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Natural Rights

socialpinko
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1/21/2012 12:24:31 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I often hear about natural rights, especially from fellow libertarians. I just have trouble wrapping my head around the concept though. Arguments seem to draw a lot on human nature and what is best for us as homo sapiens and the characteristics that that entails. But the idea seems incoherent. What is inherent in what is best for humankind that makes what is best a fundamental right? Why do we have a "right" to what is best for us? Best conditions seems like a descriptive term of a state of affairs while rights would be more normative as in how things should be. How is the gap overcome?
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OberHerr
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1/21/2012 9:22:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I've said this before, but I personally believe that natural rghts are only possible if you have God in the picture.

Without God, you can't give a good reason for why we have "natural rights".
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000ike
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1/21/2012 9:40:08 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 9:22:22 AM, OberHerr wrote:
I've said this before, but I personally believe that natural rghts are only possible if you have God in the picture.

Without God, you can't give a good reason for why we have "natural rights".

God is the simplistic explanation invented for the intellectually lazy.

Natural Rights as I understand them are founded with the presumption that maximized happiness and interest is maximized good.

Ultimately, no one can survive without an established board of law because we would tear eachother apart. Rights are created to maximize the happiness and fulfillment of all, because that's what any one individual would want for himself. In short, Natural Rights find justification in the realization that either we all live, or none of us will live.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
popculturepooka
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1/21/2012 1:02:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 9:40:08 AM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 9:22:22 AM, OberHerr wrote:
I've said this before, but I personally believe that natural rghts are only possible if you have God in the picture.

Without God, you can't give a good reason for why we have "natural rights".

God is the simplistic explanation invented for the intellectually lazy.


You mean as opposed to ignoring the numerous problems with identifying normative and axiological concepts with natural properties?

Natural Rights as I understand them are founded with the presumption that maximized happiness and interest is maximized good.
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royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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1/21/2012 1:14:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Rights are codifications of contractarian principles (if I agree to not harm you, then you agree to not harm me). We create rights as a means of codifying these principles and as a way to meaningfully refer to this contract.
CosmicAlfonzo
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1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
royalpaladin
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1/21/2012 2:01:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

That would mean that killing others is a right. Where did you derive your definition? Also, natural rights can be violated according to your def. if I strip someone of her ability to exercise a power.
000ike
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1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
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1/21/2012 2:34:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

ike, you need to pick a view. You proposed earlier that rights are derived from a utilitarian framework (i.e. on a utility basis, or as you put it happiness and interest maximization) and now you've proposed a 'social contract.' These are two distinct concepts, which side are you on?
Ren
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1/21/2012 2:35:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"Rights" are claims or titles that people assume and rationalize with an ideology.

Therefore, rights are defined by the source of their rationale.

In other words, let's assume that morality is the distinction between what is logically correct and incorrect.

If an exam is to test the ability to apply knowledge that one has without being able to access that knowledge, then accessing that knowledge is, in fact, a breach of the terms that define it as an exam, which would make it cheating. In that regard, cheating is immoral, as it belies the purpose of the exam, and causes the person taking the exam to be engaged in something else (in this case, simply transferring information from one place to another).

As a result, the person grading the test has a moral right to reject the completed examination, as it is no longer an examination and can no longer be treated as such. Accordingly, it would be tantamount to the student never taking the exam, effectively making it logical that the teacher gives him or her a score of 0.

On the other hand, let's assume that the rationale is the stability of this capitalistic society. Then, it follows that each member of that society has a legal right to life (granting the society existence), liberty (giving meaning to their rights), and the pursuit of happiness (capitalism).
Ren
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1/21/2012 2:38:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
So, to bring it together, natural rights would therefore be rights that one rationalizes on account of "nature" or what is "natural."

nat·u·ral   [nach-er-uhl, nach-ruhl] Show IPA
adjective
1.
existing in or formed by nature ( opposed to artificial): a natural bridge.
2.
based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature: Growth is a natural process.
3.
of or pertaining to nature or the universe: natural beauty.
4.
of, pertaining to, or occupied with the study of natural science: conducting natural experiments.
5.
in a state of nature; uncultivated, as land.

I think that the two bolded definitions are those most applicable.

So, one could easily say that natural rights are those that preserve a state of being unmitigated or uninfluenced by other people and their interests.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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1/21/2012 2:43:14 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

The whole point of rights being "natural" is that they aren't created and thus can't be granted and can't be taken away.
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Ren
Posts: 7,102
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1/21/2012 2:44:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 2:43:14 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

The whole point of rights being "natural" is that they aren't created and thus can't be granted and can't be taken away.

I'm pretty sure all rights with valid rationales aren't created, but instead assumed, and thus, can't be granted or taken away.
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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1/21/2012 4:08:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

If that's what you're referring to than it doesn't answer my initial question, which pertained to justifications for natural rights as opposed to agreed upon customs as you put them.
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Reasoning
Posts: 4,456
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1/21/2012 4:30:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 9:40:08 AM, 000ike wrote:
Natural Rights as I understand them are founded with the presumption that maximized happiness and interest is maximized good.

I'm pretty sure that's utilitaianism.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/21/2012 5:38:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 2:34:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

ike, you need to pick a view. You proposed earlier that rights are derived from a utilitarian framework (i.e. on a utility basis, or as you put it happiness and interest maximization) and now you've proposed a 'social contract.' These are two distinct concepts, which side are you on?

We establish a consensual relationship between the state with the motive of protecting our interests and dignifying and protecting the invention of the "right", and we invent the concept of the "right" to maximize happiness.

I'm confused, what part of them is contradictory? Why can't they both be true?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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1/21/2012 6:18:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 5:38:42 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:34:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

ike, you need to pick a view. You proposed earlier that rights are derived from a utilitarian framework (i.e. on a utility basis, or as you put it happiness and interest maximization) and now you've proposed a 'social contract.' These are two distinct concepts, which side are you on?

We establish a consensual relationship between the state with the motive of protecting our interests and dignifying and protecting the invention of the "right", and we invent the concept of the "right" to maximize happiness.

I'm confused, what part of them is contradictory? Why can't they both be true?

What you seem to be advocating is a top down approach where happiness or well-being dominates and rights, rules, governments are derived from that. That's a utilitarian approach. I'm actually not entirely sure if, theoretically speaking, utilitarianism could be a presumption for a social contract theory but historically speaking it's been a distinct school. You do pose an interesting question.

A good example of a social contract theory is that of Rawls, who takes justice rather than happiness as the starting point for his theory. Rawls conceives of "justice as fairness" and is unconcerned with the happiness that his two principles may cause - only that they are fair.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/21/2012 6:37:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 6:18:46 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 1/21/2012 5:38:42 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:34:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

ike, you need to pick a view. You proposed earlier that rights are derived from a utilitarian framework (i.e. on a utility basis, or as you put it happiness and interest maximization) and now you've proposed a 'social contract.' These are two distinct concepts, which side are you on?

We establish a consensual relationship between the state with the motive of protecting our interests and dignifying and protecting the invention of the "right", and we invent the concept of the "right" to maximize happiness.

I'm confused, what part of them is contradictory? Why can't they both be true?

What you seem to be advocating is a top down approach where happiness or well-being dominates and rights, rules, governments are derived from that. That's a utilitarian approach. I'm actually not entirely sure if, theoretically speaking, utilitarianism could be a presumption for a social contract theory but historically speaking it's been a distinct school. You do pose an interesting question.

A good example of a social contract theory is that of Rawls, who takes justice rather than happiness as the starting point for his theory. Rawls conceives of "justice as fairness" and is unconcerned with the happiness that his two principles may cause - only that they are fair.

Fairness and justice are agents of the Utilitarian perception of maximized good. Fairness seeks to coordinate an agreement whereby both parties are taken into account and happiness is maximized. Justice seeks to establish a conclusion whereby we do not simply act through the victim's discretion to pardon or punish, but act by societies desires and maximize happiness and content. There will be cases where other factors such as human worth when it comes to those let 1 die or let 1,000 die questions, will overtake the principle of maximization, but it is true in many cases.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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1/21/2012 6:52:13 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 6:37:01 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 6:18:46 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 1/21/2012 5:38:42 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:34:09 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 1/21/2012 2:07:49 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/21/2012 1:58:46 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Right = ability to execute or power.

It is impossible to violate a natural right.

What most people think of when they talk about rights is privilege, entitlement, or some type of contract between the make believe government and the people.

I disagree. How is a right the ability to execute? A right does not exist naturally, its a creation by man for man to collectively coexist. Rights are not inherent, but they do receive form from the Social Contract we establish with society.

ike, you need to pick a view. You proposed earlier that rights are derived from a utilitarian framework (i.e. on a utility basis, or as you put it happiness and interest maximization) and now you've proposed a 'social contract.' These are two distinct concepts, which side are you on?

We establish a consensual relationship between the state with the motive of protecting our interests and dignifying and protecting the invention of the "right", and we invent the concept of the "right" to maximize happiness.

I'm confused, what part of them is contradictory? Why can't they both be true?

What you seem to be advocating is a top down approach where happiness or well-being dominates and rights, rules, governments are derived from that. That's a utilitarian approach. I'm actually not entirely sure if, theoretically speaking, utilitarianism could be a presumption for a social contract theory but historically speaking it's been a distinct school. You do pose an interesting question.

A good example of a social contract theory is that of Rawls, who takes justice rather than happiness as the starting point for his theory. Rawls conceives of "justice as fairness" and is unconcerned with the happiness that his two principles may cause - only that they are fair.

Fairness and justice are agents of the Utilitarian perception of maximized good. Fairness seeks to coordinate an agreement whereby both parties are taken into account and happiness is maximized. Justice seeks to establish a conclusion whereby we do not simply act through the victim's discretion to pardon or punish, but act by societies desires and maximize happiness and content. There will be cases where other factors such as human worth when it comes to those let 1 die or let 1,000 die questions, will overtake the principle of maximization, but it is true in many cases.

Yes, JS Mill has worked justice into social utility in his writings. Where Rawls is coming from though - the thought experiment behind his output - is not one concerned with maximizing happiness. There's a bit of a peculiar relationship between utilitarianism and these kind of absolute rules that some contract theorists will put down. Utilitarianism has only one of these prime rules, and from that it largely becomes a matter of facts (i.e. will making a white lie in this case be more +happiness than not lying) whereby contract theorists view certain rules as inviolable, appealing to concepts like "legitimacy" or "fairness." I'm trying to boil down a pretty complex topic here.

I guess one example of a contrast in these views would be a man who is arrested after the town wants him dead and is threatening riots if he's not executed. Do we satisfy the general happiness via executing the man and preventing the riots (likely preventing many more deaths) or do we keep him in jail? This situation has been simplified and there are other solutions, but you get the gist. Rawls is inspired by Kant who stressed the notion of duty regardless of consequences, and Rawls is content with laying down some absolute principles as "fair" regardless of happiness output.
Danielle
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1/22/2012 6:54:30 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 1:02:11 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
You mean as opposed to ignoring the numerous problems with identifying normative and axiological concepts with natural properties?

Right, because there aren't any problems with identifying normative and axiological concepts by simply saying "because of God..."
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CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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1/22/2012 1:12:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"True "rights" are separated from the concept of morality. Rights can usually be assigned retroactively. If I stab the next person I see to death, I had the right to. You can say that God gave me permission to do so, because I was able to do it.

Now, if an officer was in the room and shot me to death after seeing me murder someone, they would have the right to do so.

The difference between a natural "god given" right and a societal "state given" right is all in what is recognizing the right. Natural rights come from a higher authority, indeed, the state woulx have no authority at all if not for the higher.

Most people are thinking about the man made game, man's law. I'm talking about the meta-game, God's law.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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1/22/2012 1:23:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 1:12:08 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
"True "rights" are separated from the concept of morality. Rights can usually be assigned retroactively. If I stab the next person I see to death, I had the right to. You can say that God gave me permission to do so, because I was able to do it.

Now, if an officer was in the room and shot me to death after seeing me murder someone, they would have the right to do so.

The difference between a natural "god given" right and a societal "state given" right is all in what is recognizing the right. Natural rights come from a higher authority, indeed, the state woulx have no authority at all if not for the higher.

Most people are thinking about the man made game, man's law. I'm talking about the meta-game, God's law.

If you actually had taken the time to read this thread, you would have known that we had already discussed this. Please stop doing this; it spoils our conversations. I have no problem with you participating, but I do have a problem with you participating without any knowledge of the discussion.
OMGJustinBieber
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1/22/2012 1:25:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/21/2012 12:24:31 AM, socialpinko wrote:
I often hear about natural rights, especially from fellow libertarians. I just have trouble wrapping my head around the concept though. Arguments seem to draw a lot on human nature and what is best for us as homo sapiens and the characteristics that that entails. But the idea seems incoherent. What is inherent in what is best for humankind that makes what is best a fundamental right? Why do we have a "right" to what is best for us? Best conditions seems like a descriptive term of a state of affairs while rights would be more normative as in how things should be. How is the gap overcome?

Well, according to Kant natural law is really just a "judicial translation of the categorical imperative." I was literally just reading a book on Kant and came across that phrase.
CosmicAlfonzo
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1/22/2012 1:37:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 1:23:20 PM, royalpaladin wrote:
If you actually had taken the time to read this thread, you would have known that we had already discussed this. Please stop doing this; it spoils our conversations. I have no problem with you participating, but I do have a problem with you participating without any knowledge of the discussion.

It's a pity that I'm consistently given the middle finger from people who have little respect for the alternative viewpoint.

Maybe if I wrote a book about these things and was taught in some institution of "higher learning", the mindless parrots would repeat ad-nauseum their own faulty understandings of my works instead of the ones they think they know.

Seriously, some people around here don't know shyt from chocolate fudge.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
royalpaladin
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1/22/2012 1:47:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 1:37:51 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
At 1/22/2012 1:23:20 PM, royalpaladin wrote:
If you actually had taken the time to read this thread, you would have known that we had already discussed this. Please stop doing this; it spoils our conversations. I have no problem with you participating, but I do have a problem with you participating without any knowledge of the discussion.

It's a pity that I'm consistently given the middle finger from people who have little respect for the alternative viewpoint.

Maybe if I wrote a book about these things and was taught in some institution of "higher learning", the mindless parrots would repeat ad-nauseum their own faulty understandings of my works instead of the ones they think they know.

Seriously, some people around here don't know shyt from chocolate fudge.

This is the most arrogant piece of writing that I have seen on this website. If you are not going to read our conversation and contribute positively to our discussion, you should refrain from posting.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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1/22/2012 1:51:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 1:37:51 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
At 1/22/2012 1:23:20 PM, royalpaladin wrote:
If you actually had taken the time to read this thread, you would have known that we had already discussed this. Please stop doing this; it spoils our conversations. I have no problem with you participating, but I do have a problem with you participating without any knowledge of the discussion.

It's a pity that I'm consistently given the middle finger from people who have little respect for the alternative viewpoint.

Maybe if I wrote a book about these things and was taught in some institution of "higher learning", the mindless parrots would repeat ad-nauseum their own faulty understandings of my works instead of the ones they think they know.

Seriously, some people around here don't know shyt from chocolate fudge.

It's really a shame this world doesn't recognize your intellectual greatness. How dare people read the nonsensical and silly works of "philosophers" like Kant, Locke, Mill, or Rousseau instead of absurdist philosophies which contain the true about how things really are. Like Thaddeus, and most of DDO, I CBA to do this dance right now.
Ren
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1/22/2012 2:06:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think one interpretation of the question we're driving at here is whether the concept "right" existed independently before we named it, or it was something that we contrived and named ourselves.

In other words, if a "right" is something that we observed or recognized, then named, we can satisfactorily accept that a "right" is something actual and objective, rather than a human construct.

On the other hand, if a "right" was something that we simply imagined one day and ascribed a name to, we can accept that it is purely a human construct, which suggests that it's a means to an end.

So, what do you think? Is it something we observed or recognized and said, "we shall call this a 'right," or was it something that we thought up one day -- "hmmm... wouldn't something that we can just claim for no reason be really convenient? let's call it a 'right'..."? If the latter, would you agree that it would be a means to an end? Therefore, what would be the benefit of ascribing the capacity to make arbitrary claims? Would morality have anything to do with it, and if so, why?
CosmicAlfonzo
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1/22/2012 4:28:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I just gave a pretty thorough explanation of what natural rights actually are, and I'm met with tbe insecurity and insult.

I read the thread. I'm telling it like it is. Don't get all butthurt at me if you don't understand what I'm saying, refuse to ask questions, and then pigeonhole me into some category because your tiny little mind is incapable of dealing with the unfamiliar.

My position on natural rights has little relevance to utilitarian ideas, it is observation. How is it that when I am given the middle finger, I'm at fault? I'm not the one being arrogant here. I am however treated like dirt by people who truly are arrogant.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp