Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The uselessness of pacifism and aggression

I am not a pacifist.

Violence isn't necessarily wrong, and can sometimes even be right. Aggression is the problem, not violence. Not all violence is aggression.

I have no problem with a bully having his head blown off by his victim. This would be an example of good violence. Pacifists who would decry this outcome disgust me. They empower the bad guys.

I am a fan of violence, properly applied.

But I do not initiate force. Period. I have no right to do so, and neither does anyone else.

I don't care if you believe aggression to be necessary or pragmatic. Or foolish to refuse to engage in under "some circumstances".

If you don't do what's right, what's the use of you?



  1. Typically, any civilized person will avoid using deadly force until it is absolutely necessary. Libertarians like us typically define necessary as only when faced with an eminent danger, be it the direct use of deadly force against us or our family, home/property. This is a very reasonable natural and civil position.

    What about defense of other rights? ...not just the inalienable instinct of self preservation or defense of property?

    Would you kill someone who meant to do you no physical harm, but is actively trying to cage you? Would you do it for your freedom to get loose from a cage?

    What if it was a rather nice cage? What if it was a great big mansion with everything you needed or wanted, ...except the freedom to leave?

    Would you kill in defense of your free will?

    1. "someone who meant to do you no physical harm, but is actively trying to cage you?"
      I would walk away from such a person. If they escalate their use of force while trying to cage me until they were doing physical harm, I would use violence in defense of myself. Unless I could see that I couldn't win right now, but I thought there was a possibility to win later, in which case I might bide my time until I saw a way out- a way where fighting and killing could actually accomplish what I want.

      "Would you do it for your freedom to get loose from a cage?"
      If killing would actually result in freedom from the cage, yes. If killing just took me from the frying pan into the fire, no.

      "What if it was a great big mansion with everything you needed or wanted, ...except the freedom to leave?"
      If the mansion actually provides everything I want and need, the freedom to leave is irrelevant. Leaving would probably never cross my mind. Earth is like that. And yet, people still want to leave, probably simply because they don't yet have that freedom, but know it's a possibility. So, no mansion can ever have everything you want. But killing because of that seems wrong.

      And, how do you kill in defense of free will?

    2. Try to think in terms of principle without context.

      Is killing in defense of your rights justifiable and righteous?

      What is the difference between killing in defense of some rights and not others? How is it any different in terms of principle? Either you have inalienable rights or you don't. If you do, then you have a right to defense thereof.

      How is defense of property any different than defense of self determination? Stealing isn't eminent danger, but is a form of violence. Being caged or having property stolen is a violation. It all boils down to time eventually. Time is kind of like a common denominator.

      What is a just and rightful use of force?

    3. "Is killing in defense of your rights justifiable and righteous?"
      Sometimes, not always. I'm not a firm believer in "proportional response", however I certainly don't advocate wildly unproportional responses. Killing to keep your car from being stolen is justifiable and righteous because a car represents a huge chunk of your life, and could be necessary for your life and liberty and to keep your job so you can have a house and food. So, you could say I would kill in defense of property. But, if someone non-violently (doesn't mug me or threaten to initiate force while doing so) steals a dollar from me I don't see killing the thief as justifiable and righteous. If I were asked to arbitrate such a dispute, I would probably place the larger restitution against the killer. Yes, theft is theft, but in most circumstances one dollar isn't going to threaten my life or liberty. The cost of killing over a dollar is too high for me personally.

      And that is the difference between killing in defense of some rights and not others. All actions have consequences, and one of the consequences for killing over every violation, no matter how small, is that you become like the enemy. You lose your humanity and will justify more and more killings. This is how statists think. When there is no difference, then why bother?

      You can use force without killing. If your default response is to kill, you are evil.

  2. So, your position is that you must consider a cost/benefit ratio in determining whether or not you have the right to defense of your rights, or what the proper response should be?

    A dollar is not worth using force, but a car is? A dollar is not worth a life, but a car is?

    Caged for a little while with the chance of being free is not worth defending, but breaking free is? How much time being caged is worth defending against?

    How do you determine that value? Is it not relative to the individual and how they choose to use their time?

    How does time and free will and rights influence value in determining such a cost benefit ratio?

    1. You will always consider a cost/benefit ratio in every act you take. Always.

      You always have the right to defend your rights; sometimes it's not the smartest choice to kill in defense of them. Do what you do and live with the consequences. One of those might be that I consider you evil- but if you do what you think is right, why would that matter?

      A dollar is possibly worth using force to protect, but probably not worth killing over. At least not in any situation I have ever seen. Using force is NOT equivalent to killing. There are a great many ways to use force that don't result in death or dismemberment- why jump to those immediately?

      On the caged question, I would have to know the specifics to answer your queries in any meaningful way. In some cases, I would fight and kill, even knowing that I would die because of it- considering death to be preferable and hoping to take some captors with me. In some cases I might not. Again, specifics matter.

      Yes, value is always individual. You seem to think any slight is worth killing over, and I don't. I feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with you in real life if that's actually how you behave. If, instead, you are engaging in "what if" to try to .... I don't know what... then we could do that all day. I could dream up endless "what if" scenarios that have almost zero chance of ever affecting my life but in which I would consider acting evil to be "justified". I would probably still be wrong.

      You have no right- none whatsoever- to initiate force against any other person. You can still choose to do so. And live with the consequences. You can fantasize, speculate, dream, and wish from now til forever and that truth won't change.

    2. I am not as much making an argument in favor of a position as much as I am trying to define your position as to compare notes, so to speak. Your position seems kind of fluid in some respects. I am testing it with values and principles. It can be complex when you consider enough variables.

      If you don't have a right to initiate force, then how else do you defend rights such as property rights? Stealing isn't a direct physical threat. It isn't using force. But it is violence. If you always have a right to defense of your rights, then how or why and what limits apply, if any?

      If that includes the initiation of force to defend property rights, then what other rights are you rightful in forcefully defending?

      I, personally, like to weigh things based in terms of principles. Once defined, they are applicable to whatever varying values. I guess when you factor in cost/benefit, the question becomes whether or not rights are worth defending.

    3. "If you don't have a right to initiate force, then how else do you defend rights such as property rights?"
      Defense is not initiating force. Someone stealing from you is taking the part of your life you traded for that item. Some say it is aggression, some say it isn't. In either case, aggression isn't the only wrong- violation of property rights (if not counted as aggression) is still something you can defend yourself from and not be initiating force. Defense is never initiation of force.

      "...how or why and what limits apply, if any?"
      You always have a right to defend your rights, that defense doesn't always include killing. If some violation isn't life-threatening, I would say you went to far in killing to defend against it. You are free to not ask my opinion, and I am free to shun you if I consider you a murderer.

      Rights are worth defending- not all rights violations are worth killing over. That seems to be a distinction you have trouble grasping.

    4. Where do you get the idea that I am speaking strictly in terms of killing? I reject that assertion, although I do admit to often thinking in terms of absolute solutions. I admit I like to solve things the first try whenever possible. But that doesn't always mean automatic use of deadly force.

      I suppose part of my reasoning in what I am trying to define here, is that if you have a right, you have a right. And if you can rightfully defend that right, you can defend it by any means necessary and/or available without limitations.

      To suggest otherwise is to devalue rights, to suggest that they are not absolute, that they are fluid or vary in importance. By what standard to you quantify rights?

  3. If one shoots a perp, he is not defending any right to life, or right to property. He is defending life and property. Those are very different things, the chief distinction being that life and property have physical existence and rights are wholly conceptual.

    You heard this one, Kent? Say a baby is born on a full moon in an isolated tribe where every single resident believes a baby born on the full moon must be sacrificed at the altar. Does that baby have a right to life? I think not, technically. Anything else is formally Intrinsicism, where somehow rights literally carry with merely being alive and are not in any way conceptual. To me that's a reductio, since clearly they are conceptual.

    1. Whether or not that baby has a right to life, the villagers have no right to kill it. This shows the negative nature of rights- it isn't that you "have a right" to something, it's that no one has a right to deny you something which wouldn't violate them, or to do something to you. Of course, that isn't going to make a difference since the baby can't defend itself and no one else in such a society would.

      At some level, everything is conceptual, since we are all made of nothing but tiny wrinkles in spacetime- at a deep enough level there is nothing physical. The wrinkles in the fabric of spacetime that make up a person are identical to the wrinkles that make up light, rocks, gravity, and giraffes. All those things are real, by my definition. Just like rights. And rights are a concept that comes along with the concept of being human.

  4. "... since clearly they are conceptual."

    They are not simply a concept contrived for political philosophy. They are not an abstract concept. They are real, absolute, a product of nature, a product defined by tangible reality.

    You are a human being. You have DNA that dictates that you are a human. Because you are a human, you are and do what humans do. This is the root of what an inalienable right is about.

    You have a right to be a human. You have a right to think and behave as a human, to indulge in life, to have the human experience, up to the point where it encroaches on the right of others to be human, to indulge in their human experience.

    The right to defense is a good example. Nature has given you the inalienable/inseparable instinct of self preservation. You cannot tell someone to not respond to clear and present danger, to not 'flight or fight'. Thus you have an absolute right to defense.

    Self determination is another one. Humans are individuals. Nature made us with a mind of our own. We do not decide what others' favorite food or color, etc. are. We, by order of nature and reality, are separate individuals. Thus you have a inalienable right to determine what you do and are.

    It is no different than any other species. You cannot argue that broccoli being green is a concept any more than you can argue meowing cats is a concept. Broccoli is green. Cats meow. They do that because it is what they are, and according to their DNA.