Yesterday's column has inspired a long discussion of rights and morality in the comments. I suggest you read them to see what lead to this exchange. My answer ended up being longer than most of my columns. I felt that this was important enough to put out front, so here is my answer to "Mike" (some things are not in their original order for clarity- I hope).
Mike- you are really making me think tonight. Thanks!
One thing I suppose I need to explain is that this is my personal morality. This is the morality I will defend and that I will judge others by, but I realize that others, whom I consider to be "of bad character", will have other "moralities". I don't expect anyone else to consider this "universal" although if I am to believe it and live according to it, I myself MUST act as though it is universal. I will explain what I believe, why I believe it, and the actions I will take if someone attacks me in violation of it. In my mind, this attack makes the other person wrong. Obviously others, such as all statists, don't accept this. They have their own inconsistent "moralities" that allow them to justify theft and aggression. I don't think an inconsistent moral code can be taken seriously except by those who are inside it and can't see how ridiculous they are being.
OK, so then why is it species specific when it comes to these things? .....Is aThe reason I consider rights to be "species specific" is that all life must feed on other life. There is no obligation to any species other than your own. Humans have the capacity to have compassion for other species, but most other species do not. A tomcat that kills another's kittens is not immoral since cats have no sense of morality. He is simply helping to see to it that his genes have a better chance of making it to the next generation, which is as close to a morality as cats have.
tomcat immoral when it eats stranger kittens?
How then was Crowley wrong in the Book of the Law-"Do as thou wilt, that shall
be the extent of the Law"(itself stolen, and perverted, from the old
saying "An' it harm none, do as thou wilt")..?
If the "law" was "Do as thou wilt, that shall be the extent of the Law" there would be no sense in even uttering it, much less writing it down, since that is how bacteria live. Some humans may live that way, but once again, if they initiate force, I will defend myself in accordance with the ZAP.
Why isn't might right? I there some mystical pronouncement, or is there
"Might" isn't right or wrong. Just as gravity is neither right nor wrong. It can be used wrongly. Initiating force is what is wrong, even if doing so is suicidal. Once again, humans have a moral sense, even if it doesn't always remain consistent. I don't think anyone's moral sense says that "might is right", even if their behavior makes it appear that they believe that. Instead they will try to justify their aggression using some wishy-washy morality of the moment.
...though I must wonder with the scarcity of resources on Earth, how force
cannot have been a fundamental portion of virtually all property-at least at one
time? And since force can be justly used to defend property that was once gained
by force-why not simply project that force?
I don't think force was necessary in all acquisition of property; especially not before humans started bumping into other tribes who were already there. For much of human prehistory, finding another tribe was probably a rare thing, and a cause for trade, sex, and celebration. Until the territories started overlapping too much. I think that is where force- "war"- came into play.
I also am not going to lose sleep over wrongs that occurred long before I was born, between people who are long dead. If that were the case, everyone would probably commit suicide from guilt. Blank slate- from this point on initiate no force; steal from no one. I paid for my car. Did any of the steel in it come from land that was stolen from a rightful owner at some point? I can't know that one way or the other. Did I commit or authorize the theft or approve of it? No.
In that way of thinking, "defending rights" could well mean advancing them
arbitrarily, collectively, or simply individually-engaging in theft. Is there a
way out of this while the increasing scarcity of Earth prevails?
I think everyone knows the difference between "defending rights" and "advancing them"; one is defense, the other, aggression.
If humans find no solution for an "increasing scarcity", nature will solve it for us, probably in a very cruel and horrible way.
In other words, if true peace and freedom is to be in the future, don't humans
need to get off this rock?
Yes, we must. But not only for peace and freedom. For survival in the long term, and possibly even in the short term, yes, we must move off this rock. You know what they say about keeping all your eggs in one basket. Earth is a fragile basket lying in the middle of the interstate and all our eggs, figuratively and literally, are in this basket. To not take action when we can, and know we must, is to guarantee our extinction (sooner than it has to occur). NASA can't keep us all earthbound forever if we refuse to cooperate and keep waiting.