Mailvox: someone needs a dictionary

The Jade Knight is not exactly studying for the bar:

Vox, mind posting a blog explaining to some of your hangers-on a little about the Public Domain? A few of them seem to have the (quite erroneous) idea that anything to be found on the Internet is automatically in the public domain.

And this seems to be some of the more “benevolent” of their errors.

Truly, you should pick your champions better. They do anything but uphold your intelligence to a neutral observer.

I was unaware that any of the Volk were wrongly profiting from the intellectual property of your friend with the LiveJournal. Are they selling t-shirts with the trademarked phrase “I’m Going To Puke Now”? Are they scraping the collective output of the Feminist Mormon Housewives, printing it and selling it at Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores?

If so, I’d encourage you to tell your friend to hire one of the lawyers here – The Perfect Aryan Male is a trademark and copyright law specialist – and have him write them a cease-and-desist order.

As for champions, the fact that there may be a few other big dogs lurking about the premises doesn’t mean I can’t take care of myself. They’re not mine, I don’t feed them, they simply enjoy making a snack of the odd sheep passing by. And when they do, I seldom bother to chime in as there’s little point in picking through the remains and chomping them again.

Now run along, little boy, run along.

UPDATE: Jade Knight helpfully explains that he’s not the one who needs a dictionary. His comment quoted above was made here in response to an inaccurate remark made elsewhere that I did not see. I am sorry for ripping him instead of the party who rightly deserved it. By way of apology, I’ll explain what Jade was hoping I’d point out: public domain is intellectual property that is no longer copyrighted. Copyright extends for the life of the author plus (X) years – Congress changed it recently at Disney’s behest request and I’m not sure what it is off the top of my head, 70 perhaps – after that time, a work is considered to be in the public domain and can be used by anyone.

This is why, when you go to Barnes and Noble, you’ll see numerous different versions of Pride and Prejudice or The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Anyone can publish a book that is in the public domain, and publishers like this because they need not share any royalties with the copyright holder or his heirs.

Blogs, LiveJournals and personal correspondence are not in the public domain. They are considered to be a form of copyrighted material, use of which is governed by the Fair Use law. So, you can freely quote from another blog or a newspaper, so long as you do it within reason and don’t claim the work as your own.

Stacer’s objection, as I understand it from a friend of hers who emailed me, was that she thought a LiveJournal was private. This is, as she has discovered, not true, it is public. It is not, however, in the public domain.

Contact request

Could whoever had the military officer on tap with regards to executing Armageddon shoot me an email, please? I can’t remember if it was Salt, Soup or someone else. Grazie.

The moralist in spite of himself

Dr. Eco comes to Chesterton:

Human beings are religious animals. It is psychologically very hard to go through life without the justification, and the hope, provided by religion. You can see this in the positivist scientists of the 19th century.

They insisted that they were describing the universe in rigorously materialistic terms – yet at night they attended seances and tried to summon up the spirits of the dead. Even today, I frequently meet scientists who, outside their own narrow discipline, are superstitious – to such an extent that it sometimes seems to me that to be a rigorous unbeliever today, you have to be a philosopher. Or perhaps a priest….

G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

Eco, a non-Christian but a great humanist in the best sense of the term, herein expresses the essence of Voltaire’s point regarding the fundamental necessity of religion. Human beings are not capable of maintaining a spiritual vaccuum and they will fill that void with faith in something. In some cases, they will fill it with something harmless, in others, something silly, in still others, something actively evil.

I see Eco’s article as tangentially related to yesterday’s discussion, which demonstrated again how decent atheists and agnostics raised in a Christian culture parasitically and irrationally latch onto the greater part of the morality they reject as a whole, causing them to react in horror as their fellow disbelievers not privy or more resistant to such moral indoctrination behave rationally in the manner exhorted by Nietzsche and accepted with sardonic resignation by the existentialists.

The essential point that continues to evade most of these decent disbelievers is that regardless of the ethical structure he erects to rationalize his subscription to traditional morals imposed on his consciousness by society, he has no logic beyond simple utilitarianism to offer anyone else. His definition of good and evil – assuming he even accepts such things – is his alone. He can say to the rapist “what you do is evil”, but he has no effective response when the certainly rapist says to him “what I do is good, because I define good as that which pleases me” or ” A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength” nor does he have a legitimate grounds for preventing or punishing the rapist.

Even the ethical arguments based on utilitarianism can fail here. In a demographically declining West, the rapist can quite reasonably argue that he is committing an act for the good of society, even for the good of humanity, in forcing himself on a woman who intends to remain childless. Indeed, an honest devotee of “the greater good” would have to at least consider supporting a policy of forcibly impregnating the most intelligent women, accompanied, of course, with a revivial of the historical eugenicism aimed at sterilizing the least intelligent.

This is, of course, abhorrent to the Christian morality, which Nietzsche rightly viewed as a defender of the weak. But on what grounds does a utilitarian object?

There is no dearth of philosophical systems of ethics, and they are all useless because they make no logical claim on those who do not voluntarily accept it. This is why the atheist, the agnostic and the pagan so readily resort to force as a substitute for ethics, because their arguments are toothless. To be fair, one must admit there is no shortage of Christians who do the same in their confusion of government-mandated legality with Biblically-mandated morality.

Eco quotes another lapsed Catholic, Joyce: “”What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?” I would add: what profits it an individual to forsake a morality which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical, incoherent and inapplicable to others?

17 guys you can’t get mad at

Speaking of being philosophically resigned:

Brad Pitt – If the last two women a man had sex with were Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, and the women he chooses for his next conquest is your girl, there is no way you should feel upset about this. You should feel both honored and privileged. Your woman must be among the hottest 3 girls on the planet.

The Rock – Seriously what are you going to do? He is bigger than you, stronger than you, and most likely funnier than you too. Just chalk this one up as an L and move on with life. Besides, too many years of steroid abuse have most likely shriveled his crank to the size of a golf pencil…. or at least you can keep telling yourself that.

Doug Flutie – Never before has one man brought an entire team as well as their legions of fans to their knees. Flutie did this to “The U” … why should your girl be any different.

Hmmmmm… Spacebunny does seem to perk up a bit when Tom Selleck makes an appearance on a Friends rerun….

Kant and the Buffalo

The White Buffalo runs rampant at Pandagon:

White Buffalo: What is the intrinsic worth of all human beings derived from sans a higher creator? That’s VD’s point. There is no accepted, logically defensible standard that atheists/agnostics agree on. You want everyone to play nice so you say people have intrinsic worth, but at the same time you say people evolved by accident over millions of years from pond scum. Since when did accident’s have instrinsic worth? And if they don’t, why should one not violate them?

Pandagonian 1: Buffy, go read some philosophy. I’m not trying to be nasty; there are literally dozens of introductory-level philosophy books that introduce ideas like Kant’s Universal Imperative, which is just one of the many ways to get a non-deistic ethical system off the ground.

Pandagonian 2: I second the Kant recommendation; read up. God won’t smite you with lightning, I promise. I’ve done it myself and it’s perfectly safe.

White Buffalo: Kant’s Categorical Imperative (He doesn’t have a Universal Imperative) does not assign intrinsic value to humans. It asserts that one should act only in ways that one could will that action to become a universal law. So pretty much Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Nothing particulalry original there, and not a formula for determining special value for humans, which is what I asked.

Pandagonian 1: Buffy, I apologize for messing up my terminology. I tossed off my comment during a slow spell at work. Correcting me, though, is definitely not the way to continue a constructive argument. If you want to flame, I can do that too, but I’d prefer to stick to one or the other.

CORRECTING ME IS DEFINITELY NOT THE WAY TO CONTINUE A CONSTRUCTIVE ARGUMENT. That is beautiful, simply beautiful. It could serve as the motto for the entire left-wing of the blogosphere. When caught with your pants down – notice that this is the guy who thinks he can get by with a naked argument from authority – clearly the correct solution is to criticize the person who notices.

It’s generally a bad idea to try pulling a philosophical fast one on a guy whose brother-in-law is getting a PhD in philosophy. When you’ve got one of those around, everybody gets to hear more Kant than they want.

Mailvox: "try" being the operative word

JS actually decides to give reason a whirl:

You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. All this talk of ‘reason’ and ‘moral choices’ makes me want to puke. These are not your strong points. But instead of yelling obscenities at you I’ll try and be reasonable, even though I can tell I’m wasting my time. These are not your strong points. But instead of yelling obscenities at you I’ll try and be reasonable, even though I can tell I’m wasting my time.

1. Your statement that all victims of crimes bear responsibility for their victimhood is clearly wrong. Does the victim of a serial killer bear responsibility for his crime? Should he have stayed at home behind locked doors in case a serial killer tried to kill him? Was a slave captured in Africa responsible for her capture because she didn’t run away fast enough?

Strike one. I never made any statement about all victims of crimes bearing responsibility for their victimhood. I stated that victims of crimes can bear partial responsibility for their victimhood. Is it an individual’s fault if his house is destroyed by a hurricane? If you say no, then how about those people who are rebuilding their homes below sea level in New Orleans? Are they more or less responsible for future hurricane damage than someone building a home in Iowa? (Hint: check their insurance premiums.) If you wish to argue that no victim can ever bear any responsibility for their victimhood, then please do so, as ascribing things I have not said to me and then attacking them only makes one look like an intellectually dishonest fool. My actual words are right here on this site.

2. You say that “he said-she said is no basis for a system of justice”. This is why, you argue, date-rape does not exist. Because the justice system cannot tell if the woman consented to sex or not, the rape did not happen. You argue this either a) because the woman, in agreeing to a date with a man, thus consents to have sex with him or b) no rape occurs without written proof of consent. I hope you discard a), because it is nonsense. By discarding it, you are also forced to discard your argument that date-rape is not rape. If you believe b) (which you seem implicitly to disagree with) then no sex is rape, unless a consent form has been signed. By arguing that disagreement over whether a rape took place, without concrete evidence of consent, meant that there was no rape, you are arguing that disagreement proves that events did not take place. This is clearly untrue: there is disagreement over whether the Holocaust took place, but those that deny it wilfully ignore clear evidence. They are hardly advocates of the “reason” you so admire.

Strike Two. JS conflates two different aspects of the topic and manages to thoroughly confuse himself. Neither (a) nor (b) apply because you incorrectly describe my argument. You should have written: “Because the justice system cannot tell if the woman consented to sex or not, there is no possibility of a just conviction of a crime”. His confusion becomes evident when he talks about the Holocaust; my entire point depends on there being no evidence other than sexual contact taking place. If there is sufficient evidence of force or violence, then obviously the justice system CAN tell that a crime took place.

3. Moral relativists do not necessarily reject the notion of private property. This is in fact an anarchist and Marxist idea. Moral relativists deny the existence of clear hierarchies of moral values. Do not mix terms.

Strike Three. Again, JS demonstrates an inability to describe accurately what I have written. First, I wrote “those moral relativists who reject the notion of private property”, thereby indicating a subset of all moral relativists. Second, the thief does not require an adherence to an economic ideology in order to violate the moral precept against stealing, indeed, most thieves who by definition of their profession obviously reject the concept of private property – what is mine is not yours – have likely never heard of Marx. They steal due to their denial of a specific moral value, not on behalf of the proletariat.

4. Most people do not use strict logic. Your argument that “responsibility is not a zero sum game” is not how most people think; blame is shifted implicitly in you argument from the rapist to his victim. By arguing this, you mirror the moral relativists you claim to despise. In your rationale all crimes are the products of unstoppable social or organic urges. A man rapes because he is lustful; therefore a woman who gives him the opportunity to rape her is culpable for that rape. Leave your keys in the car; it’ll get stolen. Blaming the perpetrator is mitigated, because everything is pre-determined. Blaming the rapist is relative to the opportunity given to him – if the woman is wearing a miniskirt, he is relatively less to blame for his rape.

Strike Four – and it’s a complete whiff! What does the failure of others to use strict logic have to do with me and my use of it? Here JS demonstrates that he can’t even follow the point well enough to mischaracterize it. Since responsibility is not a zero sum game, blame does not shift at all from anyone to anyone. The rapist is still 100 percent a rapist regardless of whether the woman is 0, 10 or 20 percent responsible. That’s precisely what NOT ZERO-SUM means! The bits about social urges, organic urges and pre-determination are simply debris left over from his failure to understand the point.

5. A fundamentally idealistic argument to counter your depressing determinism; we should all try collectively to create a society where a woman can walk down a street naked and not be raped. By arguing that a woman is “responsible” and “stupid” for being raped, you accede to the view that rape is inevitable.

Rape is inevitable. It has occurred in every human society, regardless of class and culture. It even occurs among animals. It occurs in free societies and rigidly totalitarian societies alike. It requires either complete innocence or willful ignorance to even attempt to argue otherwise. The fact that a woman is not necessarily responsible or stupid for being raped does not mean that a woman can never be responsible or never be stupid.

I don’t know why talk of reason would make JS want to puke. He doesn’t seem to have much experience with it, one way or the other.

You are property, girls

Stacer needs someone to explain the dark mystery of my appeal to her:

I was reading a post on Feminist Mormon Housewives that led me to a link on Hugo’s blog that led me to another of Hugo’s posts that led me somewhere else, can’t remember, which led me to this disgusting diatribe. Basically, the guy says that women are property and rape doesn’t exist. And I have friends who think this guy is great?!

So please, those of you who read him, please, please, please tell me why you think he has any sort of redeeming qualities. I’m going to go puke now.

Perhaps this is because they can actually read. Stating that date rape is a myth and cannot possibly be considered a crime is not tantamount to stating that rape doesn’t exist. And why do women think that anyone cares if they “feel sick” or “can’t breathe” when exposed to an alien idea? Do they think this expressed incapacity to survive exposure to diverse modes of thought makes people take them more or less seriously? What’s funny is how some of them will then proceed to assert my narrow-mindedness, completely unaware of the irony.

As to the matter under discussion, you can choose your poison, girls, but one way or another, you are property. Deal with it. And don’t feel so bad. In most cases, the guys are property too.

As a libertarian, I consider an individual, male or female, to hold the property title to himself; as a Christian libertarian, I would further assert that a woman does not hold the property title to an unborn child that happens to be present in her body, based on the distinct DNA. But in general, I believe that you have the perfect right to put, or not put, as many chemicals, bullets and penises in yourself as you like.

Now, the wisdom or the morality of doing so is another matter entirely, and in any case, there is no shortage of those who disagree with my take on the concept:

1. The US federal government, which engages in a little legal sleight-of-hand confusing the juristical person (YOUR NAME) and the natural person (Your Name). If you happen to confuse the two and go along with the charade, well, that’s really not their fault, now, is it? You may not be de jure property, but you certainly are de facto.

2. Left-wing ideology holds that the individual is the property of the state, as everything belongs to the people via the state prior to its inevitable and inexplicable withering away. Hence the state-owned brothels that are a feature of most communist nations, where the loftiest ambition of a majority of schoolgirls is to become a hard currency hooker; from each according to her ability, right? On a related note, you may recall that the socialist-run Bundesrepublik was recently on the verge of requiring women on the dole to work as prostitutes. And as Mussolini famously said: “Tutto nello stato, niente al di fuori dello stato, nulla contro lo stato.” Do you see any exception for individuals there? I certainly don’t.

3. There are no shortage of Muslim and African countries where women are the property of their fathers and husbands. The fact that Stacer doesn’t like this doesn’t change the legal reality. And unless she is a cultural bigot, how can she possibly object to a cultural tradition held by over a billion people? In these countries, some men are property, others are not.

4. The United Nations purports to grant a list of basic human rights, but then goes on to declare that none of the rights therein may be exercised to the detriment of the interests of the United Nations. Ergo, the UN position can be legitimately extrapolated to conclude that individual humans are the property of the United Nations, which makes sense considering that many of the member states which make up the UN subscribe to property concepts 2 and 3.

5. A feudal monarchy presupposes most property, including lands, buildings, rents, crops, animals and people, belongs to the king. Such property could be held on the king’s behalf, but the monarch still ultimately held title. The intrinsic link between the historical notion that title to all property and persons belongs to the king as head of state and the revolutionary concept that all title is held by the collective people through the vehicle of the state itself is why Hayek’s famous critique of the Left is entitled “The Road to Serfdom”.

6. The Christian believes that he belongs to God. He believes that everything else belongs to “the prince of this world”.

You are property. The only question is: who owns you?

UPDATE: Amandagon, much to my surprise, reveals herself to be an unexpected champion of firearms ownership: But this is the very best example of how biology is misunderstood by the Vox Day crowd–they seem unable to understand that women are in fact fully functioning, muscular animals who can do things like, for instance, lift a gun and shoot it.

Right, it would NEVER occur to a bunch of right-wing libertarian extremists and conservative Constitutionalists who probably own several million rounds of ammunition between them that women can shoot guns. I own assault rifles of which most people have never even heard, Space Bunny has a laser on her Glock nine and the mere mention of a preferred caliber can spark disputation to rival that of evolution, abortion or the Civil War… so, what do you shoot, Amanda? As if the various feminist groups aren’t almost as anti-gun as they are pro-abortion.

And speaking of massive Pandagunk in your synapses, check out this beauty from Mildred: But the most essential part of all libertarianism is moral relativism! If he calls himself a libertarian and then says “from a moral relativist’s view…” how is that…. how can he… what the…Oh my God… Argh! The Stupidity! The Stupidity! *nose bleeds*

This is the flip-side of what we usually see from conservatives, conflating legality with morality. Libertarianism is a political ideology relating to governments, not a religious or ethical ideology relating to individuals. It’s not surprising that the mere act of thinking should cause Mildred’s brain to swell and bleed, as she also managed completely misread my earlier post and believed I was championing the notion of a Nietszchean claim on any desirable bodies in my vicinity.

Would she not look beautiful in chains? Just call me Tarl.