- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Copenhagen ( Plebian assembly, Netherlands ) on April 23, 1999 at 10:15:56:

In Reply to: laws being asses posted by Gee on April 22, 1999 at 15:27:36:

: : I think on the face of it, your life is in the hands of the legislators to do as they please.

: In terms of who has the guns then maybe so - that hardly makes it correct.

: : I am certainly NOT free to take my own life, given that it is against the law.

: You do understand that the law is telling you that your life does not belong to you, but is the law makers to dispose of?

Well of course i am bound by the laws of the state, just as you are. Ergo the legislators (incl judiciary and executive) can do as they please as regards my life.

All this reminds me of a passage in Plato's Crito that i think supports my contention- [Socrates has been sentenced to death and is considering whether it would be right for him to escape]

"SOCR: Look at it this way. Suppose that, just as i was on the point of running away (or whatever it should be called), the State, represented by her laws, were to come and ask me: 'Now then Socrates, what are you up to?...Do you imagine that a State can avoid destruction and continue to exist when decision reached by the courts have no binding force but are invalidated and anulled by individuals?...Is our reply to be: 'The state has wronged us; the sentence was unjust? Shall we say that, or what?...

Suppose then the laws go on to ask: 'Socrates,...did you agree to abide by the legal decisions of the state?' If i were surprised by what they said, they might perhaps continue: 'Don't be surprised by what we say, Socrates but answer...Come now, what fault do you seek to find with us and with the State,...having been born, nurtured and educated, can you say to begin with that you are not our offspring and our slave, you yourself and your ancestors as well? If this is so do you think that right as between you and us is founded in equality, so that you are justified in retaliating no matter what we choose to do to you? There was no such equality of right between you and your father or your master (if you had one), so that whatever treatment you received you might return it, answering back if you were rebuked, striking back if you were struck and so on. Do you think then that if we, your country and her laws, consider it right to destroy you, and resolve to do so, you will be entitled to undertake our destruction, so far as you can, and claim that in acting so you are doing right, you who really care for virtue?"

: : Certainly you are free do do as you wish, within the boundaries of the law. Perhaps i could concede that life 'belongs' to a person, but that is a far cry from calling the life of a person the 'property' of that person.

: See my response to Nikhil

Alas it seems that post has gone to the great mcspotlight in the sky, so i am unable to retrieve its contents...

: : Well, the principle of utility that Mill annointed was the famous 'harm principle': You are free to do as you wish as long as it does not harm others...i suspect that denying someone a right to life would constitute 'harm'.

: Following such a rule would rule out much of current govt activities.

Yes, but if it is a question of determing how laws are to be justified then the harm principle is the logical starting point.

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