Monday, February 20, 2012

Another quote from Brother Neil

L. Neil Smith, that is (I've linked the online beta version - this is from the Kindle version):

Anyone-including those who may fraudulently call themselves libertarians-who is aware of the Zero Aggression Principle and refuses to live by it, or promise to, is giving himself away. He is the badguy (sic, though I don't disagree with his usage), at least potentially, reserving to himself a right that he mistakenly believes he has, to beat you up or even kill you, should he deem it necessary or simply convenient sometime in the future. What he's saying is that he cannot be trusted, not as a friend, not as a neighbor, not as a colleague, not as a comrade.

...Unlike other ethical systems...the Zero Aggression Principle does not require us to turn the other cheek pacifically. Once an aggressor has revealed himself-by the initiation of force-he has crossed a morally qualitative boundary.

There can be no argument here about the specious, if ancient, doctrine of "degrees of force." You can be killed or maimed for life just as easily with a fist or a screwdriver as with a knife or a gun. The question isn't how much or what kind of force did your assailant initiate, but simply did your assailant initiate force. If the answer is yes, the degree of force you employ to stop him is up to your discretion.


T. F. Stern said...

If only that last line were true, "The question isn't how much or what kind of force did your assailant initiate, but simply did your assailant initiate force. If the answer is yes, the degree of force you employ to stop him is up to your discretion."

You can bet that isn't taught to police officers. In actuality, quite the reverse is true; a measured response is directly proportional to the type and amount of force generated against you or be prepared to get a lawyer to defend you against criminal and civil suits.

Enjoyed the post, thanks.

The probligo said...

I guess that TF's comment illustrates the conflict between "an eye for an eye" on the one hand, and "Thou shalt not kill" on the other.

Having exhausted my entire knowledge of things Biblical, TF can now prove that it is not so... and prove why I have so little faith in religion.

The probligo said...

Oh, and as a thought upon which to ponder...

Would either of you apply the same rule(s) to a person who caused the death of another through the use of a motor vehicle?

And, if you plead a difference between "accident" and "intent"?

Does intentionally driving a car at twice the legal speed limit constitute a distinction between "accident" and "culpable"? Or DIC at well over the legal limit?

Can one argue that you "accidentally" exceeded a speed limit or alchohol limit?

The poor victim is no less dead than if the driver had used a gun.

Al said...

Common Law can and has dealt with these issues. We don't need to reinvent the wheel for every issue. We'll still need lawyers and dispute resolution in the Natural Law regime, but there'll be some significant differences in the way they operate.

The probligo said...

Al, one of the "issues of the day" down here in NZ is the sentence given to a 15 y-o who raped a 5 y-o girl. He was given 10 years, plus concurrent sentences for related crimes of entering and burglary.

Sufficient punishment?

There is a viral video doing the rounds at the moment of the father of a raped girl killing (Ruby style) the guy who was charged with the rape. Not convicted, just charged.

Without the sidestep of your reply to the last, how would that fit in the scheme of justice that "any force is warranted"?

What would then be the response if the father were then to be killed by relatives of the "raper"?

Point being that if that is the kind of justice (and civilisation) wanted within your country, then the 1:625 chance of being wiped out by an asteroid in 2040 had better get close to 1:1.

So sad, really.

The probligo said...

A stray thought from the ether -

How might this principle of "measured discretion justice" be applied to the actions of a Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan?

In my book he should be handed directly and immediately to the Afghani justice system.