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Hobbs and Locke

Posted by Gimwinkle on Saturday, March 24 2018 at 00:33:45AM

It's way past my bed time but I finally finished this. It's a slow build up, but I think I tie it all together at the end.

The philosophy on which the American Constitution and all Western political systems today are based on concern the philosophy of individual rights and limited government.

Natural law theories hold that human beings are subject to a moral law, the duty that each individual has to abide by. But I would submit that morality isn’t a duty but a right, each individual’s right to preserve himself, to pursue his own good, to do as he wishes. I suppose that “morality”, then, is semantically nonsensical, an argument for later. Anyway, man is, by nature, a solitary and independent creature free and independent, having a right to pursue his own self-interest, and has no duties to anyone else. Nature has left each individual to fend for himself and to defend himself. This right is a fundamental fact, not a duty individuals have to any law or to each other. Individual rights reflects our separateness. We are, as a consequence then, naturally at war with one another. Individuals create societies and governments to escape this condition. Society isn’t really natural to man but, rather, a constructed contract to which each separate individual is supposed to consent to so as to safeguard the rights of each citizen. Supposed to. But what if one individual in that society refuses to consent to that contract? What if the society forces compliance? Would that not violate that one individual’s natural rights?

Governments, as Western philosophy focuses on, must respect the rights of individuals. This limits government. Considerably. The U.S. Declaration of Independence speaks of both natural rights and natural laws which may be combined but only if one takes precedence over the other. Either the individual’s right, or his duty to moral law, must come first. Today, most Western political systems have written boldly of what their concept of moral laws are. To hell with the individual.

Is the individual free and equal, and at liberty to do as he wishes? Or is that only “within the bounds of the law of nature.” I would submit that freedom and equality, and the priority of individual right means that the individual can pursue his survival and interest without limitation. That he has no duty to respect the rights of others.

Individuals have a right to property (such as kids). But shouldn’t individuals have a duty to respect the property (and lives and liberties) of others? Commanding respect for the rights of others is understandable but if individual right is primary, do individuals have any duty to respect the rights of others? If the individual’s right is to “look out for number one,” where would a duty to respect others come from? There is no such duty, for it would restrict the individual’s liberty and his right. I have rights, but “my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” Well, that’s the saying: the philosophy.

The individual only has a duty to respect others’ rights when “his own preservation comes not in competition.” If my life is threatened, I need not respect anyone else’s rights, I may do whatever is necessary to preserve myself.

A liberal system such as with most Western societies tries to enshrine individual rights, but its health depends upon people exercising their own rights responsibly, seriously considering the rights of others. Many individuals today are eager to claim their rights, but aren’t there attendant responsibilities. Should a rights-based society be simple selfishness? Well, yes and no.

Unfortunately, I must quote from a book that I really don’t subscribe to. Yes, I have read it. So I will allow myself to quote it, “Prout vultis ut faciant vobis homines et vos facite illis similiter.” God, I hate Old English so Latin makes me feel better about it. (“Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” if you can’t find Google Translate.) But this famous quote does help me apply my understanding of a rights-based world. I do exercise my right to swing my fist anywhere I want, including into your nose. But, so, too, I should expect repercussions from doing so.

This, then, brings me to my discussion of the legal concepts of malum in se versus malum prohibitum. To keep me from swinging my fist into your nose (unless to protect myself) I understand that punching your nose would be malum in se. I understand that I would be infringing upon YOUR rights, something I wouldn’t want for myself. It is NOT, however, my duty to not punch your nose. I refrain from it because I choose so for my OWN reasons. (You might be better at punching noses than I am.) So, your nose is safe until you threaten mine.

On the other side of the coin is malum prohibitum, those pesky laws that societies insist on creating and trying to enforce upon individuals for those societies’ own reasons. Today’s laws for example, often unconditionally, demand individuals to identify themselves. It’s is illegal not to identify oneself when demanded by the agents of the local government simply because the society says it is illegal, not because any individual’s rights are being violated.

A legally underaged person wants a legally overaged person to engage in mutually pleasurable acts (to be polite yet still catch your attention.) Both individuals consent and WANT the acts to continue. Individual rights, right? Yet the acts are malum prohibita. “It’s wrong because we say it’s wrong.” Most Western societies insist on these proscriptions. Violations of individual rights. I would submit that freedom and equality, and the priority of individual rights means that the individual can pursue his survival and interests without limitation. That he has no duty to respect any malum prohibitum. Nonetheless, in keeping with my well known philosophy, I do prohibitum myself from their malums SOLELY to prevent injury to the legally underaged person who wants to engage in mutually pleasurable malums. (Mis-use of the words are intentional. Creative license, please!)

And finally, the impetus of me writing all this yammer; there is a question of just what to do about all of the malum prohibita violators involving illegally different-aged malum lovers. Both of us are here. Underaged as well as overaged malum devotees. And it’s not just three of four of us. There are hundreds of thousands of both varieties of lovers. There always has been. There currently is now. And there will be in the future. Thanks to community electrical anonymity (you like that?), more of each flavor of passion prohibitum prevaricators are learning how to enjoy ad hoc malums ad nauseum. No matter how hard the prohibita creators try, the prohibited population is there and ieiunium-crebrescens.

(Will cross-post at VoA, my other home.)

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