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Talking Past Each Other
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, March 19, 2007

There's a bit of a dustup going on between Billy Beck and Lindsay Beyerstein. The dustup, in and of itself is mildly interesting, and you can catch the particulars of Mr. Beck arguing at Ms. Beyerstein's place here. Essentially, in response to Ms. Beyerstein's pooh-poohing the idea of using force to protect one's home against a burglar, Mr. Beck responded that he would, in fact, bust a cap in some mutha who invaded his home in an attempt to steal, say, his dad's classic guitar. That prompted the dustup in the comments.

My interest, though, is not so much in the dustup itself, but rather in the illumination it provides about how the Left goes about arguing with Libertarian—and Rightish, more generally—ideological arguments.

The thing about Libertarianism is that it's not really a readily apparent or intuitive ideology. It is very much an intellectual exercise. Libertarianism rests on a firm set of first principles, from which libertarian actions arise. If you don't understand those principles, and the epistemological underpinnings of the entire value system, then you simply don't "get" libertarianism.

This is why most people don't reach libertarianism naturally. For the most part, conversion to it comes through study of those principles, and from there, extrapolating those principles to human actions based on them.

This does not, alas, mean that all libertarians march in lockstep. Mr. Beck would, I believe, classify himself as an anarcho-capitalist, which is perhaps the "purest" form of libertarianism. As such, he disdains democracy on principle, since, in his view, it amounts to nothing more than allowing a majority to have the the power to "legitimately" deny the rights of a minority, or the individual. There is much merit in this view.

I, on the other hand, believe, as did the Founders, that since man is equally capable of evil as good, government is a necessary evil. As such, government must be restrained by two powerful, and often opposing forces. The first is the will of the people, i.e., some form of democratic governance that prevents the government from acting arbitrarily in opposition to the desires of the governed. The second is a rigid constitutionalism that places strict limits on both the government or the people from acting in ways that deny the inherent rights of the individual, even for the best of reasons.

We may disagree, but, when we do, at least we're arguing from the same book.

But, in looking over the arguments of Mr. Beck's opponents, it's hard to discern any of the first principles from which they argue. Even worse, to the extent that such principles can be divined, they fly in the face of common sense and everyday life experience.

One can certainly sense the emotions behind the arguments, but what are the principles that inform them?

Divider

Billy values his guitar more than human life!

First of all, we have no idea of this is true. If Mr. Beck had to make a choice between dropping his guitar in the ocean, or saving a drowning child, I presume that he would save the drowning child. So the value of his guitar isn't greater than human life. For all I know, he would do it to save his dog. We simply cannot know, however, what specific value Mr. Beck places on his guitar in reference to the life of all people.

What it is greater than, however, is the life of a human who has intentionally invaded his home with the express purpose of depriving Mr. Beck of his guitar, and who knows what else. The transgression in this case is not merely the theft of a piece of property. The burglar has initiated force against Mr. Beck. He is violating Mr. Beck's rights. Moreover, his mere entrance into the home constitutes a threat to Mr. Beck. The burglar has, in effect, made a conscious choice to elevate the value of Mr. Beck's guitar over that of his own life. By entering Mr. beck's home, knowing that Mr. Beck is present, he has assumed the risk of death. Mr. Beck is not placing the value of his guitar over the value of the burglar's life. The burglar has made that valuation. Mr. Beck has merely extracted the payment that the burglar knowingly volunteered to make, when he initiated force against Mr. Beck.

Where, one wonder, is the recognition that the burglar is a moral agent who must bear the price of his own moral choices?

This is an element commonly missing in Leftist thought. For example, in the case of capital punishment, the argument is made that if the state kills murderers, then the state becomes a murderer. But, murder is the taking of an unwilling, innocent victim's life. Execution is the punishment for killing the innocent. There is a fundamental moral difference between killing the innocent, and killing the guilty. To ignore the element of guilt is to wander about in moral confusion.

Granted, we may oppose the death penalty on perfectly legitimate practical grounds, i.e., the inability to perfectly assign guilt. But as a philosophical principle, the discrimination between killing the guilty and killing the innocent is entirely legitimate. Infinitely more so, in fact, than the foolish argument that "killing is killing".

Violence only begets violence!

Well, in all fairness, that is exactly what it is supposed to do. And a bloody good thing, too.

When someone initiates force, he should be very aware that doing so will bring down wrath. If he is not, then he has no incentive to refrain from preying upon his fellow citizens. Indeed, the entire reason we have a criminal justice system is to bring down massive amounts of force on evildoers as a punishment for initiating violence against others. We strip them of their rights, deprive them of their liberty, and, when appropriate, kill them when they attempt to escape.

If violence didn't beget violence, the world would be a far different place. For instance, most of Europe would now be inhabited by Germans wearing smart uniforms and spiffy armbands. Indeed, the whole reason that totalitarian states exist is that their rulers go to great lengths to ensure that their violence cannot be opposed by the citizenry.

The trouble with the "violence begets violence" argument is that it makes no moral distinction between the reasons for the violence. Violence to deprive the innocent of his rights is illegitimate. Violence to protect the innocent from predation is legitimate. To ignore that distinction is, again, to wander about in moral confusion.

Guns Kill People!

Do they? Do guns arouse themselves, aim themselves at innocents, and send bullets flying?

Guns—or knives, or swords, or any other weapons—are merely dead things. They have no moral value. It is the use to which a human puts those items that has moral significance.

You may argue that guns are designed to kill people. Some of them, after all, are designed to do precisely that. Some aren't. You may argue that the use of a gun makes it easier to kill others, because it certainly does. Effectively, and from a distance.

But what you cannot argue is that guns do things. Guns are inert tools. Moreover, they are tools we willingly provide to a rather large number of people for use in an official capacity, such as soldiers and policemen. But arguing that guns, or any other dead thing "does" something, is to argue for primitive animism.

"Guns" are not the problem. It is the behavior of people who use guns that cause problems.

Guns are substitute penises!

Of course, this isn't an argument, it's merely an insult. It's whole purpose is to belittle gun owners, to marginalize them as being unseemly at least, and unstable at worse.

It is a substitute for argument.

Having said that, there's no doubt that for some gun owners, it's perfectly true. No doubt, some barbarian warriors spent the evening lovingly caressing their swords, too.

But, then, a sense of smug moral superiority is a substitute penis for some people, too.

Divider

What these arguments have in common is that they arise from a normative sense of how things should be.

People shouldn't shoot each other. People shouldn't engage in violence. People should all be valued equally.

But to mistake what should be for what is is a capital error. We do not live in the world that "should be". In the world we live in, evil people initiate force against others. Megalomaniacal dictators herd people into death camps, or starve them to death by the millions.

Indeed, in everyday life, we see people of unequal value all the time. The brilliant surgeon who devises a new procedure to save millions of lives, then donates his money to feed the poor is more valuable, by nearly any measure, than the homeless crack addict.

This has nothing to do with equality before the law. if the brilliant surgeon were kick the homeless crack addict in the head from disgust, then we should penalize the brilliant surgeon for doing so, irrespective of his contribution to society. Equal treatment before the law is an entirely different matter than equality of value.

Moreover, even if we do assume that all humans are of precisely equal value—whatever that means—even that assumption of equality has nothing to do with the moral administration of justice. Every act we perform, for good or ill, has a price. Moral justice demands that we pay the price for those acts, irrespective of whatever intrinsic value we may possess.

Indeed, in the Christian religious tradition, we are all God's children, and He loves us all equally. His great love for us, however, seems not to interfere in His willingness to assign a good number of us to eternal and condign punishment. God may be a God of love, but He is even more a God of justice.

The Left however, seems relatively less concerned with justice than they are with fairness, or more accurately, equality. Because they are concerned with equality, their frame of reference is entirely different. As such, the same terms used by a leftist or a libertarian often have entirely different meanings.

In a very real sense, we aren't even talking in the same language. So, when these dustups occur, we simply talk past each other. We begin arguing, as it were, in the middle, without a clear understanding of common terms or concepts that inform the beginning.

That is why so many of our political arguments have much heat, and so little light.
 
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We can take the argument of the right of defense, past the individual to the state. If you argue the individual has no right to defend himself or his property, then you have to argue the state has no right to defend it self from foreign aggression. After all if taking a buglers life to protect your property or life is immoral, than the state has no right to defend it’s citizens property, lives or freedom from aggressors who want to seize it. This reasoning leads to the philosophy that war is evil, and it is better to surrender than fight and commit Evil. This is morally bankrupt.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself”. John Stuart Mill.

It is often argued that “War never settles anything” Tell that to the Carthaginians. You can’t, they no longer exist. At the end of the Punic War, Rome massacred or enslaved the Carthaginians, razed Carthage to the ground, then sowed the ground with salt so nothing would grow there for a hundred years. War settled Carthage into the dustbin of history.

The philosophy that self defense is evil, leads to enslavement or death “I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.” Jack Handey .
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
James -

That Carthaginian thing, of course, is straight out of Starship Troopers.
     Mr. Dubois never seemed to care whether he got through to us or not. He would just point at you with the stump of his left arm (he never bothered with names) and snap a question. Then the argument would start.
     But on the last day he seemed to be trying to find out what we’d learned. One girl told him bluntly: "My mother says that violence never settles anything."
     "So?" Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. "I’m sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that. Why doesn’t you mother tell them that. Or why don’t you?"
     They had tangled before - since you couldn’t flunk the course, it wasn’t necessary to keep Mr. Dubois buttered up. She said shrilly, "You’re making fun of me! Everybody knows that Cathage was destroyed!"
     "You seemed to be unaware of it," he said grimly. "Since you do know it, wouldn’t you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly? However, I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn on an inexcusably silly idea - a practice I shall always follow. Anyone who clings to the historically untrue - and thoroughly immoral - doctrine that ’violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
I know you like to make points with quotes, so there’s another for your arsenal.

Incidentally, the place where I copied the quote from had this comment underneath it:
I enjoyed the book, but I wonder why Carthage is so often invoked in these situations? Sure, the Carthaginians lost the Punic Wars and the city was destroyed in 146 B.C. But I suppose that you could use it as a poster child for the ’events are the foam floating on the tides of history’ view. The site was ultimately too good to abandon, so eventually Carthage was rebuilt, to tempt Augustine with its "unholy loves." An annaliste might claim that to the local peasantry it didn’t make a lot of difference in the long run that Carthage was temporarily destroyed. I suspect that the prominence of Carthage in these discussions stems from the idea that the Romans sowed its site with salt to prevent it from being reused. A nice story, but it’s actually an 19th century invention—and totally untrue.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Dale,

I think there is a better way to respond to the "Violence only begets violence" argument.

Because it’s simply not true. The threat of violence against those who would do me harm actually reduces violence. If someone sees me walking down the street carrying a baseball bat in a menacing manner, that person is much less likely to mug me. If he sees me walking down the street with a 9 mm strapped to my hip, he’s almost 100% sure not to attack me. Of course, he’ll let me pass and attack someone else, right? Well, if the criminal knows that 15% of the people on the street are not only carrying, but are carrying concealed so he can’t identify him, it makes it a lot harder for him to find a victim.

Yes, violence begets violence, in that someone who initiates force against me will receive force in return. However, the threat of deadly violence raises the cost of aggression, and makes it much less likely that someone would choose to initiate force against me.

It’s why mutually-assured-destruction works.
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://unrepentantindividual.com/
Dale;

I’ve been watching this particular argument unfold from a distance. My compliments on your response to it.

Beck and I have our arguments... as do you and I, for that matter. But of the group, it seems clear to me that Beyerstein’s position is by far the most damaging to western culture.

And yes, let me be clear.... I’m suggesting perhaps this, too, is a tie-in to Bruce’s postings of the last few days, as regards the transmission of culture, and it’s values. Because in the end, what is under discussion here, is cultural values....

Hmmm.

I’ll have to give that point some thought, today. The implications of it, are intriguing.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
It made me smile to see you mention the two bugaboos of Left-leaning arguments that make me cringe: the diminishment of individual agency and the "sloppy utopianism" (confusing what should be for what really is or really was).

These two false assumptions seem to underly much of the most common "folk-Marxist" complaints I read online. I suppose it’s just nice to see that someone else sees these ubiquitous fallacies so clearly.
 
Written By: JMD
URL: http://
I enjoyed the book, but I wonder why Carthage is so often invoked in these situations?
After two wars with Carthage, the second of which almost destroyed the Roman republic, it’s not difficult to see why. (Imagine a pre-industrial civilization losing 60,000 to 70,000 males in a single battle.) The Romans had a problem with Carthage and solved it by destroying the Carthaginian city-state and culture.

There may have been another city built on the site but it had as much to do with what was there before as New York City does with whatever Native American settlement that may have been in the same location.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
The thing about Libertarianism is that it’s not really a readily apparent or intuitive ideology. It is very much an intellectual exercise. Libertarianism rests on a firm set of first principles, from which libertarian actions arise. If you don’t understand those principles, and the epistemological underpinnings of the entire value system, then you simply don’t "get" libertarianism.
The search for first principles was very much an enlightenment ideal, but most current philosophical thought has moved beyond that as the focus. Context alters the meaning of principles. Assumptions and interpretations must be brought in as context adds complexity.

The danger of this (Marxism and other ideologies were based on a similar intellectual principle) is that it can quickly become an ideology, or a secular religion. In that case people become convinced that first principles which they are convinced are absolutely true inevitably lead to the interpretation they have developed. That causes people then to become more likely to rationalize the use of power to prevent people from political action. This is rare from libertarians, but I have encountered so called libertarians who believe in state power to prevent people from constructing political systems that contradict the principles they believe in. I also think that the Iraq war, supported by some libertarians but opposed by most, is a good example of how principles can lead in very different directions.

I would take a more pragmatist approach; not trying to build from first principles, but instead to define principles in context and work politically to build consensus and agreement on their meaning. In such cases principles need to be in line with the political culture of a state in order to be effective.

That’s political. For me I have a number of personal principles or core beliefs that I use in which to make my own life choices (these are essentially spiritual beliefs). But I would not try to force these on others through political power; rather, I’d try to engage in political discussion and activity to achieve societal agreement (in our culture through a democratic process, though I would prefer smaller political units since the current one inevitably leads to a minority having political rules forced on them).

For me, though, an essential principle that human life is more important than property. Therefore I would be very hestitant to use physical force to protect property unless there was a clear threat of force against people. Moreover, there is no clear principled way to determine when killing an guilty person is legitimate; it’s a matter of judgement. Figuring out when the use of force is appropriate is also a matter of judgement. You can develop political rules, but I have never seen a clear way to get to those issues through philosophical means.

Finally, what about a war in Iraq that kills numerous innocents? There clearly first principles can lead in multiple directions depending on the context.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Context alters the meaning of principles.
Did I hear a summoning of the ghost of Foucault and postmodernism? Anyone know a good exorcist?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
For me, though, an essential principle that human life is more important than property.
Again, a "should" and not an "is". A serial rapist/murderer’s life is NOT worth anything. His or hers very existence results in a negative gain for humanity. While it may be immoral in your view to kill another human being, it would be even more immoral to allow that human to cause more and more suffering given that there is no other goal but to increase the suffering of others.
Therefore I would be very hestitant to use physical force to protect property unless there was a clear threat of force against people. Moreover, there is no clear principled way to determine when killing an guilty person is legitimate; it’s a matter of judgement. Figuring out when the use of force is appropriate is also a matter of judgement. You can develop political rules, but I have never seen a clear way to get to those issues through philosophical means.
Hence why I believe you are wrong and right at the very same time. Like was said above, a person who breaks the sanctity of your home / property has already proven that they do not value your life enough to warrant such evaluations as you are willing to give. You might think of property as material objects, but I see the violation of my home or personal space as giving the criminal control over my life if I were to do nothing about it. That person is there to harm me. Taking my belongings harms me even if the item stolen is but a t-shirt. I would feel violated, unsafe, and afraid.

However, I have a gun. In fact I have several. I even load my own ammunition and shoot weekly. A person who breaks into my house has defiled the social contract to which we are all bound. Unlike Beck though, I will not shoot to kill. I will shoot to stop the threat and if death is the result, so be it. I’m not James Bond. I cannot shoot the weapon out of the criminal’s hand, nor can I expect to hit his knees with any degree of confidence. I can hit the largest target which is the chest. Unfortunately for the criminal, this is where vital organs are stored.

By training, I will put two rounds in the Center of Mass. If the threat doesn’t subside (i.e. he doesn’t do down) then the next target is the head since it is the larger of the extremities and has a greater chance of both being hit and causing the threat to stop. This is called a failure drill.

If my two shots puts the criminal down without death and the threat is neutralized, then he is safe. I would even go so far as to attempt to save his life by stopping the bleeding and calling 911. But to not meet his threat with overwhelming force is to tacitly agree to a contract where he is given control over my life, and that will not happen.

That you think this is something that can be discussed, analyzed, and rationalized beyond what I have stated truly illustrates why I don’t believe much that comes out of academia when it purports to study ’social sciences’.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
Context alters the meaning of principles.
Did I hear a summoning of the ghost of Foucault and postmodernism? Anyone know a good exorcist?
No — I’m not at all espousing post-modernism.

Again, a "should" and not an "is". A serial rapist/murderer’s life is NOT worth anything. His or hers very existence results in a negative gain for humanity. While it may be immoral in your view to kill another human being, it would be even more immoral to allow that human to cause more and more suffering given that there is no other goal but to increase the suffering of others.
You are jumping all the way from innocent to serial rapist. When does the crime reach a point where you can determine that the net loss of a person continuing to live (taking into account probability of rehabilitation vs. probability of recidivism, the good one could do if rehabilitated, etc.) is greater than the possible gain. Of course, that’s a utilitarian notion of value (determining utility to society), and that raises a whole host of problems. In the abstract when you take the worst possible crimes it is emotionally intuitive, but intellectually it’s not clear cut.

Hence why I believe you are wrong and right at the very same time. Like was said above, a person who breaks the sanctity of your home / property has already proven that they do not value your life enough to warrant such evaluations as you are willing to give. You might think of property as material objects, but I see the violation of my home or personal space as giving the criminal control over my life if I were to do nothing about it. That person is there to harm me. Taking my belongings harms me even if the item stolen is but a t-shirt. I would feel violated, unsafe, and afraid.

However, I have a gun. In fact I have several. I even load my own ammunition and shoot weekly. A person who breaks into my house has defiled the social contract to which we are all bound. Unlike Beck though, I will not shoot to kill. I will shoot to stop the threat and if death is the result, so be it. I’m not James Bond. I cannot shoot the weapon out of the criminal’s hand, nor can I expect to hit his knees with any degree of confidence. I can hit the largest target which is the chest. Unfortunately for the criminal, this is where vital organs are stored.


OK, but I would act differently. We can each make our calls based on our personal values, but I don’t see this as coming from first principles, you’re bringing in assumptions about the sanctity of the home, feeling violated and unsafe, etc. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just questioning the claim in the original piece that this is an intellectual process. I think that both libertarians and people on the left — both people who use guns to protect their property and those who do not — base their calls on personal and pragmatic grounds.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If left wingers want to stop us mouth breathing libertarians and conservatives from shooting criminals, there’s a very easy solution. All of you who refuse to use force against a criminal need simply post a sign saying such outside your house. That way, the criminals know who to target and they leave us alone. Problem solved!
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Wow - I’m trying hard to read the comment thread over there... really hard. But DAMN! Never mind a gun killing me, reading their vapid comments is going to do the trick!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Nice. You just robbed liberals of all purpose and meaning in life. Destroying their moral equivalence like that. It’s the basic fallacy that too many of their views are based on.

I’m proud of you.
 
Written By: jb
URL: http://
I, on the other hand, believe, as did the Founders, that since man is equally capable of evil as good, government is a necessary evil.
I think you misapprehend the founders, Dale. They felt humans are at least marginally more likely to do good than evil. Maybe you do mean "capable" as opposed to "likely", I don’t know, but it seems that in fact people have about 39 out of 40 odds of not being criminal is about any reasonable sense.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
The trouble with the "violence begets violence" argument is that it makes no moral distinction between the reasons for the violence. Violence to deprive the citizen of his rights is illegitimate. Violence to protect the citizenry from predation is legitimate. To ignore that distinction is, again, to wander about in moral confusion.

Sigh. On the other hand, at least there’s a genuinely philosophical argument to be had.

This principle isn’t enough, on its own, to make a society work well. Sure, on the one hand you can’t abandon it entirely, not yet, not in today’s world. Neither, on the other hand, can it go unchallenged, unless you’re an anarcho-capitalist.

I know some people have trouble with the grey area where a principle is too neccessary to be discarded but too problematic to be simple-mindedly upheld in all circumstances. I’m sure I’ll hear from you.

Anyone who allows the state to decide when the individual can or cannot use violence to protect their rights, when a claimed act of "self-defense" genuinely qualifies as self-defense, especially of something vital, or whether the defense is of something spurious, like a parking space, understands that allowing individuals total freedom to pick what of their rights they can defend with violence leads to.. the Gaza Strip.

In other words, in the real world, violence begets violence all the time. That’s why we have the state in the first place. The state uses its own violence - overwhelming force - to prevent violence from begetting violence on an individual level.

And violence, everyone implicitly understands, is a negative act, a net loss. That’s why we have the commenter above claiming that gun ownership, general deadliness of citizenry, violence itself, reduces violence, as thugs don’t go after anyone when everyone is dangerous enough. "Deterrence works", and so forth. The commenter understand the perception of violence as a net loss. An accurate perception. An elemental one, even.

Except that, of course, thugs band together and work to find advantages rendering a pistol not good enough for protection, as you’ll find out if you live in Bogota, thus requiring citizens to match with equally complex countermeasures... thus you have a "security race" much like an arms race, and frankly, a vastly inefficient exercise on all sides.

That’s why we’re not anarcho-capitalists.

But the underlying point is that violence really does, obviously, beget violence, quite often. Of course, under limited circumstances, violence can also tamp down violence, i.e. not immediately beget violence. But as, for example, totalitarian states show us, this use of violence tends to grow over time. You can see that even in democratic states in the US - as the no-knock raids in Atlanta are only one example of. The tendency of violence as a tool to grow over time extends to all levels of organizations, from gangs to individuals.

Violence being used to prevent violence is something that individuals concerned for morality have a right to be concerned about. It’s exactly as advertised, a destructive act currently sometimes necessary as the only practical tool available to stop even more destructive acts.

No one has the right to tell you not to use force to save your own life, but we can and should, as a society, encourage people to use the minimum force necessary to do so. Those who use minimum necessary force when possible are heroes. And expansion of the ability and permissiveness to use force is something to be guarded against, because the ultimate effect of diffused societal violence is to make further violence ever more likely.

Force for reasons other than to protect your own personal safety from clear and immediate physical threats produces societally destructive externalities and can, should and often, in today’s world, penalized.

Technology is advancing in a way that makes it possible to imagine a world where all firearms, for example, are "smart" firearms that simply don’t work in the hands of a convicted felon. In a world like that, it would be possible to substitute non-lethal emerging technologies for lethal ones for most defense needs for both citizenry and police.

Lethal technologies could then be reserved only for demonstrated need for defense beyond the ability of non-lethal technology to provide. And penalties for using them frivolously could be much increased.

The world would be a better place.




 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
but it seems that in fact people have about 39 out of 40 odds of not being criminal is about any reasonable sense.
Yet the cynic/Conservative would say that is because people FEAR punishment by the State, not because they are inherently good, Tom. Remove the strictures of the State and see how much good v. evil is done....Further, and this is why I’m a CONSERVATIVE, rather than a libertarian, remove religion and social taboos and see how much evil v. good is done.

One of the reasons I don’t believe in libertarianism is that all too often it has become LIBERTINISM...smoke dope, sleep with whomever, do what you want...just don’t touch my lawn-mower, dude. Not ALL libertarians but it just seems that once you get you guys started you end up with anything goes, seemingly. But that is a difference between libertarians and conservatives...

I’m not so confident that people will do good or right in the absence of the State and/or a social code....

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
OK, let’s define a little hypothetical context...

You are living a dirt-scratch existence in some 3rd world country.

Someone is trying to steal your one goat, which you rely on to feed your family.

Is your property then more important to you then this other persons life, since your property is your life?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy

OK, let’s define a little hypothetical context...

You are living a dirt-scratch existence in some 3rd world country.

Someone is trying to steal your one goat, which you rely on to feed your family.

Is your property then more important to you then this other persons life, since your property is your life?
No - in that context the act of theft is different than if, say, I had a huge goat herd and ran the world’s largest and most profitable Goat farm, and a few kids for kicks decided to try to still a couple of goats on the fringes of the farm. In each case you have goat theft, but context alters the nature of the crime and reasonable reactions.

I disagree in part with Joe. I don’t think fear of the state keeps people in line as much as culturally shared understandings and expectations. (This, by the way, is also a conservative notion, going back to Edmund Burke). The more there is a sense of community and shared identity, the less likely people will mistreat others. The challenge we face with globalization and multiculturalism (neither of which is going to go away) is how to deal with difference without resorting to simply strengthening the state.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
In each case you have goat theft, but context alters the nature of the crime and reasonable reactions.
Which is really just another way of saying that some people have more rights than others. Either "equality before the law" means something or it doesn’t. If you treat two victims of a crime differently before the law, you do not have equality. You have favoritism.

To be clear, the common law does not favor lethal force in the defense of property, which is why, for example, booby traps and spring guns have been illegal for centuries.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Yes, violence begets violence, in that someone who initiates force against me will receive force in return. However, the threat of deadly violence raises the cost of aggression, and makes it much less likely that someone would choose to initiate force against me.
I work part time for an armed courier service. Several times (once to me personally) a frothing at the mouth liberal has approached someone from my company to inform him that by carrying weapons we are just making ourselves targets for other people with guns. In one sense I suppose that’s true. Because I carry a gun it is very unlikely that someone without a gun will try to rob me. Then again given the choice between attacking an unarmed guy with a bag of cash or an armed guy with a bag of cash, even a guy with a gun is going to attack the unarmed guy. So, rather than making myself a target for someone with a gun, I’ve actually deterred the would-be board with a nail in it armored truck robbers of the world and given the bad guys with guns something to think about.

To me, the truly odd thing about these encounters has always been that, despite the fact that these people seem to credit guns with the ability to make decisions and take actions for themselves, none has ever seemed the least bit concerned that the weapon would draw itself and double tap them in the face, nor have they seemed the slightest bit concerned that they would be killed in a neoconservative rage induced pistol whipping, or even paused to consider the fact that someone carrying 100 grand of someone else’s cash might not want to stop to hear what they have to say about the pros and cons of carrying a weapon.
 
Written By: Vermin
URL: http://
Technology is advancing in a way that makes it possible to imagine a world where all firearms, for example, are "smart" firearms that simply don’t work in the hands of a convicted felon. In a world like that, it would be possible to substitute non-lethal emerging technologies for lethal ones for most defense needs for both citizenry and police
And one day technology will give us implants that stop bad thoughts, genetic mutations that allow us to build flying unicorns, and full sky, rainbow generators. Oh, and teleporters.

Deal in reality much?

There are no "smart" guns. No "smart" gun will stop a criminal from making a "dumb" gun that can kill you while the only thing your "smart" gun will do is fail right when you need it the most because you forgot to change the batteries.

Seriously. Do you not understand how simple a gun is mechanically? The only reason they’re semi-complex these days is to improve their accuracy (and we’re talking sub-1/4" groupings type accuracy) and safety. A thug bent on stealing your tv isn’t going to care if the revolver he shoots you with is 1/4" off center between your eyes.

And I seriously disagree with the premise that I have enough that someone has the right to steal from me without recourse. And if you think it’s the police’s job to apprehend the thief, then you simply believe in violence by proxy as the cops are going to use guns and force to do so.

Personally, I’ll take care of myself, thank you.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
Oh, and is technology advancing in such as way as to make ALL firearms smart, or just the new ones that the criminals won’t buy?
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
"The search for first principles was very much an enlightenment ideal, but most current philosophical thought has moved beyond that as the focus."
Right there: I had read the very first sentence, and without scrolling down, I said to myself: "It’s that appalling jackass, Erb."

I can smell that rotten bastard with a blindfold on.

Anyway, an anecdote:

Yesterday afternoon, in speaking with my mother, I asked right out of the blue and in perfectly clueless non-sequitur: "I have a question. Is there a single material object in your life that you would defend from a robber with deadly force?"

At all times, she is a very deliberate and thoughtful woman. She went silent for a moment, looking off into space and putting her brain to work. Then, she said:

"Well... all of them. I mean, for God’s sake: what if someone tried to steal your father’s guitar??"

I swear it: right out of the blue. She and I were working from the same principles, and arrived at the very same example, each on our own.

Anyway; I’m not here to pick a fight with you, Dale, but I have to point out the obvious:
"I, on the other hand, believe, as did the Founders, that since man is equally capable of evil as good, government is a necessary evil."
This line of reasoning never accounts for contradicting its own premise.

"Since man is equally capable of evil as good", there is no worthwhile reason on earth for taking the chance of arming him with the supremely ruinous power of government.

And there is no such thing as a right to force anyone to live with it.

"glasnost" —
"No one has the right to tell you not to use force to save your own life, but we can and should, as a society, encourage people to use the minimum force necessary to do so."
Your fashionable language is just as cute as can be, but I have all the "courage" requisite for these affairs, and I don’t need you. You’re dismissed.

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Force for reasons other than to protect your own personal safety from clear and immediate physical threats produces societally destructive externalities and can, should and often, in today’s world, penalized
Eh. Lets say I find some cretin vandalizing my home by spraypainting garbage on the outside. My personl safety isn’t in any jeopardy. But I think that a giving him a few love taps with a baseball bat would send a very positive and constructive message to society.

A pack....not a herd
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Guns are substitute penises!"

So are dildos. (They can take my dildo when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.)
A really bad argument to use if you believe things like, for example, the Supreme Court was correct in Griswold vs. Conn.

"That Carthaginian thing, of course, is straight out of Starship Troopers."

Heinlein could just as well have cited any number of other historical examples, but Rome’s total destruction of Carthage is probably simpler and more familiar to most people, which is probably why he took it straight out of history. He could have used, e.g., Germany instead of Carthage, but that would have involved explanations and qualifications and complicated the rather simple point he was making; violence DOES solve things. The fact that the site was reused does not detract from the lesson. I am sure the new residents were fully aware of the fate of their predecessors and knew that f***ing with Rome was a bad idea. Problem solved.

" but we can and should, as a society, encourage people to use the minimum force necessary to do so."

Why remove some of the mystery from life? People need to consider the consequences of their actions, and a little uncertainty added to the situation may deter a few people. Just how, by the way, do you calculate the minimum necessary force? Why punish the victim?



 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
And violence, everyone implicitly understands, is a negative act, a net loss.
I would not consider the violence used to destroy the Axis powers a "net loss" it was a net gain. Failure to use violence in this case would be a "net loss."
One of the reasons I don’t believe in libertarianism is that all too often it has become LIBERTINISM...smoke dope, sleep with whomever, do what you want
As long as you are not harming anyone, and not doing “your thing” in the streets where you may scare horses and small children, it’s none of anyone’s business.
And I seriously disagree with the premise that I have enough that someone has the right to steal from me without recourse.
AMEN
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
But the underlying point is that violence really does, obviously, beget violence, quite often.
Sloppy thinking.

What begits violence is its usefulness. It works.

If I want your lunch, and I’m bigger than you, I can use violence (or threats of violence) to acquire your lunch.
Of course, under limited circumstances, violence can also tamp down violence, i.e. not immediately beget violence.
Again, sloppy thinking.

Violence and threats of violence are the best way to prevent violence from human (and other)predators (note that in the wild, the weak become food). The key is to make the cost of their use of violence more than they want to pay.

If you are willing to fight for your lunch, it may very well make it too expensive for me, and I may look for someone else to steal from.
But as, for example, totalitarian states show us, this use of violence tends to grow over time.
Huh?

They tend to go through early violent stages, and then settle down. See the PRC and USSR, for example.

Violence is a tool. It can be an expensive tool, but still, it’s just a tool. Totalitarians tend to "make their point" ("don’t mess with the leader!") early on, and after that point is made they can "cut costs" by relaxing the violence.

If I beat you up a few times and take your lunch, and now you give me your lunch, I don’t need to fight you anymore.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As long as you are not harming anyone, and not doing “your thing” in the streets where you may scare horses and small children, it’s none of anyone’s business.
That’s my point James, we Conservatives don’t think a SOCIETY can exist with that attitude. And that’s where we part ways with libertarians, we value society as well. Akin to Dale, we believe you can not be Free unless you have some support group around you, otherwise as Hobbes wrote life brutish, short and nasty.

Obviously Mr Beck would disagree. He’s wrong but I understand that he would and understand why he might. You might disagree as well. Nonetheless, I feel and I think most Conservatives feel that without a society, we all lose, we all have to keep watch 24-7 over our life, liberty and property and in the end that’s not much of a life.

Our goal, is to provide the maximum freedom consistent with maintenance of some societal order.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
No one has the right to tell you not to use force to save your own life, but we can and should, as a society, encourage people to use the minimum force necessary to do so.
Does using minimum force include applying KY jelly and bending over?
Those who use minimum necessary force when possible are heroes.
Or perhaps they are encouraging criminals.

Violence is a tool, and like any other tool it is used due to its effectivness in gaining desired results. Being kind to criminals is, in effect, being cruel to their prey.
And expansion of the ability and permissiveness to use force is something to be guarded against, because the ultimate effect of diffused societal violence is to make further violence ever more likely.
Fortunatly, the state legislaters don’t agree with such stupidity, and shall-issue CCWs are now available in the majority of states.

The good people need to have the ability to forcefully defend themselves, and the bad people need punishment.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
That’s my point James, we Conservatives don’t think a SOCIETY can exist with that attitude. And that’s where we part ways with libertarians, we value society as well. Akin to Dale, we believe you can not be Free unless you have some support group around you, otherwise as Hobbes wrote life brutish, short and nasty.
Joe, I’m registerd Republican but my views are libertarian. Not all libertarians are anarchists.

In a society like that of traditional American or English culture, you don’t need much in the way of "some support group around you". Other cultures are not so lucky. However, if we did become an anarchy, I can’t see it lasting long: in effect you would be presenting an opening for some group to organize and gain control.

I guess my points are:

1) With the right culture, something dang close to anarchy can work (look at the American frontier experience; not the movie myths or the leftist revisionism, but the real history as an example).

2) Nature obhors a vacuum, and anarchy represents a vacuum. I’d rather have a flawed government we choose than whatever shakes out of an experiment in anarchy.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
1) With the right culture, something dang close to anarchy can work (look at the American frontier experience; not the movie myths or the leftist revisionism, but the real history as an example).
We aren’t in disagreement, the Old West was a SOCIETY, Don....it wasn’t gun-slingers and rugged individuals, or that alone, it was barn-raisings, church socials, town meetings, a host of social/societal interaction within a common and shared cultural experience. It WASN’T:
As long as you are not harming anyone, and not doing “your thing” in the streets where you may scare horses and small children,


I might also add to Mr Fish that I tend to agree with that a bit, BUT the problem is that now many want to do "it" in the streets and scare the horses and children, as a part of their fundamental right to self-expression.
2) Nature obhors a vacuum, and anarchy represents a vacuum. I’d rather have a flawed government we choose than whatever shakes out of an experiment in anarchy.

Again I’d tend to agree, and as I say that’s why I’m CONSERVATIVE, not libertarian, much less a Beckite An-Cap. I’d say that as a Conservative I’d say that much of Liberalism/libertarianism/libertinism is a movement that I/we fear will lead to anarchy.

Reason had a nice little article about "libertarianism" wherein the author stated he was a "Soft-Communitarian" and I think that’s about where I stand. I like school prayer....almost ANY school prayer. IF you live in a town that is 51% Muslim and they want the call to prayer 5 times a day, AND as long as no one gives my child $h*te for not being Muslim, I’m all for it. I say keep the ACLU away. OTOH, if 75% are Christian and we want non-sectarian prayer or a priest at commencement, that’s OK, too.

Billy Beck seems to have a problem with "democracy" (which he seems to equate to mob rule) I see his point, but here I’d say if we want it we ought to get it, it’s what we want....the bonds that hold us together are not economic or intellectual, if they are..if wherever you live is just the place you work and make money or that you have intellecutal attachment to, when the bad times come, your "society" will fall apart. Beck has an emotional attachment to his father’s guitar, and would fight, wound, even KILL for that emotional attachment. And as a Conservative I’d say that you need that for the people and the structure that surrounds them and you, an emotional attachment that allows you to fight, to kill for it or to struggle to preserve it and it’s members. An example is the South Central LA during Rodney King Riots. The people there burned out the Korean shop-keepers and the folks who cashed cheques. The next day, they missed the milk and the ability to cash cheques, but at the time they represented something they "hated." People aren’t rational and they don’t just think or vote with their wallets.

Finally, as I’m rambling, I’ve said it beofre and I’ll say it again, libertarians, An-Cap’s especially are the philosophic Anti-Marxists. Just like the positron is the anti-Electron libertarians/An-Caps are anti-Marxists, alike in all characteristics except one. They are dogmatic, fundametalist Materialists that focus solely on humans as "Rational Utility Maximizers."

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"I feel and I think most Conservatives feel that without a society, we all lose, we all have to keep watch 24-7 over our life, liberty and property and in the end that’s not much of a life."
To begin with, for its value as a concept, your "society" is about on a par with fairies and leprechauns: it simply does not exist. In any case, this whole attitude (which is all it is) is just ridiculously presumptive. If all government collapsed this very afternoon, you would not go running through the streets on a spree of raping, looting and killing. And the fact of the matter is that you are no different at all in this aspect from the overwhelming weight of human beings.

A reading:
"To the average American or Englishman the very name of anarchy causes a shudder, because it invariably conjures up a picture of a land terrorized by low-browed assassins with matted beards, carrying bombs in one hand and mugs of beer in the other. But as a matter of fact, there is no reason whatever to believe that, if all laws were abolished tomorrow, such swine would survive the day. They are incompetents under our present paternalism and they would be incompetents under dionysian anarchy. The only difference between the two states is that the former, by its laws, protects men of this sort, whereas the latter would work their speedy annihilation."
That’s H.L. Mencken, writing in 1913 ("Friedrich Nietzsche"). He’s absolutely right, and you’re just being ridiculous with your fearful shivering. The only possible admission of your point that I could grant is that in the nearly full-century since he wrote that, Americans are proving his point: they are learning savagery at the hand of government, so the thing would be a bit more dicey, today.

Man-up, already, before it’s too late.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Regarding the Carthage thing:
As I mentioned to James E Fish by email (who, of course, was aware of the Starship Troopers quote), of course I agree that violence pretty well settled (if such a mild term can be used) the whole thing about Carthage being a long-term threat to Rome. Actually, what really interested me was that the salt-sowing thing was likely a fabrication. I’d not heard that before.

I have plenty more responses to other things, but I’ve got to be out the door in 10 minutes. See you all later today.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
i’ve read around some on the web for awhile now, and i’ve read beck’s blog. have also seen quite a bit of his commentary on other’s blogs. am not a bit surprised he’s in a dust-up ms. beyerstein: getting into arguments seems to be what he does. sooner or later, if you’re talking to beck, it appears that sooner or later he’ll be at your throat over an intellectual/political point. he doesn’t seem to be the most easygoing guy i’ve ever seen. (/understatement) i also suspect i’m real glad the guy doesn’t live next door. i mean, jeez: what if you wanted to borrow a wrench and he mistook you for a guitar-stealer? "halt!!" (blam!blam!blam!) "stop or i’ll shoot!"

on the other hand....unreasonable, argumentative, disputatious, assertive, ornery guys like that are pretty much the kind of men who decided to go up against the mightiest power on earth back in the late 18th century. wimps don’t win revolutions. easygoing, amiable chaps don’t write our magnificent constitution: they help to destroy it, as our current crop of pols is/has been busy doing for quite some time now. whatever else beck may or may not say or do, he appears to have no interest in taking or limiting the rights or possessions of his fellow americans. as opposed to the sweet kind oh-so-reasonable statists who want me to hush up and do as i’m told.

go billy beck.
 
Written By: bloodrage bob
URL: http://
bloodrage bob said -

go billy beck.
And I say - Amen! Billy may be any number of things, but he is not afraid to speak his heart, and his interests are not aimed at depriving me of anything. Unless I have a hankering for a guitar ;-)
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
you would not go running through the streets on a spree of raping, looting and killing. And the fact of the matter is that you are no different at all in this aspect from the overwhelming weight of human beings.
I won’t but without recourse to the police I fear YOU might, and it is not ME I fear, but rather YOU Billy. Ergo, should government collapse this very instant my life WOULD change. And suddenly I would have to be very much MORE on guard than I am now. This is a point that An-Caps simply do not seem to grasp or to want to grasp....and it is why I say An-Caps are Anti-Marxists, they have a PERFECT THEORECTICAL Model of how the World SHOULD work, it is flawed in certain fundamental asusmptions, but they cling very whole-heartedly to the model.

You might ask the people of Kabul or Mogadishu about the inherent goodness of humans in the absence of the state, Billy. It’s one of the reasons they welcomed the UIC and the Taliban in, in the beginning. Yes, I know what Franklin wrote of sacrificing security for freedom, and I’ll note he never really lived WITHOUT Security, so his point is a bit suspect.
Billy may be any number of things, but he is not afraid to speak his heart,
So, the same could be said of Che, Hitler, Manson, or Marx, or Andrew Dice Clay.

and his interests are not aimed at depriving me of anything.

Except possibly the social security blanket you currently reside reasoanbly blissfully within.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If all government collapsed this very afternoon, you would not go running through the streets on a spree of raping, looting and killing.
No, I wouldn’t be doing that. But, I bet you even money, that some cretins would be. Just look at what happens when the power goes out on a hot summer night. In which case, I’d be out on watch protecting, in order, my life, my family, my property, and my neighbors.
Our goal, is to provide the maximum freedom consistent with maintenance of some societal order.
Well, when you put it that way, it sounds like you know what’s best for everyone.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
We aren’t in disagreement, the Old West was a SOCIETY, Don....it wasn’t gun-slingers and rugged individuals, or that alone, it was barn-raisings, church socials, town meetings, a host of social/societal interaction within a common and shared cultural experience.
One aspect of mining boom towns was a tendency to use primitive democracy to establish a form of order that was often quite effective.
. . . as a Conservative I’d say that much of Liberalism/libertarianism/libertinism is a movement that I/we fear will lead to anarchy.
Well, I don’t think you have to fear the Libertarian Party leading to anything but squabbles about who the big fish in the pond is . . .
Billy Beck seems to have a problem with "democracy" (which he seems to equate to mob rule) I see his point, but here I’d say if we want it we ought to get it, it’s what we want
As a conservative you should understand the Founding Father’s position on democracy, and understand that we have a republic for that reason.

After all, the mob might decide you would taste good . . .
I’ve said it beofre and I’ll say it again, libertarians, An-Cap’s especially are the philosophic Anti-Marxists. Just like the positron is the anti-Electron libertarians/An-Caps are anti-Marxists, alike in all characteristics except one. They are dogmatic, fundametalist Materialists that focus solely on humans as "Rational Utility Maximizers."
I’m not convinced that’s true for an-caps. I know that charge is fair leveled on some libertarians, but not for all. For example, I don’t think Austians believe that people are rational utility maximizers, and I’d consider the Austrians to be the core of libertarian economics. For that matter, Thatcher and Reagan definitly knew a bit about Austrian economics . . .

You might want to consider that the libertarians have tended to provide some of the strongest conservative arguments. Conservatives have their pundits and politicians, but the intellectual armory of the conservative movement has tended to come from libertarians, the Austrians I mentioned as well as the Chicago School, etc.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I’m not convinced that’s true for an-caps.

Read Murray Rothbard, get back to me on that....
but the intellectual armory of the conservative movement has tended to come from libertarians
Key word TENDED, I’d stack a number of non-libertarian thinkers up against many libertarians....I don’t think Goldberg or WFB at NRO would be "good" libertarians.
One aspect of mining boom towns was a tendency to use primitive democracy to establish a form of order that was often quite effective.

No argument, but I wuld point out that this supports my argument, people in concert are very important, people as individuals have severe problems.
As a conservative you should understand the Founding Father’s position on democracy
,
I don’t think Beck or I are using a PS 240 (Political Ideologies) definition here of democracy. I think democracy means "will of the People" for both of us...Beck seems to feel that if the People decide that he has no right to a firearm or that a Universal Healthcare System is a Positive Social Good and he needs to contribute his "fair share"; Beck’s argument is that whether or no it was passed CONSTITUTIONALLY they have NO right to his weapon or his cash....I am not in agreement with position. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT in favour of Gun Control or Universal Healthcare, BUT if the 2nd is repealed OR the Congress passes a Universal Healthcare Act, I would be Constituionally bound to accept the fiat...Beck would argue differently.
Our goal, is to provide the maximum freedom consistent with maintenance of some societal order.
Well, when you put it that way, it sounds like you know what’s best for everyone.

I don’t claim to, as I said I tend towards a utilitarian libertarianism...private markets allocate resources fairly and efficiently and tend towards a soft communitarianism...you want call to prayer 5 times a day, OK...you want a priest at commencement OK. You want a Native American "smudging Right" to "purify" the town meeting, OK. As long as 50%=1 of the votes go your way, I’m OK with it...certain caveats apply.


 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"i also suspect i’m real glad the guy doesn’t live next door. i mean, jeez: what if you wanted to borrow a wrench and he mistook you for a guitar-stealer? ’halt!!’ (blam!blam!blam!) ’stop or i’ll shoot!’"
I am never interested in buying my way through the political/philosophical debates with protestations that I’m a nice guy. That’s completely impertinent. But I’m going to show you this example:

Two years ago, my new neighbor up the road, appeared at my door wondering if he could borrow a five-gallon bucket of coal. He’d been away over the weekend and his stove had gone out. He wanted just enough to get it started again. I told him, "The bins are right there, and now, you know. Take what you want, pal, any time you want it. It’s no big deal to me and I’m happy to help."

You’re dead wrong. I always presume the best in other people, and behave that way until I have reason to believe otherwise. I’m the best neighbor anyone could ever have.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"Except possibly the social security blanket you currently reside reasoanbly blissfully within."
You people can go vote yourselves into any kind of "blanket" you want, Joe, but I have a taste for the open air — "the animating contest" — of freedom, sir, and I will be damned before any of you quivering little fags force me to pay for your blanket.

You all can go straight to hell, with my earnest compliments, until you understand what you’re really talking about.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"No, I wouldn’t be doing that. But, I bet you even money, that some cretins would be."
Look around you, Keith.

They’re doing that right now, with more "law and order" in place than ever before in American history.

Figure it out.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Just look at what happens when the power goes out on a hot summer night. In which case, I’d be out on watch protecting, in order, my life, my family, my property, and my neighbors.
It is interesting that during the ’65 power outage, NYC didn’t experience rioting. In ’77 it experienced rioting, and in the most recent majore outage it again did not experience rioting.

Linky.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And that’s where we part ways with libertarians, we value society as well
Libertarians also value society. The charge that individual freedom is a treat to society is a Straw Man. I mentioned “not doing your thing in the street where it could scare horses and small children” Responsibility is a requirement of freedom. If I want to use drugs or even stoop sheep (as long as the sheep has reached the age of consent, and consents) in the privacy of my home is none of the government or anyones business. That is not a threat to society.

We are a “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” When the Government controls our individual actions “for the good of society” we become “A people of the Government, by the Government and for the Government.”
the problem is that now many want to do "it" in the streets and scare the horses and children, as a part of their fundamental right to self-expression.
As for doing it in the streets, that’s illegal, and society has a right to prohibit it.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
As for doing it in the streets, that’s illegal, and society has a right to prohibit it.
Really on what oppressive hetero-normal basis have you the right to repress me sir?
You all can go straight to hell, with my earnest compliments, until you understand what you’re really talking about.
Why a discussion with Mr beck is always a refreshing enterprise, his reasonablenesss. Have I mis-quoted you in any way, sirrah? You are NOT an An-Cap? You DO believe that I can outlaw your firearm or its use, you do support a National Health Care System? You support taxation to support the War on Drugs? It’s Ok that the War on Drugs is waged or that Congress deals with firearms/speech issues, because the laws they pass were passed with Constitutional majorities? I think not sirrah....Where I have mis-stated your beliefs please feel free to correct me and I will gladly make the changes requested.

Instead, sir, you simply dislike my DISAGREEMENT with you...I understand you all too well Beck. I just don’t happen to agree with you on certain fundamental points of philosophy, but as to understanding you, I think I do, not in all particulars, but in the main I do.

I might add your posting at Tim Blair was MUCH more reasonable than your usual disdain HERE. My advice, post here like you did there...you’ll have more friends.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Those who use minimum necessary force when possible are heroes
Those who use minimum necessary force when possible are either very lucky or idiots.

What is the mimimum necessary force? The whole idea of force is rendered invalid by calculating a minimum amount needed. When you’re in a situation, you want stopping power, not a calculator to figure out what the bare minimum you can get away with is.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
As for doing it in the streets, that’s illegal, and society has a right to prohibit it.
Really on what oppressive hetero-normal basis have you the right to repress me sir?
Humor/sarcasm alert I presume? Society always has the right to maintain order in public. If flouncing in a parade is considered acceptable by the society where it occurs, then there is nothing wrong with it.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
"I might add your posting at Tim Blair was MUCH more reasonable than your usual disdain HERE. My advice, post here like you did there...you’ll have more friends."
To begin with, I wasn’t dealing with someone like you over there.

And: I never got into any of this to make friends. I don’t care. Piss off.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"Except possibly the social security blanket you currently reside reasoanbly blissfully within."
As it happens I live in the threadbare blanket provided by Social Security. I have railed against this pyramid scheme for years. I would not participate if I had a choice. Washington forced me to buy the ticket, so I have no moral problem in riding the train.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
And I say - Amen! Billy may be any number of things, but he is not afraid to speak his heart,
Exactly — the key word is heart. Note his example:

Yesterday afternoon, in speaking with my mother, I asked right out of the blue and in perfectly clueless non-sequitur: "I have a question. Is there a single material object in your life that you would defend from a robber with deadly force?"

At all times, she is a very deliberate and thoughtful woman. She went silent for a moment, looking off into space and putting her brain to work. Then, she said:

"Well... all of them. I mean, for God’s sake: what if someone tried to steal your father’s guitar??"

I swear it: right out of the blue. She and I were working from the same principles, and arrived at the very same example, each on our own.
That sounds very much like a reaction based as much on sentiment as principle. What I reject is claim that his perspective is based primarily on reason or philosophy. I’m also not sure how Billy can assert that there is no such thing as societies.

A society is a group with a collective identity (e.g., we are "Americans") based on shared understandings and beliefs — shared cultural values. Not all have to be shared of course, but enough to do allow stable functioning of that society. If a group likes shared values and cultural norms, they will likely fall into sectarian violence and be unable to produce a stable political or social system. It’s quite clear that some societies are stronger and more cohesive than others.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"A society is a group with a collective identity (e.g., we are ’Americans’) based on shared understandings and beliefs — shared cultural values. Not all have to be shared of course, but enough to do allow stable functioning of that society."
Yeah.

We noticed that with the "stable functioning" of cattle-trains that ran Jews into Auschwitz. ("doh! — he said ’Auschwitz’! Somebody call the Godwin cops!") It’s very interesting how this "society" didn’t account for "understandings and beliefs" that were not "shared", like the tunnels in the little human ant-farm that you run in your imagination.

We’ve been all over this, Skurt, for more than a decade, and you’re still the greasiest thing I ever saw online.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
We noticed that with the "stable functioning" of cattle-trains that ran Jews into Auschwitz.
A stable society can be “Just” or “Unjust”, for the most part America is a “Just” society. Nazi Germany while stable, was certainly an “Unjust” society
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
And violence, everyone implicitly understands, is a negative act, a net loss.
Not wanting to pile on, here (I have no problem with your argument, glasnost, and as usual, it is well thought and reasonable). But I wish to pull this statement to make a point.

Violence isn’t always a net loss.
There is the “mad dog” aspect. If there is a rabid dog in your neighborhood threatening child and adult alike, it is not a net loss to put the animal down. And I would argue that there are people walking amongst us that equate to a rabid dog. And though it is unfortunate that they have whatever demons inside them that cause their behavior, their violent eradication is not necessarily a net loss.

Where you may find agreement with me, is that I believe that it is not the business of the State to do the violent eradication. We all know what this way comes at the whelm of zealous prosecutors. So why would you trust the judgment of prosecutors with the interest of their political aspirations at heart?

Why would you trust the incompetence of government to dole out death?

It always baffles me as to why capital punishment is a conservative position. Conservative’s claim to not trust the government with almost anything, but they’re willing to let the state decide which capital cases to prosecute.

In a perfect system, I say sure. In the current system, I say no.

Meanwhile, there is an interesting discussion on this thread as to the “minimum force necessary”.

I have many guns thanks to the collection of my grandfather, my father, and my own purchases. I have assault rifles, pistols, hunting rifles, and antiques that hang on the wall. But perhaps my favorite gun is the 12-gauge, pump-action, pistol grip shotgun that rests assuredly by my bedside. I sleep comfortably knowing that it is quick reach if I’m ever so unfortunate to experience a home invasion.

My friend suggests that I keep it loaded with rock salt. That way, he advises, if I’m ever met with thugs wishing to do harm to me and mine, I can attempt to disable the intruder without killing.
I just think that’s silly.

I put salt on my soft boiled eggs. I put buckshot on my intruders.

===========
I work part time for an armed courier service. Several times (once to me personally) a frothing at the mouth liberal has approached someone from my company to inform him that by carrying weapons we are just making ourselves targets for other people with guns.
Heh. Where do you live, man? Just show ‘em your Boomstick.
Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.
Hail to the King, baby.

============

Guns are substitute penises!

Of course, this isn’t an argument, it’s merely an insult. It’s whole purpose is to belittle gun owners, to marginalize them as being unseemly at least, and unstable at worse.
Nah!! It’s just penis envy.

=============
Reason had a nice little article about "libertarianism" wherein the author stated he was a "Soft-Communitarian" and I think that’s about where I stand. I like school prayer....almost ANY school prayer. IF you live in a town that is 51% Muslim and they want the call to prayer 5 times a day, AND as long as no one gives my child $h*te for not being Muslim, I’m all for it. I say keep the ACLU away. OTOH, if 75% are Christian and we want non-sectarian prayer or a priest at commencement, that’s OK, too.
Really, Joe?
So I guess you would have no problem giving over your property (tax dollars) to support Muslim prayer in schools?

Somehow I think that unlikely.
Billy may be any number of things, but he is not afraid to speak his heart,
So, the same could be said of Che, Hitler, Manson, or Marx, or Andrew Dice Clay.
Written by: Joe
Che, Hitler, Manson, or Marx, or Andrew Dice Clay,… or … Joe.

==============
Our goal, is to provide the maximum freedom consistent with maintenance of some societal order.
Well, when you put it that way, it sounds like you know what’s best for everyone.

Written By: Keith_Indy
Of course, Keith. Joe wants to be the mob that rules.



Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
I’m also not sure how Billy can assert that there is no such thing as societies.

A society is a group with a collective identity (e.g., we are "Americans") based on shared understandings and beliefs — shared cultural values.
Yes, but "society" is a theory that explains the behaviour of a group of individuals. What’s real is the individuals and their actions.

"Society" is like using terms such as "average" and "median" when describing a population. Its a way of wrapping our heads around it, but the underlying reality is individual humans . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I believe that it is not the business of the State to do the violent eradication. We all know what this way comes at the whelm of zealous prosecutors. So why would you trust the judgment of prosecutors with the interest of their political aspirations at heart?
Of course not. That’s why we have judges & juries.
Why would you trust the incompetence of government to dole out death?
The juries are not part of the government, although perhaps they are corrupted by the $3/day they receive (or whatever it is).

More seriously, the problem with juries is that they probably mostly consist of the people who would be home watching Jerry Springer otherwise. Busy people are good at ducking out of them.
In a perfect system, I say sure. In the current system, I say no.
That’s a rather difficult entry criteria . . .
perhaps my favorite gun is the 12-gauge, pump-action, pistol grip shotgun that rests assuredly by my bedside. I sleep comfortably knowing that it is quick reach if I’m ever so unfortunate to experience a home invasion.
Now days, many consider a carbine (an M-4 in 5.56 or 6.8) as ideal for this sorta task. Not the overpenetration problem we used to think, less recoil than a shotgun, etc. But it really doesn’t matter, unless it goes outside and the range gets past 20 m or so; I consider the shotgun as good.

The pistol grip does make for difficult retention if it gets to that, however. I’d suggest a conventional stock.

Also, a weapons light (Surfire or Streamlight) would make a hell of a lot of difference . . .
My friend suggests that I keep it loaded with rock salt. That way, he advises, if I’m ever met with thugs wishing to do harm to me and mine, I can attempt to disable the intruder without killing.
I just think that’s silly.

I put salt on my soft boiled eggs. I put buckshot on my intruders
Your friend is wrong.

I like the tactical/low recoil 00 or 000 loads.

The Fackler types recommend #1 buck for the 12 gage.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 03/20/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.
 
Written By: David M
URL: http://thunderrun.blogspot.com/
Of course not. That’s why we have judges & juries.
Not good enough.

And prosecutors are the ones that decide which cases to bring. I thought we all knew what zealous prosecutors could do. Do I really need to site examples of where prosecutors withheld, or otherwise prevented or dismissed exculpatory evidence?
Why would you trust the incompetence of government to dole out death?
The juries are not part of the government, although perhaps they are corrupted by the $3/day they receive (or whatever it is).
Or they are not presented with all of the facts, or they are biased, or they are inept, or ignorant, ect…
Again, we are to trust the prosecutors to have discretion as to which cases to bring about the ultimate, final, and irreparable conclusion?

You have more faith in the government than I do.
In a perfect system, I say sure. In the current system, I say no.
That’s a rather difficult entry criteria . . .
Welcome to my world, motherscratcher. ;)
The pistol grip does make for difficult retention if it gets to that, however. I’d suggest a conventional stock.
Well thanks for the suggestion. Many others have made the same.
But rest easy, I have no difficulty wielding the pistol grip. I find the recoil quite manageable and the smaller weapon gives greater dexterity.

Most people might find the recoil of the 12 gauge coupled with the insecurity of the pistol grip to be rather incapacitating for the wielder. But of course, my shoulders are broad, and my constitution stout.

For others, I might suggest a quaint little .32 caliber pistol.

I hear it comes in pink.

Thanks for the suggestions though.

Cheers.

 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Technology is advancing in a way that makes it possible to imagine a world where all firearms, for example, are "smart" firearms that simply don’t work in the hands of a convicted felon. In a world like that, it would be possible to substitute non-lethal emerging technologies for lethal ones for most defense needs for both citizenry and police.

Lethal technologies could then be reserved only for demonstrated need for defense beyond the ability of non-lethal technology to provide. And penalties for using them frivolously could be much increased.

The world would be a better place.
Well, the world would be a better place for those who wish to sell black market firearms.

However, this makes me think about the other unintended consequences of a glasnost world. People who know they are facing lethal force behave differently than those who know they are facing non-lethal. If I’m the bad guy and glasnost points his non-lethal "gun" at me, I have little motivation not to try to do my "worst" with my knife, aside from any fear of the po-po and prosecution.

The primary success of firearms in self defense comes in the form of criminals deciding they would much rather be somewhere else. Non-lethal doesn’t produce the same results. There is interesting psychology involved in violence, and strangely (or perhaps not), our resident liberals don’t grasp it.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Well thanks for the suggestion. Many others have made the same.
But rest easy, I have no difficulty wielding the pistol grip. I find the recoil quite manageable and the smaller weapon gives greater dexterity.
I assumed you meant your shotgun had a stock with a pistol grip; my point is that, in a physical confrontation, it is easy to disarm a person so armed. Of course, if you don’t try to clear your house, its a moot point, but house clearing is very dangerous, and particularly with a long gun you risk going hand-to-hand.

My point was moot, as you only have the pistol grip, which I don’t believe presents such an easy disarm opportunity.

I don’t like the "only pistol grip" configuration, since it does not offer the same pointing characteristic of a standard stock, but that’s a different issue. In a shooting, with a conventional shotgun, the buttstock is essentially the rear sight, and you point the muzzle. The pistol grip shotgun allows greater freedom of movement of the weapon’s tail end, effectively the "rear sight" is gone. The result should be less accuracy or slower aiming, probably the former.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And prosecutors are the ones that decide which cases to bring. I thought we all knew what zealous prosecutors could do. Do I really need to site examples of where prosecutors withheld, or otherwise prevented or dismissed exculpatory evidence?
Yes, and on the other side is the defense team.
Or they are not presented with all of the facts, or they are biased, or they are inept, or ignorant, ect…
You have a low opinion of your peers don’t you?

Perhaps repressed self-hate?
Again, we are to trust the prosecutors to have discretion as to which cases to bring about the ultimate, final, and irreparable conclusion?

You have more faith in the government than I do.
But first, its the cop, then the prosecuter, and then the judge . . . and finally the jury.

And then you can appeal.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
In a shooting, with a conventional shotgun, the buttstock is essentially the rear sight, and you point the muzzle. The pistol grip shotgun allows greater freedom of movement of the weapon’s tail end, effectively the "rear sight" is gone. The result should be less accuracy or slower aiming, probably the former.
We’re talking about a shotgun, right?
We’re talking about home defense, right?
In close quarters with a short barrel, accuracy is not so much an issue. And it allows for salvoes shot at quick repetition from cover without exposing your enemy’s salvoes to vital organs.

Hey man, if accuracy is what you’re discussing, I have a nice long barreled Remington over/under. And if I ever require taking out a target at 20+ yards, I’ll reach for my Remington, lock and stock.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
And prosecutors are the ones that decide which cases to bring. I thought we all knew what zealous prosecutors could do. Do I really need to site examples of where prosecutors withheld, or otherwise prevented or dismissed exculpatory evidence?
Yes, and on the other side is the defense team.
So I said, uh… “so what?”.
I’m not funding the defense team, nor am I relying on them for the fair and just prosecution of criminals.

Or they are not presented with all of the facts, or they are biased, or they are inept, or ignorant, ect…
You have a low opinion of your peers don’t you?
LOL.
Said the man who just stated,
The juries are not part of the government, although perhaps they are corrupted by the $3/day they receive (or whatever it is).

More seriously, the problem with juries is that they probably mostly consist of the people who would be home watching Jerry Springer otherwise. Busy people are good at ducking out of them.
That’s your idea of a high opinion?
Perhaps repressed self-hate?
I don’t know. I’ll ask an expert… What do you think?

But first, its the cop, then the prosecuter, and then the judge . . . and finally the jury.

And then you can appeal.
Well… until you’re fried.
And that’s when all of that exculpatory evidence comes in real handy.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Yes, but "society" is a theory that explains the behaviour of a group of individuals. What’s real is the individuals and their actions.
Both are real, and can be studied as having attributes you can measure and use to explain — you can explain somethings at the societal level that you can’t at the individual level. Similarly, people are really connections of cells, molecules and organs. Reductionism could go down to the quantum level. At various levels you can study and make predictions, it depends on the issue under analysis.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
We’re talking about a shotgun, right?
We’re talking about home defense, right?
In close quarters with a short barrel, accuracy is not so much an issue.
At home defense ranges, a load of buckshot has only opened up a few inches . . . and at o-dark-thirty with things happening fast, it is easy to miss.

Note that I’m talking about the buttstock as a "rear sight"; I’m not talking target accuracy here. My point is that when the stock comes to shoulder, it in effect becomes a crude rear sight. You are just pointing the muzzle (or perhaps the bead, if you can see it), but in reality you also have a functioning rear sight of sorts. I suspect that the speed + accuracy of the conventional stock would be a little better . . .

Consider: rapid incapacitation requires that load of buck to impact vital organs, not just hitting anywhere. So you might like a little more accuracy than you would think at first blush . . .
And it allows for salvoes shot at quick repetition from cover without exposing your enemy’s salvoes to vital organs.
You must have an interesting house. I can find lots of concealment in mine, but nothing in the way of real cover unless I’m up against airsoft.

Aside from that, unless you consider your head to be something other than a vital organ, you can’t aim the salvo with exposing said appendage.

Perhaps not aiming is the plan, but there is a lot more empty space than target in most circumstances—even in a Chinese Communist human wave attack.

Is your shotgun a pump action?
LOL.
Said the man who just stated,

That’s your idea of a high opinion?
Well, I have a high opinion of the juries that rule the way I like, and a low opinion of the one’s I don’t. I then average that out, and end up with a neutral opinion . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Both are real, and can be studied as having attributes you can measure and use to explain — you can explain somethings at the societal level that you can’t at the individual level.
I realize that studying things at the societal level has value. But all society really is is a collection of individuals.
Similarly, people are really connections of cells, molecules and organs. Reductionism could go down to the quantum level. At various levels you can study and make predictions, it depends on the issue under analysis.
Yes, I understand that, but "society" doesn’t describe a larger physical entity. It is just an abstraction to explain human interaction.

We mainly study cells to understand the larger organism. Studying society is only worthwhile if it can in some way benifit individuals.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
We noticed that with the "stable functioning" of cattle-trains that ran Jews into Auschwitz. ("doh! — he said ’Auschwitz’! Somebody call the Godwin cops!") It’s very interesting how this "society" didn’t account for "understandings and beliefs" that were not "shared", like the tunnels in the little human ant-farm that you run in your imagination.
(Chuckle)
I have often pointed out that those years stand out as a prime example of what happens when the government comes along and overrides the values of the culture. And so it was, unless you’re going to tell me that killing the Jews was at its root part of Germanic culture before Hitler’s misuse of governmental power came along. Thus, I’m not really sure how much "society" can be blamed for that happening.

Still, your point is well taken, given that we have so very many who were willing to use the power of government in an attempt to redirect the culture, here in the west.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
I have only been here a short time (less than 1 year). This is the most interesting thread I have read so far.
Perhaps a little most honesty and a little less posing.
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
errrrr.....more honesty
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
Force for reasons other than to protect your own personal safety from clear and immediate physical threats produces societally destructive externalities and can, should and often, in today’s world, penalized.
George Orwell would quote this as a fine example of “newspeak.” “Might doesn’t make right, it makes fact” . Elimelech Packous
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://

Yes, I understand that, but "society" doesn’t describe a larger physical entity. It is just an abstraction to explain human interaction.
This touches on a major debate in philosophy of science and social science. In general there is consensus that different levels of analysis can be used to understand different phenomena — often studying societies and cultures can yield insights very difficult to get at by studying individuals. Scientific realism insists that these abstractions must be treated as real entities: social structures that exist outside and beyond individuals — the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Scientific realism isn’t anti-reductionism, positing sub atomic particles (which are never actually observed) is based on the realism. Focusing on individuals since they are the observed entities is more an empiricist approach, often labeled "individual reductionism."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I have often pointed out that those years stand out as a prime example of what happens when the government comes along and overrides the values of the culture. And so it was, unless you’re going to tell me that killing the Jews was at its root part of Germanic culture before Hitler’s misuse of governmental power came along.

YES IT WAS!
Anti Semitism was part of Germanic and European history long before Hitler and the Nazi’s arrived on the sene. They found Jews to be convenient scapegoats, just like those before them. Killing Jews was part of the culture of all Europe for centuries.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://

YES IT WAS! Anti Semitism was part of Germanic and European history long before Hitler and the Nazi’s arrived on the sene. They found Jews to be convenient scapegoats, just like those before them. Killing Jews was part of the culture of all Europe for centuries.
Yes — ironically Frederick the Great, a believer in reason and opposed to religion, allowed Jews to gang higher positions in German (then Prussian) society than in most of the rest of Europe. Yet that didn’t do anything to stem the anti-semitism in German and European society. It did, however, mean that by Hitler’s time Jews had reached positions in Germany that they couldn’t in many other places. That made it easier for Hitler to use them as a scapegoat.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The only difference between the two states is that the former, by its laws, protects men of this sort, whereas the latter would work their speedy annihilation."

I am frequently told by people, even complete strangers, that I look like someone they know, their wife’s cousin or the neighbor three houses down the block, etc. I joke that as long as I don’t look like the guy whose picture is on the Post Office wall, it is no problem. I have also read of convicts being freed after DNA proves they were wrongly convicted. This makes me look with disfavor on the prospect of a group of aroused citizens performing summary justice anywhere close to me. I am willing to take my chances with the sinners, what I need is protection from the righteous.

"I always presume the best in other people,"

I used to, but have been proven wrong enough to change my presumption to a benevolent neutrality.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"I am willing to take my chances with the sinners, what I need is protection from the righteous."
Write that one down, kids. I wish I’d put it like that, although I’ve said essentially the same thing many times.

On "benevolent neutrality": you know, that might be a more sensible outlook. But I haven’t had it completely beaten out of me, even at a half-century now. I actually don’t even think that’s possible. I have no illusions about any of it, though. People call me a "utopian", and it’s just nonsense. The facts on their face — and what they mean — are good enough for me. Just let me at ’em. That’s all I want.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"i’ve read around some on the web for awhile now, and i’ve read beck’s blog. have also seen quite a bit of his commentary on other’s blogs. am not a bit surprised he’s in a dust-up ms. beyerstein: getting into arguments seems to be what he does. sooner or later, if you’re talking to beck, it appears that sooner or later he’ll be at your throat over an intellectual/political point. he doesn’t seem to be the most easygoing guy i’ve ever seen. (/understatement)" - bloodrage bob
Hrrmm.

I’ve known Beck for... hell, what now, about three, four years, Billy? Longer than that if we count times we’ve bumped into each other on the ’Net before we started corresponding?

Of course, getting into arguments on the ’Net is what *I* do, and I’m not the most easygoing guy you’ve ever seen, so you may want to take this with a grain of salt, but... ;)

Having disagreed with Billy on occassion on points of philosophy, or on details of implementation of principles, I can’t recall that he’s *ever* sooner or later automatically "gone for my throat" verbally. He argues forcefully for his views, as do I - but he’s always been a gentleman.

Your mileage may differ, natch.

Now... I *won’t* say that Billy is any more inclined than I am to suffer fools gladly. I suspect that that tendency may be what you’re mistaking for "sooner or later going for the throat".

Having read the thread over there in question, I’ll note that Billy’s participation in it was precipitated by the author’s taking Billy to task on her blog for a comment he made in a thread on someone else’s blog. Effectively called him out, by name; snarked at his views and philosophy pointedly; and made a de factor invitation for him to respond. That’s considered an invitation to a flame war in the internet I came up in. ;]

I’m going to suggest that you’re a bit offbase in calling Beck to task for taking up the invitation. I think he was awfully restrained, myself.
"That’s my point James, we Conservatives don’t think a SOCIETY can exist with that attitude. And that’s where we part ways with libertarians, we value society as well." - Joe
Libertarians believe in society as well. It’s called "voluntary associations" - look it up.

Where you Conservatives part ways with libertarians is in the nature of conservative views of coercive society and coerced association by force.

 
Written By: Ironbear
URL: http://oldwolves.co.uk/
Dale,
Where, one wonder, is the recognition that the burglar is a moral agent who must bear the price of his own moral choices?
From the example given I deduce the Left to feel that the price for attempting to steal a guitar is not death. I’d guess they would find the correct price as being closer to short term incarceration or community service.
Granted, we may oppose the death penalty on perfectly legitimate practical grounds, i.e., the inability to perfectly assign guilt. But as a philosophical principle, the discrimination between killing the guilty and killing the innocent is entirely legitimate.
Finding the legitimate penalty for stealing a guitar is a practical ground on which to question Billy. The debate is not to ask if the theif should be punished (both sides do recognise a price needs to be paid), it is to ask if that punishment should be less than a death sentence.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
For others, I might suggest a quaint little .32 caliber pistol.
One of those, more correctly a .32 revolver, served the woman I married quite nicely when someone much bigger than her kicked in the door of her apartment.

Nobody here seems to touch on the reason Billy Beck brought up the matter of his father’s guitar. Ms. Beyerstein advising allowing our property to be stolen, since after all insurance will replace it. Mr. Beck may possibly have an insurance policy which would buy him another guitar of similar musical, aesthetic and collector value. The total loss coverage on his insurance policy would not replace the fact that it was his father’s guitar.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
Finding the legitimate penalty for stealing a guitar is a practical ground on which to question Billy. The debate is not to ask if the theif should be punished (both sides do recognise a price needs to be paid), it is to ask if that punishment should be less than a death sentence.
The problem with this argument is that you don’t know the real intentions of someone who has broken into your house. He might jump up and scream, "I only want to steal your guitar!" If you choose to take him at his word, then you will be lucky to survive the encounter.

Someone who has broken into my house — no matter what his intentions — has placed me and my family in grave danger. He’ll be punished for that, not for his unknown intentions.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
"Finally, as I’m rambling, I’ve said it beofre and I’ll say it again, libertarians, An-Cap’s especially are the philosophic Anti-Marxists" - Joe
Gee, you say that like it’s a Bad Thing! (o0)
"Beck seems to feel that if the People decide that he has no right to a firearm or that a Universal Healthcare System is a Positive Social Good and he needs to contribute his "fair share"; Beck’s argument is that whether or no it was passed CONSTITUTIONALLY they have NO right to his weapon or his cash..." - Joe
I’m not seeing a problem with this. Constitutionally, they have no rights to his weapon or his cash. Nor to mine.

Theft by Constitution is still theft.
"I am not in agreement with position. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT in favour of Gun Control or Universal Healthcare, BUT if the 2nd is repealed OR the Congress passes a Universal Healthcare Act, I would be Constituionally bound to accept the fiat..." - Joe
Well... technically, you’re in favor of Constitutional Gun Control and Universal Healthcare.

We’ve established what you are. Now you’re merely dickering over price.
"Instead, sir, you simply dislike my DISAGREEMENT with you...I understand you all too well Beck. I just don’t happen to agree with you on certain fundamental points of philosophy, but as to understanding you, I think I do, not in all particulars, but in the main I do." - Joe
I’d say that Beck understands you perfectly also, as do I. As does Pogue, it seems.

Based on his responses to what passes for your reasoning, I don’t believe Billy "dislikes your DISGREEMENT". What you’re seeing is a complete, absolute, and utter disdain for your intellectual capacities and ability to reason.

An entirely justifiable disdain, based on the visible evidence.
 
Written By: Ironbear
URL: http://oldwolves.co.uk/
normally, i really hate it when someone else summarizes and encapsulates a discussion better than me. *sigh* must be gettin’ old. used to know more words.

still & all, though: what ironbear said. i expect billy beck’s disdain for lowly intellectual capabilities and inability to reason is lustily cheered in the great hall of the valhalla of the founding fathers. go billy beck.
 
Written By: bloodrage bob
URL: http://
Someone who has broken into my house — no matter what his intentions — has placed me and my family in grave danger. He’ll be punished for that, not for his unknown intentions.
Once a mans home was his castle, steverino, now it’s become anybody’s target. The penalty for breaking into a castle is DEATH. It’s time we go back to that standard. You don’t coddle Attila the Hun.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Someone who has broken into my house — no matter what his intentions — has placed me and my family in grave danger. He’ll be punished for that, not for his unknown intentions.
Agreed.

But this whole extrapolation has been made from a base query where the intentions of the burglar are known and limited. This is an unrealistic scenario, but its not the first time an unrealistic scenario has been argued on the internet.

I guess, from Lindsay Beyerstein’s perspective full information has been given and Billy has said he will shoot anybody who comes solely to take his father’s guitar. From Billy Beck’s perspective a person has broken in to do some unknown harm to him and his.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
"I don’t believe Billy ’dislikes your DISGREEMENT’. What you’re seeing is a complete, absolute, and utter disdain for your intellectual capacities and ability to reason."
"You and I differ too much in our principles to ever be agreeable to each other."

(Jean-Francois de Saint-Lambert to Rousseau)

And it’s not as if we "DISAGREE" over Fords & Chevys or Yankees vs. Red Sox. We’re talking about ideas that drive cultures either to explosive distraction or the best times in the world. I keep telling you people: "This ain’t no disco" and these are not parlor games. I just tried to make this point over at Beyerstein’s place. There are real human lives at the bottom of all this, every single day, and that’s worth DISAGREEING over.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Steverino:
Someone who has broken into my house — no matter what his intentions — has placed me and my family in grave danger. He’ll be punished for that, not for his unknown intentions.
Billy will go one further, though. If Billy had his guitar, or a tiny tchotchke, sitting on his lawn for whatever reason, and someone merely reached over his picket fence to steal it, Billy would have no compunction against putting a bullet in that thief to prevent this act. This isn’t about the thief threatening his next million heartbeats, this is about the thief taking the product of his life, which, as far as Billy is concerned, is as good (bad) as taking his life.

Different argument. Do you agree with him?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Not going to be able to get back systematically to all the quotes left here. Pardon me if I skip you.

Mike:

If you treat two victims of a crime differently before the law, you do not have equality. You have favoritism.

Nah. We treat victims of similar crimes differently based on different type and of damage caused all the time. Hate crimes separate from violent crimes. Shoplifting from grand theft auto from insurance fraud. Vandalism from arson. Scott’s example is similar.

Beck:

Two years ago, my new neighbor up the road, appeared at my door wondering if he could borrow a five-gallon bucket of coal. He’d been away over the weekend and his stove had gone out. He wanted just enough to get it started again. I told him, "The bins are right there, and now, you know. Take what you want, pal, any time you want it. It’s no big deal to me and I’m happy to help."

You’re dead wrong. I always presume the best in other people, and behave that way until I have reason to believe otherwise. I’m the best neighbor anyone could ever have.


Great, but so what? This single example of virtuous behavior really doesn’t have a lot of bearing on human behavior on a societal level. Is your thesis here that everyone who you allow freedom to kill anyone they want to will all be nice neighbors? Or simply that the mean ones will be wiped out? Does history suggest that this is likely?

You’re dismissed.

Seems like I’m not.

Pogue:

Violence isn’t always a net loss.
There is the “mad dog” aspect. If there is a rabid dog in your neighborhood threatening child and adult alike, it is not a net loss to put the animal down. And I would argue that there are people walking amongst us that equate to a rabid dog. And though it is unfortunate that they have whatever demons inside them that cause their behavior, their violent eradication is not necessarily a net loss.


Sure, it’s a net loss. It may be less of a loss than tolerating harm inflicted by that individual, but it’s the loss of a human life that lived as a predator, a damned life, instead of learning to play the game the right way. In other words, even if it’s a relative gain over having this person commit atrocities, it’s still an absolute loss. If the loss of any kind of a human life wasn’t a net loss, there would be no real basis for universal human rights at all, because the definition of "mad dog" will always be subjective to the man with the gun (and/or the society behind him) putting it/him down.


Robb:
There are no "smart" guns. No "smart" gun will stop a criminal from making a "dumb" gun that can kill you while the only thing your "smart" gun will do is fail right when you need it the most because you forgot to change the batteries.

You’re stretching. By which I mean assuming, a) smart guns needing battery power to fire b) large numbers of people that can, I imagine, forge metals - this would be about .0001 percent of modern criminals, who are mostly, lazy, not-too-bright, and broke.

Oh, and is technology advancing in such as way as to make ALL firearms smart, or just the new ones that the criminals won’t buy?

Actually, I was more thinking along the lines of either mandatory retrofitting, or else compulsory exchange for modern weapons. I’m sure saying that in here is like wearing a Michael Moore hat at CPAC, but I don’t really care.

Don:

Violence is a tool, and like any other tool it is used due to its effectivness in gaining desired results. Being kind to criminals is, in effect, being cruel to their prey.

Right, Don, and we could be a lot less cruel to prey if everyone convicted of any kind of crime was automatically executed. There’s no such thing as a victimless crime, right? It’s an effective tool, therefore society is de facto better off, right?

I mean, if you’re not as nice a neighbor as Billy, and you really don’t want any door-to-door salesmen on your lawn, by going outside and gunning down the next one you see, the only net result is less salesmen, right?

Both of these are farcial scenarios, implausible in reality, precisely because violence as a tool on behavior is a very bad metaphor to tools as tool on mechanical devices. We have the elaborate web of rules relating to violence that we have precisely because of the unpredictability and game-theory mutual bi*ch slapping that violence tends to result in.

People who know they are facing lethal force behave differently than those who know they are facing non-lethal. If I’m the bad guy and glasnost points his non-lethal "gun" at me, I have little motivation not to try to do my "worst" with my knife, aside from any fear of the po-po and prosecution.

This is sort of a rehash of your prior point, and I’ll rehash my prior point. You know why the military is moving heavily into non-lethal weapons right now? Because they’re further ahead of the curve than you. They figured out that killing people in not-explicitly-lethal-neccesity situations would make a lot of things, such as counterinsurgency, a lot easier than right now, because killing people makes the survivors hate you - what you might call a very traditional problem with counterinsurgency.

Bad guys try to bust moves on guys who possess lethal force all the time, Don. Guns and the risk of death do not reliably make criminals, or anyone else, obedient, or police officers would never get shot at.
So, outside of the world of psychology, whatever book you’re reading out of, what people do when faced with guns is pretty unpredictable.

Whereas, The nice thing about non-lethal weapons is you don’t have to point a gun at anyone and then wait to see if they respect you or not. You just use it. immediately, moral-complication-free.

This doesn’t even consider that the scenario I outlined was where lethal force was reserved for situations of immediate threat - like when, say, a suspect has already seriously injured someone?

Heck, the greater restriction of lethal force to violent situations - not potentially violent, but demonstratably violent - would probably improve popular support for the cops, who are not neccesarily all that popular right now. You might even be able to kill more indisputably violent criminals right there, on the scene. That would, of course, be an unintended consequence, not one I’m aiming for.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"Sure, it’s a net loss. It may be less of a loss than tolerating harm inflicted by that individual, but it’s the loss of a human life that lived as a predator, a damned life, instead of learning to play the game the right way."

This is utterly utopian thinking.

A human that lives as a predator is a net negative. Removing that negative permanently creates a net-positive over all future outcomes, except one. The one that stipulates that this human predator never again commits a negative action but instead commits enough future positives to outweigh the negatives already forced on society. Nice thought, but please put down whatever it is you are smoking.

"You’re stretching. By which I mean assuming, a) smart guns needing battery power to fire b) large numbers of people that can, I imagine, forge metals - this would be about .0001 percent of modern criminals, who are mostly, lazy, not-too-bright, and broke."

I can make a lethal weapon out of a stick. There is no need to be able to ’forge metals’ in order to create something lethal that can kill you, even from a distance.

"Actually, I was more thinking along the lines of either mandatory retrofitting, or else compulsory exchange for modern weapons. I’m sure saying that in here is like wearing a Michael Moore hat at CPAC, but I don’t really care."

Just like mandatory registration of guns has stopped all criminals from owning them, not to mention the restictions on allowing felons to own firearms has stopped all felons from ever repeating a crime with a firearm.

 
Written By: John
URL: http://
What it is greater than, however, is the life of a human who has intentionally invaded his home with the express purpose of depriving Mr. Beck of his guitar, and who knows what else. The transgression in this case is not merely the theft of a piece of property. The burglar has initiated force against Mr. Beck. He is violating Mr. Beck’s rights. Moreover, his mere entrance into the home constitutes a threat to Mr. Beck. The burglar has, in effect, made a conscious choice to elevate the value of Mr. Beck’s guitar over that of his own life. By entering Mr. beck’s home, knowing that Mr. Beck is present, he has assumed the risk of death. Mr. Beck is not placing the value of his guitar over the value of the burglar’s life. The burglar has made that valuation. Mr. Beck has merely extracted the payment that the burglar knowingly volunteered to make, when he initiated force against Mr. Beck.

Where, one wonder, is the recognition that the burglar is a moral agent who must bear the price of his own moral choices?


I’d like to pick this apart at some length.

I don’t have any beef against Dale, but this:
The burglar has, in effect, made a conscious choice to elevate the value of Mr. Beck’s guitar over that of his own life.

is, of course, a literal untruth, a symbolic misrepresentation to serve an ideological argument. The burglar has not decided that his life was worth more than the guitar: the burglar assumes that he is not going to die.

Dale argues, essentially, that the man’s life is forfeit for breaking into someone’s house. To argue that the man has geuninely decided to die is irrational: what is meant is that the man initiates an act, for which to kill him is justified. Why? Because: He is violating Mr. Beck’s rights.

Of course, "rights", contrary to Locke’s ideas or God’s, are simply collective decisions about permitted social behavior, with some enforcement mechanism. It becomes clear that your right to property doesn’t exist as an entity separate from the role of the concept in guiding the reactions of your fellow man, as soon as someone kills you and takes it from you. Your "right" to something, is just a commitment by other people not to try stop you from having something.

We’ve collectively decided to enforce sanctions on people that steal things, and that’s okay by me. But simply because the basic principle that it’s good to punish bad behavior or violations of someone’s ’rights’ is pretty much accepted everywhere,

Dale, you simply let this principle float as if there is nothing further to be said - as if, since the principle of punishing bad behavior is sound, then therefore any form of punishment doled out by anyone for any perceived bad behavior is somehow sacrosanct.

What makes both morality and society complex is the undeniable reality that not any punishment can, in fact, be slapped on to the end of any ’crime’ or violation of rights. A ’punishment’ is nothing more than an act of retribution, collectively endorsed by society for the purpose of controlling behavior.

It has practical consequences, including often those far beyond the intentions or design of those who unleash it. Hiding behind a morality equation of "crime = bad, punishment = good, discussion = I am therefore right", doesn’t make the real world work in such a simple manner.

So, to recap: this is not someone making a moral choice to die, after which consequences simply descend from God’s sainted mountain. The guy decided to break in, and Billy decided to kill him. The burglar is a moral agent, and the choice he made was his immoral behavior. Billy’s act is also a moral choice. It is no less of a moral choice because killing has, in this case, been collectively given the okay by society.

You are morally responsible for the actions you literally commit. You are not morally responsible for the actions that other people commit to you in response.
This argument, wherever it comes up, represents a perversion of logic that absolutely gives me the creeps. At it’s heart, it’s an evasion, a denial of reality. If Billy thinks that killing the burglar is morally justified, I’m sure he’d stand up and say, I chose to off him and I’m right - not try to pretend that the burglar just triggered an act of natural law in which there were no other independent actors, or ’committed voluntary suicide’.

Argue that you’re morally justified to commit violence, but don’t claim the other guy made you do it, or did it to himself via your passive facilitation. That’s not clear logic, or else not honest.




 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"normally, i really hate it when someone else summarizes and encapsulates a discussion better than me. *sigh* must be gettin’ old. used to know more words." - bloodrage bob
Sorry old bean. I’ll try to do worse next time. *g*
"Different argument. Do you agree with him?" - Bryan Pick
Yanno something?

More and more when I see a thread like this, or the one over at Beyerstein’s, I’m struck that so very many of the arguments made against a position like Billy’s have a distinct flavor of coming from people who object because they suspect that under the right circumstances... they might like or need to help themselves to someone else’s property [for the best of justifications, natch], and would very much like to not get shot for it if that day should ever arise.

And just don’t *quite* have the self-honesty to say that rather than finding all sorts of high sounding reasons why it’s just "Wrong, dammit!" to take an absolute stance over "mere property".

Keeping your hands on your side of that picket fence really shouldn’t be a concept that takes this much verbiage to get acrost.

It’s just the right thing to do. Was a time when it was the Right thing to do, too. I’m pretty sure it was never the Left thing to do, but we don’t expect much outta *Them*. ;)

Pogue, Beck... as always, it’s been a slice. Laterz. ;]
 
Written By: Ironbear
URL: http://oldwolves.co.uk/
I don’t have any beef against Dale, but this:
The burglar has, in effect, made a conscious choice to elevate the value of Mr. Beck’s guitar over that of his own life.

is, of course, a literal untruth, a symbolic misrepresentation to serve an ideological argument. The burglar has not decided that his life was worth more than the guitar: the burglar assumes that he is not going to die.

Dale argues, essentially, that the man’s life is forfeit for breaking into someone’s house. To argue that the man has geuninely decided to die is irrational: what is meant is that the man initiates an act, for which to kill him is justified. Why? Because: He is violating Mr. Beck’s rights.
The burglar has made a faulty assumption then hasn’t he? Our theoretical burglar obviously has not thought through his actions. He is not telegraphing his intentions of stealing a guitar. He has created a situation that has forced Mr. Beck to react to any number of possible scenario’s. The choice with the best result for Mr. Beck in all possible scenario’s of the unknown burglar’s intentions is to defend himself, his family, and his property with any and all mean’s at his disposal.

Your statement that the burglar has ’decided to die’ is a strawman and not at all what Dale has argued. The fact that the burglar has decided to initiate violence upon an innocent has escalated the situation that his life is now on the line, whether he has thought that far ahead or not.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Me: "Different argument. Do you agree with him?"
Ironbear: Yanno something?

More and more when I see a thread like this, or the one over at Beyerstein’s, I’m struck that so very many of the arguments made against a position like Billy’s have a distinct flavor of coming from people who object ...
Check your tastebuds, Ironbear. You’ll note that I haven’t objected to Billy’s position. For the record, I think he throttled the people at Majikthise.

Billy’s clearly a very sharp man, and he acts on principles. Steverino said he’d have no trouble "punishing" the thief in the guitar scenario, but cited a different reason for doing so. I tried to faithfully represent Billy’s argument to see whether Steve agrees not merely with one aspect of the scenario, but with the principle underlying Billy’s action. Priceless guitar beside his bed or penny candy on his lawn, if you steal from Billy, you are attacking Billy, and for entirely principled reasons, he will feel perfectly justified in burying you for it.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
"Read Murray Rothbard, get back to me on that...." — Joe

I have read multiple works by Murray Rothbard. You are either caricaturing his views and methodology or you are lying. Rothbard wasn’t some sort of game theorist, and believed free will existed.
 
Written By: Brian
URL: http://
Priceless guitar beside his bed or penny candy on his lawn, if you steal from Billy, you are attacking Billy, and for entirely principled reasons, he will feel perfectly justified in burying you for it.

If someone kills your brother/father/sister/spouse is it justification enough if they do so on their private property? Of course the someone will say that they were being robbed, but then they would say that wouldn’t they?

What would the principled response be?
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
Glasnost, you are again wishing for unicorns.

I will not ever retrofit my guns. CANNOT be done. Period. Ever. And I’m "law abiding". Do you think criminals will go "Crap, I have to go pay $5000 to retrofit my gun with a non-battery powered DNA sampler that won’t allow the firing pin to strike the primer since I have a record"?

Judging by your view of reality, I assume the answer is yes.

Here’s a scary thing you might want to consider. It doesn’t require a degree in metallurgy to own a gun, just like it doesn’t take a degree in chemistry to take Meth. Yet, in your little dream world, so long as nobody is allowed to manufacture drugs we’d have no drug problems.

I know several people with lathes. I know several people who have a working knowledge of metallurgy. It’s not a stretch to think that the prospect of $1000 for simply turning a barrel would have some people learning that trade so that criminals could have access to guns that you and I don’t.

Let me repeat this so that it sinks in. There is no and never will be a "smart" gun that will stop a criminal from using another non-smart gun. There will ALWAYS be plenty of "dumb" guns.

Get used to it. It’s reality and you’ll NEVER change that.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
UC, I’m not sure I understand your position so forgive me if I’m misconstruing it.

You’re talking about the legal representation of the situation while BB and others are talking about the reality of it.

If I had one of those nasty plastic yard gnomes and I caught some kids trying to take it, I would not shoot. The situation would be that I’d see some kids in my yard doing what dumb kids do. They’d get a face full of .357, but at would be in response to simply being prepared in case their intentions were not so benign. Legally, yes, I should be protected if were to shoot them (criminal protection NOT civil!!). But morally I would be in the wrong (legal and moral are not always mutually inclusive) and then during the civil trial it could be proven that they were of no threat.

However, cross my threshold of my house and all bets are off. You may ostensibly walk in my yard accidentally, you cannot open my door and walk in without invoking your free will. You could have called earlier and said you were coming in to take only the dust bunnies out from under my couch and I would still practice a failure drill on your ass. Breaking that social contract is a self chosen death sentence and it’s not in my best interest to determine if your intentions are good or not.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
I read this with considerable interest. All of the people on the leftward side seem to be floating the idea that when someone breaks into your home, you (a) know he true intentions, and (b) has a plentitude of options in effectively dealing with the interloper.

First of all, even the intruder does not know what he eventual intention is. Perhaps he entered with the idea of taking some things and then had other ideas. Who knows, he certainly does not. Perhaps he is violent, perhaps not. Many robberies started out with a a simple robbery and then changed into something far worse.

Secondly, once you make contact with the intruder, you have very little time (seconds) to decide on a course of action. As in most conflict situations, the people seizing initiative wins. You can’t change your mind to go from passivity to violence when you realize that things are not going well with that option. I trained and taught for many years in a variety of martial arts and I can tell you with some degree of surety that you have very little little to mount an effective defense. You cannot take any option off the table. Fighting with weapons always trumps fighting hand to hand. If a knife is an easier reach than a pistol/gun then you take that route.

People who pretend that those initial assumptions (intentions and lots of options) are whistling past the graveyard.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
"Seems like I’m not."

Oh, yes you are. I didn’t write that for you. You’re not paying attention.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Right, Don, and we could be a lot less cruel to prey if everyone convicted of any kind of crime was automatically executed. There’s no such thing as a victimless crime, right? It’s an effective tool, therefore society is de facto better off, right?
None of the above follows from my point that violence is a tool.
Both of these are farcial scenarios, implausible in reality, precisely because violence as a tool on behavior is a very bad metaphor to tools as tool on mechanical devices. We have the elaborate web of rules relating to violence that we have precisely because of the unpredictability and game-theory mutual bi*ch slapping that violence tends to result in.
Violence is a tool. It is used both to alter behaviour as well as to simply overpower others to achieve a set of goals.

You are correct that violence often has unpredictable outcomes, but the success of violence is the reason people resort to violence—violence doesn’t always occur as a response to violence, it more often is a response to weakness.
Bad guys try to bust moves on guys who possess lethal force all the time, Don. Guns and the risk of death do not reliably make criminals, or anyone else, obedient, or police officers would never get shot at.
Nothing is going to deter 100% of criminals—you are simply erecting a strawman. Some in fact plan to die, and take others with them (although even mass murderers who expect to die often show signs of panic when the police arrive, and their effectiveness/accuracy drop dramatically).

Guns do reliably deter criminals. Few crimes occur within view of the police, for instance. Criminals actively seek out safe targets.

Police generally are shot at because they are confronting a criminal, and the criminal decides to fight rather than go to prison. Essentially, the criminal is like an animal backed in a corner. Criminals generally don’t attempt to rob or rape the police, and generally avoid them when possible. It is funny that you don’t grasp such an obvious point; I guess you don’t do nuance.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Of course guns deter criminals. Criminals admit to this. "Hot" burglary rates—those that occur when the house is occupied—are one of the most straightforward indicators of this phenomenon. Where guns are banned or heavily restricted, you have enormously higher rates of hot burglary, which often includes the occupants being assaulted. Where guns are still available, criminals tend to wait until they’re pretty sure nobody’s home. Why? Well, when we ask burglars who’ve survived but ended up in prison, they tell us that invading homes that are occupied is the way to get shot.

This should be a blinding glimpse of the obvious. The simple fact of private gun ownership raises the risk of committing crimes against private parties. Criminals may not necessarily be the brightest bunch in the world, but they typically know that putting firearms in the hands of people whose aggressiveness and skill with firearms cannot be predicted makes for a much more difficult situation for the criminal.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Of course guns deter criminals. Criminals admit to this. "Hot" burglary rates—those that occur when the house is occupied—are one of the most straightforward indicators of this phenomenon. Where guns are banned or heavily restricted, you have enormously higher rates of hot burglary, which often includes the occupants being assaulted. Where guns are still available, criminals tend to wait until they’re pretty sure nobody’s home. Why? Well, when we ask burglars who’ve survived but ended up in prison, they tell us that invading homes that are occupied is the way to get shot.
There is a question of causality. I suspect that most places that ban guns are large cities or places with a crime problem. Meanwhile places like rural Maine have a high percentage of gun ownership, but very little crime. In general I suspect that gun laws have little impact on crime over all (note: that is, at base, an argument against gun control). I’m not sure how much weight to give antecdotal evidence of what burglars say (as well as if there were prompts as to what to say).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
There is a question of causality. I suspect that most places that ban guns are large cities or places with a crime problem. Meanwhile places like rural Maine have a high percentage of gun ownership, but very little crime.
Scott, note his use of the term "Hot" burglary rates ; I think he is comparing cities to cities. IIRC, Miami had the >"Hot" burglary rate as Florida became more gun friendly.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Fish:
That made it easier for Hitler to use them as a scapegoat.
All true, but mostly past the point. It took the power of government in the hands of Hitler to remove the cultural contraints on the inate pedjudices... which I think all cultures have... and bring it to the surface. Without the power of government, that would never have happened.




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
is, of course, a literal untruth, a symbolic misrepresentation to serve an ideological argument. The burglar has not decided that his life was worth more than the guitar: the burglar assumes that he is not going to die
When you gamble with a sum of money, you label that sum of money as expendable.
So, too, when you gamble with your life.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Scott, note his use of the term "Hot" burglary rates ; I think he is comparing cities to cities. IIRC, Miami had the >"Hot" burglary rate as Florida became more gun friendly.


When I see a correlation posited as proving something, I always react cynically. I need to see the evidence and methodology. You also have to look at changes in bulgarly rates compared to other trends (e.g., if the rate decreases is that part of a general trend, or is it limited to that location, etc.) In general I have been opposed to gun bans and the like primarily because I think the causality for crime is not primarily the availability of guns. I am also skeptical that increased gun ownership will mean less crime.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Hooray past 100-postings and not a mention of Scientology!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sure, it’s a net loss. It may be less of a loss than tolerating harm inflicted by that individual, but it’s the loss of a human life that lived as a predator, a damned life, instead of learning to play the game the right way. In other words, even if it’s a relative gain over having this person commit atrocities, it’s still an absolute loss.
If I shot Hitler in 1929, would that be a net loss?
If the loss of any kind of a human life wasn’t a net loss, there would be no real basis for universal human rights at all, because the definition of "mad dog" will always be subjective to the man with the gun (and/or the society behind him) putting it/him down.
In the set of rights I believe in, there is no "right to life", only a "right not to be unlawfully deprived of life". Lawfully depriving someone of life isn’t a net loss.

I’ll note here that the Bible says "Thou shalt not murder", not "Thou shalt not kill", except in poor translations.
So, outside of the world of psychology, whatever book you’re reading out of, what people do when faced with guns is pretty unpredictable.
Actually, I read things like this:

Metastudy of officier involved shootings

And this:

The FBI-Miami shooting

To give several examples.
Whereas, The nice thing about non-lethal weapons is you don’t have to point a gun at anyone and then wait to see if they respect you or not. You just use it. immediately, moral-complication-free.
I don’t have to wait to use the gun, either, once someone is a threat. And one nice thing about the gun is that the guy really, really doesn’t want to get shot. Non-lethal doesn’t impress.

One point about non-lethal is that it is really not-likely-to-be-lethal. Firearms often are not lethal either, but people tend to react to firearms as lethal weapons.

Non-lethal also has some very bad potential uses. A robber, rapist, or kidnapper could find good use of non-lethal weapons. In fact, they already do . . .
large numbers of people that can, I imagine, forge metals - this would be about .0001 percent of modern criminals, who are mostly, lazy, not-too-bright, and broke.
How many forged parts in a STEN, Greese Gun, or Mac-10? You can make these things in a garage. It’s been done before. You can then sell ’em, and make a profit. You have heard of the term "black market", right?

Guns are simple tech. People even sometimes make crude guns in prison.
You know why the military is moving heavily into non-lethal weapons right now? Because they’re further ahead of the curve than you. They figured out that killing people in not-explicitly-lethal-neccesity situations would make a lot of things, such as counterinsurgency, a lot easier than right now, because killing people makes the survivors hate you - what you might call a very traditional problem with counterinsurgency.
The military has been working on such things for awhile. They have a lot of wasteful R&D projects.

Historically the best counterinsurgency method is ruthless application of force. People might hate you, but as long as they are terrified of you, it doesn’t matter.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Sure, it’s a net loss. It may be less of a loss than tolerating harm inflicted by that individual, but it’s the loss of a human life that lived as a predator, a damned life, instead of learning to play the game the right way. In other words, even if it’s a relative gain over having this person commit atrocities, it’s still an absolute loss.
If I shot Hitler in 1929, would that be a net loss?
If the loss of any kind of a human life wasn’t a net loss, there would be no real basis for universal human rights at all, because the definition of "mad dog" will always be subjective to the man with the gun (and/or the society behind him) putting it/him down.
In the set of rights I believe in, there is no "right to life", only a "right not to be unlawfully deprived of life". Lawfully depriving someone of life isn’t a net loss.

I’ll note here that the Bible says "Thou shalt not murder", not "Thou shalt not kill", except in poor translations.
So, outside of the world of psychology, whatever book you’re reading out of, what people do when faced with guns is pretty unpredictable.
Actually, I read things like this:

Metastudy of officier involved shootings

And this:

The FBI-Miami shooting

To give several examples.
Whereas, The nice thing about non-lethal weapons is you don’t have to point a gun at anyone and then wait to see if they respect you or not. You just use it. immediately, moral-complication-free.
I don’t have to wait to use the gun, either, once someone is a threat. And one nice thing about the gun is that the guy really, really doesn’t want to get shot. Non-lethal doesn’t impress.

One point about non-lethal is that it is really not-likely-to-be-lethal. Firearms often are not lethal either, but people tend to react to firearms as lethal weapons.

Non-lethal also has some very bad potential uses. A robber, rapist, or kidnapper could find good use of non-lethal weapons. In fact, they already do . . .
large numbers of people that can, I imagine, forge metals - this would be about .0001 percent of modern criminals, who are mostly, lazy, not-too-bright, and broke.
How many forged parts in a STEN, Greese Gun, or Mac-10? You can make these things in a garage. It’s been done before. You can then sell ’em, and make a profit. You have heard of the term "black market", right?

Guns are simple tech. People even sometimes make crude guns in prison.
You know why the military is moving heavily into non-lethal weapons right now? Because they’re further ahead of the curve than you. They figured out that killing people in not-explicitly-lethal-neccesity situations would make a lot of things, such as counterinsurgency, a lot easier than right now, because killing people makes the survivors hate you - what you might call a very traditional problem with counterinsurgency.
The military has been working on such things for awhile. They have a lot of wasteful R&D projects.

Historically the best counterinsurgency method is ruthless application of force. People might hate you, but as long as they are terrified of you, it doesn’t matter.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
People might hate you, but as long as they are terrified of you, it doesn’t matter.
Straight out of Machiavelli. And that’s not a slam - Machiavelli was right.

I broke someone’s arm over a CD one time; I walked up on them as they were going through my car, and slammed the door on them before they could pull away. Two fractures, they went down, and were chained to a bed in the hospital in a matter of hours.

Would I have killed them? Probably, if that is what it took. Not because of the CDs, but because once someone violates that social contract of respecting my property, once they have shown a willingness to flout the law - there is no telling how far they are willing to take it. I can’t take that chance. My family can’t afford to lose me.

And they stakes are where they are because they made that choice. They put them there. If they break into my house with merely the intent of stealing enough to hock to feed their starving children - tough. It sucks, but they chose to do that and not knock on my door and ask for my largesse. The end result is not on me for shooting them, but on them for choosing to put their life, and ability to provide for their family on the line. I’ve not chosen to value my CD collection over their life - rather, they have chosen to value their pride more than their family’s future good.

Nobody is forced to steal, to break and enetr my home, to invade my property and try to abscond with my possessions.

I’m fiormly on Beck’s side on this. In fact, I think he is far to restrained.
 
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
When I see a correlation posited as proving something, I always react cynically. I need to see the evidence and methodology. You also have to look at changes in bulgarly rates compared to other trends (e.g., if the rate decreases is that part of a general trend, or is it limited to that location, etc.) In general I have been opposed to gun bans and the like primarily because I think the causality for crime is not primarily the availability of guns. I am also skeptical that increased gun ownership will mean less crime.
Scott,

I tend to agree with you. I think that gun ownership can reduce some types of crime under some circumstances. I don’t think it is a linear relationship, and it doesn’t apply to all crime accross the board. Gun ownership probably reduces "hot" bulgarly, but not bulgarly accross the board.

Many moons ago I read a report that indicated that criminal without guns were more likely to rob women and the elderly. If they had guns, then they would rob men, who were expected to have more cash. This was before all the relaxed CCW laws, in a strict gun control city.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"I tried to faithfully represent Billy’s argument to see whether Steve agrees not merely with one aspect of the scenario, but with the principle underlying Billy’s action. Priceless guitar beside his bed or penny candy on his lawn, if you steal from Billy, you are attacking Billy, and for entirely principled reasons, he will feel perfectly justified in burying you for it." - Bryan
Ah. That wasn’t coming across quite clear in the context of your post. Checked in your case, not in the broader stroke. Fair ’nuff?

I’ll admit to being imprecise myself: that was intended as a much broader stroke than just you [generic your rather than specific], yours was just the quote I had when it hit my typing fingers. It applies to far too many of the objectors here and especially at Majikthise. My fault: if my writing is unclear, it’s not the reader’s fault, it’s mine.

 
Written By: Ironbear
URL: http://oldwolves.co.uk/
Gun ownership probably reduces "hot" burglary, but not burglary across the board.
Not positive about this, but I’ve seen statistics which suggest that total burglary rates in countries with similar demographics and harsh victim disarmament laws are hiigher by the numbers of "hot" burglaries.

Regarding homebuilt firearms, the Sten is in fact relatively complex, but the Danish resistance succesfully produced them under NAZI occupation. There are other designs out there which would require the boot on everyone’s neck 24/7 to suppress.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
Jewish groups in British mandate Palistine produced SMGs as well.

The SMG is inherently an easy weapon to make, since it typicaly has the mass of a rifle (~9 lbs) and fires a low pressure pistol round, allowing simple blowback operation to be used.

How difficult would it be to make a pistol like the Liberator?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I’m surprised... All this talk of Billy Beck and neighbors, and not this quote?

Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surely curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. Robert Heinlein

I have a feeling, by this criteria, that Billy is probably a pretty agreeable neighbor.
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://unrepentantindividual.com/
Heh, Brad, I used that exact same "comfortable neighbor" reference in direct reference to Billy Beck when discussing this issue with my family.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net

 
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