Reply To: Initiatory Force vs. Retaliatory Force


JohnD: With what you call your ‘minor changes’, we get:
“Let A = Rand rejects initiatory force because it violates man’s inalienable rights.
Let B = Rand permits retaliatory force against man’s inalienable rights.
Let H = Human beings have inalienable rights.
The form of the argument would then be the same:
(1e) If A, then H.
(2e) If B, then not H.
(3e) Both A and B.
Therefore, (4e) both H and not H, a contradiction.
So, if the premises are true, then Rand’s thoughts are shown to be inconsistent here.”

Putting your reformulation into English, you get
(1e) If Rand rejects initiatory force because it violates man’s inalienable rights then human beings have inalienable rights
(2e) If Rand permits retaliatory force against man’s inalienable rights then it is not the case that human beings have inalienable rights

The trouble with the new (e) version is that it has a hint of the self-referential—you’ve got the ‘inalienable rights’ stuff appearing twice in each premise. I’m not sure that you really want to do this or need to do this; in any event, it certainly reduces the clarity. Furthermore, the new B is possibly question-begging.

Whether or which, the key to the discussion (it seems to me, unless I’m completely missing the point, which is certainly possible) is the distinction between the initiation of force against another, which violates the rights of the other, and the response to such force by the person who is aggressed against which is not only not a violation of the right of the attacker but must be available to the person aggressed against, otherwise you would have rights that were, in principle, incapable of defence. This, I think, might address the issue you raise under your ‘3rd Part’: the attacker who is physically resisted doesn’t have his inalienable rights infringed.

I got a little lost in the rest of your posting, being unsure whether you were responding to me or to Jerryb225 or making some completely new point! If there is something in your post you would like me to comment on, perhaps you could isolate it from the larger context and let me see it on its own.

Jerryb225: Congratulations on doing so well with the syllogism exercises. If you’d like me to take a look at your work at any stage, I’d be happy to do so.