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Post 60

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 8:32amSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

So, those folks that would steal to eat in an emergency situation, are they evil forever? What if your force initiator is in an emergency situation? Context is so important when we talk about moral decisions around here, but as soon as you're the one being initiated against context be damned?

Robert,

I know the world isn't what I described, never said it was. I want it to be, though, and this is how I see to go about getting it.

Sarah



Post 61

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 8:40amSanction this postReply
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Sarah,

Yes, context is important. An emergency situation is just so. Emergency situations are bad examples from which to make generalizations.

Ethan




Post 62

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 9:24amSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

I'm not making generalizations. I'm pointing out that I see context being ignored completely with the "force makes person bad, we destroy" attitude.

Sarah



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Post 63

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 9:53amSanction this postReply
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Well, thats the problem isn't it? Unless we are talking about real examples with their associated context or real-life type scenarios then its all generalization. You can't make a claim that force is wrong and then argue with someone about context. You made a general statement and have received general answers. To trot out context now, is a bit unfair. If you'd like to revise your initial statement to include some context, then by all means, do so and we can have a focused discussion.

Ethan




Post 64

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

I believe I pointed out that I wasn't going for 'wrong' here, but that force has negative consequences, namely, the cyclical nature of its use. I'm criticizing generalization I got in response that all force initiators are evil and don't deserve life. From where I'm looking, that's a bad generalization even if I wasn't talking specifics.

Sarah



Post 65

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:10amSanction this postReply
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Things have gotten fuzzy and off track. Let's get back to the original purpose of this thread: the portrayal of pacifism in the Evil Ethics section is inaccurate. It's a weak spot and I'm trying to help by pointing out what I see. You don't agree with my rational behind my choices, fine, but argue against what pacifism is and not what you want it to be.

Sarah



Post 66

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:23amSanction this postReply
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Sarah,

Your saying pacifism is more properly defined by the quote you gave from the tao. I think the quote from the tao suggests generally that anyone who initiates force is still deserving of the respect one would give to any human being. I think posters have given reasons why this is just not so from an Objectivist perspective. Contextually there are cases were what you quoted would be true. The statement in the evil ethics section is a general one, and brief at that.

Ethan




Post 67

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:40amSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

Yes they have given good reasons, and in the interest of achieving my goals I've chosen to ignore those reasons when it comes to my personal life. No greater good here, just my choice. My rational, guided-by-forethought choice. More on the EE section later.

Sarah



Post 68

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 10:52amSanction this postReply
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Pacifism gets a lot of different uses. I mean, think about it- we've had "pacifists" resorting to terror-style violence, even. The term is pretty loaded.

I think any sane person is a pacifist, because they know that fighting and killing is nasty business. But, they also revere life enough to know when defense is required, which is not a difficult thing to discern in most cases (someone initiated on you). I mean, hell, I'm a pacifist, but I also have a responsibility to myself and my family to provide protection from attacks. I don't enjoy engagements, but if need be, it's a job. I tend to take a very cold, distant focus in situations like that- very emotionless.




Post 69

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 11:05amSanction this postReply
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That's fine Sarah, I'm certainly not for forcing anyone to accept anything. I would say that violence is a last resort for me, and that I regret any situation that comes to it. The difference being that I don't consider it morally wrong to engage in it if the situation demands it.

Ethan




Post 70

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 12:03pmSanction this postReply
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Ethan,

The last posts by you and Rich are exactly the spirit of pacifism. It bugs me when pacifism is derided much like it likely bugs you when someone uses selfish as an insult. That's all I'm saying.

Sarah



Post 71

Monday, October 17, 2005 - 12:09pmSanction this postReply
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Defining terms is always an issue. It's in the nature of the human mind to integrate people quickly into  our conceptual categories. The intellectually lazy are alway quick to judge people by a word, title, or even a skin color rather than take the time to discover the truth. A lot depends on how well we examine our concepts and tailor them to reality, and how well we work to properly use them in our thought processes. I haven't the time to elaborate now, and tis post is a bit clumsy, but I bet you get the idea.



Ethan




Post 72

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 1:17amSanction this postReply
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Hey there, Dean, you wrote:
If I were a rational gun-toting Objectivist, I might have killed several people in my life by now.
Comparing this with reality: there are plenty of people here who carry guns, who have also not killed anyone. In fact, how frequently have you heard in the news that an "extremely selfish" "Objectivist" killed a man? Zero instances? Not even when they were threatened and armed? There must be a discrepancy between your perception of Objectivists and reality.
Argh.  I sometimes wonder if you guys make any real attempt to understand how people other than yourselves think.  I ask serious questions, raise what I think are relevant issues and I get this kind of off-handed hatchet job.  You make it sound like I was saying Objectivists were all a bunch of trigger happy killers.  Without the context which I gave you (the exceptional personal dangers I've seen--no, I didn't give you specific examples, but I haven't exactly had a lot of good luck with that level of self-discloser around here--besides the generality should have been enough for the purposes of the argument) that sentence you quote makes me sound pretty nutty.  You, as the voice of reason, then refute my absurd claim.  And folks sanction your spin doctoring.

The irony is that Objectivists talk as if they do kill or at least really should be killing people on a fairly regular basis:
A rational person with a big gun is your best friend.
Men who set out to destroy arbitrarily are nothing to care about -- they are demons.
Is it when someone slaps your little brother, steals from you, makes you pay income tax, breaks into your house, swindles you, rapes you, or tries to kill you?  Just how much initiation of force are you willing to take before you deem it appropriate to respond?
They have made a choice against life, and for you to value their life in that case, you are not valuing your own.
A victim who doesn't fight back is just giving an open invitation for the offense to be repeated.
Lack of punishment will guarantee that there is no justice.
With all this tough talk about demons and the necessity of punishment and people with ZERO value, why aren't you guys killing people every day?  Yes, I'm being a smart-ass, but you guys talk more trash than the WWF!  There seems to be a discrepancy between your perceptions of yourselves and reality.  I'm not a big fan of trading barbs, Dean, but your objection to my post really underlined the central irony of the discussion for me.

Ethan:
If someone knowingly commits an act they know to be wrong, even once, they are fully corrupt. The key being knowingly. Now, if they make ammends later, assuming its something you can make up for, then they can be considered in a new light, but one should never forget that they once commited an evil act.
I just don't know where to begin.  I don't know anyone who has committed an act that was wrong without knowing it.  Even children know right from wrong.  (It's possible, certainly.  Sociopathic disorder comes to mind; such folk tend not know right from wrong.)  And who hasn't committed at least one wrong act?  I know the subject has been wavering around murder, but you really seem to be expanding your argument to all wrong doing.  Could you say more about this, please; I've never heard a reasonable person talk like this, except maybe hyperbolically, but I get the idea that you mean what you're saying.

-Kevin 



Post 73

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 6:43amSanction this postReply
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I ask serious questions, raise what I think are relevant issues and I get this kind of off-handed hatchet job.
Kevin, I'll pay more attention to your serious questions if you don't place them amongst absurdities. If you post absurdities, I'll either comment on them first, or maybe not reply it all.
The irony is that Objectivists talk as if they do kill or at least really should be killing people on a fairly regular basis
The comment about having a rational person with a gun as a friend is stating "Its good to have people who are able to use force to protect your liberty as friends." As for the rest of the quotes, I don't think the authors are requesting the perpetrators be killed, but instead brought justice.



Post 74

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - 8:11amSanction this postReply
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Kevin,

It is possible for a person to take a wrong action due to a lack of information. No big deal. Rand even mentioned this in one of her interviews, though I forget which one, as I just watched them all back-to-back the other day.

As for the part about being corrupt by taking actions you know to be wrong, Rand talks about this and gives excellent examples. Sure, I have done things I've known to be wrong back in my evader days. Even before coming to understand Objectivism I knew these actions were wrong. They definetly damaged my self esteem. In every case possible I've gone back and made ammends. I could rationalize and come up with excuses for why I did what I did back then and the circumstances of the action, but the fact remains that I acted improperly and needed to correct those errors. Justice toward oneself is often lacking. There are plenty of people content to judge others and never themselves, I'm just not one of them.

Ethan




Post 75

Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 6:14amSanction this postReply
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Dear Sarah,
What a great thread you started Sarah, just wanted to let you know that I've been told that certain mystic texts, like the Tao te Ching is best read with a change of normal consciousness. Like meditation, drugs (I don't take drugs, and I don't promote it, just letting you know), Chi kung, and Reiki Attunement. I've has some very profound experiences contemplating, mystic texts in those states.

Pacificism as I understand it, is a principle to refer to violence a a last resort, when every non-violent attempt at resolving a situation has been exhausted.

Dear everyone,
Kevin pointed out, humourously, that many Objectivists do talk about immediately reacting to force with force. Which will probably get you killed, maimed or put in jail. Being interested in martial arts myslelf, I have learned that such an attitude is tantamount to suicide. I'll explain my reasons why I think this, and I'll explain my reason for doing so, you will get seriously hurt in certain places if you adopt those attitudes.

One of you first points of call, is to assess the situation, seeing as many Oist's champion pre-emptive strikes, and reacting to force, non-assessment is dangerous for personal safety. Is it a biker who is got you pushed up against the wall with 5 friends behind him, or is it the waitress who's done a double shift and has you up against the wall because she mistook you for the guy who pinched her ass? It depends on context, of course I know that Oism stresses this, I just didn't see that debated, Kevin was trying to show that.

Also sometimes force will get you in more trouble in the long term, talking self defense, fights somtimes don't end after one altercation. Everytime you see them there will probably be a confrontation of some sort, sometimes it's best to let them grab you, if you think you can avoid an assault, and getting in a potentially dramatically life changing situation. I don't hit women who hit me, not only will an onlooker probably kick you in, but the police will come down on you like rain.

Anyway, enough trying to teach self defence concepts via a forum.




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Post 76

Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 6:48amSanction this postReply
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Just wanted to add. Kevin also makes an excellent point that most people apply Pacifism to political ethics, rather than a personal ethic, is an important one, most people recognize the act of war as a type of force, is a lot different from a punch as an act of force. They have completely different consequences. The US was founded on initiation of force, they took away the rights of, and initiated force on, native Americans, and Africans.  I didn't read an article of condemnation of that by Rand or Peikoff.

The view of some Objectivist to the Tao Te Ching excerpt; 
Weapons are the tools of fear; a decent man will avoid them except in the direst of necessity and, if compelled, will use them only with the utmost restraint. ... His enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself. He doesn't wish them personal harm nor does he rejoice in victory. How could he rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?
disturbs me.

Violence always has profound consequences, from a persons psyche, to anothers violent reaction to your violence (regardless if your violence is justified, or not).

There seems to be a celebration in violence, I too have that emotional inclination, but I'm trying to overcome it. In recognition of humanity, the fall of another human being to the state of an anger fuelled individual, I don't wish to take pleasure in hurting another human being because they are in that state and threaten me.  I have perceived in articles by Objectivists, a disregard, or even contempt, for the religious people's lives (middle east).




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Post 77

Sunday, March 5, 2006 - 7:55pmSanction this postReply
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Why not simply say: using force is wrong, unless you have to do so in order to defend your values from another person's initiation of force, or in order to survive? The latter part is, I think, a necessary addition to Rand's basic formulation, in order to remain consistent with an ethics of rational self-interest with life as the standard of value. You cannot be morally obligated to refrain from an action (even a coercive one), if that is the only way you have of surviving.

REB




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