Teleporter: Good or bad?

Good! People must be free!
13 (65%)
Bad! I like knowing that bombs won't appear in my house one day.
7 (35%)

Total Members Voted: 19

terry_freeman on August 04, 2009, 09:05:42 pm
Granted that there are brazen shoplifters, that does not make everyone a shoplifter. What are the usual losses, percentage-wise? I used to hear figures such as 1-3% - significant, enough to hurt profits, but not evidence of universal custom.

I'd disagree with the "higher being" and "fear of government-induced punishment" being the only two reasons to avoid atrocious behavior. There is the "I ain't your victim"-induced punishment, to start with -- one reason the murder rate is lower in states which do not rabidly restrict the right of people to defend themselves. There's also the matter of plain old self-respect. I don't steal because I don't want to live in a society where people steal. It's unfortunate that some do, but I'm sure not going to contribute to that. One time I was shopping with my kid brother. Purchased a rotary saw blade. As we were walking to the car, I noticed that two packages had stuck together; I had paid for only one. I turned around and returned the extra. My bro asked why I did that; he knows I am an atheist. I answered, "I don't want to be the kind of person who takes what's not his."

It is foolish to generalize from shoplifting to more atrocious conduct. Most people have a scale of acceptable vs unacceptable behavior. If one is high enough in the government, mass murder may be considered "acceptable;" it's what governments do. If one is not so conditioned, mass murder is beyond the pale. A little bit of serial murder would define one as a psychopath, outside the usual norms, but not qualified to be a General or Commander in Chief. A bit of shoplifting might qualify one as a petty tax collector or bureaucrat. A very large number of people have no desire to personally appropriate other people's property, but might delude themselves to accept a bit of tax-funded "help", if the government acts as their bag man. And some few of us are honest enough to reject the immoral use of coercion even by officially-approved government agents - these are the libertarians.



Sean Roach on August 04, 2009, 10:34:25 pm
Two points.
One.  Even without fear of repercussions, there's empathy.  I do not do to others because it'd bother me if someone did it to me.
Two.  There's an old quote, and I'm probably going to mangle it.  "one death is a tragedy, a thousand is a statistic."  Doing To someone, whom you can see, requires you override your natural tendency not to harm others.  Doing to a spreadsheet doesn't cause that pang.  Militants have long attempted to demonize their opposition.  Make them inhuman in the eyes of their soldiers so they could kill more easily.

SandySandfort on August 04, 2009, 11:35:41 pm
Two points.
One.  Even without fear of repercussions, there's empathy.  I do not do to others because it'd bother me if someone did it to me.
Two.  There's an old quote, and I'm probably going to mangle it.  "one death is a tragedy, a thousand is a statistic."  Doing To someone, whom you can see, requires you override your natural tendency not to harm others.  Doing to a spreadsheet doesn't cause that pang.  Militants have long attempted to demonize their opposition.  Make them inhuman in the eyes of their soldiers so they could kill more easily.

Close. Josef Stalin said "One death is a tragedy, A million just statistics."

quadibloc on August 05, 2009, 12:14:58 am
I speak from first hand experience working retail, and I can tell you that since it's now almost criminal to stop a shoplifter and chasing a crook out the door can (at best) get you fired or even KILLED, people are brazen in their shoplifting.

All this proves is that those people who are dishonest are brazen in their dishonesty.

Some people can be honest because they believe in right and wrong without having to believe in the supernatural.

But I will grant you that, in general, people only tend to respect the rights of those they regard as their fellows. They will kill to defend their country if it is attacked - and, often, participate in wars of aggression as well, without all that much pushing. So, if they're alienated enough to regard anyone rich enough to own a store, or shares in a retail chain, as the enemy, then they may well only be kept from shoplifting by force.

The very earliest civilizations had to deal with the problem of keeping people originally from different tribes together in one state that was intended to function as if it was a single much bigger tribe. All sorts of bizarre customs, from the Babylonian custom of "blood money" to the Islamic law on rape, are consequences of trying to keep internal peace, even at some cost in justice, in order that the state can remain united and therefore strong in the face of its neighbors.

So the problem of having alienated groups within a society is one that's been around for a long time, small comfort though that is.

Dunfalach on August 19, 2009, 07:02:34 am
While individuals with a view of right or wrong may not be religious, general societal views of right and wrong, particularly in the US, have a foundational origin in religion. Many of us accept or reject particular parts of those views, and society as a whole may accept or reject the views of religions that once held sway over it, but the whole original concept of right and wrong were initially defined in terms of pleasing or angering divinity. In the US, of course, the societal values of right and wrong were intially based on Christianity, since most of the early immigrants were either Christian themselves or from the nominally Christian societies of Europe, whether Catholic or Protestant. In the 20th century and into the 21st, there has of course been a major move in the US away from Christian views of morality and into a sort of mix and match personal morality where each person (even many nominal Christians and nominally Christian churches) considers themselves their own authority on right and wrong rather than looking to a divine authority to define it. When a society generally holds a religious view of right and wrong, even the majority of those with no personal belief in that god will conform their outward conduct to its expectations to avoid social backlash as well as absorb at least a significant portion of its tenets into their own personal views of right and wrong simply by being saturated in it.



Frank B. on August 19, 2009, 07:40:51 pm
... When a society generally holds a religious view of right and wrong, even the majority of those with no personal belief in that god will conform their outward conduct to its expectations to avoid social backlash as well as absorb at least a significant portion of its tenets into their own personal views of right and wrong simply by being saturated in it.

Or to rationalize acceptance of social rules we don't agree with.

quadibloc on August 20, 2009, 04:18:20 am
general societal views of right and wrong, particularly in the US, have a foundational origin in religion.

Yes, but the views of right and wrong embodied in any given religion did not all originate de novo with the religion. Thus, the prohibitions on murder and theft reflect a very old social consensus, and thus I don't think it would be possible to make a case that the Libertarian generalization from those prohibitions to one on the initiation of force is as inherently suspect, having a "religious" origin, as a prohibition on blasphemy.

It is true that absent mathematical rigor, one is still starting from a set of propositions that "sound reasonable", and peoples' standards of what is reasonable are shaped by their culture, of which religion is an element. It is not clear how much can be done about that, although Ayn Rand certainly tried...

Norfolk_Boy on September 03, 2009, 04:51:05 am
While individuals with a view of right or wrong may not be religious, general societal views of right and wrong, particularly in the US, have a foundational origin in religion.

I'd strongly challange this, a simple reading of the Religious Scriptures of any major religion will produce some laws and moral views that are distinctly not what most people today would consider moral. The moral views of right and wrong certainly are influenced by religion, but usually, religion is the thing against which the progression of morals is set. We certainly would not consider it moral to stone to death disobedient children, or to put people to death for sex outside of marriage.

Morality instead comes from the expectations and demands that a society places upon it's members, that religions share these is because the society produces religions, and not that the religion originates the society's morals, and that's why, over time, some of the views expressed in religious texts are outdated.

Sorry to have a first post that's kind of a rant, I was motivated to post because of a desire to applaud and echo terry_freeman's comment.

dough560 on September 08, 2009, 01:33:07 am
A person's ability to pick-up and move, is a basic right.  Governments try to restrict this right through laws and regulations.  However; smart governments leave a safety valve, where determined individuals move as they decide.  Governments who believe they have nothing to fear, eliminate individual choice and safety valves.  People who would have moved to an area with more perceived freedom, will revolt.  The shape this revolt takes will depend on perceptions.  Many assume a revolt by the general population or a small minority will result in individuals and the militia being defeated by the military and the police.  John Ross, "Unintended Consequences", brings forth the theory;  people will remove political figures who instigate abusive laws, and the enforcement agents.  He definitely makes the point, they have to go home sometime.  At that point they are vulnerable to attack.  Many of the laws we endure, teach a contempt for government.  Resulting in widespread distrust.  The faith people once had in government, no longer exists.

quadibloc on September 08, 2009, 07:02:35 am
A person's ability to pick-up and move, is a basic right.

Ah, but while everyone agrees it was wrong of East Germany to build a wall to keep its people from moving out, don't communities have a right to decide who gets to move in?

Brugle on September 08, 2009, 11:26:02 am
don't communities have a right to decide who gets to move in?

No.  You have no right to control peaceful people that move onto your neighbor's property (with her permission).

You may not like something that a newcomer does, just as you might not like something that an old-timer does.  Deal with it the same way.

SandySandfort on September 08, 2009, 11:37:07 am
don't communities have a right to decide who gets to move in?

No.  You have no right to control peaceful people that move onto your neighbor's property (with her permission).

You may not like something that a newcomer does, just as you might not like something that an old-timer does.  Deal with it the same way.

More precisely, "communities" are intellectual fictions. They cannot have rights. Only people have rights. Ditto for "cultures" and "governments." If you have no right to interfere with whomever your neighbor admits, no collective can have such a power/right either.

J Thomas on September 08, 2009, 12:10:49 pm
A person's ability to pick-up and move, is a basic right.

Ah, but while everyone agrees it was wrong of East Germany to build a wall to keep its people from moving out, don't communities have a right to decide who gets to move in?

Whether or not they have the right, they will enforce that right.

Imagine the following: A rich retired government contractor from earth comes to ceres. He has a massive ship with  a great big engine, and he doesn't understand much about where to aim his exhaust plume. He doesn't understand much about docking without causing damage or casualties. He doesn't understand much about the consequences of scattering mine tailings at high delta-V.

Everybody *could* just wait for market forces to outcompete him. They *could* hope that when he crashes it will be into somebody else. They *could* hope that the debris of his final accident will not get in their way.

Or they could one way or another arrange to have a safer environment for themselves....

They could suggest he hire a pilot. They could suggest he learn the ropes. And if he says "Hey, thanks for the suggestion but I know what I'm doing. I got a degree in this stuff from Yale before I came out here, and also I'm an expert on being a libertarian. I'll take care of myself and you can take care of yourself."....?

Some individual is going to protect himself and his community, one way or another. And he isn't going to do something drastic until he's got a strong sense that the community is pretty much agreed about it.

Because if he was the sort of person who went out and did drastic things without paying attention to the community, he'd be like the hypothetical earthie immigrant. And people like that would tend not to last very long.

So, who do they boot out? Public dangers, obviously. Anybody else? Yes, whoever their community standards do not tolerate. They might not tolerate people who continually preach to them about why they need a strong government. They might not tolerate slave-owners. They might not tolerate people who do science experiments that sound like they might be dangerous. You can't really predict just how community standards will turn out.

Brugle on September 08, 2009, 07:38:51 pm
they will enforce that right.
Perhaps, but the example you give is not convincing.  I expect that essentially the same action would be taken against anyone who acts like your rich contractor, whether he's from Ceres or from Earth.

J Thomas on September 08, 2009, 11:05:55 pm
they will enforce that right.
Perhaps, but the example you give is not convincing.  I expect that essentially the same action would be taken against anyone who acts like your rich contractor, whether he's from Ceres or from Earth.

I agree. People who depend on everybody around them to be sensible, people who have a lot of neighbors that use big complicated machines that could kill a lot of people by accident, can't afford too much laissez faire. They will find ways to take the power to do great harm away from anybody they don't trust with it.

I would be interested to see how a society based strongly on individual responsibility rationalised out that contradiction.

 

anything