[ExI] Understanding Freedom, and Understanding what is Right

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat May 3 20:49:35 UTC 2008

John writes

> At this point I don't know what to say that will open the eyes of Lee
> and Rafal.

LOL, and I'm thinking exactly the same thing about you!  :-)

> I am stunned at their stance on the matter of these young
> 14-15 year-old teenage brides (and baby making machines)
> married off to many decades older men.  Being brainwashed/
> socially conditioned (yes..., brainwashed, that is the right word)
> by the prominent men in their community to be an least mostly
> willing wife/sex partner is WRONG.
> How can you gentlemen not grok this???

Excellent question. Now maybe we can get somewhere. Thanks!

Here is why I, personally, cannot "grok" what you're saying.
I don't believe in any kind of absolute right or wrong. It's
certainly not God-given, and just as certainly it's nothing
that can be objectively established one way or the other.
So I use "right" as shorthand for either (i) what I approve
of, or (ii) what is generally approved of by normal people
in our society.

Of course, I must hasten to mention that on a few items,
many normal people in our society approve of things that
I abhor, e.g., making laws (and so approving the use of
force) against women who choose to have abortions. So
I instantly have to avoid any shorthand "right" or "wrong"
in cases like that.

Since there is no absolute right or wrong, the question
then arises, "under what circumstances should force be
used against other people who are doing things that
many people consider bad?". My answer: in a free
country, use of force against individuals may only be
initiated if

   A. they themselves have begun the use of force
        on other citizens or upon children or animals
        that belong to other citizens, or children who
        are wards of the state, and so on.
   B. when there is clear and imminent danger that
       our entire group, tribe, or (in our case) nation is
       being threatened with destruction via betrayal
       or some other means
   C. an individual is gaining the ability through the
        acquisition or construction of weapons of 
        mass destruction whereby he *might* decide
        to kill many thousands of people or more on
        a whim

I believe, for now, that that exhausts the list, but I may
have overlooked something. If anyone has suggestions
for additions, I'd be grateful to hear about them. No,
I haven't forgotten spammers, and yes, I do agree that
the only solution is slow, agonized, and merciless death,
but this doesn't quite rise to the level of principle.

Since the practice of polygamy or polyandry doesn't
fit into A, B, or C, then I can't advocate the use of 
force against such activity. And if Jerry Lee Lewis
wanted to marry his 13 year old cousin, and if the
parents and the girl were agreeable, then since that
doesn't fit into A, B, or C either, then again I can't
really suggest that force be used to stop them.[1]

In other words, John, my problem is that I can't
see what is, to use your word, WRONG with a 
lot of things, presumably, that you do see as WRONG.

So enough about me, let's ask you now. When you
write things like 
    14-15 year-old teenage brides...[being] married off
     to many decades older men... is WRONG

just *where* are you getting this idea of it being "WRONG"?
Honestly, have you asked yourself where you got this idea?
My own guess is that it's some kind of Christian tradition
or U.S. custom that you simply grew up with. I can't imagine
what else it could be, but then, that's why I'm asking.

So please try to help me out the way I tried to help you out


[1] None of my remarks should be taken as suggesting that
in any way I approve of laws being broken. The law must
be enforced, period. But the authorities have a lot of discretion
into what to look into, and there are plenty of laws being broken
with vastly more important consequences than a bit of sodomy,
a little pornography, or drug use, etc. The victimless crimes
especially deserve to be on the bottom of the list.

No, my whole point is addressed to what *should* be the law.

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