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Refuting the logic behind "If you don't like America (or, insert your country here) then leave".

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John Q Posted: Sat, Jan 15 2011 11:40 AM

   I run into this all the time but I clearly need help.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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Autolykos replied on Sat, Jan 15 2011 11:45 AM

That statement implies that the political entity in question owns all land within its claimed boundaries.  Hence all people there are serfs.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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John Q replied on Sat, Jan 15 2011 11:54 AM

   Understood, and point well taken. I usually respond by saying, "No. This is my home" and most people don't say anything much after that. What I am interested in are "snappy" statements that quickly bring the picture in to focus for others in the hopes that they recognize their flawed thinking and why their answer is really a non-answer to societies problems.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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Sieben replied on Sat, Jan 15 2011 12:10 PM

A reductio would be okay:

"So if I broke into your house and stole your stuff, it would be okay because you can just move to Wyoming?"

ymmv

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Merlin replied on Sat, Jan 15 2011 1:10 PM

IF all land in the US is property of the US government, than they are right. otherwise they aren't. 

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 8:51 AM

  That is worthy of noting and does make sense to people who THINK as we do here. However, as I'm sure you've probably experienced in your own dialogues, most people who DON'T think as we do here will fall back on the old canard, "Well, that's wrong (or immoral, etc.) because you are stealing and that's against the law".  For anyone who can see where this is heading,  once one strips away all the "fluff" and poor logic, the implicit or tacit assumption is that the State exists before society, thus, it (the State), is the final arbiter. And because this is so, and because "we" are bound by the "laws" of the government and we freely choose to be/stay here, then this is incumbent upon us to just "deal with it", maybe become active in politics, etc., but that's just the way it is, blah, blah, blah.

 At this point I'm looking for a very quick logical way (at least in the initial phase of a dialogue)  to "undermine" the tacit or implicit assumption that because the State exists and it is what governs us, that we must all just accept this "brute fact" of its (the States) superiority over the individual. I guess what I'm asking is: How does one show, quickly, that the individual is superior to the State?

   

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 8:53 AM

  Sorry. I was trying to respond to Sieben.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 8:59 AM

     Yes, Merlin, but how does one show the fallaciousness of this line of reasoning since many Americans understanding of the idea of "property" is "stunted", especially when it is spoken of in the same context of being obedient to the government JUST BECAUSE they are the governing authorities and "that's the way "our" system works", blah,blah, blah.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 9:21 AM

I guess what I'm asking is, how does one show that it does not logically follow that just because I exist in a society where some or most do not want to assert their full autonomy and independence, my freely choosing to stay within that society does not negate all that is inherently mine or God-given, and therefore, it is not incumbent upon me to "find" somewhere else that is more to my liking?

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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z1235 replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 9:31 AM

ImagesandWords:
...just because I exist in a society where some or most do not want to assert their full autonomy and independence, my freely choosing to stay within that society does not negate all that is inherently mine or God-given, and therefore, it is not incumbent upon me to "find" somewhere else that is more to my liking?

There are no rights, norms, and laws that exist outside of (or that are unsupported by) a majority's perception of legitimacy. If you live in Afganistan, and you prefer not to get stoned for adultery, you have two choices:

1. Educate the majority to adjust their norms to more closely suit your own.

2. Move.

Z.

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BioTube replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 9:41 AM

You could always point to the American Revolution - rather than leave their homes, they did something about it. However, since that could be construed as "leaving", you could always point to the Confederacy and what happened when it tried to leave.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 10:01 AM

Z,  I will make choice #1.  I guess I'm just sick and tired of being raped, violated, ripped-off, stolen from, surveilled, surrounded by confusion and apathy (or at least my perception of it).

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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z1235 replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 10:16 AM

ImagesandWords:
Z,  I will make choice #1

Then you'd have to live with all the risks and rewards associated with such choice. I've found that a lot (if not most) "majorities" are hopelessly (generations) behind on their way to economic enlightenment and fiercely beholden to their collectivist genes. So choose your "majority" wisely before you even consider #1. 

Z.

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MaikU replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 10:27 AM

there is no way other than education. And I mean not only parenting, but schooling, individual relationship with other people etc. Leaving is not an option, because there is no other place to live (absent the state), state hands always catches back.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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It is a common strategy for sloppy thinkers to call upon the "if you don't like it you may leave argument whenever faced with the question of justifying aggression between one party and another. Yet, it should be clear to the reader that such a tactic is misguiding at the least. If the individual is the aggressor, he may phrase the question if you don't like my aggressing against you than you may leave, than the victim has no recourse but to choose between either staying, and being aggressed against, or leaving and not being aggressed against. Yet, the simple fact that there is a choice does not alleviate the crime, or even answer the initial question of who gives a party the right to make such a claim. After all, the victim is asking the question, who gives an aggressor the right to aggress against me, whereas, the aggressor is presupposing they have such a right by asking the question. To say if you don't like something I’m doing than you may leave presupposes that you have the right to make such a claim. Yet, the right of one party to aggress against another is the question of concern.

Besides, what does it even mean to truly leave? What are you leaving? Life and property are not homogeneous mobile homes. You don't truly get to pack up your property and leave. You may of course liquidate your property and relocate, yet this still involves forced exchange of one property for another. What if you like your property and you don't want to exchange it for other property. What gives other property owners the right to make such claims upon your property? Furthermore, what if 51% of the world believes that the other 49% should do something they don't wish to do, and if they don't like they should leave? But where will the go? The Moon?

Read until you have something to write...Write until you have nothing to write...when you have nothing to write, read...read until you have something to write...Jeremiah 

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:09 PM

    Jeremiah, Your answer certainly does bring the issue into focus much more sharply and is intellectually honest.

    It seems to me that when people attempt to advance the logic of "if you don't like it, you can leave", they aren't really getting to the "core" (and thus aren't really being intellectually honest enough) of what underlies their logic and assumptions. For example, when confronted with an argument like the one you posted, most people recoil at the thought that they are employing violence, force or coercion (or the threat thereof). The tendency is to have a much higher view of oneself (i.e. "I'm a "good" person, "I'm not a thief", etc., etc.).

   Thanks for the example!

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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Merlin replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:11 PM

ImagesandWords:

     Yes, Merlin, but how does one show the fallaciousness of this line of reasoning since many Americans understanding of the idea of "property" is "stunted", especially when it is spoken of in the same context of being obedient to the government JUST BECAUSE they are the governing authorities and "that's the way "our" system works", blah,blah, blah.

 

Than perhaps you could ask to know whether Germans who disagreed with Jews being burned would have had to flee Germany instead of, say, plotting against Hitler. Hitler was democratically elected. 

Or the American revolutionaries, why did they rise against Britain? If they didn't like the new taxes, they had to flee. 

Or the Russians in the USSR. Or the Hungarians during their uprising. 

Heck, by this standard no political change would ever had come about. So,where do they draw the line? 

The Regression theorem is a memetic equivalent of the Theory of Evolution. To say that the former precludes the free emergence of fiat currencies makes no more sense that to hold that the latter precludes the natural emergence of multicellular organisms.
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Stranger replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:12 PM

You should leave, and make your own country out of bits and pieces of America. This is also called secession.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:18 PM

      And Maiku, I personally have long held the view that the ability for parents/guradians to educate their children or those they have been entrusted with in the way and where they see fit is THE lynchpin in the pursuit of a truly free, just and wealth-creating society. So long as parents/guardians (or at least those who cannot afford to send their child(ren) to a private school AND pay taxes toward the "public" school system simultaneously) are basically held hostage to a single worldview (i.e. statism), I believe the advancement of liberty in ALL its manifestations will be sporadic with occasional "triumphs" (again, this is only my opinion).  

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:20 PM

   Exactly Merlin!

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:22 PM

  Btw Merlin, Your mention of the dilemma of the Germans reminded me of something. Thanks!

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:26 PM

   Though I don't see it happening soon (if ever) for a number of reasons, your point is well taken Stranger.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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Stranger replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 12:31 PM

 

   Though I don't see it happening soon (if ever) for a number of reasons, your point is well taken Stranger.

If you can't see it happening, perhaps you're trying to grab too big a piece.

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Sieben replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 1:44 PM

If you're looking for snap responses, it matters less what you say and more how you say it. If you seem confident that the argument doesn't bother you, that's 90% of it right there.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 6:27 PM

Though I don't see it happening soon (if ever) for a number of reasons, your point is well taken Stranger.

 

     I meant my own leaving. I promised my two younger daughters I would stay close to home for the next several years. I don't intend to break that promise.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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Stranger replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 7:13 PM

I meant my own leaving. I promised my two younger daughters I would stay close to home for the next several years. I don't intend to break that promise.

You don't have to.

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I couldn't resist.

Freedom has always been the only route to progress.

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John Q replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 7:44 PM

  Stranger, Would you mind elaborating? And Libertyandlife, I'm glad you didn't. One's life is always made richer through laughter!

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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There is a difference between a nationalist and a patriot.

A nationalist loves his country, because he thinks it is a great country.

A patriot loves his country, because he loves his country.

A patriot may also merely have a love that goes no further than his neighbourhood or local region, but it remains the same. It's about unconditional love for the strangers immediately outside your close family and not loving them just because they give you better medical care facilities, better schools, or better television shows.

If your opponents advocate that they only live in a country because it is good to them, then they have shown themselves incapable of unconditional love for their country and have proven that they would as soon leave it the moment it is not to their suiting. At least in your patriotism, you have decided to stay, and look at the problems because they are problems, and not because you expect your country to be the best.

MIT economist, Robin Wells, once left the United States because Reagan got elected. As a moderate social democrat, her views were based on solidarity for society, and yet she abandons that very society when it was not to her suiting. So what would be the point of having solidarity for it?

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Lyle replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 8:03 PM

Whatever happened to the freedom of speech and the legal right to properly dissent?  Are you advocating secession?  What are your thoughts on Lincoln's, or even the communist, response to secession?

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Ever read No Treason Lyle?

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Lyle replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 8:59 PM

I have not read "No Treason" in its entirety, but I agree that the Constitution is not an annuity which is less than completely alienable for longer than the law allows.

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Tell them that the country was supposed to be - as designated by the Founding Fathers - a republic. That republic is home; the government is an invader, so it needs to leave. People who say that usually don't understand the difference between a country and a government.

Ever read No Treason Lyle?

I read like one sentence from No Treason, and it convinced me. I never saw the Constitution as a contract and that the only people who need to abide by it are the ones who signed it.

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken.

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Kaiser434 replied on Sun, Jan 16 2011 11:41 PM

Here is a very quick, logical way to deal with that line of thinking.

1. Ask if you are involved in a discussion in which they are willing to examine the relevant thinking or is it a pissing contest of words?

2. If the answer is anything besides "Yes, you could convince me if I thought about your argument and it made sense." then terminate the conversation.

The "Love it or leave it" comeback is an emotional attempt to emotionalize the debate. They want to provoke a more heated confrontation or more likely just shut you up. Either way, what possible reason could you have to continue trying to convince someone who's argument consists of a little more wordy version of "Fuck you".

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Wesker1982 replied on Mon, Jan 17 2011 12:29 PM

"So if I broke into your house and stole your stuff, it would be okay because you can just move to Wyoming?"

 

^ This seems to work for me. I'll say something like: "I am going to come and rob you, at your house. If you resist, I will shoot you. If you choose to stay at your house and be robbed and or shot, then you can't complain. Why? Because you could have moved."

Also, find any disagreements they have with policy and say "if you don't like it, leave!"

If a liberal complains about lack of gun control, war, marijuana laws, or whatever, tell them to leave! If a conservative complains about too many gays or whatever, tell them to leave! etc. Just ask them their position on any laws you already know they disagree with, then tell them to leave if they don't like it.

Also, just pointing out that they are not even addressing your argument helps. You can just reply "Thats not an argument against my position. If you have to resort to personal attacks I will conclude that your reasons for disagreeing with me are based on emotion rather than reason."  The conversation will usually end there. 

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John Q replied on Mon, Jan 17 2011 7:37 PM

Many, (if not most), people would in all probability respond by saying that breaking into their house is not the same as them violating me in some way. In a case like this they would probably say, "There is a law against that. We are not talking about the same thing". It has been my experience that if one attempts to show that these situations ARE similar (if not identical), they almost inevitably fall back on an intellectual cop-out. I seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle in order to drive the point home AND show them what their intellectual cop-out is and WHY it is an intellectual cop-out AND why it matters. Can anyone solve this puzzle?

Btw, thanks Stranger. I read some but got interrupted. It will require some thought on my part.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Mon, Jan 17 2011 7:41 PM

   Also, it appears the State is their intellectual cop-out. They just seem to fall back on it when all else fails. This seems to me a sign of poor reasoning skills but, I guess mine aren't much better because I'm having a difficult time overcoming "the State" as the arbiter or sanctioner of certain actions that are or are not permitted.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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John Q replied on Mon, Jan 17 2011 7:43 PM

Oh, I too like the "So if I broke into your house" scenario. It seems to be right on target, but again; where to go from there to counter their counter-arguments.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it" - Thomas Jefferson.

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Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2MxiQR4CIQ

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