Can't sleep :-( Came here to find friends ;-(( I've amalgamated several replies into this post; some of them are repetitive and boil down to the same point, but worded differently in order to address yer comments.
This thread has devolved into two ideological camps, neither of which is willing to concede that the other has a point. Nor does either side seem to wish to acknowledge that the contrived situations presented to argue over have little bearing on reality. I'm sorry, but not only is a libertarian not going to really sit idle should some knife juggler stand up in the inflatable life raft; but nor does the concept that liberty should trump consequences rationally lead to a crazy little old lady buying a sachel nuke on her retirement savings in order to go commit a suicide bombing of the Upper West Side. I'm most certainly libertarian, and thus lean to one side in the debate, but both sides have run to the absurd.
Thanks for this, no sarcasm intended. I can't agree with your argument of "crazy little ladies" not buying nukes. Ok, maybe for crazy little ladies and nukes, you're right; but crazy big guys, and semtex bombs, no - you're wrong. And the pro-libertarian camp seem to think that, just because no-one would ever try to buy a nuclear weapon for personal use even if free to do so, that nuclear weapons should be freely available. Furthermore, given that hypothesis, that therefore no-one will ever buy lesser weapons for personal use and therefore they should all be freely available too.
Moonshadow, you yourself have stated that not all definitions of "acceptable weapons" are arbitrary, that some weapons *really are* different to others. Hmm. Then you argue that what is important is not the weapon, but the set of circumstances under which it's employed. This latter sentence is somehow better, but it's equivalent to saying that there exists some pre-defined absolute line of "unsafe circumstances", and all weapons either fall on this side, or that side of the line. So imagine if there was some new kind of weapon invented... use your imagination... let's imagine it uses 'sub-space harmonics' to make an assailant melt into a dead blob of jelly, and it has two dials, one controlling the range over which it operates, and another the intensity. What you're saying is that there is some non-arbitrary line, which will be obvious to *everyone*, what the maximum range and intensity of such a weapon should be; and furthermore that this non-arbitrary line would be obvious to everyone.
That's just it, not all such expressions are arbitrary. There really are differences between a weapon held in the hand, such as a knife or a handgun, and controlled by a single person and the kind of weapon that is not held in the hand, and is automatic. The distiction is the precision of use. The rifle and handgun are valid uses of force only under particular circumstances. Circumstances that an automatic weapon such as a trap or a mine can't reasonablely determine, because they are just machines. The trap cannot identify if the intruder is a rapist or a firefighter.
But you miss the point. ALL weapons become automatic once they are deployed. A bullet from a handgun becomes automatic once the trigger is pulled - it can't identify between a teenager playing with a water pistol and a teenager trying to shoot you. Or: could I legitimately use a landmine if I were 100% certain that the victim would be an intruder (or otherwise, an 'enemy')?
If a non-arbitrary definition did actually exist, it would be obvious to everyone (at least after debating). But here we've seen that the pro-libertarian camp don't even think that privately held nukes are unacceptable. And I don't doubt that someone, somewhere, perhaps a victim of a knife attack, would be very happy if all knives everywhere had a tamper-proof protective sheath that would only retract when in the immediate vicinity of carrots to be chopped, or that knives be only available from govt-approved shops after presentation of ID and motivation for requiring a knife.
But here - I'll tell you what - if not all such expressions (of "acceptable weaponry") are arbitrary, then PLEASE tell us what the single, unique, non-arbitrary one is. If it could be guaranteed that *everyone* would abide by that definition, then I would too, WHATEVER it is. But then that would be the Law, right? Or not?
All of this bickering can boil down to one central difference between us. You build your system of ethics up from utilitarian
principles, while we build ours from deontological
ones. Unless one side can find some way to convince the other that their base is fundamentally flawed, all of this is just hand wringing.
I'm not certain I agree with this. My problem with libertarianism would persist *even if* the underlying framework was utilitarian rather than deontological. To put it better: utilitarianism seeks to maximise "human happiness", deontology "human morality" (correct me if I'm wrong). In a utilitarian society, if everyone was free to interpret "human happiness" as they see fit, the same problems would arise. Analogously in a deontological society, if there was a system-wide definition of "human morality", then I see no problem.
The problems arise specifically and solely because people can and will have differing definitions of what's acceptable; and sometimes these definitions will be in conflict. My own personal philosophy is neither utilitarian nor deontological. My ideology could be summed up as "Everybody must obey the same rules; the rules must be impartial; the rules should seek to be comprehensive and minimise conflict."
Well, sure. Of course [FB & b2c's libertarianism] is contradictory. All ideologies are contradictory if they are taken as absolutes, as are yours.
Where is the contradiction in my idealogy? I'm not defying you - I realise there may be contradictions it it, let's debate if you like. In a different thread, if you prefer, but however we debate, it will also be applicable to IP law.
I can even see that there is little difference between my idealogy and libertarianism. It all depends on how many rules you want, and how many conflicts you want to address really. The difference between complete chaotic anarchy, and a totalitarian nanny state. Wouldn't it be great if we could apply a cost-benefit analysis, not to whether a given law should exist or not, but to how many, and which, types of conflict should the law address
. i.e. the more conflicts you address, the bigger and more costly the government becomes. At some point, the additional cost of instituting and enforcing a law will exceed the benefit benefit derived therefrom. "no nukes" - small cost, enormously large benefit. "no sunny side eggs" - medium cost, negligible benefit.
I'm sorry, but not only is a libertarian not going to really sit idle should some knife juggler stand up in the inflatable life raft...
I've already acknowledged this. ... would a libertarian watch a guy juggle knives on an inflatable raft instead of stopping him? No, ...
So a libertarian would stop someone juggling knives on a life raft, but not someone parading nukes around a city?
The point is, juggling knives on a life raft is *obviously* a recklessly dangerous thing to do, so, even in a libertarian society, it's unlikely that the boat-owner will specify that this is forbidden. Therefore, by your argument, anyone may rightfully do so, and no-one may rightfully stop him.
Now it's pretty certain that no-one ever actually *would* juggle knives on a life raft, precisely because it *is* obviously stupid. But there are plenty of other cases where the stupidity, or otherwise, of an action is not obvious, BUT, the owner whose T&C govern the situation will not have considered. So, in liberty-land, may a person rightfully put a forceful stop to any behaviour, not specifically otherwise prohibited, which they consider to be dangerous to themselves or their property?
Moonshadow, in case you've not read the whole thread, this contradiction in (fb's & b2c's) libertarianism has already been established. I perceive guns, even if holstered, as a threat, and therefore I can rightfully defend myself from them; but people have the right to carry guns. Are they incompatible rights or not?
The nuke thing is an extreme case. It doesn't say anything really. How about a cannon? Can a citizen own a cannon? If not, why not? What about dynamite? Black powder? How large of a firearm is too large, and why? You never really did address this before.
I tried asking this question before, except I was asking if it's possible to define "freakishly absurd" or not.
b2c, I'm not sure what you're arguing in these more recent posts. In order to solve a problem, are you suggesting that we should learn more about the problem, debate it and research it, or are you suggesting that... I dunno, are you suggesting... something else?
So let me get this straight. If I'm forced to do something at gunpoint and resist, I'm the one using violence to get my way?
If the state declares it will forcefully oblige people to obey, and does so, there is no contradiction or hypocrisy. If you declare you will peacefully ask people to voluntarily cooperate with libertarianism, and then forcefully oblige them to do so, there is contradiction and hypocrisy.
Do you deny that?