- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A reply to Borg on property, morals and absurdities

Posted by: Copenhagen on May 16, 1999 at 14:06:02:

:: I think on the face of it, your life is in the hands of the legislators to do as they please. Laws by their very nature regulate the actions that we are able to take. I am certainly NOT free to take my own life, given that it is against the law.

:Nonsense. You ARE free to take your own life. How will
you be prosecuted for doing so?

Copenhagen... Well, what do you mean by the word 'free'? I would say free means an absence of compulsion. As laws exist against you taking your own life, there is compulsion not to do so hence you are not 'free' to do so.

(Consider do we say "i am FREE to break the law"
OR "I CAN break the law"?)

The question that you seem to be asking ('how will you be prosecuted') is whether such a law is enforceable. I would grant that this is problematic (although as the good people at McSpotlight noted attampted suicide has been against the law; furthermore in cases where someone has a reasonable apprehension of a crime being commited they can use reasonable force to stop it).

::It is only within the boundaries that are crearted by the law that we have scope for autonomous action.

:If you mean jurisdictional boundaries, I agree.

:"Of the 36 ways to get out of trouble, the best is--to leave"
--old Chinese proverb

Copenhagen... No, i mean that the law lays down the boundaries of liberty. If you cross those boundaries then you may well forfeit your freedom.


:: But if somehting is property it follows that one may deal with it in an economic sense. Hence if i was to sell myself to you i would no longer be the owner on myself...(but as i have said this is not possible).

:: : : The moral basis against setting aflame arises due to an innate value that morality attatches to human life (being good in itself).

:: : And your life belongs to.....you.

:: Certainly you are free do do as you wish, within the boundaries of the law.

:How The Law has become so sacred! It maintains a religious
quality with so many and yet it is quite easy to avoid and
has been for thousands of years.

Copenhagen... Well, the law has a religious childhood. In ancient socieites it was always the priests who laid down 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.

:Why the semantics? You either believe you are free or not,
and act accordingly.

Copenahgen... No. Property has certain legal connotations (eg i am able to deal in property). Belonging has no such connotations on its own (although it may be considered by some to be a part of the concept of 'property').

:: : : Social utility involves the notion of what is best for the majority, a sort of moral calulus. That is all, it requires no further reference to notions of property to act as a justification

:Bald assertion.

Copenhagen... Now, it is not so. Gee was looking for justifications of laws other than property. So i gave him one.

:Would the majority will to execute a minority and/or confiscate the
latter's property not require "justification"...even to the
smallest minority, the minority of one.

Copenhagen... I answered this in a later post. I agree that a strict utalitarian approach is problematic. That is why i discuseed J.S. Mill's harm principle...

: : : Hence it is not a proper means to applying morality, because in some circumstances it can deny a person their right to life.

: : 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'.

: Why the waffle? No "suspecting" about it. It *is* harm.

Copenhagen... Is it? Is it harm to end the life of somebody that is comatose with no prospect of recovery? To abort a baby at 1 daY? Is that harm?

: McSpotlight: Historical note; during the past history of the UK, attempted suicide (i.e. failed) has been punishable by either death or by life imprisonment...

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