RE: meaning of life (RE: (repost) RE: GUNS: Re: Self Defense)

From: denis bider (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 07:28:02 MST

Samantha Atkins writes:

[This was said before:]
> > > Is the nature of human being negotiated and conditional or is
> > > the nature of human beings a given? If it is a given then it
> > > just might imply that certain rights, certain fundamentals of
> > > how people treat one another, are fundamental to the well-being
> >
> > First of all, I don't subscribe to the idea that we are in
> > any way all the same, hence I dislike the claim that the
> > nature of human beings is a given.

[This was said now:]
> I never ever said we are all the same nor implied it except
> that we all share being human beings and therefore have everything in
> common that is subsumed by that term.

Yes. I agree with that.

> The gist of my questions above is that by the very fact of
> existing at all we as human beings exist as something,
> exist with certain properties.

Yes, I agree with that, too.

> I would be quite surprised if the commonalities of our humanness
> did not imply that there are basic ways that we can be treated
> that are relatively much more advantageous to our success and
> wellbeing than other ways we can be treated.

Yes, agree.

> This is nothing terribly complex and certainly does not imply
> that we all wish to be treated exactly the same in ALL respects.

You are right, it does not. [There's a "But", see below]

> That is an unwarranted argument.

Mmmm. I wouldn't jump to this conclusion so fast; there's another subtlety.

You confirm that you agree that not everyone wishes to be treated the same
in all respects. This seems to imply that, while a subset of people in a
given community may desire one thing, another subset of people might reject
it. Now, your theory of rights seems to imply that either of these groups is
wrong; perhaps an arbitrator is now needed to determine which one. On the
other hand, my theory would imply that these groups somehow need to
negotiate a common set of rights that they will all be able to live by;
there is no predetermined 'holy' right, whatever they negotiate is fine.

Take paedophiles for instance. [First a disclaimer: I'm not a historian, so
if I will be misstating facts, correct me.] According to my knowledge,
Ancient Greeks had a practice of male adults socializing with boys. An adult
man would assume sponsorship over a boy, introducing him to the ways of the
world, while the boy returned the favor in terms of sexual obedience. The
boy was "educated from behind", literally speaking.

So, in those days, a man had a right to have sexual intercourse with a
willing boy. Boys generally accepted this, and conducted sexual intercourse
with other boys when they grew up.

Nowadays, such behavior would be severely punished. It wouldn't just be
frowned upon, most people would be literally disgusted. So, nowadays men
definitely don't have that right anymore.

What is your view on this? In particular, I stated that "in those days, a
man had a right...". Do you agree with that statement or would you argue
that, in fact, men did *not* have that right, and that they heinously
violated basic human rights as we know them to be?

If the former, then I would say I have shown my point. If the latter, I
might come up with another example that is even more in the gray area, and
then we can see about that.

> Nice strawman.

Well, I'm trying. :-)

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