Thursday, July 20, 2006


Some goings on

A constitutional right ??!! Is that also a constitutional entitlement or do they actually pay for the service?

Juveniles are the first to lose their rights. Cameras come up and curfews come down. All in the name of 'safety'.

Good news for Wal-Mart!!

Some updates on that infamous Massachusetts health reform bill...

I think allowing women in prision to get abortions sounds reasonable to me, and probably consistent with the laws of the land.

Whether it violates someone's mystical, magical, mysterious natural rights to something or other, I'm sure it does. Everything else seemsto.

PS* Chris finalyl responded to your blame the poor post. Sorry for the delay. Work has been a little brisk latley. Plus my brother is in town.
I hope he is having a good time. Welcome back!

My problem isn't that they want to get it or ought to be able to. My problem is :

Who's gonna pay for it?

How would they possibly be able to pay for it? So it becomes a constitutional entitlement, where the state government is forced to subsidize abortions and even pay for their transport to and from.
Prisons also have to pay for inmates food and health care expenses. Are these expenses objectionable as well? Why not?
Yes they are objectionable. But we want to be 'caring' about locking someone up for thirty years in a dark cell with a guy named Bubba.

Where do we stop as soon as we start making exceptions? If people outside of prison cannot receive subsidized abortions, why should a convict receive one? **That whole eugenics/'greater good' public health thing of the 19th and 20th century that comes to mind**
Why is that objectionable?

And, as far as I know, state's already do subsidize abortions for low income women.
It is objectionable because it is based on the old public health premise that the poor and criminal breed poor and criminal -- so we should encourage them not to breed or even forcible neuter them.

There were many court cases (BUCK v. BELL, 274 U.S. 200 (1927)) on these sorts of governmental decisions for the public's greater good.

Now, you could make the claim that the poor and criminal tend towards poor and criminal activites, but it is not simply because they were born (I am more nurture than nature).

Do you think subsidizing abortion or low income women (or prisoners), is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds? The alternative is not paying for the birth and care of the child though. The real alternative is not paying for any of it -- but that is unrealistic in our overgenerous welfare state.

I don't read it that way at all. No one is forcing these women to get abortions. They are merely allowing them to recieve a surgical procedure they would not be able to recieve otherwise because they are in prison.

And I wouldn't want to live in a world with the real alternative. Because the exact same argument could be used to not pay for prisoners food/medical expenses/etc.

The real voluntarist alternative to all of this is a world without prisons and without enforceable contracts. A beautiful utopia where no one's natural rights are violated. I wouldn't like that world either.
The same argument could also be used to not have prisons -- since they are living off other people's money after they committed crimes against those same people.

I think people should have access to just about anything they want. I just don't think they have a right to have other people coerced into paying it for them.

We are the ones forcing them to be in prison. I see no reason why shouldn't pay for their health expenses.

But, you're exactly right, I don't see how a voluntarist could endorse prisons. I don't see how they could forcing people to do anything (including honoring a contract).

So, we could sacrifice our world on the altar of natural rights for the sake of consistancy...OR we could take these uncomfortable conclusions to be a sign that we are on wrong path.
I know, that is kinda why I am uncomfortable about prison sentencing. Especially with the expansion of criminal activity year after year.
Something that really bothers me is the idea that some people don't see prison as punishment at all.

Some might see it as a rite of passage, some as "3 hots and a cot." (3 hot meals and a place to sleep, for those of you who don't speak to prisoners much)
So, instead of prison, we should simply demand recompense from criminals. A steals B's car. A is caught. A must give the car back and pay any for any legal fees/cab rides/etc that B has incurred. He does not have to go to jail.

I think this is perfectly compatible with natural rights.

Student, I don't know where you get your idea that natural rights and contracts are incompatible. If we own ourselves, we certainly have the right to make a contract and if we are acting rationally, we know that we are voluntarily binding ourselves to said contracts. The concepts seem complementary.

There are two fundamental issues that are at the heart of your alternative to prison and the enforceability of contracts: 1) What do we mean when we say someone has a right to their property? 2) And who has rights and why?

1) In your example, does A have a right to the value of her car or simply the car itself? This is an important question with huge consequential differences. If she only has a right to the physical car itself, then the thief could wreck the car and give it back and everything would be square. Is that the world we want to live in? If A has a right to the value of her property, then what does that really mean? If you’re a restaurant owner and a competitor puts you out of business, is he violating your rights by reducing the market value of your restaurant?

2) And what about the thief in your example? How can you demand HIS property after you get back your car (to pay for legal expenses, cab fees, etc.)?? Doesn’t have property rights too? Wouldn’t you be violating his rights back taking his property for compensation?? If god/magic/reason gives me a right to my property, who are you to take it away?

So your prison alternative leaves to lot to be answered. And your answer to both of these questions will feed into any argument we have on contract enforcement. Here’s one example. Let’s say I sign a contract to deliverer 400 bushels of wheat to you next month. But next month roles around, I decide I don’t want to sell it you. What are you going to do? Force me to give it to you? Force me to pay a fee for breaching the contract? How does all this NOT violate my natural rights to my own property?
The right to own property is not the same as the right to specific pieces of property.

Let's take your example. You have voluntarily entered into a contract. At that point, you have agreed, in advance to the consequences of your action. Contracts have provisions for not honoring them. These are not coercive - you have agreed, by signing the contract in the first place, to live by the terms. At no point, is another party coercing you into something that you did not agree to.

So then the thief doesn't have to bring back A's car? Please explain what you mean.

And You are correct that contracts have provisions for not honoring them. I actually mentioned one (fee). But what if I decide I don't want to pay that either? I may have willing entered that contract last month, but now I don't feel like recognizing.

What are you going to do and why are you justified for doing it?

After re-reading your first sentence, I'm wondering if you aren't misreading me. But let me ask to be sure...Do you really think I am saying that A has a RIGHT to that specific CAR? Meaning, that she a God-reason-magic given claim to that specific car?

Is that what you REALLY think I am saying?
To make my question clearer:


Do you honestly think I am asking whether A has a god/reason/magic claim to a unique combination of materials known as "her car"?

That is you DON'T Think I am asking whether a person owns the value or their property or simply the physical property itself?

Now, if I didn't know any better, I would say you're playing on the semantics of a quickly written blog-comments post to avoid answering the real question. ;)

Real Question: What do people own? The value of their property or the physical property itself.
No, I don't think you're saying that thieves don't have to bring back cars. But just because we have a right to property, doesn't mean a specific piece of it can't ever be legitimately taken away.

So, you agree (by contract) to sell me corn. You change your mind. The fee for your breach is $20. Your ertswhile $20 is now legitimately my money, whether you want to part with it or not.

But then we go right back to the question of what you own. Do you own the physical $20 bill I have in my pocket? Or do you own its value?

What if I paint the $20 dollar bill black and give it to you. Are out debts settled?
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