Noses and Fists

Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

A very common sentiment. What is rarely appreciated, though, is that we have as much right to swing our fists as to have an undamaged nose. In order to exercise both rights, we have to reserve spaces for fist-swinging, places where unauthorized noses are prohibited.

Otherwise, people who stick their noses where they don’t belong can exert absolute control over the actions of others.

My right to swing my fists ends where your nose begins only so long as you keep your nose out of my business.

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One Response to “Noses and Fists”

  1. I’ve occasionally discussed hypothetical establishments where one would be free to stab anyone else inside. If there were clear warnings to anyone entering, no one would have a claim against anyone that stabbed them. Many people find that idea silly and say there are some rules, like ones against killing people, that must be enforced in ALL areas. I reason that third parties have no claim on a prospective suicide, nor on a football player, boxer, duelist or gladiator.

    Your idea seems to have broader relevance though. Think of war, for example. Did Lincoln cause the civil war by supplying Fort Sumter or Bismarck the Franco-Prussian war by provoking Napoleon III? Yes, but so did Jefferson Davis and Louis Napoleon by giving them the war they sought.

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