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Saturday, March 8 - 1:41pmSanction this postReply
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We all grasp the importance of having fair notice of public laws. Law enforcement without notice is tyranny that can turn even the most docile citizens into lawbreakers at the whim of state control.

 

But what about rules on private property, such as a home, business, or internet forum? Why do we need rules in these contexts, and is it moral for a property owner to operate solely through discretion?

 

Discretion is tempting for the most fair-minded and petty personalities alike. It's easy because it obviates the need for any further rules or refinement, and it retains the maximum number of options for handling any situation that occurs on the property. So what's wrong with flexibility and "whatever I say goes"?

 

The problem with discretion is two-fold: it's inefficient, and it encourages social disruption.

 

Rules allow for planning based on what people know about the future. Clear and consistent rules allow actors to evaluate risk-reward payoffs based on the best-available information. Discretion, on the other hand, frustrates planning, and encourages people to refrain from risk-taking that might have been productive in a more rule-based setting. What efforts do run afoul of shifting standards are a direct form of economic loss.

 

Discretion also promotes misunderstandings, which can result in loss of trust. Reasonable minds can differ on matters left to interpretation, which are maximized under discretion-based decision-making. Disputes frequently arise, and the parties are less likely to engage each other in the future in the face of uncertainty or accusations of bad faith. This further promotes waste and economic loss in the form of missed opportunities. Rules resolve many potential misunderstandings ahead of time, and hold both parties accountable for their responsibilities under explicit or implicit agreements.

 

Since all rule-based systems will leave some matters to discretion and vice versa, the property owner's choice is really where on the spectrum he wishes to operate. In light of the considerations above, property owners - especially owners of community-based properties such as online forums - should try to maximize rule-based decision-making to the extent they can, and only use discretion when necessary to deal with the unavoidable ambiguities present in any social arrangement. To the extent that forum owners view themselves as "traffic cops," it's important to remember that traffic cops operate within rule of law rather than rule-by-discretion, and when fair notice is removed from the policing context, the moral authority  of the enforcer breaks down.

 

(Edited by Robert Baratheon on 3/08, 1:48pm)



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Post 1

Sunday, March 9 - 2:27pmSanction this postReply
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The moral case for rules by non-owners over owners of property, vs. discretion by those owners of property?

 

Seriously?  Did you guys have a meeting?  Was it well attended?  Was a vote held?

 

I'll add it to the moral case for rape by rapists over rape victims, vs. discretion by potential rape victims.   9 gang rapists decided that it was 'inefficient' for victims to say no at their discretion, and it causes something called 'social disruption' among the 9 otherwise not getting any rapists.

 

Here is the much more thoughtful case for rigged justifications for gang rape democracy by inserting the Holy word "social" into every sentence: fuck that nonsense with a chainsaw.

 

This isn't between me as owner and your God totem "S"ociety; this is between you and me as peers.   Tell me why you, Sport should rule over my use of my life.  Don't dress up that same naked agression by rolling your eyes into the back of your head and referring to 'social.'

 

If yours is a "moral case' then define your limiting principles(if any)for that 'morality, as I have done many times.  If I am using my property in such a manner that forces association with you, then I'll ethically and morally understand your interventionist rule and will accede to it as a free citizen of a free nation.   But that better be something more egregious than its mere existence; if that is ultimately your justification, then I will tell the latest Princess on the Pea where to get off, and precious can just buck up.   Vague references to hand waving 'inefficiency' and some equally vague Magic Key to the Kingdom "social disruption" is not nearly it.  As well, in the meantime,  I'm not buying in the least you lifting your leg and speaking for "S"ociety or social.   Total fail.  Let me rule your property or we will riot?   Riot away.   Don't try to dress that fine 'reason' up as 'social disruption.'   If that is your claim, well bring your own damned lunch. because after that nonsense, I for sure am not buying.

 

If your only means of selling your ideas is to lift your leg and claim to speak for "S"ociety and vague efficiency and "social disruption" then of all places, why here, to a free association of individuals?

 

regards,

Fred

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Post 2

Sunday, March 9 - 3:25pmSanction this postReply
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Fred,

 

I am not "ruling" over property owners by having an opinion on the morality of their actions any more than Rand was ruling over her followers by telling them her opinion on how righteous men should live.

 

Your "rape" analogy is flawed on every level - there is no force being used by any of the parties. You yourself have opined here on how ivy league institutions should treat their students and how much they should charge. Were you "raping" the ivies by having this opinion? If you went to someone's house for dinner, and he called your wife a whore, would you then turn to your wife and say, "This is his property. He can act how he chooses and we have no moral basis to argue."

 

I used the word "social" twice in my entire post, not "in every sentence." You exaggerate to the extreme. Do you deny that such a thing exists as "antisocial" behavior, or does morality break down the moment you set foot on privately owned land?

 

P.S. I'm noticing a recurring pattern, which is that you seem to have rape on the brain. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about rape. Is there a reason for this? Only curious.

 

(Edited by Robert Baratheon on 3/09, 3:55pm)



Post 3

Sunday, March 9 - 4:06pmSanction this postReply
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 He can act how he chooses and we have no moral basis to argue.

 

And you say, "We're leaving"

 



Post 4

Sunday, March 9 - 4:33pmSanction this postReply
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OK, but beside the point.

 

Do you consider unprovoked insults to be moral behavior simply because it's the owner of the property behaving that way? I think it's immoral to treat people that way, regardless of property rights. Fred may disagree, but I don't think that makes me a socialist, nor am I suggesting burning the person's house down in retaliation or sending the decorum police to gang rape the individual. 

 



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Post 5

Sunday, March 9 - 5:59pmSanction this postReply
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There are two basic levels involved here:

 

One is the free association versus forced association level - the level of individual rights.  That's the only level where force, or where the government is properly involved. Rules made at that level should involve laws and can involve guns.  

 

The other level is all of morality but where no initiation of force is involved.  Rules made in this area should never involve government or guns or laws. This area can be further divided into those moral values that are common to all whether or not someone recognizes them (like abusing drugs would be immoral to the degree that harms a person, but shouldn't be illegal, and it is a universal moral rule even if some don't accept it), and then there are those moral values that are chosen by an individual and are subjective and not universal (like someone who loves Rocky Road ice cream - they value it). This area can also be mined for those moral rules that apply to interactions between people versus those that apply to an individual all on their own. And it can be examined to see what rules of etiquette exist in a given society - they too are a part of morality. And, as we all know, we need to examine any proposed moral rule as to its rationality and consistency with a standard based upon an individuals self-interest.  When I say 'rules' I never mean dogmatic, and unthinking requirements, or anything that puts the value of following the rule outside of the individual - that isn't the purpose of morality - of its rules.
---------

 

Discretion, rationality, a sense of fairness, imagination, level-headedness, intelligence.... these are all things that exist in differing degrees amoung the population and can vary a great deal within a single person based upon the circumstances. Some things will work better with more or less spelled-out rules (as in social etiquette) and other things won't. We can't command a fixed level of 'rules' in advance. They have to arise out of context and over time. When they do, the particular society or subculture will encourage rules for certain common things like "cover your mouth when you sneeze," "don't spit on the floor," "don't speak loudly on your cell phone in an elevator." In the old west you didn't get off your horse or out of your buggy on someone's property till invited. None of those should be made into law of course, and there are too many circumstances possible to have rules for everything. Most of our interactions SHOULD be left to discretion and people will be judged for the rationality, fairness, intelligence, etc. with which they exercise their discretion.

 

Exercising discretion in our daily life is what most of our life is about.  It should always occur within the bounds of individual rights, but that goes without saying.

 

If we had rules for everything (which wouldn't be possible anyway) life wouldn't require intelligence or imagination or rationality... just memorization so we could robotically ignore our effects on other people and do what we wanted as long as there was no rule against it. Discretion allows us to recognize that property owners, and interested bystanders or stake holders have interests and that it doesn't pay to ride rough over top of them. My self-interest is best served when I recognize that if the self-interest of others isn't factored into my thinking, then I'll have to use force, or manipulate to always get my way, or at the least forego the fullest rewards of happy interactions.

 

Am I the only one here that thinks that Robert is still talking about MLK in this thread despite never mentioning an incident or a person?



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Sunday, March 9 - 6:44pmSanction this postReply
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Am I the only one here that thinks that Robert is still talking about [MSK] in this thread despite never mentioning an incident or a person?

Steve,

 

You may very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

 



Post 7

Sunday, March 9 - 6:47pmSanction this postReply
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Ahhh... House of Cards, the original from BBC.  What a fine (but terribly manipulative) character he was.



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Post 8

Monday, March 10 - 6:28amSanction this postReply
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Robert:

 

[RB] I am not "ruling" over property owners by having an opinion...

 

So I misread the title of this fine effort?   The Moral Case for "Opinions" over Discretion

 

This is like watching flies pull their own wings off.  It is totally unfair to the Left to dress up in their clothes and act the fool like this.   I must speak out against it:   "Please!  Don't!  Stop!."

 

(Without the exclamation points.)

 

I'm not sure I see why MSK shitcanned you.    And, I don't remember actually asking for your help.

 

But with the latest irony, feel free.

 

regards,

Fred

 

PS: This is the politest response I could muster to someone who, on the first page of his own self-titled thread "The Moral Case For Rules over Discretion" asserts "I am not "ruling" over property owners by having an opinion..."    As if we were all "Mr. Amazing No Short Term Memory Man."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Post 9

Monday, March 10 - 6:45amSanction this postReply
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Fred - You're misunderstanding. The "rules" are for the property owner to set, not the visitors. I haven't made any statements about specific rules an owner should or should not adopt - just that there should be clear rules so visitors are on notice. It's my opinion, so they are well within their rights to disagree with me and operate through discretion alone.

 

MSK banned me because he came into a thread I created and started insulting me. I defended myself, and he didn't like that I talked back to him. If you want to see for yourself, the thread is called "You Win or You Die." I have nothing to hide regarding what happened there - he was in the wrong.

 



Post 10

Monday, March 10 - 7:02amSanction this postReply
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An example of the political lie:

 

Obama, in endless campaign mode:  'What is wrong with asking the wealthy to pay a little more to carry the load?"

 

The answer:  "Nothing wrong with asking, so indeed, ask away."

 

The lie: Obama wasn't politically advocating anything like the act of 'asking.'   He was justifying an act of telling by dressing up his act with a lie, the lie being, that telling is asking.

.

We've just seen the source of such lies exposed; when folks start out politically advocating vague 'rules' they aren't actually advocating the free expression of harmless 'opinions' by all, they are actually advocating for arbitrary rule over others-- without identifying the basis of those rules, or restricting them in any way other than populism/pure democracy..   Robert, your justification for 'rules' is that it allowed for 'planning.'   By whom, if not the property owner?  By you?  At your 'discretion?'  Under what rule for that discretion?   God's will?  "S"ociety's will?  The Common Good?  The Social Contract?  To appease the Thunder God who lives under the Volcano?   To accede to the will of those denizens of perfect non-bias who live behind the semi-permiable Veil of Ignorance that only Rawls can penetrate, from where to return with his rigged polls?   No Sport, not buying any of that totally equivalent nonsense.  Tell me the principles by which you advocate your rule over my property.

 

I've identified my own principles for such 'rules over discretion' many times -- defined a basis for rules among peers, and reasons to accede to the use of state force to enforce those rules: that being, to inhibit acts of forced association and to promote acts of free association.  (Forced association: murder, rape, slavery, theft, fraud, extortion, fouling of the air of water.)   That is, completely analogous to the concept of the Paradox of Violence/Superior Violence (just force used in repsonse to the unjust first use of force as the ultimate defense of civil life in a free nation), the concept of forced association justified only to prohibit the unjkust initiation of forced association -- including and especially by the state itself-- as necessary for the defense of a free state.

 

If I ever act in such a manner, with or without my property, to force my association with you, then I ethically and morally accede to your rushing to either your own or the guns of a free state and remedying my boorish behavior and responding with whatever force is necessary to remedy that  But that, for sure, does not include the simple fact of our shared existence on this earth, as peers living in freedom.

 

That is not an opinion or advocacy of a nation without laws or rules.

 

It is also not an opinion or advocacy of anything resembling  the initiation of forced association, such as, the ACA, or any of the other nonsense dreamed up by the Cass Sunstein's of the world when their eyes are rolled up into the back of their head devining their messages from the consciousness of all conscsiousness, etc.

 

regards,

Fred



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Post 11

Monday, March 10 - 7:28amSanction this postReply
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Robert:

 

So to be clear, you are advocating for rules set at the discretion of the property owner, over ... discretion by the property owner?

 

That was not clear at all from all the argument based on 'efficiency' and 'planning' and 'social disruption.'   Two individuals declining to continue free association is not 'social disruption' it is a day ending in 'y.'  It is at most 'socius disruption.'  Not a 'social problem.'   It is a common occurrence among human beings living as peers, in freedom..   It is an essential aspect of freedom; we are not forced to associate.   As comparison, it is a religuious belief that we are all one, that 'the' goal of humanity is to reconcile PETA with the folks who bring us the Outback SteakHouse, and so on, into one big kumbaya singing happy family of sameness; the ultimate tribal experience impressed onto all of mankind. "S"ociety, not societies.   I celebrate the freedom of religions to believe in such things as "S"ociety not societies, but ask them to kindly stay the fuck out of my life.

 

So forgive me, but the Jell-o language of the Left means whatever the fuck we want it to mean these days.

 

The brilliance of the many faceted 1st Amendment -- not just freedom of expression, but freedom of association -- is that the freedom of expression illuminates in two directions and provides us all with the information necessary to form our free associations.

 

If in the end, this is still about a disagreement with MSK, then your polite remedy under the rules of free association is to not invite yourself to the property owner's property if you don't favor the hospitailty to be found there, or, if uninvited, to scroll on and to establish your own community of rules, well defined. 

 

regards,

Fred

    .  

 

 

 



Post 12

Monday, March 10 - 7:33amSanction this postReply
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Fred - Are you seriously suggesting I intended this topic to pave the way for future legislation forcing online forum owners to post rules of conduct? Your imagination is running away with you (again).

 

There is no "forced association" being advocated here. The planning I referenced only means people can conform their conduct to rules set by owners rather than having to go through a wasteful and contentious process of having to run into boundaries and break their heads open only to know where those boundaries stand. Nobody is coming for your property with this opinion - it's just like you are free to denounce racism while preserving for others the right to be racist. Unclench your bowels at your earliest convenience and read what is plainly written before you.



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Post 13

Monday, March 10 - 8:08amSanction this postReply
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Robert:

 

I just checked out "You Win or You Die" on OL,  and my only question after seeing that is, where does MSK get his patience and sense of restraint from?

 

regards,

Fred

 

 



Post 14

Monday, March 10 - 8:24amSanction this postReply
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Fred - You were out to lunch with your comments this thread. They were so lacking context and proportionality in the face of what's actually written that I'm wondering if you skipped your meds today. Normally I find your James Joyceisms charming, but today they were confusing and unhinged. Your MSK comments smack of resentment and similarly lack the context of what I actually wrote in that OL thread. Expect much thanks and agreement from the man - he lives to have his ass kissed and you just puckered up a wet one.



Post 15

Monday, March 10 - 9:36amSanction this postReply
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Robert,

 

You started a thread, here at RoR where we spend a great amount of time talking about which moral rules should be enforced by law, and you expect everyone to grasp that it is secretly your way of creating a case against MSK without ever mentioning him or any incident involving him?  Give me a break!

 

So, are you saying we should grasp this, but not really, and only in a way that gives you deniability?  This is a psychological kind of eating of your cake and having it.  And kind of weird.

 

You want us to join in your obsession about MSK.  You want to find allies.  You want to express your anger and hurt.  You want to have your booboo kissed and made better.  But then you began to see that people didn't want RoR to be used for that purpose.  So you dress your hurts as if they were an intellectual discussion and when Fred makes a reply to that discussion and not the secret, hidden hurts, you get upset and launch a personal attack on him.  

 

I mean, think about it, who is the one who is 'unhinged' or hasn't taken their meds today?  Wouldn't it more likely be the person who is spending their time coming to this forum trying to vent against someone from another forum, who isn't joined by anyone here in that endeavor, is even told that that behavior isn't welcome here by several people, so he tries to continue what isn't accomplishing anything and isn't welcome by hiding what it is?  

 

You are clearly an intelligent, high-functioning individual, yet this tiny bump in the road you've encountered has turned you into an obsessive.  It should, at the most, have been something that made you angy, something that you vented over for a day, maybe even two or three, and then moved on from.  Your behavior makes it look like there is something in your makeup that is out of kilter.  You make it look like MSK spotted a tendency in you that he didn't want at OL.  It is ironic that the more you obsess over this, the more you are become MLK's best spokesperson.



Post 16

Monday, March 10 - 11:37amSanction this postReply
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Steve - These threads are springboards for discussion, so they are only about MSK or not about him to the extent that commenters want them to be. Experience informs my topics, and I make no apologies for that, so if we can use an example from this forum or the other forum to ground the discussion, then all the better in my book. I don't expect anything from commenters except that they stick to what I've actually written and don't stray too far beyond the solar system of the originating topic post.

 

Fred's comments were not only beyond Neptune and Pluto, they were hurtling through some far-off, unrecognizable galaxy. Gang rape? Forced association? I don't mind going through the looking glass with RoR's own Lewis Carrol from time to time, but WTF? I could have ignored it except he also angrily accused me of harboring wicked statist designs - for which there is no support anywhere in my actual writings. Accurate representation of others is a very big deal to me, which is not coincidentally the source of my kerfluffle with MSK. If I see people being treated unfairly on a forum, I always speak up for them, regardless of our philosophical differences. If nobody returns the favor (although many already have) then that's fine too - as I said, I'm not expecting anything one way or another.



Post 17

Monday, March 10 - 1:48pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

 

Bullshit.

 

I think you could be a welcome addition to any Objectivst forum... BUT ONLY if you raise the honesty bar a bit and be a bit less manipulative. You are just doing spin when you act as if you aren't using RoR to attack MSK by using threads and posts only "to the extent that commenters want them to be" - total bullshit.  People have said don't do that, and you continue. Those are the facts. Who here do you think is so stupid that they don't see that. Be more honest (and get over it!)

 

Fred interpreted your thread as choosing to replace discretion with moral rules - in the sense of replacing free to act on your discretion with now you can't exercise that freedom. Now, we all know that you are perfect and would never make any interpretation, no matter what the thread was titled or what was written, but don't you grasp the possibility that others might make an interpretation other than the one you intended? I mean, you did title it "The Moral Case for Rules over Discretion."

 

Free and forced associations are moral conditions whose understandings can be a basis for determining what rules should exist in moral situations, particularly government rules. I assume you understand that and I assume you don't see that brief description as having to do with Neptune or Pluto.

 

If you are less manipulative and deceptive in your writing, you'll get fewer instances of misunderstanding. And if you are misunderstood, it doesn't make much sense, as an Objectivist, to treat opposition to forced association as if it were from outer space.  If I thought that you were unaware of the difference between free and forced, and wanted to have rules, even in the free area, and that those rules would be enforceable, I'd label that as statist as well.
----------------

You write:

Accurate representation of others is a very big deal to me...

And:

If I see people being treated unfairly on a forum, I always speak up for them...

But here you have misrepresented Fred and attacked him instead of explaining that your intended meaning isn't the one he took, and you haven't admited your degree of responsibility for any such misinterpretations. I'm the one here speaking of Fred being mistreated... by you.  And it still smells like you are whining for someone to come forward to speak up for you on what happened on OL.  

 



Post 18

Monday, March 10 - 2:10pmSanction this postReply
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Steve - I challenge you to find a single sentence in my topic post that could reasonably be interpreted as advocating for "forced association" or government intervention. It's an Olympian leap of logic that is totally unsupported by the transcript. As you said - it's a MORAL case for rules over discretion - which means I'm explicitly not making a legal argument. I'm talking about what individuals *should* do on their own volition because it's morally virtuous and efficient, not what they should be forced to do at gunpoint. As I have stated and now clarified multiple times - although I feel it was quite clear the first time - the "rules" in my topic are set by private property owners, voluntarily, and it is exclusively their decision of what balance they wish to strike. How have I misrepresented Fred at all? He's blabbering on and on against an argument that appears nowhere in my post. If you think Fred is on point, then please, quote for me the offending portion of my topic from which it is logical to conclude I am for "forced association" (or gang rape, etc.).

 

To address your other point - yes - I was drawing from my experience on OL as one example of what I was describing in this topic. There is nothing underhanded about it - I acknowledged as much through use of humor at first, and then explicitly when you questioned me further. But that is not the sum and total of my post, and readers are free to respond with their own examples or hypotheticals or discuss the subject purely in the abstract if they wish. That is what I meant when I said that it is only about MSK to the extent that readers want it to be. Yes - it is first and foremost about MSK to me because that is my most recent and glaring example from personal experience - but it can mean something entirely different to you, and I want your own ideas on the subject, regardless of whether you want to discuss OL's discretionary moderation policy at all.

 

(Edited by Robert Baratheon on 3/10, 2:28pm)



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Post 19

Monday, March 10 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

...it's a MORAL case for rules over discretion - which means I'm explicitly not making a legal argument.

Actually you were making an explicit case for moral rules, but NEVER explicitly denied that they should be legal rules. Or did I miss where you EXPLICITLY said these were not to involve legal rules?

 

All legal rules will have a moral basis - as being morally desirable, or morally undesirable. So, to label a set of rules as "moral" is better than not providing any label at all - a lot better - but it still doesn't rule out implied legal rules. If I say, "An unprovoked killing of another human should always be ruled immoral."  I've not mentioned legal rules but I would not call someone's reasoning as from outer space if they came to the conclusion that legal rules are being called for.

 

Notice how you started this thread:

We all grasp the importance of having fair notice of public laws. Law enforcement without notice is tyranny that can turn even the most docile citizens into lawbreakers at the whim of state control.

But what about rules on private property, such as a home, business, or internet forum? Why do we need rules in these contexts, and is it moral for a property owner to operate solely through discretion?  [Emphasis mine]

Immediately after discussing laws, and tyranny and lawbreakers and state control, you say "we need rules" which naturally leads to the assumption of laws and rules being the topic de jour.  So the first two paragraphs were about laws, then in the very next paragraph you start to discuss "discretion" as if to contrast "laws" with "discretion" --- And you DON'T see why someone would misinterpret you!!!

----------

 

I was clear, Robert, in saying that Fred's interpretation isn't the one you intended. And I did see what you intended, both on the surface and underneath as a continuation of your whining about MSK.

 

You were arguing that owners of private property which they open to the public should provide that public with rules that they create and want to be followed and that giving a set of rules to their visitors would be better, morally better, than using their discretion to make 'rules' on the fly instead of up front. Which in Robertese is really saying, "It was immoral of MSK to just ban me instead of supplying the rule that he thinks I was violating and I hate him."



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