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hardcore_gamer

Can people please stop using the word "rights" to describe the stuff they want?

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Its driving me crazy while listening to political discussion.

Its seems that instead of people saying "I feel it would be good if people were to have X", or "In my opinion society would be better if people have or can do X", lots people instead keep saying stuff along the lines of "we are fighting for our RIGHT to have X" or "we have RIGHT to have X and thus we are demanding it" etc.

This is driving me nuts. Why do people keep using the word "right"? Why do they or anyone have a right to get the stuff they want? Now don't get me wrong, I do understand some of the logic behind people having access to certain social services, and I don't hate somebody just for having a different opinion on what the state should provide to people. However, please understand this: EVERYTHING people have, people have because other people (society) ARE WILLING TO GIVE IT TO THEM! Social services only exist for as long as society wants them to exist. People don't have a "right" to them, they don't have a "right" to anything.

However, people claiming to have a right to things don't just come from people demanding free shit from the state. I have heard countless people and groups use the word "right" to demand everything between heaven and earth, whether its higher salaries, not having to have any obligations towards society (taxes etc) and the like.

However, possibly the worst is when people go a step further and use the term "human right" to describe what they want, and then call the people who disagree with them "human right violators". Because obviously everybody who has a slightly different idea for how society should be run then yourself must be a war criminal.

Ugh.

Well that's the end of my rant. Do you feel that people are using the word "right" or "human right" too often and in a manner that is not reasonable?

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I can't stand 'Internets' either. Or yous twos.

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hardcore_gamer said:

However, possibly the worst is when people go a step further and use the term "human right" to describe what they want, and then call the people who disagree with them "human right violators".


I can't say I've seen these terms tossed around in such a manner, and it shouldn't be. Human rights violations are very real and is not something to trivialize.

Its seems that instead of people saying "I feel it would be good if people were to have X", or "In my opinion society would be better if people have or can do X", lots people instead keep saying stuff along the lines of "we are fighting for our RIGHT to have X" or "we have RIGHT to have X and thus we are demanding it" etc.


The best way I can put this is to say that the reason people would fight for their right to party instead of daydreaming about it, is because imagining something will not ever make it so. Holding rallies and protesting are more useful than wishful thinking in creating political and social change.

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Technically, we don't have any intrinsic right. Our rights are what society decides should be our rights. Therefore, these people are trying to change society so that such or such other thing gets accepted as a right.

Seems fine to me. I don't have a problem with it.

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I agree. "Rights" are just feelgood affirmations without a state to enforce and protect them. They are identical to "privileges" in every practical way. Some people discern the two, as if one is an artificial construct and the other can be owned like property.

You'll often find Libertarians or other anti-establishment kooks talking about rights as if they physically exist. There is no such thing as privilege, but rights must be respected - because of some silly self-determination philosophy. And these people will turn around and assert that their philosophy is objectively superior.

So yes - either rights are granted by law, or they don't exist at all. If anyone tells you he has natural rights (whether they're through the state or not) you can safely assume he's an arrogant and presumptuous burden on society.

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Quast said:

I can't say I've seen these terms tossed around in such a manner, and it shouldn't be. Human rights violations are very real and is not something to trivialize.


Please, show some consideration. I had a son once who was a human rights violator, and I assure you, it was no laughing matter.

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I think libertarians/voluntaryists do not acknowledge positive rights, only negative rights:
http://www.learnliberty.org/content/positive-rights-vs-negative-rights
Positive rights use coersion, violate the golden rule/nonaggression principle or involve "he who giveth can taketh away" tax theft.

"I have heard.. people and groups use the word "right" to demand.. higher salaries, not having to have any obligations towards society (taxes etc).."
Tax is a positive right (an entitlement or coersive obligation to others). All positive rights should involve voluntary contracts.
http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/street/pl38/rights.htm

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hardcore_gamer said:

Do you feel that people are using the word "right" or "human right" too often and in a manner that is not reasonable?

These and many other terms. When a term is improperly and repeatedly used, it begins to lose its meaning and can be applied to almost anything (terrorist, assault rifle, freedom, etc.).

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Bucket said:

I agree. "Rights" are just feelgood affirmations without a state to enforce and protect them. They are identical to "privileges" in every practical way. Some people discern the two, as if one is an artificial construct and the other can be owned like property.

Rights are shared by everyone within a society. Privileges are possessed only by a select few.

For example, before women's suffrage became a reality in the West, the right to vote was a privilege of the men.

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gggmork said:

I think libertarians/voluntaryists do not acknowledge positive rights, only negative rights:
http://www.learnliberty.org/content/positive-rights-vs-negative-rights
Positive rights use coersion, violate the golden rule/nonaggression principle or involve "he who giveth can taketh away" tax theft.

By that reasoning, negative rights DEFINITELY can't exist. The concept was posited at a time before science discovered things like the spread of infectious disease, pollution and air currents, and ecological footprint. We can't have "negative rights" because the amount of aggression can never be zero. Perhaps if you put two people on opposite ends of the earth you could make a case... but as you might notice, the world contains significantly more people than two. You can't use an unattainable ideal as a metric for how a population ought to live.

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Libertarians are generally people who do not understand how society works, or massive hypocrites who wish to reap the benefits without giving anything in return.

How do you submit living in society to a voluntary contract? Should we get moms to wait until the fetus is 18 year old and sign a contract before they can finally give birth in a hospital; and if the kid does not sign the contract in the womb, then she instead has to give birth by herself in some no-man's-land wilderness and abandon the kid there? Tell me how that works, Mr. Genius Libertarian.

Don't want to pay taxes? Fine. You're allowed not to pay taxes if you have never used anything that existed thanks to taxes. This includes pretty much all infrastructures, such as roads, water mains, power lines, and communication networks.

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Gez said:

Libertarians are generally people who do not understand how society works


Correction: Everybody on the far fringes don't understand how society works. Socialists and other similar far-left people are just as ignorant and oblivous to how people and the society works as the libertarians are.

As a general rule of thumb, anybody who isn't in the center or somewhat left or right to the center is a brainless fuckwad.

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Perhaps, but even Karl Marx knew that capitalism had its place in a healthy, functioning society. You'll be hard-pressed to find full-blooded socialists who are wholly anti-capitalism. (SUPER HYPHEN COMBO) In contrast: a Libertarian must keep moving further to the right, and the lens through which he sees the world must keep getting smaller, to galvanize the objective approach to morality that voluntaryism holds in such high regard.

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hardcore_gamer said:

People don't have a "right" to them, they don't have a "right" to anything.

So you won't mind if I revoke your "right to life"?

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Despite your emotional plea, nobody actually does have a right to life. I keep challenging people to show me these rights, or provide tangible evidence of their existence. Of course, nobody can meet that challenge.

There IS something that keeps people from murdering each other, but it sure as shit isn't a genetic predisposition not to transgress a physical boundary that individuals possess.

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On the other side of the coin, it annoys me that we have to ask permission to make certain decisions that affect no one but ourselves. For instance, let's say I decide I want to smoke pot. It's a personal decision which affects no one but myself, and yet I am denied the ability to make that decision for myself by the government. I'm not exactly saying, say, that you should have the right to smoke pot, but I really don't think anyone has the right to prevent you from smoking pot without a very damn good reason (as in, it needs to affect the rights of others).

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geekmarine said:

For instance, let's say I decide I want to smoke pot. It's a personal decision which affects no one but myself

Wrong.

It affects society as a whole, because it means you have to find pot to smoke. Your demand is what allows the offer to exist -- drug dealers exist because there are people who decide to smoke pot. Your decision will also lead you to buy smoking-related consumables (like cigarette paper to roll your blunts) which feeds the tobacco industry and gives it money with which to lobby and advertise. By deciding to smoke pot, you make society worse. Sure, at your individual level, it will not be by a large amount. It'll seem negligible, a drop in the ocean.

But the ocean is made of drops. By your example, you will encourage some of your friends to smoke pot as well. You'll probably join, if you haven't already, the pot smokers' counter-culture which as a whole work to propagate the idea that pot is cool and harmless, trying to give it legitimacy. Soon enough, pot becomes legal in one state, bringing in hordes of pot-craving tourists, altering the local economy...

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hardcore_gamer said:

However, possibly the worst is when people go a step further and use the term "human right" to describe what they want, and then call the people who disagree with them "human right violators". Because obviously everybody who has a slightly different idea for how society should be run then yourself must be a war criminal.

Flip side of this: I hate that many people can't seem to understand the concept that it is possible to be against something without wanting to make it illegal.

Often making something illegal ends up causing more harm than good. The war on drugs is the most obvious example, where it has led to massive criminal cartels that produce and trade the drugs. Another example is abortion laws, which have been shown to be a terrible idea pretty much everywhere they've been implemented (anti-abortion campaigners can't even decide what the punishment for abortion should be).

When you make something illegal you're ordering the government to use violence to stop it from happening. It's an extreme measure that should be reserved for the most unacceptable things.

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Gez said:

Soon enough, pot becomes legal in one state, bringing in hordes of pot-craving tourists, altering the local economy...

IS this the old "there goes the neighborhood" argument?

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That logic is not a good way to decide policy, though. You can't say, "Well A may lead to B which may lead to C which... until you get to ...and Y may lead to Z, and we don't like Z, therefore we must ban A." The law should ultimately come down to the immediate protection of rights, not endless speculation about hypothetical situations. You can't argue that an activity is inherently wrong and must be outlawed simply because some people who participate in that activity are irresponsible. By that logic, car accidents take tens of thousands of lives a year, and yet I don't hear anyone demanding for cars to be banned from the roads. Cars can be incredibly dangerous, and yet we don't interfere with anyone's ability to drive a car until after they have demonstrated that they are irresponsible in their driving.

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It's not speculation, it's facts.


Every action has a reaction; and every choice has consequences. We want to believe it's not true. We want to believe we could live consequence-free lives. That we can overexploit resources without depleting them; that we can pollute without suffering from it; etc.

Laws are there to choose what costs are acceptable and which are not. Banning cars would certainly bring many benefits to society as a whole -- it would also disrupt many, many positive things which are entirely reliant on automobiles. (Starting with the urban model where people live far away from where they work and they get a two-hour commute by car every day. Ban cars, and everybody has to move. But there's no vans available since cars are banned.) So, we live with cars, despite the casualties, pollution, and terrorism-funding petrodollars they cause; it's just easier than to entirely rebuild society to be car-free.

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Voluntaryism simplifies human relationships to the golden rule, starting with axioms of self ownership (because one naturally controls and owns oneself more than anyone else due to one's brain being inside a particular body controlling it, a natural "homesteading" of a body) and by extension property rights. This is just a rational ethical framework to fairly sort out human disputes. Its not like a human would have a dispute with a tornado, rabid badger or infectious disease; they are not intelligent enough to even know they were being "immoral" and it would make no sense for a jury to judge or resolve that dispute. True anarchy is rules, just no rulers. Everything would be private property, so a child would be born on private property and people would vote with their dollars for the dispute resolution solution that had a simple live and let live golden rule otherwise do whatever you want as long as its not harming others. Spanking the child would violate the child's property of its body. The free market would solve stuff in ways nobody can predict but my guess is it'd be reputation based, like NOT doing business with someone does not violate the golden rule, so people who have a reputation of behaving like assholes will be ostricized by more and more people. I'm pretty sure children used to be able to buy cocaine and heroin, so the negative social effects of smoking pot are from it being forced on the black market by the government. Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about, but it doesn't matter, buttcoin is a runaway anarcho capitalist or whatever train and nobody can stop it!!11

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GreyGhost said:

So you won't mind if I revoke your "right to life"?


Then let's see if you can solve Heinlein's right of life dillemas, then:

Ah, yes, the 'unalienable rights.' Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What 'right' to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What 'right' to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of 'right'? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's right is 'unalienable'? And is it 'right'?


I am not joking, I'd like to see a rational take on them for once that does not degenerate into an attack on Heinlein or the poster.

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I just want to point out that gggmork explaining libertarian philosophy is the most hilariously appropriate thing I've seen in a while.

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I like how he ends every long tirade with "I could be wrong, I have no idea what I'm talking about! WHOCARES LOL"

gggmork said:

Voluntaryism simplifies human relationships to the golden rule,

Voluntaryism doesn't even approach the relevance of the Golden Rule in complex societal structures. The Golden Rule at least accounts for destructive behavior.

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Bucket said:
So yes - either rights are granted by law, or they don't exist at all. If anyone tells you he has natural rights (whether they're through the state or not) you can safely assume he's an arrogant and presumptuous burden on society.

The concept of "natural rights" is related to a higher order, particularly God. Today we generally use concepts like "human rights" or, better yet, "fundamental rights". They are the ethical basis that defines any half-decent and democratic society. If rights were present "physically", no one would be demanding them, and historically they derive from claiming and fighting for decency and respect. They exist in the sense they've been established nationally and internationally. They exist in constitutions, declarations, accords and laws, which States and Governments vow to defend. Not seldom, people argue that the laws aren't guaranteeing their rights or that these are being violated, and they make corresponding demands to higher levels of authority or pleas to society.

Gez said:
It affects society as a whole, because it means you have to find pot to smoke. Your demand is what allows the offer to exist -- drug dealers exist because there are people who decide to smoke pot. Your decision will also lead you to buy smoking-related consumables (like cigarette paper to roll your blunts) which feeds the tobacco industry and gives it money with which to lobby and advertise. By deciding to smoke pot, you make society worse. Sure, at your individual level, it will not be by a large amount. It'll seem negligible, a drop in the ocean.

Drug dealers as we know them only exist because drugs are illegal. Pot is not any more disruptive than alcohol and not really more harmful than tobacco, but since it's illegal, it ends up in the same distribution networks as harder drugs. Back in the prohibition days selling alcohol was related to crime too.

But the ocean is made of drops. By your example, you will encourage some of your friends to smoke pot as well. You'll probably join, if you haven't already, the pot smokers' counter-culture which as a whole work to propagate the idea that pot is cool and harmless, trying to give it legitimacy. Soon enough, pot becomes legal in one state, bringing in hordes of pot-craving tourists, altering the local economy...

The counter culture and coolness is linked to it being illegal or clandestine, which is enhanced by it not being a particularly hard drug.

Incidentally, the prohibition overlapped with Hoover as president or (previously) commerce secretary, a key figure in the birth of neoliberalism with his "Efficiency Movement". Today, the War on Drugs is linked to US interventionism and ensuring developing nations stay politically dependent and centered on exporting commodities, crippling the living conditions and organizational capacity of the poor and workers, furthering the creation of police States there and in the developed world.

Maes said:
Then let's see if you can solve Heinlein's right of life dillemas, then:

In terms of drowning in the sea, rights apply if anyone (more so an authority) could have done anything about it, for example, in how to deal with people drowning in the immigration crisis seen recently at the coasts of Lampedusa. Dying to save one's children may include many situations, and in some of those, authorities or other parties may likewise be responsible for anything that happens to the parent or children. I guess desperate people may end up cannibalizing each other, but any survivors would still have to be judged by laws, and the actual circumstances. Many laws already account for extremes, pressures and the loss of sanity, without discarding our rights.

By the way, the other day I watched a Chinese earthquake film. It involves a "die to save your children" situation. The family's house is crumbling, the parents are outside, the girl and the boy in the house. The father pushes the wife back so she'll be safe, and tries to run into the house but is crushed by falling debris and dies. Then the wife approaches the house in misery as rescue workers look through the rubble and they find the kids, pinned in the rubble, one at each side of a large beam, and the mother has to decide which of them lives, because the other one gets crushed depending on how you lift the beam...

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According to political philosophers like John Locke, people do in fact have inalienable rights (life, liberty and the pursuit of property). The idea of which modern western democracies is based on the fact that the government doesn't "give" you these rights, it merely respects the fact that you already have them naturally.

When people say they want to fight for the right to have something, they acknowledge that the particular request is not already a right. Therefore I think the saying is permissible. But it would only become a right once it is processed, and made into a law by legitimate means.

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