Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Limitations on Self-Defense

In response to BrianPolice's view on self-defense, I posted my view on self-defense below:

Previous posts related to this topic include The Fallacies of Moral Subjectivism and Subjective Property

I will articulate my view below:

Some individuals will use strawman arguments against those who oppose deadly force when trespassing, as "anti-victim" or "anti-defense." They often misinterpret the definition of "punishment," so they will see the libertarian law of proportional punishment as promoting aggression. Too often, they conflate "punishment" with "self-defense." Punishment, however, is defined as the commission of deterrence only after the crime has commissioned; while self-defense is the use of force when a crime is commissioning. Thus, libertarian law does not forbid imposing "unproportional" force in the situation of self-defense.

Detractors of the libertarian law of proportional punishment argue that since value is subjective, no one can accurately determine the "proportional" compensation. However, as we will argue that property boundaries are also subjective, so these arguments presents a straw-man.

The law of proportional punishment can be better rephrased as the compensatory damages should be proportional. The law of proportionality, however, does not give any limit on the amount of punitive damages.

However, whether a "crime" has occurred or not is also subjective, but not to the extent of valuation. For example, if an individual mistakenly recognized one's house as a shopping store; he will come in; but the owner of the house will shoot him in the certain cultural context, if some walks up in the person's yard or walkway; the owner of the house does not have the right to kill him, since in the social context, yard's and walkaways leads to his door, in order to communicate.

Self-defense, unlike punishment, does not follow the proportionality law. The owner has the right to use deadly force against the aggressor; if the aggressor's knows that he is intentionally being mischievous and is harming you.

If the individual knows that he is intentionally being mischievous, and knows the risk that the owner might shoot him; but then aggresses your property anyway; then shooting him is certainly justified.

If an individual places a sign in front of his property that said "all trespassers will be shot," then it is possible that someone might still think that they are permitted to walk up in his walkaway or yard, to communicate with to owner. Individuals who do not know how to read English are more likely to ignore the sign. Even if the warning is very obvious to the common man, what if a colorblind person didn't notice the sign?

But it depends on the intentionally of the aggressor. If an robber uses his unloaded gun against you, the aggressor is clearly being intentional in this situation; so it is justified to shoot him.

However, suppose a random individual who is confused walks in your lawn; the individual might think that he is on commonly-owned property. Thus, the homeowner does not have the right to use deadly force against him.

If someone "breaks in" the house by breaking doors or windows, you clearly have the right to use deadly force; as the aggressor is clearly being intentional, as he destroyed your property.

Suppose you own a house, that has automatic doors, and has large windows that show a large variety of goods inside it. With both of these, your house displays the common features of a shopping store. Many individuals who look at your house would, according to the appearence, confuse your house with a shopping store. If the "shoppers" go inside your house planning to buy stuff; you do not have the right to shoot them; because the look and feel of your house resembles too much like a shopping store, thus displaying an "implicit contract" granting any individuals to enter.

Thus, it is too subjective if such "implicit contract" allowing individuals to enter exists. Suppose an individual grows up in a different culture that permits individuals to step on your front yard. When he moves to a different society with a different culture that does not tolerate anyone walking on the front yard, he will likely be shot. Suppose an individual that does not know English misinterprets your building as some public resort so he enters. He, too, will likely be shot.

Thus, we have proved that property boundaries may potentially have subjective interpretations.

Everyone has the right to self-ownership. Thus everyone has the right to die. So if an individual enter's another property and assumes that the risk that the homeowner will shoot him at self-defense, the homeowner can shoot. But due to vague property boundaries, no one can be sure if the individual is behaving mischievously.

So we will have a "common law" that establishes and objectively defines these boundaries.

We will have different arbitrators, because due to cultural and social differences, not all arbitrators are typically suited to judge within different cultural standards of aggression. For example, if some cultures define "hate speech" as a form of aggression, and some other cultures that that does not consider it as aggressive; different societies will construct different variants of common law that defines specific cases such as "hate speech" as aggressive or not.

Different versions of common law will define the "implicit contract" of the shopping store, as exemplified above. This will deter the arbitrary interpretation of subjective interpretations of aggression, thus will make individuals have greater confidence.

For example, if the common law approves the use of deadly force against merely trespassers walking on the front yard, then very few people will walk outside, in the fear that they will unintentionally step on someone's property and the owners will use deadly force against them. Therefore, a common law system will spring up in anarchy that forbids deadly force, in the case of trespassing when no greater threats or aggression is involved, to make people less worried of unintentionally stepping another's property.

Let us assume that a contract exists between the store owner and a shopper that permits the store owner to use of any force, or, in different case, if the aggressor fully knows that he is behaving aggressively, and he clearly understood that he will have risk if the crime has commissioned. Thus, following this logic, the store owner can legitimately use deadly force against individual who steals bubble gum, if the robber clearly knows that he will be facing serious consequences including being shot. However, too often the bubble gum theft occurs unintentionally, thus it will likely increase fear, and might make some avoid shopping in stores anymore. Also, it might be the case that the shopper brought his own gum to the store, so the store owner might mistakenly confuse their bubble gum with his. This will further instill fear, so individuals will likely avoid doing any action that might be misinterpreted by others.

A solution to these problems implying risk is to propose a common law specifying the property boundaries, the legitimate amounts of force in each given situation, and the agreeing in the amount of compensation in the event of property torts. Without common law defining, or "de-subjectifying" the values of various goods, proportional compensation and punishment is not possible. Common law is the solution to objectively definine the boundaries, the cultures (see the walkway example) and standards to judge the "implicit contract," so individuals will not be subject to various interpretations of boundaries and rules defining fraud. In addition, because the individual voluntarily agrees on a legal system that they chose themselves, this will solve the cultural problems and will not confuse the non-English speakers. At last, the legal system in an ararchic society will be competitive, and the individual may choose to live in societies enforcing any laws as he wishes.

The distinction between property damage and no property damage cannot be justified. The value of property and coercion is valued subjectively. Thus, it is impossible to objectively tell whether property damage has occurred.

Some people would consider that flying an airplane above some land is coercion and some would consider air pollution damage.

Suppose if one throws away some stuff that "looks" useless. However, the owner of the product have the knowledge of it, thus have the ability to estimate the value. The owner of the product sees it as highly valuable. Thus, that would cause conflict.

If an owner decides to leave a highly valued object outside, he is implicitly accpeting the risk of some person in a parachute landing there, some bird landing there or some airplane crashing in the object. Thus, the best way to prevent conflict is to protect the object, such as building a wall or moving it inside a house. Since value is subjectivly, it is very important to protect some objects that is subjectively valued important. Otherwise, the court might value the object lesser.

Another effect of applying this logic is proportional punishment. If a parachuter lands on the important object and breaks it, he does not deserve to die. Instead, he should offer compensation. Anyway, the owner of the object is implicitly accpeting the risks that are more likely to happen such as birds and crashing airplanes.

But if the owner puts the object inside a building or builds a wall, the intruder deserves much more servere punishment for breaking in.

Humans assume many biases, such as the assumption that every person owns the space directly above the land. However, this is false. One can fly airplanes or build houses that overlap them. These are legitimate only if they are not directly damaging property. But due to subjectivity, there is no clear line to define.

Suppose one surrounds a fence around someone's house to block them so they can starve to death. This is illegitimate sometimes and sometimes legitimate.

So commonly-agreed laws would form in an anarchist society to prevent such things. Voluntary associations would form to prevent them.

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