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Re: rights v. power struggles

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    ... If there is no enforcement of rights, there are no rights. ... It implies no such thing. It simply implies that power struggles determine the norms of
    Message 1 of 24 , Dec 13 7:39 PM
      >No...ENFORCEMENT of rights are very often dependent upon power
      >struggles. Rights themselves are not.

      If there is no enforcement of rights, there are no rights.

      >> If this is the case, perhaps the entire discussion has been mere
      >> misunderstanding. I have never disputed that generally speaking
      >> some forms of conduct are more useful than others (e.g. if we went
      >> around killing everyone who even slightly displeased us, society
      >wouldn't
      >> work well).
      >
      >This discussion started with the quote, "There are no rights, only
      >power struggles" which strongly implies otherwise, ie that whoever
      >obtains power is, definitionally, "right" in what they do.

      It implies no such thing. It simply implies that power struggles
      determine the norms of human interaction.

      >Note that
      >my position is _not_ the antithesis of your quote, "There are no
      >power struggles, only rights", which would have the equally absurd
      >implication that rights are always honored regardless of who is in
      >power or what they do. Rights exist because of man's nature
      >specifically and characteristics of the physical universe more
      >generally. It is quite often a power struggle to enforce those
      >rights.

      Since power struggles are part of the physical universe, it would be
      foolish to separate the two.

      >> As indicated below, you [Jason] evidently believe that
      >> there are some circumstances in which a greater good can justify
      >> the violation of a right (e.g. the transport of a gravely injured
      >> person through a red light).
      >
      >Yes...just don't confuse violation of a right with the non-existance
      >of that right.

      If you believe a violation would be justified, as evidently you do,
      then it is not a right. It is simply a rule that works well MOST
      OF THE TIME.

      >> I would say that the same is true of
      >> killing people and that fighting imperialism is a goal worthy of the
      >> lives of some thousands of people in the WTC, most of whom were
      >> aiding and abetting imperialism.
      >
      >I would strongly disagree, one of the primary reasons being that you
      >and I define imperialism quite differently, and as a result define
      >the group who are "aiding and abetting imperialism" differently.
      >
      >> Certainly this means that we agree
      >> that there are no inalienable rights.
      >
      >I don't see how that follows. Though included in the famous line
      >from the Declaration of Independance, I think the attribute of
      >inalienability is rather tangential to the concept and application of
      >rights, at least in the modern world. "Inalienable" simply means
      >that such rights are not transferrable. For example, if you're a
      >condemned murderer, I can't give or sell you my right not to be
      >killed and die in your place so that you can go free (gee, where have
      >we heard that kind of nonsense before? :-).

      Christianity? :-)

      >Non-transferrability is
      >entirely consistent with the conception of rights as rules of human
      >conduct. I don't see how any of what we have discussed implies that
      >all rights must be transferrable.

      Inalienable does mean that, but it also means that they can't be taken
      away. Does the person who is condemned to death have the right to life?
      Maybe you would think so if you are against capital punishment.

      >> I would agree
      >> that generally speaking obeying the established right of way is
      >> useful conduct though there may be exceptions. The manner in
      >> which society dictates who has the right of way may be arbitrary,
      >> but the idea not to violate it is not. In this I don't see any
      >> real difference with the so-called right not to be killed except
      >> perhaps in degree (and, of course, not yielding right of way
      >> does occaionally cause death, so they are not entirely separate
      >> issues).
      >
      >You are correct in that the concept "right of way" arises from the
      >nature of the physical world; two cars cannot occupy the same space
      >at the same time, and if they attempt to do so great harm will
      >result. What is arbitrary about "right of way" is under what
      >circumstances you have the right of way and what circumstances you
      >don't have it. I would argue that it is _not_ arbitrary when you
      >have a right not to be killed, and when you don't. That is the
      >difference between the two.

      I would not say there is a difference between the two. Generally
      speaking killing others is not good for society, but there are times
      when it is.

      >> >Most people
      >> >think of war as a valid exception -- two groups essentially agree
      >to
      >> >settle a difference by trying to kill each other until one side or
      >> >the other gives up. It does not seem to me that this exception
      >> >benefits human well-being, hence I am "anti-war".
      >>
      >> Then again, if there is no way to prevent wars, being anti-war would
      >> be an anti-materialist position. I might very well wish that no one
      >> could die before age 150, but it would be just as absurd.
      >
      >Thousands of rapes happen every year. I believe that it is
      >impossible to totally prevent rape from ever occurring. Does that
      >mean that it is an anti-materialist position to be "anti-rape"? I
      >argue that it does not. Like being anti-rape, being anti-war means
      >that I don't personally engage in it, and that I attempt to
      >discourage others from engaging in it.

      Within a society there are practical means to discourage rape, so it
      is materialist to be anti-rape, as one can mitigate it even if it is
      not possible to eliminate it. Do I say then that we cannot possibly
      reduce the number of wars? We can, but ironically the only way to do
      that is to fight the class war to overthrow the imperialist bourgeoisie.
      As Mao Zedong said, "To put down the gun, we must first pick it up."
      I don't see resisting war, no matter what kind of a war it is and
      no matter who wants to fight it, as a practical way of mitigating war.
      If someone in the imperialist countries wants to do that, that person
      is my ally, because it will hinder the war effort by the imperialists.
      Nonetheless I would not take that position with those who would hinder
      the war effort by those who seek to overthrow imperialism.

      >Civilians are indeed harmed in every war, but I find it hard to
      >believe that no military commander has ever altered his strategy for
      >the sake of saving the lives of civilians. I fear that further
      >argument on this subtopic would be akin to an argument about how many
      >angels can dance on the head of a pin. Even if decisions _not to_
      >target civilians are always made for strategic military
      >considerations, it still doesn't imply that a decision _to_ target
      >civilians is properly characterized as "heroic", which was my beef in
      >starting this whole thread.

      If there have been military commanders who put the welfare of civilians
      over military considerations, I don't know about them, and there can't
      have been all that many. Since "civilians" often help the war effort,
      attacks on them can make a difference in the outcome of a war. Those 19
      people gave their lives to try to stop a system, which by its own admission,
      has already killed nearly to million Iraqis and thousands of Palestineans.
      Their sacrifice was greater than that of the ordinary soldier in the
      battlefield. That soldier knows he MAY NOT survive. Those 19 people
      knew they WOULD NOT survive, and they carried out their mission anyway.
      That to me is heroism. Then again, whether you think so may depend
      on which side you take.

      --Kevin

      >I agree. The trial of war crimes has been largely a sham.
      >
      >--Jason Auvenshine
    • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
      ... We seem to be going in circles. A right exists whether it s enforced/observed or not. Using the right of way example, consider the situation where
      Message 2 of 24 , Dec 14 3:24 PM
        --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
        > >No...ENFORCEMENT of rights are very often dependent upon power
        > >struggles. Rights themselves are not.
        >
        > If there is no enforcement of rights, there are no rights.

        We seem to be going in circles. A right exists whether it's
        enforced/observed or not. Using the right of way example, consider
        the situation where there's no enforcement at a particular traffic
        light (ie no police around). This does not mean that no right of way
        exists. If you violate the right of way, the chance of getting in an
        accident is higher than if you do not violate it. In that sense,
        nature enforces its own consequences for the violation of rights.

        > >This discussion started with the quote, "There are no rights, only
        > >power struggles" which strongly implies otherwise, ie that whoever
        > >obtains power is, definitionally, "right" in what they do.
        >
        > It implies no such thing. It simply implies that power struggles
        > determine the norms of human interaction.

        Sorry, but to me the phrase "there are no rights..." means there is
        no right way to treat another human being, only the whim of whoever
        is in power.

        > >> As indicated below, you [Jason] evidently believe that
        > >> there are some circumstances in which a greater good can justify
        > >> the violation of a right (e.g. the transport of a gravely injured
        > >> person through a red light).
        > >
        > >Yes...just don't confuse violation of a right with the non-
        existance
        > >of that right.
        >
        > If you believe a violation would be justified, as evidently you do,
        > then it is not a right. It is simply a rule that works well MOST
        > OF THE TIME.

        You seem to persist in the thinking that for something to be a right
        it must never be violated. A right is simply a rule we are better
        off with than without. Of course there are going to be times when
        people violate rights...and sometimes those violations are acceptable
        because more important rights are involved.

        > >Non-transferrability is
        > >entirely consistent with the conception of rights as rules of
        human
        > >conduct. I don't see how any of what we have discussed implies
        that
        > >all rights must be transferrable.
        >
        > Inalienable does mean that, but it also means that they can't be
        taken
        > away. Does the person who is condemned to death have the right to
        life?
        > Maybe you would think so if you are against capital punishment.

        This gets a little more into the attributes of the specifc natural
        right not to be killed than is apt to be useful to someone who thinks
        there is no such thing. I would argue that the attributes of the
        right not to be killed are such that the right can be forfeit by one
        who is engaged in the conscious act/attempt of violating another's
        right not to be killed, or has previously violated the same.

        > >What is arbitrary about "right of way" is under what
        > >circumstances you have the right of way and what circumstances you
        > >don't have it. I would argue that it is _not_ arbitrary when you
        > >have a right not to be killed, and when you don't. That is the
        > >difference between the two.
        >
        > I would not say there is a difference between the two. Generally
        > speaking killing others is not good for society, but there are times
        > when it is.

        And I would argue that those times are determined by the nature of
        man and the physical universe, not by the whims of whoever is in
        power.

        > >Thousands of rapes happen every year. I believe that it is
        > >impossible to totally prevent rape from ever occurring. Does that
        > >mean that it is an anti-materialist position to be "anti-rape"? I
        > >argue that it does not. Like being anti-rape, being anti-war
        means
        > >that I don't personally engage in it, and that I attempt to
        > >discourage others from engaging in it.
        >
        > Within a society there are practical means to discourage rape, so it
        > is materialist to be anti-rape, as one can mitigate it even if it is
        > not possible to eliminate it. Do I say then that we cannot possibly
        > reduce the number of wars? We can, but ironically the only way to
        do
        > that is to fight the class war to overthrow the imperialist
        bourgeoisie.

        Well, then I'd say we agree that it is materialist to be anti-
        war...we just disagree on the means to achieve it.

        > As Mao Zedong said, "To put down the gun, we must first pick it up."
        > I don't see resisting war, no matter what kind of a war it is and
        > no matter who wants to fight it, as a practical way of mitigating
        war.
        > If someone in the imperialist countries wants to do that, that
        person
        > is my ally, because it will hinder the war effort by the
        imperialists.
        > Nonetheless I would not take that position with those who would
        hinder
        > the war effort by those who seek to overthrow imperialism.

        Now perhaps you see why I don't consider us allies. You simply want
        different people to control the U.S. government and the world by
        force of arms -- a "Pax Communista" instead of a "Pax Americana".
        Our goals bear about as much resemblence as a broken clock does to
        the time: Sure, they're in sync twice a day...but that fact is of
        little use.

        --Jason Auvenshine
      • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
        ... They you would be saying there is enforcement. ... No, that implies no such thing. If you insist it does you are using the word rights in a manner
        Message 3 of 24 , Dec 14 5:36 PM
          >
          >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
          >> >No...ENFORCEMENT of rights are very often dependent upon power
          >> >struggles. Rights themselves are not.
          >>
          >> If there is no enforcement of rights, there are no rights.
          >
          >We seem to be going in circles. A right exists whether it's
          >enforced/observed or not. Using the right of way example, consider
          >the situation where there's no enforcement at a particular traffic
          >light (ie no police around). This does not mean that no right of way
          >exists. If you violate the right of way, the chance of getting in an
          >accident is higher than if you do not violate it. In that sense,
          >nature enforces its own consequences for the violation of rights.

          They you would be saying there is enforcement.

          >> >This discussion started with the quote, "There are no rights, only
          >> >power struggles" which strongly implies otherwise, ie that whoever
          >> >obtains power is, definitionally, "right" in what they do.
          >>
          >> It implies no such thing. It simply implies that power struggles
          >> determine the norms of human interaction.
          >
          >Sorry, but to me the phrase "there are no rights..." means there is
          >no right way to treat another human being, only the whim of whoever
          >is in power.

          No, that implies no such thing. If you insist it does you are using
          the word "rights" in a manner inconsistent with the common usage in
          the language, and that only confuses people.

          >> >> As indicated below, you [Jason] evidently believe that
          >> >> there are some circumstances in which a greater good can justify
          >> >> the violation of a right (e.g. the transport of a gravely injured
          >> >> person through a red light).
          >> >
          >> >Yes...just don't confuse violation of a right with the non-
          >existance
          >> >of that right.
          >>
          >> If you believe a violation would be justified, as evidently you do,
          >> then it is not a right. It is simply a rule that works well MOST
          >> OF THE TIME.
          >
          >You seem to persist in the thinking that for something to be a right
          >it must never be violated. A right is simply a rule we are better
          >off with than without. Of course there are going to be times when
          >people violate rights...and sometimes those violations are acceptable
          >because more important rights are involved.

          None of the rules you have proposed is always valid. Therefore I
          contend there are no rights. Sometimes the violation of a right
          of way is justified by a higher good. Thus so is the killing of a
          human being often justified by a higher good.

          It is different to say "Every human being has the right to life."
          and "Generally speaking killing human beings is a bad thing, but
          there are times when it is to the greater good of other human beings
          that it be done."

          >> >Non-transferrability is
          >> >entirely consistent with the conception of rights as rules of
          >human
          >> >conduct. I don't see how any of what we have discussed implies
          >that
          >> >all rights must be transferrable.
          >>
          >> Inalienable does mean that, but it also means that they can't be
          >taken
          >> away. Does the person who is condemned to death have the right to
          >life?
          >> Maybe you would think so if you are against capital punishment.
          >
          >This gets a little more into the attributes of the specifc natural
          >right not to be killed than is apt to be useful to someone who thinks
          >there is no such thing. I would argue that the attributes of the
          >right not to be killed are such that the right can be forfeit by one
          >who is engaged in the conscious act/attempt of violating another's
          >right not to be killed, or has previously violated the same.

          That being the case those who have knowingly profited from acts which
          have killed large numbers of human beings and have done nothing to
          stop it, rather actually encouraged it, would forfeit their "right
          to life". I contend that is the case with most of those in the WTC.

          >> >What is arbitrary about "right of way" is under what
          >> >circumstances you have the right of way and what circumstances you
          >> >don't have it. I would argue that it is _not_ arbitrary when you
          >> >have a right not to be killed, and when you don't. That is the
          >> >difference between the two.
          >>
          >> I would not say there is a difference between the two. Generally
          >> speaking killing others is not good for society, but there are times
          >> when it is.
          >
          >And I would argue that those times are determined by the nature of
          >man and the physical universe, not by the whims of whoever is in
          >power.

          There I would agree.

          >> >Thousands of rapes happen every year. I believe that it is
          >> >impossible to totally prevent rape from ever occurring. Does that
          >> >mean that it is an anti-materialist position to be "anti-rape"? I
          >> >argue that it does not. Like being anti-rape, being anti-war
          >means
          >> >that I don't personally engage in it, and that I attempt to
          >> >discourage others from engaging in it.
          >>
          >> Within a society there are practical means to discourage rape, so it
          >> is materialist to be anti-rape, as one can mitigate it even if it is
          >> not possible to eliminate it. Do I say then that we cannot possibly
          >> reduce the number of wars? We can, but ironically the only way to
          >do
          >> that is to fight the class war to overthrow the imperialist
          >bourgeoisie.
          >
          >Well, then I'd say we agree that it is materialist to be anti-
          >war...we just disagree on the means to achieve it.
          >
          >> As Mao Zedong said, "To put down the gun, we must first pick it up."
          >> I don't see resisting war, no matter what kind of a war it is and
          >> no matter who wants to fight it, as a practical way of mitigating
          >war.
          >> If someone in the imperialist countries wants to do that, that
          >person
          >> is my ally, because it will hinder the war effort by the
          >imperialists.
          >> Nonetheless I would not take that position with those who would
          >hinder
          >> the war effort by those who seek to overthrow imperialism.
          >
          >Now perhaps you see why I don't consider us allies. You simply want
          >different people to control the U.S. government and the world by
          >force of arms -- a "Pax Communista" instead of a "Pax Americana".
          >Our goals bear about as much resemblence as a broken clock does to
          >the time: Sure, they're in sync twice a day...but that fact is of
          >little use.
          >
          >--Jason Auvenshine

          Our long-term goals are very different, but our immediate goal is
          the same--to hinder the American effort to make war. That makes us
          allies, however temporary the alliance. It is of great use now,
          and for as long as American aggression lasts.

          --Kevin
        • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
          ... only ... whoever ... is ... whoever ... From www.dictionary.com, the definition of right in the context we are discussing is: 2. That to which one has a
          Message 4 of 24 , Dec 15 4:30 PM
            --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
            > >> >This discussion started with the quote, "There are no rights,
            only
            > >> >power struggles" which strongly implies otherwise, ie that
            whoever
            > >> >obtains power is, definitionally, "right" in what they do.
            > >>
            > >> It implies no such thing. It simply implies that power struggles
            > >> determine the norms of human interaction.
            > >
            > >Sorry, but to me the phrase "there are no rights..." means there
            is
            > >no right way to treat another human being, only the whim of
            whoever
            > >is in power.
            >
            > No, that implies no such thing. If you insist it does you are using
            > the word "rights" in a manner inconsistent with the common usage in
            > the language, and that only confuses people.

            From www.dictionary.com, the definition of right in the context we
            are discussing is:

            2. That to which one has a just claim. Specifically:
            (a) That which one has a natural claim to exact. There are no
            rights whatever, without corresponding duties. --Coleridge.
            (b) That which one has a legal or social claim to do or to exact;
            legal power; authority; as, a sheriff has a right to arrest a
            criminal.
            (c) That which justly belongs to one; that which one has a claim to
            possess or own; the interest or share which anyone has in a piece of
            property; title; claim; interest; ownership. Born free, he sought his
            right. --Dryden. Hast thou not right to all created things? --
            Milton. Men have no right to what is not reasonable. --Burke.
            (d) Privilege or immunity granted by authority.

            While I have some problems with this definition, and I'm sure you do
            too...it is clear that if you say "There are no rights..." you are
            saying that there is nothing to which a human being has just claim.

            > None of the rules you have proposed is always valid. Therefore I
            > contend there are no rights. Sometimes the violation of a right
            > of way is justified by a higher good. Thus so is the killing of a
            > human being often justified by a higher good.
            >
            > It is different to say "Every human being has the right to life."
            > and "Generally speaking killing human beings is a bad thing, but
            > there are times when it is to the greater good of other human beings
            > that it be done."

            To some extent the confusion is perhaps due to some sloppiness on my
            part. Let me try to clear things up in regards to the "right not to
            be killed." At times, I may have referred to this in a more lengthy
            and complete form, "the right of peaceful people not to be killed."

            If an individual initiates an unprovoked attack against me with a
            deadly weapon (say, a mugger with a gun) and I kill him in what would
            commonly be termed self defense, have I violated the mugger's right
            not to be killed? No. The mugger forfeited his right not to be
            killed by engaging in an act of deadly aggression against another.
            He no longer qualifies as "peaceful".

            Now, suppose I use a gun in defending myself against the mugger and
            one of the bullets I fire at the mugger hits him, exits his body and
            strikes and kills a woman standing behind the mugger. Have I
            violated the woman's right not to be killed? YES. Is my action
            resulting in her death likely to be considered justified? I'm no
            lawyer, but my understanding is that it would be considered justified
            in the sense that it was the consequence of a criminal act by the
            mugger, not by me. In other words, the mugger is responsible for
            putting me in the situation of having to kill him to protect my own
            life, and he is therefore at fault for my bullet unintentionally
            striking the woman even though he didn't personally fire it.

            The point of this little thought exercise is the following:
            Sometimes, an individual takes actions which forfeit his/her right
            not to be killed, at which point killing that person does not
            constitute violating the right. Also, unintentionally violating the
            right not to be killed may also be justified in certain situations.
            However, neither of those facts implies that intentionally targeting
            peaceful individuals for death is ever justified.

            > >This gets a little more into the attributes of the specifc natural
            > >right not to be killed than is apt to be useful to someone who
            thinks
            > >there is no such thing. I would argue that the attributes of the
            > >right not to be killed are such that the right can be forfeit by
            one
            > >who is engaged in the conscious act/attempt of violating another's
            > >right not to be killed, or has previously violated the same.
            >
            > That being the case those who have knowingly profited from acts
            which
            > have killed large numbers of human beings and have done nothing to
            > stop it, rather actually encouraged it, would forfeit their "right
            > to life". I contend that is the case with most of those in the WTC.

            Then I think our difference of opinion is not about the existance and
            validity of a right not to be killed/"right to life", rather our
            disagreement concerns the conditions under which an individual has
            forfeit that right.

            --Jason Auvenshine
          • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
            ... Only that privilege or immunity granted by authority can be taken away by that authority and that what is perceived to be a legal claim can be ruled
            Message 5 of 24 , Dec 15 5:03 PM
              >
              >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
              >> >> >This discussion started with the quote, "There are no rights,
              >only
              >> >> >power struggles" which strongly implies otherwise, ie that
              >whoever
              >> >> >obtains power is, definitionally, "right" in what they do.
              >> >>
              >> >> It implies no such thing. It simply implies that power struggles
              >> >> determine the norms of human interaction.
              >> >
              >> >Sorry, but to me the phrase "there are no rights..." means there
              >is
              >> >no right way to treat another human being, only the whim of
              >whoever
              >> >is in power.
              >>
              >> No, that implies no such thing. If you insist it does you are using
              >> the word "rights" in a manner inconsistent with the common usage in
              >> the language, and that only confuses people.
              >
              >From www.dictionary.com, the definition of right in the context we
              >are discussing is:
              >
              >2. That to which one has a just claim. Specifically:
              > (a) That which one has a natural claim to exact. There are no
              >rights whatever, without corresponding duties. --Coleridge.
              > (b) That which one has a legal or social claim to do or to exact;
              >legal power; authority; as, a sheriff has a right to arrest a
              >criminal.
              > (c) That which justly belongs to one; that which one has a claim to
              >possess or own; the interest or share which anyone has in a piece of
              >property; title; claim; interest; ownership. Born free, he sought his
              >right. --Dryden. Hast thou not right to all created things? --
              >Milton. Men have no right to what is not reasonable. --Burke.
              > (d) Privilege or immunity granted by authority.
              >
              >While I have some problems with this definition, and I'm sure you do
              >too...it is clear that if you say "There are no rights..." you are
              >saying that there is nothing to which a human being has just claim.

              Only that privilege or immunity granted by authority can be taken away
              by that authority and that what is perceived to be a legal claim can
              be ruled otherwise. I'm sure that's what Mao Zedong meant when he
              said, "There are no rights, only power struggles."

              >> None of the rules you have proposed is always valid. Therefore I
              >> contend there are no rights. Sometimes the violation of a right
              >> of way is justified by a higher good. Thus so is the killing of a
              >> human being often justified by a higher good.
              >>
              >> It is different to say "Every human being has the right to life."
              >> and "Generally speaking killing human beings is a bad thing, but
              >> there are times when it is to the greater good of other human beings
              >> that it be done."
              >
              >To some extent the confusion is perhaps due to some sloppiness on my
              >part. Let me try to clear things up in regards to the "right not to
              >be killed." At times, I may have referred to this in a more lengthy
              >and complete form, "the right of peaceful people not to be killed."
              >
              >If an individual initiates an unprovoked attack against me with a
              >deadly weapon (say, a mugger with a gun) and I kill him in what would
              >commonly be termed self defense, have I violated the mugger's right
              >not to be killed? No. The mugger forfeited his right not to be
              >killed by engaging in an act of deadly aggression against another.
              >He no longer qualifies as "peaceful".
              >
              >Now, suppose I use a gun in defending myself against the mugger and
              >one of the bullets I fire at the mugger hits him, exits his body and
              >strikes and kills a woman standing behind the mugger. Have I
              >violated the woman's right not to be killed? YES. Is my action
              >resulting in her death likely to be considered justified? I'm no
              >lawyer, but my understanding is that it would be considered justified
              >in the sense that it was the consequence of a criminal act by the
              >mugger, not by me. In other words, the mugger is responsible for
              >putting me in the situation of having to kill him to protect my own
              >life, and he is therefore at fault for my bullet unintentionally
              >striking the woman even though he didn't personally fire it.

              This is the concept of collateral damage.

              >The point of this little thought exercise is the following:
              >Sometimes, an individual takes actions which forfeit his/her right
              >not to be killed, at which point killing that person does not
              >constitute violating the right. Also, unintentionally violating the
              >right not to be killed may also be justified in certain situations.
              >However, neither of those facts implies that intentionally targeting
              >peaceful individuals for death is ever justified.

              No, it does not imply that, but I would nonetheless contend that there
              are times when it is for the greater good of humanity to intentionally
              target peaceful individuals for death. If, however pure the intentions
              of these people, their actions or existence aids a great threat to
              humanity, I would say it is better to kill them than leave them be.

              >> >This gets a little more into the attributes of the specifc natural
              >> >right not to be killed than is apt to be useful to someone who
              >thinks
              >> >there is no such thing. I would argue that the attributes of the
              >> >right not to be killed are such that the right can be forfeit by
              >one
              >> >who is engaged in the conscious act/attempt of violating another's
              >> >right not to be killed, or has previously violated the same.
              >>
              >> That being the case those who have knowingly profited from acts
              >which
              >> have killed large numbers of human beings and have done nothing to
              >> stop it, rather actually encouraged it, would forfeit their "right
              >> to life". I contend that is the case with most of those in the WTC.
              >
              >Then I think our difference of opinion is not about the existance and
              >validity of a right not to be killed/"right to life", rather our
              >disagreement concerns the conditions under which an individual has
              >forfeit that right.
              >
              >--Jason Auvenshine

              That is one of our disagreements, but not the only one. I would say
              that a person with good intentions who objectively is harmful to humanity
              should be killed.

              --Kevin
            • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
              ... away ... So you are claiming that Mao was only talking about government granted rights when he stated There are no rights... ? That seems unlikely, given
              Message 6 of 24 , Dec 17 1:30 PM
                --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
                > Only that privilege or immunity granted by authority can be taken
                away
                > by that authority and that what is perceived to be a legal claim can
                > be ruled otherwise. I'm sure that's what Mao Zedong meant when he
                > said, "There are no rights, only power struggles."

                So you are claiming that Mao was only talking about government
                granted rights when he stated "There are no rights..."? That seems
                unlikely, given the common objection to Communism that it infringes
                on natural rights. It seems to me more likely that Mao was saying
                that there are no rights (including natural rights) other than those
                granted as a result of a power struggle (by government). This is the
                position I have been attacking as unreasonable.

                Certainly I'd agree that government doesn't do anything without a
                power struggle, including granting rights. All I have been saying is
                that there are certain rights that arise from man's nature and
                physical reality -- rights that greatly affect human well-being and
                preceed and exist independant of whether or not a particular
                government grants/recognizes/enforces them.

                > No, it does not imply that, but I would nonetheless contend that
                there
                > are times when it is for the greater good of humanity to
                intentionally
                > target peaceful individuals for death. If, however pure the
                intentions
                > of these people, their actions or existence aids a great threat to
                > humanity, I would say it is better to kill them than leave them be.

                What if one considers, as I do, the killing of peaceful individuals
                to itself be one of the greatest threats facing humanity?

                > >Then I think our difference of opinion is not about the existance
                and
                > >validity of a right not to be killed/"right to life", rather our
                > >disagreement concerns the conditions under which an individual has
                > >forfeit that right.
                >
                > That is one of our disagreements, but not the only one. I would say
                > that a person with good intentions who objectively is harmful to
                humanity
                > should be killed.

                I believe the evidence of history shows that a person is objectively
                harmful to humanity only when that person infringes upon the rights
                of others.

                --Jason Auvenshine
              • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
                ... The mere fact that it is a common objection does not mean it is a truthful objection. ... The context of the essay in which Mao said this is that we must
                Message 7 of 24 , Dec 17 9:00 PM
                  >
                  >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
                  >> Only that privilege or immunity granted by authority can be taken
                  >away
                  >> by that authority and that what is perceived to be a legal claim can
                  >> be ruled otherwise. I'm sure that's what Mao Zedong meant when he
                  >> said, "There are no rights, only power struggles."
                  >
                  >So you are claiming that Mao was only talking about government
                  >granted rights when he stated "There are no rights..."? That seems
                  >unlikely, given the common objection to Communism that it infringes
                  >on natural rights.

                  The mere fact that it is a common objection does not mean it is a
                  truthful objection.

                  >It seems to me more likely that Mao was saying
                  >that there are no rights (including natural rights) other than those
                  >granted as a result of a power struggle (by government). This is the
                  >position I have been attacking as unreasonable.

                  The context of the essay in which Mao said this is that we must
                  struggle for any gains we hope to have in our condition and cannot
                  expect governments to recoginze our having rights (natural, legal,
                  or otherwise).

                  >Certainly I'd agree that government doesn't do anything without a
                  >power struggle, including granting rights. All I have been saying is
                  >that there are certain rights that arise from man's nature and
                  >physical reality -- rights that greatly affect human well-being and
                  >preceed and exist independant of whether or not a particular
                  >government grants/recognizes/enforces them.
                  >
                  >> No, it does not imply that, but I would nonetheless contend that
                  >there
                  >> are times when it is for the greater good of humanity to
                  >intentionally
                  >> target peaceful individuals for death. If, however pure the
                  >intentions
                  >> of these people, their actions or existence aids a great threat to
                  >> humanity, I would say it is better to kill them than leave them be.
                  >
                  >What if one considers, as I do, the killing of peaceful individuals
                  >to itself be one of the greatest threats facing humanity?
                  >
                  >> >Then I think our difference of opinion is not about the existance
                  >and
                  >> >validity of a right not to be killed/"right to life", rather our
                  >> >disagreement concerns the conditions under which an individual has
                  >> >forfeit that right.
                  >>
                  >> That is one of our disagreements, but not the only one. I would say
                  >> that a person with good intentions who objectively is harmful to
                  >humanity
                  >> should be killed.
                  >
                  >I believe the evidence of history shows that a person is objectively
                  >harmful to humanity only when that person infringes upon the rights
                  >of others.
                  >
                  >--Jason Auvenshine

                  That is a tautology, as you believe that by harming humanity, that person
                  infringes on rights. I would conclude, that one may not intentionally
                  infringe on rights to be a menace. The Jewish children blown up in
                  the martyrdoms in Tel-Aviv are doubtless without malice. Nonetheless they
                  are future generations who will serve as soldiers of Zionism, and killing
                  them while young is as valid as killing them while old.

                  --Kevin
                • auvenj <auvenj@mailcity.com>
                  ... objectively ... rights ... person ... intentionally ... Nonetheless they ... killing ... You are correct, it is a tautology as stated. What I left out was
                  Message 8 of 24 , Dec 20 10:42 PM
                    --- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
                    > >I believe the evidence of history shows that a person is
                    objectively
                    > >harmful to humanity only when that person infringes upon the
                    rights
                    > >of others.
                    > >
                    > >--Jason Auvenshine
                    >
                    > That is a tautology, as you believe that by harming humanity, that
                    person
                    > infringes on rights. I would conclude, that one may not
                    intentionally
                    > infringe on rights to be a menace. The Jewish children blown up in
                    > the martyrdoms in Tel-Aviv are doubtless without malice.
                    Nonetheless they
                    > are future generations who will serve as soldiers of Zionism, and
                    killing
                    > them while young is as valid as killing them while old.

                    You are correct, it is a tautology as stated. What I left out was
                    the definition of specific right(s) in question.

                    So, let me rephrase the statement with a specific right for our
                    discussion:
                    The evidence of history shows that a person is always objectively
                    harmful to humanity if that person infringes upon the right of
                    another peaceful human being not to be killed.

                    Based on your paragraph above, I assume it would be fair to state
                    your position as the opposite:
                    The evidence of history shows that a person is not always objectively
                    harmful to humanity if that person infringes upon the right of
                    another peaceful human being not to be killed.

                    For the sake of argument, let's examine your statement about Jewish
                    children, ie that they will grow up to be "soldiers of Zion" whose
                    operational defintion will be "a bad thing for humanity."

                    The future is not predictable with certainty. It's possible that
                    some of the Jewish children would grow up and be peace activists.
                    Maybe a libertarian, or a communist, or an islamist. All of these
                    things are possible, but of course you would say that becoming
                    a "soldier of Zion" is the most likely outcome for a Jewish child, a
                    claim which I cannot dispute. So let's assume that the probability
                    is high.

                    Humans are fallible. The most immediate possible fallacy is that the
                    children in the blast radius might not all be Jewish. But again, the
                    probability of them being Jewish is pretty high given the target area.

                    So...the suicide bombers are with a high probability killing children
                    who would otherwise grow up to be something we have defined for sake
                    of argument as objectively harmful to humanity. Does this establish
                    that the killings are objectively beneficial? Not by a long shot.

                    Rights address how societies function -- the interaction between many
                    human beings. Thus far we have considered only the Jewish children
                    and the suicide bombers. How are the parents, siblings, and friends
                    of the Jewish children likely to react to the situation? By becoming
                    MORE violent, not less. This is the "escalation" factor I mentioned
                    in a previous message. For every Jewish child killed by a suicide
                    bomber, the family and friends are apt to attempt/support retaliatory
                    actions that would result in a far greater number of Palestinians
                    being killed.

                    You may of course point out that the suicide bombings are only
                    happening because the Israeli army is _already_ killing Palestinian
                    children, both directly and indirectly. This would be correct, but
                    it makes rather than refutes my point. Violence begets more and
                    greater violence. I do not excuse violence initiated by Isreal (or
                    the U.S.) and realize that much of what goes on currently is simply
                    backlash. Are the Isrealis objectively better off for having killed
                    Palestinian children? No. Are the Palestinians objectively better
                    off for having killed Isreali children? Again, no. Not because
                    they're not actually taking out likely soldiers for the other
                    side...they are. But because they are continuing in a cycle of
                    violence which, if unchecked, will result in massive bloodshed,
                    destruction, and death on both sides until one side or the other is
                    utterly vanquished.

                    This ever-growing "backlash" for killing is one of the things that
                    makes it objectively harmful to do so even when the person being
                    killed is presumed to be objectively harmful but currently peaceful.

                    The other reason why killing an objectively harmful, but currently
                    peaceful person is itself objectively harmful is desensitization.
                    History and human psychology tends to indicate that the more one
                    engages in (in this case, orders) killing, the more indiscriminate
                    one becomes about it. Thus, over time, we could expect those
                    ordering the killings to get sloppy with their assessments about who
                    is objectively harmful, and start killing peole who were simply a
                    threat to their political power and such.

                    --Jason Auvenshine
                  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
                    ... Of course violence begets violence. It cannot be otherwise in war. It will end when one side or the other decides to give up. Since the imperialists need
                    Message 9 of 24 , Dec 21 4:31 PM
                      >
                      >--- In azsecularhumanists@yahoogroups.com, thekoba@a... wrote:
                      >> >I believe the evidence of history shows that a person is
                      >objectively
                      >> >harmful to humanity only when that person infringes upon the
                      >rights
                      >> >of others.
                      >> >
                      >> >--Jason Auvenshine
                      >>
                      >> That is a tautology, as you believe that by harming humanity, that
                      >person
                      >> infringes on rights. I would conclude, that one may not
                      >intentionally
                      >> infringe on rights to be a menace. The Jewish children blown up in
                      >> the martyrdoms in Tel-Aviv are doubtless without malice.
                      >Nonetheless they
                      >> are future generations who will serve as soldiers of Zionism, and
                      >killing
                      >> them while young is as valid as killing them while old.
                      >
                      >You are correct, it is a tautology as stated. What I left out was
                      >the definition of specific right(s) in question.
                      >
                      >So, let me rephrase the statement with a specific right for our
                      >discussion:
                      >The evidence of history shows that a person is always objectively
                      >harmful to humanity if that person infringes upon the right of
                      >another peaceful human being not to be killed.
                      >
                      >Based on your paragraph above, I assume it would be fair to state
                      >your position as the opposite:
                      >The evidence of history shows that a person is not always objectively
                      >harmful to humanity if that person infringes upon the right of
                      >another peaceful human being not to be killed.
                      >
                      >For the sake of argument, let's examine your statement about Jewish
                      >children, ie that they will grow up to be "soldiers of Zion" whose
                      >operational defintion will be "a bad thing for humanity."
                      >
                      >The future is not predictable with certainty. It's possible that
                      >some of the Jewish children would grow up and be peace activists.
                      >Maybe a libertarian, or a communist, or an islamist. All of these
                      >things are possible, but of course you would say that becoming
                      >a "soldier of Zion" is the most likely outcome for a Jewish child, a
                      >claim which I cannot dispute. So let's assume that the probability
                      >is high.
                      >
                      >Humans are fallible. The most immediate possible fallacy is that the
                      >children in the blast radius might not all be Jewish. But again, the
                      >probability of them being Jewish is pretty high given the target area.
                      >
                      >So...the suicide bombers are with a high probability killing children
                      >who would otherwise grow up to be something we have defined for sake
                      >of argument as objectively harmful to humanity. Does this establish
                      >that the killings are objectively beneficial? Not by a long shot.
                      >
                      >Rights address how societies function -- the interaction between many
                      >human beings. Thus far we have considered only the Jewish children
                      >and the suicide bombers. How are the parents, siblings, and friends
                      >of the Jewish children likely to react to the situation? By becoming
                      >MORE violent, not less. This is the "escalation" factor I mentioned
                      >in a previous message. For every Jewish child killed by a suicide
                      >bomber, the family and friends are apt to attempt/support retaliatory
                      >actions that would result in a far greater number of Palestinians
                      >being killed.
                      >
                      >You may of course point out that the suicide bombings are only
                      >happening because the Israeli army is _already_ killing Palestinian
                      >children, both directly and indirectly. This would be correct, but
                      >it makes rather than refutes my point. Violence begets more and
                      >greater violence. I do not excuse violence initiated by Isreal (or
                      >the U.S.) and realize that much of what goes on currently is simply
                      >backlash. Are the Isrealis objectively better off for having killed
                      >Palestinian children? No. Are the Palestinians objectively better
                      >off for having killed Isreali children? Again, no. Not because
                      >they're not actually taking out likely soldiers for the other
                      >side...they are. But because they are continuing in a cycle of
                      >violence which, if unchecked, will result in massive bloodshed,
                      >destruction, and death on both sides until one side or the other is
                      >utterly vanquished.
                      >
                      >This ever-growing "backlash" for killing is one of the things that
                      >makes it objectively harmful to do so even when the person being
                      >killed is presumed to be objectively harmful but currently peaceful.
                      >
                      >The other reason why killing an objectively harmful, but currently
                      >peaceful person is itself objectively harmful is desensitization.
                      >History and human psychology tends to indicate that the more one
                      >engages in (in this case, orders) killing, the more indiscriminate
                      >one becomes about it. Thus, over time, we could expect those
                      >ordering the killings to get sloppy with their assessments about who
                      >is objectively harmful, and start killing peole who were simply a
                      >threat to their political power and such.
                      >
                      >--Jason Auvenshine

                      Of course violence begets violence. It cannot be otherwise in war.
                      It will end when one side or the other decides to give up. Since
                      the imperialists need us to do the work for them, they can't kill
                      us all, but since we don't need them, we can kill all of them. Thus
                      it is logical to assume that there will be some Arabs left alive after
                      every Jew is dead, or more likely, that the Zionists will give up the
                      struggle and either return to Europe and North America or agree to
                      live in a united, democratic secular Palestine without economic privilege
                      without having killed all the Palestineans.

                      On the other hand, what is the alternative? Not kill any Jews and suffer
                      their oppression? That is a formula for continuing Zionist oppression,
                      which is not conducive to the happiness of humanity. Kill only soldiers?
                      That will result in a casualty rate lopsided in the favour of the Jews
                      and will cause the defeat of the current struggle. Also soldiers also
                      have loved ones, and when soldiers are killed there is also a call for
                      vengeance and an escallation of violence, so the result will be just
                      as bad for the Palestineans in the long run. Given that Israel practices
                      universal conscription, there isn't much distinctions between soldiers
                      and civilians in that country anyway.

                      --Kevin

                      Roses are red
                      Violets are blue
                      For every dead Arab
                      Another dead Jew

                      --National Alliance chant
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