Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Doctrine of Choice

(I'm still working on Keynes, so here's some more brain droppings of mine) (Thanks George!)

The Doctrine of Choice is a pompous name that I've given to a very simple idea that guides my legal, moral and political philosophy more than anything else. At it's simplest it is this: People should be allowed to do whatever they provided that they're not harming anyone else.

A lot of people CLAIM that's what they believe, but I bet they'll fail the test on more than one thing, and on many things if they're a social conservative. Stated a little more specifically it goes like this:

1) Everything is legal, unless it victimizes someone else. To be a crime, something MUST have a victim. (And no, "Society," doesn't count. A tangible victim.)

2) The threshold for someone being a victim is for them have a choice they are otherwise entitled to usurped or taken form them by another.

Now... #2 may sound a bit odd, but it's actually a very low threshold for crime when you think about it. Does someone have to be killed, receive bodily harm, lose a certain amount of monetary valuables? Well, those WOULD qualify, but I set the bar pretty low. All they have to lose is their choice. Now you'd think that setting the bar for crime so low, that I'd end up outlawing many more things than the social conservatives would. But the opposite is true. So let's test this system, first against some easy ones...

MURDER

When you and I woke up this morning, we had a clear choice to make. Face another day, or slit our own throats. Putting the drama aside, obviously, most of us, on most days will choose the first option. But if someone comes along and SHOOTS me? They are taking my LIFE, yes, but they really only need to be usurping MY CHOICE (to live) for this to be crime. (The ADDITIONAL loss of a LIFE is really only relevant to the SENTENCING portion!)

THEFT

I can do whatever I want with MY [after-tax] MONEY. Buy stuff, lend it to a friend, invest it, put it in the bank, give it to a homeless guy, burn it... WHATEVER I WANT. But if someone, say the guy from the previous example, were to STEAL my money, well... That's tantamount to making the decision fore me: and the decsion was forced to give the money to him. Regardless of how much I've lost, it's all a crime because the choice was MINE, and he usurped it.

RAPE

I can have sex with whomever* I* want*, and I can abstain as I wish as well. But someone who's raping me, say, again that slimeball from the last two examples, is saying, "No. It's not YOUR choice, it's MINE. And I SAY, you're going to have sex with ME!"

*Point of clarification: CHOICE in this case DOES imply CONSENT on the part of all parties involved. And CONSENT implies all parties are legal, [human] adults. All parties must be legally able to GIVE consent, which rules out both animals and the underaged. In each case, we do not recognize consent, and a choice is thus usurped still.

So... You get the idea. Here are some more knotty ones...

FRAUD is a crime because it means that the person's choice was not INFORMED. You have usurped the choice in this way by withholding information that otherwise may have resulted in a different choice. In anyway they've been cheated of their choice.

SOME DRUGS remain illegal, but not all. To qualify as a controlled substance something must be both synthetic (meaning that it is consumed in a form that has been chemically altered from it natural form) and addictive. Addictive is important, because addiction is what represents the usurpation of choice here. NOW... the CRIME is on the part of the DEALER. Why you ask, when the USER in fact CHOSE to use drugs? Very simple. It's a case of unbalanced information. Prior to becoming addicted the user has no REAL idea, no real information about how horrible addiction is, what it REALLY does to every aspect of your life and how likely he is to even become an addict. And most who are or have been addicted would have made different choices had they had the first hand knowledge of these things back when they started, but they didn't. How could they know? But the DEALER? HE's got a pretty shrewd idea what's in store for his customers. He peddling addiction via fraud. So anyone dealing addictive synthetic substances (crystal meth, crack, cocaine, heroin, opium, ecstasy, roofalin) is going down. But Tobacco, marijuana, coca leaves, betel nut, 'shrooms... it's all good, baby. They occur in nature, and you just can't outlaw something that's ALREADY THERE, on it's own. If we didn't invent it, how the hell can we outlaw it? REGULATE it? Sure. (18 and over only.) TAX it? You best your asterix. But why throw someone in jail who picked something up off the ground and chowed down or smoked it? No reason to. None at all.

The exception, and it should be obvious at this point, is Alcohol. I say: grandfather it in, and leave it legal. I have no justification for this in my model, other than the fact that it is consumed in moderation without issue (even some health and social benefits) buy almost everyone on the planet. So we'll draw the line HERE, and outlaw anything ELSE that fails the above tow tests.

Also... I say controlled, rather than illegal, becasue I still wouldn't outlaw those other thigns. Should we find that their is some medical use for them, in some small, safe dose? I won't let the law in the way of the medical research. And before you scoff, you should realize that most presciption anti-despreseant and pain-killers are checially very similar to many narcotics. Paxil is almost identical to cocaine in structure but also in the effect it has on the brain. It's just kept in a REALLY SMALL does - miligrams being swallowed insetad of grams being snorted. But you CAN get hooked if you abuse prescription medicinces. Just ask Rush Limabugh.

Now for some tricky ones:

GAMBLING

As long as the game is fair, meaning not FIXED, and everyone understands the rules and the odds? (IOW no fraud involved) Why the hell not? Just regulate it to insure fairness, the way we do today in places that allow it, and keep it to certain ZONES in a given town or city. No one wants a Casino in their NEIGHBORHOOD, but downtown, or on the outskirts? Why not. Let each town decide for themselves. No reason for the STATE or FED to say no.

PROSTITUTION

As the now immortal George Carlin once pointed out: Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal? Again I don't care WHAT goes on between consenting adults and neither does out current system of law enforcement... until money changes hands. WTF? Why should THAT matter?! You name me ONE OTHER THING that's it's legal to GIVE AWAY but illegal to SELL and I'll take it all back. But IMHO prostitution is NO CRIME. And thus should be LEGAL.

REGULATED, to be sure. And this is actually the BEST way to address the (faux) concerns that people, usually conservatives, express for the workers in the trade and use as justification for criminalizing it. Disease? Require (and have employers pay for) regular check-ups and condom use to keep your license. (Yes, you'd need a license! How else could you regulate it?!) Customer don't want to pay? Legal contract: Girl can SUE. Assault? Not likely if it all takes place inside the brothel, which has bouncers. This also addresses the next concern: We don't want hookers soliciting on the street, in the neighborhood, at the schools, etc... Well, just like with the casinos, this is merely a ZONING issue. Discreet advertising, discreet signage, and an off-the-beaten-path location, should satisfy any reasonable person involved. We'll never make it into an admirable profession, but there's just no rational justification for criminalizing it.

DRUNK DRIVING

This includes ALL forms of intoxication, not just alcohol, so don't bother using DRIVING as an argument for criminalizing cannabis. That's just stupid. You can't drive drunk, high, low, or whatever. Stay home or call a cab. Why? Because everyone else on the roads made their choice to drive assuming it was safe. Or at least that weren't any reckless drunks out there, bombing around, which is as the law promises them. Plus you have no right to risk anyone ELSE'S life, other than your own. So it's simple. This fails the test.

HOMOSEXUALITY / GAY MARRIAGE

See 'prostitution.' As for the marriage part... again WHY THE HELL NOT? Show me any other legal contract ANYWHERE that I can enter with a member of the opposite sex, but not the same. There isn't one. And as far as the LAW is concerned with marriage that's all it is: a LEGAL CONTRACT. So if you have a problem with this one, all I can say is, "GROW UP."

RELIGION - The meaning of religious freedom should be obvious, and I'm stunned how many people try to say otherwise: (1) the separation of church and state. The above doctrine (as an interpretation of our Constitution) should drive our laws, not religion. PERIOD. (2) The prohibitions of any religion shall only apply to it's VOLUNTARY adherents. (So, "No" to these idiotic Catholic (etc...) pharmacists who won't dispense Birth Control. The church forbids YOU to use it. It has no authority over anyone else, and neither do YOU.) And anyone can leave any church at any time. (3) That also means no teacher-lead prayer in school. This violates YOUR choice to bring you child up in a given faith. Don't care about respecting OTHER PEOPLE'S faiths? Well what if the teacher was Muslim**? THEN would you want them preaching to your child or leading them in prayer? Didn't think so. Freedom for ANY ONE, necessarily means freedom for ALL, as well as the right to NOT believe or practice as well. It's pretty simple and, as far as I'm concerned, self-evident. I'll never get why so many people can't understand this. (And don't be an idiot an think this means that NO ONE can pray in school. THAT would be a obvious violation of their right to practice, which IS and WILL REMAIN 100% proteted. Only teacher-lead prayer in banned!)

**I ask it this way, because in THIS country, it's usually the CHRISTIAN funny-mentalists who don't get it. If we were having this discussion in IRAN, obviously I'd say "Christian" instead of "Muslim" in the above example.

Anyhow, THIS is how I interpret the spirit of the Constitution, and the Rights it grants. This is how I define FREEDOM and LIBERTY. The only laws that are needed would those that arbitrate situation in which one person choices would usurp another's. And it's usually pretty clear in these cases who's right and wrong. Except one.

There is one issue that this philosophy is USELESS to make any headway on.

Abortion.

Because abortion (arguably) involves two entities, both of whom may or may not be having a choice usurped. And one side clearly believes that the rights of one win out, while the other just a clearly believe it's the rights of the other. And you know what? I'm not sure there a "win" here either way. I just don't see this as anything other than lose-lose one way of the other.

So I'll cop-out on this one, but I promise to take up abortion at a later date. I might actually surprise some of you conservatives with my views on abortion, but I'm sure you'll come away disappointed anyway. LOL. The thing is... so will many liberals! You just can't WIN an argument over abortion!

If you are curious how I would interpret any other, just let me know. So far I've never been stumped. (Other than abortion, attmitedly.)

9 comments:

  1. Another concern with prostitution as it currently is would be pimps. Prostitutes can't very well do much about an abusive pimp, because they themselves are on the wrong side of the law.

    It's just another reason it should be legal. The same thing goes for any drug usage. It makes it much more difficult for people to call out those who are actually harming others, since they've been marginalized as criminals to begin with. Likewise with gambling, if someone is running a crooked game, you can't do much about it without exposing yourself as a criminal as well. This is part of why any question of harming oneself should be taken out of the realm of the law and treated instead as a physical/mental health issue.

    I'm curious what your abortion post will conclude. Some food for thought:

    "Because abortion (arguably) involves two entities, both of whom may or may not be having a choice usurped. And one side clearly believes that the rights of one win out, while the other just a clearly believe it's the rights of the other."

    "(1) the separation of church and state. The above doctrine (as an interpretation of our Constitution) should drive our laws, not religion. PERIOD."

    It's important to consider whether you believe that government has the right to determine at what point a legal entity is formed or not. Because if they do have that right, then any protest to that must be based on a higher authority. And any person must be able to ignore that, otherwise they would be forced to recognize and respect a religious argument, thereby having their right to choice usurped.

    You don't have to address it now, but I think that's a highly relevant concept to bear in mind. Based on what you wrote in this post, I'm not sure how you can argue for anything except the pro-choice side, at least as far as the law is concerned. But maybe I'll be surprised.

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  2. >>You name me ONE OTHER THING that's it's legal to GIVE AWAY but illegal to SELL and I'll take it all back.

    I'm not writing this so you take it all back, I'm just good at providing examples when they exist:

    1. My babies (already born or very close).
    2. Body Organs.
    3. Airline miles, hotel points.
    4. Lots of music and art by both good and bad artists.
    5. My hand in marriage to a foreigner who wants to be a citizen.
    6. My vote as a citizen or politician.
    7. My vote as a juror.

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  3. Anon,

    1) OK, but dude... The giving away of babies IS a highly regulated process. You don't just GIVE them away, after all. And consider the amount of money that DOES change hands in so many cases... IDK, I'm not buying this ain't a business in many places.

    2) True enough. Fair enough. You got me here 100%.

    3) Is this really ILLEGAL? I mean if I can transfer them for someone else usage, I can't take some compensation for that? And is it ILLEGAL, or does it just void the contract?

    4) Nope. Nope. Nope. I can sell used CD's tapes, physical art, etc... I just can't sell anything I stole (copied, ect...) But I can't give that away either! And you're not really supposed to give away / distribute downloaded music either, unless the artist gives permission, correct? YouTube cans that practice all the time.

    5) Ummmm... It's not exactly legal to GIVE that away for this purpose either you know!

    6) LOL! OMG! First off... what exactly constitutes 'giving it away'? Voting? Or voting the way someone else wants you to? And if you vote for someone because they'll give you a tax cut, isn't THAT selling your vote?

    7) Also not sure how you'd "give this away" - "away" being the key word.

    OK so you totally got me on Organs. I got nothin' there.

    MAYBE on hotel points too, but like I said: is selling those really ILLEGAL or does it just void the contract?

    Anyway, well played. :)

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  4. Brab,

    "It's important to consider whether you believe that government has the right to determine at what point a legal entity is formed or not."

    In the words of Han Solo, "Well, that's the real trick isn't it?"

    And even if you get past THAT, there's still the decision of WHEN exactly that would be.

    That's why I say that the 'doctrine of choice' doesn't really help here. The really sticky part is exactly as you laid it out!

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  5. I'm not sure what's tricky about it. What could the basis of an argument against the government's right to make that determination possibly be?

    I've never been that concerned with issues of establishing boundaries, either. "It's a protected entity at six months, but not five months and three weeks..." is just like saying "I can vote at eighteen, but not if I'm seventeen and eleven months..." The fact that there's some debate as to where to draw a line doesn't suggest that the line shouldn't be drawn at all.

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  6. Brabantio,

    Oh absolutely. A line can and must always be drawn SOMEWHERE. The argument is almost always however on where to draw it and why. And 'why' is very important, becasue the reasoning behind the ine being drawn in one place on one issue, can influence where it's drawn in another. I think after I do a post about abortion, I'll also post my PROOF that even if you outlaw abortion entirely, you still have no basis upon which to prohibit EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH. (Surprising position, but it withstands scrutiny.) And it call comes dowen the WHEN and WHY you draw the line.

    What could the basis of an argument against the government's right to make that determination possibly be? It depends. If you're a social conservative trying to outlaw abortion, you'll take that "appeal to higher power" argument. Now... I don't buy that. And I'm guessing you don't... But it IS an argument. And since, sadly, the world has not yet submitted itself to my wisdom, LOL, it's one that will need to be considered. But even without it... some in the govenrment might say conception, some may say quickeneing, some may go by trimensters... and really? Their no scietific test available either way. It's all subjective. Persoannly? I choose a different milestone than most. One that's almost always neglected. And yet, IMHO, the only one that makes any damn sense!

    You know what? Next post I'll do embryoninc stem cell resaerch FIRST. That will make it easier to get into abortion. (The liberals will LOVE my ESC position, while the conservatives will love the abortion conlcusion that my proof leads to.) (They I'll piss them off in the NEXT post on abortion... but some liberals as well, perhaps.)

    SHOULD BE FUN!!! :)

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  7. It still seems sort of odd that someone's choice can legitimately be compromised by a religious argument, but I'll wait for your future posts to have that fleshed out.

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  8. Well... you know me. I'm sure as hell (irony inteneded) not going to make a religious argument. It just comes down to how much one want to protect the rights of one versus the other and where s/he feels the greatest risk of doing harm is. I'm actrually guessing your position and mine will are pretty close. ut, as you know, there are factions that will end up all over the map, from conception to birth.

    But let me do stem cell resaerch first. That a more personal one for me anyway and I can't for the life of me understand why ANYONE is standing in the way of this important work.

    Thanks again, BTW, for your thoughful comments. I greatly appreciate that you have taking the time to contrbute regularly.

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  9. Absolutely no problem!

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