What is "harm"?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by samiwas, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. samiwas macrumors 68000

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    #1
    I know at least one poster who will likely be extremely active in this thread.

    Now...there has been a lot of talk is PRSI about "freedom". Some suggest that anyone should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, as long as their actions don't "harm" someone else.

    So, what is "harm"? Are we talking physical harm? Emotional harm? Does inconvenience count as harm? Does something that is highly odorous, but not toxic count as harm?

    Some examples (I know some people don't like examples because they think it's emotional or whatever) in a society with no laws or rules:

    - I live in a nice, quiet neighborhood in a house I worked forever to afford. Three years later, a family of misfits moves in across the street. Because they have really odd tastes, they mount a large ship horn on top of their house which blows every hour, 24 hours a day, for 10 seconds. Being nautical enthusiasts, they also build a lighthouse in the yard, complete with a 1-million candela rotating beacon which shines right into my bedroom window. Oh, and they just throw their trash into their yard. I can't sell my house, either because no one wants to live next to that. Does this harm, or is this just something I live with because it is what it is?

    - A fabrication company has a factory right on a large lake. Since there are no laws to prevent them from doing so, they let a lot of trash and chemicals get into the lake. None of the chemicals are particularly dangerous, but they discolor the lake's water and make it smell awful. In addition, there is a lot of trash floating around. Seeing that nothing is toxic, no one is actually "harmed" by their actions. Is this acceptable?

    - I'm driving down the street and come upon a group of adults playing basketball, with a hoop they've placed square in the middle of the street. They won't stop playing or move their hoop so that cars can get by. No one is harmed, but it causes quite an inconvenience.

    Some people have advocated for no government, no laws, no rules, and that everything would just "work out". However, I don't think that humans are capable of actual freedom. Whether or not they cause actual harm, many actions simply impede on others.
     
  2. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

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    #2
    This is when assault weapons make sense.
     
  3. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    1. Such a ridiculous fantasy scenario that it's not worth discussing.
    2. If you pollute, that has measurable effects on others
    3. Somebody owns that road, or a community gets together and buys a road or something, so people can't just do whatever they want to somebody else's property
     
  4. Arran macrumors 601

    Arran

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    #4
    So they do have a practical use! I'm off to Walmart! :)
     
  5. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

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    Any reasonable intelligent ADULT knows that there are all types of harm and laws and regulations are needed for any type of society to exist. This includes the need for taxes to make sure we can enforce these rules. To think any other way of living is possible is neither reasonable nor intelligent. The kids who read Lord of the Flies in fourth grade understand this concept.
     
  6. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    Society doesn't need laws or regulations, or government to exist. That's simply not true.
     
  7. PracticalMac macrumors 68030

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    Sounds exactly like rally cry of a certain political party.
     
  8. Arran macrumors 601

    Arran

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    #8
    Just to get us all on the same page, can you give an example of a society that functions that way?
     
  9. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #9
    No need, it's a matter of definition.
     
  10. iMikeT macrumors 68020

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    #10
    We're 10 comments in this thread and it's 7:18am where I am and I'm all ready amused with the answers certain posters are leaving behind.

    Nothing like early morning laughs! :D
     
  11. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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    And just where is that type of society? Somalia seems to be the closest I can find.
     
  12. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #12
    Somalia has a government

    Besides, here's how society is defined:

    Government =/= society
     
  13. Moyank24 macrumors 601

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    How about the Lord of the Flies - didn't they start out with no rules?

    I would say that having absolutely no laws or regulations is impossible. It just wouldn't be able to exist for very long without putting some type of regulations in place.
     
  14. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #14
    Well you can have them, voluntarily.

    Again, you don't need a government to have rules or regulations. Some industries even self regulate just so they don't have to deal with the government.
     
  15. Moyank24 macrumors 601

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    #15
    Who's saying you need a government?

    You said,

    You may not need a government, but a society without any rules or regulations wouldn't exist for very long.
     
  16. CalWizrd Suspended

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    You can't apply logic, reasoning or reality to /eric's view of utopian Fantasyland. His comments seem to totally ignore that minor item commonly called "human nature".

    When you argue philosophy vs reality, it's impossible to reach an agreeable conclusion.
     
  17. Moyank24 macrumors 601

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    I think you are confusing yourself. Because that isn't what you said.

    So, what you're saying is that a society can have rules & regulations as long as it's done voluntarily?
     
  18. eric/ Guest

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    #18
    Idk I just re-looked through the thread and now I'm confused as to what you're talking about exactly.

    Society doesn't need government to exist, nor does it need rules or laws to exist.

    It can have rules, though. But they can be administered voluntarily. And I find that preferable.

    Maybe, maybe not.
     
  19. Arran macrumors 601

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    #19
    Ah, you must mean High Society?

    Yeah, they do as they please. No rules. Go ask them how. ;)
     
  20. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #20
    No, I mean by a matter of definition.
     
  21. Moyank24 macrumors 601

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    Name one that exists with no rules or regulations.
     
  22. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    I don't need to. A society is not defined as an entity which has rules and regulations.
     
  23. Moyank24 macrumors 601

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    #23
    Now you're talking in circles. And clearly FOS.

    You can argue anything in theory, but it's meaningless if it doesn't exist in the real world.
     
  24. Arran macrumors 601

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    Monkey society then?

    No. Hang on eric. I think even they have rules.

    How about amoebas? Pretty sure they don't have rules. Kind of hard to be sure. You wanna join the amoebas? They're boring as stink.
     
  25. eric/ Guest

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    #25
    No, I'm not. I've posted the definition. No part of that definition requires rules, law, or government in order to be a society.


    Also not true.
     
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