Ethos, Pathos, and Thymos

Yesterday on Reddit, I had the pleasure of being targeted for abuse because I committed the sin of pointing out that Ayn Rand was not, in fact, a hypocrite for both advocating the abolition of the welfare state (because it was legalized theft) and for taking social security and Medicare. (If you care actually to understand how it was not hypocrisy, instead of just snarling curse words and insults at anyone who disputes it, you can find it on the Ayn Rand Lexicon, and at greater length in the essays quoted there.)

One charming fellow answered a comment I made with swearing and insults, for which I mocked him. The mockery, apparently, got up his nose a bit, for this was one of his replies:

Let’s try a fucking thought experiment, motherfucker.

You own some fucking land. It’s not fucking big enough for you to fucking live off (and you’re not fucking smart or fucking hard enough to do so, even if it fucking were). If you don’t fucking go out and buy some fucking food, you’ll fucking starve.

I want to exercise my God-given fucking right to run my fucking business. I buy up all the fucking land surrounding your fucking hovel and set up my fucking factories and shit. Due to the sensitive fucking nature of my fucking business, and my desire to live a private fucking life away from the prying fucking eyes of fucking parasites (because muh freedoms and A=A and fuck you), I allow no fucking trespassing, no fucking overflights, and certainly no fucking tunnels.

Resolve for maximum fucking freedom.

He got even more enraged when I declined to answer his “argument”, instead opting to mock his demeanour further.

It is a dictum of mine that lefties cannot abide being treated the way that they treat others (in fact, they generally react with insensate rage), and he has spent a good part of yesterday and today demonstrating just that.

But as I have seen this “argument” before, presented as if it were unanswerable, I felt I should put the answer out into the ether, just to show what a piece of silliness it is.

So, here it is:

Imagine I walk up and encircle you in my arms, without touching you at any point. If you actually think that breaking free of my imprisoning you in such a way would constitute you initiating force against me, then possibly you find the above scenario to be a convincing refutation of of freedom and property rights.

If, on the other hand, you see that I was guilty of imprisoning you, congratulations, you understand the common law idea of easements, not exactly a new or groundbreaking concept, and not a thing against which any Objectivist thinker has ever argued, to my knowledge.

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One thought on “Ethos, Pathos, and Thymos

  1. Or another analogy:

    I and my friends encircle you so you cannot go anywhere without breaking through. That is clearly a case of detaining you, and you have the right to take appropriate action.
    Just my opinion.

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