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Man's laughter

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Jul. 20th, 2003 | 11:46 pm
mood: creativecreative
music: Metallica - Master of Puppets (Techno Remix)

troyworks suckered me into typing at him for like an hour. Here is the result. :-) I'll be lazy and dump most of his post here at the top of it, hope you don't mind, Troy! OK, I just double-checked that it is at least a public entry. Here we go:
I believe in rights with responsibility, I see it when someone takes away from society, they owe something back of equal or greater value. E.g when an animal (say a dog) maims or kills another animal, we eitehr force the owner to pay for the animal, and also typically put that animal down, regardless of the cause, even though we could cage it, or chain it, or perform alternative surgery on it. Somehow this train of thought is suitable for dogs, but not humans. Which is part of my confusion.

But what is an equivalent value for human life? If we are talking money, an adopted baby can run $11K, an insurance policy for an average person can be in the $100K-Millions. If we are talking parts just a few dollars of water and minerals after cremation but umpteen millions if we are talking about organs or if we could refine the special chemcials inside. But really is money a suitable currency for life? Seems paltry to compare the two. Is the life of another suitable payment? Seems closer at least as a commodity to me.

I'm curious (and I don't know how to do polls). Where is your ratio of a person(s) responsible and lives lost before you'd consider death as an option? 1:1, 1:10: 1:100, 1:1Million?

Q2: What would be a suitable punishment for a generic person killing 10 generic others?

Q3: If it were a teenage boy, versus a middle aged man, or a woman with child performing the same crime, why should that make a difference? The IRS doesn't show discrimination as to how you make money, but it takes it evenly if you file the same tax form the same way.

Q4: Most of us would give leniency for having a seizure in the car while driving. Is age no difference?

Perhaps I'm unrealistic in thinking there should be some unified rules, and metrics to weight life and damage caused to it.
- troyworks

Some rights are intrinsic. The right to *exist* hardly needs explanation. (cf. The Golden Rule, if you like.)

Being responsible for the presence of a dangerous animal is a correctable human behavior. The dog is irrelevant (but I probably wouldn't have any put down).

A human life does not possess a general property one would label 'value'. It may have specific properties which can be mapped to someone's subjective value system, but there is little utility in generalizing about those. Having said that, there is nonetheless a synergistic positive social and practical utility to placing each human's "value" at infinity. (It might also be literally true.)

All tragedies are unipolar. By that I mean nothing can make the victim(s) 'whole' again; nothing can balance it. You can't pay them, you can't kill someone on their behalf, you can't scowl and kick dogs. Oh, and you can't invade other countries, either, unless of course you had already planned to for years and were just waiting for an excuse.

You can't kill someone who killed someone else and expect to come out even, except in the sense that now you've equally devalued yourself, even if you have someone else do it for you.

And if you give a bureaucracy license to kill, do you trust them to stick to your agenda? Eventually they'll come for _you_, and they'll be hoisting petards.

Q1: interestingly, that would be a formula that tends to a limit of either infinity or zero.

Q2: brand them. *snerk*

Q3: That depends on what you are trying to accomplish. It might serve some purpose to treat people differently in some particular way in response to a crime they commit. Anyway, the IRS isn't the example you want. The IRS is _very_ interested in how you made the money!! And the IRS does not tax people who are under a certain age (children). Even if your forms are filled out the same, there are different heuristics for who gets audited.

Q4: That's a tricky one. When we change gradually over a long period of time, as with aging, we don't necessarily notice just how _much_ change there has been. Frogs in boiling water. We might agree that, above a certain statistically determined age, it would be helpful to require more frequent driving tests in order to keep the privilege of doing that insane combination of unreasonably dangerous actions we call 'driving'.

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Comments {7}

TroyToy

(no subject)

from: troyworks
date: Jul. 20th, 2003 10:28 pm (UTC)
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hell you spend an hour typing in response you can print out my replies and use them as toilet paper if you wish. ;)

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Triple Entendre

Another factoid

from: triple_entendre
date: Jul. 27th, 2003 10:09 pm (UTC)
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The New York Times editorial page mentions that the old man had passed the vision and written tests in 2000. They point out that, even if it had been required of him, he very well might have passed a live driving test as well.

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TroyToy

Re: Another factoid

from: troyworks
date: Jul. 27th, 2003 10:13 pm (UTC)
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3 years is a long time for vision. Pilots are checked yearly for physical

I wish video games had the virtual depth of a real world, and the DMV could administer a crisis driving test. Seems reasonable to me. Little sticker saying if they are coordinated enough to use a cell phone or drink while driving.

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Chef Monkey

(no subject)

from: chefmonkey
date: Jul. 25th, 2003 10:52 am (UTC)
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I note that your subject line seems far more relevant if you remove the spaces and punctuation. That was intentional, right?

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Jul. 27th, 2003 10:06 pm (UTC)
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Yes. It's an old joke, source unknown.

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(Deleted comment)

Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Jul. 29th, 2003 06:54 pm (UTC)
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More evidence that most disagreements are merely semantic.

It is true that rights have little effect if they are not recognized. Any legalism that is ignored in practice has no agency. But I'm speaking in a larger sense of justice or morality.

Existing is what life _does_. If anything is a right, I think existence would have to be the first. People who don't exist have very few rights.

So, it's recognized as such by all life, at least for itself. By definition! And in practice. Even suicides have to overcome that physical imperative, to live, to breathe, to stay alive at all costs.

Life that loses its urge to exist -- dies.

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(Deleted comment)

Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Aug. 8th, 2003 09:23 am (UTC)
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If water had the ability to be aware of its wetness, then sure, I'd say that.

I am still not convinced that we are arguing. ;-)

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