Sunday, January 13, 2013

There are no ‘reasons’ for your Rights – stop trying to justify them!

How many times have you heard this one recently?
"Tell me one good reason why you should have an assault rifle?!"
More than a few times?


And I'll wager you've heard it before too, in other forms, such as with
"What are you going to do about the 30 million uninsured?!"
, and again with something like:
"Give me a reason why someone needs billions of dollars?!"
Do you know how to answer those questions?
Now hold on there Charlie Brown! Before you go running at that football again, take a look at Lucy's eyes - take a moment, look closer, her eyes aren't focused on the ball, but on your feet. She's not holding it out for you to kick, she's only waiting for that magic moment when you are committed to kicking at it, so she can whip it away and watch you fly up into the air... and fall down on the ground... flat on your back. So she can laugh at you. Again.

Think about it - have you ever, ever, won one of the arguments you've entered into by answering that question (and yes, they are all the same question)? And no, being willing to kick at the football more times than Lucy is willing to stand it up again for you, is not winning.

When they ask what they always ask of something to do with your Individual Rights: "What reasons could you possibly have for ___?!". Don't try to give them any reasons - they don't want your reasons, what they want is for you to give up your ability to actually Reason with them, and if you answer that question, that is what you will do.

So how do you deal with this type of question? You already know how. Annoying, isn't it? The truth is that you've either had how you should deal with this sort of question demonstrated to you time and again while you were growing up, or, if you're a parent, you've no doubt learned how to do it yourself, on your own.

See if this rings a bell:
"But Dad, it's only 30 more minutes, what is it going to hurt if I stay up 30 more minutes?!"
Yep, that's right, and just as 8 yr old you didn't give a damn about the reasons why it was that your dad thought it might be harmful to your night's rest to stay up 30 more minutes, neither does the leftist Lucy you are arguing with today. They are only looking for a way to help you slip up and abandon your principles and hand the argument over to them.

Again and again and again - flat on your back, is the only place that replying to that 'argument' will get you.

Conservative Catnip
Why this technique acts on conservatives like catnip... or footballs... is that in asking the question, it seems as if they are interested in the reasons Why you hold your position... it seems to be an invitation to discuss your disagreement, but like Lucy and her football, or the 8 yr old and their TV show, nothing could be further from the truth. It is only a pose, a taunt, and the moment you begin to discuss the matter, their interest in discussion vanishes as they begin to supply more and more spectacular examples to overwhelm every realistic reason you come up with for your position, a position that is no longer rooted in principles, but particulars, and on that playing field, their playing field, their impressive quantities sweep away the high ground you were standing upon just moments before.

The technique is to demand that you to give a particular, quantitative, justification, for a qualitative concept, but there's nothing fancy going on here, as every 8-year-old knows. By getting you to focus on a an isolated particular, preferably expressed with impressive sounding quantities ("just 30, more, minutes!'... '30 million uninsured!'... 'billions of dollars!'"), the questioner, be they an 8-year-old child, or a tenured professor (difference?) of constitutional law, just knows that if you bite, and nearly every conservative does, the moment you stoop to providing them with any of the reasons they've asked you for -you lose!

That's the reason why every 8-year-old child loves this technique so much - it wipes out the advantages you have in being an adult - experience and wisdom - reducing the debate to one of emotional appeal and numbers.

There's an old anecdote that illustrates this even better than Lucy and her football, where Winston Churchill, annoyed to no end by a flighty society girl, becomes fed up, turns to her and asks her if she'd sleep with him for a hundred thousand pounds. Surprised, she bats her eyes and answers "Well, ... uh... that is a lot of money, I'd have to think about it... ", at which point he changes the price to fifty pounds. Insulted, she demands "What kind of woman do you take me for!" and Churchill replies coolly
"Madam, what you are we have already established, now we are simply haggling over the price."
Get the picture? What happens, is that in the simple act of answering the question, you have abandoned the principle which determines whether or not numbers should be discussed at all, and any attempt to reclaim it is futile, all that remains is settling on the particular numbers it'll take for you to cave in (30 pieces of silver perhaps?), and in the end they get whatever it is that they desire .

This has been the favored technique with everyone from Utilitarianism’s Jeremy Bentham (you know, the fellow who called Individual Rights, nonsense on stilts), on down the line to the child who wants to stay up late to watch one more TV show.

The immediate answer of course, to the child anyway, is not to answer their question, but to remind them of the rule or principle they are trying to get you to forget:
"No, you can't stay up. Bedtime is 9:00. Get your butt in bed. Now."
Why? Because those are the rules and there are good reasons for them, reasons which have nothing whatsoever to do with any quantity of minutes of TV time they might desire. Reasons which have already been well established and validated, and aren't open for discussion. And the wise adult knows darn well that it doesn't matter whether you are talking about bedtime, or shoplifting, an eight year old, if you let them, will still ask,
"How will this little thing I do hurt anyone? Why can't I have what I want?!"
, and neither the eight year old, nor the 40 year veteran professor of law, has the least bit of interest in what is right or wrong, but only in getting what it is that they want. But of course while the eight year old is usually wise enough to listen to reason (and to avoid the consequences of not listening), the leftist... not so much.


The main difference here, is that with an eight year old you expect this sort of thing, it is part of the learning process inherent in moving from childhood to adulthood. With the leftist Lucy however, although you do tend to expect it, there really is no excuse, except that they learned such disdain towards reason and reasonable behavior, from what we teach them. .. after all, do we send students to school in order to learn what they need to know to become better people?, people more concerned with what is right and best to do? or do we send them to school to learn 'useful skills' for getting what they want to 'succeed' in life in the 21st century?

Don't bargain for your Rights, proclaim them
The next time someone asks you what good reason there is for anyone to ___ (insert the belittled Right here), just remember that they don't care what reasons you might have for your position, they don't want to determine what is right or wrong to do, they only want to overpower you, and their question is the handiest technique (indoctrinated habit) for keeping questions of right and wrong out of the conversation, freeing them to pursue what will be the most useful,efficient, effective means for achieving their desired ends.

So wise up already.

What the ignorant are hurtling us towards, the ultimate point of their asking for 'reasons' to justify your exercising your rights, is this:
'Tell me one good reason why you should have any right to do whatever you feel like, when that might cost someone their safety? Their security? Their health? Why should you be able to do what you want, if it oppresses your fellow man?! Give up your annoying Right' so we can do what is best for you.'
And that is the goal that our leftie Lucy's are focused upon, gaining the power to use your life to their advantage, and your principles stand in their way - and they are just waiting for you to try to answer them, to give them their 'reasons" and abandon your ground, so they can drop you flat upon your back again.


The simple fact is, in regards to the 2nd Amendment, or any other of our Rights, defended by the constitution or not, that my Right to defend my life, loved ones and property, does not depend upon my proving its value to you! And my Rights do not require that I put you at ease about the tools - arms - that I choose to defend them with. There are no valid reasons, no matter how beneficial they purport to be, that justify your seeking to interfere with my right to make that decision myself.

My Rights are inherent in my nature as a reasoning human being, and they are not subject to your, or congress's or any majority's approval. The 2nd amendment does not grant me the 'right' to keep and bear arms, it only defends it from the foolish and the powerful who feel threatened by it.

Our problem today, is not with who is in office, but with a people raised to think along utilitarian lines, rather than moral ones, raised to consider effectiveness and efficiency before considering whether or not something is right or wrong to do. These people do not seek to understand your arguments, they seek to strip you of what they do not understand - and playing their game won't score you any points or safeguard your rights against them. Their ignorance is the problem we face, and it threatens our lives, our liberty, and our happiness.

There are no reasons that justify your having rights - you have Rights because you are a reasoning human being -you don't need to justify your rights, you need to understand them and assert them.
If you want those opposing your rights to see reason, you cannot abandon it when talking with them. Learn what your rights are, learn  what they mean and the principles which they depend upon (hint: it's not legislation) and without which America would cease to exist, and most of all, learn how to defend and to proclaim them.

Originally posted at The Bell News

13 comments:

Ex-Dissident said...

Great post!

Jess said...

That's it in a nutshell.

landrewc said...

So, what is your response supposed to be? "Because I want to and I can."

Van Harvey said...

Lance said "So, what is your response supposed to be? "Because I want to and I can."

Lance, do you really see a difference between the "What reasons could you possibly have...!" and "Because I want to and I can."?

They both deliberately avoid the question of "What Ought a person do in___ situation?"

And there's good reason for that, because they've been told when faced with any question of what Should you do, having been led to believe, as all the modernista thinksta's do, that 'should's and 'oughts's are invalid concepts, that instead you should (Ah! I said it!) simply tally up the numbers of pro's and con's and greater goods, and then having reached a (hopefuly) 'decisive' sum, you should (Ah! I said it again! Ni!) then just go with the bigger quantity.

One problem with that, is that you, and they, are then left having not only no Rights, but absolutely no true identity apart from what the largest number of your fellow quantifiers decide you should (Ah! I said it again! Ni! Ni! Ni!) be.

But as I said in the post,
"... Don't try to give them any reasons - they don't want your reasons, what they want is for you to give up your ability to actually Reason with them, and if you answer that question, that is what you will do."

The Answer?

"The simple fact is, in regards to the 2nd Amendment, or any other of our Rights, defended by the constitution or not, that my Right to defend my life, loved ones and property, does not depend upon my proving its value to you! And my Rights do not require that I put you at ease about the tools - arms - that I choose to defend them with. There are no valid reasons, no matter how beneficial they purport to be, that justify your seeking to interfere with my right to make that decision myself.

My Rights are inherent in my nature as a reasoning human being, and they are not subject to your, or congress's or any majority's approval. The 2nd amendment does not grant me the 'right' to keep and bear arms, it only defends it from the foolish and the powerful who feel threatened by it.""
"

If they balk at that, you might want to ask them... why? Why is it that they think you should (Ahhh! Ni! Ni! Ni!...) consider their ability to count, to be more important than your shared nature as reasoning humans? Why? Based upon what?

And if they say something like "Because it's what every decent person should do!", again, ask them Why? And perhaps how it is they came to that conclusion? What, it's like a self evident truth or something?

Now that would be an opening for an interesting conversation.

ghostsniper said...

landrewc said...
So, what is your response supposed to be?
================

My rights are not dependent upon your acceptance, so grow up.

Van Harvey said...

Ghostsniper said "My rights are not dependent upon your acceptance, so grow up."

Oh, well sure, if you want to avoid the wordvalance and go with the whole brevity thing, fine, go ahead, see if I care.

;-)

landrewc said...

Thanks Van, I hope you realize that I wasn't trying to be flip. I was just trying to understand what kind of response you were talking about. The gun issue, much like the prison issue is for me a hard conversation to have. Because there does not seem to be an answer.

Van Harvey said...

Nope, I didn't, not a problem Lance.

But... 'the prison issue'? What issue is that?

landrewc said...

Well as far as prisons go. They just don't seem to work. So it makes me wonder, what can you do when a person just refuses to follow the laws. But that also, what are prisons for, if it is just to keep those people off of the streets then I guess they are successful. But, if they are supposed to rehabilitate then that doesn't seem to be working. There are times, at my most cynical that it feels like the correction system in America is colossally flawed and corrupt and there is no way it can be fixed.

Van Harvey said...

Lance said "There are times, at my most cynical that it feels like the correction system in America is colossally flawed and corrupt and there is no way it can be fixed. "

Ooh... you might be mistaking cynicism for budding rays of realism! If you take a look into the history of prison reform, you'll find that that Utilitarian patron saint of 'Individual Rights', Jeremy Bentham (who called them 'nonsense on stilts', linked to in the post above), was one of their founding, and most driving, forces.

What Bentham 'realized', was that since there is no such thing as Free Will (and Rights would be nonsense without it), then all human actions are in one way or another determined by their environment. Given that, then a perfected society requires only that people be 'nudged' by those who know best, into 'proper' (?!) behavior. And of course those who turn out wrong (factory defects), just need to be re-nudged, but under more direct control.

Bentham essentially designed the modern penal system. His ideas took fire on this side of the pond, and became the fervent cause of those who would become the forerunners of our proRegressives, and they pursued it with an enthusiasm second only to their/his/Hume's/Rousseau's ideas on Education - which had the very same foundations.

If you aren't feeling depressed enough, have a look at Bentham's ideas for his 'Panopticon' – portrayed on a larger scale by Orwell in 1984.

Worst of all, the ideas behind our prisons, are the very same ideas that are behind our modern ideas of 'Education' and Law, though with a kinder, gentler, happy face spin.

Think a moment, if you believe that numeric calculations of the 'greater good' should (ah!!!) determine all things, rather than nebulous notions of Rights and Right & Wrong, what would possibly stop you from transforming society into something like 1984 (though perhaps with nicer TV's & fashion sense)? What could possibly justify NOT doing so?

As Hume put it in my post that we first met (here) on,

"...When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles[meaning skepticism], what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion..."

A world where ideas of divinity, metaphysics and abstract reasoning not driven by quantity, is exactly the world we are living in today.

Nice, eh?

landrewc said...

So, what are prisons supposed to be then? Is there a purpose? Do they need to have a purpose?

Van Harvey said...

Lance said "So, what are prisons supposed to be then? Is there a purpose? Do they need to have a purpose?"

Well, not to be flip, but, don't you think that that should be the first question that they answer, rather than the last?

The chief problem with our criminal justice system, IMHO, is that its fundamental purpose is not seen to be rendering Justice, which is not surprising given the fundamentals it was developed from. And that is one of the big, big, big problems with any philosophical system that is based upon utility, rather than on what is right and true. Of utility... to who? To what?

The first problems that are presented by a system that takes as its starting point the denial of free will, truth and principles, is that it can see nothing as anything like an integrated whole, it is stuck instead with seeing issues that are little better than incidentally associated pursuits for... no particular purpose other than what happens to have caught some enthusiasts fancy.

The result is, in regards to our criminal justice system, is that we have a judicial system that is devoted not to rendering justice, not to seeing to it that the wrongs unjustly done to people are made right (insofar as they can be), or that the Laws are designed to uphold rights and serve justice... but instead our justice system is rooted in 'fixing' the criminal, serving the interests of the criminal (supposedly to benefit society... pshaw), to those devoted to righting him, and to the workings of the justice system itself - what is and must be neglected in such a system is Justice and those who have had injustices done to them.

Prisons, if they have a purpose, must serve the purpose of Justice first and foremost, and if they don't, should be 86'd.

I do think they are necessary, but not in the form they are today. It'd take some thinking and an extended blogpost to even begin dealing with, but off the top of my head, I'd say that:

First the laws need to be reworked so as to put the victim first, and to setting the criminal to making their wrongs put right.

In the case of theft, malicious injury or damage to property, that'd mean monetary penalties upon the criminal, as well as (meaning that having wealth couldn't be used as a means to escaping paying your debt, so to speak) some form of penal workhouse system (whether under guard (the default) or not would depend upon the nature of the crime and the criminal) to truly work off their debt to their victims. That would require careful consideration, as there are many ways such a system could go wrong, from within and without, but it shouldn't be too difficult to make a 1,000% improvement over our current system.


-break -

Van Harvey said...

-cont -

Second, those who do deliberate evil to others - murder, rape, child molestation, etc - should, after thorough review, be either put to death or shut away from the world (while earning their keep and then some) for the rest of their lives.
Related, those who would falsely accuse a person of such crimes, should be dealt with just as harshly - to attempt to use society's system of justice, to unjustly deprive a person of their life in fact or effect, forfeits their rights for the same reason the actual criminal would.

I had some notions many moons ago, that I haven't had a chance to give much further thought to, that Police dept's should operate 'for profit' establishments in the neighborhoods they serve, such as pubs, employment services (informally helping to put those who need jobs done together with those needing work, etc), useful inspections, etc, , bringing them into the community not ònly as a mode of interaction, and of becoming more informed themselves, but as actual sources of production, socializing, etc... but that's speculation on my part.

First and foremost, not just the prisons, but the system it serves, must have a purpose that is none other than seeing that justice is served for those who have had injustice done to them. Any judicial system that does not have that as its primary focus in all areas, cannot render justice - not to victims, not to society, and certainly not to those it imprisons.