Student Installs Device On Teacher\'s Computer To Sell Tests

This kid gets props for using the hardware keystroke monitor, but he seems to have missed the boat on anonymous remailers, paypal account money laundering, and the other similar skills necessary for his chosen venture. As Alexander Pope says:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain
And drinking largely sobers us again

This situation brings up a vaguely interesting question, for those who like to split hairs on the natural rights they pull out of their deep nether regions. Putting aside the issue that those must be some nasty hairs, and keeping in mind that we're just talking about our own moral intuitions, were the student's actions immoral?

Clearly (to libertarians) they would be wrong in a purely private situation. But these kids have been forced, essentially at gunpoint, to go sit in these damned little rooms, stare at the blackboards, temporarily memorize the ink stains on the dead trees, and, when asked, to scribble the patterns on little pieces of paper. In one sense they are students, in another, slaves. Does the jailer's property really deserve respect?

My inclination is no. But my reservation is that test scores may later be used as evidence to employers, innocent third-parties who don't deserve to be duped. So I'm tempted to add a rider that the students should be honest about this when using their GPA later, although it's an awkward situation and I'm not so sure. What do you think?

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At first thought, what

At first thought, what bothers me is the role of the Police in all this story. The kid faces criminal charges, Police is investigating... I wonder why actually the school when discovering the fraud calls the police.

I think all tests should be

I think all tests should be essays.

This situation brings up a

This situation brings up a vaguely interesting question, for those who like to split hairs on the natural rights they pull out of their deep nether regions. Putting aside the issue that those must be some nasty hairs, and keeping in mind that we’re just talking about our own moral intuitions, were the student’s actions immoral?

So you are going to mischaracterize and insult those you disagree with before you even present your point. I've encountered some pretty low standards for discourse among bloggers but this really takes the cake.

for those who like to split

for those who like to split hairs on the natural rights they pull out of their deep nether regions.

How about for those of us that have noticed that the empirical evidence for natural rights is quite convincing? Or those that find strong correlation between economics and natural rights? Is the modern physicist just splitting the hairs Newton, Planck, and many others pulled out of their respective nether regions?

My goal was to focus the

My goal was to focus the debate in terms of how our own moral intuitions deal with ambiguous situations, rather than arguing about what the absolute answers were. I attempted to do so with humour, I'm sorry it was seen otherwise.

As for empirical evidence for natural rights, what is the empirical evidence for determining *exactly* how much radiation from your property can leak onto mine before you are trespassing?

Your goal was to make sure

Your goal was to make sure your readers knew you weren't an advocate of natural rights before you wandered into the territory of moral reasoning, and you did so by explicitly bashing said advocates in a particularly vivid and tasteless way. I don't see anything humorous about hurling insults at those you disagree with regardless of how you happen to do it.

Honestly, Patri, it seems

Honestly, Patri, it seems wrong to me. It seems unfair. Though I imagine, were we to follow the strains of that feeling, we'd get to some pretty un-libertarian results.

Still, that's my gut on the question.

Sorry, I've gotten a bit

Sorry, I've gotten a bit sensitive about natural law theories requiring much more than physical law theories.

Your question points out exactly what I mean by asking if modern physicists are splitting hairs pulled from someone's nether regions. To put it another way - what is the trajectory of a near earth object traversing the space between the moon and earth? You may assume any non-zero velocity, position, any non-zero positive mass, and use Newtonian physics to solve the problem. Sorry, trick question, there is no known solution to the three body gravity problem. Shall I throw out Newtonian physics? Shall I start declaring there are no physical laws?

As for evidence, how about North and South Korea? North Korea has little to no respect for property, liberty, or life. South Korea has some (but not complete) respect for property, liberty, and life. The starting conditions are as identical as you can get in a social experiment. Look at the results. I admit there is some evidence that is not so clearly in support of natural law, but as I've said before and I'll say again, looks like a second (or higher) order term needs to be discovered.

OK, enough for the moment, expect a post on this shortly.