This dialogue with Bohm merits its own post.
1. Do you concur that when the government imposes a law on the populace, it is intended as a restriction on human behavior?
2. Do you concur that a general restriction on human behavior is a restriction on human liberty, given the definition provided by Icarius?
For the sake of argument, I will concur with both your propositions, with the caveat that restricting one’s ability to rob, maim and murder, say, is obviously beneficial to general liberty.
3b. Do you concur that laws are passed in order to modify existing human behavior?
of course I concur, since I’ve said as much already, except perhaps to say ‘prohibit’ instead of ‘modify’, since people will carrying on murdering other people even when they know they shouldn’t really.
4b. Do you concur that the threat of government force causes humans to behave differently than they otherwise would?
5. Do you concur that laws are backed by the threat of government force.
Agreed. I would have thought that, for the purposes of this discussion, 4b) and 5) amounted to the same thing.
6. Do you concur that because they are backed by the threat of government force, laws cause humans to behave differently than they otherwise would?
Ha! So we have another transitive relationship. I am bound to agree with proposition 6.
7. Do you concur that the imposition of laws backed by government force amounts to a restriction on the behavior of those humans who would otherwise choose to behave differently?
I suppose so. I would prefer the term ‘modification’ rather than ‘restriction’. Are we going to address those humans who choose not to behave differently.
7b. Do you concur that a “modification” amounts to a “restriction” when the legally permissible range of human behavior has been reduced?
I find myself balking at this supposedly ‘logical’ approach. This formula is too vague to be meaningful. The ‘range of human behavior’ remains the same whether it is permitted or not. What constitutes a ‘legally permissible behavior’ is decided by a judiciary on a case by case basis. You’re presuming that human behavior is a range that is measurable; reduced or extended, which presumes that behavior comes in some kind of unit. Is unlawful killing of a human being a unit of human behavior? Or is simply killing a human being the unit to be measured? There are myriad different circumstances under which a death might be deemed lawful or unlawful, depending on the circumstances and who is doing the killing. Is gambling a unit of behavior? Or should it be divided into smaller units, depending on the nature of the punt? Laws against sports gambling in the US do not prevent Americans gambling on other stuff or indeed on sports. Furthermore, what is considered unlawful in one place, is perfectly legal elsewhere, even within the US. This is probably not what I’d say precisely if I had more time today, a bit rushed but there you go. But I really think we should stop talking about ‘human behavior’ and address something more tangible.
There is nothing vague about “the legally permissible range of human behavior.” Nor is this approach anything but logical, there is nothing supposed about it. The fact that you are balking at this approach is because you are increasingly beginning to understand that your position on the matter is not a logical one. So, I will repeat the question. Do you concur that a “modification” amounts to a “restriction” when the legally permissible range of human behavior has been reduced?
OK, I’ll play ball. I concur just to see were this is going.
8. Are there significantly more state and federal laws than there were in 1919?
I would have thought so, yes.
9. Do you concur that because laws restrict the legally permissible range of human behavior and because there are now significantly more state and federal laws than there were in 1919, the legally permissible range of human behavior has therefore been reduced since 1919?
That’s certainly true.
10. Do you concur that the majority of the electorate is capable of effecting change in the number of laws passed by its representatives?