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Author Topic: Is threatening the President a crime?  (Read 13517 times)
Seth King
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« on: August 29, 2011, 11:45:13 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsMaJRZhFew&feature=player_embedded

I'm not posting this video to debate about the tactic of what Nathan did. That's too boring. What I do find interesting, though, is the debate over which what he did violated the N.A.P.

Here's my two cents. He did not violate the N.A.P. and therefore did not commit a crime. Let me explain.

If I write a threat on a piece of paper, then proceed to fold it up, stuff it in an envelope, and then lock it in a safe in my closet, have I commit any crime? I would say no. This is because you have commit no wrong by writing WORDS on your OWN PAPER.

Now, if some douche bag comes along and breaks open your safe and discovers the letter, is it then a crime? Still no, I would say. The act of somebody else reading the letter does not constitute a violation of the N.A.P.

So, if I type some keystrokes on my computer and send it out into the ether, who has been aggressed against? No one. Now, what if somebody reads my keystrokes? I say nothing has changed. There has been no trespass of anyone's justly acquired private property. The fact that this case concerned the President is a moot point.

However, one could make the case that since the President is an aggressor himself, that retaliatory violence could be justified. Still, since this is the case, and Nathan knew the government for what it is, there should be no surprise on anyone's part that Nathan was aggressed against.

But to me, this brings up a really fascinating point, which I think was lost on Nathan. If NATHAN is not a criminal for typing some keystrokes on a computer, then the PRESIDENT is also NOT A CRIMINAL for giving some speeches and signing some papers. Just because some douche bags in costume initiate violence against peaceful people does not make the signer of any letters responsible.

I really am coming to the conclusion that the only real criminals are those that initiate violence against peaceful people. Politicians are nowhere near as criminal as the local police. They may be guilty of fraud or something for some other reasons, but not the wholesale crime that the military and police engage in.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 07:51:43 PM by Seth King » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 08:12:29 PM »

Okay, let's do a thought games. 

Who is responsible for an intelligence bomb striking an innocent foreigner?  Is it the pilot of the plane?  The one who opens the rear doors?  The one who pushes the bomb out the back door?  The software writer of the guidance control?  The bomb assembly team? The decision maker in the military?  [Fill in more if I have missed some]. 

Who was morally responsible at Waco? The tank drivers?

Is the prison warden clean?  How about any guards that never hit an inmate, but just push buttons and are perhaps big enough to be physically intimidating?

My Dad was drafted into the Navy, but never launched a bullet (big or small), but did indirectly support those efforts.  Is that a NAP violation?

PS.  I think I am beginning to understand your point (by haven't yet decided if I agree with it and therefore am trying to look at it from many angles).
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 08:32:42 PM »

I agree that he did not violate the N.A.P. and therefore did not commit a crime. His actions were akin to, yet less immidiate than shooting an armed robber. This is because the president is an agressor extrodinaire.
I agree that writing words, any words on paper is not a crime. Its actually quite theraputic. One breaking into that safe and reading it, also does not make it a crime as that letter was forcibly removed from your possesion.
To type words and save it onto a computer is the same principle. Here is where I break from your analysis. Sending that threat into the world knowing it would be read, especially directly to the "target" or his/her representitives and handlers is an anouncement of intent. A decleration of sorts. It is not the act itself but a precursor. I dont believe it to be a punishable "offense",there has yet to be an actual victim, but had I recieved a similar threat to myself or family I would follow up with the sender. The recipient being the president or a janitor makes no difference.
The difference between Nathan and the president...The writings of Nathan are "I will do", while the president writes "You will do." Nathan writes of his own voluntary action while the president orders others that owe there livleyhood for most, and alligiance for some. If Nathan were to denounce his own words and not follow through, no violence would ensue. If a soldier were to not follow through with an order, even more violence would ensue as retaliation. Politicians are very nearly as guilty of criminal acts as the physical perpetrators themselves. The politicians know these orders will be followed under threat of violence. The military or police are the individuals who actually commit the crimes. These men and women pass the buck of violence from themselves to the targets specified rather than make a principled stand. Soldiers to a lesser extent since they recieve a more active violent response from the tatgets, whether initiated or as a defence. The police on the other hand are more intimately involved with a more unarmed and peacefull public. Their actions are to a large degree the initiators of force. They are the beares of the greatest guilt. Both suffer from the delusion of the Nurenburg defence. "Im just following orders." A cowardly justification to commit violence in the name of any that will grant the authority to do so.
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 04:18:55 PM »

This guy merely threatened to kill the president, whereas the president initiates (through request/commands) violence against others.

With regard to the bombing scenario I would say all who were knowingly involved in the act are guilty.
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Seth King
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2013, 09:00:52 PM »

Insane thread resurrection.

I had thought that I created another topic that turned into a much longer thread on this topic, but I can't find it.

Anywho, no need to watch the video to catch up. Simply read my explanation beneath it to understand where I am coming from.

I've sort of held this belief for a while. That politicians are not criminals, at least in the sense that they're not murderers, because they don't actually DO anything violent, including pulling triggers or pushing buttons.

And also that they have the freedom of speech, which means they should be able to say "kill that person" and that they are doing nothing more than exercising free speech when they do it. Only the actually people involved in committing the murder are guilty of murder.

But the Boston bombings got me thinking. Not about the particular case of the Boston bombings, but of how bombings can and likely do transpire.

Say you are a nefarious organization, like the CIA, and you want to see a bombing go off. What better way than to get somebody else framed for it instead of doing it yourself?

Here's how they likely do this sort of thing. The CIA commissions one guy to build the bomb and then hand it over to another guy to package the bomb who hands it over to another guy to deliver the bomb.

The bomb builder doesn't have any clue who the other people are or what the bomb will be used for. The guy who packages the bomb doesn't know the other people or what the bomb will be used for. And the guy who receives a simple package and a location to deliver it doesn't know the other people, the fact that he's carrying a bomb, or what it will be used for.

In other words, NONE of those people committed a crime. Building a bomb is not a crime. Packaging a bomb is not a crime. And delivering a package is not a crime. At least none of those are crimes according to libertarians.

So, clearly the only one in this scenario who IS a criminal is the mastermind. Or, perhaps, the others are criminals as well if they KNOW they are working for criminals.

So, now I'm torn. On the one hand, speaking your mind is not a crime. All they did was give verbal commands. Nobody had to follow them. And on the other hand, they were the masterminds, who in many cases are the only ones who knew what the outcome would be.

This has actually left me in a state of being where the whole idea of criminality is either non-existent or a moot point.

As students of the Austrian School of Economics, we pretty much base our entire philosophy on the study of human action. And I think we limit our study of human action strictly to economics to our own detriment.

Human action, in my opinion, is simply that for every action, there is a reaction. Take morality out of the equation. If somebody, or some group does something to piss another person or another group off, there will be resentment. Pure and simple. It doesn't matter the topic. It doesn't matter who's right or wrong. It's just that simple.

Life is a gigantic cesspool of competition and past grievances and war.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 09:06:55 PM by Seth King » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 10:04:31 PM »

Crime in general is a purely human construct. Libertarian definitions of crime are just the least subjective and usually the most equitable.
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 10:11:27 PM »

Crime in general is a purely human construct. Libertarian definitions of crime are just the least subjective and usually the most equitable.
The initiation of coercion is an objective act. The fact that we define it as a crime is subjective.



Making idle threats is one thing, giving orders to kill is another. I say that the mastermind of a murder is a murderer just like the thug who follows orders.

Should I ever run a defence firm, I'm going to treat the entire conspiracy as murderers of one form or another.


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Now, if some douche bag comes along and breaks open your safe and discovers the letter, is it then a crime? Still no, I would say. The act of somebody else reading the letter does not constitute a violation of the N.A.P.

Destruction of property, and theft of property are crimes. Does it matter that the property stolen was a note? I don't think so as far as the criminality is concerned. Furthermore the Kopimist in me would say that intercepting and reading correspondence is immoral at the least, maybe it's  a crime too I haven't decided quite yet.

Then again the fighter in me says that intercepting the enemy's correspondence is just good business. So hmm... it's a question that's for sure. I'll be pondering it for some time I suspect.
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 10:41:02 PM »

Mind = blown

Awesome post Seth. I've never had this thought before.
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Seth King
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 11:15:46 PM »

Mind = blown

Awesome post Seth. I've never had this thought before.

Which part exactly? The OP or the thread resurrection?

Mind you, it's these thoughts that leave me feeling nihilistic, or at the most, extremely egoistic, as the only truth that seems to resonate with me is what makes me happy, to hell with everyone else(unless they serve my happiness).
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 11:32:19 PM »

Mind = blown

Awesome post Seth. I've never had this thought before.

Which part exactly? The OP or the thread resurrection?
"The bomb builder doesn't have any clue who the other people are or what the bomb will be used for. The guy who packages the bomb doesn't know the other people or what the bomb will be used for. And the guy who receives a simple package and a location to deliver it doesn't know the other people, the fact that he's carrying a bomb, or what it will be used for.

In other words, NONE of those people committed a crime. Building a bomb is not a crime. Packaging a bomb is not a crime. And delivering a package is not a crime. At least none of those are crimes according to libertarians.

So, clearly the only one in this scenario who IS a criminal is the mastermind."

^That part. Somehow I never managed to stumble upon that line of thought.

Quote
Mind you, it's these thoughts that leave me feeling nihilistic, or at the most, extremely egoistic, as the only truth that seems to resonate with me is what makes me happy, to hell with everyone else(unless they serve my happiness).
What's the relationship between the two?
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Seth King
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 11:54:58 PM »

Between nihilism and egoism? Well, not much except that when all else fails, might as well do what makes me happy.
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 12:05:12 AM »

No, sorry. That was ambiguous. I meant why does a thought experiment about crime make you lean towards nihilism? Is it just the fact that you can't draw any objective lines in the sand? In that case, I guess I've been a nihilist for a long time. I don't really think much about it though. I still care about other people, if only for the selfish reason that helping others makes me happy.
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Seth King
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 12:13:45 AM »

No, sorry. That was ambiguous. I meant why does a thought experiment about crime make you lean towards nihilism? Is it just the fact that you can't draw any objective lines in the sand? In that case, I guess I've been a nihilist for a long time. I don't really think much about it though. I still care about other people, if only for the selfish reason that helping others makes me happy.

Bingo. Although I think we're different. I think we see that a happier world for "everyone" is a happier world for me, too.

But most people don't really give a shit about others. They SAY they do, when pressed, but for the most part they're living their lives for themselves. And perhaps there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I really think that we do ourselves a disservice by moralizing all of the time.

Instead of "it's wrong to cage pot smokers" perhaps I should be saying "I have other things I'd rather spend my money on, like vacations or early retirement, instead of waging a war against pot smokers."

Maybe that would resonate with people more. Because there are a lot of people out there who don't give a shit about pot smokers, end of story. But when they fully internalize the fact that waging a war on pot smokers means they might never retire, or never get that sports car they want, maybe it will mean something to them.
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2013, 12:56:00 AM »

Mind = blown

Awesome post Seth. I've never had this thought before.

Which part exactly? The OP or the thread resurrection?
"The bomb builder doesn't have any clue who the other people are or what the bomb will be used for. The guy who packages the bomb doesn't know the other people or what the bomb will be used for. And the guy who receives a simple package and a location to deliver it doesn't know the other people, the fact that he's carrying a bomb, or what it will be used for.

In other words, NONE of those people committed a crime. Building a bomb is not a crime. Packaging a bomb is not a crime. And delivering a package is not a crime. At least none of those are crimes according to libertarians.

So, clearly the only one in this scenario who IS a criminal is the mastermind."

^That part. Somehow I never managed to stumble upon that line of thought.

Quote
Mind you, it's these thoughts that leave me feeling nihilistic, or at the most, extremely egoistic, as the only truth that seems to resonate with me is what makes me happy, to hell with everyone else(unless they serve my happiness).
What's the relationship between the two?

This is essentially Jim Bell's Assassination Politics rewritten and put into the bombing context. Not that it isn't an excellent point I would just like to draw your attention to Assassination Politics because it's a good essay to read.

Quote
Instead of "it's wrong to cage pot smokers" perhaps I should be saying "I have other things I'd rather spend my money on, like vacations or early retirement, instead of waging a war against pot smokers."

Maybe that would resonate with people more. Because there are a lot of people out there who don't give a shit about pot smokers, end of story. But when they fully internalize the fact that waging a war on pot smokers means they might never retire, or never get that sports car they want, maybe it will mean something to them.

This is gorgeous imagine if the Statists who condemned Rich Paul had thought like this instead of like they did... The world would be a better place that's for sure. 

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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2013, 06:43:34 AM »

This line of thought is why I have always considered politicians, and in fact the citizens that elect politicians (but not necessarily all citizens), to be criminals.  I believe I have made a post long ago about WWII nukes being a bad thing, but only because it also likely harmed a minority of people that are anarchy oriented and therefore were not in support of the war or politicians, and therefore innocent. 

The comment about living to be happy is something I have always supported as well.  We are only alive for awhile.  What is the point of it if we are not happy?  Live free now, in whatever sense that means for you. 
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