Basis for outrage (should have been "Basis for the Argument")


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ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 08:49 AM
For some time I have been pondering some of the "basis for outrage" that we, as RKBA supporters, have. In thinking about it I've come to the conclusion that some of our "basis" are very strong, but some are terribly weak and don't hold up to scrutiny.

Among of the most common comparisons I hear are attempts to create a direct relationship to the way minorities are treated, often with a specific reference to being black.

Although this does provide some good examples of discriminatory behavior, the direct association seems terribly weak to me because of the simple fact is that we, as RKBA supporters, CAN actually remove a sidearm and lock it up somewhere even if being forced to take that action is unjust. However a black person has no option to shed their skin.

So I began to search for other basis, then on another thread someone said the following...
In actuality, this incident is more like a religious Jew being told not to wear a kippa because it upsets the Holocaust deniers in the group.

AH, now that makes more sense to me. A religious Jew COULD avoid wearing a kippa. But is it morally just to force them to do so just because it makes someone else uncomfortable?

I was initially quite reluctant to equate RKBA with any sort of religion but somewhere along the way the though occurred to me that there are very strong parallels.

I would love to hear what other members think.

Is a parallel to religion a strong basis for our outrage against infringement?
What other basis can we come up with?

Ze

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Deanimator
September 23, 2008, 08:59 AM
So I began to search for other basis, then on another thread someone said the following...


In actuality, this incident is more like a religious Jew being told not to wear a kippa because it upsets the Holocaust deniers in the group.
Boy, I'm saying clever things all the time! :D


AH, now that makes more sense to me. A religious Jew COULD avoid wearing a kippa. But is it morally just to force them to do so just because it makes someone else uncomfortable?

I was initially quite reluctant to equate RKBA with any sort of religion but somewhere along the way the though occurred to me that there are very strong parallels.

I made that comment as an agnostic with NO religious beliefs. I support the right to freedom of religion. I can support someone's right to autonomy without harming others whether I take part in any specific activity myself. I'm not Jewish. I'm not gay. I don't support Nuremberg style laws or anti-sodomy laws. Almost every militant anti-gunner I've met has been motivated by an urge to control others, mostly for its own sake, and with more than a little malice thrown in. The recent LTCF revocation fiasco in PA has a strong "Mean Girls" sort of stench to it. "You won't be part of OUR fashion club, so we'll get YOU!" It's small minded, juvenile and OH SO typical of anti-gunners.

Of course nevermind the strong undercurrent of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and misogyny I've encountered in the anti-gun movement.

Yo Mama
September 23, 2008, 09:14 AM
Huh?

zminer
September 23, 2008, 09:15 AM
It seems to me that the situation of gun owners is somewhat like ZeSpectre described, but slightly different. Specifically, I think it has less to do with beliefs and more to do with perceptions.

If the general public could differentiate between "good" and "bad" gun owners, then there wouldn't be a problem. As it stands, though, everybody who owns a gun is lumped into the same category and given attributes like "criminal," "violent personality," etc. It's as if there are suddenly a whole bunch of negative attributes hung on your shoulders as soon as you purchase a gun, whether or not they actually apply to you. "Gun owner" is what sociologists refer to as a "master status" - it becomes the thing which other people feel defines you most, regardless of other statuses you may have (parent, law-abiding citizen, volunteer, employee, etc.) This is problematic because most people feel that they are other things first, and a gun owner later. And, regardless of where they prioritize it, they don't associate those negative things with the status, the way many others do.

So, ZeSpectre is right about how the issue has to do with other people's comfort. But it's also got something to do with having the burden of proof put on you to show that you're NOT one of "those" crazy gun people. And, in the absence of a quick and easy way to do that, people often react negatively (fear, calling authorities, demanding why you need a gun, etc.).

I don't know if that's helpful to the discussion, or not.

TexasRifleman
September 23, 2008, 09:19 AM
I've made a lot of those comparisons to other "civil rights" such as race and religion and get a lot of push back for some reason that I can't quite understand.

As a clearly named right in the Bill of Rights, and again reiterated post-Heller, how can infringement be ANYTHING except a civil rights violation.

Some will make the claim that "civil rights" are rights GIVEN by a government and so the Second doesn't apply since it's a "human right" given by G-d.

I think John Locke was correct when he said that these human, or natural rights are converted to civil rights and due protection by civil authority as part of the social contract a government makes with its' people when the government is created.


Life, Liberty, and Property are human/natural/G-d given rights that pre-exist a government but once a government is given power it MUST protect those rights or it is a failure as a government.

I don't see how you can get to any other place personally.


ETA: If you post "Huh" or "What?" or "???" you are probably new here. The debate over whether guns are or are not a civil right has been going on for a while here.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 09:21 AM
Yo Mama,

The point is this.

Many of us are outraged at the way our rights are (mis)treated. But not too many of us stop and consider WHY we're outraged, I.E. what the basis for that outrage is.

I'm trying to collect some of the STRONGEST fundamental basics, the "bedrock" of our argument that those who would infringe on our RIGHTS are just plain WRONG (no pun intended).

I'm doing this because the simple statement "because it's our right", while fundamentally sound, does not carry very much weight in a public forum debate (like standing up in city hall) since (as anyone who HAS stood up in city hall will know) there are folks there who do NOT agree that "it's our Right".

"Gun owner" is what sociologists refer to as a "master status"
zminer, Interesting. I've never run across that sociological definition. I'll have to read up more on that.

Specifically, I think it has less to do with beliefs and more to do with perceptions.
But my point is that I think we DO have a right to be outraged by these perceptions (most of which are negative). However I think we need to have solid and logically sound arguments about WHY we find these perceptions (prejudices and stereotypes) outrageous. I think some of the arguments (parallel to a choice such as religion) are strong and others (parallel to race which is not something you can choose) are weaker.

berettaprofessor
September 23, 2008, 10:08 AM
Outrage does not need a reason other than the feeling of violation;

Why do I need more reason to be outraged than that it's my civil right guaranteed protected under the 2nd amendment? Why aren't you asking why newspapers get so upset when the government tells them they can't print something or that they must tell their sources? Why aren't you asking why I might get outraged if my house was taken for use as troop quarters for the National Guard? What other reason's would I need to be outraged if a SWAT raid is carried out on my house without a warrant?

You're searching too deep; rights being violated are reason enough for anger.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 10:23 AM
rights being violated are reason enough for anger.
But anger (emotion) does not justify policy. Rational though must be applied to the equation otherwise we're no better than the "anti" side of things who want their way "just because".

Why aren't you asking why newspapers get so upset when the government tells them they can't print something or that they must tell their sources? Why aren't you asking why I might get outraged if my house was taken for use as troop quarters for the National Guard? What other reason's would I need to be outraged if a SWAT raid is carried out on my house without a warrant?

Why would you think I'm not pondering these questions as well? In all of these cases the argument "well I'm just right" alone doesn't carry weight and just blindly saying it over and over is a classic Argumentum ad nauseam fallacy.

I don't care if folks "believe they are right" (even if I happen to agree with the beliefs) I care about a well reasoned argument supported in facts. Generally the RKBA camp produces strong, or at least reasonable, logical arguments to support their position (their "belief") where the "anti" side tends to rely on logical fallacies for their "arguments".

I'm trying to weed out the weak and false arguments on the RKBA side. I'm doing this because I dislike just following ANY "party line" without having thought it through for myself, and also so I have a far stronger arsenal at my disposal for any debate I enter into with someone on the other side of the issue(s).

berettaprofessor
September 23, 2008, 10:33 AM
Are you phishing Ze Spectre? Just being argumentative? Or do you want us to list a number of reasons like a) I can't play with my toys when they're taken away or b) they're not dangerous if they're not improperly used?

I think you're missing the point; you're trying to find reasonable responses for unreasoned arguments. Outrage, or anger, are FEELINGS and are not logical and do not need a reason, as a couple of the more emotional types here are work are fond of repeating.

IBTL

snipe300
September 23, 2008, 10:40 AM
ZeSpectre's right. Just because it offends someone's arbitrary beliefs doesn't mean that's justification for outlawing it.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 10:43 AM
Are you phishing Ze Spectre? Just being argumentative?
I think my long established reputation on this board kills any "phishing" accusation DRT.

I am trying to spark a conversation and a healthy debate. I am trying to get folks to THINK and voice what they use as the bedrock of their RKBA arguments.

I'm trying to get others to apply some constructive criticism to those arguments so that we can all benefit from the strong ones and weed out the weak/easily defeated.

I think that the occasional review and re-examination of our beliefs and methods is a healthy thing lest we accidentally and incrementally fall into "blindly following along" mode .

Outrage, or anger, are FEELINGS and are not logical and do not need a reason
You are correct there. Perhaps a better thread title might have been "Basis for the Argument". If nothing else, this conversation has raised that point and any future debate I engage in will be that much stronger for it.

jahwarrior
September 23, 2008, 10:46 AM
i think we need to remember that the Constitution doesn't grant us any rights at all. all it does is outline and express the rights we all have as human beings, rights that were already there. this was done to ensure that our natural rights were documented, in case of a government violation. so, being harassed for being a jew, african-american, arming yourself legally, speaking out against a corrupt government, all these things should provoke outrage. i myself have been a victim of some of these things: i have been racially profiled, harassed, and wrongfully detained for being the right color in the wrong neighborhood, i've been harassed for OC, i've been harassed for public statements i've made or literature i've distributed. all of these have received the same treatment from me; a swift and decisive response.

Blofeld
September 23, 2008, 10:51 AM
Bring me up to speed on the Pa LTCF fiasco.:confused:

jahwarrior
September 23, 2008, 10:52 AM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=394925

elChupacabra!
September 23, 2008, 11:01 AM
ZeSpectre -

Here is the best argument I can come up with for RKBA... It doesn't seek to equate RKBA with any other civil right or preexistant basis for outrage, such as race, religion, freedom of press, etc., but attempts to build a position from presuppositions that any reasonable person can agree with (of course, an irrational person cannot be reasoned with or convinced of anything, which is the weakness of such an argument... in which case, as the adage states, "Do not engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person, for they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience").

Here is my argument:

1) Self-defense is a bodily function that, like eating, breathing, or even reproducing, cannot be safely or effectively delegated to another. Every living thing knows self-defense - even single-celled organisms have cell membranes. Self-defense is inseparable from self-preservation, and in that sense, is no different from finding shelter from the sun or water to drink.

2) Just as humans have an undeniable, basic right to seek shelter, nourishment, and a mate with whom to reproduce, so too do they have an undeniable, basic right to defend themselves against the threat of violence. To continue to exist is the most fundamental of all human rights, civil or otherwise.

3) It is not possible to separate the right to self defense from the tools necessary to effect said defense. Humans use tools to solve problems of all sorts - it is one factor that separates us from lower species (though there are many others). When other humans attack or threaten us, and we have the already-established right to defend our lives (self-preservation), to deny us the effective and efficient tools with which to do so is to effectively deny us the right to defend ourselves. To say a human has a right to eat but may not use tools to cultivate a field, slay an animal or build a fire is to mandate starvation. To deny the use of tools for defense is synonymous with mandating submission, even to death.

4) Mandating submission to death is a violation of the most basic human right - the right to continue to exist.

5) Therefore, any measure or philosophy that would seek to strip a human being of modern, effective and efficient tools for self-defense - i.e. firearms - is to oppress a human's right to exist at all, which is, at a fundamental level, the most basic of all wrongs. Such a wrong requires an appropriate response by the oppressed party.

6) A feeling of outrage is the most modest response acceptable to such a measure or philosophy. If the measure were actually implemented, appropriate ACTIONS, beyond mere feelings, would become necessary. To fail to do so would be to surrender the means by which a human may continue to exist.

Essentially, I believe that the right to survive, to continue to exist, is inseparable from the tools necessary to ensure such survival. The anti-gun mindset that would deprive us of these toos would, by definition, require us to surrender our lives and risk death. This is unacceptable.

ETA Also, may I note that anyone who denies presuppositions 1 or 2 is your enemy outright, believing humans are neither inherantly free, nor should they be. The rest of the argument will not follow, since they believe humans should be controlled and see no use for self defense by mere subjects; however, this is irrelevant, as they have established themselves and their universal beliefs as being fundamentally backward and evil.

Blofeld
September 23, 2008, 11:26 AM
Interesting thread. I am not a Christian. That said:

I think the phrase "natural rights" pretty much sums up how I live my life. I recognize that we give police and politicians authority. Key word is "give". I also recognize that a higher being has given the smallest creature tools and instinct for self defense.

I feel that the quest for the perfect argument to silence an Anti is futile. I listen to their side, find it baseless, and leave feeling I just wasted a portion of my life with someone who made up their mind that no matter how it was put to them, they were sticking to their guns.:rolleyes:

You can draw parallels all day long, and they will only interest those who already get the point.

elChupacabra!
September 23, 2008, 11:34 AM
Blofed,

You're right, and you reach the same conclusion reached by anyone who makes a logical argument to someone who refuses to see the truth. It's one thing to respond with an opposing logical argument, but to simply deny presuppositions at a base level without substituting anything in their place is the clear sign of ignorance.

At that point, you have two options - inform the person of their illogical, ignorant and absurd position and thought process (i.e. tell them they are an idiot) or simply walk away, resigned to the fact that you will never reach them until they chose to accept truth as truth.

The first may be more satisfying... but the second is probably more wise. Both are frustrating.

22-rimfire
September 23, 2008, 11:36 AM
I think you're missing the point; you're trying to find reasonable responses for unreasoned arguments. Outrage, or anger, are FEELINGS and are not logical and do not need a reason, as a couple of the more emotional types here are work are fond of repeating.

That is why Berry Obama told his supporters that folks in PA and OH cling to their beliefs about religion and firearms. Clinging to either is an emotional response to the outside world from Berry O's perspective.

It all boils down to a fundamental right by human beings that we have a right to self defense and that would include defense of our family and loved ones. That right is protected in our Constitution with the inferrence being defense of life, property, and country. The individual right has been affirmed by the Heller vs DC decision by the US Supreme Court.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 12:02 PM
elChupacabra!
quite a post (#16). Interesting reading and I'm going to chew that one over for a bit over lunch.

I feel that the quest for the perfect argument to silence an Anti is futile.
Blofeld,
I'm not trying to silence anyone, and I know better than to waste my time with hard-core, rabidly anti types as I'm well familiar with their entrenched philosophy.

My focus is more on logical discussions with the OTHER type of anti, (somewhere there's a thread on "types of anti") the uninformed who have been duped but who are capable of using their intellect to figure things out, they just need to be challenged to think sometimes.

I aim to present that challenge :)

Blofeld
September 23, 2008, 12:19 PM
If you truly believe they can be swayed, invite them to the range.:)

If they're not the rabid irrational anti, their "antiness" may be fear of the unknown.

A range trip is an opportunity to go hands on, all the while explaining the benefit of self reliance. Explain to that 40ish flabby' pasty anti that the 9mm he's holding may be the only thing between his children and the BG intent on harming them.

Explain to the cute girl anti that the shotgun you're letting her try is responding faster than the most fleet-footed LEO when Mr. Serial Rapist made his way into her house.

There may come a day when a Utopian society exists, there is no war, no famine, and everybodys day is filled with peaceful, lofty pursuits. Till then...

SuperNaut
September 23, 2008, 12:31 PM
You got me thinking; good stuff Z.

Mainsail
September 23, 2008, 12:33 PM
Basis or bias? I don't know what your post means.

Vaarok
September 23, 2008, 12:38 PM
This is an excellent post, though the one thing I find disquieting, since I can't really quantify the pro side beyond the usual prudence and liberty arguments, is the number of people who petulantly demand these considerations without any introspection on their instant-gratification/absolutist stance.

I support deregulated MGs and cans and all that good stuff, but the degree and basis for outrage at their restriction often seems to me to be disproportionate and overblown simply as grounds for a tantrum or to form the basis of a persecution complex used to leverage the idea on an emotional basis not too dissimilar to the anti-gun emotional arguments. Rather than DO NOT WANT, it's "I WANNA" and delivered in a manner every bit as self-serving and poorly veneered.

I'm probably gonna get roasted for that, but I thought it pertinent to the topic at hand. The vast majority of firearms owners and enthusiasts understand practical benefit and symbolic logic (http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000157.html), but it always distresses me when some among us resort to the same manipulative and emotion-based reasoning as our enemies, which blurs the line between our well-reasoned impetus and their whim-based and generally unfounded position based on unquantified urges.

SuperNaut
September 23, 2008, 12:43 PM
Basis or bias? I don't know what your post means.

Read #12 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=4943028&postcount=12), ZeSpectre spells it out pretty clearly. We accuse antis of basing their arguments upon emotion; id est, a fallacy. How do we avoid the same trap and base as many of our arguments upon facts and reason as we are able. Just being outraged is not enough of a reason.

CountGlockula
September 23, 2008, 12:51 PM
So...what I think you're getting at Z is to come up with ideas of using religion to RKBA.

My thought: Not being able to CCW in schools, government buildings and airports are against my religious beliefs. Because Jesu wants me to preach the Word to all nations. As I go to these places, I need to be well armed.

Blofeld
September 23, 2008, 12:58 PM
I think the emotional end of it from our side comes from the fear of an unreasonable ban easily becoming a law.

While I don't anticipate the need for an MG or silencer, they do symbolize a sort of "gateway restriction" to me. Next is the .50 cal. Next is the "What could you possibly need a hi-cap mag for" argument. Just because some of us may be seen as paranoid, it doesn't mean we're wrong. It has happened before, a silly, arbitrary ban where two guns of identical make and model were scrutinized, the wood stock gets a pass and the synthetic stock is an assault weapon.

When illogical people come after my liberty, I get emotional. When I put a lid on my emotion and respond logically, I tend to note even more illogic from them. Now I just vote the way I have to, participate in whatever activism my circumstances allow, I worry more about the struggle within our ranks that I sometimes see.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 01:10 PM
So...what I think you're getting at Z is to come up with ideas of using religion to RKBA.

Well, not so much turn RKBA into a religion, but apply some of the accepted principles of religious freedom to RKBA since those principles have already been argued out. It could save us a lot of groundwork, or it could go horribly wrong. That's why I want to throw such thoughts out HERE where we can pick the idea apart to find the flaws without damaging what work has already been done for preserving and advancing the RKBA.

Blofeld
September 23, 2008, 01:24 PM
Applying religious principles as a basis for our argument sort of doesn't work out since religion generally remains under attack. I've noted the name God edited in this forum, since even putting 3 letters together can stir the pot.

Respected world religious leaders endorse self defense. The major religious texts of the world sanction self defense. But religion isn't above attack itself, in fact it is constantly attacked, and therefore maybe not the best strategic model.

elChupacabra!
September 23, 2008, 01:30 PM
Blofeld -

That's a good point, and why I avoid the comparison to religion for my argument for RKBA. I believe that each are inaliable rights, but for (perhaps) different reasons, or at least from different foundations.

Firearms preserve a right to exist physically.

The right to believe, spiritually, is another right, and one that may draw opposition. Although (I believe) no less valid, it is certainly one that is not as universally accepted.

In a post-modern (perhaps neo-pagan? have started hearing that term) world, the average American may well believe that you have a right to your own religion, with the caveat that such religions are acceptable "as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's beliefs." That may very often be extended to the point that simply believing in a religion, such as Christianity, that is exclusive by nature means you are "intolerant" and exceeding your limits of what you can believe. Personally, I disagree with this, but there are many who do not.

By contrast, few (although some do exist) would argue that, if someone tried to kill you, you would be unjustified in defending yourself. Most understand innately that defending one's own life, in light of a direct, unavoidable attack is an acceptable, even necessary, response.

That's why I base my argument on the latter presupposition.

Again, not all hold that view of self-defense, but those who do not are most certainly your enemies and should be recognized outright as such. With these, there can be no hope of discourse or agreement.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 01:30 PM
Respected world religious leaders endorse self defense. The major religious texts of the world sanction self defense. But religion isn't above attack itself, in fact it is constantly attacked, and therefore maybe not the best strategic model.

Ah, but it survives, endures, even flourishes. RKBA will also always be under attack by those who, in the end, would like nothing more than to own all of the power and keep it to the elites. (Sounds kinda corny but I've worked with people who don't actually put it in such terms, but definitely work towards those ends).

If the "war" will never end and the attacks will never cease, then the best "sustainable" plan might be the best course of action.

I'm not sure that's accurate, but it certainly is food for thought.

Vaarok
September 23, 2008, 01:52 PM
I agree with Chupa, it's not a good idea to use religious connotations in our struggle. Firstly, many aspects of modern liberalism are the product of an overdeveloped judeochristian ideology based on passivity, docility, and turn-the-other-cheek.

Secondly, we risk being dismissed or blended with other persecuted groups. I am horrifically discouraged whenever someone drags out the Jews-in-Germany argument as a supposed be-all-end-all source in what should be a discussion of civil-liberties in the present-day and on a personal level, not only because it's cliche, but because it allows someone to stereotype the individual as part of a group, and then assert that groups have collective strength and protections under law, and therefore so are the constituents.

It's best to remain distinct, unique, and difficult to categorize, both because it renders us difficult to target with stereotypes, damages the credibility and assumptions of our foes when their arguments miss wildly when they try to apply them on an individual-person basis, and give a more difficult to dismiss single human face to our issue than a collective faceless mob with some shared global fault that can be used against our platform.

In short, we need to be not just blades of grass, but snowflakes. Each unique, each independent, and scattered everywhere, but easily massed together into one coherent projectile when given a target as a smartmob.

Titan6
September 23, 2008, 02:01 PM
Firearms preserve a right to exist physically

And there you have it in a nutshell.

It is unfair to compare the rights of self defense to say the right to vote, drink from a certain water fountain or post on the internet. We are talking apples and oranges and pineapples here. What you have to understand are several very, vey important factors:

Ah, but it survives, endures, even flourishes. RKBA will also always be under attack by those who, in the end, would like nothing more than to own all of the power and keep it to the elites.

This is only one aspect of the problem.

There are many people who seem perfectly sane that can not imagine doing violence to another person to preserve their own life, the lives of their loved ones or protect themselves from greivous harm or ruin. These same people do not want you to have that right either. They drive around in cars, work, watch TV and vote. The voting is the scary part.

There are a lot of people who want the government to take care of all their needs. These people think that the government taking over the financial markets of the US and leading the country into socialism/ facism is a good thing for example. They expect the police to solve all of their HD/ SD problems and don't think other should be allowed to go it alone. That the government should make decisions to put people on terroist watch lists and therefore suspend their rights without even a mock legal proceeding. So long as they are safe in their illusions they are happy.

There are people that think that animals have the same rights as people and that certain people should have more rights than other people. Guns get in the way of these things for obvous reasons.

There are thugs and criminals and crimelords all of whom prefer a disarmed public that has to follow crazy rules (rules that they will never even consider following) to protect themselves.

It is not just the elites you have to worry about. The elites are "doing it for your own good" but they get voted in by others. It is the others you have to worry about....

berettaprofessor
September 23, 2008, 04:23 PM
I had resolved to stay out of this discussion because I find it ludicrous to search for logical reasons to support an emotional decision on both sides; We want guns, "they" don't want us to have them....it's emotion, not logic.

"I need guns to hunt for food"...response; nope, you can buy food at the supermarket.

"I like to target shoot"....response : "like" is an emotion; tough, find another hobby.

"I need a gun for protection" Response: Not if everyone else agrees not to harm you and nobody else has guns.

"I need a gun to protect me from my government arbitrarily taking my rights."....Response; now there you've got something! Stay with the historical facts; disarmed citizens eventually get run by dictators.

ZeSpectre
September 23, 2008, 04:29 PM
"I need a gun for protection" Response: Not if everyone else agrees not to harm you and nobody else has guns."
You were doing well with some valid points until this one which leaps well into fantasy since the attached conditions of "if everyone else agrees not to harm you and nobody else has guns" will never exist.

As for the entire argument being about emotion, somehow I am apparently not being clear. Weak, emotion based, arguments are the ones I'm trying to weed out, not encourage.

Vaarok
September 23, 2008, 05:52 PM
Tyranny is not a valid argument, because it's a relative thing, and it's too easily dismissed as being a mythical thing from History rather than a reasonable, actionable event.

Self defense, as an equalizer, as a last resort, as a deterrant, is essentially the only unassailable argument for firearm ownership. Defense against what is how you can draw in political themes like gestapo and revolution, but it all boils down to "do you have any right to tell me my life is worth less than your illusions."

AZAndy
September 23, 2008, 06:22 PM
I'm not sure that this will be helpful, but this discussion made me think about analogies to gun-banning efforts. Here's one:
Banning guns to reduce crime is like eradicating the immune system in order to cure colds. (Cold symptoms being caused by the over-reaction of the immune system, you see.)

zminer
September 23, 2008, 08:06 PM
I appreciate the sentiment here - to come up with logical responses to people who can be amenable to logic. It's a tricky argument, because I was initially tempted to say that it is not about self-defense, but I think that it does come down to that eventually. For example:

* * * * *

Person A (anti-gun): Why do you need to own a gun?

Person B: (pro-gun): Target shooting, hunting, and self-defense.

Person A: Okay - you can shoot targets with anything, and hunting only requires enough firepower to kill whatever animal you're going after. Why do you need anything more than a five- or ten-round magazine if you're hunting?

Person B: I need those things for self-defense.

Person A: Why not defend yourself using burglar alarms, dogs, pepper spray, or martial arts? Those things don't kill people the way guns do.

Person B: That's the point - I need to have a tool that will make me able to end the life of another individual who I feel is going to cause harm to me or my family. Or, I need to be able to make the decision that the government has gone too far in some way, and that it needs to be overthrown.

Person A: I don't trust you to make that kind of decision.

Person B: You should.

Person A: Well, I don't.

* * * * *

Really, if all we wanted to do is shoot targets and squirrels / woodchucks / deer / moose / whatever, then shotguns and small magazines of .22 caliber would probably be enough.

So what's the rest of it for? To have the ability to kill people, if that becomes necessary through some terrible consequence. What can you say to someone to convince them that you are able to make that choice?

Is that really what we're arguing about, or am I missing the point?

jonmerritt
September 23, 2008, 08:24 PM
What does skin color, race, or religion, have to do with being a fellow human? If you screw with me, I don't dislike or hate you due to you race, skin color, or religion. You screw with me, or my country, or my fellow (mixed race, skin color, religion) countrymen (and woman) ie. fellow American. You are going to pay the price, if you don't like that, what the he## are you doing in our country then ??!

elChupacabra!
September 23, 2008, 09:00 PM
jonmerritt -

WAT???:confused:

zminer -

I wouldn't get into the tyrranical government thing with most antis. I think Vaarok has it right when he says that tyrrany essentially falls under "self defense," as the reason you would use a gun to overthrow an oppressive government would be for self-preservation. At that point, you may leave the concrete realm of "he had a knife to my wifes throat I had to kill him to save her" and go into the more ambiguous "this government threatens, kidnaps and murders citizens at will and must be stopped before it eventually happens to me or my family," but it's the same premise.

Don't give others the opportunity to get into that abstract, hazy realm... keep it in the area of "do you agree that I have the right to defend myself if my life is being threatened? Yes? Then guns are a necessary tool to effect that right" argument, which is more concrete.

Again, as I've said in my earlier posts, if anyone denies that you have the right to defend yourself against the threat of violence - if anyone would submit that self-preservation is not one of the most fundamentally sacred rights any human being posesses - than they are your enemy and desire that you be controlled by another, and cannot be reasoned with. That is as far as the argument remains valid... but when someone won't cede that basic presupposition, they have crossed a line and can't be trusted. Get them out of your life post haste. They are dangerous.

Vaarok
September 23, 2008, 10:13 PM
More importantly, the more abstracted the question, the more room they have to rephrase things, argue conditions, and justify their position.

Our arguments must be simple, direct, harsh, merciless, logical, and above all else reasonable.

This isn't an acid-test to see if they're trustworthy, this is the shock-therapy where you're trying to take a wrecking bar to the smug cocoon of preconceptions and sense of security your target has clouding their judgement. You must free them without making them draw the covers further over their head, or at least make them aware that the covers only hide what's really out there.

elChupacabra!
September 23, 2008, 10:33 PM
Varrok -

I agree... I just point out the limitations of the argument to those who will, inevitably, posit that "my friends don't agree with the premise that a human being may reasonably use force to defend their own life." This is THR - it's inevitable to happen eventually ;)

Although I think my argument is a strong one, it is a limited one, and won't carry any weight with someone who has such fundamentally different beliefs about humanity. Most good arguments are, essentially, limited in some capacity. I'm just heading off that criticism at the pass.

And, incidentally, I believe what I say about those who deny that one has a right to defend onesself against the threat of violence. Such a person is, essentially, an enemy, and should be regarded as such.

You won't convince them of anything you believe.

Arrogant Bastard
September 23, 2008, 11:29 PM
Is a parallel to religion a strong basis for our outrage against infringement?
What other basis can we come up with?

It's the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I need no further basis.

Arrogant Bastard
September 23, 2008, 11:31 PM
The recent LTCF revocation fiasco in PA

This sounds interesting -- link to news story or THR discussion thread, please?

ETA: Never mind, I found it.

Tommygunn
September 23, 2008, 11:39 PM
"I need a gun for protection" Response: Not if everyone else agrees not to harm you and nobody else has guns.

Now you KNOW you're never going to obtain a condition where the bad guys will always be without arms of their own.

Tyranny is not a valid argument, because it's a relative thing, and it's too easily dismissed as being a mythical thing from History rather than a reasonable, actionable event.

I disagree; it IS a valid argument, though one that may be very hard to make because some people won't believe it could happen here. In this vein I find it ironic that many people who would find this the hardest reason of all to accept are often those who view George Bush as a "neo"Hitler, or wanting to establish an "empire" or some other blind Bush-hating principle ... usually right out of Daily Kos or MoveOn.Org.
The fact that it's a tough argument to make doesn't invalidate it as an argument though -- one just ought to be very judicious about how and when it gets applied to the discussion immediatly in hand.

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 06:24 AM
It's the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I need no further basis.

I hear that all the time on this board, and amongst RKBA supporters in general.

I would dearly love for it to be true and it sounds good amongst the faithful but sadly it's an extremely weak argument with people outside our tribe and those outsiders are who I'm debating with. (There is no debate with the faithful <grin>).

If the 2'nd amendment alone was all we needed then we'd all have a free and un-infringed right.

In reality I see 20,000 gun control laws, "permitting" and "licensing" and "reasonable restrictions" and "gun free zones" everywhere I turn not to mention a STRONG social prejudice against gun owners.

In day to day life I meet an awful lot of folks who (when you get down to brass tacks) aren't sure that they actually believe that it -is- actually our right to keep and bear arms.

In such a situation just stating your right, by itself, is simply NOT enough and repeating it endlessly will not MAKE it a good enough argument all by itself and it becomes a classic "Argumentum ad nauseam".

Sorry but I've never won anyone over to our camp by the sole reason of "oh and of course it's your Constitutionally protected right".

zminer
September 24, 2008, 08:50 AM
Although I think my argument is a strong one, it is a limited one, and won't carry any weight with someone who has such fundamentally different beliefs about humanity. Most good arguments are, essentially, limited in some capacity. I'm just heading off that criticism at the pass.

It is limited, because I guarantee that there are people out there who will respond to a self-defense argument by saying, "It's so unlikely that you'll need to defend yourself, and so much more likely that the firearm will be stolen or misused that the negative outweighs the positive." Logically speaking, this is a sound argument, and can only be resolved by a detailed and fair accounting of the costs/benefits of gun ownership, which is not something that can take place in a City Hall-type argument over a new gun law.

Sorry but I've never won anyone over to our camp by the sole reason of "oh and of course it's your Constitutionally protected right"

It won't ever happen. Why not? Because there are plenty of things in the Constitution which are then restricted by case law, statutory law, etc. Sure "Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble" but you sometimes have to get a permit to have a rally, don't you? You and your buddies can't just walk down Main Street with a banner and claim First Amendment protection when the police arrest you for blocking traffic. And you can't assemble on private property without the owner's permission, or else it's trespassing. And you can't assemble loudly at night or else you're breaking noise ordinances. Etc....

Given that, what makes you think that you have an unencumbered right to own a gun, without "reasonable restrictions" like trigger locks, background checks, etc.? (Note: I don't really intend to argue these points - I am just saying that these are logical rebuttals to the 2nd Amendment argument. Essentially, it is not an argument that will win the day.)

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 09:24 AM
In actuality, this incident is more like a religious Jew being told not to wear a kippa because it upsets the Holocaust deniers in the group.

The rejoinder to test the efficacy of this argument - Name the last incident where a kippa was used a lethal weapon. Asking someone to remove their kippa is more like asking someone to remove their NRA ballcap.

I think the analogy is pretty weak.

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 09:39 AM
i think we need to remember that the Constitution doesn't grant us any rights at all. all it does is outline and express the rights we all have as human beings, rights that were already there.

Balderdash. The theory of natural rights holds no more water than the theory of the divine right of kings.

Bentham and the utilitarians were correct:

Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense on stilts.


Mike

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 09:42 AM
zminer -

there are people out there who will respond to a self-defense argument by saying, "It's so unlikely that you'll need to defend yourself, and so much more likely that the firearm will be stolen or misused that the negative outweighs the positive." Logically speaking, this is a sound argument, and can only be resolved by a detailed and fair accounting of the costs/benefits of gun ownership

I disagree that you present here a logical argument that can only be resolved by balancing costs and benefits of gun ownership. That approach is purely subjective, and if you attempt to walk that road, you are going to have to convince them that the benefit of protecting YOUR life is greater than the cost of the risk to society as a whole.

If they give the argument you offer, they've ALREADY performed their own cost/benefit analysis, and are informing you that the value of your life comes up short.

Again, this is the point at which the argument becomes irreducable and uncompromising. Either someone else believes that defending a human life is critically important, or they don't. If they do, then my argument is strong. I would propose that MOST Americans DO believe this - they just want to believe the police can protect them. That's a whole different argument to have, but returns to mine - when you call the police, you summon someone with a gun to act on your behalf. If they are presumptively ok with that (which most people are), it just becomes a discussion about cutting out the middleman.

Now, on the other hand, if they don't concede that defending a human life is valuable, they might as well be from Mars, because their beliefs about the nature of human life are irreconcilable to yours, and the conversation is over.

Every argument has a threshhold like this one, a point at which you cannot convince someone of one or more of your basic precepts, and they cannot convince you of one or more of theirs. If basic precepts are the same, then an argument may well end in agreement.

If basic precepts are NOT the same, any discussion about anything - including guns - will inevitably reach a point where no further discussion is possible.

I believe that, for firearms, that point is simply "Do you believe that a human life is the most valuable thing on earth, and preserving ones' own life is the most fundamental of all rights?"

This question cannot be quantified, expressed as a probability such as with the statement "it's so unlikely you will need to..." That likelyhood is irrelevant. It is most certainly POSSIBLE, and that's all that matters. One must answer the above question, and that answer determines whether the conversation can continue at all.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 09:46 AM
RPCVYemen -

According to your logic, the Socialists have it right, since they promise the greatest good to the greatest number. Also by your logic, if natural rights are empty, then the Constitution, which can be amended by a great enough majority - is all that stands between your rights and your enemies.

I presume that YOU believe you have a right to continue to exist, don't you? I don't know what else to call this but a natural right.

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 09:49 AM
Every argument has a threshhold like this one, a point at which you cannot convince someone of one of your basic precepts, and they cannot convince you of one or more of theirs. If basic precepts are the same, then an argument may well end in agreement.

If basic precepts are NOT the same, any discussion about anything - including guns - will inevitably reach a point where no further discussion is possible.

Well said.

So I suppose the first part of the debate would seem to be determining if the debate can even happen.

Does the person you are debating with agree that...
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
If we can't start from that point, then perhaps debate really is pointless.

So in attempting to create well reasoned debate points for RKBA I am starting from a certain assumption point. One that has, at it's root, the declaration quoted from above.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 10:00 AM
ZeSpectre -

That is a most excellent point.

Most Americans, when faced with the Declaration of Independance, will immediately say "yes, I agree with that." You may then proceed with the argument... and if you reach a point at which they respond "no, I don't believe you may use force to defend a life..." etc. etc. etc., then you backtrack to the "unaliable rights of life, liberty and property..." until you find where the point of disagreement is.

By starting from such a strong foundation, you may actually succeed in exposing the absurdity of the opposing viewpoint, and you might, if the person is open-minded, actually change their basic precept.

Either that, or they will have to denounce the Declaration of Independance, which speaks volumes about their character right there.

Either way, they can't hide behind a "we just disagree" argument. By using the DoI as a starting point, it's not just you they disagree with, it's the founding Document of this Nation - and that adds a great deal of weight to the argument.

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 10:10 AM
Either way, they can't hide behind a "we just disagree" argument. By using the DoI as a starting point, it's not just you they disagree with, it's the founding Document of this Nation - and that adds a great deal of weight to the argument.

Yes, my thinking was this. If you disagree with this document (the Declaration) you are essentially disagreeing with this country (the United States of America) and therefore have NO BUSINESS whatsoever in attempting to determine policy for this country let alone individuals within it.

3KillerBs
September 24, 2008, 10:15 AM
After 24 hours of thought, either I completely fail to understand what you're looking for or I completely fail to understand how arguing from "fundamental human rights" can fail to be adequate for anyone other than the sort of idiot who emotes instead of thinks.

People who substitute emotion for thought can't be convinced by any sort of argument. They can only be marginalized until a mugging by reality re-activates their brains.

If you're looking for some sort of analogy to use to help those who are merely ignorant -- rather than stupid or close-minded -- grasp second amendment rights comparisons to freedom of speech and freedom of the press sounds likely to me. Specific scenarios would have to be worked out for specific audiences though.

Vaarok
September 24, 2008, 11:13 AM
Yes, they actually can be. The trick is to argue from a point of such simplicity and irrefutable logic and keep on track until they become aware of their own absurdity.

I actually think using things like the Bill of Rights is counterproductive, because it shifts recipient of the burden of proof to an external source, as opposed to "why don't you trust ME."

The idea is to keep them on the defensive by limiting their options to evade by calling your sources into question. Person-to-person "why don't I have a right to exist and why do you have a right to tell me what my safety is or isn't worth" is far more direct than using some third-party source that can be perceived as having an inherent fault or some form of bias against your opponent.

Yes, you can tailor an argument to draw in sources, but every damn gun control thread I get involved in always drops into Godwins Law by somebody who thinks their argument is a sledgehammer of shock-value, completely screwing those of us who've been subtle and using a poniard of reason.

Remember, the slow blade penetrates the shield...

berettaprofessor
September 24, 2008, 11:43 AM
You have much more faith in human nature than I do if you believe that Barbara Streisand/BradyBunch/substitute your favorite strident anti-gun liberal/ will ever recognize her/their own absurdities.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 11:56 AM
Deleted

Beatnik
September 24, 2008, 12:45 PM
A couple thoughts...

Appeal to the Constitution is futile. If anyone really cared what the Constitution says, this would be a very different country: gold money, passenger trains between cities, war a distant memory, and low cost marijuana cigarettes and 5 gallon toilets for everyone who wants them.

The law is not an impediment to tyrants: it is their primary weapon. It's the way to beat people over the head when they don't agree with 51% of the population. Nothing more.

To answer the OP, the basis for my outrage is exactly that.
I'm my own man, and I aim to keep it that way. I don't like being shoved around, least of all for no reason.

Those who want to take my guns make no secret of the fact that they want to take away my individuality.

I'm a grown up, and I can make grown up decisions - like how much house I can afford, whether to buy new cars every two years, what to do with my phony money investments, whether to get that wrist looked at, and whether to shoot the man who is taking a crowbar to my front door.

I don't care whether others are incapable of making those decisions. I am capable. They tell me I'm not - but my unforclosed house, my lack of car payment, my stable investments, and my healed wrist say otherwise.

And I know that I'm not alone - I number in the millions. So I guess the basis of my outrage is this: it's working for me. It's working for you. And as you and I are the ones they're always coming after, they seem never to have heard the old saw about what to do if it ain't broke.

Not that I'm saying any of this is good anti-anti material.

Tommygunn
September 24, 2008, 12:55 PM
Appeal to the Constitution is futile. If anyone really cared what the Constitution says, this would be a very different country: gold money, passenger trains between cities, war a distant memory, and low cost marijuana cigarettes and 5 gallon toilets for everyone who wants them.

War a distant memory? Says whom? Even the founders had the Barbary Wars and then the War of 1812. Is there some clause in the Constitution prohibiting war?
And where does it say anything about trains?
And -- WHAT???!!!! LOW COST MARIJUANA cigarettes? There's a clause in the Constitution that says we're entitled to low cost marijuana???:what::what::what:

Look, I'm not saying our country hasn't been *#&$%^ -up bigtime by politicians, but come on, let's not drink too much kool-aid.;)

Blofeld
September 24, 2008, 01:11 PM
I'm just wondering at exactly what moment in time it was determined that it is better to be killed by a thug than to defend my life. What was the point in time where self defense became unfashionable?

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 01:35 PM
You know, I look much older now than I did 10 years ago. Looking at a picture of myself from 10 years ago, it's impossible to miss the difference.

But no two days in my life have I looked in the mirror and said "I definitely look older today than I did yesterday."

Like the frog in the cool water, biding his time as the heat is slowly applied...

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 01:42 PM
then the Constitution, which can be amended by a great enough majority - is all that stands between your rights and your enemies.

That's pretty much the way it is. Does that make you unhappy?

I have lived in two countries where the people did not have the rights we have in the US - Yemen and Somalia. I have deeply grateful to have those rights. But I think that any notion that those rights are in any way "natural" is just poppycock.


I presume that YOU believe you have a right to continue to exist, don't you? I don't know what else to call this but a natural right.

I can't imagine being able to demonstrate the existence of any such right. What is the evidence for the existence of such a right? Or more clearly, what is a fair test of the existence of the right to exit? Can you specify any evidence that if it were true, would disprove the existence of a "natural right"?

Mike

3KillerBs
September 24, 2008, 01:44 PM
Vaarok,

The problem with that is that the ones who only emote always end up reverting back to "Well, I feel its wrong," or "I don't feel safe around guns," as their unbeatable trump card.

When they value their emotional response above all else you can't get anywhere with any form of reason. Especially since these people are usually the ones who also deny the existence of objective truth and go around saying things like "perception is reality," -- as if my colorblind acquaintance's inability to perceive blue actually removed those wavelengths from the spectrum.

You simply cannot get anywhere with people who refuse to acknowledge that reality is reality regardless of how they feel about it until reality cracks their delusion by hitting them over the head with a hammer. :)

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 01:58 PM
That's pretty much the way it is. Does that make you unhappy?

Actually, in the Free United States, my firearms, coupled with my skill and willingness to use them, stand between my rights and my enemies. If I die in defense of my rights, so be it - but believe me, it's one hell of a lot more than just the Constitution standing between me and my enemies. That's not at all "pretty much the way it is" HERE, buddy.

I can't imagine being able to demonstrate the existence of any such right. What is the evidence for the existence of such a right? Or more clearly, what is a fair test of the existence of the right to exit? Can you specify any evidence that if it were true, would disprove the existence of a "natural right"?


First, I think you mean "prove" rather than "disprove" in that last sentence... but it's empirically verifiable. No living thing, including yourself or myself, or a dog or worm or single-celled organism, when attacked, threatened, choked, punched, or stabbed refuses to seek to preserve its own existance.

Fight or flight - but self-preservation is the most basic and natural of all instincts on earth. You don't have to recognize that a right underlies that instinct, and it appears that you refuse to do so - but anyone may empirically verify that this is the way it is, throughout the entire animal kingdom, up to and including humanity.

It would follow, to someone attempting to codify rights, that the most basic and natural of all instincts shouldn't be artificially suppressed by any law or measure of man. I, for one, refuse to accept that my ability to continue to exist is contingent on anyone else's decision, beliefs or directions. I believe that makes it a right.

Now, perhaps coming from Somalia and Yemen, your perception of the value of human life differs materially from mine. If that's the case, then we've reached that irreducable, unreconcilable point in the discussion that I've mentioned above, and we can't go any further in the discussion, because we have incompatable fundamental beliefs.

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 02:12 PM
If we can't start from that point, then perhaps debate really is pointless.

Maybe the appropriate point at which to start is the following:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That is avoids the "natural right" nonsense.

The founding fathers had the following goals:


form a more perfect Union
establish Justice
insure domestic Tranquility
provide for the common defence
promote general welfare
and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity


To achieve those goals, they ordained and established a government with internal checks and balances and then added a set of restrictions on the actions of that government.

Those restrictions on the actions of government are called "rights". That list of rights has been amended and changed in our history, and we have accepted some of the rights described by English common law. None of those rights are any more or less "natural" than speaking English or a buying a book with a $20 bill.


Mike

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 02:19 PM
That is avoids the "natural right" nonsense.


But you presuppose that it's nonsense without actually addressing my argument.

Bypassing and sidestepping the arguments ZeSpectre and I are proposing is not equivalent with winning the argument. You do not earn the right to call it "nonsense" until you actually disprove its existence, which you haven't done.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you are in the vast minority not only on this board but in this country if you deny that natural rights exist.

This is not to say that being in the minority makes you wrong... but it's going to make it difficult for you to engage in meaningful discussions about things like self-defense with those who do believe in natural, "inalianeble" rights.

Further, the argument you propose would really be a good one for an ANTI-gunner to start with, for, as you say, the Constitutional guarantee of the right to self-defense can easily be amended.

But I believe there is an underlying right there that cannot be taken away - that every living thing understands when it's threatened, that you apparently refuse to acknowledge, or address when argued.

Cosmoline
September 24, 2008, 02:26 PM
the simple fact is that we, as RKBA supporters, CAN actually remove a sidearm and lock it up somewhere even if being forced to take that action is unjust. However a black person has no option to shed their skin.

The black person was never asked to change skin color. They were asked to do things they *could* do. Sit at the back of the bus. Use only certain public facilities. Go to one restaurant instead of another. The difference is those laws only discriminated against one group, whereas anti-gun laws discriminate against all citizens.

Mr. D
September 24, 2008, 02:26 PM
RPCVYemen,

I'm going to wade in for a minute in support of natural rights. I'm sure you will agree that we have rights, natural or not. Well, if our rights are not natural rights that we are born with, then what are they and where do they come from? The government? The Constitution? Either way, that means that if the government were to take away our rights, or if the constitution was amended to do so, we would have no ground to stand on when demanding our liberty back.

~Dale

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 02:32 PM
Mr D,

From what I've heard from RPCVYemen, I don't think he would have any grounds to demand his liberty back, and I don't think he'd do it.

To be honest, I'm not really sure why he's participating in this thread, other than to disagree with it's premise, because that's all I've seen him actually do so far.

Thank God this is not Yemen or Somalia and we, as Americans, CAN demand that our rights be honored, as their existence is not contingent on recognition by a Government that may or may not be just.

Mr. D
September 24, 2008, 02:42 PM
Chubacabra,

Amen. Thank God!

I can't presume to say what someone else would do when their rights are taken away, but I can predict one thing: a person in such a circumstance will find out VERY fast just how natural our rights are! The fact is, the founding fathers believed that our rights are natural and God-given. That is why they opposed England when the king tried to take them away. That is why the bill of rights was proposed (i.e. to acknowledge pre-existing rights, NOT to give them), and that is why some men of the time opposed the BoR - because they were afraid that codifying the rights would make it seem like they were given by the BoR.

~Dale

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 02:44 PM
Mr. D -

And how right they were. Look at the mess we are in today, precisely because some people think we are only given rights by a government that choses to uphold them.

How far we have fallen.

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 02:45 PM
The problem with that is that the ones who only emote always end up reverting back to "Well, I feel its wrong," or "I don't feel safe around guns," as their unbeatable trump card.
3KillerBs
I did have a friend break that trump card once with the reply "but I don't CARE about your feelings I care about the facts".

As you can imagine, it put quite a damper on that conversation.

Skipping tracks here...
"Natural Rights" sometimes gives me a pain in the neck. While I do sometimes feel that nations are sort of a collective illusion (got to find a better term for that) where we essentially all picked a starting point (or the founding fathers picked one), agreed that point would be our "anchor" and then moved on from there, I find it curious that the point was agreed upon at all. That concensus itself makes me think there is something "natural" about that starting point, that it's just "right".

With that in mind the dichotomy that I have to work out is my staunch position that, no matter what else others may say or think, I have a right to protect myself from any predator or aggressor (a "natural born" right as it were) while at the same time I also firmly believe that some personal sacrifice is both necessary and expected from anyone who wants the benefits of being a citizen of this "concentual hallucination" we call a nation.

Where "expected sacrifice" crosses the line into a full on attack on my "natural" liberty and security? That's one of the issues I wrestle with and have constant debates with others about. (and the frog in hot water analogy is apt. Is the attack creeping up so slowly that I'll never even notice that the water is boiling until it's too late?)

Nowhere is this struggle more visible than in the debate about RKBA which, again, is why I am constantly searching for elements to clarify and reinforce my position.

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 02:48 PM
First, I think you mean "prove" rather than "disprove" in that last sentence... but it's empirically verifiable. No living thing, including yourself or myself, or a dog or worm or single-celled organism, when attacked, threatened, choked, punched, or stabbed refuses to seek to preserve its own existance.

Actually, I did mean disprove.

No living thing, including yourself or myself, or a dog or worm or single-celled organism, when attacked, threatened, choked, punched, or stabbed refuses to seek to preserve its own existance.

So no living being has ever accepted his or her death with equanimity? I have a feeling that there are awful lot of folks in the world (not me) would argue that one of the most important events in the history of the world was a living being who chose not to preserve existence. :)

But more seriously, what does your evidence prove?

You are describing conditions and giving them a magical "right" to be that way.


Water has boils at 212 degrees, therefor water has the natural right to boil at 212 degrees.
The HIV virus in human beings destroys T cells and kills human beings, therefor the HIV has the natural right in human beings to take over T cells and kill human beings.
...


I think this is called the "is ought" fallacy - the underlying premise is everything is the way that it ought to be. What evidence do we have to support the premise that everything (or anything) is as it ought to be?

Bentham and the other Utilitarians pointed this out in the 18th century - about the same time Hobbes was spouting forth.

While I am not an expert, it appears to me that the preamble to the Constitution is closer to a Utilitarian position argument than a "natural rights" argument.

Mike

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 02:53 PM
While I am not an expert, it appears to me that the preamble to the Constitution is closer to a Utilitarian position argument than a "natural rights" argument.

Mike,
that's an interesting perspective, and one I'd have to consider for a while before I could respond. So in the meanwhile, can you come up with a strong "Utilitarian" argument to preserve our RKBA?

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 02:55 PM
Bentham and the other Utilitarians pointed this out in the 18th century - about the same time Hobbes was spouting forth.

While I am not an expert, it appears to me that the preamble to the Constitution is closer to a Utilitarian position argument than a "natural rights" argument.

Ah, but we must frame the Preamble with our understanding of the men who wrote it and their beliefs expressed elsewhere - such as the Declaration of Independance. This falls under the logical fallacy of "false attribution" whereby a a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

You cannot write Utilitarianism into the Constitution, overriding the authors' beliefs about "natural rights" simply because it is more convenient to your personal chosen philosophy.

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 02:57 PM
c'mon guys, I'm trying to steer this back into "the basis for supporting gun rights" territory. We're having a fascinating discussion here but let's try to keep the initial point in mind. :D

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 02:58 PM
Actually, I did mean disprove.

Then you willingly assume the burden of proof on yourself, my friend... let's read it once again:

Can you specify any evidence that if it were true, would disprove the existence of a "natural right"?

Can you? I've done what I can to demonstrate its existence... can you DISPROVE its existence? Normally the burden of proof would be on me, but you yourself bring up "disproving" the affirmative position, so have at it.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 02:59 PM
Ok sorry ZeSpectre I'm getting a little off track I admit it... sorry for the blatant thread-jacking :o

Mr. D
September 24, 2008, 03:28 PM
But it was so much fun! Oh, all right, if you say so... ;)

Seriously, sorry for contributing to the t-jacking, Ze.

Back to the discussion concerning feelings etc, if the anti says "I just don't feel safe around guns" or "I just don't like guns," I would reply "Well, I just don't feel safe withOUT guns! You're going to have to come up with a better reason than that - there is nothing to say that your personal feelings are superior to mine (or visa versa)." Everyone needs to have a logical reason for something to be the way they want it to be. If my feelings are the only reason that you should have your gun taken away, then I am simply a tyrant and I haven't proven a thing.

~Dale

SuperNaut
September 24, 2008, 03:28 PM
While I am not an expert, it appears to me that the preamble to the Constitution is closer to a Utilitarian position argument than a "natural rights" argument.

Maybe, but without corroboration from supporting documents I'd say coincidental.

However, your point still stands and I agree completely that the Preamble is very utilitarian. Before people get all bent, think about the implications of Mike's point. If a solely utilitarian basis exists for RKBA it actually makes our position stronger. Much stronger. If you are able to counter an anti's argument with data, rhetoric, and precedent; that is a pretty winning combination IYAM.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 03:45 PM
Well, Utilitarianism is just a philosophy, so it's only going to carry weight with those who agree with its precepts. Utilitarianism may be somewhat popular in America, but you won't go far before you find people who believe that it doesn't matter HOW MUCH GOOD something does for someone else - if it harms me or my family, I am opposed to it regardless of its benefits to society. (I'm one of these ;)).

Further, Utilitarianism isn't a very strong basis for RKBA, since it is utilized by the anti-gunners as perhaps their strongest logical argument, along these lines:

"If the greatest good for the greatest number is the highest goal, then removing all guns from a society will result in fewer gun deaths, which attains the greatest good for the greatest number... nevermind that lawful citizens may suffer occasional attacks which they cannot repel as a result."

This is where I disagree, and say that the greatest number is not my concern - my life and the safety and well-being of my family is my greatest concern, others be damned! Which is supported by a strong natural rights view.

Consider this: you and your family are holed up in your home during a SHTF scenario. The other 100 people still alive in the world decide they want the food, weapons and shelter you have wisely prepared for your family, so they rush your home, intent on overrunning anyone inside.

Utilitarianism would admonish you to sacrifice your family's well-being for the good of the horde - the greatest good for the greatest number.

I hope none of us would do so, though.

By contrast, I think most of us believe that we have a right to defend what is ours, up to and especially including our lives; so it's easy to argue from this precept to the requirement of efficient and effective weapons to effect this defense.

Data and arguments are only meaningful if one accepts the basic precepts of a particular position or philosophy. Utilitarianism's precepts are beneficial to a society, to the detriment of at least some of the individuals who constitute that society. I find this precept unacceptable, and all the data in the world which supports a Utilitarian argument won't convince me that its right if it results in harm to my family.

ZeSpectre, to address your concern over the balance between defending innate natural rights and offering up personal sacrifice for the society that we inhabit, that is a personal decision that each individual must make. I don't think we can condemn the man who retreats far into the wild to live a solitary, self-reliant existence for failing to contribute to society. By casting society off, he both relieves it of its responsibility to him while simultaneously shedding any responsibility he bears to defend it.

Personally, I believe that what one expects from a society, they should be prepared to return in service. However, this is a choice, and the sacrifice of natural rights by one for a society must be a choice and should never be forced on an individual.

I know this is slightly OT, but I just wanted to share my perspective on this legitimately challenging issue you brought up earlier :)

Vaarok
September 24, 2008, 04:08 PM
As recommended reading, I'd just like to plug for "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer.

Sometimes selfsacrifice, victimhood, and being part of impetus to change the world towards some better future is a manifestation of dissatisfaction with ones own self, and by denigrating the present one excuses ones own failings while exulting an ideology to which we have tied our self-esteem.

Gun control appeals to this, though perhaps not to the same degree as global warming or recycling.

This is why personal attacks such as the infamous Nazi Godwinning fail so hard, and why removal of every external citation possible gives us such negotiatory strength. By reducing them to their single selves, they are weak and can crumble while we ourselves to operate from a position of comparative strength, and then offer a "way out" by strictly attacking their adherence to the issue, rather than them personally, and offer them a surrogate affiliation that empowers them.

All beliefs follow this pattern to some degree, and manipulating the pattern correctly often allows you to convert people with shocking ease.

SuperNaut
September 24, 2008, 04:20 PM
elChupacabra, that is kind of my point. It is using an argument based upon a philosophy familiar to many anti's. I surmise that the utilitarian idea that all perspectives are equally valid could be turned to our advantage, but I'm not saying I know how.;)

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 04:31 PM
SuperNaut,

I see your point... for someone who has already succumbed to the impoverished belief that the good of a society is more important than that of themselves and their own families, i.e. gun grabbers, then the argument may easily be made that MORE guns actually REDUCES crime. There are plenty of resources:

http://www.gunfacts.info/

Is probably the best single source of data I'm aware of.

Other searches reveal that England and Australia, despite their gun bans, now suffer from a greater crime problem than even the USA - a fact that many gun grabbers may not want to admit, but they will have to grapple with nonetheless, if they are to be honest with themselves.

Anyway, it certainly is possible to make utilitarian arguments... although I think they are not the strongest RKBA arguments there, it's certainly another tool to have in the toolbox when that's the road you have to walk with someone in order to reach them.

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 04:37 PM
Other searches reveal that England and Australia, despite their gun bans, now suffer from a greater crime problem than even the USA - a fact that many gun grabbers may not want to admit, but they will have to grapple with nonetheless, if they are to be honest with themselves.

You know that reminds me of a "California" debate going on between two friends of mine right now. Basically one person saying that the small "controlled burn" forest fires caused death and destruction amongst the animals so it was only right to stop that practice. The other friend arguing that "yes" that was true in the short run but look at the result of the MASSIVE and UNCHECKED wildfires that happened because there were no "dead breaks" from controlled burns.

I wonder, is RKBA perhaps similar to vaccines and controlled forest burns? A little bit of something that prevents a huge explosion of misery later?

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 04:54 PM
Normally the burden of proof would be on me, but you yourself bring up "disproving" the affirmative position, so have at it.

I cannot provide one piece of evidence that could prove or disprove the existence of natural rights - that's sort of the point. If there is no evidence that (if true) could possibly refute the proposition - then it's an axiom.

And an axiom is in some sense pre-rational, not really capable of being proved or disproved.

Part of the to when you've stumbled across an axiom is to ask yourself, "Could evidence that could refute this proposition?"

Popper would scream "Metaphysics" at this juncture.

An axiom is problematical because it's really just an assertion. You can assert that natural rights exist, but as long as no possible evidence could prove the proposition, none can disprove it.

I happen think it's a silly assertion, but you may not. You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to.

The utilitarian argument seems stronger to me - we can discuss the utility of the RKBA - how and why that right helps further the stated goals of the Constitution. But you really can't get very far in a discussion based on natural rights, because that's an assertion that one accepts or not - much as Hobbes accepted and Bentham/John Stuart Mills rejected it at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

My main point here is that folks often post on THR as though it were somehow proven or known that "natural rights" exist. We should at least understand that existence of such rights have never been show to exist, and that some of the authors being read by the writers of Constitution rejected that notion as "nonsense on stilts."

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 05:04 PM
Mike,

Well, its interesting that you dismiss axioms so quickly, for the Founding Fathers themselves - whom you are quick to cite as Utilitarianists - describe in the very Declaration of Independance that rights such as the "pursuit of life, liberty and happiness" are a truth held "self-evident" - by definition, an axiom.

Allow me to turn the argument around - the basic tenant of Utilitarianism - that "the greatest good for the greatest number" is desirable - is an axiom as well. You must presuppose that that is a fundamental truth, and you cannot prove it any more than I can the existence of natural rights.

Essentially, ALL arguments reduce to an axiom. Per Wikipedia:

In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.

Either you accept it, or you don't - you must decide.

So if you DO accept the Utilitarian axiom - then one must formulate arguments accordingly.

If you DON'T, then natural rights are another alternative, which, if accepted, produce a different line of reasoning.

But you may not say that my beliefs are founded on any more of an axiom than yours, or are - consequently - any less valid.

Ultimately, all must decide what they will believe, and then work from there. There is no such thing as a purely objective argument. All begin at a point of belief - at a point of acceptance - at a point of decision. Yours just as mine.

To you, natural rights seem silly. To me, Utilitarianism seems inherantly evil. But that doesn't mean each of us aren't free to believe as we will.

And, to keep this post OT, both can lead to pro-RKBA arguments, although of (perhaps) different levels of strength. Still, any internally sound RKBA argument is a good one to hold in the toolbox.

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 05:29 PM
Well, Utilitarianism is just a philosophy, so it's only going to carry weight with those who agree with its precepts.

Agreed, and I would further say that just because the Utilitarians were correct about the emptiness of the "natural rights" argument, that doesn't mean they were right about anything else. :)

Utilitarianism would admonish you to sacrifice your family's well-being for the good of the horde - the greatest good for the greatest number.

I hope none of us would do so, though.

I am not sure I buy "greatest good for the greatest number" is a Utilitarian position. I could be wrong about that. But I would argue that the Constitution frequently asks us to give up personal rights for the greater good. Some examples:


Bankruptcy. If I am a creditor, bankruptcy requires me to give up a right some of your assets - even if you have agreed by contract to give them to me. The motivation is clearly to develop an economic system that has benficial results for the common good. Bit I still can't my dang money.
Patent Law. Patent Law restricts my right to make anything with my hands and sell it. Why? Patent law fosters invention for the common good.
Census. The Census clearly requires me to give up privacy for the common good.
Due Process. Due process require me to sacrifice. I may know that you in fact killed a family member. But under our Constitution, if your due process rights are violated, you walk away. That's for the common good, to create system of justice where we all have the right to due process.
Free Speech. I cannot stop you from publishing hideous lies about me (particularly if I am a public figure) - all I can do is sue you afterward. Why? My right to not have lies spread about me is less important than the common good of a free and vigorous press.
...


The list can go on, and on, and on.

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 05:40 PM
True, but none of the points you list are specific infringements against the natural right to self-defense, self-preservation.

I believe that, while the Founding Fathers knew enough to incorporate some Utilitarian ideas, they knew very well that natural rights must not be violated for the good of a society at large.

Governing is certainly a balancing act between the good of the individual and the good of society - to claim that the Founding Fathers were strictly Utilitarian in their philosophy is to be sorely myopic. Again, please refer to the Declaration of Independance.

Anyway, I think we've beat this natural rights vs. Utilitarianism horse to death. I think we can agree that, for both philosophies, there are means by which pro-RKBA arguments may be posited, so developing those arguments is important for this thread.

With that said, I, too, would be interested in how you would formulate a defense of RKBA based on your Utilitarian perspective. Could I entice you to share? :)

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 05:51 PM
Well, its interesting that you dismiss axioms so quickly, for the Founding Fathers themselves - whom you are quick to cite as Utilitarianists - describe in the very Declaration of Independance that rights such as the "pursuit of life, liberty and happiness" are a truth held "self-evident" - by definition, an axiom.


What? Where did I claim that the Founding Fathers were Utilitarians? I think the strongest statement that I made was that the preamble of the Constitution sounded more like a Utilitarian argument than a "natural rights" argument.

If anything is clear to me from the history I have read, the Founding Fathers weren't uniformly anything. When I read unsanitized history, they were wildly heterogeneous in their spiritual/philosophical beliefs. A strange amalgam of a drunken mob in Boston, slaveholders in Virginia, love with (the Enlighenment view of) ancient Greece, religious fanatics who though they were building the new Jerusalem, and bunch of folks - like Benjamin Franklin - who could only be called crackpots.

So in the meanwhile, can you come up with a strong "Utilitarian" argument to preserve our RKBA?

In the Constitution, I suspect that RKBA had two (or maybe three) functions: to aid in the common defence - a militia , to help preserve domestic tranquility, and maybe to check the power of government.

I don't need justify those rights as somehow divine or inherent - I want to live with those rights (that's why I didn't stay in Yemen or Somalia). I make that choice. No external imprimatur is needed. No king or G-d or mommy or daddy has to tell me it's OK to like those rights. :)

Mike

ZeSpectre
September 24, 2008, 05:56 PM
I don't need justify those rights as somehow divine or inherent - I want to live with those rights (that's why I didn't stay in Yemen or Somalia). I make that choice. No external imprimatur is needed. No king or G-d or mommy or daddy has to tell me it's OK to like those rights.

Well, if we take that as a basis (I get these rights because I declare these rights and choose to have them) then at least we are in a decent position to enforce our choice <grin>.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 06:10 PM
Mike....

Ok you lost me here:

I don't need justify those rights as somehow divine or inherent - I want to live with those rights (that's why I didn't stay in Yemen or Somalia). I make that choice. No external imprimatur is needed. No king or G-d or mommy or daddy has to tell me it's OK to like those rights.

So I understand WHY you like HAVING the rights... but how do you DEFEND them from someone who decides that you don't GET to enjoy them any more?

If the US Government asked you personally, "Can you provide me a logical basis as to why you should continue to exercise the right to keep and bear arms, otherwise we are going to strip that right away?" what would your response be?

I think that's what this thread is trying to distill... so I've established my natural rights argument - what is your specific formulation of the Utilitarian argument (or other philosophy of your choosing - at this point, I assume the Utilitarian perspective is going to be what you're going to run with, if that's fair :))?

Cosmoline
September 24, 2008, 06:26 PM
"Can you provide me a logical basis as to why you should continue to exercise the right to keep and bear arms, otherwise we are going to strip that right away?" what would your response be?

I would tell the US Government to look at its own formative documents. If I have no right to keep and bear arms, then the US Government has no right to exist.

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 06:31 PM
So I understand WHY you like HAVING the rights... but how do you DEFEND them from someone who decides that you don't GET to enjoy them any more?

I defend my rights by using the political process to ensure that those rights are not amended out of the constitution, and working with those who use judicial process make sure those rights created by the Constitution are honored. That's why I am a member of the NRA and the ACLU - that's how I defend my rights.

If the US Government asked you personally, "Can you provide me a logical basis as to why you should continue to exercise the right to keep and bear arms, otherwise we are going to strip that right away?" what would your response be?

My argument would be, "Who care if there is a logical basis or not? It's in the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment gives me that right - so you can't take it away. I couldn't care less what you think, US Government."

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 06:50 PM
I'm trying to steer this back into "the basis for supporting gun rights" territory.

I don't think we have strayed very far. The essence of the "natural rights" theory is really, "I have a right keep and bear arms because G-d (or Mother Earth or Nature) gave me that right."

That argument is guaranteed to convince no one who doesn't already agree with it. I generally think of arguments that only "convince" people who already agree with you as what my Dad would call "piss-poor".

The way I proceed:


The social policy benefits of gun laws - gun control laws or CCW laws are pretty much a wash. [Cite the NSF and CDC Studies that I take to be authoritative].
Part of what that means is that there is no conclusive statistical evidence to support either side.
In my neighborhood, the truth is that a gun it not very useful - there is in essence no crime.
But I would like an honest man living in a bad neighborhood to be able to defend his family. I do in fact feel badly for honest people who for reasons of poverty are stuck in bad neighborhoods.
Would you like to come to the range on Sunday? I have a little 22, a 9mm auto, and a 45 LC cowboy gun, and it's supposed to be a nice day. I'll give you a little safety training, and you shoot a gun and see what it's like. Ammo's on me.


Mike

3KillerBs
September 24, 2008, 07:34 PM
I did have a friend break that trump card once with the reply "but I don't CARE about your feelings I care about the facts"

When I tell them that perception is not reality, reality is reality they tend to go off in a huff. But they show up again on the same blogs, etc. and say the exact same things because nothing but their emotions matter to them.

3KillerBs
September 24, 2008, 07:45 PM
the utilitarian idea that all perspectives are equally valid could be turned to our advantage, but I'm not saying I know how.

The problem with that is that people who claim to believe that all perspectives are equally valid is that they, nevertheless, also believe that their own perspective is more valid than others.

I've never succeeded in getting a champion of "tolerance" and "diversity" to tolerate the diversity of my views as a conservative Christian. ;)

3KillerBs
September 24, 2008, 07:53 PM
a fact that many gun grabbers may not want to admit, but they will have to grapple with nonetheless, if they are to be honest with themselves.

The problem comes with the fact that they don't want to be honest with themselves. Very few antis will even consider the possibility that evidence could contradict their beliefs.

They just say, "Those studies were funded by the NRA!" and declare them invalid on principle.

This is why I would consider it completely useless to argue with the antis -- except that when doing it online I know that there are fence-sitting spectators reading the discussion.

3KillerBs
September 24, 2008, 08:20 PM
IMO, when it comes to the question of rights, either you believe that natural rights exist -- endowed by the Creator, given by Nature, etc. -- as the inevitable condition of being human or you have no basis for believing that there is anything immoral about the strong taking what they wish from the weak any time they can get away with it.

If there are no inalienable rights there is nothing wrong with grabbing all the power you can over any person you can subdue.

In such a society guns are absolutely necessary for those who want to live unmolested, but there is no rights-based argument possible to prevent the even stronger from taking your guns away if they can.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 08:22 PM
RPCVYemen -

That argument is guaranteed to convince no one who doesn't already agree with it. I generally think of arguments that only "convince" people who already agree with you as what my Dad would call "piss-poor".

You know, I've been as civil as I can when I point out that your arguments fall to the exact same fault... I've tried to agree to disagree and steer away from this argument... now I'm feeling like you're just scrapping for a fight? :confused:

Besides, many people will SAY they believe in Utilitarianism, until you break it down into its basic components, as I've done above. MANY people then have a problem with it. By contrast, MOST Americans DO believe in natural rights... so really, your dad would call have to call YOUR argument "piss-poor" as well... though mine will, in all likelihood, reach many, many more people here in America.

And

"Who care if there is a logical basis or not? It's in the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment gives me that right - so you can't take it away. I couldn't care less what you think, US Government."


Amendments can be changed, amended themselves, by the authority of that same Constitution... so this is an inherantly flawed, internally inconsistent argument. Specifically, this argument commits the informal logical fallacy of "begging the question" - you presume the Second Amendment will continue to uphold and defend your rights, so you conclude that your rights are defended and upheld... while the question is, "how does one stave off very real attacks AGAINST the Second Amendment?"

For all your philosophical rhetoric, I would have assumed that you would be able to construct a more internally consistent argument, yourself. Instead, you seem to be committed only to forcing your particular worldview on those who have assumed another, without admitting that Utilitarianism is founded on the same sort of axioms as natural rights - and may just as easily be rejected, as such - all the while, deriding the majority of the members on this forum as buffoons for believing as we do.

Either event, I am still very interested in continuing to develop meaningful, internally consistent arguments in defense of RKBA, and 2A by extension... I was hoping you could help us do this?:confused:

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 09:12 PM
Amendments can be changed, amended themselves, by the authority of that same Constitution... so this is an inherently flawed, internally inconsistent argument.

The argument is so simple that it's hard to see how it could be inconsistent:


In the US, we the rights enumerated by the US Constitution.
The US Constitution enumerates the right to keep and bear arms.
Therefore, we have the right to keep an bear arms.


Please illustrate the inconsistency.

Political rights are derive from political power - not rational arguments. The Congress is more pro-RKBA because Howard Dean woke up and got pro-RKBA Dems elected, not because someone won a debate.

BTW, You keep wanting me to defend the Utilitarians - I keep repeating I am not a particular fan of the Utilitarians. I happen to think that they were right about "natural rights" and they were around and active at the time the Constitution was written. I think detect their arguments in the preamble to the Constitution to the Bill of Rights. I don't endorse them overall.

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 09:19 PM
1) In the US, we the rights enumerated by the US Constitution.
2) The US Constitution enumerates the right to keep and bear arms.
3) Therefore, we have the right to keep an bear arms.


4) The US Constitution allows for provisions by which any enumerated right may be amended out of existence
5) Our political adversaries may well gain sufficient momentum to amend the right to keep and bear arms out of the Constitution
6) If they succeed in doing so and we see as our only source of that right the same Constitution, our right is lost forever and we have no reason to fight for its reinstitution

Does this seriously not follow for you? :confused:

ETA Note: Point 6 invalidates point 3; ergo, your argument "begs the question."

ar10
September 24, 2008, 09:59 PM
Isn't RKBA more of an ideal or privilage than a right? For example. In order to even purchase any type of legal firearm don't you have to have a background check to see if you are/were convicted of some type of violent crime? To be allowed to legally CCW a more rigorous background check is require.(excluding NY of course). In some state you have to have some type of permit to even buy ammo.

A lot has changed since 1778, some good and many bad. But what I do know is enemies of the US really don't like the idea of a well armed society. I think they realize that even if government falls it would be extremely difficult if not impossible subdue the people.

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 10:13 PM
AR10 -

Our Founding Fathers certainly believed that the RKBA was a right when they added "The right to keep and bears arms shall not be infringed" into the Bill of RIGHTS... not the Bill of Privelages or the Bill of Ideals.

They believed they were codifying preexistant natural rights into formal law, protecting them against infringement... NOT granting them.

I believe as they did, and will fight to defend this right, accordingly.

RPCVYemen
September 24, 2008, 10:35 PM
If they succeed in doing so and we see as our only source of that right the same Constitution, our right is lost forever and we have no reason to fight for its reinstitution.

That's where you went off the rails. Why exactly can't we fight for new rights, or for the re-institution of a right that was lost? Didn't the 18th and the 21st Amendments do exactly that?

I see no reason that a group of people couldn't decide that there was a new right to free health care. If they worked the political process and amended the Constitution to include that right, then we would have that right. Didn't the 26th Amendment give those between 18 and 21 the right to vote?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 24, 2008, 11:14 PM
RPCVYemen -

Aahh - you there change the basis for your defense of RKBA from the Constitution to some other, stand-alone right that can be fought for independantly of the Constitution...

Earlier, you have said that the ONLY reason you believe in the RKBA is because the Constitution provides for it:

1) In the US, we the rights enumerated by the US Constitution.
2) The US Constitution enumerates the right to keep and bear arms.
3) Therefore, we have the right to keep an bear arms.

And earlier, perhaps more pertinently,

My argument would be, "Who care if there is a logical basis or not? It's in the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment gives me that right - so you can't take it away. I couldn't care less what you think, US Government."
You are blatantly changing your argument here, and in front of everyone who can read this thread.

Mr. D
September 25, 2008, 12:29 PM
Man, I had a good reply to RPCVYemen typed up and then I remembered...

Come on guys, why don't you (we) start a different thread for that discussion? This thread is supposed to be ways to combat the enemy, not differences among ourselves! :)

~Dale

Blofeld
September 25, 2008, 01:26 PM
Any group that you can draw a parallel with has advantages that we do not. They are protected by Hate Crime laws. They have the media on their side. They have the sympathy of politicians and courts. At a bare minimum, those who do not like them will keep their mouths shut and grudgingly accept their existence.

We do not have media support, quite the opposite. Laws that do support us, notably OC and now the whole Heller thing, are ignored. And those who do not like us will not accept a live and let live stance, they actively seek to destroy us.

We all agree that persecution of any group is wrong, and yet every time some nut goes on a shooting spree and I see it on the news, my first thought is for the victims, quickly followed by "How will gun owners be persecuted for this?"

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 01:57 PM
Mr. D and ZeSpectre -

I am sorry, I know the threadjacking has gone pretty far... I really do apologize for that. In post #89, I tried my best to agree to disagree and let this argument lie, turing it to a more constructive discussion... but that gesture was met with further insults against the beliefs that I (and most of us on this board, according to this poll

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=4950098

hold), so I felt urged to defend my beliefs against these really unprovoked but, more importantly, unfounded and indefensable attacks.

I really hope we can be done with this argument now. I'm tired of having it, but won't accept hearing my personal worldview called "silly" or a "piss-poor argument." That's just too much to abide.

SuperNaut
September 25, 2008, 02:05 PM
elChupacabra,

Attacking someone's position is the correct way to debate, that you took offense or that others share your position is irrelevant; and in the latter case a fallacy known as argument from popularity. It is a shame that a discussion that Ze wanted to have was de-railed.

This is why we can't have nice things.:)

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 02:09 PM
SuperNaut -

Oh no, to be sure I don't argue for my beliefs on the grounds that they are either popular or dear to me. I am totally ok with ending an argument with mutually respectful disagreement. That was actually exactly what I tried to do... but the personal attacks really reinvigorated my desire to expose the logical flaws of RPCVYemen's argument. (Also, the only reason I point to the poll is to show that even Utilitarian arguments are not going to go very far, here at least. The issue of Utilitarianism vs. Natural Rights is an issue of presuppositions - neither can be argued very effectively, as they are axioms which an individual must either accept or reject before continuing on to the real argument. I'm simply pointing out that, when RPCVYemen insults me, he insults most members of this board.)

So taking offense just gave me a reason to continue to attack the other's position... note that I never stoop to attacking the man, or commiting the ad hominem fallacy, as my opponent has. I'm not interested in arguing for the sake of it, but a personal attack is certainly a good reason to continue an attack on an oponent's argument.

Now, with that said, I do dearly want to return to the constructive discussion of the rational basis for RKBA, especially from various perspectives, such as Utilitarianism. I would like nothing more than to hear a well-constructed, internally consistent Utilitarian argument for the RKBA which can be used against anti's.

So far, I think all RPCVYemen has done is explain why the Utilitarian perspective is superior to the Natural Rights perspective. Let's discuss the actual FORMATION of that Utilitarian perspective, with the understanding that some may hold it, while others may not.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 02:57 PM
Aahh - you there change the basis for your defense of RKBA from the Constitution to some other, stand-alone right that can be fought for independently of the Constitution...

Huh? You saying that I can't argue for the creation of a new right (or in theory) for the dissolution of the old right? What do you make of the amendments that in fact do just that?

If you are arguing that the Constitution cannot be amended to create new rights or dissolve old rights, then your argument is nothing short of bizarre - since the Constitution itself allows it to be amended.

Earlier, you have said that the ONLY reason you believe in the RKBA is because the Constitution provides for it:

Let's be very clear about what I said. I said that (in the US) rights exists if and only iff they are enumerated in the (US) Constitution. Why does that some deny me the attempt to create a new right?

For example a bunch of people could decide that they want the "right to free health care". Why would prevent them from trying to amend the Constitution add that right in a new Amendment?

Right now, right to free health care does not exist (in the US). If that group of people succeeded, then the right to free health care would exist in the US. If they did not succeed, then the right to free health care would not exist.

As an actual example from the Constitution, before 1919, we had the right to manufacture, import, and export alcoholic beverages. The 18th Amendment destroyed that right. The 21st (mostly) restored it.

Before 1971, there was no right for 18 year olds to vote. That right did not exist. The 26th amendment created that right. Presumably, some new Amendment could raise the voting age to 31, and the right of 18 years olds to vote would no longer exist.

I see no reason in principle that a subsequent amendment could not revoke or modify the 2nd - I'd fight like hell against it, but it certainly could happen. In that case the right to keep and bear arms would no longer exist - just as the right to vote for 18 years olds did not exist before 1971.

What is complicated about this?

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 03:12 PM
I am sorry, I know the threadjacking has gone pretty far... I really do apologize for that.

Come on guys, why don't you (we) start a different thread for that discussion? This thread is supposed to be ways to combat the enemy, not differences among ourselves!

I don't see us as very far off topic - here's what the OP says:

In thinking about it I've come to the conclusion that some of our "basis" are very strong, but some are terribly weak and don't hold up to scrutiny.

I think that elChupacabra are exploring whether or not the "Natural Right" basis for RKBA stands up to scrutiny or not. I maintain the the "Natural Right" basis does not hold up even to minimal scrutiny. He maintains that it does. What could be more on topic?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 03:34 PM
Actually, I'm not exploring the Natural Rights view any more at all - I've let that go eons ago... I'm just trying to point out that RPCVYemen's arguments are no more fundamentally sound than mine are - they both begin from an assumption of belief. You haven't addressed that assertion at all. Are you ever going to?

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 03:43 PM
rights exists if and only iff they are enumerated in the (US) Constitution

This is your presupposition. I disagree with it, and propose that some rights - Natural Rights - exist independantly of any government's endorsement.

My disagreement is due to my fundamentally different view of humanity. You reject my fundamentally different view of humanity and substitute your own.

You are, of course, free to do this. But you can provide no more proof for your assertion above than I can for mine that "some rights exist independantly of any enumeration in the US Constitution."

At this point, both our arguments reach a point at which one must chose what one believes. Yours just as mine.

Your statement is no more fundamentally logical than mine. Your statement has no more empirical or verifiable evidence than mine. Yours arbitrarily ties rights to a document, whereas mine arbitrarily does not. Your view is as absurd in my eyes as mine is in yours.

ctdonath
September 25, 2008, 03:48 PM
said that (in the US) rights exists if and only iff they are enumerated in the (US) Constitution.
Wrong. The Constitution recognizes & enumerates a limited palate of pre-existing rights. There was a big argument among the Founding Fathers over including a Bill Of Rights at all on the grounds that by doing so it would be construed, incorrectly, exactly the way you believe.

That's why the last two enumerated rights basically say "there's a lot of other rights too, and those shall be protected as well."

Repealing the 2nd Amendment doesn't mean RKBA ceases to exist.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 03:52 PM
THANK YOU ctdonath. I've been feeling pretty lonely over here, which is strange given the fact that I KNOW I'm not the only one to believe in a natural right to self-defense on this board! :eek:

SuperNaut
September 25, 2008, 03:59 PM
elChupacabra

I haven't chimed in because I don't agree that natural = god given. I believe that natural = inherent. I can tell from your poll what you believe and I have little interest in that debate.

Mostly because personal experience shows that type of debate to be non-productive and too highly charged. Responses in this very thread have confirmed my trepidation. Ze was asking for alternate but supporting arguments in his OP, that this has turned into a natural rights vs. utilitarianism debate is sad.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 04:04 PM
SuperNaut -

I understand your hesitance. Please believe me when I say that I, too, am more concerned with rights being inherant than given from any higher power, whether that be a Judeo-Christian God, Mother Nature, Karma, anything - you're right, that debate can get pretty out of hand, and I'm not interested in engaging in it either. It's totally unproductive for the purpose of RKBA.

One's beliefs regarding the source of an inherant right are, to me, irrelevant. I've been very careful to avoid implying that any rights are inherant BECAUSE of a higher power of any sorts.

Please forgive me if I've failed to do that - I certainly don't intend to alienate any who are like-minded on this issue based on some particular "source" of an inherant belief.

In my mind, if you believe we both hold the same natural rights, I could care less why you believe that. The belief is what matters to me.

With that in mind, I've tried time and again to distance this discussion from the "natural rights vs. Utilitarianism" argument. I don't want to have this argument any more and have made that as clear as possible. With that said, I'm not going to give it up just because of attrition.

Mr. D
September 25, 2008, 04:06 PM
Chupacabra,

Feel lonely no longer! As you now know, most of this entire board agrees with you, as do I. However, I think most people are a little hesitant to jump into a conversation that now seems to have reached the point of going nowhere. You've said pretty much everything there is to say, and have said it well. :)

ctdonath,

Amen! I said essentially the same thing earlier, but you said it much better. Thank you.

~Dale

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 04:08 PM
Thanks Mr. D.

I really appreciate your support. I'm just about sick of this argument. :o

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 04:22 PM
DELETED... hate spammers

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 04:26 PM
This is your presupposition. I disagree with it, and propose that rights exist interdependently of any government's endorsement.

One advantage of my presupposition is that it makes a statement about the existence of a right is verifiable - or more particularly refutable.

A while back I asked you if there was evidence that could potentially disprove the existence of a "Natural Right". You could not, and I pointed that then the assertion that any individual right was a "Natural Right" was an assertion. Accepting that the RKBA is a "Natural Right" requires the acceptance of a load of metaphysics - including from your "evidence" for this right that all is ought to be (the "is ought" fallacy).

My definition is in fact refutable - if a right is not enumerated in the Constitution it does not exist. No metaphysics, or assertion about what ought to exist. The fact that a statement is refutable makes it a stronger proposition.

For example, when asked about the right of 18 years olds to vote prior to 1971, you must maintain:


The right for 18 year olds to vote is a Natural Right, and hence has always existed - though we have no evidence of that existence prior to 1917. It somehow existed some Platonic nether world and warped into our dimension when the 26th Amendment was ratified.
The right of 18 year olds to vote is not a Natural Right. But it's an an Amendment just like the 2nd - how could it be different? "It's not a Natural Right because I say it's not a Natural Right!" But then we've fallen down the rabbit hole, and we are trying to debate with the Red Queen.


My definition is free of those complicated problems - the right of 18 years old to vote did not exist prior to the 26th Amendment because it wasn't enumerated in the Constitution prior to the 26th Amendment.

To put this in terms of the OP's original question, the definition that I propose stands up better under scrutiny.

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 04:31 PM
RPCVYemen -

My definition is in fact refutable - if a right is not enumerated in the Constitution it does not exist

But this is NOT your basic assertion. Your basic assertion is "NO rights exist that are not enumerated in the Constitution."

This is as irrefutable an argument as mine, and, ergo, just as subject to belief or denial. It's an axiom. No axiom stands up to any scrutiny - they must all be chosen, believed. Yours just as mine.

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 04:32 PM
Political rights are derive from political power - not rational arguments.

The right to self-defense is not a political right. It is a fundamental human right that does not depend on any government, party, politician, or law to be inherent to every human being. Fundamental human rights are granted by God to ALL human beings (regardless of whether or not they believe in him), and cannot be revoked by any lesser authority.

Fundamental human rights are many orders of magnitude different from mere political rights such as the "right" to vote in a given party's primary election.

Mr. D
September 25, 2008, 04:35 PM
Wait a minute... your definition stands up better under scrutiny... how/why? Because it is refutable? I KNOW it's refutable, I've spent my last several posts refuting it! So has Chubacabra! How does that fact make your position stronger?

By the way, does the Constitution or BoR give me the right to live?

~Dale

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 04:38 PM
Why exactly can't we fight for new rights, or for the re-institution of a right that was lost?

There is no such thing as a "new right". "Rights" that come and go with the flow of political tides are not rights at all, they are privileges -- perks for the in-crowd.

Rights can, however, be infringed upon and our right to keep and bear arms has been greatly infringed upon in the past years as people with the very same mindset you are displaying abused their power and treated rights as if they were mere political perks.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 04:41 PM
But this is NOT your basic assertion. Your basic assertion is "no rights exist that are not enumerated in the Constitution."

OK, I will amend my from "no rights exist that are not enumerated in the Constitution." to "if a right is not enumerated in the Constitution it does not exist" if that makes a difference. I don't see the difference between those two.

But I think you missing the point - we can test whether a right exists based in the definition that I propose.


Given right xxx, does it exist?
If xxx is enumerated in the Constitution, it does exists.
If xxx is not enumerated in the Constitution, it does not exist.


So what is your refutable test for whether not xxx is a Natural Right?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 04:48 PM
RPCVYemen -

But I think you missing the point - we can test whether a right exists based in the definition that I propose

Actually, I think YOU are missing the point - I will repeat myself:

Your [new] basic assertion is "if a right is not enumerated in the Constitution it does not exist."

This is as irrefutable an argument as mine, and, ergo, just as subject to belief or denial. It's an axiom. No axiom stands up to any scrutiny - they must all be chosen, believed. Yours just as mine.

You see, I reject your fundamental presupposition under which you propose rights may be defined or identified. As this fundamental presupposition is an axiom, you can offer no defense for it other than "I believe it to be true."

We are on a level playing field with our respective axioms, although you have yet to admit that.

You may only proceed to define the existence of rights as being contingent upon their presence in the Constitution once we acccept that the Constitution is the sole repository of rights. But we do not.

Along your lines, I may argue that rights only exist if they are present in the Bible. You will reject my argument, because you disagree that the Bible is the sole repository of rights.

Simply because ones argument is refutable doesn't mean it's acceptable or true, if you first reject the underlying axiom.

I reject your axiom, and you can provide no rebuttal, yet you continue to insist that your axiom is more fundamentally sound than mine.

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 05:03 PM
You're way too tied up in this "refutable" business.

One test of whether something is a right or a privilege is to ask if it is a fundamental part of the human condition applicable to all human beings in all countries at all times past and present. To ask if at any time in any place that something is denied the denial is unjust.

It is always unjust, everywhere, at all times past and present to deprive an innocent person of his life. It is always unjust, everywhere, at all times past and present, to deprive a person of his liberty by making him a slave or an indentured servant. It is always unjust, everywhere, at all times past and present to deprive an innocent person of his property. It is always unjust, everywhere, at all times past and present to prevent an innocent person from speaking to or writing about his beliefs for any willing audience. And so on -- the Founding Fathers did a pretty thorough job of enumerating these fundamental rights in the Declaration of Independence, in the Constitution, and in The Bill of Rights.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 05:06 PM
3KillerBs -

I agree with you completely.

Unfortunately, RPCVYemen does not accept that your definition of what constitutes a human right is correct. We will never convince him that we are correct... just as he will never convince us that HE is correct.

Perhaps seeing Yemen and Somalia firsthand might destroy someones beliefs in "natural rights." That is very sad... but I, like you, do not reject my beliefs just for the outrages I have witnessed, or even endured.

From Wikipedia:

The human rights situation in Yemen is poor. The government and its security forces, often considered to suffer from rampant corruption, have been responsible for torture, inhumane treatment and even extrajudicial executions. There are arbitrary arrests of citizens, especially in the south, as well as arbitrary searches of homes. Prolonged pretrial detention is a serious problem, and judicial corruption, inefficiency, and executive interference undermine due process. Freedom of speech, the press and religion are all restricted

Of course we don't have to mention the human rights situation in Somalia.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 05:11 PM
I've spent my last several posts refuting it! So has Chubacabra!

Actually, I haven't seen any you refuting anything - mostly you've claimed that we were off topic, and that eChubacabra's view is more popular.

By the way, does the Constitution or BoR give me the right to live?

Is is enumerated in the Constitution?

See how easy that is?

Now look at it from the Natural Right perspective. The fuzzy criteria proposed there is something like "Whatever happens in the natural world", right?


Every organism that has ever lived was at one point alive. Therefore the right to live is a natural right.
Every organism that has ever lived has died or will die. OK, so the right to live is not a natural right.


So by the same criteria - what happens in nature - I have shown that the "right to live" is a natural right and is not a natural right. Oops!

So does smallpox have the natural right to kill human beings?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 05:13 PM
RPCVYemen

I reject your axiom, and you can provide no rebuttal, yet you continue to insist that your axiom is more fundamentally sound than mine.


Have you no response?

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 05:18 PM
RPCVYemen -

Now look at it from the Natural Right perspective. The fuzzy criteria proposed there is something like "Whatever happens in the natural world", right?


You here exhibit the Straw Man fallacy when you attack the concept of Natural Rights because I attempted to support it with an argument from nature. I was merely attempting to point to that innate belief, held by many (if not most) Americans, that makes the belief in Natural Rights seem acceptable as "truth."

We both know that's not the argument for Natural Rights.

Again, Natural Rights is an axiom, that you slander time and again, yet can provide no more concrete alternative for... only your own axiom, which we find as equally absurd as you find ours("we" being believers in Natural Rights).

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 05:26 PM
Unfortunately, RPCVYemen does not accept that your definition of what constitutes a human right is correct. We will never convince him that we are correct... just as he will never convince us that HE is correct.

I was hoping to achieve greater understanding by approaching the problem from the reverse angle.

The problem in Yemen, Somalia, and other such places of oppression and misery is not that rights do not exist in there. It is that rights are being violated there -- creating terrible injustice.

Injustice, the condition of having fundamental human rights violated, always creates misery. When its the government perpetuating the injustice it becomes obvious that the rights which are being violated exist independently of politics because if rights depended on politics then slavery, government confiscation of citizens' property, and genocide would not be unjust.

Since slavery, government confiscation of citizens' property, and genocide are universally held to be unjust (except by the predators with political power who do such things), there have to be fundamental and inalienable human rights which exist outside the jurisdiction of any political document.

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 05:29 PM
So does smallpox have the natural right to kill human beings?

That is a ridiculous question because smallpox is a virus, not a human being. Only human beings have human rights.

jahwarrior
September 25, 2008, 05:31 PM
ya'll shur do talk purty.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 05:32 PM
lol :)

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 05:38 PM
You're way too tied up in this "refutable" business.

Actually, one of the benefits of reputability is that it can help us to see tautology - circular reasoning. Such as the follow tautology:

One test of whether something is a right or a privilege is to ask if it is a fundamental part of the human condition applicable to all human beings in all countries at all times past and present. To ask if at any time in any place that something is denied the denial is unjust.

OK, let's unroll this one:


A natural right is something that in all places in all times, it's denial causes injustice.
How do we determine if a denial of something causes injustice in all times and all places? Why injustice is the denial of natural rights.


OK, so you told me that anything whose denial causes injustice is a natural right. And you told me that injustice is that thing produced by the denial of natural rights. Do you understand that you have said nothing at all?

Now tautologies my in fact be true - but to return to the OP's topic, they don't stand scrutiny.

The following won't convince anyone - probably not even you :)


The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right because its denial causes injustice.
The denial of the right to keep and bear arms causes injustice because it's a natural right.


Mike

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 05:39 PM
Actually, all this back and forth probably is relevant to the original question in a way because the antis are likewise coming from a completely different assumption about what constitutes a right and a similar confusion about the difference between a right and a privilege.

Perhaps the key to latch onto is the justice/injustice concept? Even small children quickly grasp the idea that some things are and are not fair.

If it can be agreed that it is unjust to kill an innocent person perhaps it can be worked forward from there to the point of it being unjust to deny an innocent person effective means of self-defense?

But at the moment, I have to go finish making dinner.

Anyone for a nice, hot bowl of vegetable beef soup on a chilly, windy, stormy day? :)

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 05:41 PM
Yeah I'm out too everybody. Time to go home and load up some .223 Rem.

Reloading is nice and relaxing :)

I'll see yall later tonight, or tomorrow morning.

And 3KillerBs - That is an excellent argument, and a fantastic starting point for another argument.

I think what we really need to do is identify where our particular target begins their beliefs, then work from there forward towards RKBA.

Many believe that Natural Rights exist, at which point we can argue from that point to RKBA, as I've done above.

Some may believe that the Constitution is the sole repository of rights, from which point it's immediately observable that RKBA is preserved there... once you define "the people," "keep," "bear," and "shall not be infringed."

Some may believe neither... but have an innate sense of justice. We can appeal to that sense of justice towards RKBA.

It does no good to try to convince them that their starting point is invalid. You work with what you've got in each particular case.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 05:43 PM
That is a ridiculous question because smallpox is a virus, not a human being. Only human beings have human rights.

The question was about natural rights. Why did you feel compelled to change it to human rights?

Are you perhaps a little uncomfortable with where your justification of natural rights leads you?

Why did you change the question?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 05:46 PM
The real question is -

Why did YOU change the question?

Once again:


I reject your axiom, and you can provide no rebuttal, yet you continue to insist that your axiom is more fundamentally sound than mine.

Have you no response?

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 05:51 PM
We both know that's not the argument for Natural Rights.

Wait - that's not fair.

I asked you why the right to self defense was a natural right, and you said precisely:

First, I think you mean "prove" rather than "disprove" in that last sentence... but it's empirically verifiable. No living thing, including yourself or myself, or a dog or worm or single-celled organism, when attacked, threatened, choked, punched, or stabbed refuses to seek to preserve its own existance.

Am I somehow twisting your words? If you were not claiming that the right self defense is a natural right because all organisms strive to defend themselves, what were you claiming?

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 06:14 PM
I reject your axiom, and you can provide no rebuttal, yet you continue to insist that your axiom is more fundamentally sound than mine.

Just missed that post. It is quite clear that either the claim "Natural rights exist irrespective of the US Constitution" and "Rights exists if they are enumerated in the US Constitution" are equivalently sound.

But they differ remarkably in their refutability, and thus in their power to persuade - which is the OP's question.

Given the claim that the right to bear arms is a natural right, if someone does not already agree, then all you can do is stand toe-to-toe shouting "Yes it is!" "No it isn't!" - no rational argument is possible. That pretty much sums up many of the pro-gun arguments I have seen on THR - and does about as much good.

Given the claim that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, if someone does not already agree, a rational argument about whether or not it is enumerated in the US Constitution is possible. Read the Heller briefs as proof that it's possible to have a rational discussion about this.

So we have two claims, either of which could be correct, but one stands more scrutiny than the other - it is more amenable to rational discussion with someone who does not accept it.

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 06:27 PM
Perhaps seeing Yemen and Somalia firsthand might destroy someones beliefs in "natural rights." That is very sad... but I, like you, do not reject my beliefs just for the outrages I have witnessed, or even endured.

In fact, it is precisely those experiences that made me look at the rights created by the Constitution with such awe!

I came back from 4 years overseas with a much, much deeper respect for our Constitution - particularly the Bill of Rights. I was in Mogadishu during the fall of Siad Barre - a brutal time. I had a lot more respect for how we get rid of Presidents after that experience. :)

Is your referral to my experiences in Yemen and Somalia some back handed ad hominem attack? That someone can't expect an American who has lived those places to be able to understand the argument for natural rights?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 06:29 PM
RPCVYemen -

Negative - you are STILL not answering the question.

Given the claim that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, if someone does not already agree, a rational argument about whether or not it is enumerated in the US Constitution is possible. Read the Heller briefs as proof that it's possible to have a rational discussion about this.

I refute that being a constitutional right is the basis for the RKBA. I challenge that, with no regard to its appearance anywhere in the Constitution, RKBA exists NEVERTHELESS.

This is, unfortunately, your very presupposition underlying the actual argument itself, which follows this formula:

1) Given - existence in the Constitution is evidence of a right
2) RKBA exists in the constitution
3) Therefore, RKBA is a right.

But I do not accept Premise 1 as a given.

Now we find ourselves once more in your "shouting match" where you say "Yes it is!" and I say "No it isn't!"

You must admit that, in either case, we must determine what our presupposition is. You conveniently skip your presupposition and head straight to your argument - assuming your presupposition is true. You beg the question, time and again, though your fallacy is pointed out directly, time and again.

I think you are as aware of the weakness of your argument as everyone else reading is.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 06:31 PM
RCPVYemen -

Is your referral to my experiences in Yemen and Somalia some back handed ad hominem attack?

Not at all... just an attempt at explaining the possible source of your beliefs. Without commenting on their validity, they are, most certainly, bizzare among Americans, especially those who would defend RKBA.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 06:38 PM
RPCVYemen -

If you were not claiming that the right self defense is a natural right because all organisms strive to defend themselves, what were you claiming?


No, I was claiming that the observable phenomenon of living things seeking their own self-preservation is evidence of the pre-existant Natural Right to self-defense.

Here, you apply an inverted causality to my argument in an attempt to make it appear absurd. But I never said that BECAUSE living things preserve themselves, a Natural Right exists. Instead, I suggested the inverse... that living things preserve themselves as evidence of the existence of Natural Rights.

Further, evidence can never prove causality, only suggest existence. Here, you commit the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy as you attempt to twist my argument.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 06:42 PM
You must admit that, in either case, we must determine what our presupposition is. You conveniently skip your presupposition and head straight to your argument - assuming your presupposition is true. You beg the question, time and again, though your fallacy is pointed out directly, time and again.

No, read it carefully. I assumed that each was true, and examined the potential for rational discourse - a proxy for the persuasive power - of each of them.

The key phrases are:


Given the claim that the right to bear arms is a natural right, ...
Given the claim that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right, ...


Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 06:43 PM
I assumed that each was true, and examined the potential for rational discourse - a proxy for the persuasive power - of each of them.

Ah, yes: so you refuse to accept that your first statement is truly a given, because you reject it as being unacceptable per your beliefs - to you, it doesn't hold "sufficient potential for rational discourse"... yet you require me to accept your second statement as true - as holding more inherant "potential for rational discourse?"

There's the rub, indeed.

"Begging the question," as defined:

In logic, begging the question has traditionally described a type of logical fallacy (also called petitio principii) in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises. Begging the question is related to the fallacy known as circular argument, circulus in probando, vicious circle or circular reasoning.

Either proposition only holds potential for rational discourse once one accepts the underlying axiom. Otherwise, we will both simply reply to one another, "your proposition bears no potential for rational discourse - therefore, it is invalid."

That's what we've been doing for about 150 posts now.

Of course, I don't care what you believe - if you wish to assume an axiom that you believe is a rational foundation for argument, by all means, be my guest... but don't expect to convince many Americans with it.

Unfortunately, all the while, you refuse me the same privelage.

That is hypocracy and intolerance of the worst kind, and quite suprising, indeed.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 08:06 PM
Either proposition only holds potential for rational discourse once one accepts the underlying axiom.

OK, let's assume for the case of argument that some rights pre-exist their instantiation in the Constitution.

Now given that principle, suppose someone asserts that even though such a rights exist, the RKBA is not one of them. How will you convince them that the RKBA is such a right?

I take it as established that if one accepts that rights are enumerated by the Constitution, we can have a rational discourse - given the (mostly) rational discourse in the Heller briefs. Do we agree on that?

Mike

yokel
September 25, 2008, 08:15 PM
A man once posited, “War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.”

Of course, the Founding Fathers were well acquainted with the overwhelmingly gruesome and personal violence of war. The Second Amendment asserts that the violence and the consumption of war is inescapable, it is literally inside all of us. This carefully crafted statement is also a direct, full, and unequivocal acknowledgement of the power of arms to defend and serve oppressed people.

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 08:20 PM
RPCVYemen -

OK, let's assume for the case of argument that some rights pre-exist their instantiation in the Constitution.

Now given that principle, suppose someone asserts that even though such a rights exist, the RKBA is not one of them. How will you convince them that the RKBA is such a right?


Post 15 of this thread:

Here is the best argument I can come up with for RKBA... It doesn't seek to equate RKBA with any other civil right or preexistant basis for outrage, such as race, religion, freedom of press, etc., but attempts to build a position from presuppositions that any reasonable person can agree with (of course, an irrational person cannot be reasoned with or convinced of anything, which is the weakness of such an argument... in which case, as the adage states, "Do not engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person, for they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience").

Here is my argument:

1) Self-defense is a bodily function that, like eating, breathing, or even reproducing, cannot be safely or effectively delegated to another. Every living thing knows self-defense - even single-celled organisms have cell membranes. Self-defense is inseparable from self-preservation, and in that sense, is no different from finding shelter from the sun or water to drink.

2) Just as humans have an undeniable, basic right to seek shelter, nourishment, and a mate with whom to reproduce, so too do they have an undeniable, basic right to defend themselves against the threat of violence. To continue to exist is the most fundamental of all human rights, civil or otherwise.

3) It is not possible to separate the right to self defense from the tools necessary to effect said defense. Humans use tools to solve problems of all sorts - it is one factor that separates us from lower species (though there are many others). When other humans attack or threaten us, and we have the already-established right to defend our lives (self-preservation), to deny us the effective and efficient tools with which to do so is to effectively deny us the right to defend ourselves. To say a human has a right to eat but may not use tools to cultivate a field, slay an animal or build a fire is to mandate starvation. To deny the use of tools for defense is synonymous with mandating submission, even to death.

4) Mandating submission to death is a violation of the most basic human right - the right to continue to exist.

5) Therefore, any measure or philosophy that would seek to strip a human being of modern, effective and efficient tools for self-defense - i.e. firearms - is to oppress a human's right to exist at all, which is, at a fundamental level, the most basic of all wrongs. Such a wrong requires an appropriate response by the oppressed party.

6) A feeling of outrage is the most modest response acceptable to such a measure or philosophy. If the measure were actually implemented, appropriate ACTIONS, beyond mere feelings, would become necessary. To fail to do so would be to surrender the means by which a human may continue to exist.

Essentially, I believe that the right to survive, to continue to exist, is inseparable from the tools necessary to ensure such survival. The anti-gun mindset that would deprive us of these toos would, by definition, require us to surrender our lives and risk death. This is unacceptable.

ETA Also, may I note that anyone who denies presuppositions 1 or 2 is your enemy outright, believing humans are neither inherantly free, nor should they be. The rest of the argument will not follow, since they believe humans should be controlled and see no use for self defense by mere subjects; however, this is irrelevant, as they have established themselves and their universal beliefs as being fundamentally backward and evil.


You don't start with RKBA being a Natural Right - you start with the acceptance of Natural Rights and work your way there. For most Americans, that acceptance is a virtual given. You appear to be the exception... perhaps the only such exception I have ever engaged in discussion personally.

The details of the argument itself can probably benefit from some fine-tuneing, but I believe they are a logical progression from the assumption that Natural Rights - such as the right to existence, self-preservation and self-defense, by extension - do exist. However, that assumption has to either be accepted, or rejected outright, just like your assumption that existence of a right in the Constitution is the first step towards justifying RKBA.

If you don't accept the premise, as I say in my original post, the argument can't go any further.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 08:30 PM
Post 15 of this thread:

OK. So how do we determine what is and what is not a natural right?

Your post is a series of assertions - for example that self-defense is a bodily function. But I still am not clear as to how you are determining what is and what is not a natural right.

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 08:33 PM
What would you call the act of self-defense?

elChupacabra!
September 25, 2008, 08:41 PM
And the first two points are my presuppositions about what is a natural right - in this case, self-preservation, and self-defense, by extension. Yes, you heard correctly - it is presupposed what is and what isn't a natural right. You may find this distasteful, but it's both honest and terribly convenient, as I'd guess anywhere from 70-90% of the US population will agree with those points outright... maybe more. This makes it quite effective for the OP's purpose - perhaps 2.3-9 times more effective than your argument, if my stab at statistics is accurate.

Those who disagree with them - well, the discussion is over. If it were to continue, it would devolve into the discussion we are now having, which is totally unproductive, as we simply circle one another's arguments, refusing to accept each others' basic precepts as valid. At that point, your argument should probably take over - and you would be much better suited to delivering it, since I still don't understand how it doesn't beg the question.

Also, I do not seek to identify all natural rights and exclude all others, since this argument isn't intended to do that. I just posit this particular argument's relevant presuppositions at the beginning, just as every good argument rightly begins with its respective assumptions.

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 08:56 PM
The question was about natural rights. Why did you feel compelled to change it to human rights?

Are you perhaps a little uncomfortable with where your justification of natural rights leads you?

Why did you change the question?

Because only human beings have rights.

Its totally unserious to even bring up the "rights" of the smallpox virus at all.

Additionally, I have never said anything about "natural" rights. I have spoken only of the fundamental, inalienable human rights granted by God (even, as I said, to those who don't believe in him), and not to be revoked by any lesser authority.

3KillerBs
September 25, 2008, 09:12 PM
Just missed that post. It is quite clear that either the claim "Natural rights exist irrespective of the US Constitution" and "Rights exists if they are enumerated in the US Constitution" are equivalently sound.

You are wrong. IF rights exist only because they are listed in a government document then in any place where the documents differ those rights cease to exist.

If that were true then Jews in Hitler's Germany did not have the right to life and that Hitler and his people did no wrong in perpetrating the Holocaust on them. And, if that were the case, Germany is entitled to get back the territory it held before the Normandy invasion AND receive reparations for all the damage done in WWII.

If that were true it would mean that in any place where a ruler had the power to declare slavery legal it would be perfectly fine for the people to that country to begin keeping slaves.

If that were true then no actual rights exist at all in any form in any place and have never existed at any time and lack of oppression merely means that a given government at a given moment decided to grant privileges to its citizens as a whim of politics and policy.

If that were true then a politically powerful group could amend the Constitution to say that "People named Mike can legally be killed on the second Tuesday of every month and must never install locks on their doors and you would be required by your philosophy to willingly submit to your own execution because you had no basis for objecting or calling the policy wrong after it was written into law because your right to life vanished at that moment.

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 11:35 PM
What would you call the act of self-defense?

I would call it something I very much want to do - and because of our Constitution, I have the right to bear arms to defend myself.

Let's try to get at the issue this way - by your rubric of natural rights, can I assert that I have a natural right to steal by violence or trickery from anyone who is smaller or weaker or slower than I am?

As evidence of the pre-existing natural right, I look at the natural world, where any animal that can will take whatever it wants from any other animal that is smaller or weaker or slower.


Stealing is a bodily function like eating or sleeping. Stealing food or water is as much a basic human right as finding food or water.
Just as humans have an undeniable, basic right to seek shelter, nourishment, and a mate with whom to reproduce, they have a right to steal shelter, nourishment, and a mate with whom to reproduce from other human beings.
It is not possible to separate the right to steal from the tools necessary to effect said theft.
You see where this is going ...


I think that we would both agree that there is no natural right to steal from other human beings. Why not?

Evil

RPCVYemen
September 25, 2008, 11:52 PM
Additionally, I have never said anything about "natural" rights. I have spoken only of the fundamental, inalienable human rights granted by God (even, as I said, to those who don't believe in him), and not to be revoked by any lesser authority.

Sorry, I thought you were speaking in favor of elChupacabra! assertion of the existence of natural rights.

You prefer to speak of divine rights - which is fine. I think of the 18th century theories of natural rights as a disguised theory of divine rights.

But surely you understand how weak an argument that is. If you say, "I have the right to keep and bear arms because G-d gave me the right to keep and bear arms!" no further discussion is possible. If someone does not believe that G-d gave you the right to keep and bear arms, all you can do is keep repeating it like a manic parrot.

I also find that your claim that those rights are inalienable is contradicted by your own following post. The rights of Jews and slaves' rights were certainly not inalienable! They were stripped of their rights - by a far lesser authority.

In fact, I doubt that any of the Founding Fathers thought any of the rights they described were "inalienable human rights". I think that you might persuade me that a very few of them thought these were "inalienable male rights" and few more "inalienable white male rights" - most would probably have restricted many of the rights to "inalienable white male property owner's rights". But that's a side discussion. :)

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 12:01 AM
Evil -

I would call it something I very much want to do - and because of our Constitution, I have the right to bear arms to defend myself.

Let's try to get at the issue this way - by your rubric of natural rights, can I assert that I have a natural right to steal by violence or trickery from anyone who is smaller or weaker or slower than I am?

As evidence of the pre-existing natural right, I look at the natural world, where any animal that can will take whatever it wants from any other animal that is smaller or weaker or slower.


But I do not recognize, as a presupposition, the right to steal from another, who presumably has the same Naturan Right to self-defense that my argument presupposes. Accordingly, I do not attempt to steal from anyone.

You're right - there is no natural right to steal from other human beings... appropriately, that is not a presupposition of my argument.

Again, I see that you find that distasteful - you absolutely hate my presupposition, so you attempt to make it appear absurd through Straw Man attacks... but you cannot disprove it any more than I can disprove your presuppositions.

Quid pro quo.

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 12:09 AM
Please be clear, I do not defend the entire spectrum of "Natural Rights" RPCVYemen would seek here to attack, including some imagined or otherwise constructed, like the supposed "right" to steal.

I only defend the rights I have enumerated specifally here, in my argument. I only argue from my presuppositions.

Your attack on any other rights not specifically enumerated here - like the absurd notion of a "right" to steal - constitutes a shameless Straw Man attack.

At this point, you are trying to attack the concept of Natural Rights without addressing the actual right I'm presupposing.

And here:

If someone does not believe that G-d gave you the right to keep and bear arms, all you can do is keep repeating it like a manic parrot.

Well, one could say "it appears we disagree on the fundamental nature of humanity." and end the conversation with grace.

I've actually been saying that for the last several dozen posts, but you keep repeating like a "manic parrot," "But that's absurd! Natural Rights CAN'T exist!"

I presuppose they do. You presuppose they don't. Except you seem intent on informing us of the absurdity in defending them - but we believe in their truth, nonetheless, just as you believe in your truth without any regard to our objections.

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 12:20 AM
The rights of Jews and slaves' rights were certainly not inalienable! They were stripped of their rights - by a far lesser authority.


You would JUSTIFY the Nazi's actions!?!

In the words of Scalia himself, whom you seem eager to invoke,

"Grotesque."

Mr. D
September 26, 2008, 08:08 AM
Actually, I haven't seen any you refuting anything - mostly you've claimed that we were off topic, and that eChubacabra's view is more popular.

Ok, so I wasn't successful. But I TRIED refuting your view here
I'm sure you will agree that we have rights, natural or not. Well, if our rights are not natural rights that we are born with, then what are they and where do they come from? The government? The Constitution? Either way, that means that if the government were to take away our rights, or if the constitution was amended to do so, we would have no ground to stand on when demanding our liberty back.

and here
The fact is, the founding fathers believed that our rights are natural and God-given. That is why they opposed England when the king tried to take them away. That is why the bill of rights was proposed (i.e. to acknowledge pre-existing rights, NOT to give them), and that is why some men of the time opposed the BoR - because they were afraid that codifying the rights would make it seem like they were given by the BoR.

About justice, here is another area of presupposition that I will be unable to prove to you. I submit that the violation of human rights is NOT the definition of justice. God is. He is the standard of justice and HE decides what is just. Now, I'm not trying to turn this into a religious debate, I'm just explaining how we can say that "anything whose denial causes injustice is a natural right." Because we (or at least I) would go on to say "and injustice is that which God has declared to be unjust." NOT, as you said, "injustice is that thing produced by the denial of natural rights."

By the way, what about being "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights"? Remember the part about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"? So apparently THEY thought that life was a natural right, given by God (ok, call it "Divine Rights," if you will). I believe that RKBA is one of those rights that we have all been endowed with. I can't prove it, you can't disprove it. Same with your position. It's an axiom, a foundation that must be accepted. Just like yours.

~Dale

3KillerBs
September 26, 2008, 09:25 AM
They are not "divine rights" -- those would be God's rights, if the phrase weren't so inherently absurd in its implication that some things might be outside God's jurisdiction. They are the rights God has given each human being as a consequence of simply existing as a human being.

I also find that your claim that those rights are inalienable is contradicted by your own following post. The rights of Jews and slaves' rights were certainly not inalienable! They were stripped of their rights - by a far lesser authority.

They were not stripped of their rights, they had their rights violated. The rights continue to exist even when injustice is being perpetrated. This is why the Nazis were punished for their crimes. If the rights had vanished there would be no reason or justification for punishing the Nazis because there would have been no crime involved.

I notice that you skipped over the part about your philosophy requiring you to submit to your own execution if some politically powerful group succeeded, like the Nazis in Germany, in making the violation of your rights legal.

Under the assumptions you put forth -- that rights exist only as a result of political documents and public policy -- you CANNOT justify seeking to defend your life or, even, to escape in that situation because your philosophy of rights requires you to admit that you have no rights if the government says you have no rights.

However, the reality remains that God granted you those fundamental, inalienable rights -- regardless of whether you believe in him or not and even regardless of whether you believe that you possess rights or not. And you would thus have the right to defend yourself by any means you could come upon against those who would murder you under the cover of political approval.

You either need to rethink your concept of what rights are or you need to admit that you're fine with rights not existing, merely happy to live in a country where you have some pleasant privileges, and that you would walk willingly to your own execution if the government told you to.

Somehow I don't believe that the willingness to seat yourself in the electric chair on government demand is going to be very persuasive as an argument in favor of anything, especially RKBA.

Mr. D
September 26, 2008, 09:32 AM
They are not "divine rights" -- those would be God's rights

Yes you're right - my bad. I was using the phrase as RPCVYemen used it here:
You prefer to speak of divine rights - which is fine. I think of the 18th century theories of natural rights as a disguised theory of divine rights.

3KillerBs
September 26, 2008, 09:58 AM
I think that at this point the discussion has revealed that rights must exist on their own, independently of recognition by any particular government or people or else they cannot exist at all.

There is no legitimate basis for using the term "rights" to describe anything that can be freely created or destroyed by the hand of man -- as represented by government authority or social custom -- because a right that can be revoked isn't a right at all.

Rights may be recognized or ignored, upheld or violated, but they exist in and of themselves or there can be no rights whatsoever -- merely privileges and perks which vary from nation to nation, society to society.

If the latter were true the world would be a dire place indeed where any person or group strong enough to seize power in any given region, large or small, could freely do anything to the people under their authority without fear of condemnation or punishment -- because there would be no basis for calling any government illegitimate or any act of said government unjust.

Mr. D
September 26, 2008, 10:05 AM
I think it would be interesting to see RPCVYemen's definition of a "right." How is it different than a privilege? Is it different?

~Dale

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 10:06 AM
Mr. D -

Excellent point. I think we and he are speaking different languages here.

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 12:08 PM
But I do not recognize, as a presupposition, the right to steal from another, who presumably has the same Naturan Right to self-defense that my argument presupposes. Accordingly, I do not attempt to steal from anyone.

Wait - the right to steal was not a presupposition!

It was a an assertion to be refuted or supported by the same empirical methodology you used to support you assertion that the right to self-defense was a natural right.

... constitutes a shameless Straw Man attack.

The essence of a Straw Man attack is that I assert that you have said something that you have in fact not said.

I accepted - for purposes of this discussion - three things that I thought you said:


There exist natural rights that pre-exist any instantiation of those rights by the (or any) Constitution.
The right to self defense is one of those natural rights.
The evidence that the right to self defense is in fact one of those natural rights is the predominance in nature of organisms that defend themselves when attacked.


I that the #1 was a presupposition, the #2 was a conclusion, and the #3 was evidence that supported a conclusion, but maybe you are saying that both #1 and #2 are presuppositions.

Do you disagree with any of these three statements? Have I twisted your words in any way with any of these three statement?

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 12:28 PM
I think it would be interesting to see RPCVYemen's definition of a "right." How is it different than a privilege? Is it different?

That's easy:

A right is enumerated in the Constitution, and may not be revoked at the whim of government. An example of a right is the right to keep an bear arms.

A privilege is something that is granted by the whim of government - and may be revoked by the whim of government without any change to the Constitution.

Three examples of privileges (and the last one bugs me :)) :


Driver's License. As far as I know, you have no Constitutional right to a have a driver's license. The government could decide tomorrow to revoke the driver's license of everyone under 21, and I don't think there would be any Constitutional issue.
Consuming alcohol. I think the government could raise the drinking age of from 18 to 21, thereby revoking the privilege of drinking for folks between 18 and 21.
Private Property. This rankles me, but Imminent Domain seems to imply that private property (at least real estate) can be revoked at the whim of government.


Is the distinction clear?

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 01:15 PM
There exist natural rights that pre-exist any instantiation of those rights by the (or any) Constitution.
The right to self defense is one of those natural rights.
The evidence that the right to self defense is in fact one of those natural rights is the predominance in nature of organisms that defend themselves when attacked.

I that the #1 was a presupposition, the #2 was a conclusion, and the #3 was evidence that supported a conclusion, but maybe you are saying that both #1 and #2 are presuppositions.


Bingo. I've probably said that 30 times now, that I accept as a presupposition that the right to self defense is a natural right, and, for the purposes of this argument, I'm not concerned with any other supposed natural rights.

same empirical methodology you used to support you assertion that the right to self-defense was a natural right.


I've NEVER asserted that the right to self-defense was a natural right - I've ALWAYS ONLY presupposed it. I've NEVER used the term "assertion" when speaking of self defense - only "presupposition," "premise," "precept," and "axiom."

You are playing dumb in an attempt to undermine my argument, but it's not a very good charade. It's a Straw Man:

A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "set up a straw man," one describes a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view, yet is easier to refute, then attributes that position to the opponent. For example, someone might deliberately overstate the opponent's position.[1] While a straw man argument may work as a rhetorical technique—and succeed in persuading people—it carries little or no real evidential weight, since the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.[2]


Further, I have never asserted it as being derivitave from its existence in nature; I only point to nature as evidence of its pre-existence. But of course, that doesn't mean it follows; that is to put the cart before the horse, to invert causality - another Straw Man.

So really, I offer #1 as a presupposition; #2 as a concurrent presupposition, and #3 as evidence that presupposition #2 is attractive, if one is so inclined to accept. You do not - that's fine. It's not intended to be infallable, but it does follow for those of us who already agree with #1. Now, for the vast majority of Americans who DO agree with #1 and, by extension, #2, the argument actually begins where you leave off, which may be found as points 3-6 in Post #15, far, far above.

Of course, I'll continue to repeat myself that, just as you do not accept my presuppositions, I do not accept your presuppositions, either, and, thus, your argument bears no more weight with me than mine does with yours.

Insofar as my presupposition is "silly," "poppycock," or somewhere "down the rabbit hole," it is no more so than yours.

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 01:37 PM
So really, I offer #1 as a presupposition; #2 as a concurrent presupposition, and #3 as evidence that the presupposition is valid, if one is so inclined to accept.

OK, great. So you in fact agree with the following three statements:


There exist natural rights that pre-exist any instantiation of those rights by the (or any) Constitution.
The right to self defense is one of those natural rights.
The evidence that the right to self defense is in fact one of those natural rights is the predominance in nature of organisms that defend themselves when attacked.


So can we derive from your statement that we may test the validity of the proposition by determining it's predominance in nature?

Mike

Mr. D
September 26, 2008, 01:42 PM
So we really should be arguing over what a "right" is, not what kind of right RKBA is. According to your definition, RPCVYemen, the term "natural right" is an oxymoron.

And, not to sidetrack, but while I would agree with your definition of a privilege, I would disagree that your examples are, indeed, privileges. In other words, I don't believe that it is the job of the government to say who can and can't get a license, who can and can't drink, and to authorize the steeling of my property.

~Dale

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 01:43 PM
So can we derive from your statement that we may test the validity of the proposition by determining it's predominance in nature?


You absolutely, unequivocally may not. I repeat myself, once again:

I have never asserted it as being derivitave from its existence in nature; I only point to nature as evidence of its pre-existence. But of course, that doesn't mean it follows; that is to put the cart before the horse, to invert causality - another Straw Man.


You erect ANOTHER Straw Man when you incorrectly refer to my presupposition as a proposition. The difference is profound, and you would be wise to understand it.

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 02:23 PM
So can we derive from your statement that we may test the validity of the proposition by determining it's predominance in nature?

You absolutely, unequivocally may not ...

That really sounds like we've fallen down the Rabbit Hole, and we are talking to the Red Queen.

You did in fact say exactly the following, did you not?

I only point to nature as evidence of its pre-existence.

Now you say I may not assume natural phenomenon is evidence of the pre-existence of a natural right. I am confused.

Pick one of the following two statements to end my confusion:


Natural behaviors may be used as evidence to support the existence of a natural right.
Natural behaviors may not be used as evidence to support the existence of a natural right.


Which one of the two is true?

Or is the following true:


Natural behaviors may or may not be used as evidence to support the existence of a natural right.


Mike

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 02:26 PM
You here change the argument once again into one more suitable for your attack:

we may test the validity of the proposition by determining it's predominance in nature?

DOES NOT EQUAL

Natural behaviors may be used as evidence to support the existence of a natural right.

Again, isolated for emphasis:

test the validity of =/= support the existence of

The former attempts a logical test. The latter merely offers empirically verifiable evidence. Evidence never equals proof.

Straw Man. Of late, every post you offer may be responded to with "Straw Man," for you are, at this point, simply railing against an axiom, as I've pointed out time and again, and again, and again.

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 02:30 PM
Another note -

That really sounds like we've fallen down the Rabbit Hole, and we are talking to the Red Queen.


Ad Hominem, anyone?

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 02:33 PM
Your (at least) third fallacy in one post:

Pick one of the following two statements to end my confusion:

1) Natural behaviors may be used as evidence to support the existence of a natural right.
2) Natural behaviors may not be used as evidence to support the existence of a natural right.

I don't know whether to call this a False Dichotomy, Red Herring, Non Sequiteur, or all three.

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 02:47 PM
The latter merely offers empirically verifiable evidence.

Here's a definition of empirical that I got from some web dictionary:

empirical: provable or verifiable by experience or experiment.

But if I understand you, you to reject the notion that natural phenomenon prove or verify anything about natural rights.

Pick one of the two:

Natural phenomenon provide a empirical verification of the existence of pre-existing natural right.


[Natural phenomenon do not provide empirical verification of the existence of pre-existing natural rights.

If you pick #2, then what is being empirically verified by the your statement?

The latter merely offers empirically verifiable evidence.

Exactly what is being empirically verified by the evidence that all organisms defend themselves ? I am really confused.

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 02:52 PM
Here's a definition of empirical that I got from some web dictionary:


Quote:
empirical: provable or verifiable by experience or experiment.


That's fascinating that, in order to arrive at your chosen definition, you had to select the THIRD option provided by Dictionary.com here:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=empirical

I use the term in the more common sense, as presented by definition 1 and 2:

6 dictionary results for: empirical
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
em·pir·i·cal /ɛmˈpɪrɪkəl/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[em-pir-i-kuhl] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective
1. derived from or guided by experience or experiment.
2. depending upon experience or observation alone, without using scientific method or theory, esp. as in medicine.
3. provable or verifiable by experience or experiment.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Origin: 1560–70; empiric + -al1]

My use of the term "empirical" only carries the meaning "observable with the senses." In the most common usage of the term, "proof" is neither understood, nor implied, nor required.

This is a fantastic - albeit subtle - example of false attribution, a new fallacy for you so far.

I was getting sick of this earlier, but find myself reinvigorated. I'm not sure I've ever successfully identified so great a body - and variety - of logical fallacies in a single argument as you are now presenting me with. I wonder if you're enjoying this as much as I am.

3KillerBs
September 26, 2008, 03:15 PM
That's easy:

A right is enumerated in the Constitution, and may not be revoked at the whim of government. An example of a right is the right to keep an bear arms.

A privilege is something that is granted by the whim of government - and may be revoked by the whim of government without any change to the Constitution.

So then, no people in any country other than the United States of America have rights?

No human beings ever had any rights before the US was founded?

Should the US pass away in some fashion rights will completely cease to exist?

And there is no such thing as a legitimate unseating of a dictator nor the legitimate bringing down of a tyrannical regime because the people living under their rule had no rights not to be oppressed, abused, and murdered? The Jews in Hitler's Germany should have accepted their genocide and it was wrong to even attempt to aid their escape because what the Nazis did to them was entirely legitimate government policy?

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 03:16 PM
Also, before you commit the error of arguing that "natural rights are

1) derived from or guided by experience or experiment.
2. depending upon experience or observation alone"

Note that in my statement

but anyone may empirically verify that this is the way it is

in the phrase "empirically verify," the adjective "empirically" serves only to modify the verb "verify," - and does NOT modify or convey any meaning on the subject, "Natural Rights."

Although we BOTH know this to be true, it wouldn't have suprised me to hear you attempt to argue it anyway, so there's that.

3KillerBs
September 26, 2008, 03:20 PM
BTW Mike,

You've yet to respond to my point about submitting to your execution if a politically powerful group succeeded in amending the Constitution to permit them to kill you at will.

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 03:20 PM
My use of the term "empirical" simply means "observable with the senses." In the most common usage of the term, "proof" is neither understood, nor implied, nor required.

I picked the third definition because you claimed empirical verification. Let's return again to your exact words:

The latter merely offers empirically verifiable evidence

But I accept your correction - we are not proving, we are verifying.

We are not provinganything - we using natural phenomenon to empirically verify the pre-existence of a natural right.

If the natural phenomenon you cite are not being used to verify the existence of a natural right, then what is the relationship between the natural phenomenon you cite and the pre-existence of the natural right to self defense?

What exactly is being verified by the empirically verifiable evidence?

Evil

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 03:25 PM
Again, one may verify a believed truth without proving it.

I see evidence for the existence of a higher power. The evidence I observe verifies my belief.

But you certainly wouldn't agree that I've proved anything, would you?

Let's apply:

I observe evidence (in nature, empirically verified by use of the senses) that I believe verifies my underlying presupposition (the right to self-defense is a natural right). But, you are the first to argue, I haven't proved it - because you deny the presupposition, and you do not believe the same evidence demonstrates anything.

In your own words,

we are not proving, we are verifying.

Proof =/= verification

But I accept your correction - we are not proving, we are verifying.


I've made no correction. I've never equated proof with verification. I believe you are the one who has done that.

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 03:33 PM
The latter merely offers empirically verifiable evidence

But I accept your correction - we are not proving, we are verifying.


Non-sequiter.

You used the term "proof" - I only used "verifiable".

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 03:34 PM
in the phrase "empirically verify," the adjective "empirically" serves only to modify the verb "verify," - and does NOT modify or convey any meaning on the subject, "Natural Rights."

OK - I guess that you answered my question in advance - whatever the phenomenon were empirically verifying, it was not the pre-existence of the natural right of self defense. The phenomenon you cited "do not modify or convey no meaning on the subject of 'Natural Rights'".

And that's consistent with your position that the pre-existence of the natural right to self defense is a pre-suppostion which can neither be verified or falsified - only assumed to be true or not true.

Am I right so far?

Mike

RPCVYemen
September 26, 2008, 03:37 PM
But I accept your correction - we are not proving, we are verifying.

You used the term "proof" - I only used "verifiable".

I thought I was agreeing with you - that we were verifying, not proving.

Mike

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 03:38 PM
whatever the phenomenon were empirically verifying, it was not the pre-existence of the natural right of self defense.

Non-sequitur.

The phenomenon certainly verifies the right - it does so "empirically," and it does so because it is consistent with my belief about the right, which is a presupposition.

your position that the pre-existence of the natural right to self defense is a pre-suppostion which can neither be verified or falsified - only assumed to be true or not true.


I'm not going to repeat myself again. You ought to know what my presuppositions are at this point in the argument.

ZeSpectre
September 26, 2008, 03:39 PM
What the HELL happened to my thread???
Sheesh, out sick for one day and you folks run wild!
<grumble grumble grumble>

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 03:40 PM
But I accept your correction

I thought I was agreeing with you

You may not accept my correction. You were not agreeing with me - you were offering a non sequitur by arguing that it was I - not you - who made the correction.

If you will offer it, I will accept your correction.

elChupacabra!
September 26, 2008, 03:45 PM
The phenomenon you cited "do not modify or convey no meaning on the subject of 'Natural Rights'".


False Attribution.

What I actually said was:

the adjective "empirically" serves only to modify the verb "verify," - and does NOT modify or convey any meaning on the subject, "Natural Rights."

"Empirically" modifies "verify" only; "verify" pertains to "natural rights" and carries a great deal of meaning, accordingly.

Larry Ashcraft
September 26, 2008, 03:50 PM
Enough.

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