Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Nuclear Disarmament

rated by 0 users
This post has 87 Replies | 6 Followers

Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,055
Points 41,895
MatthewF:

A man owning a knife or a nuke isn't criminal.

A man "lunging at you" with a knife or a nuke is criminal.

What is the difference?
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,959
Points 55,095
Spideynw replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 2:33 PM
Nielsio:
Spideynw:
Nielsio:
Without committing aggressive murder of innocents?
Same thing with any bomb, missile, or artillery or tank.

Can you answer the question. I don't like this flip-flopping business.
Sure, just bomb an army, moving across a field.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,055
Points 41,895
Spideynw:
Sure, just bomb an army, moving across a field.
Whose field?
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 2:37 PM
MatthewF:

Caley McKibbin:
If it is opinion that the only plausible reason for owning a nuclear bomb is criminal, it is opinion that a man lunging at your throat with a knife has only one plausible intent: criminal.

A man owning a knife or a nuke isn't criminal.

A man "lunging at you" with a knife or a nuke is criminal.


And why is that? Because someone lunging at you with a knife must be considered a threat to your life.

In a state-less society, someone owning or building an atomic weapon is the same; they are up to no good and you're justified in intervening.
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 414
Points 6,780
MatthewF replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 2:44 PM

Nielsio:
And why is that? Because someone lunging at you with a knife must be considered a threat to your life.

Yes, and someone deploying a nuke would also be considered a threat to my life. What does this have to do with owning one?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 3:04 PM
MatthewF:

Nielsio:
And why is that? Because someone lunging at you with a knife must be considered a threat to your life.

Yes, and someone deploying a nuke would also be considered a threat to my life. What does this have to do with owning one?


Snipping the part of my post that draws the parallel and then raising the question what my post has to do with anything?

Uncool bro.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 1,649
Points 28,420
MatthewF:

Caley McKibbin:
There's no convincing anyone that you possess a nuclear weapon for household decoration only.

I agree. But are we talking about right and wrong here, or just popular opinion?

This isn't an appeal to popular opinion. I urge you to open the article I linked and read it. I believe that right at the top it says "a geo-spatial analysis".

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 414
Points 6,780
MatthewF replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 3:20 PM

I quoted the part of your post that I thought addressed my post. No foul play intended.

Nielsio:
In a state-less society, someone owning or building an atomic weapon is the same;

Owning or building an atomic weapon is the same, I agree. Either way you end up having one.

Nielsio:
they are up to no good and you're justified in intervening.

Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but I don't get it. I honestly don't see how owning something and using it are the same. One is a state and the other is an action. I'm not an argumentative person but I don't want to be wrong about this.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 414
Points 6,780
MatthewF replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 3:29 PM

E. R. Olovetto:
This isn't an appeal to popular opinion. I urge you to open the article I linked and read it. I believe that right at the top it says "a geo-spatial analysis".

I read it a few weeks ago. I thought the reasoning was sound and made sense. I understand that because of the spacial considerations a nuke is a different type of threat than a grenade, gun, or even a fist. But...

I'm going to read it one more time. I'll check back in when I'm done.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,055
Points 41,895
MatthewF:
Yes, and someone deploying a nuke would also be considered a threat to my life. What does this have to do with owning one?
I already entirely explained it, but I'll put all together. If you own a nuke, the overwhelming likeliness is that you intend to deploy it or threaten to deploy it. It is conceivable that you might use it as a souvenir. If you own a knife, there is not overwhelming likeliness that you will use it criminally as knives have a clear historical use other than criminal use. If you lunge at someone with a knife, the overwhelming likeliness is that you intend to kill him. It is conceivable that you veer off and miss. Lunging with a knife per se is no more theoretically criminal than owning a nuke. You own your body and the knife. However, the theory is put into practice by judgement in real situations, including judgement of likeliness of outcomes. Who it is, possible motives and any other clues all have to be considered. Ghandi collecting dangerous items is less risky than Stalin collecting dangerous items.
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 23
Points 280
Nielsio:
A gun can be used perfectly for self-defense purposes. An atomic weapon cannot be used for defensive purposes in a state-less society.

That depends on how powerful the nuke is and how much land one is defending. For an example scenario, read The Ungoverned, a short story by Vernor Vinge.

-=Steve=-

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 4:18 PM
MatthewF:

I quoted the part of your post that I thought addressed my post. No foul play intended.

Nielsio:
In a state-less society, someone owning or building an atomic weapon is the same;

Owning or building an atomic weapon is the same, I agree. Either way you end up having one.

Nielsio:
they are up to no good and you're justified in intervening.

Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but I don't get it. I honestly don't see how owning something and using it are the same. One is a state and the other is an action. I'm not an argumentative person but I don't want to be wrong about this.

 


You don't see what's wrong with building a device that has an extremely high likelihood of killing many tens of thousands of peaceful people if used, in a world where coercive monopolies have already been broken down through the intellectual growing up of society?

Let's make it more extreme: your neighbor is building a device that will blow up our galaxy if deployed. Do you have the right to stop him?


PS I think it's important to get the previous part but the following is true as well: if you never intend to use it then you've abandoned it and you also have no reason to prevent others from destroying it.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 4:25 PM
Steve Foerster:
Nielsio:
A gun can be used perfectly for self-defense purposes. An atomic weapon cannot be used for defensive purposes in a state-less society.
That depends on how powerful the nuke is and how much land one is defending.

I see no place for it in a state-less society.

Yes, we can envision some situations where it could reasonably be used for self-defense but those won't be world state-less situations. For example if the American continent goes state-less but the rest of the world does not, maybe a nuke could be used at sea to destroy enemy ships.

As far as size, well yeah obviously if it's much weaker than the WWII ones then it's built-in murder aspect become smaller. But that's just changing the question at hand. Also, it seems like the ones after WWII only got more powerful (much more).
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,055
Points 41,895
Nielsio:
Also, it seems like the ones after WWII only got more powerful (much more).
By 1000 times.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 414
Points 6,780
MatthewF replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 6:37 PM

Ok, owning a nuke but not using it is a threat to the people around you because it has only one overwhelmingly probable use: blowing stuff (and people) up.

So, if you owned a device that could cure all disease within say, a 100 mile radius at the push of a button, but not using it deserves praise because it has only one overwhelmingly probable use: curing a butt-load (is that a word?) of people?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,055
Points 41,895
MatthewF:
So, if you owned a device that could cure all disease within say, a 100 mile radius at the push of a button, but not using it deserves praise because it has only one overwhelmingly probable use: curing a butt-load (is that a word?) of people?
Why would not using it deserve praise?
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 7:23 PM
MatthewF:

Ok, owning a nuke but not using it is a threat to the people around you because it has only one overwhelmingly probable use: blowing stuff (and people) up.


Yes.

So, if you owned a device that could cure all disease within say, a 100 mile radius at the push of a button, but not using it deserves praise because it has only one overwhelmingly probable use: curing a butt-load (is that a word?) of people?




wut?
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 1,649
Points 28,420
Pathological hypotheticals aren't very useful, see.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 7:45 PM
E. R. Olovetto:
Pathological hypotheticals aren't very useful, see.

I don't mind hypotheticals. I mind coherent reasoning though.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Male
Posts 414
Points 6,780
MatthewF replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 7:51 PM

Ok, ok, cut me some slack here. That was the last gasp of air from a drowning belief. Its almost gone. 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sat, Apr 17 2010 7:58 PM
MatthewF:

Ok, ok, cut me some slack here. That was the last gasp of air from a drowning belief. Its almost gone. 


What I would like to point out though is that the situation in a world of statism is much more complicated. It looks like we can observe that countries with nuclear power are much harder to control in the world-wide empire than those without. But there are so many other factors that come into play that I don't have a clear answer on this situation.

The state-less situation seems more obvious to me.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 12:20 AM

"In a stateless society the property conflict is with literally everyone."

No it's not. Your assumption here is that it has been used, or threatened to be used against innocent people.

Drop the assumption, there is no property conflict by mere possession.

Nielsio:
In a stateless society the property conflict is with literally everyone.

MatthewF:
Where is the the conflict if the weapon isn't used?

Caley McKibbin:
Everywhere by the fact that the item is a huge investment with no alternative use.

lmao... you can't be serious? Do you even know what a rights violation / conflict over property is and how it would come about in a freedom, stateless society?

E. R. Olovetto:
The weapon's existence in possession constitutes a threat. That is the property conflict.

No it doesn't. As noted by Walter Block. How does a property conflict come up in a free society? Contra his assumption that it is impossible to justiably use on earth, there are possible scenarios where it could. (Extreme, unlikely, and reduces as greater property ownership expands)

Caley McKibbin:
Atomic bomb damage cannot be limited to a specific justifiable target. Let's not get into continuum fallacies.

As noted there is the extremely rare possibility that it could.

In summation;

"How extensive is a man's right of self-defense of person and property? The basic answer must be: up to the point at which he begins to infringe on the property rights of someone else. For, in that case, his "defense" would in itself constitute a criminal invasion of the just property of some other man, which the latter could properly defend himself against.

...

Thus, suppose someone approaches you on the street, whips out a gun, and demands your wallet. He might not have molested you physically during this encounter, but he has extracted money from you on the basis of a direct, overt threat that he would shoot you if you disobeyed his commands. He has used the threat of invasion to obtain your obedience to his commands, and this is equivalent to the invasion itself.

It is important to insist, however, that the threat of aggression be palpable, immediate, and direct; in short, that it be embodied in the initiation of an overt act. Any remote or indirect criterion – any "risk" or "threat" – is simply an excuse for invasive action by the supposed "defender" against the alleged "threat."

...

Once we bring in "threats" to person and property that are vague and future – i.e., are not overt and immediate – then all manner of tyranny becomes excusable. The only way to guard against such despotism is to keep the criterion of perceived invasion clear and immediate and overt. For, in the inevitable case of fuzzy or unclear actions, we must bend over backwards to require the threat of invasion to be direct and immediate, and therefore to allow people to do whatever they may be doing. In short, the burden of proof that the aggression has really begun must be on the person who employs the defensive violence." - MNR, Right to Self Defense

 

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 12:29 AM

What hasn't really been mentioned is 'nuclear fallout'. This consideration merely adds to the layer of it's indiscriminate murder, crime against humanity, property destruction etc. And the sheer evilness, of it's use or threat there of against any innocent individual.

The problem is that roughly the exact same argument of possession / threat is often applied to that of nuclear reactors and power plants etc. With Chernobyl being cited.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,959
Points 55,095
Spideynw replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 12:34 AM

Why is this even being discussed?  In a free society, no one would have a monopoly on force in a geographic area to stop someone from having nukes.  But the fact of the matter is, no one will have them.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 12:53 AM

"But the fact of the matter is, no one will have them."

http://historical.whatitcosts.com/facts-atomic-bomb.htm

The total estimated cost of the Manhattan Project in 1945 dollars was $2 Billion ($25 Billion in 2008 dollars).

Essentially though, I gather there would be specific items / products / ingredients that are necessary to build a bomb, and well known. For those worried about the possibility of it ending up in "bad hands", the seller could require background checks etc. Put them on an association watch list. etc. So if a person buys an item that can be used for other things, that's all good - but then if it is noticed they are buying up the other ingredients / products condusive to making a nuclear bomb, it can set off alarms.

For eg. sellers of TNT, C4 for construction demolition etc, there are regulations / licensing put in place by the state. Naturally though, the market would put in measures if they were not there. Industry associations, self imposed rules etc.

Much like the owner of a nuclear power plant, a private organisation or property owner - doesn't want to see their multi billion dollar investment go up in flames... they want to take every step and precausion against that happening. If they have insurance - they want to get the premiums down... and naturally the insurance company is going to want to inspect the site, prodecures etc.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 57
Points 1,590
Drace replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 12:57 AM
The nuclear disarmament was a joke. Nukes erode in time and need to be recycled anyway. And sustaining them for long periods of time costs money. All it did is make the throwing away of old nukes as some peace conference.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,491
Points 43,390
scineram replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 6:32 AM

I don't have a problem with you as long as you don't own nukes.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 1,649
Points 28,420

No it doesn't. As noted by Walter Block. How does a property conflict come up in a free society? Contra his assumption that it is impossible to justiably use on earth, there are possible scenarios where it could. (Extreme, unlikely, and reduces as greater property ownership expands)

Conza, I had part of a response already typed when I noticed this. I'll underline the part where I somewhat addressed it. I haven't read that article in a while, so please cite a part if needed. Sorry if I ignore some things you've written addressed to me. This is really just a matter of being busy and also agreeing with you nearly 100% of the time. I was speaking in terms of a general category of things which can't be utilized without harming innocent people. If we need a nuke to destroy an asteroid, or we are in some distant galaxy pulverizing a moon, the whole context is changed. The current nuclear weapons, and we do call them "weapons" for a reason, aren't geared toward the types of tasks I mentioned.

Hopefully my next post has us on the same page, but I want more time to think about something, and it might be a matter of debate.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 4:11 PM

Conza wrote:

lmao... you can't be serious? Do you even know what a rights violation / conflict over property is and how it would come about in a freedom, stateless society?

We've interacted for a while and this is the first time I've seen you use language like this. Personally, I don't think such language is helpful in a discussion. What do you think?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 8:06 PM

The "lmao" is probably a bit much, although the more outlandish I find a position the less respect I tend to have for it. The second - extremely valid question.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,417
Points 41,720
Moderator
Nielsio replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 9:14 PM

Conza88 wrote:

The "lmao" is probably a bit much, although the more outlandish I find a position the less respect I tend to have for it.

Do you think you can change my mind through scoffing at me? Would you want that?

The second - extremely valid question.

You asked if I have a moral theory. Not what my moral theory was but if I even had one. So because we disagree I must not have a moral theory?

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 9
Points 150
locknroll replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 11:23 PM

Isn't nuclear disarament kind of silly? If everyone disarms it only takes one nuke to be king.  Also I assume by these "crazy countries" you mean North Korea and Iran.  Well ask yourself this - if  North Korea and Iran haven't used all of their tanks and bombs to go on a suicidal rampage what difference would it make if they had nukes? They would still get owned except in this suicidal nuclear senario they would be turned into glass.  From a libertarian perspective why does it bother people that some individuals will own  nukes.  Not to mention if  I had to choose between private defense agency's I'm taking the one with the most nukes.  Now what if your neighbour has nukes? Is that a problem? Not nessiceraly. For instance if your neighbour has enough land to encompass the nuke's blast radius I really don't see a problem.  If  your neighbour across the street has a nuke and tries to threaten you with it, then take appropriate action.  There is no conflict with liberty and nukes.  The idea that we haven't blown each other to hell and back already is a testatment to human self-interest.  Or we could just have a mega-state and be nuke free (only way to do it). As I said previously - if everyone disarms it only takes one nuke to be king.  Or are you happy with the "kings" you have now?

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 31
Points 710

Having studied a bit into the issue of rights regarding bearing arms, I'm finding some of the rhetoric regarding whether it's consistent with the non-aggression principle to possess a nuclear weapon eerily similiar with the rhetoric used by gun-control advocates to rail against "assault weapons," ".50 caliber rifles," and other arms they instantly suppose have no lawful use. Suffice to say that I'm driven to take up a defensive position against this line of thinking.

We should first and foremost remember that any weapon, be it a knife, a gun, a bomb or even a nuclear warhead, is completely harmless on its own. Most bombs don't just explode by themselves after all. What makes any weapon (or indeed any object) potentially dangerous begins only when we introduce an element of malicious intent into the equation. This intent however is not inherent in the weapon itself, only the individual that wields it.

What I'm seeing when I look at comments such as...

Everywhere by the fact that the item is a huge investment with no alternative use.

The weapon's existence in possession constitutes a threat. That is the property conflict.

If you own a nuke, the overwhelming likeliness is that you intend to deploy it or threaten to deploy it

...seems to me like presupposing the intent. If someone owns a nuke, they must use it to cause indiscriminate damage against an unjustified target, according to this logic. Furthermore, this nuke, by virtue of existing, must me powerful enough to cause catastrophic damage, thus endangering not just a small handful of people but everyone who lives nearby (Current understanding of atomic weapons makes it impractical to develop a nuclear device smaller than a certain payload, but we'll not get into that). Tying the intent to the weapon and not the person is flawed thinking, because by this logic I could say that virtually any weapon by virtue of being designed to cause harm has no legitimate purpose. Weapons must therefore be controlled and confiscated, and we all know who's eager to step in and do that.

Now it's unlikely that a rational individual would place a nuclear device high on their priority list to begin with. The lawful applications of such an item don't present themselves readily, though that isn't to say they don't exist simply because we cannot perceive them. We might personally be scared of the potential consequences of nuclear weapons and not wish to associate with them ourselves, but fear is no excuse for aggression against another person's mere possession of anything. That'd be like trying to shut down a mall because you're afraid of escalators or something.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 1,649
Points 28,420

For instance if your neighbour has enough land to encompass the nuke's blast radius I really don't see a problem.

This is unlikely on Earth. The fallout will spread beyond the land area and you are at best spreading radioactive pollution. The device doesn't work like a firecracker.

As I said previously - if everyone disarms it only takes one nuke to be king.  Or are you happy with the "kings" you have now?

Read this. When people are organized spontaneously, what does one dictator gain from nuking some of them?

Having studied a bit into the issue of rights regarding bearing arms, I'm finding some of the rhetoric regarding whether it's consistent with the non-aggression principle to possess a nuclear weapon eerily similiar with the rhetoric used by gun-control advocates to rail against "assault weapons," ".50 caliber rifles," and other arms they instantly suppose have no lawful use.

The only problem is with nukes. Read the paper I linked way back by Walter Block. I can target a missle at a tank. Nukes wipe out huge areas of people and spread pollution even further. The mere possession constitutes a threat, unless you are in the process of deactivating it.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

  • | Post Points: 50
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 23
Points 280

So here's another question -- what about the development of nuclear explosives that are meant to be used for nuclear pulse propulsion?

-=Steve=-

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 10:41 PM

"Do you think you can change my mind through scoffing at me? Would you want that?"

Huh? I was scoffing at this:

"Everywhere by the fact that the item is a huge investment with no alternative use."

"You asked if I have a moral theory. Not what my moral theory was but if I even had one. So because we disagree I must not have a moral theory?"

Huh? lol, I wasn't specifically addressing you - although I can understand how it wasn't clear.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 9
Points 150
locknroll replied on Mon, Apr 19 2010 10:46 PM

For instance if your neighbour has enough land to encompass the nuke's blast radius I really don't see a problem.

This is unlikely on Earth. The fallout will spread beyond the land area and you are at best spreading radioactive pollution. The device doesn't work like a firecracker.

Perhaps you misunderstood my point.  If your neighbour has enough land even fallout is not a problem. Secondly if there is fallout on your land then take appropriate action. If your neighbour dumped chemicals on your property I'm sure any libertarian would know what to do.

"As I said previously - if everyone disarms it only takes one nuke to be king.  Or are you happy with the "kings" you have now?

Read this. When people are organized spontaneously, what does one dictator gain from nuking some of them?

What does one dictator have to gain? FEAR. Ask the japanese what happened after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the japanese had nukes like the soviets I can bet you that things would have turned out differently. If there is one guy capable of raining down hellfire you will certainly listen to what he has to say. 

I did read that rather long article you linked, however assasination politics does sound a little ridiculous.  It doesn't matter how "spontaneous" people are, the government will declare their activities/tools illegal and spare no resources in hunting them down.  It might work against an extremely weak government, but I haven't seen any of those around lately.

The only problem is with nukes. Read the paper I linked way back by Walter Block. I can target a missle at a tank. Nukes wipe out huge areas of people and spread pollution even further. The mere possession constitutes a threat, unless you are in the process of deactivating it.

Hehe the mere posession of a gun constitues a threat.  I can shoot at a crowd of unarmed people.  Hell it could be done from the comfort of your own roof.  Better start disassembling those guns.  The problem with nukes is that they have been sensationalized in a similar fashion to Nazis.  Nothing could be more evil than a Nazis, and nukes will destroy us all unless we throw every last one of them into the ocean and hold hands. 

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 1,649
Points 28,420

Hehe the mere posession of a gun constitues a threat.  I can shoot at a crowd of unarmed people.

Perhaps you need to read the article again. What is this, 5 people giving the same stupid response now? I can aim a gun at an innocent person OR I can aim a gun at a criminal. The option doesn't exist in our current state of affairs on Earth when we are then talking about nukes. I didn't "miss your point" about the hypothetical guy who owned lots of land. It is irrelevant because no such geography/ownership exists or can exist with more than one person living on Earth.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 31
Points 710

The only problem is with nukes. Read the paper I linked way back by Walter Block. I can target a missle at a tank. Nukes wipe out huge areas of people and spread pollution even further. The mere possession constitutes a threat, unless you are in the process of deactivating it. (emphasis added)

Special pleading. You're not demonstrating why a nuclear device is fundamentally different from any other explosive that the non-aggression principle cannot apply to its possession. The real issue seems to be not that the weapons are nuclear explosives per se, but rather that the pre-assumed size of the explosive in question is sufficiently large to the extent that the odds of having a legitimate non-aggressive use approaches zero. This I'm guessing stems from a lack of study on the subject of nuclear explosives.

The part about the pollution is particularly telling. When we think of radioactive fallout, the first source we might turn to are the afereffects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which resulted in several rather gruesome deaths at the hands of radiation poisoning and related maladies. What few people are aware of in modern times though is just how inefficient (and thus dirty) the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs were compared to later thermonuclear devices. These newer developments have considerably less fallout compared to the older, more popularly known examples from history. We're not really there just yet; there are still issues with how to achieve a high state of efficiency in a small package, but compared to the earliest nuclear devices the current weapons might as well be glorified high explosive.

To put it another way, let's consider another high explosive. Dynamite can make a large explosion, and certainly if you gather enough together a person could create a blast large enough to threaten a sizable population, but we wouldn't be ones to rail against the explosive simply because it can hurt someone, would we? Why then would we decry the existence of another kind of explosive simply because it's more energy dense (and thus potentially more economical in currently extreme circumstances) than what we're used to? Is the non-aggression principle scared off by big numbers too?

Perhaps we shouldn't frame nukes within the more narrow mindset of weapons. There are a million different applications for something that goes boom beside that, and certainly we young blades of economics aren't the ones to consult first when it comes to finding what works best.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 1,649
Points 28,420

Goddard Eliot Lewko:
Special pleading.

This isn't special pleading. Walking down the street with a gun in your holster doesn't constitutute a threat. When you pull out the gun, point it at someone, and say, "Stop or I'll shoot", this constitutes a threat. The reason it constitutes a threat is not because the gun "can only be used to do damage" or whatever. It is based on the person weilding the gun, aiming it a certain way, and stating their intention to cause physical harm. Even without the verbal statement a threat can be seen as valid, similar to a scenario where I walk into a store and point at something on a shelf to show I intend to buy that thing. Consider this scenario:

A, a police officer, is chasing B, who just robbed a bank. C, a woman pushing a stroller is coming out of a side street when A issues the threat as above. C feels harm, but the blame rests on B for creating the situation. If a case weren't so clear cut as this though, say as in a hypothetical future defense provider who wants to wield nukes or even conventional missiles, the economic imperative is on other security firms to watch such groups. This is all going to take place as extra-judicial measures, likely even if the outside groups view mere possession of nuclear devices a threat.

Anyhow, here is why the case of nukes, generally speaking, is different:

special pleading:

Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:

  1. Person A accepts standard(s) S and applies them to others in circumtance(s) C.
  2. Person A is in circumstance(s) C.
  3. Therefore A is exempt from S.

These are entirely different circumstances than with weapons which can be aimed at a target without harming innocent people. 

  1. A person accepts the non-aggression principle, or can't coherently object to anyone applying it. Carrying a gun, in and of itself, does not constitute a threat, therefore this person and anyone they come in contact with, held to the same standard, must not aggress upon each other for the mere circumstance of one or both carrying a gun.
  2. A person accepts the non-aggression principle, or can't coherently object to anyone applying it. Operating a nuclear ICBM facility constitutes a threat, in and of itself, because the weapon can't be used without harming innocent people. Given no specific, legitimate threats issued, anyone at all is justified in disarming the threat.

How could one have a "specific, legitimate threat" though? I'll explain this in a bit. It was included in my response I mentioned to Conza that ought not become a missive. For more on threats, read this.

Now, these analogies aren't perfect, but people continue to not read the article I linked and give this oversimplistic argument for nukes qua weapons. This is basically how absurd it is to say that a person wielding a nuke versus a person wielding a gun, knife, or cluster bomb are not two entirely different sets of circumstances:

  1. Knowing my neighbor only has validly homesteaded a certain 3-dimensional area around his house and that he does not have rights ad coelum, I decide to hoist a giant anvil from a crane on my property and hang it over his house. "It's art, not a threat.", I say.
  2. You contract an airline to "do all that is reasonable to ensure one's safety" during flight (i.e. not toss you out at 30,000 feet). You have a couple cocktails, enjoying your flight, but when you awake from your nap, you find that you have been moved to a chamber and are trapped into a device straight out of the movie Saw. Playing in a loop is your flight attendant's voice, "We will do all that we can to ensure your safety during this trip. Thank you for allowing us to test the comfort of this new chair in partnership with Acme Prisons. Relax, we will be landing shortly."

You've completely misused 'special pleading', then proceed to attack the strawman you erected:

Goddard Elliott Lewko:
You're not demonstrating why a nuclear device is fundamentally different from any other explosive that the non-aggression principle cannot apply to its possession. The real issue seems to be not that the weapons are nuclear explosives per se, but rather that the pre-assumed size of the explosive in question is sufficiently large to the extent that the odds of having a legitimate non-aggressive use approaches zero. This I'm guessing stems from a lack of study on the subject of nuclear explosives.

I didn't feel the need to elaborate on what, I believe, everyone was understanding we are talking about with "nuclear weapons". That I am not an expert on nuclear weapons is irrelevant to the discussion of a general category of things which cannot be operated without harming innocent people in the context of legal theory. If technology advances such that some form of nuclear device can be used in a manner similar to conventional weapons, the circumstances are different and can be evaluated as such within the imaginary construction of a free society. 

For all of your extensive study, you sure didn't educate us very well here. Where are the "safe nukes"? Can you cite an example of their use that hasn't resulted in either direct death or radioactive pollution in surrounding areas? If you can, it seems to me to be at odds with the results of the bulk of the history of the use of atomic weapons.

Even testing, from what I can tell, is similar in most cases to that of The History of Iron County.

As part of a test site public-relations program in March 1953, some 600 observers were invited to view a test shot and its effect on manikins, typical homes, and automobiles in an effort to get Americans more interested in civil defense. Klien Rollo represented the Iron County Record at the media event. Observers watched the detonation seven miles from ground zero and later were taken into the test area, after debris and dust had settled. Rollo at first thought it was "his good fortune" to be invited to the test site, but not many weeks later the newspaper began questioning the safety of nuclear fall-out. It printed a long article by University of Utah student Ralph J. Hafen of St. George in which he wrote that he felt "morally obligated to warn people of the irreparable damage that may have occurred or may in the future occur" from exposure to radiation. He also called upon the AEC to explain why cars entering St. George were washed after the shot. Predicting later problems, he cautioned that "damage done to an individual by radiation often does not make itself known for five to ten years or a generation or more."

The sheep and their owners were Iron County's first victims of radioactivity. While being trailed across Nevada from winter range to the lambing yards at Cedar City, some 18,000-20,000 sheep were exposed to large quantities of radioactive fallout from tests in March and April 1953. Kern and McRae Bulloch first noticed burns on their animals' faces and lips where they had been eating radioactive grass. Then ewes began miscarrying in large numbers and at the lambing yards wool sloughed off in clumps revealing blisters on adult sheep. New lambs were stillborn with grotesque deformities or born so weak they were unable to nurse. Ranchers lost as much as a third of their herds.

...

Within three to five years after atmospheric testing, leukemia and other radiation-caused cancers appeared in residents of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada living in areas where nuclear fallout had occurred. Communities in which childhood leukemia was rare or unknown had clusters of cases in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1990s, people in Iron County believed that those who lived there in the 1950s were guinea pigs and victims, like the sheep. They have adopted the appellation "downwinders," signifying they lived "downwind" of atomic tests. Tests were usually conducted when the wind was blowing east or northeast in order to avoid fallout over more densely populated areas to the south and west, including Las Vegas and southern California. Iron County is centered in the fallout arc. Even though it is impossible to prove that any particular person died or was afflicted by cancer caused by radioactive fallout, the perception of people living in Iron County is that atmospheric nuclear testing brought an epidemic of cancer to the area. The link between radioactive exposure and tumors can, however, be drawn statistically. There is also a local perception that infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects are part of the legacy of living downwind of nuclear tests. Long-time residents of southwestern Utah are quite comfortable blaming a multitude of medical problems on nuclear testing and wonder how many future generations will be affected.

Even though House subcommittee hearings in 1979 found that the government was negligent, that fallout was a likely cause of both adverse health effects to downwind residents and the 1953 sheep losses, its report Health Effects of Low-level Radiation stated that a cause-and-effect link cannot be forged between low-level radiation exposure and cancer or other health effects. Since these might not appear for years or decades, the Federal Tort Claims Act is impossible to apply and compensation had to come through legislation.

Suits were nonetheless brought against the government by Navajo uranium miners, test-site workers, military servicemen forced to watch the tests, and downwind victims of radiation-caused cancers; all were unsuccessful. Twenty-four plaintiffs in one test case, Irene Allen v. United States, represented 1,200 individuals who were deceased or living victims of leukemia, cancer, or other radiation-caused illnesses. Eleven of the twenty-four lived in Iron County during the period of atmospheric testing. Two were children who died of leukemia; eight others died of various other cancers; only one of the eleven was alive in 1984.

I really don't feel the need right now to supply more evidence for the extensive damage done by nukes. The vast majority of these things countries have pointed at each other fall into this category of weapons I've called "nukes" and not whatever you are referring to when you assure us:

Goddard Elliott Lewko:
We're not really there just yet

Maybe we should go somewhere else before we go there. Read from here:

mini nukes

 

Despite the global sense of relief and hope that the nuclear arms race ended with the Cold War, an increasingly vocal group of politicians, military officials and leaders of America's nuclear weapon laboratories are urging the US to develop a new generation of precision low-yield nuclear weapons. Rather than deterring warfare with another nuclear power, however, they suggest these weapons could be used in conventional conflicts with third-world nations.

Critics argue that adding low-yield warheads to the world's nuclear inventory simply makes their eventual use more likely. In fact, a 1994 law currently prohibits the nuclear laboratories from undertaking research and development that could lead to a precision nuclear weapon of less than 5 kilotons (KT), because "low-yield nuclear weapons blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional war."

Last year, Senate Republicans John Warner (R-VA) and Wayne Allard (R-CO) buried a small provision in the 2001 Defense Authorization Bill that would have overturned these earlier restrictions. Although the language in the final Act was watered down, the Energy and Defense Departments are still required to undertake a study of low-yield nuclear weapons that could penetrate deep into the earth before detonating so as to "threaten hard and deeply buried targets." Legislation for long-term research and actual development of low-yield nuclear weapons will almost certainly be proposed again in the current session of Congress.

Senators Warner and Allard imagine these nuclear weapons could be used in small-scale conventional conflicts against rogue dictators, while leaving most of the civilian population untouched. As one anonymous former Pentagon official put it to the Washington Post last spring,

"What's needed now is something that can threaten a bunker tunneled under 300 meters of granite without killing the surrounding civilian population."

Statements like these promote the illusion that nuclear weapons could be used in ways which minimize their "collateral damage," making them acceptable tools to be used like conventional weapons.

As described in detail below, however, the use of any nuclear weapon capable of destroying a buried target that is otherwise immune to conventional attack will necessarily produce enormous numbers of civilian casualties. No earth-burrowing missile can penetrate deep enough into the earth to contain an explosion with a nuclear yield even as small as 1 percent of the 15 kiloton Hiroshima weapon. The explosion simply blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down on the local region with an especially intense and deadly fallout.

Moreover, as Congress understood in 1994, by seeking to produce usable low-yield nuclear weapons, we risk blurring the now sharp line separating nuclear and conventional warfare, and provide legitimacy for other nations to similarly consider using nuclear weapons in regional wars.

...

However, mini-nuke advocates — mostly coming from the nuclear weapons labs — argue that low-yield nuclear weapons should be designed to destroy even deeper targets.

The US introduced an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon in 1997, the B61-11, by putting the nuclear explosive from an earlier bomb design into a hardened steel casing with a new nose cone to provide ground penetration capability. The deployment was controversial because of official US policy not to develop new nuclear weapons. The DOE and the weapons labs have consistently argued, however, that the B61-11 is merely a "modification" of an older delivery system, because it used an existing "physics package."

The earth-penetrating capability of the B61-11 is fairly limited, however. Tests show it penetrates only 20 feet or so into dry earth when dropped from an altitude of 40,000 feet. Even so, by burying itself into the ground before detonation, a much higher proportion of the explosion energy is transferred to ground shock compared to a surface bursts. Any attempt to use it in an urban environment, however, would result in massive civilian casualties. Even at the low end of its 0.3-300 kiloton yield range, the nuclear blast will simply blow out a huge crater of radioactive material, creating a lethal gamma-radiation field over a large area.

Containment

Just how deep must an underground nuclear explosion be buried in order for the blast and fallout to be contained?

The US conducted a series of underground nuclear explosions in the 1960s — the Plowshare tests — to investigate the possible use of nuclear explosives for excavation purposes. Those performed prior to the 1963 Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty, such as the Sedan test shown in Figure 4, were buried at relatively shallow depths to maximize the size of the crater produced.

In addition to the immediate effects of blast, air shock, and thermal radiation, shallow nuclear explosions produce especially intense local radioactive fallout. The fireball breaks through the surface of the earth, carrying into the air large amounts of dirt and debris. This material has been exposed to the intense neutron flux from the nuclear detonation, which adds to the radioactivity from the fission products. The cloud typically consists of a narrow column and a broad base surge of air filled with radioactive dust which expands to a radius of over a mile for a 5 kiloton explosion.1 In the Plowshare tests, roughly 50 percent of the total radioactivity produced in the explosion was distributed as local fallout — the other half being confined to the highly-radioactive crater.

In order to be fully contained, nuclear explosions at the Nevada Test Site must be buried at a depth of 650 feet for a 5 kiloton explosive — 1300 feet for a 100-kiloton explosive.2 Even then, there are many documented cases where carefully sealed shafts ruptured and released radioactivity to the local environment.

Therefore, even if an earth penetrating missile were somehow able to drill hundreds of feet into the ground and then detonate, the explosion would likely shower the surrounding region with highly radioactive dust and gas.

...

An earth-penetrating nuclear weapon must protect the warhead and its associated electronics while it burrows into the ground. This severely limits the missile to impact velocities of less than about three kilometers per second for missile cases made from the very hardest steels. From the theory of "long-rod penetration," in this limit the maximum possible depth D of penetration is proportional to the length and density of the penetrator and inversely proportional to the density of the target. The maximum depth of penetration depends only weakly on the yield strength of the penetrator.4 For typical values for steel and concrete, we expect an upper bound to the penetration depth to be roughly 10 times the missile length, or about 100 feet for a 10 foot missile. In actual practice the impact velocity and penetration depth must be well below this to ensure the missile and its contents are not severely damaged.

Given these constraints, it is simply not possible for a kinetic energy weapon to penetrate deeply enough into the earth to contain a nuclear explosion.

I rest my case on that for now.

Goddard Elliott Lewko:
To put it another way, let's consider another high explosive. Dynamite can make a large explosion, and certainly if you gather enough together a person could create a blast large enough to threaten a sizable population, but we wouldn't be ones to rail against the explosive simply because it can hurt someone, would we? Why then would we decry the existence of another kind of explosive simply because it's more energy dense (and thus potentially more economical in currently extreme circumstances) than what we're used to? Is the non-aggression principle scared off by big numbers too?

Perhaps we shouldn't frame nukes within the more narrow mindset of weapons. There are a million different applications for something that goes boom beside that, and certainly we young blades of economics aren't the ones to consult first when it comes to finding what works best.

There's nothing wrong with CERN making minute amounts of anti-matter. I don't blame dynamite by itself for possibly creating a "risk zone". When you are talking about dynamite factories, oil refineries and the like, the stated purpose of these is progress and commerce not destructive weapons. They aren't missiles that can cross half the globe. It is true, nonetheless, that they pose a risk to surrounding populations.

This danger is more substantively similar to the patent aggression of industrial pollution than that of nuclear arms, however. Government has distorted whatever market for these torts that would have arisen, so we have a problem far beyond just factories that might go boom here. We can't say how people would best resolve these conflicts between societal safety and preexisting, state-granted legal easement rights of polluters. We can recognize that people are capable of collective action aside from state collectivism and let the cards lie where they fall. All I can say is that it is the responsibility of the aggressor to make recompense and/or purchase a contractual easement right to pollute.

This has gotten quite long, but the answers to your questions are "No." and "We don't". I've thought about the reply I started the other day more and will finish it now.


MatthewF:

Ok, ok, cut me some slack here. That was the last gasp of air from a drowning belief. Its almost gone. 

Good to hear. Now I am going to explain, why Dr. Block's analysis is not as thorough as it could be and the issue isn't so simple. I could be wrong about this next part; however, afterwards I will explain why it doesn't really matter if I am wrong and I don't think such is the case.

Consider present day as we know it, with states and statism dominating the Earth. Now consider two different possible states of affairs in the future. Of course there are other possibilities, like a meteor destroying all human life before statism is buried, but this isn't important:

  1. Imagine a transitional period where the majority of the Earth still recognizes state sovereignty, but there also exists a free society, we can suppose growing out of part of the economic collapse of the US, but this isn't important.
  2. Then imagine the Earth is mostly state-free, save some of what we would now consider "primitive" cultures.

In #2, we can say that the maxim holds true. The mere possession of a nuke is criminal, given you aren't in the process of dismantling it or something. In #1 though, I would like to make the case that it would be legal, from the viewpoint of other libertarian judges, for a trustworthy defense firm to threaten to nuke some "rogue state" like a "North Korea" if they use nukes, or maybe even lesser offenses of aggression, toward their customers.

Now, this open threat of retaliatory action is against what is, for all we care about, viewed as the group of criminals running the rogue state. We know, still, that the device can't be used without harming innocent people. Even if it could be targeted at some remote military base, and those in it are all actively engaged in a war of aggression, the fallout is still going to do damage to tons of innocent people in the region. So, I think that it is, technically okay to threaten to use these types of things, given the target of the threat is a country run by nuke-wielding criminals. It still isn't justifiable to use the things thereafter though. Part of being deemed a "trustworthy" defense firm, in light of the highly important nature of private military defense against states, might be to certify that the computerized targeting  system is restricted to the rogue state, or a certain radius outside of the free zone, of course all subject to modification by an independent, private consumer safety firm. (See What Keeps Us Safe?, and this is in reference to a "specified, legitimate threat" above).

In light of what I emphasized just above, isn't a "Kim-Jong Il" type just going to cackle, "Silly libertarian army, we know that your threat is empty!", and press the button? Maybe, but I don't see where he is typically going to stand to gain from this. We're also ignoring several reason why this whole argument is almost pointless and there are other solutions to problems in the imaginary construction of a world where both states and a free society exists.

I cut out some parts here, though they are important, because I figured it would just attract trolls. See this thread from here on more general legal theory.

See Walter Block's Is There an 'Anomalous' Section of the Laffer Curve and this section I wrote before on why "Kim Jong-Il" might think twice about pushing the button:

We must determine and agree upon, as libertarians, the universal indicia of our legal philosophy. In other words, we use logic to decide upon an aspect of the philosophy that [an issue] is clearly wrong and use proportionality to help determine what the maximum punishment ought to be with regards to the details of the crime. Of course, these are mere guidelines, and whatever arbitration systems that actually come about will at times have differences based on economic factors and/or cultural mores. 

Then understanding this eventuality, we can observe some scenarios play out:

  • The relevant guidelines are followed throughout whatever chain of arbitration. The two parties are either clients of the same justice agency, two justice agencies with preexisting agreements, or are able to agree upon a chain of arbitration after a claim has been made.
  • as above, except guidelines are not followed fully. A libertarian arbiter will view the actions taken as an injustice, but all involved agreed to what took place. No libertarian PDA would thusly take action against the parties or arbiter because of the corollary of 'rights of free association'.
  • Guidelines are followed, but arbitration and enforcement occurs when one party refuses to agree to any chain of arbitration whatsoever, both parties suggest sets of arbiters that don't match up, or an agreement is reached and justice rendered but one party later objects to the decision. In these cases, we may believe we're right and win or lose in any violence or negotiation afterward.
  • as above, but guidelines are not followed fully. In the former we defend justice and in the latter we seek it out.
  • An injustice may occur and whatever arbiter simply won't take action at that time.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 2 of 3 (88 items) < Previous 1 2 3 Next > | RSS