Re: Rights (Was: Dyson (Was: Paths to Uploading))
Wed, 13 Jan 1999 16:35:54 -0700

I wrote:
> den Otter raves:
> >That kind of "rights" are just some people's subjective opinion.
> That's *your* subjective opinion.

den Otter ripostes:
>Nope, that's a *fact*, not just a personal opinion. Prove me wrong, if
>you can.

You're the one making the assertion. Prove it's a fact, if you can.

In another thread, I and others are pointing toward a proof of the existence of an objective basis for ethics. Join in if you please and critique our arguments, don't simply dismiss them as "subjective opinions". (Of course, in a real sense, _all_ opinions are subjective, but that's obviously not the sense you meant, is it?)

den O. wrote:
>The only "absolute" or objective right is that of superior force.

I replied:
> So, Mr. "Macht macht recht" [...]

>You joke about it, but actually "might makes right" can be
>taken quite literally. Rights without might are paper tigers.

No, I wasn't joking, but perhaps I misunderstood your point. If you mean that, as a practical matter, we need to be ready to defend our rights against aggressors, I heartily agree. I got the impression, though, that you intended to reduce the _ethical_ issue to a matter of gunpower.

I continued:
> [A]re you in the habit of raping, stealing,
> murdering and maiming whenever you find yourself stronger than your
> neighbors? I suspect not. Why?

To which d.O. returned:
>Because I'm not *that* stronger, obviously :)

So you're saying that you would do those things if you were sure of impunity? I'm calling your bluff, Mensch.

After all is said and done, I'm certain that you, being a normal person, would still recoil from indulging yourself in such amusements even if you were convinced that there was no possibility of retribution. I'm asking you to examine your reasons for refraining. Can you honestly maintain that it's - as Samael insists - merely an arbitrary personal preference?

>No mere mortal can take on the whole of society and win

I didn't postulate your fighting the whole of society. Let's assume that the rest of society is, and will remain, ignorant of your escapades (or at least of the identity of the perpetrator), and that you're in a position to know this.

>Who would stop [an SI] if it tortured creatures like us in basement

That's a practical question which has nothing to do with the topic, namely, what is ethically defensible, or, if you prefer, what general principles of interpersonal conduct are most conducive to human wellbeing.