Challenging Our Own Premises – Individual Liberty

Another series of articles that I have been planning for some time. What I wanted to do was analyze the different things that we take for granted given our beliefs about what government should or should not be doing. Individual Liberty will be the test challenge to see if this series has potential or whether readers find it to be a waste of time. There is a good reason to challenge our premises. We have several. Most believe that “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” are rights guaranteed to us by natural law, and thus written into the Constitution. Others believe that other things should or shouldn’t be included. Property, for example, seems to be one that gets a challenge. Some believe that health care is a right, equal opportunity is a right, or initiation of violence is a morally corrupt practice under any circumstance. The purpose of the series will be to challenge each of those things people think are given. I will skip health care for now, as we have discussed that one recently. But the others, should you readers want the series to continue, will be covered one at a time. For today, though, we focus on Individual Liberty.

If you simply walked up to anyone on the street and asked a straightforward question:

Is Individual Liberty a Right that should be protected?

I imagine that 99% of the respondents would say yes. No one questions that statement when it is phrased in that way. Even our friends here that lean left will tell you that individual liberty is a right. Of course there are different definitions of what individual liberty actually entails, which is what leads us to all the people believing it is a right yet arguing over whether it is being infringed upon based on political ideology. So let me start by trying to do my best to define what it is, at least from my point of view, and that of several sites.

According to Wiki, Liberty is a concept of political philosophy and identifies the condition in which an individual has the right to act according to his or her own will. Interesting that it is defined as a political concept. I will discuss this below. But it is important to note that liberty can be defined as a positive or negative concept. In positive, liberty is a freedom from something. This applies to something like being liberated from sin or liberated from the effects of alcohol. In a negative concept, liberty is the exercise of free will without interference from outside forces. These are very vague definitions of the two stances. Obviously, we generally discuss the concept of negative liberty. We are seeking the ability to exercise our free will without interference, usually from government.

Because it does a better job than I could in discussing liberty in its two dual states, I will offer a brief discussion on the two from that same Wiki article (which the link will be to at the end of the article):

John Stuart Mill, in his work, On Liberty, was the first to recognize the difference between liberty as the freedom to act and liberty as the absence of coercion. In his book, Two Concepts of Liberty, Isaiah Berlin formally framed the differences between these two perspectives as the distinction between two opposite concepts of liberty: positive liberty and negative liberty. The latter designates a negative condition in which an individual is protected from tyranny and the arbitrary exercise of authority, while the former refers to having the means or opportunity, rather than the lack of restraint, to do things.

Mill offered insight into the notions of soft tyranny and mutual liberty with his harm principle. It can be seen as important to understand these concepts when discussing liberty since they all represent little pieces of the greater puzzle known as freedom. In a philosophical sense, it can be said that morality must supersede tyranny in any legitimate form of government. Otherwise, people are left with a societal system rooted in backwardness, disorder, and regression.

The concept of negative liberty has several noteworthy aspects. First, negative liberty defines a realm or “zone” of freedom (in the “silence of law”). In Berlin’s words, “liberty in the negative sense involves an answer to the question ‘What is the area within which the subject — a person or group of persons — is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons.” Some philosophers have disagreed on the extent of this realm while accepting the main point that liberty defines that realm in which one may act unobstructed by others. Second, the restriction (on the freedom to act) implicit in negative liberty is imposed by a person or persons and not due to causes such as nature, lack, or incapacity. Helvetius expresses this point clearly: “The free man is the man who is not in irons, nor imprisoned in a gaol (jail), nor terrorized like a slave by the fear of punishment… it is not lack of freedom not to fly like an eagle or swim like a whale.”

I don’t want to get lost in philosophy between whether the two both must exist or which is the more accurate version. But I think as we discuss the concept of individual liberty, it will be helpful to understand the two, as I believe many of the differences in political philosophy are a result of the two dueling versions of what liberty is.

From my perspective, the two parties in Congress both view liberty in the same fashion. They view liberty as a result of the actions of government. The Constitution doesn’t support this theory, but that is what they operate on. Liberals tend to believe that the result of their social programs are the liberties that the Constitution identify. Making health care a right is an action meant to impart more liberty to those who suffer without it, or who have been financially devastated because of it. Income redistribution is a tool to extend liberty to those less financially endowed than others. Conservatives believe the same thing, albeit in a different way. They believe that slashing taxes, striving for a truly free market, and in some sick way, the Patriot Act, are all things that eventually get us closer to individual liberty.

I see liberty as something that happens in the absence of government intrusion. Whatever government does that takes something from me, restricts my choices, or forces an action from me, is a direct assault on my individual liberty. But that is my definition. I highly suggest that each of you take a moment and define for yourself what individual liberty means to you. How do you define it? Do you operate from the negative or positive spectrum?

If we take my definition of what individual liberty is, then the question to be asked is whether that is a fair thing to accept. We live in a large society. One in which we receive the fabulous benefits of what other people create for us. If that is the case, then are we truly sacrificing individual liberty when we give up our ability to do whatever we like in order to reap the benefits that society offers? I imagine Mathius or Buck would say that the liberty we sacrifice is really little more than payment to live the type of life that is afforded to us as citizens of the United States.

And that is an important concept. If you are born free, and individual liberty is your natural right, then your choice to remain in the United States, reaping the benefits of society, is a choice that comes at the cost of your individual liberty. You can live far more free by moving to the middle of nowhere and depending on society for nothing. But people don’t do that because it would be hard. Instead, they stay here, where living is better than in any other place in the world. We enjoy the benefits of what society offers. Technology breakthroughs on unprecedented levels, economic prosperity (usually), one of the best health care systems in the world, etc. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to say that those living well below the poverty level in America are living better than the wealthy live in many other countries. There is no other country in the world where you find Lexus automobiles, XBox on a flat screen, cell phones, or designer $200 sneakers and $150 jeans in the poorest neighborhoods.

So obviously our society has been a great one. And while it is easy to claim that individual liberty trumps all else and must never be sacrificed, the reality is that many who make that claim certainly aren’t willing to give up the benefits that they receive by being part of the society that we call America. Whether they agreed to it or not, they are provided the benefits of society. Commerce made easier, goods produced cheaper and safer, easy travel, technology advances and information at the tips of our fingers. There is an email that has circulated for years that talks about government’s hand in everything. It begins with you waking up to an alarm powered by government power and goes on to taking prescriptions approved by FDA and highways from DOT. The email is used two different ways. One version ends by pointing out that this is how intrusive government has become in the market and our lives. The other focuses on calling everyone who benefits from these things hypocrites for crying socialism or government intrusion. I think that both emails are the wrong message worded in a way to make a point politically.

I instead look at the email in a simpler way. The email points out all the ways that government, whether we wanted the to or agreed to it or not, has made things in our lives easier to handle. All the things in that email are examples of what government and society has done to advance our quality of life in America. Now, that isn’t to say I believe that the free market couldn’t have done all those things more effectively and efficiently than government. We all know that I believe it could. But that isn’t the point. The point is that we DO live a in a society that has all of these things. And whether we wanted government to do them or not, they are doing them. And whether we like to admit it or not, we are benefitting from them.

Whew! After all that some of you may be thinking that I have switched sides on you! I have not, but I think it is important for us to look at things from a different angle than the narrow lens we could be stuck in if we fail to challenge our own beliefs. In doing that it is important to see the other sides of the argument. What I have presented in the last bunch of paragraphs is a basic view of the world from the eyes of the left. They view the society as a thing we benefit from, and we should therefore be happy to contribute to that society. They believe that you will not prosper in this society without benefitting from it. Therefore you must. Even at the expense of some of your individual liberty.

Politics on the right follow a similar view, although they are not going to admit it any time in the neat future. The general GOP belief is the same as that of the left. They just like to say that they are for free markets and putting your money back in your hands. Interestingly, they never really do anything in line with those beliefs when they have the opportunity. They trample individual liberty in different ways, but they do trample it.

Then there are those of us that believe as I do. Individual liberty is a natural right. It should not be infringed upon by anyone, not government, not your neighbors, no one. I believe that society can work on the concept of individual liberty, of a vastly limited government. We are so far away from that with our bloated federal government and enslavement mentality in this country that most find it difficult to even imagine how something like that could possibly work in this complex world.

But what we have at the moment are two completely different discussions that will probably take place. The theoretical discussion about what should be, and the realism discussion about what is. So I will throw out a position on each of those discussions, just to get the party started. These may or may not be my actual beliefs, but they are a starting point to the two discussions.

Theoretical: Individual liberty is tantamount. There is no trumping this concept. We are born as free men and women. Every intrusion by government is wrong. So long as my actions do not impose on another, there is no case to be made for even the slightest intrusion on my individual liberty. What gives anyone the right to take that from me. Why should I have to alter what I want to do or how I want to live, so long as I do no harm to anyone else?

Realistic to Today: We live in a society that provides so much in the way of comfort and benefit. Many of the opportunities that are available to us are the result of that society. What we are able to do is made possible in large part, not only by our individual drive and knowledge, but by the environment that we are in where we are able to use that drive and knowledge to our benefit. Therefore, individual liberty should absolutely be protected, but there are sacrifices of it that are required as payment for the benefits we receive as part of this society. Therefore, individual liberty is only partly protected, as those sacrifices are required.

That should get some brain matter heating up first thing in the morning. So let’s discuss individual liberty. Why does it trump all else? Or conversely, why should it be sacrificed by those who don’t want to sacrifice it? Go ahead, throw your position out there…. but be prepared to defend it. There are pirates and raptors and liberals, oh my.

Liberty – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Comments

  1. posting for comments

    • Me Too! I think of the Amish when I think of “as close to” being free as anyone, but even that is not true. Much thought should be given on this subject, and it’s too early in the day. Will respond later.

      G!

  2. I would say that the liberty we sacrifice is really little more than payment to live the type of life that is afforded to us as citizens of the United States.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Great Article USW !

      As for my Mathius, I feel my buttons being pushed, the lights are flashing, my mind is racing, I cannot think clearly, 🙂

      I have work to do but I will just say this rant for now.

      So my being forced to purchase healthcare insurance with a pre-written policy that I don’t agree with which takes my money (my liberty to act in a free way) and leaves me with even less money (reduces my liberty to act in a free way) is something I want? I don’t think so ! I chose to throw some chains off myself years ago. I saved money to get to a place with less restraints on my life. I would not have been able to do that if I had to pay for everything our commanding Nanny state insists is good for me. Next will be Forced long term care insurance that they say i will NEED. Even though none of my parents/grandparnets needed it and could have purchased there own insurance if they wanted it……. BLAH ! BLAH! BLAH! Later

      AGAIN, GREAT Article USW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Buck The Wala says:

      I too believe that the liberty we sacrifice is really little more than payment to live the type of life that is afforded to us as citizens of the US.

      In all seriousness though, good article today and I’m sure it will be met with some interesting discussions. Absent my coffee, you did a good job characterizing my position on this – I’ve always argued here that there are certain costs of living in a given society; that cost comes in the form of sacrificing certain liberties.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      To paraphrase Ben Franklin, if you are willing to sacrifice liberty for convenience, you deserve neither liberty nor convenience.

      • Yes, and if he wanted to tell you that, he would have written it down with his quill on a piece of parchment, bound it with catgut, pressed his seal into the melted wax holding the string, placed a stamp on it, and given it to his slave to take to the post office (for delivery in 6-12 weeks).

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          We have already had the slavery discussion ad infinitum on this site. Refer to the archives for full coverage.

          But thanks for bringing it up in spite of that.

          • Sorry, must have been B.M. (Before Mathius). Please feel free to give me the cliffnotes version since I don’t really have the time to go digging through the archive (much as I would love to read everything that’s been written here).

            But my point is simply this: Franklin et al did not hold the corner on Truth. Further, just because someone famous and long dead said something does not make it true. Compromises must be made in the real world. Period. It really is as simple as that.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              You engage in a fallacy. You are arguing that because SOME compromises MUST be made in society, that we are REQUIRED to compromise our Natural Rights.

              Just because SOME compromises are required, it does not logically follow that we are required to compromise on principles which this country was founded on and that many of us believe to be core principles.

              I do not argue with the fact that compromises are required to live in a modern complex society. The founding fathers would not have argued this clearly reasonable fact either. However, I firmly believe that the founding fathers would have stridently supported the idea that there are some things which you CANNOT compromise on, or you LOSE THE VERY FOUNDATION of the society itself.

              • Alright. And, just to enumerate, what rights would they have claimed as sacrosanct?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Well, they said that Natural Rights were unalienable. Unalienable means “uncapable of being repudiated”.

              • Ok… but that’s a little tautological. What are these right, specifically?

              • That’s easy, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. But, your rights to those things stop precisely where they infringe on MY rights to those things.

            • Matt?????Where are you? You actually made a reference to reality…I see it right there in print…..

              “Compromises must be made in the real world. Period. It really is as simple as that.”

              Be still my heart….

            • Compromises indeed must be made in today’s society but I should be the one to decide what compromises I wish to make not you or anyone else. That one thing is what destroys liberty more than anything else – compromise forced on me by others

              • Not sure you can reach compromise when talking in the confines of a society without some force being involved-I would say that one of the biggest wounds to Liberty comes from people deciding that compromise especially when it is based on compassion, which is a gift from society, deciding it is a right.

              • USWeapon says:

                EXCELLENT POINT VH!

              • Thank you, USW-Do I get any points? 😉

              • I’ll give you some V. Dont think there worth anything though. 🙂

              • Bama dad says:

                I agree.

  3. This is a great topic for discussion. In my opinion, we too often come to the table on one side or the other, not realizing the table is circular and there are different shades to each side. While you, USW, are one who says liberty is all and any government interaction is bad, Mathius says sacrificing liberty is ok since the government benefits us. I tend to stand somewhere in the middle, as I’m sure most Americans would if they thought about it (ironically, I’m not American, but that’s beyond the point). I think you and Mat do also, but your statements give the appearance of polarization.

    As you stated in your discussion, some liberty must be given up in order to live in a society. I can no longer murder people if I wish to live in an organized society. I do believe, however, that individual liberty must be retained or else the governed are really the enslaved. The level to which liberty trumps societal benefit is not something that I can answer, I can only postulate for myself. You’ll understand why in a moment.

    I think that perhaps people are more willing to give up personal liberties if doing so does not harm them, but achieves something they want. For instance, a friend of mine is pushing for banning guns (altogether). He does not own a gun, doesn’t like guns, probably has never fired a gun, but he fears those who do. By giving up his freedom to keep and bear arms, he looses nothing, but gains what he believes is security. Similarly, those who want to ban smoking certainly do not smoke. They appear to give up no rights, because they do not exercise them. Many people support a ban on gay marriage, because it does not affect them (or does it?). I believe this is a problem, because people are more willing to give up the freedoms they don’t use, but this will only inevitably lead to everyone giving up everyone else’s freedoms!

    Now, how can I define what liberties to uphold and which to give up for protection or benefit? How can my neighbor do so? At some point we will conflict each other. They only way we can achieve some sort of balance is with thoughtful discussion, reason, and compromise. This is what the founding fathers did long ago, and I think they did a pretty good job of it. We should be cautious in crying to overturn the liberties they preserved or reclaiming the liberties they sacrificed.

  4. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

    I’m trying hard to see the logic of giving up anything at all except allegiance to the flag and to the republic to get my liberty.

    It does not say I have to give up any liberty to get anything.

    • I’m trying hard to find “under God” in the original text of the pledge…

      • We’re talking liberty. Take your problem up with The Man. 🙂

      • I think you’ll find him in the original of the Constitution 🙂

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Don’t think he’s in there either.

          • My apologies, you are right 🙂 he is in the Declaration of Independence-Which I pretty much consider an important part of our foundation and the reason we eventually wrote a Constitution.

            • That’s right.. you should never mess with a Wala. For they are subtle, and quick to anger.

              • Perhaps I should purchase my own sword 🙂

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Don’t forget cunning. Walas are also cunning. We’re like raptors in that way.

              • Actually, more like wallabies..

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Wallabies are funny creatures. I remember seeing one try to jump a wire fence, its leg caught on the upper wire and it did a face plant. Got up, shook itself off and proceeded to hop on down the road…

              • Hmmmmmm…another idea….cross breeding raptors with wallas…..gotta think that one through…there is something sinister about a cuddly raptor.

              • They have those. They’re called Pandas. Impossibly cute and cuddly looking, but with large claws, extremely strong, and incredibly vicious.

              • Damn…you are right…ok.

        • Get him V

        • Nope.. must have missed that section.. Would you be so kind as to point it out to me?

          But it’s a Tuesday and I didn’t have my bacon, egg and cheese sandwich this am, so maybe I’m just off my game..

      • This and all following related responses to “under God” are a straw man, simply distracting from the original point. If you believe in what America stands for in its statement of “liberty and justice for all”, it is fair to note that there was no reference to giving up liberty in exchange for something else.

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        Let’s see Matt, The under God part was added on later. Am I right? That is of course as opposed to the part without under God which as we all know was handed down inscribed on platinum tablets from Mount Olympus.

        See, just above you fault Franklin quote. I sort of look on the under God part as a compromise of sorts at the time to differentiate us from those Commie fellows. That under God thing is now more than 50 years old and joins the pledge which is over 100 I believe. I don’t really have a problem with either.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      When I was in school, the pledge included the word “indivisible” as well as the phrase “under God”. And yes Mathius, under God was added later and was not in the original pledge. So what? Most of the founding fathers were deitsts and at least believed in a supreme being. Belief in a supreme being and acknowledgement that the blessings of liberty originate in that supreme being is not equivalent to the establishment of a State Religion.

      So, if people wish to say “under God” as part of the pledge of allegiance, that does not violate anyone’s rights or the Constitution in any way.

      • Only if you do it in public school, using tax dollars, and put children in a situation where they are forced to ostracize themselves amongst their piers or claim belief a God they do not believe in.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Beat me to it.

          Peter – you are right in that the statement ‘under god’ is not equivalent with the establishment of a state religion. However, the phrase remains a clear religious statement and as such should be stricken. Why should our school children who do not believe in god be forced to state that they live ‘under god’?

          • Why do people only focus on children who do not believe in God? What about the kids who believe in lots of gods? They are also but in a tough spot by this.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Good point; thanks for pointing that out.

              And don’t forget those that do believe in god, but that they are not UNDER god. I’m sure there are a few of those as well.

              • You can’t please everybody, so let’s just bag the whole public school idea, and let parents decide what their kids get taught.

            • Let’s see…. adding “under lots o gods” instead of “under god”…naah….too 60ish. AND since I grew up in the 60’s (grand old beer drinkin, woman chasin’, dragster drivin’, 8 trac, college days) I can criticize the 60’s.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            I thought that liberals often argued that “deism” isn’t really a religion.

            That aside, perhaps our school children (and our adults) should be educated in Pascal’s wager.

            It goes something like this:

            To believe in a supreme being does me no harm (and does not harm anyone else in any demonstrable way) and could perhaps do me a lot of good. Not believing in a supreme being could potentially cause me harm; therefore it makes better odds to believe.

            So, by “forcing” children to state that they live “under God” we are recognizing the historical significance of most founding fathers being deists (and some being Christians), and we are also protecting these children from coming out on the wrong side of Pascal’s wager.

            After all, we MUST do what is best for the children for the “greater good”, right?

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Interesting proposition, but I’ll have to decline.

              First, it is not a statement as to the historical significance of our founding fathers having been Deists. The statement is that we live in a nation, under god — present tense.

              Second, Pascal’s wager doesn’t hold true to me. There is a lot of harm done to state you believe in god when you do not. It forces you to not be true to yourself. Assuming there is a god, I would argue that odds are in favor of him forgiving those who are good people yet do not believe in him. Odds are more against him forgiving those who are not true to themselves. Remember: To thy own self be true.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Buck,

                You fail to admit the possibility that a supreme being does indeed exist in spite of your failure to believe.

                Therefore, Pascal’s wager still holds true, even for you.

                What is a GREATER harm? Not being “true to yourself” or risking eternal damnation by being on the wrong side of Pascal’s wager?

                A true liberal would argue that some psychological discomfort while living was more than mitigated by the off-chance that you might not suffer eternally.

                After all, you have to make some sacrifices for the potential that the greater good will be served, right?

                So, even for those who do not believe, just on the chance that they are wrong, we MUST force them to state that they do indeed believe, just in case they would be subject to eternal damnation otherwise, right?

              • Buck The Wala says:

                You presuppose that if there is a god he will be lenient with those who fail to be true to themselves.

                I would argue the opposite — if there is a god, and if god is as just and kind as people say he is, then surely he would forgive those that are true to themselves. It is those that are unable to be true to themselves – hedging their bets, so to say – that would face the wrath of this otherwise just and kind god.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                I also find it humorous that an all-knowing god would simply take one’s words at face value. Wouldn’t he know who actually believes in god and who does not?

              • I would be pissed that a mere mortal thought he could fool me simply by acting as if he believed. In the words of Richard Dawkins (paraphrase): If I die and find myself before the pearly gates, I will hope that a merciful and all-knowing God will prefer my sincere failure to believe to a false claim of faith.

              • Buck, Serious question. Are you Jewish also and do you believe in God? Just curious.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                I am Jewish, but to me it is more of a cultural Jewish-ness as opposed to a religious one.

                I enjoy elements of the traditions and cultures I grew up with, and feel it is important to continue to provide a sense of self.

                That being said, no, I do not believe in god.

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Oh, how I hate this argument.

          As a guy who likes to think he thrives on common sense based logic I have to look at two things:

          The first is the historical precedent, for anything up to and including the mention of the God word in the Public Schools. Who started it, why did they start it, how long did it exist etc.? In a nutshell, why was it ok then and not ok now. Don’t trouble me with the slavery comparison. Slavery was ultimately ended by laws, not by the courts. When the courts started interceding in these issues, they exceeded their authority. If God should be removed from the Schools, the coinage, the pledge and the opening prayer in the congress, it should be through legislation debated among the people and their representatives. This is the purpose of a representative democracy to begin with.

          The second is that annoying thing about being in the majority. The current interpretation seems to be that if you offend anyone who is in the minority with something the majority believes in you must then ban or prohibit what the majority believes to cater (my word) to the minority. Exactly when did this drivel start? Using this logic, almost everything is subject to eventually being banned if it occurs in the public arena.That includes free speech which we know can be hurtful, offend some and be the start of endless controversy which can confuse the children and we all know we don’t want to harm the children now don’t we..

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      You never have to actually give liberty up to get anything. You only have to give liberty up for OTHER PEOPLE to get things that they think they deserve but do not currently have.

      • Ok, oops- its been a long time – I did forget the “indivisible” part. 😦

        Just a side note: If we could just quit throwing God under the bus all the time he might help us to get somewhere 🙂

  5. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “Liberals tend to believe that the result of their social programs are the liberties that the Constitution identify. Making health care a right is an action meant to impart more liberty to those who suffer without it, or who have been financially devastated because of it.”

    An important point here that USW has made. Perhaps the most important of the entire article. Although he mis-worded it just a bit in my opinion. He should have used the word “statists” instead of “liberals” I think.

    In the particular case of healthcare it is indeed liberals, but in other cases the right-statists behave the exact same way. In the healthcare example, Liberals argue that by not having “equal access” to healthcare, the poor are somehow “less free” to do things like “pursue happiness” than others. Of course the “fact” that they are “less free” is “unfair”. This particular philosophy is littered with fallacies, and I could write a lot more about just what they are, but I think it would be a better assignment for all of you here to analyze this and come up with some fallacies on your own.

    Come on everyone, each of you attempt to post at least ONE thing that is wrong with this philosophy, I know you can do it!

    Mathius, Buck, and any others who are more or less Statists, feel free to pretend to be JAC or BF and make a post on a fallacy in this philosophy, and then if you wish, follow up with a disclaimer such as “I do not personally believe this is an actual fallacy becase…” if you wish.

    • “Liberals argue that by not having “equal access” to healthcare, the poor are somehow “less free” to do things like “pursue happiness” than others.”

      One of my biggest problems with the healthcare debate is that we are not debating healthcare, we are debating health INSURANCE. Anyone can walk into an ER today and get healthcare whether they can afford it or not. There is not inequality in access to life and death medicinal treatment. Those in favor of the bill use the bleeding heart rhetoric about people not being able to afford healthcare, but forget this little fact. Once refuted, they switch to the cost analysis issue, but refuse to give up their emotional rhetoric. Then, the real kicker comes in. They say that it costs more to pay for sick people going to the ER than buying them health insurance would. So we should support this bill because it will reduce the cost of healthcare, right? WRONG. Almost everyone knows that this will increase the cost of health insurance, increase the cost of healthcare (because medical equipment will be heavily taxed), and add to the deficit. The CBO reports on the numbers they are given, they do not do their own research, believe me, this is a deficit increaser.

      Ok, sorry for that rant, back to the topic. Those who can afford health insurance and choose not to (and believe me there are many) are not “less free” to “pursue happiness,” they chose to pursue happiness by pilling up debt to buy a car, financing their nice furniture and buying a house they can’t afford rather than living within their means and buying what is necessary, health insurance! How’s that for a run-on sentence!

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        “Those who can afford health insurance and choose not to (and believe me there are many) are not “less free” to “pursue happiness,” they chose to pursue happiness by pilling up debt to buy a car, financing their nice furniture and buying a house they can’t afford rather than living within their means and buying what is necessary, health insurance! How’s that for a run-on sentence!”

        Health Insurance was not “necessary” for me, as I went over 30 years without it and paid cash the only times I needed anything. I did not borrow beyond my means, I saved cash (capital) to invest in land and what it has to offer to me. Now the land pays me dividends for life, and can be left to my children for them to reap. If I had been forced to buy health insurance all those years I could very will still be living in a home on a small plot of land which to me is not much more than living in a cage. Many people today choose to live in that ‘cage’ with their only desire being to live in a Bigger cage. What Liberty’s do they need? Rant Rant again……….

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          we can save, invest, create and prosper, or we can consume, borrow and consume.

    • I see no problem with the statement.

      However… Dread Pirate Mathius (who is currently locked in my basement) is screaming at the top of his lungs. Let’s listen in:

      Avast! It’s not your right to take from me because you got dealt a rough hand. If we’re playing poker and you get a 2, 7 off-suit, can are you “entitled” to take one of my aces? No, I say hell no! It is sad for you that you have pre-existing conditions, or that you are unable to gain employment which gives health insurance. Work harder, get more education, find a job that gives you want you need, and if you still can’t, well maybe I’ll give you some charity – of my own free will – if I have anything left after the damned government steals by force from my hard-earned booty.

      All men are NOT created equal. That is a lie parents tell their children. Not every child can grow up to be president. Some of them are going to be janitors. Some of them are going to be hobos. Not everyone can afford or will be provided with health insurance. Should they have health insurance? Of course. Realistically, we all should have have it. But it’s their problem to get it. Not mine.

      Further, using government force to coerce private companies into accepting high-risk individuals into the pool is both a violation of free enterprise, and indirect theft from me, since the companies will necessarily raise my rates to cover the added risk/expense.

      AAARRRGHH!

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I award 12.5 points to the dread pirate Mathius 🙂

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I will state one slight issue I have with the dread pirate Mathius. It is the one piece of veiled Statism which crept into his post.

        “All men are NOT created equal”

        Actually, that depends on what you think that the founding fathers were actually referring to when they made the statement “all men are created equal” (as an aside, Mathius and Buck should have HUGE problems with that statement since it uses the term CREATED :))

        Anyway, the founding fathers were referring to all men being created equal because they all had the same God-given Natural Rights. Clearly not all men have the same level of talent, the same ambition, the same drive, the same work ethic, etc. That leads (naturally) to unequal OUTCOMES.

        And yes Mathius, “they all owned slaves, so they were all just a bunch of hypocrites that can be safely ignored.” Ok, whatever.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          I like “All men are born equal”

          Or simply “All men are equal”

          Actually, “All people are equal” – we can’t forget about the women and children!

        • Dread Pirate Mathius would like to clarify that he was referring to men’s talents etc not being equal. Women, of course, are slightly superior – let’s not kid ourselves.

          Further, all humans are created. Whether by God or a natural process of random genetic mutation, they are still “created.” So he sees no problem with that terminology. But he does agree that all people are created equal in terms of their natural rights. He would also like to know if the points you are awarding him are fiat, or if they are backed by something tangible (preferably gold).

          Adding, though other pirates may disagree, this pirate believes that it is sentience which confers “human rights” to a person. Conceivably, even a super-intelligent Wheaton Terrier would be the equal of a human in terms of natural rights.

      • Remember the saying is

        “All men are created equal in the Eyes of God

        Simply put, all the Natural Laws of Nature apply to all men, no matter what.

        A pious man and an evil man both fall off the cliff at the same speed and hit the ground with the same force – all is equal.

        • It depends on the density of the pious and evil men and their aerodynamics. One will hit before the other unless they fall in a vacuum.

          Likewise, if they are in a vacuum and fall from sufficient height, they will die of suffocation first, but at different times.

          • Nice try.

            It depends on the size, not the density. The reason one object falls more quickly than another is due to air resistance, which is proportional to the cross sectional area of the object. Therefore, the thinner person would hit first.

            Of course, if this were not in a vacuum, both would die at about the same time. Therefore, you will live longer if you are fat. Therefore, exercise and dieting is bad for your health!

        • Lady Ness says:

          I am not a religious person myself but I have always agreed that this statement

          “All men are created equal in the Eyes of God…”

          was important because this meant that our rights were given to us by a higher being and by giving “god” the power it could not be taken from us by our fellow man. Leaving NO room for gray areas.

  6. Great subject, I will be weighing in asap 😉

  7. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Some of you realize the trick I am playing on Buck and Mathius in my above argument about the pledge of allegiance; others of you might not realize exactly what the heck I am doing.

    For those of you who are confused, what I am doing is showing the unsustainability of their own usual form of argument by applying Pascal’s wager to force people to state that they believe in God whether they wish to do so or not. I am using Statist/Collectivist principles to attempt to show that by FORCING people to say “under God” in the pledge of allegiance, they are preventing the ultimate (assuming you consider eternal damnation “ultimate”) harm to people. After all, we MUST force people to do what is best for them and best for society as a whole whether they like it or not, right?

    Of course, Mathius and Buck are fighting against this with all of their abilities, because they want the FREEDOM to NOT have to say that they live in a nation “under God” if they do not personally believe.

    Do any of you find it interesting that in THIS particular case, Mathius and Buck are on the side of LIBERTY instead of being on the side of Statism/Collectivism? In spite of the fact that I have CLEARLY demonstrated that the path of limiting potential harm is to FORCE people to state belief in God even if they do not believe, and therefore this clearly serves the “greater good”, Mathius and Buck are fighting tooth and nail to say that I am wrong.

    However; when it comes to other forms of potential “harm”, they are perfectly happy to argue that people should be FORCED to do all kinds of things that they do not believe in and do not wish to do, all in order to serve this “greater good”.

    Now, of course I anticipate that THEY will say that you cannot demonstrate the existence of even the mere possibility of eternal damnation for non-belief in God, so you cannot demonstrate any REAL linkage to prevention of harm. However, according to the “beloved” “precautionary principle” which they enjoy using so much, even if the potential for harm is NOT CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED, IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION. So, according to the precautionary principle, it is STILL BETTER to force people to state belief in God, just on the SLIGHTEST chance that God may actually exist, and people may actually suffer eternal damnation for their unbelief.

    Now that I have explained all that, all of you should be able to see right through each and every Statist/Collectivist greater-good precautionary principle argument that comes up. As you can all see, the argument is not even used CONSISTENTLY. If it were a truly logical position, it would apply IN ALL CASES.

    As you all SHOULD know by now, I don’t think that people should ever be FORCED to say a damn thing. If you WANT to say “under God” in the pledge of allegiance (whether it be in a “public” school, the halls of Congress, or in your church) then GO AHEAD AND SAY IT! If you do not believe in God, and do not wish to say “under God” when you say the pledge of allegiance, feel FREE to leave that part out! If you don’t want to say the pledge of allegiance AT ALL, even if the people around you are saying it, then don’t! That would be the freedom-loving person’s solution to this particular quandry, no?

    • 1. You have no idea the extent of my arguing abilities. I come from a long line of Jewish lawyers (Happy Passover, by the way, to any members of The Tribe who happen to be reading this), and arguing is in my blood.

      2. You misunderstand Pascale’s Wager. As stated above (and previously agreed by none other than BF), God would almost certainly no accept false claims of belief. As such, the payoff for forcing lip-service is null, while the cost is still there. Now, if by making me acknowledge a God in whom I do not believe, you would help serve the Greater Good, I might support it. It all comes down to a cost/benefit analysis. So my question is this: how does making children claim beliefs which they do not hold help anyone?

      I hold Pascale’s Wager to be false, so please find another argument.

      • Question for you, Matt. Actually, an honest question for an honest answer? Can you do this? ok, here goes.

        Peter, the in the great city of Indianapolis says:

        As you all SHOULD know by now, I don’t think that people should ever be FORCED to say a damn thing. If you WANT to say “under God” in the pledge of allegiance (whether it be in a “public” school, the halls of Congress, or in your church) then GO AHEAD AND SAY IT! If you do not believe in God, and do not wish to say “under God” when you say the pledge of allegiance, feel FREE to leave that part out! If you don’t want to say the pledge of allegiance AT ALL, even if the people around you are saying it, then don’t! That would be the freedom-loving person’s solution to this particular quandry, no?

        How about this paragraph on its own merits? It made me think of something that I have not thought of before….(yes, even Colonel’s can continue to learn). Does this paragraph address all of the issues in something as simple as this Pledge of Allegiance? Why infringe upon taking something out, when it can simply be ignored and not repeated or stated and no one is forced to say it in its context?

        Just curious…oh, and to the Pirate locked in the basement…I now have Rapier bearing raptors raised on Red Bull and DP…they are for rent for the high seas.

        • Sounds great. But. There’s more to it.

          Yes, the kids can simply not say it. However, to do so exposes them as different to their piers. Consider it as a slightly different case. What if there were a lunchtime activity for Christians and everyone went except the two or three Jews. Wouldn’t they be exposed as different and, almost certainly, ridiculed or ostracized by their piers, or coerced/pressured into joining? Tell me I’m wrong.

          The default should be no religion, no reference to religion, not acknowledgment pro or con in any publicly funded forum. But especially where impressionable children are involved. Adults can stand up for themselves. Can children?

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Mathius,

            You are WAY off base. Freedom OF religion is not equal to freedom FROM religion, as many here have argued before.

            The default liberal position seems to be that we cannot “HARM” the children by making them appear to be “different” from their peers, and yet liberals freely acknowledge that everyone has different talents, different skills, different socio-economic background, and YES, DIFFERENT BELIEFS.

            There is absolutely no HARM in being different… everyone IS different.

            If you wish to homogenize the human race, I do not share your wish.

            By NOT allowing the people that do believe in God and believe that God gave us Natural Rights and that those Natural Rights are the foundation of this country, would you not, in fact, be harming them?

            In all seriousness, kids in a classroom are not really gonna notice if Johnny is silent during the pledge of allegiance or if he is silent during the “under God” part. They are going to be more concerned that Jimmy is shooting a spitball at the teacher while they are reciting the pledge….

          • If one girl in a class wears a head scarf should all of the children wear one so she doesn’t feel different? Sometimes your beliefs make you look different. Get over it, or better yet, get rid of public schools, and it won’t be an issue.

            • Sure, but the state shouldn’t be the one putting children in the position where they have to “out” themselves as different and subject themselves to ridicule/peer pressure or choose to lie about who they are and what they believe.

              • The state should not be forcing people to all look alike either. You cannot have it both ways. Maybe the real problem is the state forcing ANYTHING. Privatizing education anyone?

              • Doesn’t always work that way though. I looked just like every other Catholic school girl. Private school = uniform.

                But even the charter school in my area requires a dress code-shirt with a collar and slacks. Everyone looks the same with public money

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Well, technically Pascal’s wager implies that an ACTUAL belief in God is the best way to go about things, because it is the ACTUAL belief in God that would prevent the possibility of eternal damnation.

        So, according to the precautionary principle, we actually must FORCE people to ACTUALLY believe in God, since it would be for their own good! 🙂

        So yes, if it is true that God would see right through mere lip-service, I must modify my argument to say that for the greater good, we all must insist that everyone ACTUALLY believe in God.

    • Go Peter!!!! Tell me more..tell me more !

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        According to the principles of individual liberty, I am free to either:

        1. Say the pledge of allegiance including the phrase “under God”.

        2. Say the pledge of allegiance omitting the phrase “under God”.

        3. Not say the pledge of allegiance at all.

        Under the same principles of individual liberty, you are free to comment on my particular choice of action, but you are NOT free to do anything that would cause harm to me because of my particular choice of action.

        No matter which choice of action I take, I cause no discernable harm to anyone whatsoever, so any of the three actions are fine.

  8. Anita,
    Like Peter said, I remember “indivisible” being in there. Are you selectively editing??? 😉

    I’m trying hard to see the logic of giving up anything at all except allegiance to the flag and to the republic to get my liberty.

    When you pledge allegiance to the flag and republic, what are you saying?
    Does it mean you’re willing to die for the republic?
    Does it mean you are now bound to do whatever your republic asks of you?

    “Allegiance” is a pretty scary word:
    1. loyalty to a ruler or state – a subject’s or citizen’s loyalty to a ruler or state, or the duty of obedience and loyalty owed by a subject or citizen
    2. devoted support – loyalty to or support for a person, cause, or group
    3. feudal obligation – the feudal obligation of a vassal to a liege lord

    Lets see, #1 or #3 sound about right!! 😉

    #2 might be acceptable, but it’s so vague it doesn’t mean anything.

    Should free men and women be making a pledge like this?

    Especially since the Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy… 😉

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Well Todd,

      You make an interesting argument, but the KEY word in the pledge is REPUBLIC.

      If you know that America was founded as a representative republic, and you understand that the founding of this republic was based on unalienable Natural Rights, then that would be what you are pledging your loyalty to in my opinion.

      Therefore, you would NOT be taking an oath do do whatever the leader of the republic told you to do, because you would be able to recognize commands which were contrary to the ideals of the republic which you swore allegiance to.

      To loyally follow an order which was contrary to the founding principles of the republic would be anathema to the very pledge of allegiance which you gave.

      That being said, I never understood pledging allegiance to a flag. A flag is a symbol. It is not something you can have allegiance to. Pledging allegiance to a republic (for which the flag stands) at least makes some sense. In my view, when you pledge allegiance to the republic, that means that you swear to uphold the founding principles of that republic. It does NOT mean that you blindly follow the leaders of the republic even if their wishes or commands run contrary to the founding principles.

      • Cool. I think I’m getting somewhere. Didn’t we just say the same thing at the same time or am I just wishful thinking?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Anita,

          We just posted essentially the same thing at the same time, yes.

          You have always had the ability to analyze things this way, just took you a while to shake off your Statist cobwebs from your mind.

          In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t all that long ago that I shook mine off as well 🙂

    • Fair enough and thanks for being polite. I did tattle on myself above for forgetting “indivisible”

      My short answer is I’m simple and just take the words at face value and believe them.

      Going further. You stop at the Declaration of Independence where you pledge allegience to the republic. A republic starts with nothing but sovereign states with shared principles and beliefs which are laid out in the constitution. Now you need to start arguing the constitution which you didnt include in your reply.

      So far I still dont have to give up anything for liberty except allegiance to a republic.

      • Hi Anita!

        The word ‘indivisible’ has been rolling around in my head while following this. I think I know why you forgot the word. Its because we ARE divisible, and are EXTREMELY divided. I’m to the point where I can no longer utter the pledge. I am so disgusted with what our country has become. I live on a military based and cannot bring myself to stand at attention with hand over heart when the flag is brought down at 5pm. I cannot respect a people that would tolerate individuals like Dear Reader and his minions, at the highest levels of power.

        I’m that disgusted.

        • You are correct my disgusted friend. However, You can’t just kick your allegance to the curb because of a few bad apples. Continue pledging please.

          • Its not just a few bad apples. Apparently ‘most’ Americans think what’s being done is the best thing that could happen to the country. Judging by the people around here, that may just be right. Granted, fewer people are as smitten with Dear Reader than were around at election time, but I still see fools wearing shirts that praise Dear Reader. I will not comment further on my opinion of these people……

            I’m not sure that the Novemeber election will change my feelings on the matter. I expect a lot of fraud and dirty tricks by the Ds and their followers, but no matter the results, I will be watching people’s actions and attitudes as to what is happening.

            • Thank You 🙂 🙂 Now answer the question.. When the flag comes down tonight are you going to have your hand over your heart?

              • No.

                Even if my commie boyfriend drags me out early, I won’t do it. My shift ends at 5pm anyway, and by the time I lock up and stop off at the lady’s room before pedaling into a 20 knot wind, its usually closer to 5:10pm before I get to my bike.

            • I say again Cyndi P, run from these people, escape from their frustrating influence. You seem to be surrounded. Don’t allow them to distort your vision of the whole country. “We have only just begun to fight” Don’t remember who said those words but they seem appropriate.

              • Have you seen a satellite picture of this island? I can swim for hours, but there’s a limit to that…..the only ‘cure’ for this is do stay off the internet. I’ve already quit watching TV, and looking at newspapers, though a coworker passes his Washington Times to me.

                The good news is that though there are plenty of worshipers here, they do seem noticably less passionate lately.

              • Yeah Cyndi: What V said !!!!!!

    • USWeapon says:

      Todd,

      You make a great point, and it leads to my feeling on this issue. I don’t like the pledge of allegiance at all. Young children are too young to be pledging allegiance to anything. Let alone to something as grand as the republic that they do not understand or comprehend.

      • Wait a minute.. Is this really JAC? Its usually JAC who wont let me have shit. 🙂

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        Mon Ami,

        I disagree, it is how we learn. We start reciting it at a young age, in my case 1st Grade before the words under God were added. Yes, we did it by rote but as we got older and under God got added, it was explained to us by teachers who understood it and who also believed, being from the Reagan generation that the US was the last, best hope of mankind. That there was not anyplace else to run after this.

        This was also the generation that had just won a huge two front war against some of the most evil people that had ever come down the pike.

        Today of course, the majority of young teachers scoff at the pledge. They seem to owe their allegiance primarily to the union and that is not the union Lincoln was trying to save. Times are bad, we have this idea that things that are not equal are. That there is a moral equivalency between us and the Nazis, Communists or Jihadists. It is certainly nice to be able to sit back these days in relative safety and comfort and pontificate about “the perfect world”. Part of that perfect world would be either to not pledge to anything or to assume that someone, somewhere, sometime would teach it to our older children and bother explaining it properly. More likely it would be a William Ayres pointing out the hypocrisy of it to young pliant minds. We have the luxury of pointing out the faults of Jefferson, Washington, Franklin or Lincoln. People in whose boots we are not worthy to walk.

        See USW, I don’t want the US to rule the world. I want it to leave us alone and us to leave it alone as much as possible. I want this country to continue as the great experiment and bring human freedom to its ultimate maturity. We have nothing to learn from Europe or Asia, they have had their turn and have given the world war and pestilence. We have given the world our example of freedom. They have chosen to follow but only to a point. Now, they are proceeding to tinker with it and it will soon be gone. There will always be MORE IMPORTANT things than freedom like reducing carbon footprints or some such nonsense. So, teach the little guys the pledge. Some will never get it, others, like little Stevie back in Incarnation School in 1952 will ultimately get it and hopefully pass it on, God and all.

  9. libertas

    • A question for you, sir. A debate I’m having with my friend at work. Apparently a teenage girl committed suicide after extensive bullying from a group of fellow students. The question is this: Do the bullies bear moral responsibility for her death? Does it make a difference if they knew that suicide was a likely outcome?

      • Mathius,

        You are asking this question within what context?

        From the point of MY ethics?
        or
        From the point of a Free Society?

        • In general. Apparently this is in the news somewhere. I have no further details as to the backstory/circumstance of the events. So take the scenario for what it’s worth.

          To my way of thinking, if the bullies had cause to believe that a likely outcome of their bullying would be suicide, they bear responsibility in some measure for her death. If they had no cause to believe that was a likely outcome, they bear no responsibility. That is, you can only be held responsible for the direct results and foreseeable consequences of your actions. Regardless of the fact that her suicide was her own action, if you knew it would be her response, but you chose to bully anyway, you are responsible.

          • Mathius,

            There you go again with “God Knowledge”

            How do you know if calling Mathius a “Fool” would cause him to commit suicide or not?

            Your argument depends on this knowledge.

            Where does it come from?

            You have the onus backwards – it is the actions that count not the intentions.

            • So if I have a known and diagnosed case of severe depression with strong suicidal thoughts (you know because I’ve told you), and you then turn around and tease me ruthlessly, you have no responsibility if I then kill myself?

              I’m not talking about “God knowledge” here, but rather a reasonable expectation. If I think that doing X will cause you to do Y, and I do X anyway, do I not bear some responsibility for Y? Especially if we consider that the person doing Y may have a mental condition which renders them incapable of doing other than Y?

              Taunting an unstable person is tantamount to cutting someone’s breaklines. It is a material action. She may have not had any functioning free will at that point given her neurosis and suicide was the inevitable conclusion. The fact that you did not know with 100% certainty that this would happen does not change the fact that you chose to take a gamble with someone else’s life, no?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        For me, the threshold of “moral responsibility” is the clear intent to cause harm. By your description, these were bullies. They clearly intended harm to the individual. They may not have intended death, but they certainly intended harm.

        Now, the crux of your question ACTUALLY seems to be that because the girl CHOSE to KILL HERSELF as a result of the actions of the bullies, do they bear the responsibility for her death, especially if they were aware that suicide might be a possibility as a result of their actions. Is that correct?

        • Yea, that’s about it. If you know the girl is unstable and you push too far, is it your responsibility? If you did not know that she was unstable, do you bear the same responsibility?

          • Mathius,

            How do you know she was unstable?

            Do they have special tattoos?

            LED lights implants?

            You have made your requirements impossible – you require God Knowledge.

            • Again, I am not requiring 100% knowledge, just a reasonable expectation.

              If I play the lottery, I have a reasonable expectation of losing. If I cut someone’s breaks, I have a reasonable expectation that they will crash and die.

              The question is: stipulating that you have knowledge that they are unstable, do you bear any responsibility for resultant suicide?

              • Mathius,

                You are confusing actions

                If I cut your brakes, it is YOUR brakes with MY intent of harm.

                If I speak it is MY voice.

                You demand that I should know – by some God Given Knowledge – what words will set off you?

                How do I know?

                How do I know the color “Red” won’t send you into a frenzy?

                If I cannot know that, then demanding that I “somehow” are responsible is ludicrous.

              • I am not asking you to know what will happen. But if you throw a ball in the air, you can probably guess that it will come back down.

                Everything I do has the potential to cause harm. That breath I just exhaled will cause a hurricane next year which will kill 10,000 people. Everything. All I can do is my best to mitigate the harm I do.

                If I think something runs a higher risk of harm than something else, I should choose the lower risk if I can. Who am I to gamble with the lives of others?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      A beautiful depiction of Libertas can be found on the obverse of the Barber dimes, quarters, and half dollars which were minted in the United States from 1892-1916. In mint condition these are strikingly beautiful.

      Apologies for the brief intermission to insert that “factoid of the day”.

      🙂

  10. I am aghast how easy it is for men like Buck to surrender the Freedom of other men for their personal benefit. A sure sign of a tyrant.

    What right does a Buck have to impose upon non-violent men?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Because he does so for the greater good! 🙂 Are you blind, man? Can’t you see that what you see as “force” and “imposition” are merely for your own good and for the collective good of the society which you are so fortunate to live in?!? SERIOUSLY!

      /sarcasm off

  11. Who has the right to chose which Rights are more important than other Rights?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      That depends on how you define “Rights”.

      If you claim to have the right to harm me when I have caused no threat of harm or actual harm to come to you, then I would say that my rights are more important than yours because you have used a flawed definition of Rights to begin with 🙂

    • USWeapon says:

      I don’t know that anyone does have the right to determine which rights are more important than other rights. What is in question is whether it is a reasonalbe expectation that a natural right, individual liberty, is usurped in the name of reaping the benefits of society.

      • USWep,

        There exists no benefit from society other than recognition of individual rights.

        One cannot support rights and destroy them at the same time.

        Any society which believes it must destroy rights to save ‘some of them’ will always live in perpetual violence and conflict no matter how hard the individuals in society seek peace and cooperation.

        • USWeapon says:

          Any society which believes it must destroy rights to save ’some of them’ will always live in perpetual violence and conflict no matter how hard the individuals in society seek peace and cooperation.

          That sounds great as a quote to be written down and chanted at the next freedom rally, but is that actually true? This is a premise I am willing to challenge. Why do you believe that any sacrifice must ultimately lead to doom?

          I submit that there are absolutely ways that we can alleviate the burden on liberty. But choosing to allow all to reap the benefit without requiring that all contribute is setting ourselves up for the very thing that welfare creates, is it not? A society that slowly increases the percentage of leaches until the leaches vastly outnumber the free contributors?

          How on earth would we accomplish anything? The businessman needs roads to be successful. If he were to pay for the road he needs, he goes broke. If he requires others to pay for a road he needs, he falls out of line in your book.

          Take that a step further, if only those who want the road contribute while those who don’t contribute realize that later they can simply reap the benfit for free, how do you alter that? You have a non-initiation of violence rule, so I can sit back, watch you and your believers build the road with your money like fools, and then I will use your road whenever I like. What are you gonna do about it? Or you can hire security for your road, who will do what to stop me? Issue me a fine? In your society I don’t have to recognize your authority to do such.

          I am not attempting to be difficult. I really do want to understand.

          • USW

            “That sounds great as a quote to be written down and chanted at the next freedom rally, but is that actually true? This is a premise I am willing to challenge. Why do you believe that any sacrifice must ultimately lead to doom?”

            My friend, we have over 200 years of our own history to prove this true.

            You may be willing to give up liberty for something, but I am not.

            Now you are faced with the moral dilemma of using force to take my liberty so that you may willingly give up your liberty.

            The minute you fall to that rationale you have made ALL rights subject to govt whim.

            • USWeapon says:

              JAC… Welcome back my friend.

              Both you and BF have misconstrued my thinking, which means I did a poor job of communicating.

              I do not, and will not, justify the sacrificing of another man’s liberties in order to gain anything. When I speak of sacrificing liberty, I am talking about one’s personal decision to sacrifice their own.

              I realize that I am being difficult with BF, and I do that as a means towards discussion. The idea behind what I wrote was that I would get BF to offer the solutions to the dilemma from his perspective. Unfortunately, I instead caused both you and him to believe that I am advocating for such sacrifice. I must now go on record and say that I am not.

              I personally do not believe that there is anything in the private market that cannot be done without the help of the government. That includes the roads dilemma. It is EASIER to have government do it. But I am long past the point of seeking easy solutions. I now seek free solutions. I believe that the government can serve society in a very limited role. I believe that you feel the same, and that BF disagrees. But as we discuss these issues, I am willing to challenge any premise in order to clarify, question, and define. That was what I made a poor attempt to do here.

              I apologize for the confusion.

              • USW

                I too may have constructed my comments to quickly.

                I did not think you were advocating per se. I was trying to answer the questions you posed.

                Namely, how could one argue that any sacrifice leads to eventual disaster. I used our history as evidence of this claim.

                I was trying to frame the primary argument, namely any sacrifice is by its nature a delegation of authority to use force, thus lies the ember that eventually creates the fire that destroys liberty.

                I think we are in accord in general and that includes BF. He has stated he supports something along the lines of VDLG as a “transition” to anarchy. Just as we now search for a transition to VDLG.

                You did not confuse me as much as I confused you by simply using your statements to make a point to the general audience.

                Trip was short but very nice.

  12. A Puritan Descendant says:

    We have but one life to live. Do we live it as Nanny dependant clones, with balls and chains around our ankles? Or do we live it as free men/women with risks we are free to take?

    (And please don’t give me Nancy Pelosies version of Liberty; that is just a perversion of natural Liberty).

    • USWeapon says:

      OK Puritan, So then the question becomes. What conveniences of living in this particular society are you willing to give up in order to keep your individual liberty? Because most assuredly you are choosing to sacrifice liberty for some conveniences, no? Why do you think this is OK on those situations, but not on others?

      And the important question, are you willing to give up those sacrifices for comfort that you approve of if someone else doesn’t agree that those sacrifices are worthy?

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        Not easy to answer.

        My mind is stumbling all over itself trying to find ‘simple’ answers to your questions.

        I suppose the list of conveniences I would be ready to give up would be the conveniences that are not necessarily conveniences. One big one would be Social Security. I will probably need SS but at this point of our economic mess, we need to dump it now and let future generations take resposibility for investing for themselves. Medicare is busted too. At this point I would NOT give up our military as it is a ‘convenience’ I would like to keep.

        Why do I think this is ok in some situations and not others? Real tough to answer. I would have to argue them one at a time. As for the military we are presently living in a very dangerous world and it will probably be a long while before we could even begin to trust others to ‘forgive and forget’ and just ‘smell the flowers’.

        And ‘the important question’ you asked; I will use the military example again, NO, not unless we had a 3/5 or 2/3 vote to do away with the military. At that point I would just assume I am not ‘enlightend’ enough.

        So you can see you allowed me to paint myself in a bit of a corner here with no clear answers or a way out. However, I have always thought it would be a Major improvement if we could have a 3/5 or 2/3 vote in both the house and senate to get anything done. This would help end ‘majority rules’ or the 2 wolves having one lamb for dinner.

        • USWeapon says:

          Don’t worry, there are no consequences here. I applaud that you are articulating the way you are thinking about it. There isn’t a wrong answer in the se discussions, only differing opinions. You gave some thought out responses, what more could I ask for? I will reply as soon as I can.

          • A Puritan Descendant says:

            I thank you for asking the questions because it helps keep us all honest with ourselves.

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          Duh, actually 2 wolves having one Lamb for dinner would be a 2/3 vote, But I suppose it is still much better than 51 wolves eating 49 lambs 🙂

  13. So if I have a known and diagnosed case of severe depression with strong suicidal thoughts (you know because I’ve told you), and you then turn around and tease me ruthlessly, you have no responsibility if I then kill myself?

    Then turn yourself in to an insane asylum. I am not responsible for your condition.

    I’m not talking about “God knowledge” here, but rather a reasonable expectation. If I think that doing X will cause you to do Y, and I do X anyway, do I not bear some responsibility for Y?

    You are asking me for “God Knowledge”.

    I am not a psychologist, nor do I have to be to be free.

    What “reasonable expectation”?

    If it exists, then you need help. You shouldn’t be wandering society without protection of friends and family.

    I am not responsible for your actions. Only you are, whether or not you are capable

    Taunting an unstable person is tantamount to cutting someone’s breaklines.

    Then that unstable person is the problem, not me.

    If a stable person who not kill themselves, then my actions are a right. I do not have to pervert my actions for someone’s inability!

    It is a material action. She may have not had any functioning free will at that point given her neurosis and suicide was the inevitable conclusion.

    The work on her!! Do not work on me – as I do not have that problem.

    You are confused to where the problem lies – which is why your interpretation is skewed.

    The fact that you did not know with 100% certainty that this would happen does not change the fact that you chose to take a gamble with someone else’s life, no?

    I do what I do that does not impose.

    If others cannot handle that – it is not my fault.

  14. USWeapon says:

    Mathius,

    I see where you are going with this. However, you travel down a path that is full of peril.

    You cannot hold those who taunted her responsible for her suicide. You can hold them accountable for the actions that they committed, if those actions are unlawful. The odds are that they bullies treat more than just this one girl this way. That is simply how bullies act. So unless there is a very high percentage of kids who get bullied who commit suicide, it is unreasonable to assume that they would think that a possibile outcome. So let’s take this a different direction and apply it to politics.

    Statists believe that the actions that they take are good for people in general. But there are a high number of people who commit suicide because of financial troubles. Should we hold politicians accountable for suicides resulting from personal finance dilemnas caused by poor policy decisions? I am sure that your answer will be no. There are too many factors that play into the personal finance situations that a family finds themselves in.

    Those on the religious right teach that abortion is murder. They stoke the emotional flames on that issue. Should the preacher who gives a sermon in which he states the religious belief that abortion is murder be held accountable if one of his flock decides to walk into a different church and shoots an abortion doctor?

    Jeremiah Wright spends a significant amount of time preaching racial militancy. He screams G** D*m* America. He preaches that white men work to keep the black man down. Should he be held accountable if one of his parish goes out and in a fit of rage screams the same phrase before shooting a federal legislator?

    A website exists that gives instructions on how to build a bomb. It is certainly believable that they must understand that someone could take that information and build a bomb to be used in terrorist activites. So if someone does so, should the website operator be held accountable for the actions of the insane man that used the information to do harm?

    Apply that same thinking to your scenario (which I also read about in the news). Suicide is something that comes as a result of many factors. Mental health, family life, personal relationships, everything in that person’s life contributes to that outcome. To lay the blame at the feet of a few bullies is to ignore the fact that she apparently had parents who didn’t make her feel as though she could talk to them about her feelings. Or it assumes that they were well aware of her mental state, a fact that defies reality, since that falls into the realm of confidential information.

    I think that Flag’s point stands here. We can only hold people responsible for the actions that they take. You can hold them responsible for bullying the girl. But you can not hold them responsible for the actions that the girl took. If you decide that you can hold them responsible for the actions that the girl took, then I say the federal government should be held responsible for every death caused by their flawed policies and lack of restraint.

    USW

    • I’m not looking to hold anyone accountable. I am merely asking if they morally (not legally) share the responsibility. See, you can say that they are only responsible for the actions they take, but I disagree. I think you have to own the repercussions of your actions as well – to an extent.

      If I tell a thief the alarm code to my neighbor’s house, I sure didn’t commit the inevitable theft, but am I not morally responsible?

      They could not have know the girl would kill herself, nor can we know that they are 100% of the reason why she did. But we can say, absent quantifying it, that they are “somewhat” responsible – if it had not been for them, she would still be alive. If they had no reason to even suspect this outcome, I think they hold only the slightest amount of responsibility (after all, I can’t blame you for something you couldn’t have predicted). But if they had cause to believe she was unstable, they had a moral obligation to be more careful.

      But I guess we’ll just have to disagree.

      • Mathius,

        You muddle two, entirely different circumstances in an attempt to have one prove the righteousness of the other.

        That is why you fail here.

        • Why? I am just using my words. If they result in harm by the actions of others, why am I to blame? The decision to rob my neighbor was the thief’s, not mine.

          • You either stole this code, or it was given to you in trust.

            So you are a thief or untrustworthy.

            If you are a thief, you are culpable.

            If you were untrustworthy, then it was my fault for trusting you. That mistake will not happen again – and the rest of the town/city/state/nation will also know this. Hope you know how to survive off the land.

    • If you bullied someone you thought might be suicidal and she killed herself, would you feel guilty? Would you feel guiltier than if you never suspected that she was suicidal?

      • Probably. But that is why I asked – are you asking ME or are you defining SOCIETY.

        Feeling guilty is a PERSONAL thing, and has ZERO force of will upon society.

        • Again, I’m not asking about assigning blame, or punishing anyone. I’m just asking about this in a sense of morality. Are they morally (at least partially) responsible for her death. And would this responsibility be increased if they had reason to suspect her suicidal tendency ahead of time?

          • USWeapon says:

            Then under your terms I say yes, they are responsible. We cannot punish them, but I have a feeling that if there is a judgement day, it won’t be a happy one for them.

          • Mathius

            “Are they morally (at least partially) responsible for her death.”

            You have posted similar hypothetical questions regarding “moral responsibility” before. But the error lies in mixing “moral” and “responsible”.

            Moral is a classification of action by right and wrong or good and evil.

            The action is moral or immoral. It does not create responsibility for something or someone. At least in the heavier meaning of the word. At best you can say the action “caused” a certain outcome. But when the terms are mixed, “caused” is not the meaning of responsible. “Morally responsible” does not mean morally caused, it is used to assign some “responsibility or obligation to others because of ones behavior.

            On the other hand moral behavior does make us “accountable” for our actions. If I act immorally and the result is injury I am now accountable for my actions to those I harmed.

            Now to your example. The act of bullying is immoral as it constitutes the use of coercive force against an innocent person. Regardless of the results the act itself is immoral.

            I believe that some restitution is due if this action resulted in harm, in this case suicide. I do not think that should be jail time. It should be actual restitution to the family in some manner they prescribe.

        • To clarify: I am not asking about society. Just in a purely ethereal sense of morality.

          • Mathius,

            A personal opinion, bullies are immoral.

            Often, they are criminal too.

            It is in the latter that society acts with law, and in the former acts with the right of association (and withdraws such association).

      • USWeapon says:

        I absolutely would feel guilty if I felt that I contributed to the pain that pushed her to that end. But I would also feel guilty for causign her that pain even if the result hadn’t been suicide. I hold myself to a standard of how I treat others. I feel bad if I break that standard.

        I am glad that you made the distinction between being held responsible in the mind versus legally. That changes things for me. I hold that it is not right to hold someone legally accountable for the actions of another. It sounds more like you are asking whether I think it is OK to think the bullies are pieces of trash for contributing to her demise. Yes I do think it is OK to think them morally reprehensible. I don’t think that you would be justified in taking action against them for it though. Hence all my examples above where I noted action would be warranted if we change the standard.

        • So your verdict, again, in terms of morality (not in terms of societal response) is that they are at least “somewhat” responsible for her death?

          If so, do you agree that advance suspicion that she might kill herself would make them more responsible?

          I’m just not clear on your answer.

          • USWeapon says:

            I am struggling with the word responsible because it implies consequences or actions taken against them.

            If they had advance suspicion, then they are even bigger pieces of crap, and should feel even worse about themselves.

            But to attempt to be more clear. MORALLY, they are a contributor to her demise and should be held as partly responsible. The more likely the outcome was, to their knowledge, the more responsible they are.

          • SK Trynosky Sr says:

            Matt,

            A lot depends on your own personal morality. Assume that I am one of the bullies. I got caught up in bullying because I myself was bullied and this is a way of making myself feel bigger, badder and better. So I start on the e-mail stuff and the girl kills herself. I know that I would carry that moral guilt with me until the day I died. I could rationalize or justify what I did but I could never escape the fact that I was partially responsible for her death. Did I know she was/would become unhinged, doesn’t matter. this is one of the reasons that one of my mantras is you can never justify bad behavior.

            To continue, I have known and do know people who would not feel the least guilt over the girls death. They might even consider it funny. How do you think they get concentration camp guards anyway?

            Here’s another. there is a guy on the tenth floor ledge of the building threatening to jump. A bunch of slightly lubricated clowns exits a bar, sees what’s going on and starts yelling jump. Soon the crowd joins in “Jump”, “Jump”, “Jump” they yell. The guy jumps. Are they morally guilty (each and every one)? Take it a step farther, if he jumps and lands on someone killing them, are the members of the crowd morally responsible?

            I don’t know, maybe there should be a charge of depraved indifference to human life on the books. Without it, there is only that old conscience guiding you and not everyone saw Jiminy Cricket sing “always let your conscience be your guide” in Pinocchio.

            • Jiminy Cricket is my hero. I used that line on a few people over time and it really makes people think.

  15. USWeapon says:

    Buck and Matt,

    You have thus far answered in the way that I assumed you would. So I will now make it a little tougher as we delve into some of the details.

    I can go with the idea that it is a good thing at times to sacrifice some of the liberty that you have in order to gain benefits for doing so. But what if I don’t want the benefit, or I don’t want to sacrifice my liberty so that you can benefit? Why then, should I be forced to sacrifice liberty? And if I choose to not reap the benefit, why should I be asked to leave. If I live on my land, and don’t impose on anyone else, why should I be forced to follow your rules?

    • Simple answer? You shouldn’t.

      Don’t want to partake, you shouldn’t have to. And if you don’t, then you shouldn’t have to pay in in any way. Nor should you have to leave land that you own.

      However, it is nearly impossible to assign the price in accordance with the benefits desired. If I don’t have children and don’t want a public school, I still pay because everyone else wants it. And because I receive indirect benefits from it. So what should my share be? You tell me.

      Show me a good way to break it up so that you pay only your share, and I’m in.

      • USWeapon says:

        Oh that is coming soon, my friend.

      • USWeapon says:

        But let me ask, how is it that you think I benefit from a school if I have no children? Careful, this is a trap, just telling you in advance.

        • An educated populace creates a more robust economy. You benefit from this economy. Likewise, educated teenagers are less likely to rob your house. They are more likely to go on to develop life-saving medicines you will use. Et cetera, et cetera, and so forth.

          • USWeapon says:

            So the benefit of an educated society is not a benefit for the educated society members?

            I do not benefit from an educated society…. the educated do.

            The benefit of the person who goes to school is that they are worth more in a free market. They will make more money working for me because they have better skills that I can make use of.

            It is a falsehood to say a more robust economy is a result. There have been many econimies that operate a very robust way without the benefit of an educated society. Only the wealthy were educated in Rome, but society flourished there regardless.

            Less likely to rob my house? I don’t think so, there is evidence that poverty cause crime, but not a lack of education. How about an educated society creates the problem of crooked people being better able to con me out of money?

            People don’t create new lifesaving drugs because of education. They pursue a personal education because they want to develop drugs and thus make more money for themselves. You have it reversed.

            The benefit of education is for the educated. And those that want to benefit will seek enlightenment and education without my being forced to pay for them to do it.

            So again, what is MY benefit? I can get the same results without forcing people to pay for something they don’t use.

            USW

            • I no longer have time today.. sadly. Can we pick this up another time?

              • USWeapon says:

                Absolutely, I will be addressing education in an article with the next week or so. We can carry it to there. I appreciate the debate!

            • A Puritan Descendant says:

              you bring up a memory. I knew this 20 year old kid always going to county jail for Burglary, otherwise he was harmless and would never physically hurt anyone. I was a Very good Chess player and I could only beat this kid about 1 out of 9 games. he could take a deck of cards and demonstrate advanced math the deck. By far the most intelligent person I have ever know…. cept he always brglared houses… Who would figure that? Not me.

      • Mathius,

        However, it is nearly impossible to assign the price in accordance with the benefits desired.

        It is impossible to assign a price of “anything” in accordance with the benefits YOU get.

        That is the problem, Matt. You misunderstand economics.

        I do not price my product based on YOUR benefit – because there is nothing less then “God Knowledge” to know what you believe the benefit is for YOU.

        A price of my product is my offering – it is only when my price is LOWER then the cost of you obtaining that benefit by other means do you purchase.

        Trying to “guess” by some God-knows means a price based on a benefit for someone else is impossible – and if backed by the power of force, incredibly dangerous.

        If I don’t have children and don’t want a public school, I still pay because everyone else wants it. And because I receive indirect benefits from it. So what should my share be? You tell me.

        You do NOT receive any indirect benefits!!!

        This is an economic fallacy.

        Me learning my trade does not benefit you. It benefits me! It creates a potential for me to enter a market place with goods/services that may be valued by others.

        You pay me that benefit! Not when I am learning, but when I am doing. You receive the benefit – directly – when you buy and consume the goods/services.

        To believe you must also pay for my training up front and then pay me again when you receive my service is (bluntly) a stupid idea.

        Show me a good way to break it up so that you pay only your share, and I’m in.

        Pay on delivery. How about that?

  16. Mathius,

    I am not asking you to know what will happen. But if you throw a ball in the air, you can probably guess that it will come back down.

    And that is why you’re all muddled up.

    I know the ball will fall there is no guess.

    And that’s the point. I do not have such knowledge of YOUR BRAIN or YOUR EMOTION or YOUR STATE of MIND for it is as unique anything in the Universe.

    You want to confuse something that – as a law of Nature, must do – with knowing you – a feat you demand of me, when I truly doubt you even fully understand yourself!!!

    Everything I do has the potential to cause harm.

    Which is why the action not the potential is all we must consider!

    That breath I just exhaled will cause a hurricane next year which will kill 10,000 people.

    Rest assured this is impossible. Don’t try to understand chaos theory here.

    You’re life exists well far away from what are known as “boundary conditions”.

    All I can do is my best to mitigate the harm I do.

    You cannot mitigate what will not be done.

    It is in the action, not the potential, that the measure is made.

    If I think something runs a higher risk of harm than something else, I should choose the lower risk if I can. Who am I to gamble with the lives of others?

    Depends!

    If they are attacking me with knives, I’m gambling with their lives to save mine.

    If they are attacking me with insults, they leave my property.

  17. This is such good reading! It seems as though whatever steps we take in the direction of a more civilized society (i.e., infrastructure, education, first responders, etc., etc.) increasing the quality of life overall, indirectly creates a threat to our individual liberties.

    An example close to me heart is the education system in NC – I believe it was instituted by the Whigs – established to elevate and educate the common man, but now the institution is perverse.

    Perhaps any government “program” that fails to create private sector, non-unionized jobs are the problem? If the economy fails to grow, the government will fall – therein lies the rub. Growing the government will never equal growing the economy…and puts all liberty at risk.

    • USWeapon says:

      Uh Oh Kelly…. you are getting too smart for your own good.

      Wicked Smaht even!

      The education system is the first thing we need to take away from government and put back in private hands.

      • Heady praise – I may need a larger hat! With the news on “No Child Left Behind,” we’re not going there anytime soon…we just keep dumbing down one generation after another for the sake of the greater good.

        • USWeapon says:

          Not if I can help it. Changing the education system may be my top priority going forward. It is an avenue that I am passionate about.

    • Kelly

      “It seems as though whatever steps we take in the direction of a more civilized society (i.e., infrastructure, education, first responders, etc., etc.) increasing the quality of life overall, indirectly creates a threat to our individual liberties.”

      I know you are not proposing this as truth. I simply want to point out this is one of the greatest lies every perpetrated against humanity.

      And it was done by those who have no interest in liberty or civilized society. They only want power and control to impose their belief system on the rest of us.

  18. Hi Ya’ll!

    As I read along today, one of my coworkers was praising ObamaCare and how great it will be. So I wrote down three things and asked him to pick the two that are alike.

    1. Liberty – Making lifes decisions without interference or threats.

    2. ObamaCare- Being told you must purchase healthinsurance or be heavily fined.

    3. Radical Muslim extremist – You must covert to our religion or we kill you.

    Then I told him to go home and read the history of Argentina.

    I’ll see what he says tomorrow.

    G!

    • USWeapon says:

      You gave him loaded questions, lol

      • I’ll try and shock people into waking up if the opportunity presents itself, besides, they weren’t that loaded, two involve real threats, one does not 🙂

  19. Has anyone seen the White House visitors list posted on Atlas Shrugs? Wow….

    Its about half way to three quarters of the way down the page……

  20. A Puritan Descendant says:

    USW, I just got back from a nap on this rainy day. Answered you above and now for now I will read the rest of the posts.

  21. It is interesting that there exists an assumption -wholly unproven which may be in fact disproven that one needs to give up liberty for society benefits

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      I am inclined to liberty benifiting all of society in a Big Way compared to a society with a lack of Liberty.

    • When I saw that assumption it didn’t make sense to me at all. It still doesn’t, btw.

      🙂

    • Do you define “society benefits” as those types of conveniences (such as roads) which enhance the ability for capitalism to succeed or are you defining them more as “social” benefits, such as entitlement programs? Or both?

      • Kelly,

        Roads were not “created” by a surrender of rights.

        Roads are useful for people, like pencils are useful.

        Because something is “useful” justifies usurping someone’s rights?

        • Well, arguably roads were. They were paid for by state and federal taxes. However, they promote commerce – they’re not merely just “useful” conveniences like chocolate pudding (I prefer pudding to pencils).

          Is there any form of taxation or benefit from government that would not infringe on someone else’s rights?

          • Kelly,

            Roads were not invented by the government.

            If they usurp their construction – because it required violent force on land owners to seize their property – does not justify the seizure, nor make it “good”.

            Lesson #1: All economic goods are the same. They are valueless until a human values them

            I may think chocolate pudding is far more valuable then your roads. The manufacture of the pudding creates tens of thousands of jobs – maybe hundreds of millions if we add in all the suppliers and supplies of suppliers necessary to make pudding.

            Please review this essay, written 1958 called “I, Pencil”

            http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html

            Your question:
            Is there any form of taxation or benefit from government that would not infringe on someone

            None whatsoever.

            Every action of government MUST infringe on someone’s rights

            Reasoning:
            (1) If Action-A was voluntary, and supported voluntarily, (that is, in this exchange every participants rights are recognized and protected – no one sells from coercion and no one buys under coercion) it would not require coercion to achieve.

            (2) If Action-A is done by government it is because (1) did not happen.

            (3) Item (1) did not happen because one of the participants voluntarily withdrew. That is his right.

            (4) Government steps in and FORCES that person to participate by coercion – a violation of his rights – to accomplish Action-A.

            An act of government upon men happens only upon men voluntarily refuse to act.

            • The essay was very good – thanks. I understand your point. The last sentence sounds a lot like Edmund Burke.

              Hopefully, November will give us the opportunity to act. My concern is we’re too far gone, not due to merely past inaction, but because of the lack of morality and personal responsibility that landed us in this mess.

            • I disagree with one statement that you made. You said that every act of government MUST infringe on someone’s rights. I disagree. I would change that statement to every action that can only be accomplished through the use of government must infringe on someone’s rights. Does that make sense?

    • USWeapon says:

      Are you asserting that I make that assumption? Because I do not. I can explain further if you like.

      • USWep,

        No, you didn’t.

        But a whole lot of others have extend this assumption out of thin air.

        I had noticed it in the drift and flow of the responses.

  22. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey All

    Just got this in my mail box, and thought I’d share with everybody.

    Hope all are doing well today.

    Take Care

    Judy

    National Socialist States of America

    * Written By: R.L. David Jolly
    * 3-30-2010
    * Categorized in: American History, Constitution, Government

    When giving his centennial address to Congress in 1876, President James Garfield issued the following warning: “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

    The United States of America is well on its way to becoming a socialistic nation and it wouldn’t surprise this author to see the Obama administration change our name to The National Socialist States of America before he leaves office, if he ever does.

    President Obama’s family has a history of Islamic and Marxist ideologies starting mainly with his father and mother. He admittedly sought out socialist and Marxist professors while in college and even his so-called personal advisor and Christian pastor Rev. Wallace is a self-proclaimed socialist and has preached many socialist teachings from his pulpit. He has surrounded himself in office with a number of advisors with socialist and Marxist beliefs. So is it any wonder that Obama has abandoned the United States Constitution and has set on a course for the ultimate destruction of our nation as we have known it?

    The health care bill that he so proudly waves from his pulpit is a complete affront to everything the Founding Fathers established in the U.S. Constitution. It violates several articles of the Constitution, including those that prohibit the federal government from requiring private citizens to purchase any product—including health insurance—and invoke a fine if they don’t.

    The health industry in all of its many aspects accounts for nearly one-sixth of the total economy of the U.S. With this bill, that now gives the federal government control over that portion of the economy.

    Now they are already working a major financial reform bill. If they succeed, it will basically give them complete control over the entire economy of this nation. Add that to the immigration reform and education reform, and the only thing left will be the military. Oh yeah, I forgot, they are already swearing allegiance to the United Nations instead of the United States.

    But wait, what about the Second Amendment that gives American citizens the right to own and bear firearms? Have you not read that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has informed the United Nations that the U.S. will work closely with the U.N. to pass the “Small Arms Treaty”? This U.N. treaty is nothing more than global gun control.

    Once they can get away with a flagrant disregard for the U.S. Constitution on any one item, it’s just a matter of time before they completely toss the entire document in the garbage can and fully establish the National Socialist States of America with a new document, one that will be subject to their changes and interpretation as they see fit.

    In 1775, John Adams expressed this concern in a letter to his wife, Abigail, when he said, “Our consolation must be this, my dear, that cities may be rebuilt, and a people, reduced to poverty, may acquire fresh property. But a constitution of government, once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost, is lost forever. When the people once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their right of defending the limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”

    “Oh, you’re just an alarmist,” some will say. And I would agree, because just like the lanterns that shined from the bell tower of the Old North Church in Boston so many years ago, it is once again time to signal an alarm.

    Wake up America! What’s happening today sounds exactly like what the British crown did to the colonists in the 1700’s, by controlling their commerce and imposing undue taxes upon them. And what was the response from the colonists and our Founding Fathers? They drove them out of OUR country with whatever means were available, up to and including waging war on the tyranny of the crown.

    Right now, the most effective way to wage the war and fight this socialist agenda is to vote for Christians to fill every available political position, just as instructed by John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court when he said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

    It is our duty to vote for Christians and if there are no Christians running for office, then we need to find ones that are qualified and encourage them to do so and get behind them and support and endorse them. The only way to save the United States of America and prevent it from becoming the National Socialist States of America is to put Christian leaders back in office as in the days of our Founding Fathers.

    • I would think he’d change the name to The Unified Socialist States of America.

      We certainly aren’t ‘united’, and the National Socialist States of America sounds too much like Nazis. I don’t think our Leftist ‘betters’ like that name though their objectives seem to be similiar, if not the same.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        How about the Socialist States of Obama. Getting to be that way for what I can see. I have never, ever, in my life, seen America be so torn apart the way it is now. It really saddens me to think of what future generations will have to go through if this generation can’t fix or at least try to fix this mess, if it can be done.

        My husband heard on the radio yesterday that now when you sell your house, they will add a 4% sales tax on it. What, now you can’t sell your house without another added tax.

        I hate to say this, and don’t mean to sound crass, but I actually think I’m grateful that my mother has a case of Dementia, at least she doesn’t have to worry about what’s happening in the world today, she really doesn’t have a clue.

  23. “People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self–sufficient and self–confident.

    To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint.

    They are eager to barter their independence for relief of the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure.

    They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility.”

    ~Eric Hoffer “The True Believer”

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      The ‘self–sufficient and self–confident’ have everything to lose if they obey.

  24. The warnings are hitting my inbox almost daily. Here’s the latest:

    The great sovereign debt crisis I’ve been warning you about has leapt across the Atlantic and is already starting to eat into the United States.

    Already, billions in municipal bonds are in default across the nation.

    And already, New York, California, Alaska, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and many other states are exhibiting the same symptoms that pushed Greece to the brink of default: Huge deficits … accounting tricks to hide debt … the use of risky derivatives to make up shortfalls … and millions of workers counting on benefits that states may not be able to pay.

    Just this morning, the New York Times reported that, in a desperate attempt to avoid their inevitable day of reckoning …

    New Hampshire literally stole $110 million from a medical malpractice insurance pool …

    Colorado is trying to seize a $500 million surplus from a state workers’ compensation insurer …

    Connecticut has tried to create its own magic accounting rules …

    Hawaii has decided to change the definition of the English word for “week,” cutting schools down to four days …

    California has rejiggered the entire yearly calendar, forcing companies to pay most of their taxes long before they’re due, and …

    Some fiscally sick states have already used the new health care law as a quick shot in the arm — they’re counting the money they’re supposed to get even before Congress appropriates it.
    All on TOP of the banking disaster AND the federal budget disaster, and the sovereign debt crisis!

    Make no mistake: We are facing a debt crisis and future currency meltdown of biblical proportions.

    I feel sorry for folks who get caught up in the mess that this will cause, not because they were not warned, but had no avenue to prepare.

    If your out their Flag, what’s your take on the actions of these States?

    G!

    • G-Man: Is your info coming from multiple sites or just one and can this stuff be verified. Not that I doubt it but I havent really seen these things in print myself. I do remember BF warning about the bonds being due in March though.

      • Anita,

        I get e-mails from about 7 different investment sites, that have been saying the same things for awhile now. I know that Flag gets some stuff from sites he subscribes too, as he has stated, so I’m inclined to look at all this as very real.

        As I’ve said many times, preparing accordingly will cost a small amount now, versus what it may cost in the near future, and if nothing happens, you can still use your food stash to save money and recoup what you invested. Plus it just makes me feel more at ease to know that I am prepared (just bought a nice .380 pistol last night, 16 years old, never fired, cheap)

        Peace my Friend!

        G!

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Remember to pick up some hollow points for that. They go nicely in my Mauser HSC. How do you feel about the trade-off in power for the enhanced concealability?

          • I love the concealability! I can make up for the lack of knockdown power with bullit placement. With the adjustable rear sight (windage and elevation) and my marksmanship skills, anything inside of 25 yards will not fare well.

            The elemant of surprise, in the era is important, as I see it. One great statement in the movie “Unforgiven” by Gene Hackman was when he told the journalist that the winner of a gunfight is the one who does not get nervous. The element of surprise will certainly cause this effect in any enemy I may come in contact with (which I hope NEVER happens) 😕

            It’s weight distribution is also excellent, very comfortable to hold and achieves natural point of aim better and faster than a heavier 9mm.

            • what model?

              • Russian Model IZH-70. It’s a Makarov, made in Russia. My Dad has the 9mm version, the only two versions made. Compared to a M-9 9mm, this has no action sloppiness and the trigger pull is slightly better, both double and single action. The weight is superb. I got lucky on this buy, originally bought in ’94, never fired, still in original box, 2 – 12 round clips, Russian leather flap holster with extra mag pocket, paid a buckfifty.

              • Nice, I like the makarov. You got it at a steal too. 🙂

  25. Top Eco-Fascist Calls For End Of Freedom To Fight “Global Warming”

    Population reduction enthusiast says “a few people with authority” should run the planet.

    Steve Watson
    Prisonplanet.com
    Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

    Top Eco Fascist Calls For End Of Freedom To Fight Global Warming

    A renowned environmentalist, known for his advocacy of population reduction as a means of offsetting climate change, has called for “a more authoritative world” where freedom comes second to tackling what he sees as the devastating effects of global warming.

    Futurist James Lovelock, tells the London Guardian that he believes “It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while,” in order to save humanity.

    “We need a more authoritative world.” Lovelock states.

    The inevitable.

    When one can justify the use of violence on non-violent people for “these very important things” over here, it gives everyone the right to use that violence for their “important things over there.”

    And, thus, the death spiral into tyranny….

  26. This is what liberty means to me:
    Having freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Being able to
    get up on a morning and go to the church, temple, mosque, etc. of ones
    choice without fear of retribution from the govenment. Choosing to send
    my children to a private school of my
    choice even though I am paying taxes for other chilren to go to public schools. Choosing where I want to work instead of the government mandating my place of employment. Choosing to have as many children as I and my husband feel that we could afford and take care of without fear of the government forcing me to have an aboriton. Traveling freely among
    all of our 50 states without showing
    ID’s at borders. Respecting laws that
    are meant to protect we citizens.
    Even writing this on a website that is
    available for government scrutiny without fear of being arrested. Yes,
    being able to critizize my government
    publicly without fear of being thrown in prison as happens in many countries
    around the world. You know what, I could go on and on. But it all boils
    down to the fact that here in America,
    one has the freedom of their own destiny. Yes, we pay taxes. For police protection, (if we are not crime intended). For good roads to get
    us where we choose to go. For brave
    firemen to put out our fires, risking
    their lives many times. For choosing
    to own a vacation home if we could so
    afford to. For choosing to live in the
    city on a country farm. For marching
    to end segrigation. Oh, the list is
    enless. God Bless America

    • Very nicely said 🙂

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      I almost posted yesterday to say, I never hear anyone say anything positive about this country anymore.

      Thanks for proving me wrong. We focus to much on the negatives and forget to smell the Roses.

  27. Ok, finally I have managed to catch up 🙂

    The challenge to question one’s own core beliefs like this reminds me of an old conversation between BF and I about finding one’s true core belief(s) or standard by which we measure all of our other principles. BF’s is freedom itself, liberty defined as a natural right, the right to do as one wills without interference form anyone else nor interfering with the rights of another.

    Mine was maximizing potential. As such I find individual liberty, defined also as a negative right (freedom to do as one wished without interference providing it harms no other). I find, based on my own research and knowledge of history, that it maximizes potential for both the individual and the society. Also, it affords the right to individuals to organize as they see fit and utilize the advantages of group effort, pooling of resources, etc., providing participation remains voluntary.

    Liberty, the type I define above, comes with two things: Risk and Opportunity. The reduction of risk or liberty will always result in an overall reduction of opportunity. The lie of the socialist mentality is that more people will have opportunity because they will have the resources to engage in the actions they wish to take.

    It is true that the lack of certain resources does reduce one’s freedom to do certain things in a certain sense. They are legally free to do those things in a free society, but may still not be able to. This is a natural fact of life. For instance, I may want to be able to bench press 500 lbs. It is unlikely, without the use of extreme body modifying drugs, that I will ever be able to do that. I am very strong for my size, but at my most muscular I weighed around 170, and had a max bench of 250. I just dont have the frame and muscle type to lift that sort of weight. My lifting partner, however, is a much larger person and has, in addition, a naturally greater ability to build muscle. He is close to that 500 goal with a max bench of around 480. Another, even larger framed friend presses over 560. No amount of socialism will equalize us.

    I have another friend who is very quick witted. I am not. I am very smart, but I prefer writing because I have time to think a little. In rapid conversation, I require a lot more preparation to outdo my quick thinking friend in a BS contest.

    I have another friend who goes on a sailing cruise every year and eats very high quality food and is never stressed about money. I cannot do this as my financial resources put me under duress frequently and a cruise is a dream far into the future. Would socialism fix this? They claim it will, but history shows that to be patently false. Even the perfect application of wealth redistribution (i.e., one done without corruption or overhead) tends to remove the hunger, the necessity that is the mother of invention. So even if a society could exist in some utopian level of equality where all were born with equal resources, there would certainly not be as much opportunity, because it is the striving of mankind that leads to advancement.

    The Socialist says that if we were all “free” from the trials and toils of life we would create more, advance more. I believe this is a lie. The idea of a life of no worries and ease is a life that removes the greatness from us. Societies that have all they need become soft and corrupt and lazy and eventually fail. It happened to Rome, and it is now happening to us. It is happening because we stopped striving and started sitting on our laurels. We stopped taking risks and started being afraid of losing what we have, or of even trying. We stopped taking charge and taking responsibility, and we started blaming and passing the buck. Socialism promises to be a fountain of youth, back when all we had to do was play and not worry, and all we had to do was follow a few rules and go to school and do what mommy says cause she knows best. What they forget to tell everyone, or forget to realize themselves, is that mommy and daddy worked very hard to make sure we had playtime and food on the table. In the socialist “utopia”, everyone still has to work, and without the innovation of the market, the so-called “experts” that are the leadership will merely find more ways to benefit themselves, and playtime will get less and less, misery will increase, and innovation will stagnate.

    That is my justification for the liberty I believe in. Freedom to do as one wills providing it does not interfere with others is the only real freedom, the other type is a lie, and does not lead where its supporters promise.

    That said, there are compromises necessary in any relationship, and the relationship that is “society” is no exception. I do not, however, believe that anyone should be forced into any relationship. I agree that the pledge of allegiance is not something for children to be saying, that is something that only an “adult” can truly decide, and having children recite it for tradition’s sake is merely dumbing down the importance of such a pledge. Whether it is said with or without God at that point would also be the decision of the adult making the pledge. If someone wants to do without certain “benefits” of the government, then they should be free to do so. I would pay taxes for roads, fire and rescue, military (defense only, other operations would be on a case by case basis), police, court systems, etc. If someone, like BF, did not want any of those things, that is his choice, and he will have to suffer the consequences. I, in turn, will be willing to allow him to suffer those consequences. I would, at least in his case, help him in a medical emergency or help put out a fire at his home if I was able, but I would not be upset if I was unable. I would not get angry at the government for not rescuing him, he took the risk, he knew what he was doing.

    That sounds cold-hearted, but it is not nearly as cold-hearted as those who would take away the liberty and life and livelihood of others just to make themselves feel better about some needy person they saw or so that they themselves could live with “less risk”. I face having to choose between my business and avoiding jail time because I am being forced to purchase health insurance, all so that some “good hearted” people want to help the needy. So they allow a law to be passed that hurts some so that others can have insurance whether they need it or want it or not. THAT is cold-hearted, and a subject of mindless emotional reaction. It has scarcely more intelligence than the goal they seek of returning to childlike playtime.

    Given the choice, I would trade ALL of the government benefits for the chance at real freedom and opportunity. I welcome the risks. I believe that there are things a government is useful for, and I think most people would choose to have one, but I respect the choices of the BFs of the world as well. In essence, there are few things, if any that I find I am benefiting from so much that I would not be willing to give them up for the sake of liberty.

    • Very well pout Jon! 🙂

      I enjoyed your post. The truth we all find in ourselves, when we look hard, can be eye opening. After I read your post I thought some, as to try and put it in simple perspective.

      Freedom comes with sacrifice, living under tyranny comes with enormous sacrifice. I, like you, and many others, choose freedom.

      Peace and Live Free!

      G!

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      I agree Jon! However, I am upset about one thing you said. You can Bench Press 250. I weigh about the same as you and the most I ever pressed was 180 and I worked darn hard at it. It is only fair that you owe me something! 🙂

      • Try a thumbless grip on the bar. 🙂

      • Get some good healthy (legal) protein products.

        • Also, try creatine, but make sure you increase your water intake by a gallon per day (it has some bad side effects of crystalization and dehydration). Added 25 lbs to my bench tho. It is a natural substance found in red meat, its just that you would have to eat around 25 lbs of steak per day to get the dosage without using the supplement form.

    • Great post.

      “Freedom to do as one wills providing it does not interfere with others is the only real freedom, the other type is a lie, and does not lead where its supporters promise.”

      So true.

  28. What does one think, when the left, as proven in this video, acts like little 5 year olds? Can I say that someone voted for his piece to the treasury?

    http://www.thefoxnation.com/justice/2010/03/30/harry-reids-egg-man

  29. Re: Private, Public and Home School

    We must be very awake when discussing education. There are great powers that are ready to seize government force to bend the education of the young towards their desires.

    Just because it isn’t government school doesn’t stop the danger.

    The danger is government force of schooling. That force leaves no options.

    With that government force – minus government schools – leaves the domination other great powers willing to manipulate the minds of children.


    Between 1896 and 1920, a small group of industrialists and financiers, together with their private charitable foundations, subsidized university chairs, university researchers, and school administrators, spent more money on forced schooling than the government itself did.

    Carnegie and Rockefeller, as late as 1915, were spending more themselves.

    In this laissez-faire fashion a system of modern schooling was constructed without public participation. The motives for this are undoubtedly mixed, but it will be useful for you to hear a few excerpts from the first mission statement of Rockefeller’s General Education Board as they occur in a document called

    Occasional Letter Number One (1906):


    In our dreams…people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands.

    The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.

    We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science.

    We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply.

    The task we set before ourselves is very simple...we will organize children…and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

    This mission statement will reward multiple re-readings.

    – From John Gatto Taylor’s site.

  30. USWep

    Any society which believes it must destroy rights to save ’some of them’ will always live in perpetual violence and conflict no matter how hard the individuals in society seek peace and cooperation.

    That sounds great as a quote to be written down and chanted at the next freedom rally, but is that actually true? This is a premise I am willing to challenge. Why do you believe that any sacrifice must ultimately lead to doom?

    First, we are talking about Society – the conditions of massive herding of humanity.

    I am not saying conflict and violence is bad – most societies today blunder around well enough while bathed in the stuff. I am not judging this condition right now.

    What I am saying is if the goal is “peace and cooperation” will not be had.

    If your goal is peace and cooperation, then, No – there are no ‘inferior’ human rights that can be sacrificed so to “improve” some ‘superior’ human rights. You give up one – they are all under attack. And, will be attacked until the end of time in such a society.

    If your goal is “peace and cooperation”, human rights – all of them – are immutable.

    If that is not your goal, then any human right can be ‘sacrificed’ – it actually does not matter which one (or ones, eventually).

    Some form of society will exist – but it will be conflicted and violent. It will teeter between total tyranny and enslavement to some sort of passive enslavement and light-hand tyranny. But there will always be slaves and always be tyranny.

    I submit that there are absolutely ways that we can alleviate the burden on liberty. But choosing to allow all to reap the benefit without requiring that all contribute is setting ourselves up for the very thing that welfare creates, is it not? A society that slowly increases the percentage of leaches until the leaches vastly outnumber the free contributors?

    There are no leeches on Freedom. Freedom does not degrade if more men are free.

    Freedom is like knowledge. I can teach you, and now you know – but I am not at all diminished. I am more probably enhanced, for you take that knowledge and add to it, and then teach me.

    Freedom works the same way. Your freedom does not and never will diminish my freedom. The lack of imposition on you – for you to be free – ensures the lack of imposition on me – for me to be free.

    How on earth would we accomplish anything? The businessman needs roads to be successful. If he were to pay for the road he needs, he goes broke.

    He’s paying for them now – for twice the price.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch – someone is paying.

    His prices may change or they may not – who knows? – if roads where priced directly.

    If he requires others to pay for a road he needs, he falls out of line in your book.

    But he will get others to pay for his roads – it is in his costs of production.

    At the end of the day, it is the one who consumes the final goods that pays the tab.

    Take that a step further, if only those who want the road contribute while those who don’t contribute realize that later they can simply reap the benfit for free, how do you alter that?

    Do not look into another man’s wallet to justify your actions!

    What “deal” he is able to arrange for himself for a particular good/service is his, and not mine.

    I pay for the road because I need it, right now. He does not pay because he does not need it and rarely ever. So what?

    My benefit is I get it now. He doesn’t see that benefit, so he doesn’t want it. I do. And *viola* I get my road.

    I don’t really care what he gets at all.

    You have a non-initiation of violence rule, so I can sit back, watch you and your believers build the road with your money like fools, and then I will use your road whenever I like. What are you gonna do about it? Or you can hire security for your road, who will do what to stop me? Issue me a fine? In your society I don’t have to recognize your authority to do such.

    I’ll do exactly what YOU’D do if I watched you build your house, furnished, and filled the ‘fride with beer – and if I then walked in, sat down, grabbed a couple and watched your TV!

  31. From the article I give you the rationalization for the continuation of slavery in the early 1800’s.

    “If we take my definition of what individual liberty is, then the question to be asked is whether that is a fair thing to accept. We live in a large society. One in which we receive the fabulous benefits of what other people create for us. If that is the case, then are we truly sacrificing individual liberty when we give up our ability to do whatever we like in order to reap the benefits that society offers?

    The slaves are obviously much better off as members of a society that cares for them, so it is only logical they give up some of their liberty for these benefits.

    Liberty is by definition, at the time it was used, the ability of men to live without fear of the use of force by government.

    Therefore, you can not give up some liberty. You either give it up or you don’t. Any authority given to govt to use force against innocent men is an abdication of liberty itself.

  32. Lady Ness says:

    Really it seems that the basic argument here has been going on since before the constitution and bill of rights were even written. Our for fathers realized that you will always have people who believe differently about the government and its power. For these reason the states were given the rights. When the states have the most of the power but people are free to move between them you give everyone the freedom to pursue the happiness that is right FOR THEM. Also this allows for trial and error, ideas can be tested before they are mandated on everyone in the country. When the Federal government started mandating one sides ideas across America they started intruding on our individual liberties.

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