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Post 60

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 4:04pmSanction this postReply
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Byron, you wrote
I am not sure that is an accurate conclusion of the NIOF principle (moral or otherwise).
I agree, but anarchism is not THE ONLY conclusion of the NIOF principle. There are others - and you are correct, Objectivism holds the NIOF principle in very high regard, but within an ethical context.

The anarchist conclusion is based on NIOF when it is used as an absolute right and not as derivative from ethics.

It is this difference in importance when formulating arguments that lead to such widely varying conclusions.

Michael

(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 5/03, 4:50pm)




Post 61

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 4:25pmSanction this postReply
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Knapp is obviously (post 54, last sentence) egging me to continue a worthless debate with him -- worthless for two reasons. 

The first reason is that he is a sophist who evades substantive criticisms whenever it suits his fancy, yet expects others to continue to engage his claims and criticisms. Most recent example:

In this post I observed that when Knapp calls President Bush a mass murderer, kidnapper, etc., he also by logical necessity must be condemning America's volunteer soldiers for carrying out those alleged crimes. In fact he implies as much, because -- as he put it here -- "'vee ver justtt followink orderrrz' hasn't cut any mustard since 1945." This can only mean that American troops must be held morally accountable for their actions.

But Knapp clearly isn't comfortable when I point out that this means he's really attacking American soldiers, not just their Commander in Chief. So in his subsequent response, note that he completely evades my criticism of the anti-soldier implications of his statements damning U. S. military actions. Instead, he just indignantly repeats the empty proclamation that his calumnies are directed against Bush and U. S. leaders, "not against the military." Knapp even says that "for enlisted troops and junior officers" -- i. e., the soldiers actually committing those alleged mass murders, tortures, kidnappings, etc. -- "I favor a general amnesty..."

Okay, Knapp, which is it:

Are U. S. soldiers just some sort of mindless, programmed robots without volition, who must follow Bush's orders -- and who thus bear no intellectual or moral responsibility for actually carrying out  what you call Bush's acts of "murder," "kidnapping," the "rape of Fallujah," etc.?

Or -- as morally self-responsible agents in a volunteer military -- are these American soldiers, and not just Bush, also "mass murderers," "kidnappers," "imperilists," etc.?

The logic is inescapable: The soldiers are either not morally responsible for their "crimes," or they are. If they are not, then you are insulting their moral and/or intellectual capacities. If they are, then you are insulting their moral character.

Which insult do you mean?

Knapp's evasive sophistry -- which you'll see on full display should he reply to this post -- is the first reason why continuing to fence with him is worthless. The only conceivable value in doing so is to expose the full moral ugliness of the Saddamite perspective to anyone here who may still need such education. (However, I think that chore has been sufficiently discharged.)

But secondly, it's worthless because as I pointed out in this post, Knapp clearly has escaped the gravitational pull of earthly reason, and now resides completely out of its reach, somewhere on the moon. Any further struggles to reach him would be (as Linz puts it in post 50) an exercise in masochism.

(Incidentally, I'll continue to engage with my old friend Mark Humphrey on this, because I know him to be a very different sort of person. However, Mark -- I'd prefer to do that privately...and preferably over some adult beverages, after my talk in Missoula on Friday night!)




Post 62

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 4:41pmSanction this postReply
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Quoth Doc Garcia:

"I don't want to speak for Thomas, but from my reading of his Free Radical article, libertarians all agree in the NIOF principle, but do not agree with how such a principle is induced and/or deduced (if at all)."

That's a fair assessment of my argument, although now, several years later, I would qualify it in several respects.

The first respect in which I would qualify it is in noting that not all people operating under the rubric "libertarian" agree on non-initiation of force as a binding political principle. I could get all prissy and purist and say that those people aren't "real" libertarians, but that would require that I deny history. "Libertarianism" started off as the doctrine of free will versus predestination; later it was identified with communist anarchism. Its identification with the non-aggression principle is a 20th century phenomenon, probably most widely popularized by Rand, even though she herself eschewed the term.

In other words, I made a dangerous assumption when I assumed that anyone who might read the article would understand the word "libertarian" as I intended it to be understood.

The second qualification is that, if a government expands beyond certain exceptionally minimal functions, then Michael's statement "a floating political principle, cut off from its metaphysical (reality), epistemological (reason) and ethical (rational self-interest) roots is pretty useless in defining a system of government" may have some validity.

My conclusion that "different kinds of libertarians" can work together should have been predicated upon them working together on a narrow range of matters, and on any government they might take part in _addressing_ a narrow range of matters in a very explicitly defined way.

Regards,
Tom Knapp



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Post 63

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 5:16pmSanction this postReply
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Quoth Robert Bidinotto:

"In this post I observed that when Knapp calls President Bush a mass murderer, kidnapper, etc., he also by logical necessity must be condemning America's volunteer soldiers for carrying out those alleged crimes. In fact he implies as much, because -- as he put it here -- ''vee ver justtt followink orderrrz' hasn't cut any mustard since 1945.' This can only mean that American troops must be held morally accountable for their actions."

So far, correct. But there are different areas of moral accountability, and once again you are attempting to smuggle in a concept in order to modify my argument. Jumping forward to a repetition of that bootleg:

"as morally self-responsible agents in a volunteer military"

The US has a volunteer military at the entry level, i.e. the person joining the military is not forced to do so. After that, it can go one of two ways: Either the government honors its contract and the oath it extracted from those soldiers pursuant to that contract (to defend and protect the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic), or it doesn't. In the case of the Iraq war, and in many other cases, it doesn't.

The average American warrior volunteered to join the military and signed a contract/swore an oath binding him to do certain things. Military law precludes him from doing other things.

Once one is in the military, however, if the government makes demands which are illegal, not allowed for in the contract, etc., the soldier has a difficult decision to make. He is supposed to refuse to obey unlawful orders ... but if he does, the government will simply ignore the terms of its contract and punish him. In some cases, he can even theoretically be simply summarily executed.

Each soldier, sailor, airman and Marine in Iraq is an individual, and each individuals knows whether he or she is volunteering to go beyond the terms of contract and the constraints of law in order to take part in an illegal war of aggression, or whether they are doing so because they were coerced -- surrounded by other people with guns and the power (and will) to imprison or kill them if they simply say "this is not in my contract, this is illegal and I'm going home."

I do not consider those who are coerced to commit crimes to be truly culpable. If they have any culpability whatsoever, it's certainly far less culpability than those who choose, as a matter of free will to commit crimes, or even those like you who stand on the sidelines and shriek at the top of the lungs that they must do so. "I was just following orders" doesn't work. It's an evasion along the lines of "I was just doing my job," when in fact they were not. However, "I was doing what I was told because I was forced to do so on threat of punishment or execution" most certainly does work.

Since I do not wish to punish the innocent along with the guilty, and since I can confidently predict that the moral reprobates who actually choose to commit crimes will hide themselves among those who were coerced should a day of judgment be reached, I prefer a general amnesty of those in lower ranks. As for general officers and most field-grade officers -- trial by jury and full accountability. Most of them knew better. Some of them had the power to stop this thing had they had the guts to stand up with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he told Congress it was idiocy. Others had the power to order troops under their command to conduct the war honorably in the field, and chose to do precisely the opposite and join in coercing America's warriors into acting like thugs. Those poltroons now have the blood of more than 1600 American warriors on their hands. They've disgraced themselves, their nation and the profession of arms.

Tom Knapp



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Post 64

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 6:16pmSanction this postReply
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Thomas,

The US military was predominantly the following type in the Iraq invasion?
"I was doing what I was told because I was forced to do so on threat of punishment or execution"
Hmmmmmm...

Our guys????!!!

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL...

Under coercion then, they sure kicked the shit out of Saddam Hussein and dismantled and destroyed his military apparatus in record time.

Our leaders must have one hell of a great threat-and-intimidation technique to keep out soldiers in line, and make them produce and follow orders. Better even than the slave days of the deep South.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL...

Sorry... I'm going to have to show this post to some of the guys I know who went over there. Oh, they bitch a little about service life, but what they have told me is NOTHING like that.

Here - check out this quote I posted earlier:
Freedom isn't free and someone must do what they must to preserve it.
These words are by Sgt. Donald R. Walters - fallen Iraq war hero. It is from a personal letter - now inscribed on his memorial.

This guy died over there - and I have not been able to uncover any evidence at all that he was intimidated by the Army into fighting instead of packing up and going home because he didn't believe in the war.

Michael




Post 65

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 6:44pmSanction this postReply
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MSK, great post. 

Yeah, this is hilarious.

I've read plenty of accounts by and about our soldiers stationed over there, watched video interviews with them, seen news footage showing how they stand and cheer whenever Bush or Rumsfeld (or any of the alleged Evil Emperors of Knapp's nightmares) show up to thank them. [Editorial addition: These are the same troops who just voted overwhelmingly to re-elect the Bush-Cheney administration.] Sure is strange conduct by men and women being coerced to fight in this war, eh? And I suppose the troops who re-enlist are doing that at gunpoint, too.

What an absolute crock of b. s.!

Whatever our soldiers are doing over there, it's clear that they're doing it because they choose to and want to. It's clear that they are doing it effectively, and with extraordinary concern for innocent life and the sensitivities of the locals -- something that is historically rare and remarkable. It's also clear that these troops aren't blaming their bosses in Washington for anything except occasionally insufficient ammo or armor to allow them to continue doing their jobs.

So my point stands: If George W. Bush is a "mass murderer," so are they. But he isn't, and they aren't, either. Quite the contrary. They're doing exactly what they should: fighting the war Over There so that we won't have to fight it Over Here.

And unlike some, I thank and honor every one of those brave souls for doing it.

(Edited by Robert Bidinotto on 5/04, 7:32am)




Post 66

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 7:02pmSanction this postReply
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Michael Stuart Kelly said:  “From the arguments I have seen, many anarchists consider that to be just a minor detail.”

 

I don’t consider myself an anarchist; I consider myself a Constitutionalist.

 

Michael Stuart Kelly said:  “So instead of telling US (we - the people in America) that, why don't you try to convince the thugs who arm themselves to the teeth while looking at us - either (1) wanting to destroy us for making life on earth glorious and pleasurable, or (2) coveting what we have.”

 

I’m not interested in convincing anyone, per se.  Words don’t do much for me – actions do (though, I will agree that words can sometimes be dangerous and effective in and of themselves, assuming there is proper thought behind them).  I lead by example (e.g., www.loveisearned.com).  If my example isn’t “convincing,” words certainly won’t be.  Unlike you, I don’t believe that individuals have, as part of their nature, a desire of “wanting to be a “thug.”  What I think is part of their nature is a desire to accomplish, and they want to accomplish because they want to feel good about themselves.  For those who fail to do so, they resort to other means based on a flawed perception of how to achieve solid self-esteem (i.e., they think achieving the reward is what will build their self-esteem – not how the reward is achieved).  By stealing and using power to control others, they think they accomplish the same thing.  As that’s the easier way, it becomes self-reinforcing.

 

Michael Stuart Kelly said:  “Whoever originally came up with "checks and balances" for limiting government - instead of the "primacy of non-initiation of force" that leads to anarchy - deserves a debt of gratitude that none of us can ever really repay.”

 

And that is clearly the attitude that is self-reinforcing gutter talk.  The way you “repay” the “debt” is by protecting the values that they died for with direct action.  This “I’m not worthy” nonsense is self-defeating.

 

Michael Stuart Kelly said:  “Without it, we would still be living in a world of tribal wars, serving an all-powerful tribal leader”

 

Huh?  Are you paying attention at all to what’s going on in Amerika (not to mention the world)?

 

Michael Stuart Kelly said:  “Whoever compares the USA government to thugs simply ignores checks and balances. There are no checks and balances in the Mafia or in a dictatorship. There are in the USA government.”

 

Never mind answering that last question – you clearly are not paying attention to what is going on.

 

Michael Stuart Kelly said:  “Thugs like to be obeyed. They kill and torture so they can do it. They won't listen to reason and they just won't stop by themselves. They need constraints.”

 

The naiveté is most unfortunate.

 

- B.   

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www.loveisearned.com

Instant Messenger:

AOL:  brilovett, MSN:  blovett@gsb.uchicago.edu, Yahoo:  bm_lovett

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Post 67

Tuesday, May 3, 2005 - 7:21pmSanction this postReply
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Brian,

I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you. It is extremely obvious to me that you have very little knowledge about child psychology, much less adult. Go tell some of the little 5 year old bullies I have known that they are in a quest to achieve solid self-esteem or whatnot with your constructs.

You keep saying that I am not paying attention to what is going on around here. I will state that I have been out of the USA for over 30 year - in Brazil - and on coming back, I am overwhelmed by the goodness, wealth, cleanliness, seriousness and a whole lot of positive adjectives I could use. I know other parts of the world for decades on end up close .

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?

From my viewpoint, you are not paying attention at all. You are just sitting in the middle of all this wealth and bitching your ass off.

The USA is a wonderful place to be.

Michael




Post 68

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 7:10amSanction this postReply
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Robert B. you are a generous man. 

Regarding:

the only difference between us is that you have made your points with far more verbal economy than I.



It is interesting that you mention that, I was just ruminating over that fact.  I think it gets me into trouble, in that my posts are often misunderstood and clearly not as effective as yours.  I admire your patience to taking things step by step rather than leaping to the conclusion. 

Wolf

(Edited by Robert Davison on 5/04, 8:12am)




Post 69

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 7:14amSanction this postReply
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Michael,

The credit for checks and balances goes to Montesquieu.




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Post 70

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 7:22amSanction this postReply
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Robert D,

Your post 68 fails to note that each additional word I write only gives critics one more nit to pick. And pick they do. Some days I feel that I'm only a tiny piece of lint between somebody's forefinger and thumb...

...Okay, not really, but the image is funny.




Post 71

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 7:24amSanction this postReply
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Thank you Linz for your kind words.  You should have been a diplomat. 

Robert B deserves your vaulting praise.  He is a boon to Objectivists, one of our most articulate spokesmen.

wolf




Post 72

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Knapp,

(such as the fact there were no "weapons of mass destruction" and the fact that there was no operational relationship between the Ba'athist regime and al Qaeda)

How can you believe these things?

wolf




Post 73

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 7:54amSanction this postReply
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Garcia wrote:

Where Objectivism disagrees with libertarians who are anarchist is that they believe retaliation against the initiation of force is better left in the hands of private individuals than the government.

Retaliation in the hands of private individuals leads to shooting first and asking questions later and also to lynchings.   Surely not be to recommended.





Post 74

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 8:05amSanction this postReply
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Mr Knapp,

Others had the power to order troops under their command to conduct the war honorably in the field, and chose to do precisely the opposite and join in coercing America's warriors into acting like thugs.

Would you care to explain this?

Wolf




Post 75

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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Some days I feel that I'm only a tiny piece of lint between somebody's forefinger and thumb...
Great.  I am still laughing.

w




Post 76

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 8:15amSanction this postReply
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Robert Davison wrote "Retaliation in the hands of private individuals leads to shooting first and asking questions later and also to lynchings."

Not really. I suggest you read George H. Smith's Justice Entrepreneurship In a Free Market available at http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/3_4/3_4_4.pdf.




Post 77

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 8:56amSanction this postReply
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Quoth "Wolf" --

"(such as the fact there were no "weapons of mass destruction" and the fact that there was no operational relationship between the Ba'athist regime and al Qaeda)

"How can you believe these things?"

The US has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, much of it dedicated to finding weapons of mass destruction and/or proving a prior operational relationship between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda.

Thus far, what they've turned up are: A few pre-1991 chemical artillery shells which do not appear to have been part of the Iraqi government's stockpiles after 1991 (i.e. they were probably taken off the battlefield and hidden by rebels or people who thought they could make money with them); and no evidence whatsoever of an operational relationship between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda.

I believe that there were no weapons of mass destruction, and that there was no operational relationship between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda for the simple reason that there's thus far not been produced so much as one iota of evidence to substantiate the contrary claims.

Tom Knapp



Post 78

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 8:59amSanction this postReply
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Quoth "Wolf" --

"Others had the power to order troops under their command to conduct the war honorably in the field, and chose to do precisely the opposite and join in coercing America's warriors into acting like thugs.

"Would you care to explain this?"

Offhand, the most prominent recent example is the memo from Lt. General Julian Sanchez, recently uncovered, ordering the abuse of prisoners.

Tom Knapp



Post 79

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 3:16pmSanction this postReply
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Rick,

Not really. I suggest you read George H. Smith's Justice Entrepreneurship In a Free Market
Well that proves it then doesn't it.

wolf




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