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Author Topic: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.  (Read 11840 times)

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Tom Foppiano

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ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« on: December 14, 2011, 10:33:24 PM »

I think using the phrase, ďYou can do whatever you want as long as you donít harm anyone else,Ē is a good way to introduce someone to libertarianism. Iíve used it to sum up my worldview many times. It is a concise, socially acceptable concept.

But it is important, at least in my opinion, to remember that itís not really true. Causing harm isnít necessarily illegitimate in a libertarian utopia.

Think about sexual relationships. When person ďAĒ is deeply in love with B, B can cause very real harm to A by sleeping with C. Or B can harm A by simply ending the relationship. But libertarians donít support enslaving people to unwanted sexual partners.

So when is harm illegitimate? Answer: When it violates someone elseís property rights.

Since person A doesnít own the body of person B, B is free to cease any and all interaction with A, even if person A is severely harmed by it.

The reason I bring this up is Iíve heard people say things like, ďSmokers harm the rest of us because they demand more health care, thereby increasing prices. And donít you libertarians say that people canít harm each other?Ē But does a person own the price of healthcare services? No. So, while we may be harmed by smokers through higher prices, it would be illegitimate to seek compensation.

Another example is home values. All kinds of crazy laws have been passed to ensure that some homeowners donít park old cars and boats in their front lawn, or donít paint their home pink. Because if they did, they would harm their neighbors by decreasing home values. Again, since the plaintiffs donít own how much someone else will pay for their home, the harm should be legal.

Some religious people are harmed when gay people get ďmarried.Ē It drives some of them nuts. They canít sleep at night, they become irritable, their personal lives fall apart, their businesses flounder, and their dogs might even run awayÖ..all because they just canít fathom the idea of man humpers enjoying their lives. Yes, gay marriage absolutely causes some people harm. But so what? Harm isnít the real issue.

Anyways, I know these ideas arenít new, but I thought they could stir up some interesting discussionsÖ.
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 12:13:39 AM »

I think physical harm is the only thing really important, which includes monetary related things and your physical body and property.

The rest is bullshit harm, in my opinion. Like religious people claiming they are bothered when two gay people get married. I would say to them "Grow the fuck up and worry about your own life instead of what other people do that have nothing to do with you."

I'm not saying emotional harm is no biggie, but its impossible to put a number on when talking about compensation, so its best to leave that stuff out of the equation.
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 12:53:16 AM »

I think physical harm is the only thing really important, which includes monetary related things and your physical body and property.

The rest is bullshit harm, in my opinion. Like religious people claiming they are bothered when two gay people get married. I would say to them "Grow the fuck up and worry about your own life instead of what other people do that have nothing to do with you."

I'm not saying emotional harm is no biggie, but its impossible to put a number on when talking about compensation, so its best to leave that stuff out of the equation.

If your neighbor parks 6 broken cars on cement blocks on their property, thereby lowering your property value, have they caused you harm?

What if their Christmas decorations are so garish they hurt your eyes pulling up into your driveway? How do you recompense for that?
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Tom Foppiano

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 01:34:04 AM »

I think physical harm is the only thing really important, which includes monetary related things and your physical body and property.

I'm not saying emotional harm is no biggie, but its impossible to put a number on when talking about compensation, so its best to leave that stuff out of the equation.

How is it possible to put a $number on rape, or having an arm chopped off by a nutbag, but not possible to put a number on emotional harm? (Not that emotional harm is illegitimate. It might be, I just can't think of anything off the top of my head.)

I know how Rothbard puts numbers on bodily harm, but I've found out that most people who listen FTL disagree with his method. At least most people that host the show, call in, or post on the forums.

And in case you don't know what Rothbard's method is.......too fucking bad. Just kidding. Its basically a system where the victim gets double her stolen stuff back. So if you steal $1000. First, you pay the $1000 back, then the victim gets to take the same amount you previously stole (it is a little more complex).

In case of bodily harm, the victim can harm the perpetrator back. If the victim wants money/goods/services instead, the victim and the rights violator must make a deal. So far, its the only non-arbitrary way I've heard of for arriving at compensation prices. But I'm super open to new ideas.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 01:53:32 AM by Tom Foppiano »
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 01:36:01 AM »


If your neighbor parks 6 broken cars on cement blocks on their property, thereby lowering your property value, have they caused you harm?

What if their Christmas decorations are so garish they hurt your eyes pulling up into your driveway? How do you recompense for that?

If we're talking a libertarian type society, there would most likely be binding contracts set up in neighborhoods for things like broken down cars scattered all over someones property, I mean, if its a real problem for people, the market would come up with such a thing, right? Personally, it wouldn't bother me, but I'm not naive enough to think it wouldn't bother alot of other people.


As for the Christmas lights, I'd shine a 3 million candlepower flood-light into the neighbors window and when he came over to bitch I'd say "Turn yours off, I'll turn mine off."
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2011, 01:46:35 AM »


How is it possible to put a $number on rape, or having an arm chopped off by a nutbag, but not possible to put a number on emotional harm? (Not that emotional harm is illegitimate. It might be, I just can't think of anything off the top of my head.)


I think Rothbard is silly to try putting a price tag on emotional harm compensation, if that is in fact what you are talking about, and not physical harm. The main problem with trying to do that is this....


Lets say you call me a douchebag when we're hainging around the watercooler at work and all of your friends are standing around laughing at me, joining in saying "haaa, he called him a douchebag.......haha, he does kinda look like one, doesn't he?"


I can claim it bothered me to the point where it makes my job too stressful to come in everyday and get anything done.......but what if im lying and it doesn't really bother me at all and im just using that as an excuse to get some cash out of you? Its possible right? Lots of people make false claims to get monetary compensation every single day in this country and alot of the times they get paid for it too. With physical harm, thats not so much a problem. You can see it, right there in front of you. See? Theres my severed arm, lying on the floor!! I want compensation!!

I think, when you start holding other people accountable for your emotions, you are opening a dangerous door of litigation that would run rampant.


Very dangerous proposition, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 01:49:59 AM by quickmike »
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Tom Foppiano

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 01:52:48 AM »

No, no. I wasn't clear. Rothbard doesn't put a price on emotional harm (I don't think).

I was basically saying, how do you put a price on bodily harm? You wrote that you could put a price on theft and the like, but how can you decide how much an arm is worth?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 01:54:23 AM by Tom Foppiano »
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Tom Foppiano

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 02:08:46 AM »

Its been a while since I've read about these issues and now that I think about it, Rothbard does believe that people should be compensated for being threatened. That seems like it would fit the emotional harm category.

I think his example was a person committing a robbery with a gun and the robber threatening to kill the victim. In that case, the threat of bodily harm scared the victim and absolutely violated his/her/zer rights.

Next time I'll try to know what the fuck I'm talking about before I post.
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alaric89

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 02:21:25 AM »

I recon in Libpar there would be some sort of compensation scale agreed upon by various insurance companies and arbitration providers. The scale would go from "are you fucking kidding me you owe your supposed perpetrator 100 bucks for wasting his time and us 500 bucks for wasting ours." to  lifetime compensation payments.

Tom Foppiano

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 02:53:16 AM »

I recon in Libpar there would be some sort of compensation scale agreed upon by various insurance companies and arbitration providers. The scale would go from "are you fucking kidding me you owe your supposed perpetrator 100 bucks for wasting his time and us 500 bucks for wasting ours." to  lifetime compensation payments.

Perhaps, but that system would be arbitrary if arms are always worth y$ and legs are worth z$. Not that it isn't the best option.

And the super rich might not have a strong incentive to abstain from committing atrocious crimes if the payouts are a set rate.

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Turd Ferguson

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2011, 03:00:57 AM »



I think his example was a person committing a robbery with a gun and the robber threatening to kill the victim. In that case, the threat of bodily harm scared the victim and absolutely violated his/her/zer rights.




Once again, all this stuff is relative. Thats the problem with it. How do you know how much someone was scared when the gun was pulled on him/her? Maybe the person is a bad ass mofo and wasn't really afraid, maybe they had a deathwish anyway, maybe they're just nuts.....who knows whats going on inside someones mellon.

In my opinion, its impossible to put a price tag on emotional damage, so it shouldn't even be considered. Pulling a gun on someone though..........that seems to fall somewhere between physical harm and mental. Tricky stuff. I guess you could just put a set amount for pulling a gun on someone. An amount everyone could agree with beforehand. Pull a gun on someone, pay them 10,000 bucks. I dont know.

Actual physical harm, of course. I have no idea whats fair when it comes to that. I think alaric had a good answer to that one though. Arbitration.
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alaric89

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2011, 03:09:53 AM »

I recon in Libpar there would be some sort of compensation scale agreed upon by various insurance companies and arbitration providers. The scale would go from "are you fucking kidding me you owe your supposed perpetrator 100 bucks for wasting his time and us 500 bucks for wasting ours." to  lifetime compensation payments.

Perhaps, but that system would be arbitrary if arms are always worth y$ and legs are worth z$. Not that it isn't the best option.

And the super rich might not have a strong incentive to abstain from committing atrocious crimes if the payouts are a set rate.



In Libpar you couldn't steal so much. The spoiled rich dumbasses would virtually disappear, because to remain rich you would have to work your ass off. Free competition don't cha know.
But even if we had some sort of psycho killer rich person who payed off families of victims or something, he wouldn't live too long in a world where everyone is packing heat.

Tom Foppiano

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2011, 01:43:22 PM »


The spoiled rich dumbasses would virtually disappear, because to remain rich you would have to work your ass off. Free competition don't cha know.


I disagree. While, having a free market would likely narrow the wealth gap, there will always be brilliant, super productive, savvy business people that will be super rich. Spoiled? I don't know. They could certainly give their money to their children.
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alaric89

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 03:06:02 PM »

Spoiled people are usually self destructive. They will die out. Of course every now and then you will have a loony person who tries to game the system to be a psycho.
He will find he has one problem.
In Libpar there isn't a system to game.
Blam.
And even if you are right, at least the families would get some compensation. In the system we got now they don't get anything. I don't think most people think of watching a live snuff film as any sort of prize.

Tom Foppiano

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Re: ÖAs Long As You Donít Harm Anyone Else.
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2011, 03:33:41 PM »

In the system we got now they don't get anything.

That is not true. Some victims' families get a great deal of satisfaction from killing the murderer. I'm not saying its good or moral, but there is a great deal of value in the death penalty for some people.

Plus, the current system does allow people to sue for killing someone. Don't you remember OJ Simpson? He was found not guilty in the criminal system and then was found "guilty" or "responsible" or whatever and had to pay compensation. I think he ended up sheltering a bunch of his money, but he did have to pay for the death of his former wife.

I'm pretty sure victims/families can always sue whenever there is harm committed. Its just that a lot of criminals don't have the money to pay anything. So you likely get a legal declaration that is financially worthless. Though, the victims obviously find the process of value or they wouldn't bother suing.
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