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"It's the law" isn't, in and of itself, a valid argument either.

That depends on the frame you're arguing in.

Natural rights? Legal positivism? Others?

But the choice of frame is at the level of conviction. Once you ascertain that (say) you're a legal positivist and the other guy is a natural rights advocate, that's pretty much the end of productive discussion.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 07:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's the law" can be trivially refuted by reducto ad absurdum: The law is not always consistent, so A and NOT(A) can be illegal at the same time. Meaning it can't be a valid argument in any frame that does not recognize copious use of special pleading as a valid argument.

(As a corollary, any authoritarian frame has to rely on special pleading for those cases where the authority - being human, and therefore imperfectly consistent - makes both A and NOT(A) taboo at the same time.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 07:45:11 AM EST
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