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Conflicting Inalienable Rights

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Prime Posted: Mon, Oct 29 2012 11:10 PM

Are they possible?

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gotlucky replied on Mon, Oct 29 2012 11:23 PM

What do you mean?

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Prime replied on Mon, Oct 29 2012 11:33 PM

Liberty is inalienable. That is, it cannot be taken away or given away by the possessor. If something else conflicts with your liberty, then can that something else ever be considered inalienable as well?

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 1:31 AM

I don't think inalienable rights really gets anyone anywhere. The whole idea is that these rights are nontransferable, but the only thing that is nontransferable is your mind. If a legal system allows for it, you can sign away your liberty. But your mind/will is yours and yours alone. You are an actor. You can make agreements, and you can decide to uphold those agreements or not. There are many things an actor can do. I used to be a fan of the idea of inalienable rights, but I think there are far better arguments for liberty than inalienable rights. At best you can say that certain rights ought to be inalienable, so you need to either justify that conclusion or accept it as a premise. If you just accept it as a premise, then you can't expect others to agree with you, though some may. And I don't think it's possible to justify inalienable rights anyway.

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Anenome replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 3:33 AM
 
 

Prime:

Liberty is inalienable. That is, it cannot be taken away or given away by the possessor. If something else conflicts with your liberty, then can that something else ever be considered inalienable as well?

From Ethics of Liberty, Rothbard on rights:

But one vital distinction between a genuine and a spurious “right” is that the former requires no positive action by anyone except noninterference. Hence, a right to person and property is not dependent on time, space, or the number or wealth of other people in the society; Crusoe can have such a right against Friday as can anyone in an advanced industrial society. On the other hand, an asserted right “to a living wage” is a spurious one, since fulfilling it requires positive action on the part of other people, as well as the existence of enough people with a high enough wealth or income to satisfy such a claim. Hence such a “right” cannot be independent of time, place, or the number or condition of other persons in society.

Murray N. Rothbard (1998-08-16 00:00:00-07:00). The Ethics of Liberty (Kindle Locations 6143-6148). New York University Press. Kindle Edition.

 
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Prime replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 9:20 AM

What I'm trying to establish is that if 2 "inalienable" rights are in conflict with one another, then one of the two is apparently not inalienable. For example, in a recent thread the claim was made that labor is inalienable, and as such, renting or selling your labor to an employer in return for wages was illegitmate. Of course, this would interefere with one's inalienable right to liberty, the right to choose. If 2 inalienable rights can never conflict, then the concept of "labor is inalienable" is a false premise.

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Wheylous replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 10:22 AM

Natural rights cannot conflict with each other any more than logical systems can conflict. Either way, I don't think your analysis of labor as inalienable here was deep enough to determine it as conflicting.

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gotlucky replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 10:50 AM

Claiming labor as inalienable is just silly. I don't know how those threads are still going on, because many of the points made by Anenome and Malachi went unrefuted by stsoc, especially the point about labor being an abstract concept. Just look at what labor is. It's the abstract concept of working. Labor is basically irrelevant to the entire discussion of the legitimacy of contracts or property. What actually happens in a contract is this: I say I will do X if you do Y, and we have a formal (legal) agreement. Most contracts are a two-way street, where I agree to do X if you do Y, and you will do Z if I do X, or something to that effect. Labor has nothing to do with this arrangement.

Suppose you are an actor and I'm a director. I tell you I will pay you money if you stand in place X, make your face look like Y, and say words Z (this might not be a very good movie). That's all there is to it. It doesn't matter if you worked really hard to do this or if it just comes easily to you. The deal is you do those things, and I give you money.

It's the same with working in a factory or building a house or whatever. The manager or owner says to you, "You go to this plot of land, you arrange this wood in this particular formation, you take a hammer and nail the wood so that particular formation will hold, you leave when you are done, and I'll pay you money." Labor just has nothing to do with it. The deal is you do whatever the particular tasks are, and you get money. When someone says that labor is nontransferable, therefore that house is really the workers, they are just spewing nonsense. What exactly is supposed to be nontransferable? Those concrete objects that can actually be transferred? Or the idea that someone put some effort into something? Like I said, those concrete objects can be transferred, so they are alienable. But what about the idea of labor? Well, the idea of labor is not concrete, it is not specific to anybody. We can all be laboring at the same time. This whole labor is inalienable is bunk and a red herring anyway.

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Anenome replied on Tue, Oct 30 2012 10:02 PM
 
 

Prime:

What I'm trying to establish is that if 2 "inalienable" rights are in conflict with one another, then one of the two is apparently not inalienable. For example, in a recent thread the claim was made that labor is inalienable, and as such, renting or selling your labor to an employer in return for wages was illegitmate. Of course, this would interefere with one's inalienable right to liberty, the right to choose. If 2 inalienable rights can never conflict, then the concept of "labor is inalienable" is a false premise.

Negative rights never conflict, as they establish a sphere of sovereignty for an individual into which it would unethical for another to invade. Only the inappropriate mixing of negative and (spurious) positive rights such as Stsoc has attempted in that other thread lead to contradictions. So, you're right about that.

 
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cab21 replied on Thu, Nov 1 2012 1:29 AM

the right to liberty

but we don't have the right to initiate agression

therefor we don't have the right to liberty.

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Anenome replied on Thu, Nov 1 2012 1:48 AM
 
 

cab21:

the right to liberty

but we don't have the right to initiate agression

therefor we don't have the right to liberty.

If liberty is defined as the state of being in which there is an absense of aggression, then you may not have consequence-less freedom (to aggress against others) but you do have true liberty.

 
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@gotlucky

"claiming labor is inalianable is just silly"

"Suppose you are an actor and I'm a director. I tell you I will pay you money if you stand in place X, make your face look like Y, and say words Z (this might not be a very good movie). That's all there is to it. It doesn't matter if you worked really hard to do this or if it just comes easily to you. The deal is you do those things, and I give you money."

It is not that I am agreeing or disagreeing per se but if you are going to argue something let's be accurate in order to sift through the B and S:

Suppose you are a Man, whose name is John Doe, with a legal name of JOHN DOE, whose occupation is an actor.

Suppose I am a Man, whose name is James Smith, with a legal name of JAMES SMITH, whose occupation is a director.

I tell you [the Man], I will pay your legal person [JOHN DOE], money if you stand in place X, make your face look like Y, and say words Z.

Now since money is an abstract concept because all money originates from human energy civilization has built these legal contructs for purposes of commerce.  The IRS says you [the Man], did not get paid because the legal person [JOHN DOE] got paid money.  Since a legal person is an artificial entity, a legal fiction, it has no basis in its labor therefore all monies received are 100% taxable whereas a Man is created by God and "persons" are created by legislatures.

If I [the Man] were the authorised representative for the legal person [JOHN DOE], I would do like any other corporation does and add a payroll expense.  When I deposted the check made out to the legal person [JOHN DOE] I think I would put on my treasurer mask for JOHN DOE, Incorporated and pay me [the Man] cash [adding a ledger entry in the official JOHN DOE, Incorporated books] so when the IRS came knocking my tax return would be zero because JOHN DOE, Incorporated had a payroll expense.

In order to have any meaninful discussion on unalienable labor requires a proper context which includes a lot of commercial history.  By oversimplyfing you are trying to roll back a couple centuries of markets trying to solve an impossible problem of setting organic at par with artificial.

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It is not that I am agreeing or disagreeing per se but if you are going to argue something let's be accurate in order to sift through the B and S:

Suppose you are a Man, whose name is John Doe, with a legal name of JOHN DOE, whose occupation is an actor.

Suppose I am a Man, whose name is James Smith, with a legal name of JAMES SMITH, whose occupation is a director.

I tell you [the Man], I will pay your legal person [JOHN DOE], money if you stand in place X, make your face look like Y, and say words Z.

I'm not really sure what you are talking about here. A legal person is not an actual person, but in this example you are calling a natural person a legal person, which is not the case under the present law.

Now since money is an abstract concept because all money originates from human energy civilization has built these legal contructs for purposes of commerce.  The IRS says you [the Man], did not get paid because the legal person [JOHN DOE] got paid money.  Since a legal person is an artificial entity, a legal fiction, it has no basis in its labor therefore all monies received are 100% taxable whereas a Man is created by God and "persons" are created by legislatures.

Money is both abstract and concrete. It depends upon usage, just as dog is both abstract and concrete. In the real world, you pay concrete money to someone, not some abstract notion of money. Anyway, it seems you are not using the term "legal person" correctly, as it is reserved for non-living entities given the legal status as a person. A natural person is a legal entity, but that doesn't somehow make that legal entity fake...It just means that the natural person is recognized by the law.

If I [the Man] were the authorised representative for the legal person [JOHN DOE], I would do like any other corporation does and add a payroll expense.  When I deposted the check made out to the legal person [JOHN DOE] I think I would put on my treasurer mask for JOHN DOE, Incorporated and pay me [the Man] cash [adding a ledger entry in the official JOHN DOE, Incorporated books] so when the IRS came knocking my tax return would be zero because JOHN DOE, Incorporated had a payroll expense.

This just has nothing to do with what I wrote. I have no idea what you are getting at.

In order to have any meaninful discussion on unalienable labor requires a proper context which includes a lot of commercial history.  By oversimplyfing you are trying to roll back a couple centuries of markets trying to solve an impossible problem of setting organic at par with artificial.

I'm not oversimplifying anything. I have no idea what you are going on about, and you are not using some of these terms in a standard way, so I really have no idea what you are talking about. Anyway, my point was that philosophically, labor and alienation have nothing to do with anything. Employment is literally just saying that you will pay money if someone does X. That is all.

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