Why Respect Rights?

Continuing the discussion from below, I have two questions. I assume that many people reading this blog fall into either the minarchist or the market anarchist camp, and this first question is directed at you.

Why ought I respect your rights to life, liberty, and property?

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>>>>In the absence of

>>>>In the absence of morality why would you value his liberty more than $100 in your pocket?

>>It?s essentially just an arbitrary personal preference. It?s just a scaled up version of why I don?t rent Rocky V again ? I wouldn?t enjoy it at all. But some people do enjoy it, and they become muggers.

There can also be some logic behind that decision.
It's fairly easy for me to know what I can gain from the $100 (at least in the short term), but I have no way to predict what I may gain should I allow this particular person to live. Maybe one day he'll save my life. Tough to do that if he's dead.

The same answer could apply to theft -- the Bill Gates example is a good one. Will you be better off if you steal his billions, or if he keeps them? I doubt the answer is obvious as it might seem.

Unless your wealth is equal to his, the fact that he has those billions implies that he can use it more productively than you can.

Mike Soja said "Extending

Mike Soja said "Extending ?rights? to things leads to an immediate absurdity."

What I pointed out is that logically ascribing rights to a 'thing' is not the same as giving the thing itself rights. Reading it again however I can see that the meaning of what you wrote can be altered by the stresses you apply if you read it out loud and that what you meant isn't the meaning I read into it.

Jonathan, You asked: Why

Jonathan,

You asked: Why respect rights?

Have you ever gotten around to offering your own answer for your question? Because if you did I missed it and I'd appreciate a link to your answer.

My reading of what you've written since leads me to believe that you don't really think there is any reason why one ought to respect rights of other individuals - though there may of course be pragmatic reasons why one would want to *appear* to respect rights in some situations.

Is that about right?

I disagree that morality is

I disagree that morality is the largest tool we have available to minimize the power, influence, and need for government. People didn’t reject communism because they suddenly realized it was immoral. People rejected communism because it failed as an economic system and there were clearly better alternatives.

this is a claim of empiricism, and it is simply wrong. For one thing, Communism hardly "failed as economic system." There are plenty of reasons not to like communism, but I would say this claim is simply a result of vulgar Rothbardianism in the sense that Randall talked about a few weeks ago. Communism as an economic system was remarkably effective, taking a 3rd world country to a second world one within about 50 years. It could not compete with a rich country like the US, especially not after the damage caused in WW2 and the arms race forced the USSR to devote much of their money toward weapons which they simply couldn't afford (this was openly discussed as a benefit in public gov't records.) Stalin's 5 year plans created the largest spurts of economic growth ever seen at that point in history. Now as you know, I have no love for Russia at all but communism was abandoned because of serious external pressures and because of the exact reason you reject above. Now that capitalism's taken hold Russia has now sunk back down to 3rd world levels, and Captalism is estimated to have cause 10 million extra deaths in the 1990's alone, numbers that would make even Stalin envious.

matt