Do we owe each other anything?
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08-02-2012, 03:53 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
I'd do it. If he refused I'd probably lose it and shoot him. Someone who would watch an innocent child scream for help and ignore it is someone who has disqualified himself from the human race.

I know:
Rationally: Who am I to judge him.
But this is not a rational response.

"But the point is, find somebody to love. Everything else is overrated." - HouseofCantor
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08-02-2012, 04:10 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
(08-02-2012 03:39 PM)Zat Wrote:  Threatening the man in the boat with a gun might save the child's life.
My personal belief: I would do it without hesitation in the circumstances I described.
It would be an instinctive reaction.
I would think about it after the emergency was over.

Despite the big talk, I doubt that you would. I know that I would not. I would be in the water myself doing what I could, not demanding that someone else do it.

If you shot and killed the man in the boat a jury of your peers would find you guilty of murder. Even if the community had a good samaritan law of some kind, it would still be murder.

However why do you focus on hypotheticals? Wherever you live I'm sure there are people, children, who are starving or sick. What is stopping you from instinctively and without hesitation giving them whatever they need? Don't you owe them? And if you fail to give them what you owe them, aren't you in arrears? You're not paying a debt. From your perspective, their need is your debt to them. You are their slave. What is stopping you?
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08-02-2012, 04:25 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
(08-02-2012 04:10 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Despite the big talk, I doubt that you would. I know that I would not. I would be in the water myself doing what I could, not demanding that someone else do it.

Jeff, you are no reading carefully enough.

I said in the OP: I would NOT shoot the man.

Quote:If you shot and killed the man in the boat a jury of your peers would find you guilty of murder. Even if the community had a good samaritan law of some kind, it would still be murder.

The hypothetical said "If you were sure you could get away with it". Again, not reading what I wrote.

Quote:However why do you focus on hypotheticals? Wherever you live I'm sure there are people, children, who are starving or sick. What is stopping you from instinctively and without hesitation giving them whatever they need?

What makes you assume that I don't?

And why don't you read what I wrote, before answering?

I go to a lot of trouble composing my posts very carefully, hoping that my readers would read them just as carefully (most do but the odd one...).

Anyway, the OP was a deliberately hypothetical situation, creating a counter-example to Ayn Rand's ethical principle, in which most people would not hesitate to use at least some form of threat of force on others to do the right thing.

I also said that to those who would not want to do anything they could to save a drowning child, including forcing a bystander who is able to do so (if that is the ONLY way), Konrad Lorentz recommended suicide at their earliest convenience.

Big Grin
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08-02-2012, 04:37 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
I would just assume he is shark fishing, and since children make excellent bait, it would be obvious that asking him to pull the child from the water is selfish. Perhaps he has an allery to everything except for shark.

Sorry Zat. But you should know that getting annoyed at making a joke is like dangling a maple donut in front of me. I'm gonna grab on and hold tight! Wink

Now seriously. I think I share Jeffs sentiment in part. We walk past hungry children in the street. Do we threaten other passersby if they don't offer the children food? Tough to reconcile that.

At the same time, I have to look at it honestly, and I think the sense of panic caused would likely drive me to threaten the man.

If it were my kid, I'd threaten, and if he didn't help (of course this assumes I CANNOT get into the water, ie in a wheelchair or otherwise positively unable to physically help myself) I'd aim for the arm and tell him the next bullet will be aimed at his head. Ya right, like I'm that good of a shot, but this is just a thought experiment. Would I kill the guy if he still let my kid die? The tough guy in me flexes his muscles and says, "Goddam right! I'd shoot that fucker in the belly just so he had to suffer more before he died!" Alas, the tough guy just ain't me. I really doubt I could muster the anger to kill him.

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08-02-2012, 04:50 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
(08-02-2012 04:37 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Now seriously. I think I share Jeffs sentiment in part. We walk past hungry children in the street. Do we threaten other passersby if they don't offer the children food?

I deliberately created a life-or-death situation where you have seconds to act before too late.

In situations like that countless people risk (and often lose) their lives to help someone.

They do it instinctively, without thinking about it, without hesitation, because that kind of instinct is hard-wired in many human brains (not all by any means, only the more advanced ones Tongue ).

I could list a number of examples when people jumped into raging waters, ran into burning buildings, attacked a rapist much bigger than they were, even heard of a young scout guide who attacked a grizzly bear with an umbrella to save a child's life.

I just made it one more step removed: if you could absolutely not do it yourself (suppose there was a big chain-link fence between you and the river bank, or you were in a wheel chair), would you go the extra step of FORCING someone able but unwilling to do the right thing?

I have asked this question, many times, on many forums and the answer was at least 90% positive.

Let's see what it turns out to be here? Huh
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08-02-2012, 05:01 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
I addressed pretty much that whole thing with the sentence that followed. I thought it was clear that I was simply pointing out the difference between the hungry kid and the "panic" type scenario you illustrated. I think that a discussion about that would also be interesting, so I suppose you could call that an intentional derail.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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08-02-2012, 05:03 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
(08-02-2012 05:01 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I addressed pretty much that whole thing with the sentence that followed.

Yes, Stark, you did.

My last post was only trying to clarify the issue -- not arguing with you. Smile
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08-02-2012, 05:49 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
(08-02-2012 04:10 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Despite the big talk, I doubt that you would. I know that I would not. I would be in the water myself doing what I could, not demanding that someone else do it.

You are the one not reading carefully. I doubt that you would threaten the man, as you ask about. I know that I would not threaten him. My focus would be on saving the child.

(08-02-2012 04:10 PM)Jeff Wrote:  If you shot and killed the man in the boat a jury of your peers would find you guilty of murder. Even if the community had a good samaritan law of some kind, it would still be murder.

You missed the point again. Any action against the man, even in a community with good samaritan laws, would be unjustified, whether you got away with it or not.


Zat Wrote:Anyway, the OP was a deliberately hypothetical situation, creating a counter-example to Ayn Rand's ethical principle, in which most people would not hesitate to use at least some form of threat of force on others to do the right thing.

Where do you see this in Rand?
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08-02-2012, 05:55 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2012 06:01 PM by Zat.)
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
(08-02-2012 05:49 PM)Jeff Wrote:  Where do you see this in Rand?
"The Fountainhead", "Atlas Shrugged", "The Virtue of Selfishness", "Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal" and the "Ayn Rand Newsletters".

I have read them all.

As I summarized Ayn Rand's ethical philosophy in the OP:

Quote: ‘Laissez Faire’ Capitalism is the only ethical social system imaginable. Who could argue with the basic ethical principle that no human being has the right to force another human being to do anything against his own (perceived) self interest. If we allow a human being to ‘initiate’ force against another, to force him act against his interests, then we have approved of dictatorships of the worst kind.
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08-02-2012, 06:06 PM
RE: Do we owe each other anything?
Wow this is all getting very convoluted
As for Ann; I'm no fan!
The exteme capitalist, she had a huge following and was displayed in a glass coffin.....her hard noosed capitalist supporters wept buckets.Tongue
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