I got this in my email today.
The proposition that South Korea could begin so called ‘scientific’ whaling is an international outrage, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“Like Japan, it remains ludicrous that they believe you need to kill whales to save them,” Mr Banks said.
“This thinking is as lamentable as it is obscene.
“It should be condemned and stopped before it even begins,” Mr Banks said.
Media Contact: Shelley Mackey, Press Secretary, 04 817 6634/ 021 242 8785
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Animals have rights. Yes, even feral conservatives like John Banks.
This PR may seem like one out of left field to some, but John Banks has a long history of campaigning for animal rights and supporting animal welfare legislation. It may seem that he and (former) Green MP Sue Kedgley make strange bedfellows, but a SAFE media release in (pre-election) October last year had this to say.
Greens Lead the Way against Colony Cages
If the nation’s three million caged hens could vote, the Greens and Act’s John Banks would be ruling the roost come this year’s election, says leading animal advocacy organisation SAFE.
Outgoing animal welfare spokesperson and Green MP Sue Kedgley, announced yesterday that her party will pledge against cruel colony cage systems and Act Party candidate, John Banks, also says he will pledge his personal support to help caged hens.
I say (and I am afraid this is going to be very unpopular), good on them both. Many libertarians are conflicted about animal welfare legislation. They think such legislation is unprincipled, while at the same time they abhor animal cruelty. I find their arguments, that the way to prevent animal cruelty is through social rather than legal sanctions, feeble at best and unconscionable at worst.
My defence of my seemingly unlibertarian views on the matter of animal welfare legislation is this. Animal welfare legislation is not a moral issue. It is a metaphysical issue.
(Almost) all libertarians I know subscribe to the view(s) that
human beings are individually possessed of certain inalienable rights, which are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of … happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers – and only such powers – from the consent of the governed; that all laws legislated by governments must be for the purpose of securing these rights; that no laws legislated by government may violate these rights …
If you believe, as I do, that non-human animals also possess some (limited) rights, then it is within the proper scope of government to secure those rights. Animal welfare legislation is not necessarily unlibertarian. Whether it is or not depends on whether or not non-human animals possess rights. And that is a metaphysical question, not a moral one.
49 thoughts on “Killing Whales To Save Them (Part 1)”
Why not savour the whales?
Thinking, thinking. I like the different take on it.
I am one of those conflicted libertarians …
Animals dont have rights. They dont have morals. They live by the Law of the jungle.
Will you pass a law that convicts a Cat’s crulty to mice? It’s rediculous!
In a Free society Animals can be protected from cruelty via selling them under legally binding conditonal covenants to treat them humainly.
And ofcourse because animals are property… it is illegal to kill or mistreat other peoples animals…. Private ownership could save the whales… and every other species that Humans think have value.
Will you ban drug testing and experiments on animals too?
You can reduce this practice to a minimum without Legislation by preaching the ‘gospel of consumerism… dont by stuff that has been tested on animals etc.
As for ‘The Humanity’ of Chickens… Chickens are not humane!!!!
And I love Chickens!
I have adopted two stray cats.
I always donate money to the Cat Refuge etc.
… I find your arguments, that the way to prevent animal cruelty is through social rather than legal sanctions, feeble at best and unconscionable at worst.
Animals don’t have morals, therefore they don’t have rights … this is pure Rand! It’s pernicious rubbish! You’ve osmosed Objectivism!
This is not so Richard.
You have read my post Pugilist sage.
You know my position is Bible based and Predates Rand.
Animals don’t exist on the moral plain… Its that simple.
They exist in an amoral kingdom.
Humanity exists in the higher relm of morality and rights.
What is essential for a free society is that Government be restricted to the protection of *Our rights*… not the rights of the planet… Not the rights of aliens, or God… Or animals.
To set up other rights is to violate our rights.
Libertarians ought to understand that a free society is not a perfect society.
Evil and immoral things will still happen which fall outside the jurisdiction of government.
A free society is the bare minimum government which allows you to live free and at peace…(without threat to your person or property*Fullstop*.
Animal rights dont fit into this strictly limited social contract.
Libertarians ought to be eternally vigilant to insure *No pretence*… no matter how ‘moral’ it may appear can be allowed to create *special laws* which violate the limited consent upon which the powers of government are based.
Now You and I both don’t need Laws to tell us not to be cruel to animals… this is so of almost everyone.
Thus animal cruelty is practiced by a tiny minority of people.
And libertarians propose many ways whereby this evil can be minimised without creating a special wing of Government… which if created could virtually be the basis of a creeping tyranny which results in entirely state regulated economy and socialist Laws!
Only a socialist does not understand this danger.
And it is such a massive threat to liberty as to be *more intolerable* than animal cruelty not being recognized as a crime. It would still be frowned upon and mitigated via social pressures, and minimised by covenants, property rights, etc.
Thus the dangers involved in giving animals ‘rights’ is far more evil than not giving them rights.
Man Has Dominion over them.
They are property.
And as Christian we believe a higher court than Government will hold those Cruel people to account. Nobody escapes the justice of the Almighty.
OK, Tim. Excellent counter-arguments! (If any SOLOists are reading, take note. This is how it’s done.)
I will reconsider my position … cheers! 🙂
Tim, I have reluctantly rejoined Mark in the “conflicted libertarians” camp. I think you have made a strong case for denying legal recognition of animal rights. But I’m still not convinced that you’re not wrong.
Do you think that we have a right to be cruel to animals?
Yes I do. Just as we have the right to commit suicide or huff LPG, or sell cigarettes.
I am not saying these things are moral/ Good. I am saying this is part of morality which must remain in the sphere of personal ethics rather than state power.
Because we must restrict the state to tight principles.
As soon as you give animals rights *you blow everything* …and subject man to animals… ie it then becomes a question whether man can ‘enslave’ an animal to pull his plow, Or devour them?, or make shoes out of them?, or own them???
You open the door to the state regulation of trade/ free enterprise etc… and you are basically imposing *a religious opinion* that is not a universal consencus… which is what a free society is founded upon… those few values which are universally shared by all peoples.
I think cruelty is evil! I think worshipping Alah is evil too… So too does God! Yet we cant legislate against these things. In my veiw teaching your children that ‘there is no God’, or that “Alah is God”, or that ‘Christ never rose from the dead’… are far more grievious evils than cruelty to animals… yet we cannot ban these things. This is because liberty entails a sphere of personal ethics which are outside the jurisdiction of human government… to be judged By God Almighty.
This does not mean we are powerless to halt them.
Just like the Missionaries were able to virtually end Canibalism in New Zealand before the treaty of Waitangi… they did it by preaching Christian ethics and values… There are much better ways of defeating evil rather than Political force.
When you think about it. It is those people whom believe in Allah… or dont believe in a God at all whom are most likely to commit acts of cruelty. I am not suggesting that Christians *cant* be cruel any more than that they wont lie, steal, or commit adultery. I will say that cruelty is against Christian ethics, like those other sins are and that the effect of Christianity in a society is to reduces those sorts of evils by a measurible degree, just as its ethics eliminated canibalism in New zealand *before* the introduction of Brittish Lwa and order. I would think Hinduism would probably reduce cruelty too with its notion of Karma… (though a Brahman can be very cruel to Harajans.)
If your neighbour were to torture his dog would it be wrong for someone to intervene?
If Richard were to physically restrain your neighbour and Mark were to confiscate his dog to prevent animal cruelty should Richard be punished for assault and Mark be punished for theft?
It becomes a matter of Conscience.
I would probably punch the Guy in the nose and take the dog… and risk court action.
Laws dont prevent such behavior.
Or you could Report his actions to the S.P.C.A whom could then put his name on a list of scum whom would be treated like a leper by the community. He may find he is unwelcome at the pub. He may discover his custom is not wanted at the Dairy.
If he was a member of any voluntary society…like a church, he may find himself kicked out…etc.
It would not take long in a free society for most people to realise that though the would not be prosecuted, that it is not acceptable to be cruel, and that it is best to treat animals humanely.
Those minority of perverted sadists whom don’t give a toss about social acceptance also don’t give a toss about Laws which ban cruelty, thus The Law does almost nothing to prevent this evil… as the status quo proves. Ie we have legal prohibitions yet cruelty still happens.
Let me simply ask that if you saw someone Catching a fish with a hook, and dragged it out of the water, and left it flapping about in the sun untill it died… would you run over and hold the guy down and throw his fish back in the sea? If not why not?
Where do you draw the line? If there is a line… would it be an arbitrary/ subjective opinion… why not Ban fishing altogether? Dont you see how ‘problematic’ for Humanity it is when you grant Animals legal rights?
Thus I say man does have the *political right* to be cruel to his own animals. This does not make cruelty morally sanctioned. We are free to condemn it. We are free to dis-associate our selves from cruel people. God may indeed Judge them for their cruelty.
Tim, humans have inalienable rights – to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are moral rights. A government cannot *grant* us such rights. But a government can and should *recognise* our inalienable (moral) rights by granting us corresponding political (legal) rights.
Where governments go wrong is in granting us political rights—such as the right to free healthcare—that do not correspond to any pre-existing moral rights.
In the non-human case, I am not proposing that the government grant legal rights to animals that do not correspond to any pre-existing animal rights. I am proposing that the government recognises such moral rights as non-human animals already have.
Of course, it is problematic when you grant non-human animals legal rights. But no more so than when you grant human animals legal rights. Granting non-human animals legal rights is not the end of the world. We already have laws prohibiting cruelty to animals, and have had for some time. There is no reason why the poultry industry should be exempt from animal cruelty legislation.
Here’s an argument. Is it valid? Is it sound?
No. Mainly because I don’t believe that fish suffer the same as other animals.
The questions you answered were different from the ones I’d asked. My questions were deliberate. If it’s not wrong for someone to intervene then it’s not wrong for a group (e.g government) to intervene.
Now we are getting to heart of the matter Richard.
I want to make a blog post on this subject…when I get around to it.
Inalienable Rights are ‘Natural’/ God-given, and not the gift of Governments.
Yet Government is a convention. I see it as a institution founded upon ‘a peace treaty’… which is the social compact we make with each other…an agreement to ‘live and let live’.
The government is set up to be an impartial ‘moderator’… and we delegate to it certain powers which we as individuals possess as of natural right… eg the right to self defense.
We cannot delegate political powers which we don’t possess of natural right… and this principle becomes one of the limiting factors to the powers of government eg We don’t have the right to rob other people thus we can give the government powers which rob other people. And because we have the right to peaceful religious liberty, This principle will also forbid us imposing our religion/ personal beliefs on others. (we are talking about positive powers and spheres of operation of the constituted government)
Now the reality that a free society is a collection of diverse and disparate peoples whom hold their own values also means for the social compact to get 100% consent by those who are to be governed mean it must be very limited indeed to those few values universally shared by peaceful people, Eg They desire their lives and property, and liberty to be protected. These few values form the *overlapping consensus* upon which we can found our free society of consent.
Anyone whom does not agree to those things cannot be co-habituated with… they are a threat and enemy to liberty and civilization, and *may be resisted as of right*
(They are a threat to Life, property, and liberty)
Their Consent is not necessary , and not getting it is not bar to forming our free society.
As long as these people do not interfere with the lives, liberty, and property of citizens they may be left in peace and treated equally under the law.
The rights we thus constitute are now *Political rights*… and it is in this Conventional form that the government has to do. These are now a special class of moral values which are founded *upon reason*… the rational decison of the various groups to enter into the compact… for their own reasons… and these reasons will differ depending on the individuals/ groups. Christians believe in god given rights. Atheists will understand the Pragmatic benifits of such a compact. Weird minorities will percieve that they will be safe from majority oppressions, etc.
In a Libertarian Free society We will all have personal moral beliefs which we believe strongly about, yet because they don’t fit into the strictly limited peace compact must remain in the domain of personal ethics and self responsibility which is a sphere of freedom which *the Government must be prohibited from encroaching.*
And it a domain of liberty which includes many weird and perverse things contrary to Christian ethics, yet because they don’t involve force or fraud upon any citizen they cannot be legislated against.
This does not mean the Christian is making any compromise when considering endorsing the Social compact, because he reserves the right to his own Religious beliefs and to peacefully follow his own conscience, and so any activity which exists in the domain of liberty that he does not like… he may vocally condemn, and work to remove it from society by any other means than political force. And this is how Christianity truly functions… by preaching, by reasoning, and converting souls… not political coercion.
Thus the Christian can preach against cruelty, and belong to the S.P.C.A, etc and work to convert others to embracing his values *without political coercion*
This is how Morality works its magic in a free society.
It is the sphere of Liberty in which Christianity functions… all it virtues being voluntarily embraced and lived by.
Thus the ‘perfect society for Christianity is not a theocracy, but a free society in which there is a great sphere of liberty of action, which is the domain where Christian ethics operate.
Christ kingdom will not be like this.
Christ has the Divine right to *demand Worship*
Christ has the Divine right to forbid cruelty to animals.
Thus Libertarianism is the political Ideal which Man governs Man.
All this changes when Christ sits on the throne and lays down the Law.
Now remember that He first came to Mankind and offered his kingdom as a voluntary offer. That was rejected. And we have suffered 2000 more years of corrupt human tyranny and chaos. Of Sinful Men in power.
The second time He will set his righteous kingdom up via conquest.
Thus I hope I have in this rave pointed out that a free society is not a utopia by any means.
It is merely a safe place to be and practice our Christian beliefs… and to preach the gospel, and to raise our children in the faith so that they may live in this free society… not protected by cotton wool of a Nanny state… but shielded and wise via the self reliance and Christian values we instill in them.
What I am trying to achieve here is to tie together all the various threads and principles of Libertarianism. Both the ‘natural’, and the conventional, The principles, and the pragmatism.
What emerges is *a very limited government*
Creating a society which is based upon the consent of the governed which is essential to recognise everyone’s Natural equality and liberty.
The Laws are Reason based conventions, because it is irrational to think anyone would consent to being a second class subject.
I am confident that anything I have left unsaid can be assimilated into this scheme.
The real question is this:
Are you Richard enlightened enough to grasp the limits of Government and so be willing to consent to the social compact I propose? 🙂
Many people will think this scheme leaves too much liberty, not enough Government.
Eg those who want Animals to get political rights.
Personally I think the strict limits of this conception of government and the board sphere of liberty it recognizes is it’s strong point, as this it the domain of *personal ethics* which is the real government of a person…*self-government*. It leaves weighty choices which will define the charater and integrity of the individual. For the Christian this sphere of Liberty is the primary domain of Christian values and Christian action shine like a light in the dark. It is the domain of ‘reaping what you sow’. It is the domain where virtue prospers and foolishness and immorality are not propped up via socialism.
*and most importantly It severity!* I draws lines in the sand… Iron clad principles that will halt the growth of tyranny.
I’m supposed to be concentrating on my ‘Good God Evil world’ part 4!
(P1) If someone has a right to walk to the shops, then someone else has an obligation to provide paths to the shops.
(P2) No one has an obligation to provide paths to the shops.
Therefore, (C) No one has a right to walk to the shops.
[edit: Your argument was valid but not sound. Your P1 is false (and your conclusion happens to be true).]
No one has a right to walk into shops Reed… unless the owners hang a sign ‘Open’
Children are like dogs.
If your neighbour were to torture his children would it be wrong for someone to intervene?
If Richard were to physically restrain your neighbour and Mark were to take his child to prevent child cruelty should Richard be punished for assault and Mark be punished for kidnapping?
No Reed Children are not like dogs!
You show how giving animals rights devalues humanity!
You can chain a dog to a post and go fishing.
Would you ban that?
You can kill your dogs puppies if you dont want them.
Would you ban that?
Parents are guardians of their childrens rights, they may not violate them.
The Government is there to protect the equal rights of children as much as adults.
Children are like dogs in that parents/owners have authority over their children/dogs and that others do not have authority over another person’s child/dog.
No Reed The relationship is completely different.
Dogs are property.
Children are not.
The relationship differs by degree – we have a different God given authority over animals than we do over our children.
(P1) If someone has a right to free healthcare, then someone else has an obligation to provide healthcare free of charge.
(P2) No one has an obligation to provide healthcare free of charge.
Therefore, (C) No one has a right to free healthcare.
It’s your thread, so you’ve got the right to derail it….;-)
As it happens, I think P1 is confused at best, false at worst, because “free” healthcare is misleadingly labelled and the problem is not clearly put (I’m assuming it’s a criticism of government-run “universal” health services). It’s paid for via taxation, of which the recipient has probably paid at least *a part* of. Hence neither the giver nor the receiver is giving nor getting anything “free”.
This at least would establish that even in standard libertarian terms, having paid for it, the receiver would have a “right” to the healthcare they’ve paid for. If the healthcare amount exceeds what the person has put in, even dramatically, this is also not objectionable if what the receiver has paid into is an insurance risk pool, for even in private insurance schemes people are obliged to pay other people’s bills. So in practical terms it devolves to the familiar problems around coercion and consent of agreeing to be in a government system in the first place, especially given that a compulsory government system has a head start in terms of efficiency due to it having the maximum risk pool.
In my opinion, health care may well be an area of human action that, like defense or justice, and unlike most other areas, markets simply do not function well in. My view is primarily influenced by Ken Arrow in this regard.
Daniel, do you believe there is right and wrong?
From your link…
Is it possible to have something other than a laissez-faire solution for medicine without doing wrong?
My general policy in answering very vague questions like this is to first get the questioner to state their own position on the question clearly, and briefly explain why they hold it. This is usually my own policy whenever I ask a very vague question too – I regard it as a basic courtesy.
Thus we start with a genuine two-sided debate, rather than a one-sided game of Ask-Me-Another. I tire of those rather swiftly.
So, over to you.
The General Consensus is an Ass.
I sometimes avoid stating my own position because an idea should stand on its own merits. Me having a bad idea doesn’t improve an opposing idea. My own position is the government should do nothing unjust – which in practical terms would likely mean government should do nothing at all regarding health care.
Additionally, I’d like to be able to choose my own health care; I’d like to unambiguously be the customer of my chosen health care providers; I’d like the courts to deal with any injustices or disputes that arise; and I’d like to not pay twice for my health care.
I presumed you wanted to talk about your ideas regarding health care and I’m curious about the underlying philosophy.
OK, that’s clear enough.
I would say in advance that as an ethical rule, “the government should do nothing unjust” is about the same as the rule “I should do nothing unjust.” in that it is something to aim at, but perhaps impossible to achieve. For oftentimes you have to do something unjust in order to prevent a greater injustice. Socrates put this dilemma well in his last words. Which is harder to escape, death or doing wrong? “The real difficulty” he said, “is to escape from doing wrong, which is far more fleet of foot.”
So with the idea that doing wrong is harder to escape than death, we move to the question of healthcare. First, I would propose that as long as the problem is put in terms of rights, the problem is insoluble unless everyone already agrees on the question of rights in the first place – which is unlikely, as not only the meaning of “rights” very vague, Hume’s is/ought gap entails that ethics will always be controversial.
To avoid the discussion taking a Scholastic turn into a verbalist debate over the meaning of words like “rights”, I think the problem should be put differently, perhaps as follows: How can we minimise the health miseries of the population with the least costs in terms of other areas, such as the economy and personal freedom? (Incidentally, I try to stick to the Popperian principle of avoiding debates about the meaning of words. Hence I try discuss theories, principles, policies etc).
If you agree with this sort of formulation of the problem, which you are welcome to amend, then we’ll proceed.
I would also propose thinking about categories of human need less as clearcut and more as a sliding scale. For example, defense and justice would be clustered at one end of the scale as things that even most libertarians don’t think the market can effectively provide, and at the other end well-understood consumer products like cars and chewing gum that even most Labour voters think the market can effectively provide.
I can’t think of an example where this is true.
Do you have an example of where a person would have to do something unjust in order to prevent a greater injustice?
I had a discussion with a friend that considers killing conscientious objectors is warranted if the alternative were losing a war. I think death and defeat would be preferable to the evil of killing conscientious objectors.
If you start with “how can we” you skip the question of “should we”.
Should we try to minimise the health miseries of the population with some costs in terms of other areas, such as taxation and personal freedom?
No, we don’t have authority over others people’s freedoms and money.
Why do you want government to provide healthcare?
>I can’t think of an example where this is true.
As it happens it is quite commonplace. For a typical example, innocent men are temporarily imprisoned on suspicion of committing a crime all the time. Is this unjust? Of course. But the greater injustice would to be to let guilty people escape before their guilt is established. Or a more dramatic example: destroying a ferry full of innocent passengers in order stop the Nazis getting a shipment of heavy water from Norway that would have given them the atomic bomb, as happened during WW2.
>If you start with “how can we” you skip the question of “should we”.
Are you familiar with the is/ought problem in ethics? I’m trying to rephrase the problem in a way it can be constructively solved. As a Christian, and presumably an altruist to some extent, is there any reason you wouldn’t want to “minimise the health miseries of the population with the least costs in terms of other areas, such as the economy and personal freedom?” Generally libertarian-style arguments don’t disagree on this end, they just argue the best means to it is a market-based one. (Objectivists of course are an exception to this, as strictly speaking they don’t care what happens to the population).
>Why do you want government to provide healthcare?
I don’t. But there are good arguments, which we are about to discuss and which Arrow’s paper usefully summarises, that suggest a market-only solution breaks down in this category. Hence non-market institutions, such as not-for-profit organisations and governments, need to play a stronger role than usual.
Here is another very widespread example of the lesser of two injustices. I may vote for, say, Libertarianz, yet I have to suffer under the injustice of having National actually govern. Yet I do not automatically go and blow up parliament on hearing the election night result. I accept the lesser injustice of having to live under a government I don’t prefer, because I consider destroying democracy would only create a greater injustice.
>I had a discussion with a friend that considers killing conscientious objectors is warranted if the alternative were losing a war. I think death and defeat would be preferable to the evil of killing conscientious objectors.
This is an very good example of what I would call a poorly structured problem, as the combination of the is/ought problem plus the logical issues around debating the meanings of words like “warranted” or “justified” make it unlikely to get a useful outcome.
I would rephrase the problem as something like “How can we best avoid death and defeat in war?” Then we can look at a policy like compulsory conscription as to how good a means it is towards this end. For example, we might decide it was something we only used as a last resort, instead of as a first resort as many countries have done. (Even Von Mises himself was in favour of compulsory conscription with the enemy at the gates as I recall). At any rate, in an ethical discussion you’re far more likely to make progress if you are at least agreed on the ends to begin with.
You are bringing up some good problems.
Is a person doing something unjust if they imprison a person that they reasonably believe to be guilty of an imprisonable offence?
I say no.
That’s a good one.
Israelis have this problem every time rockets are fired at them from civilian areas.
I’ve always accepted this type of thing as a just act of self defense as long as there wasn’t intent to kill/harm innocents.
A little. It’s not a problem is it?
God is… therefore, we ought to do what God wants us to do and we ought not do what God wants us to not do.
Yes, because I lack authority over “the economy” (other people’s property?) and other peoples personal freedoms. Romans 3:8 condemns doing evil for a good result.
With the ends as your starting point I think it would be a pragmatic discussion rather than an ethical discussion.
What do you believe is the basis of right and wrong?
>Is a person doing something unjust if they imprison a person that they reasonably believe to be guilty of an imprisonable offence? I say no.
The innocent person may not agree with you…;-)
Which is a good segue to the is/ought problem, which can be usefully rephrased as the dichotomy between facts and decisions (of which ethical decisions are a subset).
Yes I tend to agree that it’s actually not a problem, but it is traditionally considered as such because traditionally people have sought some ultimate justification for their ethics. In contrast, from my perspective which is a fallibilist one, I view the inability to logically get from a fact (an “is”), to a decision (an “ought”), as actually a feature, not a bug. Sure, it necessarily introduces a subjective element into ethics, but I would contend that simultaneously this introduces the concept of personal responsibility*. A fully rational, fully objective, ethics with an ultimate justification would remove this personal responsibility, much the same way a maths equation’s correct result does not rest on the individual.
Fortunately this system does not appear to exist, despite the best efforts of philosophers throughout the ages…;-)
As to my view on what is right or wrong, I have freely chosen to prefer peace and freedom as my basic regulatory principles, though being a fallibilist I don’t think we can achieve them perfectly – we will mostly have to compromise with the least-worst solution to a particular problem. Just because something is imperfect doesn’t mean it is useless either – very far from it. I also admit that I might be completely wrong – war and tyranny might turn out to be a superior ethical system! If that’s the case I take responsibility for my wrong decision….;-)
*Incidentally I don’t argue that decisions are fully subjective either. Facts always pertain to decisions. We consider the facts when making a decision. You just can’t derive decisions from them.
>God is… therefore, we ought to do what God wants us to do and we ought not do what God wants us to not do.
Actually I should point out that this a misunderstanding of the is/ought problem. Let’s assume that God is a fact (leaving aside any debate over this). You can’t logically derive a “should” or an “ought” from this.
This is/ought problem is one of logical relation. Richard can expand further on this I am sure.
Do you still have an is/ought problem?
So, Reed, to clarify, you are not in favour of compulsory taxation to provide defense and law enforcement because “we don’t have authority over others people’s freedoms and money”?
If we don’t have this authority, how do you propose they be provided?
To clarify, government doesn’t own people or their stuff however, like a person, government does nothing wrong when it raises money from what it owns or manages e.g. roads, forests, land, fisheries.
I don’t think it would be a problem raising enough money from public assets and/or donations. It would also be possible for some user pays and fines regarding justice.
>I don’t think it would be a problem raising enough money from public assets and/or donations. It would also be possible for some user pays and fines regarding justice.
I won’t spend much time on this other than to say I disagree with it. The reasons are simple.
1) Governments inherently aren’t very good at making profits. If they were, we wouldn’t need markets. Hence, if governments were to act like ordinary businesses and try make money out of their assets, they would basically lose money in every area where they did not have an enforced monopoly as they would be easily out-competed by the private. Hence justice and defense, critical areas for the survival of society, are unlikely to be successfully maintained. Unless you want to expand the number of enforced monopolies, in which case you end up back at a widely coercive system again.
2) We already have extensive user-pays sections of the justice system – in fact it’s every non-criminal action eg all civil or commercial actions. Further savings here are likely to be minimal.
In my view economics gives us the most useful way of framing the problem, which is in terms of excludable and non excludable or public goods. That gives us a symmetrical guiding principle: if you can’t be excluded from, say, the justice system, or national defense, then you can’t be excluded from paying for it either. Anyway, enough of that digression.
So at any rate it’s clear now re: health that we don’t see the basic problem in anywhere near the same terms. Just as you say you would prefer death and destruction at the hands of the enemy to even the most minimal form of government draft to prevent it, it makes sense that, by the same principle, you would also prefer the entire population to fall ill and die rather than even the most minimal form of government health system to prevent it.
Naturally I disagree with this quasi-Objectivist line of argument. For a start, its very terms mean it can never be practically implemented, so unfortunately must remain a species of wishful thinking. I admit I am far more interested discussing in possible systems than impossible ones.
Of course this particular the moral code is one you’ve freely adopted by your own choice, just as I have mine, hence I don’t think it’s within my power to dissuade you of it, even if I wanted to. So given our ends are so far apart, I doubt it’s worth further debate for either of us over the means, so I thank you for an interesting exchange and will move on.