So, I told you all I’d tell you about my class. I’ve had two classes now, but I’ll separate them, for my own sake. It’ll make it easier to deal with.

So…here’s how this post is gonna work. I’m gonna talk about my ideas on the class so far, and then I’m gonna get on with posting my assignment.

So…the class so far is cool. The one chat I’ve been to so far (I had internet problems while the second one was occuring) was interesting, but the chat itself was laggy. But, that’s not the class’s fault, it’s the software’s fault. I like it so far. It’s like a regular class, except we meet in a chat room instead of in person. I listen to the lectures on youtube like I would a lecture for a professor (although, I admit, I pay attention more to this than my irl professors. I get to rewind and re-listen, whereas in person, there is no rewind button…) I submit my coursework online, as I do with some of my classes. And I get graded on my work like I do with my classes, although the grading is a bit different. There’s unsatisfactory, satisfactory, and honors.

So so far, it’s all good. Hopefully this’ll help me get more confident about expressing my views, instead of sitting and passively listening to people.  I said a few things in the first chat, but with the lag and people typing and all, I was getting bits and pieces of a bajillion different convos, so it was a bit difficult, especially because the chat would scroll back down to the bottom whenever someone said something.

Okay, so I need to give you background. My assignment was to read pages 1-15 in the book The Market For Liberty (PDF link), watch lecture 1 (that’s a link to their youtube channel…it’s like…4 or 5 parts long, if you really want to check it out, it’s pretty cool) and then write a 500-600 word response paper on the prompt: What is aggression? How can we distinguish between aggression and other kinds of undesirable influence? Oooohhh, daunting, said the Momo, but she was up to the challange!

Before I post this, in my defense: I wrote this after a long day of classes and work. I was running purely on caffeine at that point, so…yeah. Take that for what you will….

Response Paper 1

What is aggression? According to the Tannehills, aggression is “…to initiate (that is, to start) the use of physical force, the threat of force, or any substitute for force (such as fraud) against any other man or group of men. This means that no man, no gang, and no government may morally use force in even the smallest degree against even the most unimportant individual so long as that individual has not himself initiated force.” That is, basically, that aggression is the initiation or threat of initiation of violence against a person, and does not include self-defense under their definition of aggression.

I essentially agree with these ideas.  I also feel as though aggression is not self-defense. If someone initiates violence towards you, I feel as though you have a right to defend yourself though. However, I disagree with their assertion that one has a moral obligation to defend one’s self. There are many moral reasons, I feel, for not defending one’s self against violence. For example, someone could agree with the reason that violence is being visited upon him or her. Say¸ for instance, my schizophrenic sister had a psychotic episode, and during it, she attacked me. I would never be able to harm my little sister, physically because she is built like a tank, and spiritually because I love my little sister, and would prefer to help care for her. So I would not try to defend myself if I were in that particular situation, beyond dodging any particular facts, because for me to do so would be to violate an important moral belief that I have, being that I love my family members and I would rather have harm come upon me than come upon them.

The Tannehills in the book also go over how man’s nature makes it so that no one can live for/run  life for another person, due to it being impossible to make another human being to think, or to do his thinking for him. I think trying to do so would be a bit different from aggression, and instead, would be classified as another type of “undesirable influence”. In trying to make another person think, you are not holding a gun against his or her head, screaming, “Learn this, or we’ll kill you family!” Indeed, intentionally, that picture looks somewhat ridiculous. Visiting violence upon someone for not learning is, at least, in my experience, something that is not common. I feel threatening someone to learning would be counter-productive in many cases, not the least in situations where a person has performance anxiety, or a person who considers outwitting authority to be a fun and interesting challenge. Also, since it’s well known that you can’t control someone’s mind (for example, when people talk about things with “a mind of their own”, they’re talking about something that does other than what is desired of it, recognizes the impossibility of being able to control someone else’s mind) the person who would be threatening you to learn would likely at least suspect, if they did not already know, that failure would soon follow.  Since I do not believe that violence is rarely learned to try to make people learn (with the exception of truancy boards, which, I think we can all agree, public school is not really learning, it’s more like a happy little government indoctrination camp with forced attendance unless you live in a home-schooling friendly state), I think then logically follows that it cannot be violence.

Reading through it makes me wince. That’s why we don’t leave papers for the wee hours of the morning the night before. So many ways I could have made this better….

Here’s my prof’s response (my name changed to my internet name):

Hi, Momo,

What’s most interesting, of course, is your view, not that of the Tannehills.

It’s important that you distinguish between wrongs that are and wrongs that aren’t aggressive: this is a really crucial distinction that I wish the Tannehills emphasized more.

I agree completely about the silliness of the Tannehills claim about the wrongness of not defending oneself.

Grade: Satisfactory

There are three grades. Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, and Honors. So I got an okay grade. I wasn’t really expecting honors. Especially not when I’m a bit of an “anarchy newbie” and others in the class are…not quite newbies so much? :-p

As long as I get at least a satisfactory in the class, I’m happy. I’d be thrilled if I got an honors, but I just don’t know if that’s in me. I’ve got other coursework to do, and a job to work at to support myself, and…yeah. But we’ll see….