The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On self-defense...

From the Libertarian Party's platform:
[Plank] 1.6 Self-Defense
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.


Bill F. said...

Thank you Bob. While I don't necessarily disagree with the Libertarian position here, it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment as I understand it. The Second Amendment is intended to guarantee a "well regulated militia" state of the art armanent by guaranteeing individuals the right to purchace any weapons they can afford. That, at least in theory, would include having tactical nukes in your basement, and a supply of preditor drones we could all chip in on.

In other words, its overarching intent is for the group, not just the individual.

Now, Bob N., if you're opposed to Bob's Ellis and Fisher having preditor drones, grenades, and tactical nukes in their garages and warehouses, you are, in fact, pro-gun control.

Bob Newland said...

From Wikipedia:

There are several versions of the text of the Second Amendment, each with slight capitalization and punctuation differences, found in the official documents surrounding the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

One version was passed by the Congress, while another is found in the copies distributed to the States and then ratified by them.

As passed by the Congress:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

From Newland: There are two commas in the former version above which make the proclamation virtually unintelligible, although the principle phrase, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is still fairly clear.

I prefer the latter version above, which appears to be what the framers intended. Within that version, people can try to make the second half dependent on the first, but I see no reason, based on grammar, to do so.

It appears to me that "The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Yes, a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state. One of the ways to achieve that is to allow folks to keep and bear arms. Those who choose or are forced to join a militia thus have a better chance of being conversant in the shooting arts.

Parsed grammatically, the first clause does not eliminate personal ownership and control of firearms as proclaimed in the second clause.

I don't care who has drones or grenades. So, I'm in favor of arms-possession control when it comes to nukes. Y'got me.

Bill F. said...

In brief, I suppose my primary argument against Libertarianism is its focus on the individual as being the foundation of the human species. I will argue that the absolute minimum is not one of us, but rather, two of us. And even that is probably about 10 short. We are social animals and owe our success as a species to groups (via language and shared labor) not individuals.

Bill F. said...

Yes the right of the People. Plural. Exactly.

Bob Newland said...

Are people not persons?

Do you think that persons should not have the right of voluntary association?

Bill F. said...

At the fundamental survival level, I think that question is irrelevant, Bob.

Bill F. said...

Libertarianism at its root (via Randian Objectivism) appears to deny our fundamental connectedness one to another and gives the lie to John Donne's assertion that "no man is an island."

I'm morally opposed to mystic aceticism and hermitage for approximately the same reasons. I think our purpose is to serve one another.

Further, at heart, Bob, my hunch is that you probably agree with me. Otherwise you wouldn't have any interest in art and communication, which you obviously do.

Bob Newland said...

I don't read Rand's philosophy as endorsing isolationism. I read it as advocating separating oneself from those who promote coercionism.

Bill F. said...

Well not exactly. In both of her classics, (Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged) she has her heroes essentially forming elitist "labor unions," as a remedy for societies ills (which always struck me as paradoxical and ironic considering...)

Bob Newland said...

Freedom of association; she doesn't advocate coercion.

Bill F. said...

Collective bargaining seems like coersion to me, Bob. Just sayin'.

Bob Newland said...

I don't think that's what happens to the heroes in Rand's books.

Bill F. said...

Well then Who Is John Galt, Bob? And what the heck WAS he up to, if not coersion?

Bob Newland said...

I suggest you read the book. Then you might be able to tell me.

larry kurtz said...

Thanks for the discussion, guys.

The Earth is a casualty in nearly every word Ayn Rand wrote.

Libertarians have yet to assuage my fears that, if put into power, the party would caucus with those who seek to erase environmental protection for short-term gain.

Unacceptable in my world.

Bill Fleming said...

I did read the book, Bob. "Fountainhead" too.

Plus we studied Objectivism in Philosophy class at YC. It appears that perhaps it is you who haven't read the books. Either that, or their plot line has perhaps escaped you?

Here's a refresher from the Wiki:

"In the final section of the novel, Taggart discovers the truth about John Galt, who is leading an organized "strike" against those who use the force of law and moral guilt to confiscate the accomplishments of society's productive members. With the collapse of the nation and its rapacious government all but certain, Galt emerges to reconstruct a society that will celebrate individual achievement and enlightened self-interest, delivering a long speech (70 pages in the first edition) serving to explain the novel's theme and Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, in the book's longest single chapter.[21]"

In short, Galt was a messianic grassroots union organizer.

Bob Newland said...

I still doubt that coercion was implied or endorsed.

Bill Fleming said...

If you say so, Bob.