Showing posts with label private property. Show all posts
Showing posts with label private property. Show all posts

Friday, November 22, 2013

TGIF: Property and Force: A Reply to Matt Bruenig

Last week’s TGIF, “One Moral Standard for All,” drew a curious response fromMatt Bruenig, a contributor to the Demos blog, Policy Shop. In reading his article, “Libertarians Are Huge Fans of Initiating Force,” one should bear in mind that the aim of my article was not to defend the libertarian philosophy, but to show that most people live by it most of the time. The problem is that they apply a different moral standard to government employees.
Mr. Bruenig’s article, which will satisfy only those of his readers who know nothing firsthand about libertarianism, charges libertarians with failing to understand that the concept “initiation of force” must be defined in terms of a theory of entitlement. It is that theory which reveals who, in any particular violent interaction, is the aggressor and who is the defender. Thus, he says, an act that a libertarian would call aggression would look different to someone working from a different theory of entitlement. (Strangely, he believes he can validate taxation by this reasoning.)
That Mr. Bruenig thinks this is news to libertarians indicates how much research he did before writing his article. I know of no libertarian who would be surprised by his statement. But Mr. Bruenig goes further and accuses libertarians of circular reasoning in defining entitlement and the initiation of force, or aggression. Is he right? Let’s see.
Read the rest here. By the way, if you're curious about Bruenig's agenda, I believe it is packed into this passage:
So taxing someone, for instance, is only aggressive if you think the amount being taxed belongs to the person being taxed. But if you believe the amount being taxed belongs to whomever the money is going to (say a retired person), then it isn't aggressive. The force involved in extracting the tax when someone resists is simply defensive force.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Should Whites-Only Lunch Counters Be Allowed?

Okay, let's get right down to it. Our side is asked, incredulously, "Do you mean that someone should be allowed to have a whites-only lunch counter?"

The standard libertarian answer is, "Yes, although I don't approve of the racist policy."

I say, "No. He shouldn't be allowed."

What?! Heresy!

Chill out.

He shouldn't be allowed, but it's not the literal force of government or private parties that should disallow it. It's the metaphorical force of social pressure -- led by libertarians, of course -- that should disallow it.

There, that's cleared up. Next controversy.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Civil Rights and the Libertarian Principle


My take on the Rand Paul flap is in today's Christian Science Monitor.

BTW: "They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I'm not a libertarian."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Good Sense about Property

I highly recommend Less Antman's essay on property here. A teaser:
I believe that property is a problem solver, a useful tool for achieving social peace and economic efficiency that benefits society enormously. However, it is a useful social convention, not a an absolute right derivable from self-ownership: there is no reason that a person born in the year 2100 should have fewer rights than a person born in the year 2000, but if all the world becomes private property, and property owners can establish all the rules for their property, then every person born after that date will be born a slave, and self-ownership will become a joke....

All anarchy requires is that we accept the idea that other people are not our property. With that alone, we’ll create whatever order and organization is needed in an environment of mutual respect. When we have disputes we can’t resolve, we’ll create tools for resolving them. History tells us that private property is one of those tools, but we shouldn’t raise it to the level of a fetish that overrides our common sense and our humanity.