[extropy-chat] Rights and Moral Indignation

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Dec 13 07:03:38 UTC 2006

Stuart, our Avantguardian, writes

> --- Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
>> Secondly, *these* particular abstractions
>> ---"rights"---I do claim to not really exist.
>> (Unlike money, or the the number 17, or
>> *democracy*, or other abstractions that
>> have value and which do exist.)
> Well I guess that all depends on how you define
> "natural rights".

There is, I concede, a long and noble tradition of 
"natural rights". But it means nothing more than
"liberty" or "liberties".  The language is simply
confusing.  By default, we all should be free.
We should all agree to that.

Unfortunately, in history it didn't often turn out that
way, and even now, our liberties become less over
time.  And don't blame it *all* on Bush!

> To me natural rights means that if a
> man tries to snatch a dog's dinner away from it, and
> it growls at him, the dog is asserting its natural rights.
> If the man smacks the dog on the nose with the
> newspaper and takes the dog's dinner away from it, the
> man is asserting his ownership rights over both the
> dog and the dog-food.  
> My conclusion is that anyone only has those rights
> that they are willing to assert so long as others
> allow them to assert them.

Your notion has a peculiar "might makes rights" ring
to it.

> For a country like the U.S. to be so unhealthily
> OBSESSED over one known risk is to let a thousand
> other risks go completely unprepared for. Witness
> hurricane Katrina.

You also seem to believe in "natural rights for 
governments"!  Imagine 1906, and that a 
terrible hurricane or earthquake has staggered
California, instead of Louisiana.  It would never
have occurred to anyone that the Sacramento
government was to blame for the distress of
the San Franciscans, much less Washington D.C.
How times have changed.  How sad.

It is the responsibility of a free people to look
out for themselves, not the responsibility of a
far-away government to hold their hands.

>> > How is that you protest so at them cutting
>> > the head off a man with a knife. Yet you
>> > and millions of other Americans will pay
>> > good money to walk into a theater and
>> > watch the simulation of a man doing the
>> > same to dozens of people with a chainsaw?
>> Maybe because the audience knows the
>> difference between fantasy and reality?
> Do they? What about Columbine?

Statistically ignorable.  Totally.  Could be twice
as many totally nutty and lawless things like that
happened in 1906, and hardly anyone noticed.
It certainly would not have been national news.


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