Microsoft Hatred FAQ

Matt Garrish matthew.garrish at
Mon Oct 24 00:12:54 CEST 2005

"David Schwartz" <davids at> wrote in message 
news:djgt6m$mj7$1 at
> "Matt Garrish" <matthew.garrish at> wrote in message 
> news:GHR6f.1428$ki7.48975 at
>> I'd be interested in hearing what you think a right is?
>    A right is a scope of authority. That is, a sphere within which one's 
> decision is sovereign.

Then why were you claiming that a government can infringe on a person's 
rights if those rights are not codified or even accepted by those people? 
The idea of inalienable rights for anyone in a Western society only exists 
if you believe that the rights of Western societies are inalienable and 
should be respected everywhere. There is a huge arrogance in that 
assumption, though, and once you enter a jurisdiction that does not hold 
your rights to be inalienable they are no longer your rights.

You can have generally agreed upon rights, but as you note, those rights can 
only be hoped for if the systems exist to enforce them. Once those systems 
erode, you no longer have rights only hopes. The more you allow those 
systems to be eroded, the less you can expect your rights to exist.

In the end, the slippery slope theory would suggest that if you allow MS to 
get away with bad business practices you are in effect giving all companies 
the right to leverage whatever means are at their disposal to do the same, 
to the detriment of society.

>> In Florida, for example, you have the right to gun someone down if you 
>> think they're a bit too menacing. In Canada, most people find that 
>> reprehensible. So does a Floridian visiting Canada have their rights 
>> infringed on by our rogue government because they're not allowed to gun 
>> down menacing looking Canadians at will?
>    That's obviously a complicated question but totally unrelated to the 
> issue at hand, which was one's sovereignty over one's own property. 
> Obviously issues where a person has to use force against another are going 
> to be complicated. The existence of complicated questions doesn't make the 
> simple ones complicated.

I brought it up as an example of why rights are difficult in all cases. You 
can't claim that anyone has a right to the land they live on. Your only 
legitimacy to ownership comes through goverment and its ability to enforce 
that legitimacy for you. And if you really want to get contentious, in 
Canada and the US your only legitimacy comes from an artificial transaction 
between a landowner and your government at some time in the past to 
legitimize its sovereignty over Native American land.

Your only real right when it comes to land ownership is to receive some kind 
of compensation if it is taken away. Your government could decide at any 
time to expropriate your property to build a new highway (for example), and 
you'd be out in the cold. You can try to fight the government in court but 
more often than not you'll lose because the greater good of society 
outweighs your right to own the land (and the assumption is always that 
governments work for the greater good of society).

And add to that all the covenants and municipal laws you have to obey when 
purchasing property and the notion that you have sovereignty over your land 
becomes even less tenable.


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