respecting and upholding the same as they relate to a respective (or prospective) conferee, only after which time the latter may be said to enjoy those rights they are capable of exercising respected and unimpeded by the former. Institutionalization of rights is required for rights to be fully effectual.

Does the above reformulation and supporting comments bring us into agreement, or, at least, enough into agreement that you will stop misapplying the "intrincist" label to me?

Terry

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You've just, inadvertently perhaps, in your admirably conscientious answer to Vera, iterated the nub of our disagreement. See if you can guess:

Rights are not "granted"! They are identified, conceptualized, recognized, exercised, enjoyed, respected, upheld.

Is there any part of that formulation you'd like to reconsider?

Great to see Vera back. Don't you go frightening her off with your intrinsicism! Eye

Vera

tvr's picture

I'm giving this my best shot. Here goes...

"man is nowhere near that postulated superiority"

My argument has nothing to do with man's "superiority", it has to do with man's identity, which is the sole basis of rights. As for "granting higher value and protection" to he who possesses reason - the faculty that is the source of all knowledge and values, including rights - this is but a logical conclusion. Reason is to values as land (solid ground) is to houses. If you had to go without one or the other, which would you choose and why? Hopefully in answering that question you come to realization why a preponderance of reason in this world (both present and future, actual and potential) should be more valuable to you than anything else that your reasoning mind might otherwise identify as being of value.

"simply having that faculty but not exercising it, or worse perverting it, is not enough (in my opinion) to grant every individual of that species that superiority, value, protection"

There you go again. Rights are not "granted"! They are identified, conceptualized, recognized, exercised, enjoyed, respected, upheld. A person who does not have the capacity to exercise a particular right does not ipso facto have that right. Not yet anyway. And a person who willfully violates the rights of others loses what rights they have and is thereafter dealt with on the basis of legal justice and the rights of the victim.

"They should have to be categorized as 'property' (if indeed any reasoning being would claim them as such) and would thus be treated as lower species."

Now hold on a minute. Property is not a concept one can assign to things willy-nilly, let-alone to people. Property is, in essence, exchangeable effort (see Bastiat). You are advocating slavery. That may be appropriate for hominids who are feral and incapable of ever conceiving of property for having missed the crucial stage of cognitive development necessary for reason due to their being outside of society at the time (this, I suspect, was the origin of slavery, as evidenced by the ancient Sumerian name for slave being "mountain man/woman"), but that is not the case today. Almost all adults in modern society possess reason and are perfectly capable of conceiving of property and exchanging their services for the services of others and respecting what property a party has in a thing. To the extent that they choose not to, they are criminals: irrational men, not arational animals. The effort expended in serving justice upon criminals is paid for in court fees, police wages, etc. No criminal ever enters into the property equation merely because they are a criminal (nor should an irrational person who has committed no crime be deemed someone's property for the same reason). Rights are forfeited, temporarily, or never realized, but a man does not turn into someone's property merely because he has forfeited or not managed to exercise his rights - such men become someone's ward.

"In our analogy: one rhino is worth more than a lot of humans I met"

That is your personal value judgment, which the free market should enable you to act upon, but it is not something that should be forced upon others. The purpose of objective law is to recognize and protect your right to make such a personal value judgment, however irrational or rational it may be. What you are proposing however is to do away with that legal recognition and protection and impose your valuation onto everyone else. So much for your staying true to the non-initiation of force principle!

"However here's the rub: who gets to categorise?"

The most persuasive in reasoning should get to.

"which brings me to the other point I was trying to make: does a dolphin, ape, whale, etc. have the facutly to reason, but cannot express that reasoning in a way recognisable to humans? Take this one step further with other species, terran or alien..."

Now you are just making arbitrary assertions, which logic demands be dismissed. Where is the evidence that these animals possess reason, i.e. the ability to abstract and think in concepts? (note: reason is not the same thing as intelligence!)

"The ability to communicate (and I mean any form of communication, not just verbal) is the basis of recognising that faculty and negotiate it's merit."

Ants communicate to each other via chemicals. Plants communicate to animals with colors and scent. So if logic were applied to your premise ants and plants should have rights and we should respect their rights. I'd like to see you try have the ants and plants reciprocate Smiling

"If you look at the constant misunderstandings among the human species I doubt most instances of homo sapiens qualify. "

Misunderstandings are inevitable and unavoidable because reason is not infallible. That is precisely why rational man needs rights: to protect him from the follies of the irrational. Rights pertain to those who possess reason, both irrational and rational, not only those who are rational. It is the (more) rational who benefit from rights immediately and directly, while the (more) irrational benefit indirectly by experiencing the just consequences of their irrational actions.

"I've had more meaningful 'exchanges' (to avoid conversation) with cats."

If you truly converse with cats, tell me I'd be keen to learn what these two are conversing about:

Eye

"'meaningful exchange of values' - I know it's a toughie for objective reasoning and formulating laws"

Meaningful and valuable to whom?? Your proposed standard is not just a toughie, its an impossibility, that is if objective law is your aim. It would make rights completely subjective and cross-conflicting.

"An individual can (and must) determine the values in it's own life - everything else follows from that…"

Precisely! And that is why rights as I have outlined them are the way to go: propertize non-reasoning animals, and insist that reasoning animals (both irrational and rational, actual and potential) deal with each other on the basis of rights. If a reasoning animal (henceforth "man") cannot exercise a particular right, then he doesn't have that right. And if a man does not respect the rights of another man (including his right to property in animals - property in its sentience primarily, in its flesh and bones secondarily), then he lose his rights until justice has been served whereafter he may exercise his rights once again. Humans are, as far as we know, the only reasoning animals - I challenge you to prove otherwise.

"the one 'common denominator': non-initiation-of-force against another individual - however far you want to push that"

Per my earlier comment, force is a concept that is dependent on the concepts of property, rights and life. The error I see you making is that you employ the concept of force without being clear on what the other concepts are first.

"problem is: how do you communicate that if you don't speak human? I think certain individual animals I've met with would qualify if only we could communicate on a broader basis"

That "broader basis" is called abstract thinking. You may be able to communicate with other animals at a perceptual level, but rights, property, etc are not perceptual, they are conceptual.

"take each and every individual of any species and we're on the same page - provided we can ever find common ground on what is sentient and what is rational"

Sentience relevant to the property equation is trainability. If an organism does not display learned behavior, if it merely responds to stimuli pre-programmed without input from humans, then it should not enter into the property equation as far as its sentience goes. What property could one possibly have in a sentience that cannot be cultivated, or that has not received input from a proprietor, that just is as it is in nature? One would need to demonstrate what learned behavior one has cultivated in a being's sentience in order to claim it as being one's own property (a pet-owner bond is perhaps the most easily demonstrated of learned behaviors). Further, since sentient property is (or should be) the primary property one has in an animal, if he animal's sentient needs are not being be met, that is, if its cultivation involves cruelty, then whatever property one otherwise has in the animal may be considered as having been abandoned should someone else want to homestead the animal's sentience back to health. As for determining rationality, that is discussed in the article I linked in my last post below.

From all that I have outlined, I cannot see how my solution does not meet your criteria of "individuality". Any individual organism that possesses the capacity to comprehend and respect property rights - i.e., the only means of implementing rights - has rights to the extent that they possess the ability to exercise them, while those that don't have the capacity receive protection only via the property rights of those organisms that do. Humans beings being the only known organism to qualify at present.

"If you wish to exclude future enhanced reasoning after the toddler grows up (my argument for species development on a much larger scale), then substitute the toddler with a mentally impaired human who will never reach a higher level of reasoning than a chimp."

The mentally impaired human does not possess rights a such, but is afforded a courtesy in law recognizing that there is still the possibility that their impairment may be overcome by medical advances one day. This is merely an expression of conservativism in rights while staying true to the principle. If an individual is so severely disabled that there is no possibility of that ever happening, such as when a baby is born without a brain, or a person's brain dies, then that courtesy should not apply, and the parents or legal benefactor should instead assume property rights over the body in exchange for their taking care of it. Now, if technology were to advance to such a degree that it became theoretically possible in its lifetime to enable a chimp to reason such that it may comprehend, agree to, respect and exercise rights, then you could make an argument for affording chimps the same legal courtesy.

So, can we sign off as being on the same page, or was this all for nought? Smiling

Thanx for explaining :)

VSD's picture

I'll stay with Jules then over both forums ...

Vera

Jules Troy's picture

I'm adopted, Jules Troy was my first and middle birth name.  Steve Wolfer is the Steve of RoR but everyone knows my real name is Steve but prefer to call me Jules.  I'm fine with either.

Agreed Jules

VSD's picture

I'd have to pay fines in the trillions for future business loss if your lawyer makes a good case ... but it's still only fines or perhaps in worst case scenario some jail-time ... no one would give me the needle as they would if I did the same to you and your potential progeny and you'd not be entitled (legally speaking only of course) to shoot me if I did that to your rhinos on my property
PS: Jules or Steve? I noticed you go by two names here (not so in RoR)

discrimination animal vs. human

VSD's picture

Abstract reasoning can get very complicated at some point, so I'll try to bring it down to a concrete example. Maybe you can explain how that fits into your concept of reasoning and rights?

To get away from the innocent rhinos I'll compare a chimpanzee to a 3-yo human toddler - both have about the same command of reasoning - the toddler maybe slightly more command of communicating:

- I physically punish them for being disobedient
toddler: child welfare orders supervision (or even loss of parental rights)
chimp: legally nobody cares (maybe my neighbor who watches me does, but can't do anything about it)

- I accidentally kill them because they've been running in front of my motorbike
toddler: partial culpability on my part - I could have tried harder to avoid the child or driven more defensively
chimp: no culpability at all - by German law I'm even required to drive over an animal instead of swerving around it if that would endanger other property (i.e. damage another car) or drive onto the other lane where I may or may not head into an oncoming car

- I accidentally kill them because I got mad at them and lashed out (note the distiction to the next example which is also typically human)
toddler: murder third degree
chimp: fine for destruction of property

- I intentionally torture and kill them (dead is dead - right)
toddler: murder first degree (needle depending on the state)
chimp: fine for destruction of property (and possibly court-ordered counseling for personality disorder for the torture part)

If you wish to exclude future enhanced reasoning after the toddler grows up (my argument for species development on a much larger scale), then substitute the toddler with a mentally impaired human who will never reach a higher level of reasoning than a chimp.

If the abilitiy to reason and the application of rights (and in these examples resulting laws) is proportionate to each individuals capability to excercise them we'd find common ground - as it stands we'll have to agree to disagree.

Well Vera

Jules Troy's picture

Here I am on my private game preserve and own 20 of the last 50 Black Rhino's in the world.  As a businessman I recognize that there are criminals that are salivating at the chance to break down my fence and either enter my property to kill and harvest them for their horns to sell in the black market to mystical Chinese with more money than brains or let them wander into Vera's property and do the same.

As a side business I run Eco-tourism and private safaris for high paying wildlife photographers etc etc.  

Another business I run is a breeding program to establish populations in private zoos and other private game preserves.  Due to the rare numbers of this species I am able to charge millions for artificial insemination from my prime breeding bull.

Lets say I'm a lousy shot and my armed guards are negligent in their duties.  Furthermore let's assume you managed to break down my fence, kill my prize bull and get away with his horn.  Fortunatly for me I have the whole thing captured on video surveillance.

In a court of law you would be liable for much more than the cost of my fence repair and some meat....

Thanx for your replies Terry :)

VSD's picture

They confirm what I've been 'reading between the lines': the (almost exclusive) superiority of man qua species homo sapiens - which is of course far from my conviction that man is nowhere near that postulated superiority.
Let me explain shortly:

If the 'faculty of reason' is the measure of such superiority and basis for rights, for granting higher value and protection, than 90% of the human species need not apply - simply having that faculty but not exercising it, or worse perverting it, is not enough (in my opinion) to grant every individual of that species that superiority, value, protection. They should have to be categorized as 'property' (if indeed any reasoning being would claim them as such) and would thus be treated as lower species.
In our analogy: one rhino is worth more than a lot of humans I met.

However here's the rub: who gets to categorise?
which brings me to the other point I was trying to make: does a dolphin, ape, whale, etc. have the facutly to reason, but cannot express that reasoning in a way recognisable to humans? Take this one step further with other species, terran or alien if you wish to speculate. The ability to communicate (and I mean any form of communication, not just verbal) is the basis of recognising that faculty and negotiate it's merit.
If you look at the constant misunderstandings among the human species I doubt most instances of homo sapiens qualify. I've had more meaningful 'exchanges' (to avoid conversation) with cats.

So I'd guess we agree to disagree?

short answer to your questions:

1) On what basis, if any, do you say man may permit animals to enter the rights equation if not by possessing the faculty of reason, i.e. the faculty that gives rise to rights?
'meaningful exchange of values' - I know it's a toughie for objective reasoning and formulating laws, and I'm not talking about touchy-feely plants either ; ) my premise is not a generic 'one-fits-all' kind of value-system based on certain characteristics (that only some have agreed on and are very limited), but one of individuality. An individual can (and must) determine the values in it's own life - everything else follows from that, including the recognition and protection of that value by others ... the one 'common denominator': non-initiation-of-force against another individual - however far you want to push that
problem is: how do you communicate that if you don't speak human? I think certain individual animals I've met with would qualify if only we could communicate on a broader basis

2) What objection[s] do you have to arational animals being treated as property, and per my proposal, making sentient property primary and non-sentient property secondary?
none as long as you do not categorise them as animals vs. humans - take each and every individual of any species and we're on the same page - provided we can ever find common ground on what is sentient and what is rational

3) On what other basis do you say man should deal with animals in law if not by rights or property?
apart from the the answers above, limiting only to non-sentient, non-reasoning life-forms: still the basis of individuality. The property has to be replaceable in it's individual context. A rhino is not just so many pounds of flesh, but also has individual characteristics and thus values to you as proprietor - if you take those into consideration I'll agree to your property-rights.

Closing The Gap

tvr's picture

Vera,

You pose some good questions. Made me think. Here are my answers:

"rhino will always be property, never have rights:"

yes (provided, that is, the beast is homesteaded or purchased by someone - a thing can only be property if effort has been expended by a person to add value to it), and yes.

"man will always have rights even in his lowest form (except if he intentionally forfeits them):"

No. Rights, like all ideas, exist only when man conceptualizes them. And, men who have not yet conceptualized rights cannot possibly benefit from them unless others who have choose to abide by what they have identified. So, using your words, the man's "lowest form" does not and cannot have rights except to the extent that the "highest form" identifies and sanctifies them.


"destroying rhino is destroying property - destroying man is murder and will be punished in a higher degree (even for individual man in his lowest form):"

Yes (if it qualifies as property), yes (assuming intent) and yes, because man, not the Rhino, is the very source of rights and property, making each and every individual immeasurably more valuable than any instance of property or non-rational life form, even if only measured in terms of potential.

"- destroying an entire animal species is still only destroying property (of a higher magnitude, but still property):"

Potentially. Today, however, endangered species are typically nationalized or internationalized, not propertized, increasing the likelihood of their becoming extinct. See my earlier discussion with Steve below on this.

"- destroying entire species Homo Erectus (not capable of a or b below) would only be the destruction of property, not man:"

To the extent that Homo Erectus did not possess the faculty of reason, and thus did not possess the ability to conceptualize "property", "rights", etc, it would be no different to the Rhino; it should not enter the rights equation, only the property equation.

"- lower species can reach the level of 'human' if:"


a) they possess the faculty of reason

They would not then be called human, naturally, but they would enter the rights equation.

"- capability of species is sufficient for 'human' level - not every form of that species has to reach that level:"

I do not understand this last question of yours. Taking a stab at what you may be getting at, the key test for whether a species possesses reason is if an instance of it demonstrates abstractive and integrative thinking, not merely associative and dissociative thinking. It would be for science to determine the appropriate tests for that. I'll finish by saying that just because an animal does not possess the faculty of reason does not mean that one should not deal with it humanely, it merely means that one should not deal with it on the basis of rights.

Questions for you now:

1) On what basis, if any, do you say man may permit animals to enter the rights equation if not by possessing the faculty of reason, i.e. the faculty that gives rise to rights?

2) What objection[s] do you have to arational animals being treated as property, and per my proposal, making sentient property primary and non-sentient property secondary?

3) On what other basis do you say man should deal with animals in law if not by rights or property?

slippery - have to sharpen my arguments ...

VSD's picture

Terry,
I see we can keep up this discussion for many more pages, so I'll try to sharpen my arguments - can you please answer yes or no where appropriate? correction of elaboration where required of course welcome : )

- rhino will always be property, never have rights:
- man will always have rights even in his lowest form (except if he intentionally forfeits them):
- destroying rhino is destroying property - destroying man is murder and will be punished in a higher degree (even for individual man in his lowest form):
- destroying an entire animal species is still only destroying property (of a higher magnitude, but still property):
- destroying entire species Homo Erectus (not capable of a or b below) would only be the destruction of property, not man:
- lower species can reach the level of 'human' if:
a) they learn to reason on a human level
b) they learn to articulate on a human level (talking, writing, telepathy, however)
c) both of the above
- capability of species is sufficient for 'human' level - not every form of that species has to reach that level:

maybe that gets us closer to the difference between human value and lower species value and where one can become the other so different rights and values apply ; )
Thanx

That's Right, No "Cockroach Focus" For Me...

tvr's picture

Vera,

Rights serve to protect the rational from the irrational, not the other way around. The arational do not enter the equation except as potential property. What it comes down to is whether or not you support the rational being protected from the irrational. It would irrational not to.

You wrote:

"still only charges for destruction of property - not destruction of life, species"

For all intents and purposes, in your hypothetical the Rhino's sentience is its life and so I do make provision for charges for its destruction. Life and property need not be mutually exclusive.

"so the Alpha wins"

No. Rational life "wins", and the reward is that values that are only available to rational minds become possible, such as beauty, love, happiness. Irrational (and even non-conscious) life can very easily become the "Alpha" and rule the planet once again, but is that the kind of life you would want to live or live amongst?

"we only define it via the human standard ... as for that standard: good luck agreeing with any significant percentage of those humans"

Truth is arrived at by a rational process, not by consent, and certainly not by the consent of the irrational!

"life qua life would probably not care if it's in human form or cockroach form "

You are committing the error of attributing a valuing consciousness to "life qua life".

"so why should Jules get the needle for killing me and I only get a slap on the wrists for killing his rhino? because you value human life (qua human) higher, so your individual form of that life get's rated higher, too?"

Proper justice would not involve a slap on the wrist, first of all. Some jail time for the willful destruction of Jules' property plus full restitution of the value of his property would be in order for that to occur. If that were the justice ordered for such an offense, as it should be, then you would think twice about committing your crime wouldn't you. And, Jules should not get the needle, the death penalty is not an objective punishment, that is because there is no ability for recourse in case of errors of justice.

"example: if I value individuality, variety, higher than species, then a rhino would be worth more to me than a few million identical energy-consumers of the human species"

And how do you propose quantifying that "worth" if not through property rights?

"you already set up your own boundaries: rights only apply to the necessity of human life (species) and only those individual forms able and willing to participate in their various subsets"

Where did I write that the human species or human life was necessary? Quite the opposite, it is very much optional. What I wrote was that rights are necessary for humanity to exist - humanity in its fully realized form. And so it is. A living organism that carries the homo sapien gene is not the same thing as a consciousness experiencing a human existence!

"conflicted in it's own variety of moral identities"

If one is conflicted over one's moral identity, one is ipso facto disqualified from the discussion. That leaves those who are not conflicted to "battle it out". There is only two ways to "battle it out": the human way, via reasoned persuasion, or the savage way, via the violent use of force. Which do you advocate? Smiling

"the essential premise where we started: where do rights, force, life, start and end?"

Rights and human life both begin with rational thought, and both end without it. The essential question is whether rights should be recognized and placed under objective control or ignored and/or left to societal whims. For a more detailed discussion on this very question, I invite you to read my article: http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

"where can we initiate force based on our rational superiority of a species (I'd even question that for 90% of the human species)"

It is not about moral or rational superiority. Humans are rational creatures and thus require morals to function in that capacity, whereas all other known species are arational and thus amoral. So, you need to choose another standard for "superior" if you want to use that term.

"where can we withhold rights from those who do not qualify (again I'd withhold those from 90% of humans)"

Rights cannot be "withheld", because they cannot be granted. Permissions are granted and withheld, and rights are not permissions. Rights may only be conceptualized, mutualized (i.e., agreed upon), and institutionalized (i.e., given legal effect). Those who have not yet conceptualized rights can receive the benefit of them only by the good graces of those who have. Those who have no capacity whatever to conceptualize rights do not enter into the rights equation.

"if you care as an individual form, you do not care as a species, so life should be valued on it's individual forms, not the species it belongs to? "

A species is merely a categorization of a group of individual forms sharing a common characteristic[s]. In the case of humans, the relevant common characteristic is the faculty of reason. If one is rational, it is that faculty and its potential that one values, and only in relation to how it may benefit one's own life and wellbeing. What could be more valuable to one's life and well being than reason - the source of all known values?

"so all of the above only applies to objectivists"

It applies to everyone, whether one chooses to acknowledge the fact or not.

I'm in Canada

Jules Troy's picture

I push everyone's buttons, I'm not a sheeple.

you're pushing my buttons :D :D

VSD's picture

this grandpa was in Germany where I pay my taxes - simple posession of your semi-automatic would be grounds for forceful takedown and incarceration by the GSG 9 (our local SWAT team) ... let's leave countries out of this discussion or we'll have to add race and religion and different-abledness and what not ... which on the other hand would include the half-brain on twelve : D

Lol

Jules Troy's picture

I think it is a case of "if we put 12 together maybe between all of them they may have half a brain.". I would rather have a good judge.

As to the old man, it depends on what state or what country he resides in as to if his actions are legal or not.  

I agree with you ...

VSD's picture

but that's based on my own individual valuing - not some right or definition of acceptable force
point in case: one 70-something year-old grandpa was visited by two young punk burglars (probably just on a dare) - he took out his old gun and shot one of them and was sued for murder ... he got off, but not because it was his right to protect his property with lethal force, but because they made up some sob-story of a frightened old geriatric scared out of his wits with bad eye-sight who only wanted to scare them off and shot one by accident in the dark - if he had pleaded intentional and forceful defense of his meager property he'd have gone to jail
you'll be hard pressed to have humans agreeing on defending your last flower in the garden if billions are starving - they'll simply take it: by right, by force, by value of life reasoning ... that's why I'm trying to point out the basic premise - all the rest is arbitrary ...
PS: just one of my pet peeves - that concept of being 'judged by your peers' is always getting my hackles up - 12 moralistic nincompoops picked up on the street decide what I'm guilty of? sheesh ... shoot me first ... they are most certainly no peers of mine ...

Vera

Jules Troy's picture

I don't value human life that is breaking and entering in order to do me harm.  For example anyone breaking into my house leaves in a body bag, it isn't murder when it's defending life and limb it is self defence.  Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6...

you make an interesting point ...

VSD's picture

if you value your property higher than human life you're entitled to destroy human life to protect your property ... but again it's your valuing of that property, not a value inherent in that property ... the valuer determines the value, not right, force or life ...
sadly most sheeple wouldn't agree even with that 'compromise' - they are still too scared to face the reality, that their individual human form is worth less than a pretty flower in my garden - which they only see as food for sheep to survive one day longer

Hypothetically speaking..

Jules Troy's picture

If I owned said private domain, I would not build my fence to the property line for my very endangered and very valuable rhinos.  I would build it about 100 yards back from the property line.  I would also have the best special forces mercs armed with patrolling vehicles mounted with these..as well as other measures.

http://youtu.be/d84r8gMGxFQ

 

fully agreed :)

VSD's picture

and you'd find 30 feathers from my compound bow making you a new species of turkey : D

Human focus only ...

VSD's picture

"plus civil charges that would involve reimbursing Jules the market rate of his Rhino's body (and if my solution were adopted, then also quantum for "sentience value", as applicable)"
but still only charges for destruction of property - not destruction of life, species
@Jules: fully agreed - I'd do the same, even if I don't trespass on your Serengeti, but let the rhinos wander into my Maasai Mara ... problem is: we'd both be up for murder, not destruction of property - that's the point I was driving at

"Battle it out, but making sure to grant the terms of reason to those who subscribe to it as their modus operandi."
so the Alpha wins - and only those recognising and supporting the values of Alpha (in your case reason) are endowed with minor alpha rights (Betas?)

"Sure, a being's own life is its standard of value, but only humans know that. And life as a human has very different requirements than life as a sub- or non-human."
so only human life applies ... every other life is per se inferior (unless proven otherwise when the cockroaches survive human destruction of this planet - just a teaser ; ) as we only define it via the human standard ... as for that standard: good luck agreeing with any significant percentage of those humans

"More accurately, forms of life compete, and only as specific instances. Life qua life does not compete. The question is: will the human form of life prevail, and will your and my specific instances contribute or detract from that cause?"
agreed - life qua life would probably not care if it's in human form or cockroach form depending on the state of required survival ... however that would open up all avenues to valueing life if it's forms don't matter to life - so why should Jules get the needle for killing me and I only get a slap on the wrists for killing his rhino? because you value human life (qua human) higher, so your individual form of that life get's rated higher, too?
example: if I value individuality, variety, higher than species, then a rhino would be worth more to me than a few million identical energy-consumers of the human species

"a principle recognizing those conditions of existence necessary for humanity to exist and be accessible to any individual who is able and willing to participate."
you already set up your own boundaries: rights only apply to the necessity of human life (species) and only those individual forms able and willing to participate in their various subsets ... we're sliding more and more into the law of the jungle - if the rhinos ever come up with their own conditions of existence we're indeed truly screwed : D

"You have identified a necessary premise, but not the essential one to this discussion, which is what is necessary for human beings to experience life as human beings - that is, life consistent with one's identity as a rational animal"
you again limit rights, force, life, to the 'necessities' of humans - life qua life couldn't care less ... plus you are mixing again (see one above) the individual identity of a formwith the human species ... the first is conflicted in it's own variety of moral identities, but does not add much to the variety of life qua life, the latter is the one who is the essential premise where we started: where do rights, force, life, start and end? where can we initiate force based on our rational superiority of a species (I'd even question that for 90% of the human species), where can we withhold rights from those who do not qualify (again I'd withhold those from 90% of humans), where is the value in life - as you stated life qua life does not care, so it is only our individual form of this life that cares and rationalises this value by placing it above others - if you care as an individual form, you do not care as a species, so life should be valued on it's individual forms, not the species it belongs to?

"A rationalization for rationalists and an objective reality for objectivists"
so all of the above only applies to objectivists : D

Vera...

Jules Troy's picture

If someone were to break down my fence to attempt to trespass and shoot my rhinos they would soon find 30 bullets center mass...

Not "Screwed" Unless...

tvr's picture

we all start to view rights, force, life and property etc as being "simply a rationalization".

VSD, your analogy provoked me to think, so thanks. Hopefully my reply below demonstrates clearly where it and your supporting comments goes awry:

"all I'm due in damages is a fence and a few pounds of meat and horn - right?"

If you demolished the fence intentionally per your analogy you'd be up for the criminal charge of willful destruction of property, plus civil charges that would involve reimbursing Jules the market rate of his Rhino's body (and if my solution were adopted, then also quantum for "sentience value", as applicable).

"do you battle it out or set up preserves with strong fences or agree to disagree? "

Battle it out, but making sure to grant the terms of reason to those who subscribe to it as their modus operandi.

"the common premise: all life is consuming life to perpetuate it's own life, it's a moral quandary that only humans truly appreciate and pervert into social morals, human rights, eternal spirit, whatever ... "

Sure, a being's own life is its standard of value, but only humans know that. And life as a human has very different requirements than life as a sub- or non-human. Morals, rights, etc, come into the equation if one is to achieve the former.

"life perpetuates itself and spreads - spreads to the detriment and consumption of other life competing with it"

More accurately, forms of life compete, and only as specific instances. Life qua life does not compete. The question is: will the human form of life prevail, and will your and my specific instances contribute or detract from that cause?

"you can call that rights"

One can call whatever one wants "rights", but that neither makes it a right nor right. A right is what it is: a principle recognizing those conditions of existence necessary for humanity to exist and be accessible to any individual who is able and willing to participate.

"just take a minute to think about the common premise of life underneath my sarcasm"

You have identified a necessary premise, but not the essential one to this discussion, which is what is necessary for human beings to experience life as human beings - that is, life consistent with one's identity as a rational animal.

"rights, force, life itself … are simply a rationalisation of which life is allowed to consume which other life to perpetuate itself"

A rationalization for rationalists and an objective reality for objectivists Smiling. Rationalists have not yet reached the stage of being fully human in my book; their existence may only be perpetuated by exploiting (or in the case of children, being supported by) those who choose to use reason properly.

Checking premises

VSD's picture

this discussion is touching on so many points it's hard to answer them all individually (rights, force, life, etc.) - I've tried to condense them to an analogy to find their common premise ...

animal rights:
the Alpha in a wolfpack has the 'right' to eat first - it's not written down anywhere nor rationalised, but it is obeyed by every one in the pack as that right is backed up by force and in turn strengthens the force of the Alpha to keep it's position

animal rights as property:
if one rich benefactor like Jules would buy out the Serengeti to protect his property of rhino and tiger and what-not he'd still be only protecting property, no intrisic value of an animal species - so if crazy Vera comes along and buys out neighboring Maasai Mara with equally rare species of big game and Vera is as avid a hunter as Jules is and kills off all her game she'd be in her right to do so even if she extinguishes entire species - they are her property after all and if some rhino or tiger from Jules' Serengeti wanders into my Maasai Mara (say I helped along with demolishing some fences) and I shoot the last rhino that wanders onto my pastures all I'm due in damages is a fence and a few pounds of meat and horn - right?

human rights to life:
so if an Alpha human says he gets the best meat and mead cause he has the force to back it up, and all the land and it's content are his property and have no rights but what he endows it with, one day meets Epsilon human who says 'screw you - the human species has rights qua being human' who then goes on to meet Omega human who says 'you're all daft - all life is sacred qua life' - do you battle it out or set up preserves with strong fences or agree to disagree?

a) would lead to the domination of the strongest - life wants to perpetuate itself and gives first call to the strong
b) would lead to the extinction of all life deemed only property and valued only by it's proprietor
c) would lead to what we have today: lots of loons quacking about rights left and right and don't you dare cross the fence unless you're on a crusade or a jihad

the common premise: all life is consuming life to perpetuate it's own life
it's a moral quandary that only humans truly appreciate and pervert into social morals, human rights, eternal spirit, whatever ...
if we follow it to it's smallest common denominator man does not have to consume life - he could use his superior intellect and technology to manufacture the components to sustain his physical existence - he could even colonize other planets and moons to solve overpopulation
but it would still not solve the basic problem: life perpetuates itself and spreads - spreads to the detriment and consumption of other life competing with it - it would just postpone it a little while

so we're doomed to destroy life, no matter how small you break it down - even plants consume minerals, water, sunlight to perpetuate their own life in competition to the life around them
you can call that rights and spell it out in non-initiation-of-force contracts for the Alphas - sooner or later you'll end up at the next boundary that may be a little bigger than the Serengeti and have to negotiate with the Epsilons - yet in the end even the Omegas will not save you as they have no solution except to minimize life to the point of extinction

so my guess is we're basically screwed Sticking out tongue
just my 2 cents of life-hatred, but before you denounce me as total anti-life just take a minute to think about the common premise of life underneath my sarcasm - I think it has merit on this discussion of rights, force, life itself, which basically are simply a rationalisation of which life is allowed to consume which other life to perpetuate itself

Wow

Jules Troy's picture

Best use of a drone ever!

Happy belated Independence Day!

 

 http://youtu.be/a9KZ3jgbbmI

:) Tore

Jules Troy's picture

That is very kind of you, thanks!

Peikoff On Legal Means Of Protecting Animals

tvr's picture

Tore,

You wrote:

"I heard a Peikoff-podcast where he, if I understood him correctly, said that animals can never have any protection from the law whatsoever."

Perhaps this is it?: http://www.peikoff.com/2009/08...

He doesn't say never. Staying true to his Objectivist principles he simply does not proclaim a legal right or solution based on his hunch and feelings. He wants, rightly, to base any protection on solid reasoning tied to reality.

His opening sentence in the above linked podcast: "I don't believe animals have rights. But it seems just to punish those who wantonly abuse or kill them". He proceeds to lament that no one has managed to identify an objective philosophical solution to combat animal cruelty in law, but seems to acknowledge that there should be such a solution. I submit that he gets it wrong when he says "If you treat them as mere property then there is no basis for taking animals away". My proposal below identifies just such a basis. I may be mistaken about that of course, although I do not think I am, and so invite you and others to try find a hole in my reasoning.

BTW I've heard another podcast on the subject of values where Peikoff said that if he had to choose between saving the life of his dog or that of a stranger he would choose his dog and without a second thought.

Enjoy your holiday.

Troy

Tore's picture

Thanks. You seem like a mensch!

tvr

Tore's picture

Who is out to "get" or "win" against you on here? I am only out to reach agreement or else learn something, preferably both. I think that goes for everyone on this thread.

Me, too.

Your clarification on principles brings us into agreement on that point: only reality based principles work, and only principles that work are good. Your sarcastic "Um, yeah. Hooray for principles…" struck me as being an attack on principles per se. Adding "… no matter how they play out in real life" can be (and was, wrongly by me it turns out) taken to carry the implication that what plays out in real life is divorced from principles. Your earlier statement that Objectivists find you contradictory combined with your seeming nonchalance about the morality of people choosing to maintain contradictions helped to lay the path for that one. But I take responsibility for not checking with you first to clarify what you meant before commenting. So apologies.

I see. No harm  Smiling

Which leaves us disagreeing on what exactly? On whether animals have rights, and on whether Objectivism advocates implementing voluntary taxes immediately. I think that I have laid out a strong argument establishing why animals cannot have real rights while at the same time identifying how upholding property rights acts to reduce animal cruelty.

You did.

And I agree with you that implementing voluntary taxation is not practical until and unless other aspects of a free society have been successfully adopted first and pointed out that this was Ayn Rand's explicit position on the matter also. The fact is you are arguing a straw man painting Objectivism as being "All or nothing" on voluntary taxation, and the Norwegian "Objectivist" party has it wrong if that is what they are advocating as a policy (as opposed to a principle).

Didn't mean to attack a straw-man. From my experience with Objectivists, that is what I've heard them preach. I don't think Ayn Rand gave this point enough thought, but I don't blame her. I'm glad she didn't write some manifest of a utopia. That's a healthy sign - it means she wasn't that interested in devoting her time to politics, like any healthy human being.

Others on this thread have pointed out in a friendly and non-threatening way how you have gotten it wrong about what Objectivism says is your rights as a dog owner should someone attack your pet. I see no acknowledgement from you conceding the point.

You're right. Because Objectivists have said to me that my dog is up for grabs. Again, I am writing from personal experience. But hey man, I hereby acknowledge that people on this forum say otherwise. But I don't see it that often (ie never) on other forums. And I heard a Peikoff-podcast where he, if I understood him correctly, said that animals can never have any protection from the law whatsoever.

You have repeatedly highlighted your 10 years experience of reading Objectivist literature. If you were to add up everyone's experience who has posted on this thread, I'd say it is probably in excess of 100 years experience of being Objectivist. And most of that is not Lindsay's Eye.

Hey, I'm here to learn, always, even though it may not seem that way.

Not a single person has as far as I can see shown an ounce of bad will towards you despite your broadside ad hominems against anyone who might call themselves Objectivist.

Ad hominems?

Never meant any. Sure, I say stuff about being "pure and clean" and all that - it's my sense of humour. I like a good charicature any day.

That you confess your enjoyment and agreement with Ayn Rand's and Lindsay's writing is what demonstrates to me that you are worth effort.

Thank you. Only time will tell  Eye

I am off for a three-week vacation. I shall return...

Objectivists

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

True Objectivists aren't religious. They aren't ARIans or Randroids. And they don't surrender the term to the enemy and forces of evil.

"Tired" Tore

tvr's picture

Who is out to "get" or "win" against you on here? I am only out to reach agreement or else learn something, preferably both. I think that goes for everyone on this thread.

Your clarification on principles brings us into agreement on that point: only reality based principles work, and only principles that work are good.

Your sarcastic "Um, yeah. Hooray for principles…" struck me as being an attack on principles per se. Adding "… no matter how they play out in real life" can be (and was, wrongly by me it turns out) taken to carry the implication that what plays out in real life is divorced from principles. Your earlier statement that Objectivists find you contradictory combined with your seeming nonchalance about the morality of people choosing to maintain contradictions helped to lay the path for that one. But I take responsibility for not checking with you first to clarify what you meant before commenting. So apologies.

Which leaves us disagreeing on what exactly? On whether animals have rights, and on whether Objectivism advocates implementing voluntary taxes immediately. I think that I have laid out a strong argument establishing why animals cannot have real rights while at the same time identifying how upholding property rights acts to reduce animal cruelty. And I agree with you that implementing voluntary taxation is not practical until and unless other aspects of a free society have been successfully adopted first and pointed out that this was Ayn Rand's explicit position on the matter also. The fact is you are arguing a straw man painting Objectivism as being "All or nothing" on voluntary taxation, and the Norwegian "Objectivist" party has it wrong if that is what they are advocating as a policy (as opposed to a principle).

Others on this thread have pointed out in a friendly and non-threatening way how you have gotten it wrong about what Objectivism says is your rights as a dog owner should someone attack your pet. I see no acknowledgement from you conceding the point.

You have repeatedly highlighted your 10 years experience of reading Objectivist literature. If you were to add up everyone's experience who has posted on this thread, I'd say it is probably in excess of 100 years experience of being Objectivist. And most of that is not Lindsay's Eye. Not a single person has as far as I can see shown an ounce of bad will towards you despite your broadside ad hominems against anyone who might call themselves Objectivist. That you confess your enjoyment and agreement with Ayn Rand's and Lindsay's writing is what demonstrates to me that you are worth effort.

Tore

Jules Troy's picture

Good to see you stickin with it as I enjoy your spunky wit.  I have been on the receiving end more than a few times myself! (Many not so fond memories of Barren Darren attacking my integrity..) He was a grade A POS.

Perigo

Tore's picture

You are of course right Smiling

I apologize for my "hissy fit", I was just tired of the same old, same old once again. In fact, so tired that I almost have PTSS, I reckon Sticking out tongue But you're right. I will stay, and put in my two cents whenever I feel that I have something worthwhile to bring to the table, so to speak. Storming out of the room, slamming the door, that's for the hysterical kind. It's also the easy way out. But when you've encountered it enough, your inner self always screams "no more!" - but I'm no prima donna. I will stay, and I hope more people like me also will join in. I am sure there are more out there Smiling

However, in this post, I will lay my voice to rest. Arguing with Objectivists is a total waste of time. They have an answer, or should I say RATIONALIZATION, for everything, so in the end, you almost always have to just cave in and say "OK, you've dumbfounded me, you "win"" and leave the party. They also like to pick on people for having completely human characteristics. I do not always have an articulate, good response, so what else can one do than to just wave the white flag.

Tore

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Please don't leave. Especially in a hissy fit. Leave hissy fits to Objectivists. They made an art form of them and elevated them to high-level virtues. (I have certainly thrown a few myself, especially when leaving TVNZ, but they were rational hissy-fits! If anyone cares to show where any one of them was irrational, be my guest.)

Tore, I need you. I need you in my fight for non-anal-retentive reasonism, aka Authenticism. I am as tired as you of standard religious Objectivism. I seek the help of you and people like you in fighting it. You won't help me by flouncing. Flouncing is for babies, Goblians and Objectivists. Stay and fight for your (our) corner!!

Holy cow...

Tore's picture

??????????????????

NO!

I'm NOT "bemoaning the impotence of principles". I am just saying that I think one should see what the hell the result of ones principles are in real life every now and then. Good principles are... well, good (with results that make sense). Bad principles suck (with results that are absurd).

I know Objectivists get off on "getting" people in online discussions with this "If you say that blah blah blah you still have stated a principle/made a choice/stated an absolute". Even Canadian hard rockers Rush, who kick ass, did this in the song "Free will". But I'm not anti-principles. Find someone else to "get". I am not a source for your adrenaline kicks.

I'm done posting here. The Objectivist world is not for me (Objectivists, politics, economics -- it all bores me to death), even though I will continue to read and love the writings of Ayn Rand and Lindsay Perigo on my own. But of course, dear readers, I don't get the last word here. Check above this post soon for more rants from people who needs to prove all my faults to the world. It hasn't happened as I type this, but if it didn't happen, it would be a fucking sensation.

J Cuttance

tvr's picture

Yes. Tore bemoans what he sees as the practical impotence of principles, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he is asserting a principle (albeit a highly destructive one).

Zantonavitch

Tore's picture

I said that, Cuttance quoted me. And, yes. www.stemdlf.no - Use google translate.

Needless to say, they do not get a lot of votes. But hey, they're there, and they mean business.

Norway Objectivists

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

J. Cuttance -- Is there really an Objectivist political party in the wilds of Norway? Smiling

Cuttance

Tore's picture

Uhm, yeah. Hooray for principles, no matter how they play out in real life. If it means being clean and pure in the "brain-realm", that's all that matters. Risking anarchy every single second of the day? Of course! That's much better than being "contradictory pro-force and pro-freedom at the same time". Anything but that!

tvr

J Cuttance's picture

"There's a tiny political party in Norway where I live, which is run by Objectivists, and they explicitly fight for voluntary taxes. They, like so many Objectivists, are like Ibsens Brand - "All or nothing"."

Bastards - how dare they have principles

Haha

Jules Troy's picture

Oddly in many cases it is actually true.  At least in Canada part if the hunting licences you buy the money goes towards conservation of prime habitat from commercial development.  Hunters also donate money to organizations like ducks unlimited and the Rocky Mountain elk foundation.

But ya it's a wrap.

Hunters Conserve Wildlife

tvr's picture

LOL, Steve. That would make a great slogan. Like "Exploit the Earth or Die".

I'll take it that that's a wrap then.

Terry

Jules Troy's picture

I hunted Big game animals for years, I have no problem with harvesting my own meat instead of letting someone at Safeway doing it for me.  Responsible hunters actually do more for habitat and wildlife conservation than so called "Eco-Nazi" greenpeace freaks.

Jules

tvr's picture

So you see my point. Good! To clarify though, my point is NOT that property owners should not be permitted to harvest the physical property cultivated in their animals. It should not continue to be against the law for an owner to kill an animal they have cultivated property in, endangered or otherwise. My point is that propertizing animals will function to reverse the process of a species' endangerment by virtue of the life-enhancing economic incentive that comes with property ownership, as opposed to the life-endangering and life-destroying economic incentive that comes with humans not being able to own a sought-after resource.

And to anyone who would complain that humanely killing an animal for some human benefit is cruel, I would answer that to deny opportunity for new animal life, and enhanced human life by criminalizing their farming is more cruel. Death comes to everyone and everything eventually. So long as an animal's life and death has been free of unnecessary pain and suffering, what is there to complain about? That is much more than animals are afforded by nature in the wild. Unlike humans, animals do not measure their life by means of abstraction, so its length (an abstraction) cannot possibly be a factor for them. To think that it could be is to commit the error of projection.

Terry

Jules Troy's picture

I would say the greatest value would be to nurture it and use the best means possible to re-populate the species.  They may have to also include captive zoo animals throughout the world to broaden the genetic diversity base in order to re-create stronger herds.  I think it would be wise to also harvest and store sperm/eggs from as many as possible for future safeguarding.

A one shot kill by some rich party would be foolish.  Yes the short term gain may be lucrative however then you are done.  No possible means for further capital growth.

Jules

tvr's picture

The solution is to propertize all animals (and the land upon which they reside, and as soon as it is feasible, the sea in which they swim), not to extend rights to them that they do not have. Already it is against the law to kill endangered species, that is, they already have a courtesy in law that is meant to protect them. Calling that courtesy a right will change nothing except to corrupt the concept of rights - the animals will continue to suffer from the effects that come with the Tragedy of the Commons.

Tell me. Being rare, once propertized, what would you say would be a Big Tusker elephant's or Black Rhino's greatest economic value: it's ability to reproduce or its one-time trophy tusks/horns? Would not someone who shells out for such a piece of property be strongly incentivized to protect it, nurture it, and maximize their return?

Terry

Jules Troy's picture

What about animals such as the Big Tusker elephant in may that was just poached? Or the remaining under 50 black rhinos left in the wild that are being poached to extinction.  These animals are in national game preserves meant to protect them.  Rangers are actually killed by poachers trying to do their jobs.  Many people world wide who see value and send money to protect these species have an interest in their survival.  Preservation of these and other species has a direct financial impact on those countries via tourism and other venues.  Who the heck would want to go to Africa if there are no more lions, elephants etc.  Perhaps a private company with large resources could do a better job and be a profitable venture as well.  I would like to think so as long as they were able to use what ever amount of force necessary to protect that property.  Galt knows their corrupt governments have failed miserably.

Richard

tvr's picture

I too share your concerns about and objections to Lindsay's new ideas on rights. He is taking his premise that "Humans ... don't have or possess rights" (not in any sense? Not even those who have conceptualized or benefit from them?) to its logical and necessarily conclusion and arrived at the idea that it is perfectly okay to "bestow" rights upon animals directly in law rather than indirectly via property rights, and to do so "as we see fit" ("we" who?). That's some dangerous wording.

What I have proposed in my last post is that the law could recognize property that a human has homesteaded in the sentience of an animal as being the primary form of property in that animal, with it taking precedence over any property that may be extant in the concomitant physical aspects of the animal. I would further propose that unless it can be demonstrated by some objective standard that an animal is unnecessarily experiencing pain or exhibiting some other outward signs of suffering that the assumption must be that its sentient needs are being met. This would achieve the aim of protecting all owned animals against cruelty without abrogating the concept of rights (or property), which we should all remember functions to preserve each person's individual freedom to choose their own morality, not to enforce any one particular morality on all. Animals do not have the capacity to choose a morality which is why they are exempt from the rights equation.

The law could extend a courtesy to unowned animals to provide further protection, but that would not be to extend them a right ("honorary," "derivative," or otherwise). And, most importantly, any such courtesy must not trump property rights or else it will become the thin edge of yet another wedge that would act to abrogate property rights and thus rights even further than they are already being abrogated.

Linz

Richard Wiig's picture

If my neighbour was hurting or killing his pet I'd be disgusted by him, Linz, and I'd try to put a stop to it. That's a value judgement on my part though and says nothing about the rights of the issue. I never said that animals were being granted the right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, just that to be consistent in legislating against cruelty it would need to be applied to all animals, not selectively to animals that the lawmakers have an affection for. How do you define cruelty? What are the parameters that would separate a cruel man causing pain and terror to his pet and an otherwise gentle soul causing pain and terror to a rat or mouse?

Richard 2

Lindsay Perigo's picture

And what of unowned animals, such as rats and mice? Rat poison is surely a cruel way to end the life of a rat, as are rat traps. If animals are to be bestowed rights (which I think is preposterous) then to be consistent rat poison would have to be banned. So would vivisection, animal testing, caged hens and cattle, and an enormous number of other everyday things that people do to animals to enhance their lives.

Somehow I just knew my remarks would be interpreted this way. I observed that we humans are at liberty to "bestow" rights (i.e., extend the application of a principle of human interaction) to other species as we see fit: call them "honorary," "derivative," "sub-concepts," or what you will. And so in fact we are. This does not mean blanket, unconditional bestowing of the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on all animals on a sacrifist basis. Richard, would you please read my post again and tell me what part of it would ban rat poison and the rest?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.