My Answers to Larken Rose’s Five Questions For Statists

government-on-trialHere are five more questions from a Libertarian addressed to “statists”. These questions are more philosophical than the 11 Questions To See If Statists Are Hypocrites, and make a whole lot more sense.

1) Is there any means by which any number of individuals can delegate to someone else the moral right to do something which none of the individuals have the moral right to do themselves?

No. Human rights are universal.

2) Do those who wield political power (presidents, legislators, etc.) have the moral right to do things which other people do not have the moral right to do? If so, from whom and how did they acquire such a right?

No. Human rights are universal.

3) Is there any process (e.g., constitutions, elections, legislation) by which human beings can transform an immoral act into a moral act (without changing the act itself)?

No, but the grey areas around the edges of morality can change over time. For example, when does a human become a human? Before conception (the long held position of the Catholic church in banning contraception)? At conception? Once the embryo is recognisably human? Once it can viably survive on life support? Once it can viably survive unassisted? Once it is born?

4) When law-makers and law-enforcers use coercion and force in the name of law and government, do they bear the same responsibility for their actions that anyone else would who did the same thing on his own?

Yes, but the consequences of those actions may be different. For example, if a police officer, to whom we have delegated the authority, breaks down a door with probable cause while searching for criminal activity, I don’t expect them to face the same consequences that I would. However, if I broke down a door to rescue someone being held captive, I would hope that a judge would forgive my infringing on the kidnapper’s property rights because their violation of their victims rights far outweighed my infraction. Similarly, if a policeman broke down my door without cause, I would expect to be able to sue them, as I would anyone else who did the same.

5) When there is a conflict between an individual’s own moral conscience, and the commands of a political authority, is the individual morally obligated to do what he personally views as wrong in order to “obey the law”?

No. He is legally obligated, but not morally obligated. Morals are not, in general, obligatory. I’m obliged to pay my taxes, even if I have no moral qualms about not doing so, because if I don’t, men with guns will come and lock me up. But although I believe murder is immoral, I’m under no obligation to refrain from it. Rather, I voluntarily choose to follow my moral inclination not to, even if I believe I could get away with it.


About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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