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jdavidb (1361)

jdavidb
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http://voiceofjohn.blogspot.com/

J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Wednesday November 24, 2004
12:38 PM

I don't get it

[ #21986 ]

In the U.K., is it not a given that you have the right to use force against an intruder in your home? This isn't even about gun ownership or anything ... is it the European perspective that absolutely all (100%) of personal defence must be done by government officials?

If so, that's news to me. I come from a worldview where rights are inherent, intrinsic, unalienable. They are not granted by the government; they are only acknowledged and protected (or ignored and infringed) by the government. You have rights by virtue of the fact that you own yourself. From my worldview, it is the government's right to act with force that is to be questioned, and it possesses that right only by virtue of the fact that we delegate it: we employ the government to defend us, just as we might employ a private security guard to defend us. As Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, "all men ... are endowed ... with certain unalienable Rights ... to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." In other words, the purpose of the government we institute is to act on our behalf to secure our rights: to act with force against those who would threaten our right to life, for example.

I'm in the depths of misunderstanding as to why anyone would question whether or not a person has the right to use unarmed force against an intruder with clear malicious intent in his own home. I understand some have qualms about allowing people to keep arms for personal defense; I understand some would say you have to be absolutely sure an intruder is really there to kill or harm and that failing that you could take no force. But when it is clear that the person is there with intent to steal (and possibly hurt or kill you to escape detection, if they've discovered you are there), I can't believe there are some who say you have no right other than to call the government police and hope they arrive in time.

I presume noone would question an individual's right to hire private security guards. Where does this right come from, if not from the fact that they possess the right to defend themselves and may delegate it to employ help? Or is the right of personal defense beyond that which the government provides a right that belongs only to those rich enough to purchase it?

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  • I agree that asking whether or not you can defend your home is assinine, but I'm not entirely certain of the basis for my assertion. You wrote:

    I come from a worldview where rights are inherent, intrinsic, unalienable. They are not granted by the government; they are only acknowledged and protected (or ignored and infringed) by the government. You have rights by virtue of the fact that you own yourself.

    I agree that the government should be acknowledging and protecting our rights and not granting them, b

    • My justification is less explicit and more of a request for justification of what you said. It seemed that you said we have our rights as a byproduct of promoting the welfare of society. I'm saying we have our rights, period, and that society benefits as a side-benefit. Both are important, of course.

      My justification is the fact that I own myself. I belong to me, not to society. People have had grand schemes about bettering society through telling everybody what to do since time immemorial, but that d

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • In terms of gun ownership, and protecting your home with deadly force, the value of that needs to be weighed up very carefully. Consider how many houses are stolen from each year vs the number of deadly weapons you place into people's immediate access.

    Yes we Brits have rights to defend ourselves, you're taking it to the extreme.
    • I fail to see how I personally in the post above was taking it to an extreme (or did you mean all Americans). I tried to acknowledge that people have qualms about allowing private ownership of weapons and firearms, and tried to imply that I felt such qualms were reasonable.

      In the post above, all I tried to assert was that a person had the right to use unarmed nonlethal force against an intruder with clear malicious intent (intent to steal or harm). I tried to acknowledge limits people feel on this. My

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • You said: "is it the European perspective that absolutely all (100%) of personal defence must be done by government officials?". This is clearly not the case.
        • It was a sincere question. The article I linked to seemed to show some people who actually felt that way. I could not believe that would be at issue with anybody.

          I am constantly running into things that surprise me about Europe, things both good and bad (open racists running for high political office, laws on social liberties that in some cases are far more relaxed (I think that's a good thing) than their American counterparts but in others are far more restrictive, etc.) From this side of the pond, it

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • In Denmark (I am only sure of the rules here) you *do* have the right to defend yourself and your property - but it has to be a reasonable response. You are not allowed to fire a firearm at an intruder (you are not allowed to own a firearm unless in very sepcial circumstances, and then it has to be kept under lock and key).

    If someone attacks you, you are allowed to respond with sufficient force to avert the attack, but not more, ie. if someone is out to kill you, you are permitted to kill in selfdefense, bu

  • what many people who confuse this issue have forgotten or simply don't think of even when you point out to them that we have 'delegated' certain powers to government is that we have just as much right to take that power BACK from the government -- it is ours by unalienable right, and was never theirs to begin with.

    • We have never gotten away from the idea of government as absolute monarch with unlimited power granted by divine right. All we have done is substitute democracy for that monarch.

      So what we have rather than a belief that the government is an institution of people to secure the people's rights, is a belief in a government of potentially unlimited power (even constitutional limitations can be voted or amended away, and in the case of the U.S., discarded through ratification of treaties) with unquestioned ri

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers