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Re: Re: Re: [philosophy-156] Tonight's philosophy topic: Freedom and Toleration

From: Jim B.
Sent on: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 9:42 PM
This has been an interesting discussion so far.  Regardless of how the age of consent is determined, either by age or some other means, that criterion, it seems, would have to be uniformly applied throughout the society. It would have to be a publicly sanctioned, recognized, and enforced standard. So, in a sense, it seems that the public sphere would have to supersede the private sphere to ensure that there is a private sphere at all and that it thrives. Doesn't the very essence of private life (private transactions)  have to be underwritten by some public standard, i.e. the age of consent? The very logic of private freedom seems to require public standards, laws, and customs (think of criminal and civil law, military defense, police, traffic laws, building codes, health codes, weights and measures, etc.,) Any thoughts?
Locke was mentioned as one of the originators of libertarianism. Wasn't it Locke who wrote about the importance of "life, liberty, and property"? Don't you run into contradictions or dilemmas if you try to elevate one right, i.e. the right to property, to preeminence over the other two? What happens when they conflict with each other, as they do all the time?Anyone care to weigh in?

"David V." <[address removed]> wrote:
Jason wrote:

> Also what exactly it means to "condemn" a group or individual based on their unfavorable social affiliations. Does this mean simply to shun their practices or discourage association with them? If, through the practice of political tolerance, the polygamists were left to do as they pleased within the confines of their private property, what happens when a member of the cult calls out for help?

One point I made in the meeting is that if someone wants to be a part of our civilization, they ought to be held to the same standards.  Another way of saying this is that one cannot trade with a slave, and so if a dictator maintains a slave state (for example, North Korea, or a cult that imprisons its members), we cannot legitimately trade with its victims, since they have no choice in the matter.  We ought to refuse to have anything to do with such states or groups, and if they pose a threat to us, we should destroy them.  By the same principle, if a group wants to join our civilization economically, it ought to adopt the same basic protections for individual rights, either by establishing its own legal system, or by sharing its own. 

However, if a group wants to be totally isolated from our society, we ought to leave it alone, even if the rights of its members are being violated.  This is because any free individual has the right, but not the obligation to interfere with such a dictatorship, but he does not have the right to force others to pay for his efforts.  The government does not have the right to force me to liberate oppressive regimes. 
However, it should be noted that it is very difficult for a small group of individuals to live entirely independently of civilization - they would have to revert to the lifestyle of primitive hunter-gatherers. Case in point - the North Korean regime only continues to rule because various Western and Asian governments steal from their citizens so they can keep the North Korean dictatorship in power.

> You used the word "abducted," which implies that you disapprove of the removal of the children. Does this then indicate that you do not feel that anyone's rights were being violated within the cult, that political tolerance was in practice, and that the children as well as the adults had both the responsibility and the power to make or refuse voluntary associations with the cult leaders and its practices?

No, but I think that seizing 400 children in response to a phone call by a single individual is a mockery of the due process of law, even if the the rights of the person in question were violated.  Such an action is only justified if there is a credible and immediate thread to a specific individual.

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