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Comment Re: not shock (Score 1) 182

Let's allow your absolutist stance to end civilization as we know it.

"Mine" is a stretch. Explaining how a theory works doesn't mean subscribing to it. The mark of intellectual freedom is the ability to hold and talk about ideas one disagrees with without outright jumping into criticism.

Anyway, libertarians did deal with your reduction ad absurdim. And they actually agree with it, not considering it absurdum at all.

For them, negative liberty, that is, the freedom to say "no" about one's property and be 100% respected in this wish, is indeed absolute and comes before any other consideration. They reject utilitarian arguments like yours on the basis that every time you allow a positive liberty, that is, the liberty for a 3rd party to say "yes" over your property and ignore your "no", the finite pool of freedom is diminished, leading eventually to freedom's demise.

Therefore, for them a civilization is only truly worth it if it's built upon a "freedom-from-coercion first" principle. As for those civilization that don't, libertarians wouldn't mind them ending, provided that happens by means of a progressive increase in freedom, not a loss of it.

Comment Re: not shock (Score 1) 182

I know you're just giving the theory behind the libertarian position on pollution, not necessarily endorsing it

Indeed. I know a lot about libertarianism because I studied it. I'm sympathetic to it, many of its theories are quite interesting, but I'm no libertarian myself. My own sympathies lie more with "religion-less distributism". :-)

You vs. Shell Oil

I wonder who can afford more lawyers and who has a longer lifespan, so if one side can drag the case out long enough, they win by default?

That would be a failed libertarian system if clear cut cases of violation of property weren't solved quickly. In a functional libertarian system, the matter would be decided pretty quickly. Did Shell's oil damage your property? Then they're in the wrong, period. There's nothing to drag the case. Besides, "Shell" as a corporate person shielding its shareholders from full personal, individual, direct responsibility, wouldn't be a thing.

I've written a little more about this point in this and this previous replies. Please give them a look.

Comment Re: not shock (Score 1) 182

What happens if Company A contains the pollution on their land, then goes out of business and liquidates their assets to their shareholders who pass them on through inheritance once or twice before the pollution leaks into neighboring land?

Libertarian thinking puts a lot of emphasis on the concept of absolute private property, but it also puts a lot of emphasis in the notion of absolute personal responsibility. Therefore, in a libertarian society there is no such thing as corporate personhood shielding shareholders. A corporation is just a public name, but the responsibility is fully over the individual humans beings enabling the acts done under its name.

Therefore, as long as individual A owns property X, he is fully responsible for whatever X causes to the properties of individuals B, C, D... Does he came to own it through inheritance? Does he want to not be held hostage to the ill effects X will cause down the line? Well, better the move to reduce or eliminate the danger X, lest him, or his sons etc., feel the effects of neglect.

What if the pollution is carbon dioxide and the polluters will fight you in court to your death that it's not a pollutant at all?

Private property is absolute in libertarian thinking, and thus it doesn't matter whether what A is dumping in B's property is. It could be gold bars and diamonds, were B to sue A for violation of property, B would win because A was violating B's property.

Therefore, is A dumping carbon dioxide in B's property? If so, has B signed a contract with A allowing A to do so? No? Then it doesn't matter, A is violating B's property, and will lose. Whether carbon dioxide is harmful or harmless would be strictly irrelevant.

And since A knows he will lose no matter what, he'd know to either get B's approval through a signed contract, or to simply not take chances and not dump anything at all, no matter what.

What if the pollutant is CFLs and you can't prove its harming you since the ozone hole is over the Antarctic where no one (permanently) lives or owns property?

I know this is far fetched, and probably unrealistic, but in theory the polluter would still be responsible for the increase in UV radiation over everyone's property, who in turn would be able to sue him for this increased UV radiation. All the shareholders and decision makers in the company would end up bankrupt very, very quickly.

Libertarianism is failure as soon as you bring it into the real world, no better than communism was.

Wait, that's a stretch. Libertarianism can not make much sense if taken literally, but at least it is pretty clear in that no one can go around gullaging others. In other words, if put into practice libertarianism would probably lead to lots of social ills ("you're free to starve" etc.), but comparing those to communism's ills and saying it is no better is clearly an exaggeration. It might not be good, but better than communism it most certainly is.

Comment Re: not shock (Score 1) 182

1) According libertarian theory, this can all be reduced to the defense of property laws: Did something of yours end up invading my property? Yes? Did I authorize it? No? You're violating.

Notice that it doesn't matter why your thing (whatever it is) ended up in my property, if your thing moved from your property into my property without my authorization, you're responsible for it having ended up there, and you're violating my property. From that point onwards, it's up to me whether I'll move charges against you for this violation. If I do however, I win no matter what, since in a libertarian society property rights are absolute and violations aren't permitted at all, period.

2) A libertarian legal system would be very simple compared to the mess of regulations over norms over decrees over other regulations etc. typical legal systems have, so fighting such a battle would be cheap. It'd be a matter of:

a) Determining who is the human source of this thing X that appeared in my property;

b) Showing proof that this is indeed my property (evidently);

c) The culprit failing in showing proof we both signed a contract allowing X to be left in my property.

"C" is the key here. In a libertarian society, everything is done through contracts. If there is no contract, the default is the absolute inviolability of a property.

Now, if big corporation had somehow managed for you to sign a contract allowing them to do so, then it's your fault for having signed something you didn't understand. One big assumption libertarian thinking does is that all parties are absolutely responsible for their own acts, with very few exceptions. So, you signed agreeing with something? That will be fully enforced. The only exceptions are if you can prove you signed under duress, or while you were under the effects of some mental illness. Then, and only then, such a contract can be made null and void.

Comment Re: not shock (Score 2, Informative) 182

Exactly when does your pollution become an aggression against me?

The idea is basically that you can make as much pollution you want within your private property, for as long as you want, provided you never, ever, dump that population into anyone else's private property, because dumping anything on another's private property without explicit permission is a violation of the other's private property's rights.

So, anytime a factory produces air pollution and it gets carried by the wind over the factory's borders into a neighbor's land, or anytime a factory produces chemical pollution and it penetrates water lines etc., that's a violation of everyone who got that pollution.

The exception is if the other property owner signed a contract with you by means of which he explicitly allows you to dump their pollution on their terrain. Other than that however, no, in a purely libertarian society you cannot dump pollutants anywhere you want.

And the mechanism to deal with this under a libertarian regime would be what exactly?

Suing the shit out of polluters for violation of property rights until they either start preventing any of their pollutants from leaving their own land and air, or until they go bankrupt, with judges of course being hard core defenders of the property rights of everyone involved, meaning those who had their properties' violated by polluters winning against polluters every single time.

Now, I don't know if any of the above is feasible, but that's the libertarian theory on pollution anyway, because the idea among libertarians is always that the hardest property rights are preserved, in every situation imaginable, the better off everyone is. Thus, the key to understanding libertarianism's solution to any problem is this: think how that situation can be (re)thought in terms of property rights, check which property is being violated, fix that violation, and the problem is solved.

PS.: Obviously, the above applies to "minimum government libertarianism" (a.k.a, minarchism), in which judges and tribunals are expected to exist and to act. The much more radical anarchocapitalist branch of libertarianism, for which no government should exist at all, also has solutions to the problems above, but they tend to involve a lot more guns than the minarchist alternative, as in, A is violating B's property rights? B has the right to shot until A stops. Most libertarians aren't anarchocapitalists though. Anarchocapitalism is loud and visible, but a minority position. Most libertarians have way more common sense than going that route.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 183

as long as he does not look too similar to Mickey Mouse

Therefore preventing the full artistic expression of countless artists who can do excellent stuff with Mickey Mouse itself. You agree with my argument event though pretending you don't. :-)

LOL, what a retarded argument. There's no royalties because that's menial work, not creative work.

And here you show you don't know the history of art. Back in the day things made sense, it worked like this: the artist, let's say, Da Vinci, was contracted to paint a certain scene by a rich patron. Such highly technical painting however wasn't considered fundamentally different from that of common house painter, except for the fact it was much, much more complex, and therefore deserving of a much, much higher pay. So, Da Vinci did his one time work of painting, and got paid once, and quite reasonably, for it.

The modern equivalent of how art was always made would then be this: Lady Gaga gets paid once several millions for that one music her rich patron (which can be one person or several persons joined together) wanted her to sing, and afterwards, if she wants to get paid again, she must do more work. As in every other profession ever. As for that music she was paid several millions? It's done, there's nothing else to it, except maybe in the fact the original recording, as a unique object, has a lot of value, pretty much like the original Da Vinci painting.

And what about copies of said music, as well as copies of Da Vinci painting? Those are so many extra works by copiers. Valued much less, because copying is easy. But still, work, and paid as such.

The modern system of copyright is an aberration. It gives a worker control over his finished and already paid for work, something that makes absolutely no sense, replaced a pretty reasonable system that worked well for several millennia. And the nonsense got so ingrained that, well, here we are, me talking with someone who really believes some instance of work deserve perpetual payment because "creativity", while "non-creativity" for some reason is a lower form of existence that doesn't deserve the same protection because elitism.

Me, I prefer non-elitism all the way up.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 183

Copyrighted works, on the other hand, don't prevent anyone from creating their own works.

Yes, they do. A person may be a good creator of characters, of settings, of situations, and of dialogues, and having the four abilities, produce a full original novel. Another person might be good at three, two or one of the four, and therefore unable to exercise his creativity except by means of appropriating respectively one, two or three of those from another artist.

Case in point: fanfic. I read a lot of fanfic, some of which better than the original. And why is it better? Because while the original author was good at, say, two of the above four, he wasn't very good at the other two, while the fanfic author complements this weakness, the end result being a fully realized work of art that wouldn't exist otherwise.

Under your scenario however, the fanfic author is in the wrong "just because", no matter how much this harms other artists, and the cultural development of a society as a whole.

How about forcing these descendents to donate their parents' assets to the public domain, just like copyrighted works?

Your workaround to the question of glyphs show you yourself wouldn't accept the full implications of your conceptual framework. This here is another example, because you actually require this very thing from, among others, house painters. Do you pay monthly royalties to the artist who painted your living room? No? Why? Just because he did a minimalist, one-color private installation? Why is this relevant?

And how about the engineer who projected the road over which that person you photographed the other day stood? Did you get a license to make copies of his artistic project which you unconsciously appropriated in your own artistic endeavors?

The silliness you think you're seeing in the above examples is the exact same silliness those who oppose copyright see in the arguments of copyright defenders. And the arguments you use against these examples are also the arguments copyright opposers use. And any difference you'd pretend to find between these positions, thinking your own reasonable, and that of copyright opposers unreasonable, is an arbitrary line drawn in the sand with blurry edges, no more and no less.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 183

Walt Disney isn't creating any new art since he died.

By the way, how much are you willing to pay the descendants of the inventors of the 200 or so glyphs of the extended Latin alphabet? You aren't an evil and greed consumer of texts who wants to avoid paying your due for every single usage of A, a, B, b, C, c... {, [, !, @... 7, 8 and 9, or are you?

Comment Re:IE all over again (Score 1) 371

Actually, yes, 8.x is better. It's noticeably faster than 7, and it allows one to use those few actually useful Metro apps (yes, there are a few ones). Fixing the annoyance of the lack of a Start menu is a matter of installing a small application, of which there are several choices available. In return, you get an OS that does everything else much better than 7 did.

I wouldn't go back to 7's slowness even if someone paid me to do it. Rather, I much prefer to pay $5 for Start8 (which I like more than Classic Shell) and get all of 8's benefits. Similarly, once I upgrade to Windows 10, if I don't like its new Start menu, I'll be upgrading to Start10 too. There's absolutely no benefit in sticking with 7 other that that one rare application you absolutely depend on that doesn't work in 8+. If you have one of those, well, keep 7. Otherwise, move up. There's no downside.

Comment Re:IE all over again (Score 1) 371

When you download Chrome, it has a check box (yes, in the download page), checked by default, by means of which you select whether you want your Chrome download to become your default browser when installed. Guess what? You didn't uncheck it when you downloaded Chrome. Whenever I download Chrome I uncheck it. And my Chrome never makes itself the default browser by merely updating itself. My default is and continues being Firefox.

Now, there's probably an option somewhere to disable the behavior you describe. If this bothers you, maybe googling it would be a good idea?

Comment Re:Ethics? (Score 3, Interesting) 190

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it assumes a linear progression in research, when by all measures it seems to be exponential.

From a certain perspective this might seem like the argument works against my point, because the earlier we do something would mean its result would be multiplied by orders of magnitude later on. However, that'd be a stochastic reasoning, because there's a point at which the result was achieved. Therefore, the distinction is between a linear delay vs. an exponential growth.

In other words, if we wait 50 years because we don't want to cause excessive suffering to animals, the trillions of human beings in our future light cone would most probably "feel" it as a delay of seconds, if that much.

IMHO then, reasoning from the perspective of extremely future benefits isn't useful. At most, only the near future is actually affected. And even that might be just a minor delay, since computation and simulated models are themselves advanced so much that in a few years they'll outpace anything doable by directly manipulating living beings.

Statistics means never having to say you're certain.