"Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by The Borgified Corpse, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    It's a hypothetical question. It doesn't matter why they're doing it. The point is that they are doing it and it's wrong. My question to you is what would you do when they came to your door?

    But maybe I'm jumping off from an incorrect assumption here. To me, it seems a very clear thing that what the government tried to do in "Children of Earth," taking the children and giving them to the 456, was wrong. It is not OK to give in to extortion in that manner. At no time was giving in to their demands an acceptable solution. The government never has the right to demand that of its citizens. Isn't that what everyone else here thinks? Or are we arguing from an even wider gulf than I thought?

    It reminds me of one of the Joker's "social experiments" in The Dark Knight. He threatened to blow up a hospital unless someone killed Coleman Reese. Is it ever OK to kill 1 innocent man to satisfy the demands of an extortionist?

    Should the Western world convert to Sharia law to prevent any further al-Qaeda attacks?
     
  2. cultcross

    cultcross The truth is precisely the opposite Moderator

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    You don't need guns to fight, and even if you have them, you will not successfully defeat the army trying to take your children. If you believe you will, best of luck to ya'. And all they'd hve to do to stop mass uprisign by those not directly affected is say that anyone who helps resist the army puts their own kids/relatives on the list by default. Suddenly, it's you against the army. As I say, good luck, gun or no.

    Oh get over yourself and drop the straw men and absurdity, you'll be better off for it.
     
  3. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Would there have been anything to erode British will to begin with if the colonists hadn't violently resisted in the first place?

    Violent opposition against those who are in the wrong may not always be immediately effective. But it is usually a step in the right direction. Struggle, even futile struggle, is always preferable to submission. Some causes are worth fighting for or even dying for.

    We are "the most [...] free nation in the world" precisely because our citizens have actual rights, including the right to do stuff that our government doesn't like. We believe that only criminals should be punished. Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want. (Sadly, we don't always live up to these ideals. But we're trying. Some of us are trying even harder.)

    I can't imagine any single incident that would change the American outlook on gun rights. It's not like the American people don't know that guns can kill people. Duh! We know. That's what they're for. But just because guns are dangerous, that doesn't mean that the government is trustworthy enough to be the ones to take them away from people.

    No. If the U.S. ever loses the right to bear arms, I suspect it will be a gradual process arising from apathy and a tragic erosion of the notion of individual liberty. (The good news for liberty is that, in addition to the ever-present threat of corruption, the U.S. government has been proving itself even more incompetant than usual lately. Trust in the U.S. government is nearing an all-time low. With any luck, we're soon looking at a new age of individual responsibility.)
     
  4. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    You're still not answering my question. What would YOU, cultcross, do if they came to your door right now?
     
  5. cultcross

    cultcross The truth is precisely the opposite Moderator

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    I thought the answer was inherent in "You don't need guns to fight" but obviously not. Fight injustice with the means at my disposal. Just as I do every time I put on my uniform, and don't get issued a gun.
     
  6. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    It's a hypothetical scenario which fails to provide a proper motive. Therefore it's also an unrealistic scenario.

    But even if we accept the unrealistic conditions of this scenario and even if we assume that I had a gun in this scenario, I'd say I'm pretty screwed because me and my family are most likely killed in the ensuing firefight. So, the question is which I'd prefer: My family being taken away by the *evil* government or my family getting killed in a firefight with that *evil* government?

    But the bottomline is: Since it's safe to say that my country won't turn into a dictatorship, I don't need a gun to protect myself from "the government".



    Well, that's an entirely different question which hasn't much to do with your original point.



    What has this to do with anything? You're suddenly switching the discussion from "you need guns to protect yourself from the government" to "we should not give in to terrorist demands".
     
  7. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Law abiding citizens can do whatever they want? Seriously? Even if it harms or disadvantages another? Even if they're abiding laws set up by the government? Really that kind of Wild West, Frontier town thinking seems kinda odd...and I mean I say that as a Conservative (although that's a British concersative which probably still puts me to the left of Obama!) I'm all for a small state and personal freedom but people can't just do what they want to do, that's anarchy!

    And you mention the government not being trustworthy enough to take your guns away (prizing them from your cold dead hands no doubt ;) ) but the reverse seems to be that anyone, irrspective of mental health issues, is trustworthy enough to have a gun if he or she wants one? Libertarianism seems like a great idea till the guy next door steals your car and rapes your wife by virtue of having a bigger gun than you, or being a better shot!
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    In most of those examples, it was about the combination of the armed revolt and other political factors.

    The revolution might have ended there and then. But there's never a guarantee, and let's not pretend there was.

    You're certainly correct in noting that the British government didn't really have the political will to keep fighting. And if there's an armed revolt, what makes you think the government would be able to maintain the will to keep up the fighting?

    And those international sanctions would never have happened had the ANC not been fighting the apartheid regime.

    I don't think Northern Ireland is a comparable example. In the ones I cited, the majority of the populace had withdrawn their support for the governments involved -- those regimes had lost the consent of the governed, in other words. That's why the armed revolt happened, and why they worked -- no reasonable person could argue that the populaces that those governments were trying to maintain power over were populaces that mostly supported those governments. In Northern Ireland, on the other hand, more Northern Irish support being part of the U.K. than don't, even if a large minority do not.

    Obviously, arms are not the single determining factor, and I'm not arguing they were. Armed revolt has to occur in a context of a general loss of political legitimacy by the ruling regime in order to work. But that doesn't mean that they're not a significant factor, either.

    It can. Again, it really depends on the context. That's why I say it's not a determining factor as to whether or not a given rebellion will be successful, though it is a vital one whose absence can break an attempted rebellion.

    *shrugs* It's part of our political culture. We have a significant subculture of hunters, and we regard the use lethal force in self-defense as a right, and, because we were founded by an armed citizens' revolt, we protect the right to bear arms -- to greater or lesser degrees, depending on just how you want to interpret the Second Amendment -- for potential use in another such context that no one wants to actually see (and which only a few extremists among us think is probable).

    And, as I noted above, we know full well that any attempt to suppress gun ownership, to create an anti-gun Prohibition, would be doomed to abject failure; we couldn't keep people from drinking, and we can't keep people from getting high. We'd never be able to keep people from buying guns if we tried. Prohibition just doesn't work.

    And, frankly, like I said, guns are not the thing that causes the severe violence that plagues American culture. Canada has similar rates of gun ownership per capita, and they don't have nearly the kind of gun violence problems America does. America suffers from an epidemic of gun violence because we have a classist, fear-based, unegalitarian culture.

    (And I think it's fascinating the way no one criticizes Canada for their guns the way they do America.)

    No. Because, as I said, guns are not the problem; an unegalitarian, economically oppressive culture is the problem. Fix that, and gun ownership is a moot point. Again, I point to Canada. No one bitches about their guns, because Canadian culture doesn't lead to epidemics of gun violence.

    The problem isn't guns, the problem is the political culture in which the guns exist.

    ETA:

    For the record, I'm skeptical of the presumption that America is the freest country in the world. We may be in terms of government control of the citizenry -- though, given as how the government can tell you who you may or may not marry in all but 5 states and the Federal government can pretty much spy on you whenever it wants under the Patriot Act, I'm not sure I even accept that premise -- BUT, we have a deeply unegalitarian economic culture that inhibits individual liberty in many ways by redistributing wealth to the top richest minority, under the guise of so-called "Libertarianism."

    Gun violence is a symptom of a very unfree economic culture in which the elites dominate the masses to a far greater extent than they do in cultures with a smaller rich-poor gap and greater economic mobility.
     
  9. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    You can't do things that harm another. That's what laws are for. But I think it's imperative that we only make something illegal if it harms someone else. Owning a gun harms no one. Shooting someone is illegal.

    I don't think you believe in personal freedom at all. I think you just want people to be "free" to live the kinds of lives that you deem appropriate. In your system, do the people have any self-evident, inalienable rights at all? Is there anything the government can't do? Do political minorities have any protections from the tyranny of the majority? Just because the government makes something a law, that doesn't make it right.

    And authoritarianism seems like a great idea until the authorities start making policies that you don't agree with. Which is worse, to be randomly victimized by a lone criminal or to be systematically victimized by a pervasive government?

    Sorry. I was confused by your original answer. It just seems odd to me that, if you were fighting for your life or the lives of your children, you would prefer not to be armed with the most deadly weaponry available.

    I can understand not trusting other people with guns. But do you not even trust yourself?

    OK. Here's a more realistic scenario. In the 1930s-'40s, the legitimate, democratically elected government of Germany removed millions of Jews from their homes and sent them to concentration camps where they were either worked to death, starved to death, or poisoned with Zyklon B gas.

    Maybe it's a personal quirk of mine, but if those were my only 2 options, I'd prefer the one that allowed me to take down a couple of the bastards with me.

    But really, it seems the main argument here is, "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile." That seems akin to saying, "Free speech is irrelevant because, in this age of corporate news networks, no one will hear you anyway." Because success seems unlikely, that means we shouldn't even try?

    Why is it safe to say that? What are the mechanisms that would prevent that?

    I would like to think that there would be a legal mechanism that would absolutely forbid the British government from doing exactly what they did in "Children of Earth." Please, someone tell me that, in the U.K., what the PM did there was not only morally reprehensible, but also incredibly illegal. (Perhaps even unconstitutional. I forget, do you have a constitution in the U.K.?)
     
  10. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    This has been a very interesting discussion, but it's veering farther away from connection to "Children of Earth". Please keep things firmly centered upon that as the topic. Drawing parallels to modern day or historical examples is fine, but focusing almost exclusively on said examples isn't the best way to go.
     
  11. cultcross

    cultcross The truth is precisely the opposite Moderator

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    Actually, I feel that the scenario is so ridiculously unlikely that I would rather not have the deadliest weaponry available around the rest of the time.

    The problem with this approach is that everyone trusts themselves, but everyone is 'other people' to everybody else. It's the same argument, essentially, as 'I'm fine driving drunk/at speed/on my cell phone, but some people just can't hack it'. If I make an exception for myself, I must grant everybody that luxury, and suddenly it is not an exception any longer.


    Godwin'd. The British government, while flawed, are not the Nazis.

    Your assertion is incorrect - "The right to bear arms is irrelevant since resistance is futile" is an ending to an argument, not the whole thing. It is saying we don't want guns, we don't want to have them in our society, and we dismiss this particular 'reason' to have them as it is unlikely to the point of absurdity a) to happen and b) to be helped by owning a firearm. The latter bit does not constitute our primary or only reason for not recognising a right to bear arms.


    We have an unwritten constitution based on, among other things, common law. But it doesn't do the same thing the American constitution does, with the Bill of Rights. Our closest equivalent to that is the Human Rights Act which enshrines into law all but two of the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. And yes, the actions of the PM in Children of Earth were most certainly very illegal.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    First off, let's all bear in mind that the United Kingdom is a sovereign state that absolutely has the right to decide this issue for itself. Just like the United States is a sovereign state that has the right to decide this issue for itself. And, as sovereign states, they may well come to vastly different conclusions about the legitimacy of the right to bear arms on the basis of their differing political cultures.

    Now, having said that...

    When I just read, "It is saying we don't want guns, we don't want to have them in our society," the first thing that went through my mind was a word game. What if we switched the word "guns" for another "g-"word?

    "It is saying we don't want gays, we don't want them in our society."

    Now, there's a reason I do that, and it's simply this:

    Most people recognize that people have a right to be gay, that gays have a right to exist, because homosexuality does not violate anyone else's rights. Homosexuality might not be something that most heterosexuals want to engage in, but it's also not something that inherently hurts other people, and they therefore conclude that in a free society, a person has to be regarded as having the right to be gay and to engage in consensual sexual activities with other adults.

    I would argue that the same thing is true of gun ownership.

    Now, I don't like guns. I don't like 'em and I don't own one and I don't want one.

    But.

    Gun ownership does not violate my rights. Gun ownership does not violate anyone's rights. Owning a gun is not an inherently dangerous thing. It might not be something I'm interested in, but gun ownership does not inherently hurt other people or violate other people's rights, and I therefore have to conclude that in a free society, a person has a right to own a gun.

    How is wanting to restrict the right of the individual to own a gun, when gun ownership does not violate anyone else's rights, purely on the basis of a dislike of guns, any different, from an individual rights perspective, from the desire to restrict the right of the individual to engage in consensual sex with other adults of the same sex, purely on the basis of a dislike of homosexuality? They're both acts that violate no one else's rights and which are targeted on the basis of personal distaste.

    I would argue that in a free society, a person should have the right to do anything that does not violate somebody else's rights. That includes engaging in consensual sex with an adult of the same sex, and that includes owning a gun.
     
  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Umm - guns are dangerous. Gays aren't. Gays are people. Guns aren't. People (mostly) need a sex life. People (mostly) don't need guns.

    Kinda not really a valid equivalent.
     
  14. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Guns don't kill people, people kill people...with guns!
     
  15. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    guns = gays. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Guns can be dangerous, but they are not inherently so. A gun has to be loaded and then pointed pointed at a person to be dangerous.

    Now, that's not to say that they should not be treated as the weapons they are. They have to be used responsibly. But that's hardly something that is beyond the capacity of a responsible adult -- my mother grew up in a household were guns were present, and because everyone was taught gun safety, not once was anyone injured by a gun, and not once did a gun ever endanger anyone unintentionally.

    There was one incident in which a gun had to be used, and it illustrates the point about the right to use a firearm defensively quite well. One evening, when my mother and aunt were teenagers, a young man who was high on meth had threatened a friend of my aunt's at a party. They both left and came home. The man followed them and attempted to break in; my grandmother called the police and they chased him away. A short time later, he returned; my grandmother called the police again, they chased him away, and they left. Then, a short time later, the young man returned again, attempting to break the door down and threatening everyone inside. My grandmother had everyone go upstairs, pulled out a firearm, stood at the top of the stairs, called outside to warn the young man that she had a gun, and phoned the police to inform them that this man was trying to break into her home for the third time that night, he was threatening everyone in the house, and that she had a gun and would use it to defend her family and guest if he attempted to go up the stairs. The police finally decided to show up and actually do more than just chase this guy off.

    That was the only time anyone in my mother's family ever so much as threatened to use a gun on anyone, and it was completely responsible and completely just of them to do so in that situation. The man was a clear danger and they had a right to engage in self-defense if the police could not be relied upon.

    Bottom line: A gun is not something that is inherently dangerous, and it can be used responsibly by the vast majority of citizens. I don't disagree that there are some people who should not be allowed access to guns and that gun control laws should be tougher. But let's not pretend that gun ownership is something that inherently violates other people's rights, either.

    People can kill people with knives, too. People can kill people with their bare hands. But just as knife ownership does not inherently violate someone else's rights, neither does gun ownership. Owning a gun is not the same thing as assaulting someone; owning a knife is not the same thing as assaulting someone; knowing a martial art is not the same thing as assaulting someone.

    If society is predicated upon the idea that people have a right to do anything that does not violate someone else's rights, then people have a right to own weapons and that's all there is to it.

    Insofar as homosexuality and gun ownership are both things which violate no one else's rights but which others try to restrict on the basis of personal dislike, yes.
     
  17. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ A gun is DESIGNED to be dangerous. It's raison d'etre is to kill, maim and destroy.

    With rights come responsibilities. The dangers inherent in widespread gun ownership - as shown by the ratio of US gun deaths when compared with the UK or other countries - outweigh any benefits the individual may derive from ownership.
     
  18. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    I am going to temporarily close and pin this thread so that everyone participating can see this note without excuse.

    Please keep the discussion centered on the original topic of "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers).
    Diverging into gun control debates or what analogies are inaccurate or what have you is getting off topic.

    This is a TEMPORARY closure and nothing more! Once I am convinced everyone has had adequate time to see this notice, then I will reopen the thread.
     
  19. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Let's try this again.........
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    With respect, I'd suggest that if you will not allow the discussion to digress into a pure discussion of the issue of the right to bear arms, the thread should be locked. There is, in my view, simply no way to adequately address the interrelation between Children of Earth and the question of the right to bear arms without digressing into a pure discussion of the right to bear arms.