NATION

PASSWORD

Self-ownership

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Do you own yourself, NSG?

Yes, and for the reasons you gave.
65
22%
Yes, but for reasons different to the ones you gave.
117
39%
No, because I belong to God.
61
20%
No (please give a reason below).
56
19%
 
Total votes : 299

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Arkolon
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Self-ownership

Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:21 pm

Before being turned into a popularity contest riddled with dubious, shadowy-yet-ever-smiling and dodgy characters and negative connotations with the advent of democracy, politics was largely philosophical. What one used to refer to as politics was how we believe society should organise itself, and how one can justify this position through a set of axioms. We have progressed a long way: from the Stoics to the medieval Thomistics, from consequentialism to ethical Kantianism throughout the millennia. When mentioning “politics”, think not banners and badges, campaigns and cake sales, but think “philosophy”, or, more specifically, “political philosophy”.

As I mentioned, each political philosophy relies on a set list of axioms, and from these axioms (which have to be individually proven true) we have to derive which society is the most justifiable. These axioms could be a labour theory of value, an assumption that land is a positive commons, the existence of one or many gods, that humans are intrinsically self-interested, that nature is the most fairest of paths, and many, many more. What is important when discussing political philosophy is the examination of these axioms, taking down the ideology not from what it proposes, but from what it stands on. You will find it much harder to argue in advocacy of the opinion that workers are fully entitled to the fruit of their labour, for instance, when the labour theory of value is remitted from acceptance; when the very basis of this opinion has been itself put into question.

These axiomatic lists are not messy and in no particular order at all, and you will find that the most extensive and most ordered political philosophies are those which have numerically ordered axioms, where 2 must follow from 1, and 3 must follow from 2, and so on. This is from where we derive oxymorons in political terminology. I’m sure you find yourself a little confused when you hear “fascist anarchism” or “capitalist socialism”, because the axiomatic lists of these component ideologies contradict each other, even if you may not realise it directly.

The most structured political philosophies have, however, one weakness. It is a very important weakness that can not easily be overcome, and is found at the very depths of the philosophy. As axiomatic lists go in numerical order, they must obviously have a starting point, a Starter Axiom, if you will. Rejecting the Starter Axiom is rejecting the whole philosophy, whereas acquiescing to the Starter Axiom of a philosophy is agreeing to approximately nine-tenths of its ethical core.

I am a proponent of voluntaryist libertarianism, and have been considered, quite flatteringly, part of the Academic Right, as opposed to the Academic Left. It was in the Anarchism thread that we stopped looking at what exactly I was asking everyone to do, but rather what I was asking everyone to believe-- what ethical arguments I had hidden under the surface of the iceberg, so to speak, to justify the tip of the iceberg. “Why the non-aggression principle?”; “why is force wrong?” were answered quite innocently by me at first, stating that these things are both right and wrong respectively because they either embody or contravene natural law, which renders them either legitimate or illegitimate. “Why natural law?”: well, because natural rights. “Why natural rights?”: well, because you own yourself and this entitles you to certain rights and liberties that none can take away because that would go against the fact that you own yourself. That was it, I realised. That was my Starter Axiom. You can probably guess that answering “why self-ownership?” was met with little more than “just because”, because, after all, it was my Starter Axiom. This made the Anarchism thread turn into a long debate on the authenticity of self-ownership, and I have since threadjacked a great deal threads on something completely unrelated and turned it into this thread. I will use a few seconds of your time to apologise to the mods for this, and I have taken the courtesy to begin a thread for my new favourite subject, the philosophical authenticity of self-ownership.

There are many ways to justify self-ownership, but the course I took I had to DIY philosophise, because every single right-libertarian or voluntaryist book never goes deeper than “just because”, and that is not an acceptable justification of a Starter Axiom. I took from Aristotelian hylomorphism to justify my opinion on me owning myself. Put bluntly, the bricks that constitute a house belong to the house; the body that constitutes a person belongs to the person. We can put it this way:

i. A brick house is made of bricks.
ii. Without the bricks, there is no brick house.
iii. The bricks belong to the brick house.

Or, alternatively:

i. A is made from B.
ii. If not-B, therefore not-A.
iii. B belongs to A.
1. A owns B.

Where B is the “relative matter” that Aristotle referred to, and A is made possible by the existence of B.

For the human person or mind (or “soul”), consider this:

i. The person is made from the functional body.
ii. Without the functional body, there is no person.
iii. The functional body belongs to the person.
1. The person owns their body.

Where “functional” means a living, working body, which means that if the body was dead (ie, not “functional”), then this could not apply.

So, TL;DR:

Do you own yourself, NSG?
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Trotskylvania
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Postby Trotskylvania » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:18 pm

Arkolon wrote:Before being turned into a popularity contest riddled with dubious, shadowy-yet-ever-smiling and dodgy characters and negative connotations with the advent of democracy, politics was largely philosophical. What one used to refer to as politics was how we believe society should organise itself, and how one can justify this position through a set of axioms. We have progressed a long way: from the Stoics to the medieval Thomistics, from consequentialism to ethical Kantianism throughout the millennia. When mentioning “politics”, think not banners and badges, campaigns and cake sales, but think “philosophy”, or, more specifically, “political philosophy”.

As I mentioned, each political philosophy relies on a set list of axioms, and from these axioms (which have to be individually proven true) we have to derive which society is the most justifiable. These axioms could be a labour theory of value, an assumption that land is a positive commons, the existence of one or many gods, that humans are intrinsically self-interested, that nature is the most fairest of paths, and many, many more. What is important when discussing political philosophy is the examination of these axioms, taking down the ideology not from what it proposes, but from what it stands on. You will find it much harder to argue in advocacy of the opinion that workers are fully entitled to the fruit of their labour, for instance, when the labour theory of value is remitted from acceptance; when the very basis of this opinion has been itself put into question.

No, axioms are premises that are accepted as true without proof because they are sufficiently self-evident or fundamental to the basis of inquiry.

Now, what you're talking about here are the broader case of premises, i.e., the foundations of a logical argument. Following from these premises, if true, would yield the conclusion according to the rules of logic. Now that we've gotten this out of the way, let's just dive in.
Arkolon wrote:The most structured political philosophies have, however, one weakness. It is a very important weakness that can not easily be overcome, and is found at the very depths of the philosophy. As axiomatic lists go in numerical order, they must obviously have a starting point, a Starter Axiom, if you will. Rejecting the Starter Axiom is rejecting the whole philosophy, whereas acquiescing to the Starter Axiom of a philosophy is agreeing to approximately nine-tenths of its ethical core.

Occaisionally. You can sum up some philosphical ideas tidily by reducing them to a single premise. Kant quite elegantly reduced the whole of his moral philosophy to a single master imperative from which all others would be derived: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction." (Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Section II)

But not all philosophical systems are so thoroughly reductionist. And the tendency towards skepticism towards axiomatic thinking has also meant that most philosophies seek to avoid assuming anything complicated, building their premises by inference from highly generic foundational knowledge.

Arkolon wrote:There are many ways to justify self-ownership, but the course I took I had to DIY philosophise, because every single right-libertarian or voluntaryist book never goes deeper than “just because”, and that is not an acceptable justification of a Starter Axiom. I took from Aristotelian hylomorphism to justify my opinion on me owning myself. Put bluntly, the bricks that constitute a house belong to the house; the body that constitutes a person belongs to the person. We can put it this way:

i. A brick house is made of bricks.
ii. Without the bricks, there is no brick house.
iii. The bricks belong to the brick house.

Or, alternatively:

i. A is made from B.
ii. If not-B, therefore not-A.
iii. B belongs to A.
1. A owns B.

Where B is the “relative matter” that Aristotle referred to, and A is made possible by the existence of B.

This is an anthropomorphization though. While a brick house may be made out of bricks, the brick house is just an object. To speak of it owning its constituents is an unreasonable inference, and a clear intrusion of normative "ought" terms into what is other wise purely positivist "is" statements. This general case is unsupportable.

Ownership is not a purely positivist concept. It is a normative claim that goes well beyond mere hylomorphism. It is a claim of a subject's (A) exclusive right to control and dispose of an object (B) as he or she wills. But does the house have any right to its bricks? This is an anthropomorphization of an inanimate object. A brick house is made up of bricks and mortar; it is self-evidently absurd to claim a relationship of ownership, which requires intention and a normative claim.

Arkolon wrote:For the human person or mind (or “soul”), consider this:

i. The person is made from the functional body.
ii. Without the functional body, there is no person.
iii. The functional body belongs to the person.
1. The person owns their body.

Where “functional” means a living, working body, which means that if the body was dead (ie, not “functional”), then this could not apply.

So, TL;DR:

Do you own yourself, NSG?

This is why I referred to self-ownership as mind-body dualism. The person, in your syllogisms, is an isomorph of the Cartesian conception of mind. It's this metaphysical concept that's very explicitly placed in command of the physical body. So you argue, correctly at our given level of advancement, that personhood cannot exist without a functional body, so clearly you don't think that the idea of a soul that survives the body after death has any import for the affairs of the living. But the problem is that you make a great leap by separating mind from body, and putting the body in the ownership of the mind.

This is very standard Enlightenment "the Body is the plaything of the Mind" line of thought. It's also incredibly archaic, because though you try to follow a more Aristotelian physicalist hylomorphism, you can't have the kind of split between subject self and object self without reintroducing the supernatural. Your concept of the person is no less supernatural than Descartes' was.

I propose an alternative system of thought about individuals. Rather than the self-ownership line, which says that the person is separate from himself and can own himself, we shall treat persons based on a simple identity property. A person is their self, and the body is an isomorph of the person. No need for a separate, alienated self.

To further demonstrate the superiority of this line of thought, I will extend your (Arkolon's) logic to its inevitable conclusion. I begin with the premise that ownership is an alienable property; which is to say that it can transferred voluntarily, or it can be separated by compulsion, as when a person loses assets, whether as a security or through repossession by a chancery court, to settle outstanding debts.

If we accept self-ownership as the logical basis for our social compact, then by necessary implication we must also accept the existence of slavery. For a person cannot be said to own themselves if they cannot sell themselves to another, and transfer the right to control their life and wellbeing to another. It is, after all, their property to be disposed of as they will. Libertarians offer the same defense of the right to commit suicide, and so by the same logic we must be compelled to treat the self like any other property, to be bought or sold.

This would not be voluntary, because the self would be an asset like any other, and it would be an act of aggression on the part of the state to prohibit the disposition of this property like any other. So, a person unable to pay his debts would be forced into contractual slavery.

This creates further problems. The standard self-ownership line with regards to children is that parents own their children until they reach majority or that title is transferred to another. (Rothbard, for example, envisioned a thriving free market in children. See Ethics of LIberty, Ch. 14). Like in all classical regimes of contract slavery, such regimes very quickly become chattel slavery. In the example of ancient Rome, the class of the impoverished became compelled to sell themselves into slavery, as payment for outstanding debt. But their masters would also contrive ways to ensure that the debt was never paid, as was their right under the agreed upon contracts. A child of a slave would be born a slave as part of the payment of his or her father's debt, and in time the charade of contract slavery persisted for so many generations that it lost the pretense.

Basing your ethics on self-ownership means that you have to bring the evil of slavery back as a legal institution, and you give it all the means it needs to continue in perpetuity.

Simply put, this isn't an ethic of liberty. It's pure and simple despotism, masquerading as freedom.
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Rebellious Fishermen
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Postby Rebellious Fishermen » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:19 pm

Just let my main man John Locke take over on this one.

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The New Sea Territory
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Postby The New Sea Territory » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:21 pm

You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.
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Pandeeria
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Postby Pandeeria » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:26 pm

My god, yes, you own yourself up until you die.
Lavochkin wrote:Never got why educated people support communism.

In capitalism, you pretty much have a 50/50 chance of being rich or poor. In communism, it's 1/99. What makes people think they have the luck/skill to become the 1% if they can't even succeed in a 50/50 society???

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Arkolon
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Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:27 pm

The New Sea Territory wrote:You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.

This is assuming control = ownership, which was an argumentative equivalent of two knuckles to the solar plexus when I last tried to use it. Sociobiology demonstrates this well: I could control your body with wires and electricity, and your mind would still exist, but who then owns your body--me, the one doing what any normal person can do with their body to your body-- or you, the incapacitated self who is barred from controlling the body themselves?

Getting on to the first post soon enough, by the way.
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Arkolon
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Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:28 pm

Pandeeria wrote:My god, yes, you own yourself up until you die.

Yes, but why?
"Revisionism is nothing else than a theoretic generalisation made from the angle of the isolated capitalist. Where does this viewpoint belong theoretically if not in vulgar bourgeois economics?"
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Pandeeria
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Postby Pandeeria » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:29 pm

Arkolon wrote:
The New Sea Territory wrote:You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.

This is assuming control = ownership, which was an argumentative equivalent of two knuckles to the solar plexus when I last tried to use it. Sociobiology demonstrates this well: I could control your body with wires and electricity, and your mind would still exist, but who then owns your body--me, the one doing what any normal person can do with their body to your body-- or you, the incapacitated self who is barred from controlling the body themselves?

Getting on to the first post soon enough, by the way.

You own your body. You were the one originally controlling it, hooking up wires and controlling you would be stealing your body away from you.
Lavochkin wrote:Never got why educated people support communism.

In capitalism, you pretty much have a 50/50 chance of being rich or poor. In communism, it's 1/99. What makes people think they have the luck/skill to become the 1% if they can't even succeed in a 50/50 society???

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The Orson Empire
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Postby The Orson Empire » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:29 pm

Arkolon wrote:
Pandeeria wrote:My god, yes, you own yourself up until you die.

Yes, but why?

Why does it matter? Do you want to go back to the days when slavery was legal and people could own other people?
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Avenio
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Postby Avenio » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:29 pm

Arkolon wrote:Before being turned into a popularity contest riddled with dubious, shadowy-yet-ever-smiling and dodgy characters and negative connotations with the advent of democracy, politics was largely philosophical.


Politics has always been dirty and pragmatic. I would suggest you turn your gaze a little less towards arcane philosophy and more towards history if you want to make anything resembling a coherent point.

More to the point, considering what we know about neurology and the way the mind and consciousness works, 'self-ownership' in the manner you've described is grossly at odds with physical reality. The illusion we have of selfhood is messy enough without us tying all sorts of legal and moral principles to it.
Last edited by Avenio on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pandeeria
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Postby Pandeeria » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:30 pm

Arkolon wrote:
Pandeeria wrote:My god, yes, you own yourself up until you die.

Yes, but why?


Essentially, by default, you own your body.

If you didn't, you'd need to gain permission by whoever owns it to use it.

You own it because you originally control it.
Lavochkin wrote:Never got why educated people support communism.

In capitalism, you pretty much have a 50/50 chance of being rich or poor. In communism, it's 1/99. What makes people think they have the luck/skill to become the 1% if they can't even succeed in a 50/50 society???

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Great Kleomentia
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Postby Great Kleomentia » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:30 pm

The New Sea Territory wrote:You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.
hue

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Arkolon
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Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:31 pm

The Orson Empire wrote:
Arkolon wrote:Yes, but why?

Why does it matter? Do you want to go back to the days when slavery was legal and people could own other people?

It matters because this is what we are debating. "Do you own yourself? Why, or why not?".
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Trotskylvania
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Postby Trotskylvania » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:32 pm

The New Sea Territory wrote:You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.

If you own yourself, you can sell yourself. It's an asset like any other, and you could be compelled to sell yourself into slavery to settle outstanding debts.
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Arkolon
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Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:33 pm

Pandeeria wrote:
Arkolon wrote:This is assuming control = ownership, which was an argumentative equivalent of two knuckles to the solar plexus when I last tried to use it. Sociobiology demonstrates this well: I could control your body with wires and electricity, and your mind would still exist, but who then owns your body--me, the one doing what any normal person can do with their body to your body-- or you, the incapacitated self who is barred from controlling the body themselves?

Getting on to the first post soon enough, by the way.

You own your body. You were the one originally controlling it, hooking up wires and controlling you would be stealing your body away from you.

Not a terrible point. Thank you, I'll be sure to use it soon enough.

You forget about the small, easy things when always looking at the harder ones.
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Arkolon
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Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:33 pm

Trotskylvania wrote:
The New Sea Territory wrote:You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.

If you own yourself, you can sell yourself. It's an asset like any other, and you could be compelled to sell yourself into slavery to settle outstanding debts.

Slavery is legitimate as long as it is 100% voluntary. It would be irrational, but not ethically illegitimate, to sell oneself voluntarily into slavery.
"Revisionism is nothing else than a theoretic generalisation made from the angle of the isolated capitalist. Where does this viewpoint belong theoretically if not in vulgar bourgeois economics?"
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Pandeeria
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Postby Pandeeria » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:34 pm

Arkolon wrote:
Pandeeria wrote:You own your body. You were the one originally controlling it, hooking up wires and controlling you would be stealing your body away from you.

You forget about the small, easy things when always looking at the harder ones.


I don't follow. Please elaborate.
Lavochkin wrote:Never got why educated people support communism.

In capitalism, you pretty much have a 50/50 chance of being rich or poor. In communism, it's 1/99. What makes people think they have the luck/skill to become the 1% if they can't even succeed in a 50/50 society???

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Great Kleomentia
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Postby Great Kleomentia » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:34 pm

Arkolon wrote:
The New Sea Territory wrote:You own yourself because you have conscious control over your body and yourself. You are yourself, thus you must have control over and "own" yourself.

Self-Ownership is the reality. You ARE You.

This is assuming control = ownership, which was an argumentative equivalent of two knuckles to the solar plexus when I last tried to use it. Sociobiology demonstrates this well: I could control your body with wires and electricity, and your mind would still exist, but who then owns your body--me, the one doing what any normal person can do with their body to your body-- or you, the incapacitated self who is barred from controlling the body themselves?

Getting on to the first post soon enough, by the way.

But you aren't just your body, you are your mind. Your body is just a physical manifestation of your mind's will. So on that behalf, if you are still self-aware then you would own you. Otherwise it would be theft.
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Arkolon
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Postby Arkolon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:35 pm

Pandeeria wrote:
Arkolon wrote:You forget about the small, easy things when always looking at the harder ones.


I don't follow. Please elaborate.

It was in reference to me. You were right, and it was a pretty obvious point that I overlooked. I wasn't being sarcastic, if that's what you want to know.
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Trotskylvania
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Postby Trotskylvania » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:36 pm

Arkolon wrote:
Trotskylvania wrote:If you own yourself, you can sell yourself. It's an asset like any other, and you could be compelled to sell yourself into slavery to settle outstanding debts.

Slavery is legitimate as long as it is 100% voluntary. It would be irrational, but not ethically illegitimate, to sell oneself voluntarily into slavery.

"Voluntary" slavery can be compelled. Allow it, and you're going to be seeing poor people forced to sell themselves into slavery by chancery courts to settle their debts.

And as I pointed out previously, the very concept is destructive to liberty. Voluntary slavery regimes inevitably turn into perpetual chattel slavery regimes if allowed to exist.
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Great Kleomentia
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Postby Great Kleomentia » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:39 pm

Trotskylvania wrote:
Arkolon wrote:Slavery is legitimate as long as it is 100% voluntary. It would be irrational, but not ethically illegitimate, to sell oneself voluntarily into slavery.

"Voluntary" slavery can be compelled. Allow it, and you're going to be seeing poor people forced to sell themselves into slavery by chancery courts to settle their debts.

And as I pointed out previously, the very concept is destructive to liberty. Voluntary slavery regimes inevitably turn into perpetual chattel slavery regimes if allowed to exist.

If someone wants to sell themselves to slavery, you have no right to take it away. It's similar to suicide. It's not their first option, but if they have nowhere else to go, or at least see no other route, who are you to take that away from them? In any case, i'm sure a lot fo homeless people would be better of as home servants than just being out on the street.
hue

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Pandeeria
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Postby Pandeeria » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:39 pm

Trotskylvania wrote:
Arkolon wrote:Slavery is legitimate as long as it is 100% voluntary. It would be irrational, but not ethically illegitimate, to sell oneself voluntarily into slavery.

"Voluntary" slavery can be compelled. Allow it, and you're going to be seeing poor people forced to sell themselves into slavery by chancery courts to settle their debts.

And as I pointed out previously, the very concept is destructive to liberty. Voluntary slavery regimes inevitably turn into perpetual chattel slavery regimes if allowed to exist.


Well then you start going into the whole "What is Voluntary"? For instance, if someone blackmails you into slavery, did you voluntarily do slavery? You still could just say "no" and not do it.

What if someone pays you into doing it and you're quite poor? You could still easily say no and not accept the money.

Where is the line for being voluntary? Are there different shades of voluntarism?
Lavochkin wrote:Never got why educated people support communism.

In capitalism, you pretty much have a 50/50 chance of being rich or poor. In communism, it's 1/99. What makes people think they have the luck/skill to become the 1% if they can't even succeed in a 50/50 society???

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Slobozhanshchyna
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Postby Slobozhanshchyna » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:40 pm

Arkolon wrote:Slavery is legitimate as long as it is 100% voluntary.


Modern wage labour summed up.
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Geilinor
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Postby Geilinor » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:40 pm

Great Kleomentia wrote:
Trotskylvania wrote:"Voluntary" slavery can be compelled. Allow it, and you're going to be seeing poor people forced to sell themselves into slavery by chancery courts to settle their debts.

And as I pointed out previously, the very concept is destructive to liberty. Voluntary slavery regimes inevitably turn into perpetual chattel slavery regimes if allowed to exist.

If someone wants to sell themselves to slavery, you have no right to take it away. It's similar to suicide. It's not their first option, but if they have nowhere else to go, or at least see no other route, who are you to take that away from them? In any case, i'm sure a lot fo homeless people would be better of as home servants than just being out on the street.

The options are not just starve or be a slave. Having government welfare benefits is preferable to both.
Member of the Free Democratic Party. Not left. Not right. Forward.
Economic Left/Right: -1.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.41

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Empire of Narnia
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Posts: 5577
Founded: Oct 18, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Empire of Narnia » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:42 pm

tl;dr

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