Thursday, October 27, 2016

"You have no right to" vs "You shouldn't"

(A looser than usual transcript)

Saying "you shouldn't" is an expression of  opinion.

Saying "you have no right to" can be an expression of fact.

Don't get the two mixed up.

For me, there's a short, straight line from "have no right to" to "you shouldn't". One naturally follows from the other in most cases. But, it's not necessary for that to be the case.

No human has the right to archate. To archate means to initiate force, or credibly threaten to do so, or to violate private property rights. Basically, to act like a government or other kind of bad guy. It's the opposite of what makes up anarchy.

The Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP) could be rephrased as the Zero Archation Principle: "No human being has the right, under ANY circumstances, to archate against another human being, nor to advocate or delegate archation." This clears up any confusion as to whether property violations which involve no physical force are addressed by the ZAP. Whether or not they were in the past, they are now.

So, you have no right to archate, but does that mean you shouldn't? My opinion is that it usually does- but not always.

Yes, pushing a kid from in front of a bus is an initiation of force. You don't have a right to do it, but I think this is one of those cases where you should. If it were me, I'd take the chance and deal with any complaints from the kid later. I'd willingly submit to arbitration if the kid I saved believes I owe restitution for initiating force against him in this instance. Maybe I'd then present him with a bill for services rendered, just to even things out.

There may be other cases as well, and if you believe it's important to archate- to do something you have no right to do- in some instance, you ought to feel it's worth dealing with the consequences that come from your act.

So, yes, saying you have no right to do something can be a statement of fact, if you indeed have no right to do it, but translating that into you shouldn't do something is a less supportable position. It's merely an opinion. And not all opinions are equally valid.


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  1. Well stated. Similarly, if you're lost in a blizzard and find a locked cabin, you don't have the "right" to break in and thus save your life, but it makes perfect sense to do so, then follow up by making restitution for any damage caused. Something similar actually happened to a friend of mine, who took a wrong turn while hiking. The cabin owner (not at home at the time) was pissed off and claimed my friend had damaged something he was pretty sure he hadn't, but he paid to settle the matter amicably and overall was lucky the option was available.

    1. Yep. Do what you think you have to and accept the consequences.