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Thursday, March 19 - 8:06amSanction this postReply
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Foisting an article onto readers with no line breaks between paragraphs constitutes ophthalmological murder.

 

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 3/19, 8:40am)



Post 1

Thursday, March 19 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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WOW, Rebirth of Reason! Thanks for publishing it.

Luke: I've sent the article with line breaks, but probably, since this happened already before, the publication software can't handle it. Still, the lack of line breaks don't affect the arguments presented, so instead of protesting, please read it. It contains lots of things that must be said.



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Post 2

Thursday, March 19 - 9:01amSanction this postReply
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I'll have to reject it the next time, Manfred. Sorry. 

 

Make sure future writing at least has clear, double spaced paragraphs. 

 

Thanks. 

 

T



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Post 3

Thursday, March 19 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
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I added spacing to make it easier to read.



Post 4

Thursday, March 19 - 2:35pmSanction this postReply
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Teresa: I promise to follow your advice.

Joseph: Thanks for adding the double spacing.



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Post 5

Thursday, March 19 - 8:05pmSanction this postReply
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"...juridical mistakes can still appear occasionally. Here the law of possibilities comes to apply, but such possibilities are reduced to an absolute minimum by the presently available methods of investigation to prove the guiltiness of the murderer."

 

Technology and methods of investigation are constantly changing -  mostly improving - but as recently as 2004, a possibility innocent person, Cameron Todd Willingham may have been put to death for what was likely a tragic accident.  The technology improved between the time the 'crime' occurred (1992) and the time Willingham was executed, and indicated he probably wouldn't have been convicted in 2004. Nevertheless, the state of Texas went ahead with his execution.

 

But, more important, is the unfortunate fact that government officials - including police - often lie, even on the witness stand.  Sometimes an official may lie to cover his own mistake or could, in rare instances, just be intent on framing someone he doesn't like.  If a police officer decides he doesn't like someone who is an atheist, he could, without much difficulty, frame him in the commission of a crime.  The crime doesn't have to be murder but accidents can be made to look like murders - or vice versa.

 

With our society constantly heading more towards a combination of fascism and socialism, we do not need a death penalty to help that process along.  Eventually, political crimes, such as being an Objectist, could be punished with death.  The death penalty may even be too easy on the guilty as they don't know it after it happens.  

 

I say, do away with the death penalty.



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Saturday, March 21 - 7:38pmSanction this postReply
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Manfred Schieder's essay suffers from a plethora of problematic assumptions.  I cannot address them all.  First "murder" is to be differentiated from killing.  Murder is the willing and unlawful taking of a life.  Not all homicides are murders. Second, not everyone who wrongfully takes a life does so with malicious forethought.  In fact, few do.  The better explanation is that the perpetrator only stayed mentally agitated for a very long time. We can assume mens rea for Whitey Bolgar.  That does not apply to most of the people found guilty of the crime.

 

Of those, very many were materially innocent.  The Innocence Project has proved in hundreds of cases using DNA evidence that the accused was not guilty.  We can only speculate about the others.  

 

Schieder does touch on important aspect of mentality, but does not address its many implications:  many of the convicted murderers simply lacked absolute intelligence. (Once in prison and assessed, they are found to be mentally retarded; and therefore they were incapable of participating in their defense - a basic requirement for justice under our laws.) They acted emotionally for lack of intellect.  Killing them is inhumane.  The cruelty is not primarily to them - though that remains - but to us. What kind of person are you, if you can take an innocent life?  Granted that the perpetrator commited the act, it remains that the actor was unmindful.  We are not. We are planfully competent in the execution.

 

In that, Schieder commits a logical fallacy.  He claims that those who kill are non-humans, but then asks that you endorse his own willingness to take a life. 

 

Indeed, de-humanizing other people has been a convenient claim throughout history.  Aristotle said that it was fine to enslave barbarians, but unseemly to make slaves of other Greeks.  The assetion is an easy glide for Objectivists because, like Christians and others, for Objectivists, the sine qua non definition of a human being - the ability to reason - is impossible to ignore from the inside and impossible to prove externally.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 3/22, 8:17am)



Post 7

Tuesday, March 24 - 2:37amSanction this postReply
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@ Michael E. Marotta: If reason cannot be proved „from the outside,“ then it’s high time to eliminate all math and logic tests from schools and colleges. But since these tests effectively prove that reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses and is, thus, used to solve such tests, the statement is effectively falsified. Thus, I continue to have at my disposable this useful tool to further analyze your comment.

 

 

As Barbara Smith, the sister of one of the murderers of the Clutter family (See footnote 2 of my article) correctly stated, each person has a personal responsibility for his deeds and is accountable for same. This directly rejects every possible excuse or validation for an act of willful murder. Murderers are, thus, personally responsible for their criminal acts, against the nowadays commonly and wrongly adduced claim that society originates their wrongs, which might be a useful line of defense for the legal defender. But to uphold such a position destroys the correct functioning of a civilized society and plunges it into a barbarian state of savagery which leads directly to its demise.

 

 

It’s evident, as shown by your own statement, that you evidently either haven’t paid sufficient attention to the Objectivist law of morality or, else, haven’t read it at all, for you consciously intend to equalize the act of murder committed with the willingness by a civilized society to take a murderer’s life as an act of social hygiene. Stating that murderers act emotionally due to simply lacking absolute intelligence tries to shift attention away from the fact that they are still able to talk and have sufficient understanding of behavior to live within a civilized society. Thus, it can’t be alleged that they don’t know or are unaware of the penalty imposed by morality on an act of murder. To maintain that “cruelty is primarily on civilized society” shows a total lack of understanding of what to live peacefully and fruitfully within a civilized society demands. And, when it comes to “unmindful acts” or “mentally agitated states” my article clearly and precisely pointed to alternative penalties and procedures.

 

 

I recommend you to read Mrs. Rand’s corresponding statement (For example in her article “The Objectivist Ethics,” though it is also mentioned in several other writings of her): “Men have the right to use physical force ONLY in retaliation and ONLY against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense.” (Emphasis and capitals mine)

 

 

By the way you state your position it becomes evident that you don’t adhere to the Objectivist moral law (as, evidently, David Wooten also doesn’t) but share the nowadays standard American and European way of cataloging guilt: Not the culprit committed the fault, but society lead him to it. I’ve seen many comments, media-articles, etc. that adhere to this anti-conceptual criterion, this reversal of morals, this perversion of fundamental principles. For Objectivists such a behavior is unacceptable, for it places a totally underserved guilt on a society of peaceful and productive citizens, while excusing murder and acts of terrorism that lead civilization into the dungeons of its own destruction.



Post 8

Wednesday, March 25 - 12:26amSanction this postReply
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"...don’t adhere to the Objectivist moral law (as, evidently, David Wooten also doesn’t..."

 

The arguments I made had nothing to do with Objectivist morality.  They had to do with Objectist epistemology - or how one knows what is true. 



Post 9

Wednesday, March 25 - 10:20amSanction this postReply
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Indeed, de-humanizing other people has been a convenient claim throughout history. Aristotle said that it was fine to enslave barbarians, but unseemly to make slaves of other Greeks. The assetion is an easy glide for Objectivists because, like Christians and others, for Objectivists, the sine qua non definition of a human being - the ability to reason - is impossible to ignore from the inside and impossible to prove externally.

----------------

 

Marotta claims that Objectivists are akin to Christians in being "an easy glide" away from justifying slavery!  Yet another example of Marotta as anti-Objectivist.

 

To my knowledge Christians have historically not been more or less guilty in rationalizing slavery.  Didn't Muslems, Hindus, Budhists, and nearly every religious sect have examples of slave-owners somewhere in history?  

 

The root of this willingness to enslave, he claims, is in seeing humans defined as possesing the ability to reason!  The fact that Marotta so often departs from reason doesn't make him non-human, and we Objectivists know that.  We know that an individual who chooses not to reason, or is in a coma, or has brain damage is still a human.  We know that the nature of a definition is such that to define table as involving a flat surface upon which we can put things does NOT mean that a table when turned on its side is suddenly no longer is a table.  That isn't the way definitions work.

 

People can choose not to reason, or they can choose to reason and they might reason well or do so badly - this is the case on any given instance.  But whichever occurs, it is an exercise of the human rational faculty.  To say that humans are rational beings is to refer to the kind of faculty we possess and is not the same as the use of the word 'rational' when discussing the logic of an argument.

 

When people engage in dehumanizing a group of people, that is most likely using their rational faculty poorly by choosing not to reason (psychologically a case of rationalizing, maybe motivated by projecting self-hate onto others).  It is using the human faculty, the rational capacity in way that is not rational.  It is unfortunate that the word 'rational' can be used in those two ways, but it doesn't mean that Objectivists having 'the ability to reason' as the defining characteristic of humans makes them 'an easy glide' away from accepting slavery!



Post 10

Wednesday, March 25 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
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Marotta is Human?  Thought he got dropped here from the Delta Quadrant...



Post 11

Wednesday, March 25 - 7:42pmSanction this postReply
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Manfred and Steve: You both minic Ayn Rand poorly when you take one statement that you do not agree with and inflate that into an entire philosophy which Ayn Rand also conveniently condemned for you.  In point of fact, Manfred, I did not assert that society is to blame for the actions of an individual.  Moreover, Steve, it was Manfred who dehumanized others by claiming that anyone who takes a life is not rational, ergo not human.  

 

As for an objective criminology, I have been writing about it for a decade.  Most recently, start here, and read down:

http://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2015/03/alternatives-to-prison-part-1-of-3.html

 

I created this website for science teachers and science students who expressed an interest in a career in crime scene investigation:

http://csiflint2011.blogspot.com

 

Here is an archive of my academic papers on criminology.

https://sites.google.com/site/washtenawjustice/

 

I have given criminology a lot of thought, Manfred, and, based on your essay here, you have not.  Moreover, I have a ton facts; and you have none. Your theories are based on a mass mediated hyper-reality of crime in which the television plays back to you what you want from it. You suffer from the "CSI Effect."  Your essay is more properly titled, "One Objectivist's Viewpoint of the Death Penalty."  You may well be an Objectivist, but your opinions about criminology lack objective validity.



Post 12

Wednesday, March 25 - 11:36pmSanction this postReply
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Steve: You .... minic(sp) Ayn Rand poorly when you take one statement that you do not agree with and inflate that into an entire philosophy which Ayn Rand also conveniently condemned for you.

Marottta, when you only give a bald assertion that doesn't even specify what statement of mine you are referring to, then your argument is more than worthless, it's just an empty attack on someone.  I've said many times, and I'll say it again, quote me, then say what you think is an error in the quoted statement.

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... Steve, it was Manfred who dehumanized others by claiming that anyone who takes a life is not rational, ergo not human. 

Marotta, I quoted YOUR words.  I'll quote them again.  Here you go:

Indeed, de-humanizing other people has been a convenient claim throughout history.  Aristotle said that it was fine to enslave barbarians, but unseemly to make slaves of other Greeks.  The assetion(sp) is an easy glide for Objectivists because, like Christians and others, for Objectivists, the sine qua non definition of a human being - the ability to reason - is impossible to ignore from the inside and impossible to prove externally.

That's you talking about dehumanizing as "an easy glide for Objectivists"...  



Post 13

Thursday, March 26 - 12:59amSanction this postReply
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@ Steve Wolfer: Viewed you comments and agree with them fully. Please look up also the link I mentioned below (for Mr. Marotta) I just received from my friend Alexandra York. Jeff Jacoby is Objectivist oriented.

 

@ Michael E. Marotta: Please see http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/03/17/the-end-lethal-injections-won-mean-end-capital-punishment/lS6sDGSOoDJaHzQHh4kY7K/story.html

 

@ David Wooten: Your comment on Post 8 confirms my earlier comment in regards with you’re being fully unfamiliar with Objectivism, for Ayn Rand NEVER separated epistemology from morality, as you are trying to do.

 

@ Jules Troy: Please be a little more specific. Do you think that Marotta is a Vidiian, a Krenim, a Voth or is he from Species 8472? You see, we must be careful, to know with what kind of polylogism we Objectivists are to face his rebellion against reason, for he seems to have emerged from some yet unknown area of Chaotic space.



Post 14

Thursday, March 26 - 2:44amSanction this postReply
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Manfred,

 

I agree that executions of those who have committed murder is moral.  And the reasons to hesitate to use execution are mostly about the degree of certainty we can obtain in the convictions.  But I disagree with your approach to justifying executions.

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Murderers are not humans.

I disagree with this statement.  And I don't believe it is Objectivism's approach to this issue.  The reason it can be moral to execute a person is that they have lost their right to their life when they become a murder.
----------------

What characterizes them [murders] is their hate against human beings, which is in itself sufficient proof that they are not humans; for feelings, as philosopher Ayn Rand taught us, are not tools to obtain knowledge.

Psychologically, there are many people with very low self-esteem who project their self-hatred onto others - even onto the very idea of humans.  There are countless people who hate against human beings but never commit murder.  To "hate against human beings" is not in itself sufficient (or necessary) proof that they are not humans.  

 

It is true that feelings (emotions) are not tools of cognition, but they are evidence of inner workings in our minds, and they are positive experiences to be sought or negative ones to be avoided and we should nearly always pay attention to our feelings and emotions rather than to be blind to them.  And they are part of being human (a very good part when one follows the practices resulting in good self-esteem).

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The foundation and the means to obtain the human condition, is the faculty of reason. Hence, to state that murderers are not human beings in the proper sense of the term is the logical consequence of Ayn Rand’s teachings.

Actually, people can be irrational and not be murders.  People can be irrational and still be human.  There is a confusion here on the use the word "reason" in the phrase "faculty of reason." Man's faculty of reason is a faculty whereby individuals exercise their choice to be reasonable or to be unreasonable in a given instance. That is, a person choosing to be irrational, or unreasonable, is exercising their faculty of reason - just in the wrong way. Rand says, "Man’s essential characteristic is his rational faculty," and that it must be exercised by choice. And that there is no guarantee that a man will get all things right.

 

A murder is a human being that has violated another's right to life. No one can violate another's right to life without stepping totally away from their own right to their own life. That is why it is not immoral to execute a murder - because they have volutarily relinquised the right to their life when they committed a murder.

 

People are responsible for not violating others' rights - someone might kill in burst of drunken rage, but they are the ones who chose to get drunk and they are ones who chose to act on that rage and they are one who violated someones right to life.  The drunken rage can be an explanation, but never a moral justification.
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Their brain may have developed up to the level where the faculty of reason starts to operate, but they rejected it before it reached its full extent or, else, they alienated the minimum of reason that their brain was able to retain from its original function of providing the correct sustenance for a life proper to a human being.

Nothing in neurophysiology sustains that assertion that a murder necessarily has a different brain, or that the difference in the brain was due to rejecting reason or that they now have the brain of a non-human animal.  Is it possible that you meant to use the word "mind" and not "brain"?
----------------

The term of murderer is not limited to the physical act of the murder itself, i.e. the actual execution of a maliciously premeditated killing, but refers also to hate mongers, religious, political and military propagandists who seek to promote hatred and prejudice against another group or those who do not follow their same beliefs, wishes and aims.

That completely changes the definition of murder. And it totally rejects Ayn Rand's view of individual rights in which it required an act of initiating physical force against another, threats of physical force against another, fraud or theft to violate a right.  You are now advocating a kind of censorship where you are making some ideas or speech criminal offenses and that isn't even near Objectivism.  Rand was quite clear that an act was required to violate the rights of another and that the only acts capable of doing that were those that took away choice and that those only included intiation of force, fraud, or theft fit that bill.



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Post 15

Thursday, March 26 - 11:04amSanction this postReply
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"Your comment on Post 8 confirms my earlier comment in regards with you’re being fully unfamiliar with Objectivism, for Ayn Rand NEVER separated epistemology from morality, as you are trying to do."

 

No, Manfred.  I am not trying to separate Rand's "epistemology from morality", but the fact is that epistomology and morality have different meanings. If you cannot comprehend that, you are mentally deficient in much more than Objectivism. 

 

If were to argue against Ayn Rand's ethics I would have said that something like 'it is wrong to kill someone who has taken the life of another'. That was NOT the argument I made.  Frankly, I think prison life is a little too easy on real criminals.  I would like to see some of them put in 'no human contact' cells without books, music, visitors or TV.  But as bad as that kind of punishment would be, it is, unlike death, reversible.

 

By epistemology, I was referring to the fact that it is difficult to know for sure that a person is guilty.

 

The fact is, Manfred, that courtroom testimony, upon which death sentences are issued, is very often subjective.  Judges, who are supposed to be objective do not always do their job.  Witnesses do lie and, even when they do not, the picture that emerges in the minds of jurors is likely to be different from what actually occurs.  Science, including forensic science, is always subjective to revision.  People convicted of rape have been found to be innocent years after their conviction thanks to DNA evidence.  Public pressure can also put a (subjective) bias on courtroom officials.  Some people kill in self defense and it is impossible to prove it wasn't self defense as you cannot prove a negative.  There are numerous cases of police officers killing people who haven't committed crimes and the officers get off without even losing their jobs and I am not just talking about the Michael Brown case.  I have personally observed a police officer give misleading testimony in court while his three-year-daughter sat on the (female) judge's lap - he brought his daughter to court, apparently, to curry favor with the judge. 

 

And as one who believes strongly in Objectivist politics, I am wary of anything coming out of 'our' government including the judicial branch.

 

As a 62-year-old returning college student, I have homework to do so I am not going to waste any more time with your feeble attempt to use Objectivism as the justification of the death penalty.  Violent crime is on the decline due to our aging population and concealed carry rights.



Post 16

Friday, March 27 - 1:18amSanction this postReply
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Lol Manfred, Species 8472 is awesome.  



Post 17

Sunday, March 29 - 9:01pmSanction this postReply
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I've argued with people here and elsewhere who don't think any amount of evidence is enough to justify a death penalty, including detailed confessions from the accused, guilty pleas and knowing where the bodies are buried. 



Post 18

Saturday, April 4 - 11:49amSanction this postReply
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My argument for retention of the death penalty is very simple. One has a perception of how much, if any, effect there is on the death penalty deterring premeditating murderers. One has a perception of how much bias there is in prosecutors and juries against minorities. There is a perception of how much flawed, but innocent, evidence may be presented to a jury. So, it becomes a personal balancing of the probabilities of having a life that is safe from being murdered against that of being unjustly convicted and executed. If you think, as I do, that there is a deterrent value in the death penalty that is greater than the possibility of you being executed then you will favor the death penalty. Even if I were one of the minorities I believe that the balance would be the same.

 

This argument does away with considerations of justice, morality, revenge, forgiveness and religion. Of course, the cost of executing vs. incarceration for life should be considered also.    

 

Sam



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