(L100) Income Redistribution

“Would it be moral to grade exams, so that all students get C’s? If not, is it moral for the state to redistribute incomes?”

It would be nothing less than immoral for a teacher to assign grades in accordance with equality, rather than true individual scores. The reason that giving every student a C (for example) would be wrong, is that every student did not earn a C. Some students earned a much higher grade, and are being punished (receiving negative sanctions) because of those who did not score as high as they did. Others however scored lower than a C, and are being rewarded (receiving positive sanctions) for doing worse than the other students. While obviously far from fair, this system cannot even be chalked up to being remotely positive as it rewards the underachievers and punishes the successors.

The only way to fairly award grades to students would be to grant them the exact grade that they earned. Each student, regardless of each others score’s, would have to reap the rewards or consequences of the grade that the results of their test’s warranted. (Now, yes, I do recognize the flaws in standardized testing, and I understand that many students fail not due to effort exerted, but because of the fact that they are being forced to learn in a way that they do not understand. In this example however, I am referring to an imaginary class of students, all of equal learning ability who have either scored higher or lower based upon the effort they put into studying and learning the test material. In short, this would mean that it would take every student the same amount of time to learn the same amount of information; thus, every student gets the grade that they worked for and can all be graded using the same scale.)

In both the academic and career worlds, people (should) get what they work for. I personally work my little butt off to earn an income that can support my needs, and to be stolen from is heartbreaking. Now, when I speak of being robbed, I am not talking about a masked purse-snatcher assaulting me on the street. No. I am speaking directly about your friendly neighborhood politician; I am talking about his superior, and the man in charge of him too. Every single hard working American is robbed at gunpoint on a daily basis, but does it hurt you the way the plain-sight bandit does? Would you cry the same, or file a report with the police the very same? Do you even notice?

More often than not, these questions are answered with a simple no. Sometimes however, these practices are even encouraged with phrases resembling, “I am just doing my part” or “it’s for the greater good”. So what exactly is the greater good and who is the authority on such? In my opinion, the greater good is to “love thy neighbor” and the overall authority is God. What I do know however is that funding the lives of lazy, alcoholic, drug using, and/or jobless adults and their offspring with stolen money is not the greater good. Welfare programs not only theoretically encourage mooching and joblessness, but have been proven to increase poverty levels throughout the United States. It also has been shown to destroy marriages, reduce the likelihood of a welfare child having a successful future, and increase mental health and home abuse issues.

Why should somebody be granted what another person earned at the threat of force and violence? Would God believe that this is the greater good? Did God say that “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote”? Absolutely not. God said to help those around you, he said to be generous and love every man. I believe that there are people out there that do truly need help, but I do not believe that coercion and theft are the ways to help them! Allow people to keep that which is theirs; their income in full. Encourage one another to share, trade and lend a helping hand. Charity has changed hundreds of thousands of lives already, and I don’t believe that the power in giving is lost. We can make a difference, even as one person. We can reduce poverty, mental illness and spousal/child abuse. We can build communities that revolve around charitable action and helping rehabilitate people; but first, we must stand up against being forced to enable these things with our own weekly paychecks.

Theft is immoral whether you wear a business suit or a hoodie. It hurts the lives of people on both the receiving and the losing ends.

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(L15) The Welfare State – Immoral and Unconsitiutional

In your opinion, does the state have the right to redistribute wealth from some people to others? Why or why not?

Property redistribution, (also known as the welfare state), is not only immoral, but a legal obstruction of my inalienable (birth) rights to liberty and property. Should another person have a greater need for my property (money) more than I do, it would be up to me to voluntarily help that other person. For the government to step in and take a portion of my income and give it to someone else is theft by coercion (threat of force). The welfare state impedes upon both my rights to not have my property stolen, and to not have my freedom (liberties) obstructed.

(L10) Human Rights

1.) Is there a “right of free speech” in the abstract, or is the question of free speech at root a matter of property rights?

Free speech, while being an essential human right, stands only on the basis of property rights. When property and human rights are separated, human rights become inconsistent and imprecise at best. They must instead, for understandings sake, be viewed as two pieces of the same thing, (rather than two different things). For example, if I were to rush into a movie theater shouting “Fire! Run! The theater is on fire!” I would get thrown out. I would not be thrown out because I was exercising my freedom of speech, but because I was on someone else’s property, and I was violating the set rules that they have on their property. I would be thrown out because I yelled (which is against the owner’s rules), not because of what I yelled.

2.) Explain the difference between positive and negative rights, using at least one example.

Negative rights are rights that simply require the absence of interference from others; for example, the rights to life, liberty, and property. More specifically, the right not to be killed, the right to not have my liberties infringed upon, and the right to not have my property stolen. Positive rights on the other hand place burdens on some people to obtain specific benefits for others. Positive rights are things that are all especially desirable, but not technically human rights; the reason for this is that positive rights may only be obtained through plunder and coercion.
Positive rights create conflict (between positive and negative rights) because, one’s negative rights will never infringe upon another’s (negative) rights. Positive rights however (in every case) will infringe upon one’s negative rights not to have their property (money) stolen. Negative rights require only self responsibility and mindfulness of others, whereas positive rights violate people’s negative rights (God given/birth rights) and incite threat-assisted theft.

Admirable Entrepreneurship: Dr. Elliot Katz DVM & IDA International (L70)

IDA International (In Defense of Animals), is an animal advocacy (rights and rescue) organization that works day in and day out to “protect the rights, welfare and habitats of animals”. Using every resource available, this organization dedicates all of it’s time to educating the public, rescuing and offering sanctuary to any animal in need, and fighting for the birthrights animals. Statements including “the rights of animals are birthrights, similar to those we claim for ourselves—the right to live our lives free of subjugation and institutionalized violence, where the random and special joys of being alive can be experienced” and “…we need to treat others as we want to be treated not only for their sake, but also because our own good is interwoven with the good of others, including other species. Animal Rights and Human Rights are linked at their core…” can be found touching the hearts of thousands on the front page of their website (About IDA). They are also largely involved in both exposing and putting an end to animal experimentation, and protecting wildlife species in captivity as well as in the wild. Cruelty investigations to rescue operations, they’ve done it all.
IDA International was founded in 1983 by Dr. Elliot Katz DVM, who began his career as a Veterinarian until he was contacted by an animal-advocacy organization in need of his help. There had been reports of severe animal abuse and maltreatment at an animal laboratory on the UC Berkeley campus. Disgusted and taken aback by the conditions he encountered, Dr. Katz was no less than determined to right these wrongs against animals.  With little funding and large hearts IDA was birthed; a small group of concerned citizens with pure intentions of bringing legal action upon the USDA and the University. However, after their first success in the enrichment of the lives of the campus lab animals, this organization had to grow. “In Defense of Animals has since expanded its mission and grown to be one of the nation’s foremost animal advocacy organizations, dedicated to ending abuse of animals…” (Elliot Katz).

 

Bibliography

“ABOUT IDA – In Defense of Animals.” In Defense of Animals. IDA International, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http://www.idausa.org/about-ida/&gt;.

“Elliot Katz, DVM – In Defense of Animals.” In Defense of Animals. IDA International, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <http://www.idausa.org/about-ida/staff/elliot-katz/&gt;.