Marvin_Edwards wrote: ↑
May 22nd, 2020, 7:03 pm
Have you ever referred to yourself as a "citizen"? Have you ever exercised any of your rights that come with citizenship, like casting a vote in an election? What is it that you are a citizen of?
Yes, of course. I'm a citizen of the USA by definition. But satisfying an arbitrary definition imposes no moral obligations on those who happen to satisfy it.
If you claim citizenship then you tacitly agree to the constitution that created that which you are a citizen of.
Oh, surely not. Anyone can define a set, e.g., I define "Elmers" to be members of the set of all bald-headed males in N. America. That Bruno finds that he is an Elmer imposes no obligations on him.
And if you are born into any country and yet claim no allegiance to it, then you are potentially a traitor, and deserve to be treated with suspicion.
"Potentially a traitor"? You're reaching there, Marvin. Everyone is "potentially" a traitor.
The citizens of the United States have entered into an agreement.
You can't make that true merely by repeating it. You need to produce some evidence of that agreement, on the part of every person you claim is a party to it.
I'm quite sure you can't do that. Alfie does not become a party to some agreement or contract merely because Bruno declares him to be one. Surely you can see that. A breach of contract suit in which the plaintiff could not produce any evidence that the defendant had ever entered into the contract would be summarily dismissed, in any court in the world.
Alfie cannot declare Bruno to be a party to a contract he has proposed or entered into, Marvin. Bruno has to make that declaration for himself.
But if Bruno lives in Alfie's house, then Bruno must live by Alfie's rules. Everyone who resides in our nation is subject to the rules contained in the constitution and the laws created by the legislature that we agreed, in our contract, to create.
You're confusing two senses of the possessive forms ("Alfie's") and pronouns ("our"), Marvin. Those forms and pronouns have a proprietary (ownership) meaning, and a merely associational meaning. "Alfie's house" could have either meaning --- if he owns the house, then it is "his" in the proprietary sense. If he rents it, it is only his in the associational sense. Phrases like "our town," "our park," our hotel," "our nation" are all associational senses of that pronoun. They don't imply ownership of the town, the park, the hotel, etc. Alfie can make rules if the house is his in the proprietary sense, but not if it is only his in the associational sense, i.e., the town where he lives, the park he usually visits (note here that "Alfie's park" may not even be located in the town where he lives and pays taxes), the hotel where he is presently staying, etc. No one has an ownership interest in "the nation," though they may own some property within it (as may non-citizens, of course).
And, again, you're invoking --- postulating --- an agreement or contract binding upon people who have never signed it or assented to it, and perhaps never even seen it or heard of it.
You simply have to grasp that there is no such agreement
GE Morton wrote: ↑
May 22nd, 2020, 11:08 am
The principle forbids injury or loss
. The pickpocket certainly inflicts a loss. The "use no force" maxim, BTW, requires careful qualification. Force is sometimes morally justifiable.
And we agreed to help you prevent that loss and to recover your money from the thief. That's what the law is, an agreement between citizens as to what rights they will respect and protect for each other. That agreement is what makes your right real, rather than just rhetorical.
Laws are agreements among groups of legislators, not among citizens, Marvin. Some citizens will agree with some of them, disagree with others, which varies from citizen to citizen for each particular law. You'll not find universal agreement among citizens for any
And you're conflating "real" with "acknowledged" or "honored/respected", or perhaps "effective." We could delve into the meaning of "real," but that would lunch us into a tedious ontologlical debate. A right is "real" if it exists; it exists if propositions of the form, "P has a right to X" are true; propositions of that form are true IFF P is the first possessor of X or acquired X via a chain of consent from the first possessor; false otherwise. That truth condition for those propositions is entirely independent of anyone's beliefs, preferences, or agreement.
But people of conscience also write the laws. And when they disagree they must resolve their issues peacefully, through democratic means. The constitution provides those means.
I agree, in substance. But rights trump democracy (that is the premise of the Bill of Rights). Democratic decision-making is fine, as long as the decision does not involve violating anyone's rights. Who has --- real --- rights (as just defined) to what are objective facts with a moral basis, and are not dependent upon public opinion or subject to political horse-trading.
For example, despite your claim that people have a "natural" right to associate with and exchange goods with "willing others", we will not allow you to post a "Whites Only" sign in your restaurant's window. We have agreed instead that every citizen, regardless of race, has a right to participate fully in our economy. Your "natural" right to use your property as you see fit is subject to the limits that the rest of us have agreed to.
My natural right to use my property as I see fit extends to all uses which inflict no loss or injury on others, regardless of what some politicians have agreed to. Any futher restrictions they presume to impose will violate those rights.
BTW, there can be no "right to participate in our economy." You're attempting to obscure the moral issue with an abstraction, "our economy." An economy is nothing but an abstract term to collectively denote the myriad economic transactions that occur every day between specific individuals. No person has a "right" to do business, or enter into any other sort of relationship, with any person who does not desire to enter into that relationship. Forced relationships of any type
are forms of slavery.
That "right" is one of the arbitrary "fiat rights" I mentioned. When they are not patently immoral they have no moral significance.
Your claim to the gold you found on unowned property is purely rhetorical if the rest of us agree that it should belong to all of us in common rather than to any one individual.
Oh, no. The right is quite real (see above). If the rest of you agree that it "should" belong to all of us, then you've agreed to become thieves. Burglars and bank robbers believe your jewelry and the bank's money "should" belong to them, too.
Once a nation is constituted, there is no unowned land. All of the unowned land in a newly formed nation becomes property of the nation, to be conserved or sold or leased in a way that meets the needs of the general public, rather than the needs of any individual.
It "becomes the property of the nation"? Per what principle of ownership? Mere decree? That is another example of the strange belief that governments have prerogative and powers not traceable to those of the persons who erect them. I cannot declare that I "own" a parcel of land on which I've never set foot, or acquired from someone who has, yet if join together with a few others, declare ourselves to be a government, I magically acquire that power? Might makes right?
BTW, having sovereignty over a territory --- the power to make laws applying within it --- is not the same as owning it. When the US purchased Louisiana, for example, many parts of that territory were already owned, by individuals, Indian tribes, homesteaders, etc., including the entire city of New Orleans. None of those titles were disturbed by the purchase.
The central disagreement here remains the "social contract" issue. You haven't answered in just what sense Alfie can be a party to a contract or agreement he's never signed or otherwise affirmed, or perhaps even seen, and upon what morally defensible grounds Bruno can insist that he is. Surely "might makes right" is not a morally defensible ground.