Poly being Pitted? Don’t freak out, people. This is not so much a flame as it is an appeal.


I brought this into a new thread, so that your concern about the hijack of this thread would not create a manifold of new hijacks. I just have a couple of things that I would like to say to you, and if you will be so kind, I would appreciate your momentary indulgence.

In that thread, you wrote:

Me, too. When I wrote this post, I was responding to Hamlet’s five questions.

I explained what I meant by “rights”. I explained what I believed to be the difference between granting rights and guaranteeing rights. I quoted Jefferson on the nature of rights conflicting with laws. I explained how I thought rights are derived. And I explained why a context of freedom is unlikely to emerge.

In other words, I answered his questions. Not once did I mention libertarianism or use any derivate of the word. I presumed, doubtlessly naively, that I, like you, could state my opinions and be done with it.

But that didn’t happen. Dewey responded to my post by asking me whether I believed that he had the unfettered right to expose himself naked in public. It deteriorated from there.

I realize that you did not pin on me the accusation of hijacking. Yet at the same time, you seemed to have no care or sympathy for how it occured.

The thing is that you so seldom read my posts about libertarianism. Maybe that’s because the topic doesn’t interest you. Or maybe you do read them, and for whatever reason, retain very little. How do I know this? Because you finished your post with this:

Emphasis yours.

See, Poly, I’ve explained many, many times that there is certain property with which your are born. Your self (your body, your mind, your life, etc.) is your property.

Defining rights as property ownership robs you of nothing. In fact, it defines your self as a rights bearing entity from the moment you breathe. Even your own parents may not abuse that property of yours when you are a child. If they were to do so, they would be tyrants, just like any other usurper of rights.

As a matter of fact, this exact same principle is one of the things that was covered in quite some detail during the hijack that so disturbed you.

Libertarianism is all about people. Individuals. Their intrinsic dignity, bearing rights given by God or nature. Your life is the most basic and fundamental of all your rights and property. Were you not alive, you could not avail yourself of any other rights.

You do not credit your life to a magistrate, so your rights don’t come from there. You do not credit your life to scribbles in ancient documents, so your rights don’t come from there. But if you credit your life to God, then your rights come from Him. Or if you credit your life to nature, then your rights come from it.

Using the property (rights) with which you are born (your mind and body), you may — by your wits, imagination, hard work, and determination — acquire more property, like a home, or a car, or even just a trinket. These — because you have earned them peacefully and honestly — accrue to you just like those rights and property with which you were born. Your home is as much yours as your body is.

These ideas make much sense to me. If I am a lunatic therefore, then so be it.

If I believe that a man’s consent is sacred, as a right to use his mind; if I believe that a man deserves freedom from coercion, as a right to use his body; if I believe that a man should be free to pursue his own happiness in his own way, as a right to use his life — why would you deny me to express these views, particularly when they are pertinent? When they are direct answers to direct questions? When they are my own opinions that I hold in the depths of my soul?

I’m not asking you to become a libertarian. I’m just asking you to respect that I am. Let me express myself through the lenses that I use to view life. Grant me your respect for the views I hold. It would mean so much to me. You’ve already told me that one particular libertarian principle was an eye-opener to you. Maybe there are even more delightful surprises in store for people like you with open minds and kind hearts.

I am hoping (beyond hope perhaps) that this thread won’t be hijacked into yet another “Hey, Lib, are you saying that I can run around naked anywhere I want to?” discussion. I am hoping that it will be, first and foremost, a healing between you and me, and secondarily a general discussion about mutual tolerance, and the fact that people might have ideas that, on the surface seem incredibly radical, but when viewed with empathy and understanding, might just not be bad ideas at all.

I would ask that if your intention is to compose a quick reply, or if you have only skimmed this post, that you do not respond at all. But if you will give some thought to what I am saying, and give me the courtesy of your considerable insight and erudition, then I would greatly appreciate your comments.

I love you, Poly.


For me, for my particular frame of mind, the idea of basic human rights as forms of property is one that sits particularly poorly. But as you suggest one of the great virtues of our friendship and of this board generally is the eye-opening that comes from seeing things through the eyes of others.

Contrary to your most reasonable assumption that I was indicting you for the hijack, I was simply expressing my regret that the thread had (through the actions of several including Dewey) migrated into an analysis based on your to-me-uncongenial metaphor, and that at least some participants were not manipulating the language appropriately to include your explicit definition of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as species of property inalienably entailed on all men.

Those of us who have been active here for some time regularly comment on your unusual choices of metaphor and imagery with which to shape and express your thoughts – Gaudere once termed it “Libspeak” to your chagrin.

I have come to value your insights and to find new perspectives in the way you clarify your thoughts using them, and to love “Libspeak” ablatively, as a necessary part of my beloved brother’s mindset, if not genitively as virtuous in themselves. :wink:

I do in fact respect your right to see the world with the eyes God has given you, and have gained much from your sharing of your vision. I hope that to some extent this process has been mutual. And I absolutely do aspire to there being peace and good will between us as we continue to be companions in this community.

From a rubber-necking point of view, this has to be the single worst Pit thread I’ve ever read.

Lib: “I just wanted to explain my points more thoroughly and ask you to consider them.”
Poly: “I appreciate that, and will think about what we’ve discussed.”
Lib: “Would you like to share a hot fudge sundae some time?”
Poly: “Yes, that would be lovely.”

Friggin’ reasonable discourse! What’s fun about that? :slight_smile:

Well, we could Pit the first person to come along and criticize the process of our establishing grounds for reasonable discourse…

who would be… :slight_smile:


Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I’ve learned a great deal from you, and look forward to learning more in the future.

For the record, the notion that your life belongs to you (i.e., is your property) is no metaphor, congenial or otherwise. When referencing it, you do not say “the Constitution’s life” or “the government’s life” or even “the life”; you say, “my life”.

True, Lib, but I make a distinction in how I understand the application of those genitive pronouns to operate. I claim no ownership over my wife or my kids, simply a mutual responsibility to and from them as discrete and independent adults with whom I have a relationship, commitments, etc.

Certainly St. Thomas was not asserting ownership when he exclaimed to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” :slight_smile:

[A Few Good Men]
Well don’t I feel like the fuckin’ asshole.
[/A Few Good Men]

PS Poly, did you get my email from a few days ago?

Now we’re talking! The poor sap wouldn’t stand a chance! I can’t wait for some idiot to blunder in here and get ripped to shreds!

(ignores nagging voice coming from general direction of brain)

Yep, this is gonna be sweet!

I just like the idea of a rubbernecking giraffe! :smiley:

Reading you two folks makes me almost regret that I’m an asshole.

Ah, well. Back to pulling the wings off of flies.

Let me expand just a bit on what I wrote above. Here it is again for your convenience:

“Defining rights as property ownership robs you of nothing. In fact, it defines your self as a rights bearing entity from the moment you breathe.”

The reason you don’t own your wife is because she is a rights bearing entity, and has been from the time she was born. Since rights and ownership are the same, it would be a contradiction to say that you own her.

Same thing with our Lord. He, too, is a rights bearing Entity. In fact, as the Owner of the Heavens and the Earth, He has all rights to all property in the universe — including the right to give His rights away (i.e., transfer ownership).

He has given you your life free and clear. Were He to hold claim to it, you would not have freedom of will. It is His gift to you, and you must claim ownership in order to be a good steward of His gift. You cannot expect a slave to exercise the same quality of stewardship as an owner.

You do have the freedom to become a slave if you wish. Like God, you may waive your rights. But that is not His plan for you. Take ownership of your salvation. Take ownership of your moral journey. Take ownership of all His gifts. Refusing a gift is an insult to the Giver.

So you see, it isn’t a metaphor at all.

As much as I hate pissing in cornflakes, I think it’s disengenous to excuse your hijacking post by stating that you were merely replying to someone else’s questions when those questions were asked specifically of SenorBeef, not questions asked of you.

But by all means, carry on with the niceties.

My point, though, Lib, is that I use the same “my” to indicate relationship to God and wife, ownership of car and library, and endowment of rights as regards life, liberty, etc.

I find the idea of rights as possessions intriguing – it particularly elucidates the idea that they can be taken as physical proerty can in cases of conversion or theft, or deprived as when a court seizes possessions in debt-collection cases, but that in the absence of these things they belong to one as surely as what one buys or is gifted with. And certainly the idea of “intellectual property” can easily be extended to cover this.

However, there is an innate resistance in me to the concept – that “rights” exist in a quite other state than “possessions.” Can I sell my freedom to peacefully petition for redress of grievances? Can I mortgage my protection against self-incrimination? May I legally obtain as my own property your right to a speedy trial?

Grim wrote:

You might be right, Grim. But my understanding has always been that hijacking is defined as steering the course of a discussion away from the topic.

Generally, responding to a post intended for someone else, as you rightly say that I did — and as you just did yourself — is pretty much ordinary board protocol. :slight_smile:


I’m delighted that you find the idea intriguing. To answer your questions specifically…




(Explanations on request.) :smiley:

Somebody move this out of the pit.

It’s embarrassing.

Touche :slight_smile:

By the way, is there an “Ask Libertarian” thread kicking around somewhere?

Perhaps we should change the name of “The Pit” to “Old British Ladies Sipping Tea on the Veranda”, something that would more accurately reflect the tone of this exchange.

Grim wrote:

There used to be, Grim. But it quickly devolved into a barage of Giant Squids. I blame myself, really, because my expository skills were very poor. I had a big chip on my shoulder, and I wasn’t very nice. Lately, though, I’ve come to realize that, hey, it ain’t nothin’ but a thang.

Frankly, I don’t know much more about Libertarianism than posts of yours I have read, which is pretty much why I asked. Is there someplace on-line that talks about Libertarian principles in specific that I could, uh, read?