gun control

In a recent discussion with a Libertarian about gun control, I was a bit shocked to find someone that believed that the freedom to bare arms should have no limits, including weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons. Are there any other Libertarians on this list that share this opinion?

Cheers,
Steve
Social and economic freedom: http://www.lp.org/

Nukes are out there today. Someone has them. Would you rather them be held
by a mad dictator, or by someone who isn't so power hungry like a corporate
executive? [Hmm, that didn't come out right.]

Steve Dekorte wrote:

Nukes are out there today. Someone has them.

Ok.

Would you rather them be held
by a mad dictator, or by someone who isn't so power hungry like a corporate
executive? [Hmm, that didn't come out right.]

I'd rather neither had them. But the question to you is whether you believe everyone should have the right to possess them.

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

I think the brilliant physicists that invented them should have kept it to themselves. I know at least Einstein was devistated by what he had contributed to. I think Feinmann as well. They were probably the most qualified to possess them. Physicists, not the military. But who am I (or anyone else) to say? I refuse to be an entity that passes judgement upon another simply because they _might_ cause problems. I don't know who should have them.

-Mike

Steve Dekorte wrote:

But who am I (or anyone else) to say?

So you would not support the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that it might possess weapons of mass destruction?

I refuse to be an entity that passes judgement
upon another simply because they _might_ cause problems.

So you would not support quarantining someone with, say, smallpox?

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

Steve Dekorte wrote:

But who am I (or anyone else) to say?
   
So you would not support the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that it might possess weapons of mass destruction?

Yes. I would not.

I refuse to be an entity that passes judgement
upon another simply because they _might_ cause problems.
   
So you would not support quarantining someone with, say, smallpox?

You may be taking my intent a bit far. First, I think it is a sad situation that someone would have smallpox and knowingly and willfully not quarantine themselves! However, in the case that they did, I would support physical quarantine of the virus by force.. not of the person, of the virus. The person infected is a sad casualty of the situation.

My original point is that if someone has power, this alone does not make them guilty of abusing that power. I have a kitchen knife. I can use it to cut and serve food, or I can use it to viciously murder someone. I am not guilty of murder simply by owning the knife. I should not be prevented of serving food simply because I might murder someone.

The world is NOT a safe place -- it never was. And the idea of creating safety through control from a powerful government is terribly misguided; it only shifts to a different set of people the exact same potential for crime, and additionally gives them public support, giving them financial support that they did not have to earn, having no free-market proof of quality, and enabling them to hide their crimes behind laws of "national security." Now, I don't know of many government crimes, and I don't accuse anyone here, but I know human nature and the basic principles of the situation create all the wrong incentives.

But I suppose I'm preaching to the choir here.

-Mike

In a recent discussion with a Libertarian about gun
control, I was a
bit shocked to find someone that believed that the
freedom to bare arms
should have no limits, including weapons of mass
destruction such as
nuclear weapons. Are there any other Libertarians on
this list that
share this opinion?

I do Steve.

And here are some additional thoughts you might
consider-

-First of all, who out there is worthy enough to tell
me what rights I should or should not have? (besides
not having the right to take away the rights of
others) Aren't our property rights unalienable? Making
exceptions to this undermines the entire
libertarian/freedom foundation. (IMHO)

-Isn't your real concern with the right to _use_ wmd's
rather than the right to possess them? If that is the
case than this is really just another discussion about
your right to use pre-emptive/preventative force
against potential and subjective threats.

-How does someone qualify as a possessor of WMD's?
There are probably a few thousand farmers out there -
right now - that own more fertilizer than McVeigh used
in Oklahoma City....

-You seem more concerned about dying from a WMD than
more likely scenarios such as car accidents, etc(?)
Personally, I would prefer going by way of a nuke than
living a life of pain from a head injury. Even doctors
kill some 100,000 people a year by malpractice... Or
is it that you are most worried about the future of
society? i.e. not just yourself but the fact that so
many others would die with you makes WMD seem a much
greater threat to your person.??

-On a practical note, would you really feel more
secure knowing your neighbors are not able to exercise
their rights or not? I mean, just like with guns,
wouldn't you agree that the people most likely to
cause you harm, don't care if they are within their
rights?

-People who fear their neighbors generally tend to
live out in the sticks away from people. Lots of land
to buffer themselves from the baddies. Alternatively
these like-minded fearful people could buy some
adjacent land and start a private city, where
residents voluntarily sign 'open door' contracts with
each other as a preventative measure. Underground
bunkers work as well as a protection from fallout and
germs.

In general - as I mentioned to you last week - my view
of humanity seems to differ from yours, which may be
the philosophical root here - i.e. I believe 95% of
people want to live their lives without hurting other
people. A remaining ~4% of people who do want to hurt
other people are caught at an early age and already
locked up. That leaves about 1% (50 Million?)for
lurking psychos, terrorists... so well within my range
of acceptable risk :slight_smile:

Ah, but now you've initiated force against someone who has yet to harm anyone. What is the principle that lead you to this decision?

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

Steve,

  If I get Mike correctly, he's saying the virus itself committed aggression by infecting the person. Therefore quarantining the virus is warranted. Of course this does involve aggressing against an innocent victim (the infected person), so it comes down to whether you think the right to self defense trumps the right not to be aggressed against. Philosophically it's a tough call, but common sense makes this one a no-brainer. Persons carrying deadly airborne viruses should be quarantined, by force if necessary.

Yours in liberty,
                <<< Starchild >>>

Starchild wrote:

If I get Mike correctly, he's saying the virus itself committed
aggression by infecting the person. Therefore quarantining the virus is
warranted. Of course this does involve aggressing against an innocent
victim (the infected person),

For the sake of argument, let us suppose the person themselves is immune and they therefore have no concern for the infection (but we will suppose, they are still infectious). In which case, no "crime" has yet taken place.

so it comes down to whether you think the
right to self defense trumps the right not to be aggressed against.

Exactly.

Philosophically it's a tough call, but common sense makes this one a
no-brainer. Persons carrying deadly airborne viruses should be
quarantined, by force if necessary.

So you support initiation of force in this case.

You'll note I changed the subject because I believe this issue is relevant to gun control. Quarantine, WMD control and gun control are all examples of the initiation of force in the interest of self defense. If one admits that any of these is justified, it seems to me to follow that the others cannot be dismissed on principle of non-initiation of force. Instead, as you recognize, the rights of the various interests must be weighed.

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

Steve,

  Please see further comments below...

Starchild wrote:

If I get Mike correctly, he's saying the virus itself committed
aggression by infecting the person. Therefore quarantining the virus is
warranted. Of course this does involve aggressing against an innocent
victim (the infected person),

For the sake of argument, let us suppose the person themselves is
immune and they therefore have no concern for the infection (but we
will suppose, they are still infectious). In which case, no "crime" has
yet taken place.

  Isn't using you for purpose of committing aggression against others itself an act of aggression, or a "crime" if you will? Even if the infected person is immune to the virus and at no personal risk of disease, the purpose of the virus is to spread and to infect other people.

so it comes down to whether you think the
right to self defense trumps the right not to be aggressed against.

Exactly.

Philosophically it's a tough call, but common sense makes this one a
no-brainer. Persons carrying deadly airborne viruses should be
quarantined, by force if necessary.

So you support initiation of force in this case.

  Yes. I'm not an absolutist on this, only because I'm not convinced a society with no initiation of force is possible. In order to eliminate one type of initiation of force, you find yourself forced (pardon the choice of word) to engage in another.

You'll note I changed the subject because I believe this issue is
relevant to gun control.

  I disagree that this is relevant to gun control. A virus operates on an instinct to spread. There is no evidence that it has free will, therefore the rule of "innocent until proven guilty" that we apply to humans (such as gun owners) cannot apply. In cases where people are competent reasoning beings, we should not aggress
against them on the assumption they will harm others.

Quarantine, WMD control and gun control are
all examples of the initiation of force in the interest of self
defense. If one admits that any of these is justified, it seems to me
to follow that the others cannot be dismissed on principle of
non-initiation of force. Instead, as you recognize, the rights of the
various interests must be weighed.

  Taken to a logical extreme, such logic would dictate that almost every person should be restrained, since we are almost all physically capable of hurting each other. Without question many actions such as driving a motor vehicle would have to be banned.

Yours in liberty,
                <<< Starchild >>>

Steve, you are fun to argue with. It is good to find difficulties in a view, to know where I stand. If someone has a deadly virus, that they cannot control, and is walking around with it, they ARE commiting an act of violence, even though someone has not yet died. They have pulled the trigger and the bullet is in the air. They no longer have a choice to restrain the virus, like a gun owner has before he has pulled the trigger. They have released it. So the principle I use is the right to defend and protect myself from imminant harm.

It is important to distinguish when the harm is imminent. It is in this case. It is not when someone simply possesses a nuke.

Mike

Steve Dekorte wrote:

Steve, you are fun to argue with. It is good to find difficulties in a
view, to know where I stand. If someone has a deadly virus, that they
cannot control, and is walking around with it, they ARE commiting an act
of violence, even though someone has not yet died. They have pulled the
trigger and the bullet is in the air. They no longer have a choice to
restrain the virus, like a gun owner has before he has pulled the
trigger. They have released it. So the principle I use is the right to
defend and protect myself from imminant harm.

Do you recognize that this position is incompatible with a strict non-initiation of force principle?

> It is important to distinguish when the harm is imminent. It is in this
> case. It is not when someone simply possesses a nuke.

I disagree, and would like to continue this line of thought in order to make my point.

Let's consider the case where instead of being infected, the person is carrying a glass vial of some deadly virus which, if they were to drop it on the street (accidentally or intentionally), would likely break, infect others and rapidly spread. Now, they are in the habit of carrying this around with them. Should this be allowed? Suppose they like to juggle with it. Should this be allowed?

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

Yes, he has the right to juggle with the vial full of virus.

But if I may jump ahead, rights are just an agreement among men. I don't believe in them as a-priori knowledge, god-given things. There are nice lines we can draw and agree upon to achieve benefit for all parties, and enforce them as a community.

However, agreements are just that. And pragmatism is still king. I might just violate the bastards rights, in the name of selfish gain. And I doubt in such a situation that society would help enforce his rights.

-Mike

Steve Dekorte wrote:

Yes, he has the right to juggle with the vial full of virus.

But if I may jump ahead, rights are just an agreement among men.

I agree. Then how should we interpret your statement that:
"Yes, he has the right to juggle with the vial full of virus."?

Under the agreements of which men?
Do you mean if it were up to you to decide?

However, agreements are just that. And pragmatism is still king. I
might just violate the bastards rights, in the name of selfish gain.

So you would not grant the person that right? I'm unclear on your position.

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

Steve Dekorte wrote:

Yes, he has the right to juggle with the vial full of virus.

But if I may jump ahead, rights are just an agreement among men.
   
I agree. Then how should we interpret your statement that:
"Yes, he has the right to juggle with the vial full of virus."?

As a proposed system of mutual law and consent, which is just my proposal, although I think it is similar to that of many people, especially libertarians.

In the general agreement of laws, I would suspect that the line should be drawn ("should"=my opinion) such that this person DOES have the right. However, the laws wouldn't be drawn with this scenerio in mind, or at least they wouldn't be drawn with EVERY real scenerio in mind, since there are altogether too many scenerios to consider.

Under the agreements of which men?
Do you mean if it were up to you to decide?

It should never be up to me to decide, but if I had a vote, yes.

However, agreements are just that. And pragmatism is still king. I
might just violate the bastards rights, in the name of selfish gain.
   
So you would not grant the person that right? I'm unclear on your position.

So am I. :wink: However, I might vote for granting them this right, and then willfully illegally take it away. Because laws can't possibly predict every real situation.

I want to stress that this situation is very strained. The likelyhood that I would feel the need to commit an act against my proported legal stance is vanishingly small, and negligable, but still lurks there. I am human.

-Mike

This dialogue does beg the question of whether it is even meaningful to speak of "rights" in an anarcho-capitalist society. You could almost define rights in such a system as whatever you can get away with — though on the positive side, the ecology of the marketplace would tend to prevent people from getting away with most things generally considered unreasonable (or dissuade people from trying them in the first place).

Yours in liberty,
              <<< Starchild >>>

--- Steve Dekorte <steve@...> wrote:

In a recent discussion with a Libertarian about gun
control,

To me, 'gun control' is a philosophy that believes,
idealistically, that if "guns" are "controlled", the
'safer' "we" or "society" will be. It's like
Communism; it's a philosophy based on an ideology that
doesn't work, and that was tried to be made to work,
that resulted in many consequences and casualties.

I was a
bit shocked to find someone that believed that the
freedom to bare arms

I believe the second ammendment to the US Constitution
(if this is what you are talking about) says the
"Right" to Bare Arms (not "freedom" to bare arms)
[I don't have my constitution in front of me right
now]

should have no limits,

I believe the second amendment to the US Constitution
says; "Shall not be Infringed."

including weapons of mass

destruction such as
nuclear weapons.

I'll answer this one later, since I really have to get
some sleep.

Are there any other Libertarians on

this list that
share this opinion?

I know a lot of non-libertarians that share this
opinion!

Dave Barker.

Does freedom of speech include slander, harassment and yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre?

Cheers,
Steve
OSX freeware and shareware: http://www.dekorte.com/downloads.html

Steve-
If I were to use your analogy about owning a nuclear weapon (point being that there has to be a defined limit on what people can own) then it is not a right, it is a privilege. Because if the government defines what you can own, and it can define what a person can based on what the government finds reasonable(ie: ban on assault weapons). A right would imply the government cannot define what gun you can have regardless of the size and magnitude of damage it can cause.
John