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Old 12-09-2006, 01:39 AM   #1
Emperor Devon
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The necessity of thievery

From the off-topic debate of this thread, a new one is born...

Is thievery justified when a person is in need? For instance, if a man is jobless and out on the streets, does he have a right to steal food in order to feed himself?

I think it is far from justified. I've been reading some Ayn Rand lately (yeah, she is crazy ), though she does make some good points in regard to looting. To avoid a lecture that could be pages long, she basically says that a man does not have the right to consume more than he produces. In other words, you can't take what you don't earn. It's unfair to others, and encourages chaos and plain looting. If one person gets to steal things because he "needs them", why shouldn't I be allowed to? That's basic logic most people would think.

While I would exempt some things from that, people resorting to theft for survival is not justified. As I mentioned in the thread I provided a link to, there are alternatives to that. There are homeless shelters, for instance, in addition to just applying for a job or even turning to the government for aid.

What happens to the victims of the thievery is another matter to consider. People don't start businesses or own possessions just so others can take them at will. Not only does it harm them financially to lose things based on another person's "need", (which is an extremely vague term open to interpretation) but there can be cases in which they choose to defend what rightfully belongs to them. If someone broke into your house/apartment/whatever and started grabbing various possessions because he "needs them" and hasn't even mentioned looking for alternatives, would you take kindly to that? I would imagine not. If someone actively stops others from stealing their property, a brawl wouldn't be too far off. All over one person thinking he's entitled to own his own possessions.

Is the need of one individual more important than keeping an ordered society intact, in all your opinions?

Now to respond to your arguments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
The government don't give a f**k about poor people, homeless shelters can't shelter everbody.
Why they should apply for jobs and earn their keep...

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
And homeless shelters turn away some(race, looks and etc.) poor people.
MrWally mentioned your lack of proof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
Well until you become poor as dirt and hanging by your ass, then we will see what is your opinion on selfishness, Devon.
To which I show you Mace's (awesome) quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mace MacLeod
@windu6: What makes you think that I don't have personal experience with poverty and criminality? What makes you think I haven't known enough criminals over the years to make that kind of judgement? I have been poor myself. I never resorted to shoving a gun under a 5 year-old's nose to get by. Save your sympathies for more deserving people than thieves who would threaten small children.


For my opinion on selfishness, I would try to find another job, get help from people I know, go to a shelter or the government if that happens, but the idea that I would resort to looting is one that will never become a reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
Poverty won't be solve if we continue to have currency.
As long as any society have a dependency on currency, there will always be poverty.
My own opinions on currency aside, that is far from true. Unless there's a government with total and absolute power, such a system would never work. People would simply revert to trading goods or working more often, which won't prevent one person from being wealthier than the other. It's inevitable that some people would have more possessions than other ones, as some people are better at managing finances and business than others.

Money is simply a form of trade that gets rid of the need to cart a truckload of stuff wherever you go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
The rich will become richer and the poor will become ever poorer.
In a free market economy, that's impossible. Hopefully I won't have to explain why.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabretooth
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:20 AM   #2
Dagobahn Eagle
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If your life depends on it, you've got the right to steal. Heck, you've even got the right to kill in self-defense, ending the life of a person intent on ending yours. If you've got lawful alternatives, though, then Heck no.

It should be mentioned, however, as a side note, that just because a shelter exists in your city does not mean it's a viable alternative. There are shelters even in the best of cities that are simply not safe. I've been on the street, and I know that if I had the choice between sleeping in the grass wrapped in my trusty blanket, and sleeping in a shelter with a floor littered by discarded needles and a pack of narcotics out to steal my stuff and/or inject the "virgin shot" in me... I know what I'd choose.

Quote:
To avoid a lecture that could be pages long, she basically says that a man does not have the right to consume more than he produces.
Does this include welfare, too, or just plain old stealing? You weren't really clear on that.


Last edited by Dagobahn Eagle; 12-09-2006 at 03:00 AM.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
If your life depends on it, you've got the right to steal.
What if it endangers someone's life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
If you've got lawful alternatives, though, then Heck no.
I'm glad you agree on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
It should be mentioned, however, as a side note, that just because a shelter exists in your city does not mean it's a viable alternative.
What friends, family, the government, and getting a job are for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle
Does this include welfare, too, or just plain old stealing?
Just stealing. She also mentions welfare. To read more, it's in the book Atlas Shrugged. Based on your posts, I think you'd really like it. It's about 1,000 or so pages of small font that's an excellent story which outlines her philosiphy, objectivism, and talks about other issues (money, charity, government intervention in the economy, etc.)

Look out for the speeches, though. The longest is 40 or so pages.


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Originally Posted by Sabretooth
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Old 12-09-2006, 04:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Just stealing. She also mentions welfare. To read more, it's in the book Atlas Shrugged. Based on your posts, I think you'd really like it. It's about 1,000 or so pages of small font that's an excellent story which outlines her philosiphy, objectivism, and talks about other issues (money, charity, government intervention in the economy, etc.)

Look out for the speeches, though. The longest is 40 or so pages.
Ayn Rand was a crazy old coot. Fortunately, you don't actually have to read her stuff in order to get objectivism (she also has some other books, including Anthem, and The Fountainhead). There's a fantasy series that uses it - The Sword of Truth - and it's quite clear in there as well. Particularly in Faith of the Fallen. Or you could just read the wiki page.


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Old 12-09-2006, 04:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Ayn Rand was a crazy old coot.
She has some good ideas, but I can't argue with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
Fortunately, you don't actually have to read her stuff in order to get objectivism {snip}
Ah, but with those ways you miss out on a good book.


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Originally Posted by Sabretooth
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Old 12-09-2006, 12:23 PM   #6
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The answer to the question "is stealing ever acceptable?" is a simple one. Theft is morally acceptable if there are no legal avenues to pursue to maintain one's existence.

The real-world execution of this fairly simple doctrine is slightly more complex, however. The fact is that most- if not all- criminals have committed their crimes because those crimes were EASIER and more instantly gratifying than the legal avenues open to them. Very few thieves have no other options than to steal.

But in the real world, we must make some allowances for the behaviour of extremely poor, desperate people. If people steal food, for instance, I would consider that a very very excusable crime. But if people steal cash and CLAIM that they were going to buy food with it... there's reason to doubt their assertion, so the crime would be less immediately excusable.

However, theft by violence or the threat of violence is COMPLETELY morally unacceptable. Nobody who mugs someone else, who knocks someone out and steals their money, or who enters someone's house and ties them up, can be excused. Period.

-

As regards Rand, it's important to remember that the concept of an objective reality independent of us pre-dates Rand's hack philosophising by a good long while.

I personally deplore her self-interested take on morality, and while I disagree with traditional moral philosophy on many levels, her criticisms of it are- as a rule- erroneous and foolish.

However, observation of her thoughts on all topics can be instructive, if read critically. (As one should read all things.)


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Old 12-09-2006, 01:44 PM   #7
Mace MacLeod
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The answer to the question "is stealing ever acceptable?" is a simple one. Theft is morally acceptable if there are no legal avenues to pursue to maintain one's existence.

The real-world execution of this fairly simple doctrine is slightly more complex, however. The fact is that most- if not all- criminals have committed their crimes because those crimes were EASIER and more instantly gratifying than the legal avenues open to them. Very few thieves have no other options than to steal.

But in the real world, we must make some allowances for the behaviour of extremely poor, desperate people. If people steal food, for instance, I would consider that a very very excusable crime. But if people steal cash and CLAIM that they were going to buy food with it... there's reason to doubt their assertion, so the crime would be less immediately excusable.

However, theft by violence or the threat of violence is COMPLETELY morally unacceptable. Nobody who mugs someone else, who knocks someone out and steals their money, or who enters someone's house and ties them up, can be excused. Period.
QFE.

I've been through some desperate periods in my life, and I've known more than a few thieves and criminals of various stripes, but in western society in this day and age, the number of people who turn to crime because they have absolutely no other alternative is an infintesimally small percentage of criminals. I've known asian gangs, bikers, addicts, dealers, growers, crystal meth cookers (scary, scary people...), cheap hos, and all manner of sleazy semi-legal scammer, and I have yet to come across a single one who was committing crime because they had no other possible legal way to survive without doing so. Crime was easier, faster, and a lot less work than, well, work. It's a lot easier to pop a car door open with a slim jim and boost the ignition than it is to work and save up the money to buy a car, isn't it? Now, I'd say that the majority of street-level crime is committed by addicts who feed their drug habits a lot more than they feed their kids, and I can say from experience that getting a monkey off your back permanently can sometimes be the hardest thing you'll ever do, but are these people in a position of having absolutely positively no other way to survive? No.


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Old 12-09-2006, 02:14 PM   #8
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Old 12-10-2006, 01:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Now to respond to your arguments...
You must really enjoy debating with me, Devon.
Take my quotes and put them into another thread.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
MrWally mentioned your lack of proof.
And I guess racism don't exist in this country(U.S.), Huh?
The scourge racism is everywhere in this country.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
My own opinions on currency aside, that is far from true. Unless there's a government with total and absolute power, such a system would never work. People would simply revert to trading goods or working more often, which won't prevent one person from being wealthier than the other. It's inevitable that some people would have more possessions than other ones, as some people are better at managing finances and business than others.
Well, a government with absolute power will be similar to a dictatorship.
Of course this will be the expected result; reverting to trading goods.
Everybody can't build good quality goods, so trade will be a result; trade will begin with the person or persons who can build better quality stuff.
Or, special people can build goods that don't currently exist anywhere else in the societal system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Money is simply a form of trade that gets rid of the need to cart a truckload of stuff wherever you go.
I know what paper is, Devon.
And I also know why paper exist.
I just hate it, so I'm guess I'm bias in debate about the merits of currency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
In a free market economy, that's impossible. Hopefully I won't have to explain why.
But in the U.S. economy the rich will stay rich(unless they mess up their money), and the poor will stay poor.

Last edited by windu6; 12-10-2006 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 12-10-2006, 02:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
You must really enjoy debating with me, Devon.
Take my quotes and put them into another thread.
I hate to ruin the honor, but I've done it with other people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windu6
And I guess racism don't exist in this country(U.S.), Huh?
The scourge racism is everywhere in this country.
We are not discussing racism in the U.S. And before you say anything to me about it, racists are idiots, end of story.

You have yet to provide proof that homeless shelters turn away people based on race, however. Do you have any evidence to back that statement up?

And although I disagree with you, money is not the main topic here. Feel free to start another thread if you want to discuss it.

@DE, very inaccurate, but very funny.


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Originally Posted by Sabretooth
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:34 AM   #11
Jae Onasi
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If most thieves would put half the effort into legitimate pursuits that they put into trying to stay out of trouble for their illegal activities, they'd be way ahead of a lot of people.


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Old 12-11-2006, 06:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emperor Devon
Is thievery justified when a person is in need? For instance, if a man is jobless and out on the streets, does he have a right to steal food in order to feed himself?
No. But he has the right to get some food to feed himself. And maybe his family. - Is it justifiable, that someone who has more than he needs is denying it to someone who needs it in order to not to die? Is it morally unjustifiable, if I "aquire" an apple from someone with enough bling-bling to buy an island, just to keep my children from starving? I think it is rather unjustifiable if that someone is not sharing it while he's whining 'bout his overweight problem. However, there is a also clear difference between "taking" and "asking for something".

Quote:
While I would exempt some things from that, people resorting to theft for survival is not justified. As I mentioned in the thread I provided a link to, there are alternatives to that. There are homeless shelters, for instance, in addition to just applying for a job or even turning to the government for aid.
Homeless shelters have limited resources, and there are much more people than places they can offer. "Just applying a job" is sometimes harder than one might think, especially if you appear to live on the streets and cannot really make a "clean and proper" appearance for the job interview. I think it's not easy to get a job as a cook if you smell - well - most unfortunate.

Quote:
What happens to the victims of the thievery is another matter to consider. People don't start businesses or own possessions just so others can take them at will. Not only does it harm them financially to lose things based on another person's "need", (which is an extremely vague term open to interpretation) but there can be cases in which they choose to defend what rightfully belongs to them. If someone broke into your house/apartment/whatever and started grabbing various possessions because he "needs them" and hasn't even mentioned looking for alternatives, would you take kindly to that?
I would say noone "needs" anything besides food, cloth, and a "shelter from the rain". I find it hard to argue why someone would need my notebook.

Quote:
Is the need of one individual more important than keeping an ordered society intact, in all your opinions?
I think in order to keep an ordered society we need individuals, right? I simply cannot imagine a working society when "all" individuals are about to starve.

My question is, why would someone need to steal food, if those, who have more than enough, would share? Or would they share if I'd ask for food?


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