Dispelling "need" arguments

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by eric/, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. eric/, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013

    eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #1
    So often times in society we mistakenly resort to things like "you don't need that" as arguments. I wanted to bring up an essay by David Friedman discussing this very topic, and I'm hoping that I can sway some people toward rethinking their stance on "need". I'll pick out a few quotes, that I think are particularly applicable, and we can discuss it here:

    The essay can be located here and then by selecting "I don't need nothin" from the table of contents.

    Now, the rest of the entier paper may or may not be good, I don't know and the point here isn't to discuss that, or for people to come here and start trying to spout off about political parties or whatever. Also, while it's discussed in the article the healthcare system, that's not the main focus here. Though we can talk about whether somebody "needs" healthcare, just not "UK does it this way, Bermuda does it that way" etc....

    There's no need for any comments about guns specifically in this thread. I'd rather avoid starting an explicit debate about guns when we have 14 other threads for it.

    There's no need for comments about any sort of constitution or existing law, because this is a much more philosophical inclined discussion.

    There's no need to attempt to critique the author or anything like that, either, we're here to debate the topic.

    Please feel free to post relevant articles/essays on the topic .

    I hope we can have a civil, engaging conversation here.

    So, if you at least took the time to read the OP. What do you think about the argument that somebody does or does not "need" something?
     
  2. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #2
    Thanks for posting this, I thought it was an interesting essay and I align with the author's line of thought quite a bit.

    I do agree strongly that the idea that one person or a group of people should be able to decide what someone needs or doesn't need to be completely ridiculous. If for no other reason, it's because the idea of "need" can be very subjective. And the privilege of deciding what others do and don't need is generally reserved for the person/people with the most political power.

    It seems in the current world we live in that some people feel that if they can simply get a large enough group of people to agree with them about what someone's "needs" are, then they have justification for commandeering the property of someone who owns more than what others think he needs.

    It's nothing more than an organized and overt form of robbery in my mind.
     
  3. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #3
    Commandeering the property?

    Are you saying that is a US problem? Or a global problem?


    The need argument goes both ways.

    I think there have to be some limits to maintain a peaceful society. One can make an argument for needing a multitude of things - where do we draw the line? And who makes that decision?
     
  4. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #4
    Why do we need to draw a line, or have somebody make a decision other than yourself?

    I think the only possible line you could draw, is if that "need" is fulfilled by using force, or coercion; violence in other words, against others.
     
  5. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #5
    What if a blind person needs to drive?

    What if a 14 year old needs to get married?

    I can think of a billion more....

    There are many things that can harm society that aren't done by using force or coercion. Do you really believe that anyone should be able to do anything they want - as long as they feel like they "need" it?
     
  6. JohnLT13 macrumors 6502a

    JohnLT13

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    #6
    So basic laws should not apply if they conflict with my "needs".

    Drawing a line would be submission to others definition of your needs. How does that give you any freedom to decide your "needs".
     
  7. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #7
    I'm saying it's a Human problem. Mob mentality and all that...


    I'd like to know what you mean here, and what is is that I said that made you feel the need to reply in that way?

    If "limits" need to be in place on someone's ability to store up wealth or anything else in order to maintain a peaceful society, what does that say about our "society"?

    And you're right, one can make an argument for needing a multitude of things, and the problem with this is?

    As far as I'm concerned, people can claim to need whatever they want, and if they have or can obtain the means to fulfill those needs then more power to them. Not everyone always can, and more importantly, not everyone always will. But their inability/unwillingness to obtain the things they need does not give them the inherent right to take the property of others who can.

    So I'd say, do we even have to draw a line? Why?

    I'd argue that we don't, that nobody has any sort of inherent right to determine when someone elses property has crossed over from being "according to their need" to "excessive, and unnecessary".

    Some people want the general public to stay out of every aspect of their lives, but feel entitled to partake of the livelihood of others. It's quite a hippocratic stance to have IMO.

    ----------

    I don't think I understand what you mean here?

    I haven't argued that basic laws don't or shouldn't apply. I've argued that people shouldn't be able to dictate the "needs" of others, and by extension, take the property of others through force or coercion. Some laws, or trains of political thought, depending on who you ask, are exactly that.
     
  8. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #8
    Gotcha


    That wasn't directed at your post, but towards the OP.

    That's exactly my point, though. I absolutely believe there are some things society (or our government) shouldn't restrict. Especially for some of the reasons they are being restricted.

    However, as in my examples above - you don't see anything wrong with a blind person getting behind the wheel of car and driving down the highway? Even if they need to drive?

    There are things that are restricted for the good of society. .


    You seem to be stuck on guns (at least that's my perception)...and I understand your point - but again there are some limits on property that may be for the greater good.

    What if someone in your apartment building needs to own a lion? Or a tiger? Or a giraffe?

    A pitbull just killed a 2 year old here in Houston - should ownership be restricted? It's a debate that has been overshadowed by the gun debate, but it's been talked about here.
     
  9. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #9
    I feel as though this is a special case, because there is really no realistic outcome other than harm of others that can result from this. If there were a safe way for a blind person to drive then I'd be all for it, but there currently isn't.

    Yes, that is true. I'm mostly referring to personal property, specifically wealth.




    I am not stuck on guns, probably because I don't own any nor do I plan on it. But I don't see any logical reason why a law abiding citizen shouldn't be able to. I'm mostly referring to the ability of someone to accumulate wealth without being penalized with disproportionately high taxes because the general public feels they "don't need" all that extra money.

    My main issue is that people shouldn't be going around deciding what their neighbors do and don't need especially in terms of wealth. I just can't stand the notion of a group of people taking, or attempting to take, the wealth of one person because that person has more than they do.

    There are avenues for that to be a possibility. Perhaps not inside the apartment building, but there's no law out there that I'm aware of that absolutely forbids this in all circumstances.

    I don't think it should. No. See my response to the animal question above.
     
  10. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #10
    @SLC Flyfishing (I'm too lazy to break up the quotes!)

    Ok, now I understand where you're coming from with the financial aspect of ownership.

    Regarding the blind person, and the animals, my point was to show that limits, in some cases - even if it's based on the dwelling you live in - are necessary. Needing something doesn't automatically equate into a right to do or own.

    eric/ in many debates seems to think there should be no limits to anything (or that we shouldn't be told what we can own and do) and while it's a nice fantasy, it just isn't realistic. Even if we do away with all government. Limits would eventually be set.
     
  11. SLC Flyfishing, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013

    SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #11
    Fair enough...pleasure doing business with you.

    And for the record, I'm just as poor as the next guy. I currently don't even have an income :(

    Hopefully that will change in the nearish future, and I can begin accumulating wealth and storing it up for my posterity. I've been in school for over a decade now and will likely have the ability to earn a substantial income, at a significant cost in both time and student loans. I'd like to put something away so my kids don't have to struggle in the same ways I did. I also think they deserve it for sacrificing right along with me during their early childhood. That's all I really want, and anyone who tries to get in the way of that goal by telling me I don't "need" what I'm able to put away can get bent, no exceptions.
     
  12. MuddyPaws1 macrumors 6502

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  13. bjm2660 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Limits, Role of Government

    Irony alert: So, if we do as he article suggests and strike "need" from this discourse, why is this discussion relying so heavily upon it? What word shall take its place?

    There have been some very interesting posts above; I've enjoyed reading them.

    Some are taking a view that personal "needs" fall under one's private life--beyond the purview of governmental regulation.

    Others are seizing on the inevitable conflicts that will arise as different people's "needs" bump into one another.

    Where do one person's civil liberties end and another's begin? Endangerment? To whom?

    The question of limits is always a difficult one. I don't mean to derail the discussion but another theme is emerging--the proper role of government.

    Is human nature inherently corrupt and in need of strong governance to protect civil liberties?

    Or

    Is government inherently corrupt--requiring guarantees of civil liberties as a safeguard against government's tendency toward tyranny and oppression?

    I apologize if this isn't what the OP was looking for.
     
  14. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #14
    That's the problem here. You're using the possibility of somebody doing something you disagree with, as reason for you either directly or indirectly, to initiate force against them.

    The crux of the argument doesn't rest on individual examples, it rests on the idea that some people can decide what other's need. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with these examples you bring up, you are applying the argument that you are the arbitrator of what another person needs.

    Even more so, many of those examples involve what you would constitute risk behavior. But that also ignores an underlying principle; life itself is a rather risk endeavor. And as the author accurately points out, without such risk, are we even living?

    As long as it doesn't harm others, absolutely. I think we could get into what constitutes harm, certainly, but that may be a topic of it's own.

    ----------

    Welllllll it's more so striking need from political discourse. We're hopefully here to discuss that topic.

    I think that it's all an artificial construct, created by humans. Rights, and any similar notions are derived from men and women.

    With that being said, typically, the point I like to try and make is that many people claim to be averse to violence. That it's bad, they don't support it, etc... and I like to try and explain or show how they are in fact supporting violence, through government actions (bans, etc...).


    Nope. Good stuff and I think without getting too much into exactly what a government is or should be we can discuss it in the context of the argument.
     
  15. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #15
    So, what you're saying is that a life with limits is not a life at all?

    I just don't agree. I think there are just some things that need to limited. Should I be allowed to put limits on what my children do? There are many instances where society itself is the arbitrator of what society needs to maintain safety.

    And how else to prove a point than to use examples? What you're arguing is a romantic notion of "freedom". But, this isn't Utopia. This is the real world, and it just wouldn't work. How long would a limitless society last before anarchy? Before we all turned on each other?

    And regarding risk behavior - of course life itself is a risk. It's also an easy, but weak, answer to the examples I used.

    Again, I ask, would you be ok with a blind person driving if they said they "needed" to? You see absolutely no good in regulating things like driving? Or in the ability to keep wild animals in an apartment building? Or the need to stop at a red light or stop sign?
     
  16. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #16
    No, only that it's up to each individual to determine those limits.

    It's up to you I guess.

    But I'm not asking if this happens, or how it happens, but why we should let it happen. Society is just a way of describing an aggregation of individuals.


    Because then instead of debating the concept, we begin debating fantasy and trivial nonsense. For every example you give, I can give a counter example.

    No
    Agreed.

    What wouldn't work? Being non-violent?

    Well I'm not saying society would be limitless. Just that those limits would not be imposed through force and coercion.

    why would that happen?

    Why is it weak?

    Sure. And then they would be responsible for whatever problems result.

    No, regulate away. So long as every single person agrees to it, it's voluntary, and it's done through non-violent means.

    As long as you aren't hurting anybody, you could have a whole zoo in your apartment for all I care.
     
  17. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #17
    Ahh, so the key factor in your argument is imposing limits through force and coercion.

    Who decides what constitures force? Who decides what constitutes coercion?
     
  18. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #18
    Well yeah.

    Nobody. They are defined.
     
  19. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #19
    Where are they defined? And by whom?
     
  20. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #20
    I guess by Merriam Webster, and whoever works there
     
  21. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #21
    And if I don't agree with their definition?
     
  22. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #22
    Well you can disagree with the words or something I guess, but you can't disagree with the concept.
     
  23. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #23
    We can have completely different notions of what coercion is. So, yes, I can disagree with the concept if my definition is completely different than yours.
     
  24. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #24
    When I hear someone say "you don't need an AR-15" or "you don't need a 30-shot magazine" (for the record, I don't own any firearms), I also hear "you don't need an abortion," "you don't need to be able to speak your mind," and "you don't need the right to vote." Any one of those statements is as ridiculous to me as any of the others.

    The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law...." It doesn't say, "Congress shall make no law, unless it needs to...." It doesn't say "congress may abridge the freedom of speech, unless someone needs to say something." The Second Amendment says "the right of the people to bear arms, shall not be infringed." It doesn't say, "the right of the people to bear arms, shall not be infringed, as long as someone needs a certain arm."

    Laws such as these (I'm lumping amendments in with those) are not contingent on "need." There's no basis for who determines any hypothetical "need" for someone's rights to be granted (or revoked), nor what that hypothetical "need" would be based upon. These rules aren't based on "need." "Need" should not be entered into these arguments.
     
  25. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #25
    ok I don't really know how, but for simplicity sake:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coercing



    ----------

    I agree with your sentiment, but I would like to refrain from using Constitutional arguments because laws are subject to the whims of men and women, and change constantly. What I would like to do is go deeper than law, and figure out should it be a law in the first place, or should we even have laws?
     

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