Property and Force: A Reply to Matt Bruenig

How do we get from the right to one’s body to the right to one’s (justly acquired) possessions, including land?

(Page 2 of 3)

Next, what’s idiosyncratic about the libertarian idea? It’s the way most people think about these issues, which was the point of my article. To use an old example from Murray Rothbard, if you see a person seizing a watch from someone, in judging who is the aggressor and who the victim, it makes a world of difference who owns the watch. Likewise if someone peacefully walks onto private property or into a home uninvited. Most people would agree with the libertarian view.

As for the charge of circularity, I (and the libertarians I know) do not justify entitlement in terms of the noninitiation of force. We justify entitlement in terms of the conditions under which human beings, in light of their nature, may flourish in a social setting. Justice and rights theory are aspects of morality. “Morality as I conceive of it has both personal and interpersonal dimensions (which are … inextricably linked): it is concerned with personal flourishing and with what we can reasonably be said to owe others,” Gary Chartier writes in Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics in a Stateless Society.

To be sure, it is a marker of entitlement that no initiation of force occured in the acquisition of goods, but that simply means that no one else had previously satisfied the conditions bestowing entitlement and hence the acquisition violated no other person’s rights. Fundamentally, one is entitled to a parcel of land as the initial appropriator, not because force was not used in its acquisition, but because the land was unowned when one mixed one’s labor with (transformed) it and brought it into one’s sphere. (James Sadowsky’s classic essay, “Private Property and Collective Ownership,” is relevant here.)

Where’s the circularity, Mr. Bruenig? There is indeed a close relationship between the conceptsentitlement and aggression, but as Roderick Long wrote in private correspondence, “Master and slave are interdefined; so are parent and child. It’s not circular because we can define the whole relationship.”

Let’s go at Mr. Bruenig’s argument in another way. In a follow-up post, “The Libertarian Bizarro World,” he writes,

If you are a libertarian who believes justice requires the following of a certain liberty-respecting process, you have to explain how anything can come to be owned in the first place. That initial move is, by any coherent account, the most violent extinction of personal liberty that there ever can be.

On a fairly traditional account (e.g. Hobbes’ account), liberty and freedom are defined as: being free of bodily restraint. Being able to walk about the world freely and without people stopping you and saying you can’t go here or there is a fairly appealing notion of liberty. This is what things are like (analytically speaking) prior to ownership. Prior to anyone owning things, you should presumably be free to move about the world however you see fit. And if someone were to come up to you and physically restrain you from moving about the world, you would rightly understand that as a restriction on your liberty.

But physically restraining you from moving about the world is exactly what property ownership does. Whereas before ownership you have full liberty to walk about the earth as you’d like, after ownership, you don’t. Should you try, someone (the person claiming ownership of, for instance, a piece of land) will physically restrain your body.

It is true that in the libertarian (and in most people’s) view, the lives and property of each person represent restraints on the physical freedom of everyone else. That’s what it means to respect other people, to treat them as ends and not merely as means. But Mr. Bruenig’s conception of freedom entails the freedom to disregard the lives and interests of others. Observe this exchange from the comments section of the blog:

Me: So a valid account of freedom would entail everyone’s being able to walk through anyone’s home at any time.

Matt Bruenig: Yes. Now maybe you have some good reasons for why we should violently destroy that freedom. But that’s what they are: reasons for violently restricting people’s liberty.

Apparently the homeowner’s status as an end in himself does not count as a good reason to restrict (not necessarily violently) the intruder’s “liberty” to use the homeowner as a means to his own ends.

Of course, libertarians don’t define freedom in merely physical terms, as Mr. Bruenig does. Libertarians don’t talk about freedom in a vacuum, focusing on one isolated person’s ability to move anyway he chooses. Rather, they advocate the freedom of all persons in society. If everyone is to be free, freedoms cannot conflict; they must be compossible. Smith’s freedom cannot morally include the freedom to enter Jones’s house uninvited, or the freedom to thrust his fist against Jones’s head. It doesn’t much matter if you call these prohibitions limitations on freedom or exclusions from the concept freedom. In the end, Mr. Bruenig is making a trivial point.

Even when pressed, Mr. Bruenig stuck to his physical, amoral, and relativist notion of freedom. When he wrote that a purported trespasser is an aggressor only if you think the “victim” owns the property, I commented, “And a rapist is aggressive only if you think the woman owns her body.” I received no reply.

Why should persons be free of bodily restraint, able to walk about the world freely? The likely answer is that each owns himself or herself, body and mind, and thus has a right to autonomy. But if that is so, they may not ignore the equal freedom of others — otherwise all are not free — and they should not do so because a fully human life consists in a life of reason, not force.

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  • ||

    My son did not have a great night sleeping (he'll be 2 in February--all you new dads, have fun in the roller coaster), so quoting Team Four Star is as much as I can muster up:
    Parody Android Dr. Gero:
    "First, WHAT?
    Second, THE FUCK ?"

    I never knew property rights were solely a libertarian belief. I'm pretty sure the liberals I know that live in massive homes don't want random strangers walking through either.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Obviously not, there will just be some impressive hand-waving when you bring that up.

    I don't feel like searching for the video, but when the Daily Show went to the Occupy Wall Street encampment, they found a college Marxist type who claimed to not believe in private property.

    Daily Show person: "So you would let any of those homeless weirdos camped here use your Ipad."
    OWS Marxist: [takes a slight step back] "No, this is my Ipad."

  • ||

    Not surprising.

    But even if you grant his point that people can't own land because we don't make it, then I assume he means we can own things like that dude's iPad. So how do those to fit together? Where do you put the things you're allowed to own if you're not allowed on any place to store them?

  • RBS||

    Obviously you carry them around in a messenger bag. Until someone kills you and steals your possessions.

  • ||

    My organic artisanal hemp messenger bag?

  • Killazontherun||

    And suddenly never having even seen one, I need to buy one. You are a genius and entrepreneur, Kool.

  • VG Zaytsev||

  • ||

    Was that hemp grown in an alternate dimension? If not then it is not your hemp bag but the land's bag.

    Preventing Someone from rifling through that bag is no different then restricting someone from walking through a help field.

  • ||

    Not allowed "To own" any place

  • KPres||

    Most Marxists who've actually learned the first thing about Marxism (maybe 5% of them) say there's a difference between private property (capital goods) and personal property (consumption goods), and they only have a problem with private ownership of capital goods. My objection is that there's no real distinction between the two...

    Capital goods - goods that are themselves utilized in the production of other goods.

    So according to that, if I eat a sandwich so I'll have the energy to go to work and make some other product, the sandwich is a capital good and should belong to the state.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Give it to the statist after it has passed through your system.

  • MJGreen||

    I think a more convincing argument is: a writer or programmer or photographer uses a laptop for work, but also for personal use. Is it a capital good or not?

  • Agammamon||

    Yes.

    Comrade, the ambiguity here is not an accident. We need the freedom to *act* when someone is being unmutual.

  • Nephilium||

    Of course not, the person in that conversation is only opposed to private (owned by someone else) property, not personal (owned by the person in question) property.

  • setTHEline||

    I had to find it, sounded too good. Plus I'm a sucker for OWS mockery videos.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/wa.....et-divided

  • setTHEline||

    "I'm not against personal property, I'm against private property." Classic!

  • ||

    But what about the Native Americans?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    I am native to America. That makes me a Native American. And?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Me too, plus some Injun blood.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Silly story: Because of an old family name, Pedpath, there was rumored to be Amerindian ancestry in our family. Turns out it comes from village of Redpath in the parish of Earlston, England.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    My maternal German ancestors married Cherokee gals and never traveled farther west than Cedar Lake, Indiana. The Indiana adventure did not occur until just after WWII.

  • David Wall||

    The overwhelming majority of native American Indians did not recognize property rights of other tribes or even other individuals within their own tribe. That is why they were constantly at war with each other. Protection of property rights was Andrew Jackson's justification of removing tribes from the Georgia and Florida. Individual tribe members who understood respected property rights were not forced to move--and there were many among the so-called 5 civilized tribes. The young country was establishing property rights in the frontier. The people's that occupied, but did not own land wanted no part of it and fought it.

    Being from Oklahoma, I was required to learn such facts. Doubt seriously that they teach it now, even in Oklahoma.

  • ||

    No, you're taught that Native Americans lived in perfect non-violent harmony with nature until Europeans came and wrecked it like Ralph.

  • Juice||

    occupied, but did not own

    So was it private property or personal property? Did they get a homestead exemption?

  • Edwin||

    Really? Could you cite? I'd like to read more about this

  • David Wall||

    That's for sure. Libertarians may not be good defenders of property rights. Let's try this quote by someone who adamantly apposed Libertarians.

    “In regard to political economy, property rights require special emphasis. Man has to work and produce in order to support his life. He has to support his own life by his own effort and by the guidance of his own mind. If he cannot dispose of the product of his own effort, he cannot dispose of his effort. If he cannot dispose of his effort, he cannot dispose of his life. Without property rights, no other rights can be practiced.” Ayn Rand

    The key principle is the right to dispose of the product of his land. No serious defender of property rights would ever make the nonsensical, strawman argument, that an owner automatically has the right to use force against someone who accidentally wanders onto the property that they do not own. Rather the owner simply asserts his ownership, and asks the wandering stranger to leave. If they do not, they are trespassing, which in this context, they are essentially establishing the right of disposal over something which is not theirs. At that point the trespasser is initiating the force, and the owner rightfully calls in the only moral arbiter of force, the government, to protect their property rights. The government then uses whatever force is necessary to remove the trespasser and leave the owner alone to dispose of the property as he or she sees fit.

  • Juice||

    I never knew property rights were solely a libertarian belief. I'm pretty sure the liberals I know that live in massive homes don't want random strangers walking through either.

    That wasn't the guy's point and I don't think the article fully addressed the core of the original point, which is that there may be some person or culture that has a totally different theory of entitlement than libertarians, liberals, Americans, Europeans, etc. and that this will lead to a different idea of aggression and property. I don't know why the rape question didn't get a response, maybe because it's a touchy subject, but looking at it logically, there may be a person or society that believes that a person, or maybe just a woman, doesn't own her body at all. There's nothing objective that says that she does, or that anyone does. Almost nobody really wants to be raped and so almost everyone can agree with each other that there will be no rape among us, but that's all that rights (entitlements) are: agreements. The greater society around you has to collectively agree what rights everyone is entitled to. Rights don't come from a god. You aren't born with them. They have to come from the vast majority of other people around you. Sorry, but the original point stands. If someone doesn't believe in property rights the same way you do then there may be a conflict that can't be objectively decided.

  • Juice||

    cont. We all just rely on (and take for granted) that almost everyone in the world sees property the same way we do.

  • Carolynp||

    I was thinking the same thing. Keep your free spirited carcass off my land uninvited and we won't have problems.

  • SIV||

  • ||

    "No serious injury but his leg was broken."

    Texas is bad ass.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    People can still die of complications from broken legs. We take today's proliferation of modern medical knowledge and care throughout the developed world completely for granted. In the future, we'll say "He was only dead for a few minutes; nothing serious."

  • fish||

    Me thinks we found one of the many hands operating the "White Indian" sock puppet. A hearty belated welcome Mr. Breunig.....enjoy gamboling about freely!

  • Atanarjuat||

    Ha! Your comment is hidden because it contains the word "g*mb*l".

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Yeah, I thought about Redinjun while reading this too. She never did take me up on my offer to let her go to my land in the British Columbian bush. Too bad, it's nice up there until about this time of year.

  • RBS||

    I was not prepared for such a massive dose of stupid this morning. Who is Matt Brueig and how has he not drowned in the bath tub?

  • ||

    Baths are wasteful? You are only allowed a 45 second Tepid shower?

  • Generic Stranger||

    That would explain the smell...

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    RBS: As I was reading your comment, my mind's ear heard it in the voice of James Spader's character, "Red" Reddington, from "Blacklist." Very entertaining!

  • newshutz||

    Ooh, that make it even better!

  • SIV||

    Nothing in libertarian theory, however, rules out nonstate public property or common-law easements.

    Thanks for including this (with links). Too many libertarians think "commons" is a dirty word. RobC wants to carve the entirety of the oceans up into privately owned plots.

  • KPres||

    Commons isn't a dirty word, but under conditions of scarcity, most common ownership is self-destructive. It either needs to be split up into individually owned pieces, or regulated by some authority.

  • Samshile||

    There are many planned unit developments that have common areas. There is nothing destructive about them. They add utility and appeal to the development and the individual owners. Furthermore, they are maintained and do not require regulating. Although they have regulations, observing these rules are by choice, not force.

  • newshutz||

    The regulating authority is the community. Constant violation of social norms about use of the common areas will provoke appeal to stronger authority.

  • setTHEline||

    What's bad about privatizing the oceans?

  • wadair||

    Right. Countries claim ownership of waters often three miles from their coastlines.

  • Agammamon||

    Its 12 nm now for 'territorial waters' and countries claim out to *200 nm* for 'exclusive economic zones'.

  • anarch||

  • David Wall||

    Nothing. It should be done and would be of great benefit to the oceans if they were--it takes away the problem of the commons. It should also be done for the lakes (Great Lakes).

  • David Wall||

    Everything should be owned by an individual or corporation. Easements would likely be owned by the sub-division developers so they could access utilities that they may manage for the property owners. The sub-division developers might also own the streets and sidewalks. When you purchase the house your contract to pay periodic fee for maintenance of utilities, streets, sidewalks. People voluntarily paying for values they wish to have is not that complicated. A gazillion options in such matters would present themselves if the local, state, and federal governments would simply butt-out.

    I thought you ol' so, cool Libertarian cats were up on all this stuff. You guys really don't know that much about the particulars of how a free society would really work. What gives?

  • Redmanfms||

    I thought you ol' so, cool Libertarian cats were up on all this stuff. You guys really don't know that much about the particulars of how a free society would really work. What gives?

    Why don't you read more and post less until you figure out what's up.

    The commentariat isn't a monolith and neither are the Reason contributors.

  • Samshile||

    I agree, I just posted something similar. I ask rhetorically; what is a planned unit development?

  • KPres||

    We justify entitlement in terms of the conditions under which human beings, in light of their nature, may flourish in a social setting."

    I though "we" justified entitlement on self-ownership, and then used the NAP to define what ownership entails. INOW, I own my body...therefore I own my labor...therefore I own the land I homesteaded (or the land I bought from somebody else that homesteaded it). The NAP then says that I'm free to do what I will with what I choose so long as I don't agress against the same in another. That also makes nonsense out of this:

    The reason the libertarian is entitled to that piece of land is because they are being non-aggressive. The reason the libertarian’s attack on me is non-aggressive is because he is entitled to that piece of land.

  • KPres||

    edit: "free to do what I will with what I choose own"

  • KPres||

    "Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of ground because nobody makes them."

    Two problems I have with Georgism:

    1. Under the same reasoning, nobody makes anything. After all, I've never created a single atom in my life, they were all created in the big bang.

    2. If you say a person can't own land, it doesn't just undermine libertarianism, it undermines all ownership, including state ownership. So how do Georgists come to the conclusion that land belongs to the community? The community didn't create it, either.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm a commercial real estate developer, and I've created all sorts of land.

    You should see it!

    There's actually a whole engineering profession called "geotechnical engineering".

    Creating land is part of what they do. I've seen them turn impassible hills into flat building pads. Sometimes we have the dirt hauled in by the truckload from somewhere else.

    Nobody makes pieces of ground? Baloney! I do. And I sell it by the square foot.

  • ||

    Mind=Blown.

  • BillPrep||

    Wait! That's not 'making' that's 'moving'. And you probably stole all that dirt. Not that you can steal it, because no one made it, so no one owns it, so....shit, Im putting on some Steely Dan.

  • Harvard||

    [Creating land is part of what they do. I've seen them turn impassible hills into flat building pads]

    Visited one such just a week ago for the F1 race. Creating the Circuit Of The Americas, (replete with serious elevation changes) from a patch of Texas that was as flat your ass and almost that interesting was a feat indeed.

  • prolefeed||

    Any building higher than one story (or with a basement) is creating land out of air (or underground).

  • seguin||

    Huh? That area isn't very flat. Admittedly, it's not as hilly as west of Austin, but still.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If you say a person can't own land, it doesn't just undermine libertarianism, it undermines all ownership, including state ownership.

    In their twisted language, state ownership is not ownership but the most intelligent method of management. If you do not realize this, you are ignorant in need of some reeducation.

  • Edwin||

    That's clearly silly. It's not about the literal physical creation, it's creation in the human sense, who does what labor to create what GOODS or whatever. Come one, Please. It obviously doesn't mean that nobody can't own anything because no one created atoms. That's silly and not part of the theory and you know it

    2. Not really. Youre putting claims on Georgists they never made. Some georgists simply want to change the land-tax scheme. I myself can rudimentarily envision a system of land property rights that expire depending on use (i.e. if it's been used within the past x amount of time), with different specifics for different types of land uses.

    Surely you must the the injustice in this shitty economy of houses or apartments or condos going vacant for years on end, and yet the rent is still as high as ever?
    Yes, developers need to make back their money, but that doesn't take literally FOREVER. This also applies to purchases (as opposed to self-building), why should everyone wait for you to recoup your investment? YOU paid too much for your building

    I'll give that the registration system would be a bitch and potentially costly, but it beats $4,526 and fuck dollars and a pint of virgin blood and your first born just for a fucking shoebox apartment
    Hell, I live in HACKENSACK and it's still kinda expensive.

  • Edwin||

    Though, of course, a lot of this is also caused by land-use restrictions, which is something I actually hate (and libertarians in general hate, too). Whereas I'm not 100% behind my land-ownership scheme proposal.

  • Brian D||

    Matt: "Libertarianism!"

    Sheldon: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  • JidaKida||

    I dont think Slap Daddy is gonna like that.

    www.VPN-Anon.tk

  • ||

    So we may have finally found out the real identity of the Tony handle?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Suppose I walk on to some piece of ground that a libertarian claims ownership over. Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of ground because nobody makes them. In my walking on the ground, I do not touch the libertarian or threaten to touch him in any way. Nonetheless, the libertarian proceeds to initiate force against me or calls the police to get them to initiate force against me.

    Bruenig is MNG?

    Does he go on to explain how robbery by force is not robbery if the thief's intentions are noble?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Any uninvited crossing into another person’s moral sphere counts as an invasion, no matter how slight or nonviolent. But since the sole permissible objective of defense is to terminate the invasion and obtain compensation for damages (if any occur), one may use only the minimum force required to accomplish those goals."

    There is a problem that arises when someone else's free enjoyment of their own property infringes on someone else's rights.

    I believe it was Adam Smith who used the example of someone burning coal in their own home. Surely, everyone had a right to burn coal in their own homes to keep warm during the winter, but burning coal resulted in soot. If a cinder from your neighbor's chim chimney landed on your shirt as you were standing on your own property, who was responsible for the cleaning bill? Who should be responsible for fixing my property after it was harmed by someone else?

    The fact is that our rights sometimes contradict each other and overlap, and one of the legitimate functions of government--in its primary responsibility to protect our rights--is to sort out those overlapping and conflicting situations.

    The example of a trespasser is like Adam Smith's stray cinder.

    A trespasser doesn't have the right to be on your property, but you don't have the right to shoot him just for trespassing either. Trespassing by itself does nothing to negate his right to his own life; he retains the right to his own life--even when he's trespassing.

  • NL_||

    Coase theorem. This hinges on who owns the right to send cinder or smoke into the air. If the homeowner does, then the fireowner can buy the right to 'pollute' from him; if the fireowner does, then the homeowner can pay him to control the smoke/cinder or stop the fire.

    It's just a matter of insufficiently extensive definitions of property rights.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Adam Smith would have said these questions depend on custom, extensively, but that government has a legitimate role in sorting out those conflicting rights.

    The cinder example is interesting because it's something most of us don't deal with in the modern world, so we don't have emotional connections to that example.

    We might take barking dogs as another example. You bought a house in a suburban neighborhood, and it came with a fenced backyard. Your neighbor did, too and he put a dog in his backyard. Sometimes the dog barks in the middle of the night for no apparent reason--and it wakes you up...

    You have a right to the peaceful enjoyment of your property, but doesn't your neighbor have a right to have a dog in his backyard?

    Sometimes two conflicting people have legitimate grievances about their rights--and there is no objectively reasoned position as to why one is absolutely right and the other is absolutely wrong.

    But if libertarians can figure out how to deal with those situations and best preserve everyone's overlapping and conflicting rights (and as you pointed out, we can!), protecting the rights of people who are obviously in the wrong--such as in the case of a trespasser--isn't very difficult.

    The right to a trial, the right to a jury, the right to counsel, the right to remain silent...

    Some non-libertarians--like the guy that authored this piece--seem to think we've never heard of these rights, but they're the very stuff that libertarianism is made of.

  • wadair||

    Sometimes two conflicting people have legitimate grievances about their rights--and there is no objectively reasoned position as to why one is absolutely right and the other is absolutely wrong.

    Yes, and I would add that property assignment or ownership is necessary for determining rights. Private ownership does not only give authority to the owner, it also assigns responsibility to that owner. Without private property, authority and responsibility fall to the state. It is impossible to have no property. No property=state ownership.

    There can be no utopia where there is no property. It's either private property/ownership, or state/collective ownership. And who the hell want to live in a collective?

  • prolefeed||

    The cinder example is interesting because it's something most of us don't deal with in the modern world, so we don't have emotional connections to that example.

    You apparently have not wandered through LA on a day where the air pollution is really bad.

    Change "cinder" to "car exhaust". It's not that hard to update it.

  • Procrastinatus||

    I think something that ivory tower inteligencia like Bruening fail to realize is that transgressing against property, to the common poor working schmo, is literally transgressing against life. How is that rent owner going to feed himself and his family if Bruening just moves in and takes his means to do so? If someone gambols over the corn fields I've planted, how will I survive? If someone shows up to my friends body shop and takes all of his tools, my friend will literally lose his house, car. Everything. Is it not justifiable to use violence against someone who is trying to cause you and your family to slowly starve to death? That's not hyperbole. In Bruening's world people would literally starve to death without the right to their own means of sustaining themselves. Is he so detached from the productive classes to not understand this?

    Though goods, services and property just seem to appear and exist to people like Bruening, they are (as unfortounate as it is for him) necessary to the survival of us poor blue collar masses. Life, liberty and property are literally synonymous with one another. Maybe that's why property rights are seen as sacrosanct to so many of us ignorant po's who depend on our property rights to literally survive.

  • Killazontherun||

    It's not possible to know the intent of the trespasser until you search his body. The search itself has scientific value by helping criminologist more accurately gauge the type of people who commit trespasses, perhaps preventing more in the future. So, don't think of it as violence, that is a misnomer, think of it as scientific research.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Your right to a fair trial should be respected, too.

  • David Wall||

    You guys really get tied up in your underwear, don't you? Get back to reality. Reasonable harm must be objectively shown. Proving in a court of law that I don't have the right to live without freezing to death so you can have clean clothes probably is not going to meet the reasonable harm clause. Also, responsibility must be objectively proven in a court of law. If everyone is using coal to keep from freezing--presuming natural gas or cleaner fuel is not available, how the hell do you expect to identify just who's cinder damaged or soiled your clothes.

  • wwhorton||

    Ok, but your argument is equivalent to saying that none of the Senate was responsible for killing Caesar because they all stabbed him equally. You're conflating the remedy to the damage with the question of whether damage occurred and who is responsible.

    You absolutely have the right to not freeze to death. You do not have the right to cause damage to my property without mutually agreed upon compensation. Your need does not confer upon you any rights. In fact, your example could as easily be changed to say that, since I'm starving to death and cannot afford food, I have a right to steal food from your kitchen. This is ridiculous on its face, of course. In your freezing example, you can warm yourself without damaging my property repeatedly; if the damage occurs as a result of your heating method and proximity to my home, then that's a function of your choice of living space. If you moved next to my house and started a farm, you would be liable for any cows that broke my fence and ate my shrubs. Same thing.

  • wwhorton||

    As to remedy, a person subject to damages is entitled to a remedy, be that some compensation or replacement, or some agreement that allows both parties to continue on in a mutually-agreeable manner. Justice requires that it a.) answer the issue, and b.) be proportionate to the damage. It doesn't mean that just because it was inevitable or not that big a deal in your judgment that a remedy is not merited. It's not like a parking garage where you don't have to pay unless you stay for more than two hours.

  • NL_||

    This seems like an attempt to muddy the philosophical waters (thus the flawed premise and the uncharitable argumentation) so that libertarianism seems less superior to leftism, which is not so much a coherent philosophy as a collection of good intentions, posturing, and signaling.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Exactly!

    Libertarians are all about standing up for the kinds of rights he seems to be ignoring; for example, we stand up for the rights of convicted felons. Just because a convicted criminal gave up his right to liberty doesn't mean he gave up his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Why, I've seen libertarians stand up for the rights of terrorists in that regard! Why wouldn't we stand up for the rights of trespassers?

    I think some non-libertarians do tend to reduce these situations to one party having all the rights and the other having no rights at all, and that's one of the reasons why those non-libertarians are so terrifying. If they decide you don't have a right to your health insurance because Barack Obama won a popularity contest, then your health insurance goes out the window.

    In his piece, this guy seems to be assuming that trespassers don't have any rights at all, and that's baloney from a libertarian perspective. If the cops we called shot the trespasser--solely because of the trespassing--then all the libertarians I know would be calling for the cop to be tried for murder.

    ...and then we'd insist that the cop's rights were well respected before, during, and after the trial.

  • prolefeed||

    "...and then we'd insist that the cop's rights were well respected before, during, and after the trial hanging."

    Mark Twained that for you.

  • AdamJ||

    I love the "collection of good intentions" descriptor. Because it condemns their system to failure; always papering over their last failed attempt at good outcomes with a new plan for good intentions, never stopping to examine whether their good intentions were met or if the means to their well-intended ends are morally justifiable.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And theft. Never forget the theft. The entire philosophy is devoted to excusing the bad in the service of the good.

  • wadair||

    Maybe the lack of "good intentions" in libertarianism is what brings leftists to dislike libertarians.

  • David Wall||

    No. You libertarians guys need to go to school and get you logic and answers straight before going out and fighting the leftists. We always have conservatives to count on for lame, dumb-ass answers. Libertarians better get their stuff together if they expect to replace those dumb-asses. So far looking at this site, I am not too encouraged you guys can do any better than the conservatives.

  • GILMORE||

    because a buch of twatwaffles having a erudite philosophy debate is what really changes public policy.

    no really. see, because everyone really cares.

  • AdamJ||

    I love it when lefties try to use logic to defend their position or refute someone else's. it never fails to reveal them and their "philosophy" for what they are.

  • AdamJ||

    Disclaimer: I am left-handed.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    And I smoke left handed cigarettes.

  • ||

    "Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of ground because nobody makes them. "

    What does that even mean? I guess it means that Bruenig does not believe in private property rights, or at least your private property rights.

    Keep in mind, lefties never, ever argue in good faith. EVER.

    You can counter this guys bullshit, or you can just punch him in his fucking mouth.

  • sarcasmic||

    You can counter this guys bullshit, or you can just punch him in his fucking mouth.

    At which point he will claim that he's right about libertarians initiating force.

  • OneOut||

    I wouldn't hit him with my Libertarian fist.

    I would use my "you're an asshole" fist.

  • Ken Shultz||

    See my response to that claim that no one creates pieces of ground above.

    I suspect this guy has never been anywhere near a construction site or really considered what it takes to build something.

    For all we know, this is coming from someone who's never spent much time outside of New York City, where land is imagined as something that comes ready made, and you can't build on anything that wasn't graded a hundred and fifty years ago.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I bring in 3 million cubic yards of dirt by the truckload, and I recompact it...

    But Obama says I didn't build that!

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    One must realize that they live in a world where cotton comes from medicine bottles.

  • prolefeed||

    For all we know, this is coming from someone who's never spent much time outside of New York City

    You would think that someone who lives in NYC would be especially aware of the fact that land can be created in large quantities out of thin air, rebar, and concrete.

  • juris imprudent||

    Hey Bruenig obviously doesn't believe in intellectual property either then - everybody copy and paste his words as their own for profit!

  • sarcasmic||

    I think I can sum up Mr. Bruenig’s thoughts on property rights:

    "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine."

  • Redmanfms||

    "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine."

    No, the impression I've always had was that left-wingers believed that, "What's mine is mine and what's yours is everyone's."

    There are rank looters who just want to expropriate the possessions of others for their own use, but the majority don't want to personally benefit. They believe in looting from some nebulous other (the "rich") to the benefit of the masses. They see themselves firmly in the middle, neither having their goods looted, nor receiving any of the loot. Their gain is spiritual, knowing that what they have done is a great good, that they have "righted an injustice."

    Such a philosophy is even worse, and it is why being told that their support for looting amounts to real theft never deters them. Because thieves engage in thievery for personal gain, since they gain nothing tangible they cannot possibly be thieves.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's not theft if the government does it!

  • JW||

    I think I can sum up Mr. Bruenig’s thoughts on property rights:

    There's an implication there that Bruenig actually applied some thought.

    That man has not the first fucking clue as what he's talking about, but yet he acts as if he does.

  • ||

  • 0x90||

    You are all simply a figment of my imagination. Therefore, to initiate violence against you is to initiate violence against myself. Therefore, all violence is consensual.

  • ||

    Technically we are all made from atoms spewed forth during the Big Bang. We are the universe experiencing itself subjectively. And matter can be neither created nor destroyed. Therefore, all violence is, in fact, imaginary.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Given that nothing heavier than helium existed after the big bang, that's not quite correct. All of the heavier atoms in your body where made in a stellar furnace somewhere or when that stellar furnace went boom.

  • 0x90||

    You guys are lucky I'm having you believe you're dealing with a rational reality.

  • ||

    +2 for the above excellent uses of solipsism.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You can counter this guys bullshit, or you can just punch the thieving bastard in his fucking mouth.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If everyone is to be free, freedoms cannot conflict; they must be compossible.

    How dare Richman link to the definition of compossible like we don't know what it means. (Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to look up what it means.)

  • ||

  • ||

    Mr. Breunig forger of Terms.

    internet libertarians: Ron Paul lovin' sonsabitches from the internet who beat up harmless landwanderers.

    Fish forger of Terms.

    landwanderer: Mr. Breunig.

  • OneOut||

    IS there a subset of Libertarians referred to as Neo Libertarians ?

    If not, I choose to be the first to coin the term. I don't yet know what we stand for but that will come in time.

    If anyone wants to join my new political movement now is the time. Become a ground floor NeoLiber and be one of the first to enter it into your spell checker.

    Any and all ideas are welcome at this point for consideration.

    NeoLibers retain the right to reject certain Reason posters at my(our?) discretion.

    I'm a NeoLiber and you can too ! (our motto is kind of plagiarized as many of our ideas can be too)

    Sign up now ! (as soon as someone volunteers to be secretary).

  • Ken Shultz||

    There was a group of people who called themselves "Neolibertarians", and they invaded Hit & Run back in the day--during the Iraq War.

    Check them out, here:

    http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=650

    You can see they changed Hit & Run's motto to "Free Markets, Free People" because, you know, "free people" is what war mongering is all about.

    Most people here at Hit & Run were opposed to the Iraq War, back then, but there was still a lot of...um...irrational exuberance* about how well Iraq war going at the time...floating around out there in the internet-ether.

    Anyway, they were basically libertarian neoconservatives. They basically swallowed everything the neoconservatives were selling at the time, and they wanted to distinguish themselves from us...what they were calling "paleolibertarians". ...in contrast to their "neolibertarianism".

    Being called paleolibertarians by neolibertarians and being called cosmotarians by the real paleolibertarians...such is the fate of being a libertarian. Eventually, if you're doing it right, this will happen to you.

    I was denounced as a terrorist sympathizer and an anti-Muslim warmonger--in the same thread! That's when I realized I'd finally made it.

    *Sometimes foresight is 20/20.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The internal contradiction of those people was delicious.

    "Government fucks up just about everything which is why it will be able to transform a 2,000 year old culture on the other side of the world".

  • ||

    Most people here at Hit & Run were opposed to the Iraq War, back then

    I will shamefully admit i was for the Iraq war before I was against it.

    I don't remember an invasion...perhaps you classify me as part of it.

  • entropy_factor||

    +500 strawmen

  • Irish||

    Why is Richman even bothering to respond to someone who posts on Demos.org? I just looked at the website and they have half a dozen articles about that great issue of our times: Why you shouldn't live in the suburbs.

    This is from their twitter feed that they link to:

    Demos @Demos_Org
    To return Detroit to fiscal health, it must increase revenue & extract itself from Wall Street’s risky transactions.

    Yes. The problem is Detroit has such low taxes.

    Demos @Demos_Org
    Here’s how tax policy could downsize the suburbs. http://demos.io/19OR4Py

    Watching progs shed bitter tears over suburbia is one of life's great joys.

    They've also got 10 tweets about Walmart in the last 4 days and retweet Van Jones.

    They also, and I swear I'm not making this up, claim that since Detroit's decline was primarily the result of declining revenue, they just need to get more revenue. It never occurs to these geniuses that Detroit saw declining revenue because their taxes were so high and their regulations so onerous that no one wanted to live or do business there.

    You aren't exactly arguing with intellectual titans, Sheldon.

  • ||

    Unfortunately, it is necessary to engage the lobotomized retard smearing his own shit on the walls in debate when society, upon watching his performance, marvels at his creative genius and intriguing ideas rather than point and laugh. In other words, it isn't the shit-smearing retard you're refuting, it's the shit-smearing retard's vast audience.

  • Irish||

    If you google this guy's name, the first result is his website, but the first and second articles that pop up are this one and the same article when Richman posted it somewhere else.

    That tells me that this particular moron does not have a vast audience.

  • ||

    This particular retard might not, but it's not as if his ideas are uniquely his own or without a wide following.

  • Barnstormer||

    What was that? A thousand words on trespassing? Get a life.

  • GILMORE||

    get offa mah lawn!

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of ground because nobody makes them.

    I suppose he would be wrong. Crannogs go back 5,000 years.
    Willful ignorance, right? "God created the world but the Dutch created Holland," talking about the polders, like Flevopolder, the thousand square kilometer artificial island.
    The Japanese built a 10sqkm airport in the middle of Osaka Bay. Hong Kong did pretty much the same thing. Tenerife too.

  • prolefeed||

    Or, say, Boston. Most of the original harbor has been turned into solid ground.

  • Chris Knall||

    Two things:

    First, he seems to be referring to the so-called Stand Your Ground laws, which, while created by ALEC which I would call anarcho-capitalist rather than strict libertarian, nonetheless has support of many factions of libertarianism.

    Second, there is a logic to taxation and protection. The more land and possessions one has, the more responsibility the police have in protecting it. Jay Leno's car collection is a more attractive target for GTA than someone's beat up, rusty '77 Chevy pickup truck. There is at times a mental divorce between services provided and how such services are funded among some libertarian factions that I cannot entirely understand.

  • Irish||

    Yes, but the stand your ground laws don't say you can just shoot anyone who wanders onto your property. It says that you must have reasonable fear for your life.

    His description of SYG laws is inaccurate.

  • sticks||

    Yes, but the stand your ground laws don't say you can just shoot anyone who wanders onto your property. It says that you must have reasonable fear for your life.

    Pretty sure SYG laws say nothing about this.

  • Irish||

    Florida's statute.

    (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
  • sticks||

    But it doesn't apply to someone coming into your home.

  • sticks||

    I mean the SYG/duty to retreat part is not about home defense.

  • sticks||

    (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

    This is the situation that was mentioned above. SYG HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!

  • Randian filtered me, I WIN!||

    Stop it, you're embarsssing yourself with your incoherence and ignorance.

  • sticks||

    I might be incoherent but SYG laws do not apply in your own home. IF iRISH was not saying that then my bad.

    http://apublicdefender.com/201.....-bogeyman/

  • SweatingGin||

    Advocating particular sets of laws in state legislatures is anarcho-capitalist? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Second, there is a logic to taxation and protection. The more land and possessions one has, the more responsibility the police have in protecting it."

    The more possessions one has, the more responsibility the owner has in insuring it.

    And there's a whole civil justice system devoted to helping people protect their own property.

    It's not like the police are there to reimburse you if the thieves destroy your property. Even if they catch and convict the thieves who destroyed your property, individuals still have to find compensation some other way.

    You can sue them, or you can insure your property, and if you don't do the first and didn't do the last, then the government doesn't and shouldn't have anything to do with that.

    So take your extra taxes for me having more property and shove them where the sun don't shine. The government isn't reimbursing me for my lost property anyway.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Second, there is a logic to taxation and protection. The more land and possessions one has, the more responsibility the police have in protecting it."

    I should have added...

    Are you under the illusion that the extra taxes we pay for having more property only go to pay for more police protection?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you under the illusion that people with more property are legally prohibited from purchasing security systems or hiring private security to protect their own property?

  • H.E. Mosteller||

    If I take a branch from a tree and fashion an arrow from that branch, one could rightly claim that I own that arrow because of my labor which transformed that resource into a good is mine alone. But by this definition, I can't now say that I own the tree itself because the mere act of removing a part of that tree doesn't really transfer the functionality of the tree in any real arguable way. That would be like me going to some island somewhere, fashioning a hammer from a rock and then declaring that I alone own the island. Although I consider myself anarcho-capitalist and believe that one is entitled to the fruits of his labor, I have a problem with the idea of land 'ownership' because how is land initially appropriated? Is land not generally seized either by conquest or some arbitrary claim and then appropriated as the 'authorities' or 'rightful' owner see fit? Is this not the 'initiation' of force in the sense that the implication is that since I say that this property is mine (arbitrarily) that any subsequent claims to that property is a form of trespass and punishable either by tort or physical removal?

  • H.E. Mosteller||

    Part II of my question/response: Claiming human ownership of land is foolish in a sense. I mean, one wouldn't claim to 'own' the rings of Saturn, or the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. These things are not fashioned by human ingenuity; no labor is involved, the things were here before we showed up, and will be here after we are gone. The idea of private ownership of property is generally good in the sense that it eliminates claims to a parcel of land that may be disputed, even violently, by those who subsequently wish to claim ownership of it themselves, but exactly what justifies that initial claim? Especially when no real labor or transformation of that 'property' has been applied? So as a thought experiment, imagine two cavemen stumble upon a lake, is it right or just for these two men to claim ownership of that lake and then charge a toll of anyone else who happens to stumble upon that lake in the future? Isn't the banning of humans from a parcel of land sort of arbitrary and silly when we consider that nobody would support banning, say, a bird from landing on a specific tree, or a fish from swimming in a specific lake. If it is nonsense to hold (arguably) lower forms of life to these types of standards, why is it in accord with the properties of justice and reason to deny the same rights to human beings?

  • wadair||

    Isn't the banning of humans from a parcel of land sort of arbitrary and silly when we consider that nobody would support banning, say, a bird from landing on a specific tree, or a fish from swimming in a specific lake.


    Actually, birds and other animals DO claim ownership or priority over territory. They are protecting their sources of sustenance and offspring, of course, but I think claiming property is part of animal nature.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: H.E.Mollester,

    That would be like me going to some island somewhere, fashioning a hammer from a rock and then declaring that I alone own the island.


    If you alone step on the island, then anybody else that comes and finds you would assume that you're the owner, and even without your personal presence there, if you perform a transformation of the land in a way that indicates previous ownership (for instance, like placing menacing tikies all around the place), the implication is that there exists an owner with which the visitor has to contend. The same can be said about fencing around your property, or tilling of the land, etc.

    Is land not generally seized either by conquest or some arbitrary claim[...]


    "Conquest" denotes taking by force. Even though many times in history territory or land has been taken with the help of armed conflict, that does not mean that all property comes to be by force.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Is land not generally seized either by conquest...?"

    I've bought land where the title was in Latin script, plus some easements. It was a photocopy of a grant made by the King of Spain, and before I bought it, that was the last time the ownership transferred. Yeah, that land ownership is older than the United States. There are estates in the UK for which there is no title. The land has stayed in the same family since before 1066...

    Why doesn't seizing land by conquest confer ownership--to an Anarchist--for goodness' sake? Sounds to me like you want to use the government to push your own morality on other people.

  • ||

    It is not ownership of land that you are having trouble with Molester, it is coherent thought.

    "I own that arrow because of my labor which transformed that resource into a good is mine alone. But by this definition, I can't now say that I own the tree itself because the mere act of removing a part of that tree doesn't really transfer the functionality of the tree in any real arguable way. "

    I love when I hear " I am on your side....but...."

    Look fuckstick, if you dont believe in private property rights just come out and be honest about. You are a fucking commie. Admit it.

  • wadair||

    But by this definition, I can't now say that I own the tree itself because the mere act of removing a part of that tree doesn't really transfer the functionality of the tree in any real arguable way.


    Using part of the tree is not improving on the tree. If you built a house in the tree, then you could claim ownership, if no previous owner existed. Using the tree as a source of material and making your abode in it are very different things. You analogy is fallacious.

  • OldMexican||

    drew a curious response from Matt Bruenig, a contributor to the Demos blog


    I would've left it right there, Sheldon. Who cares or even knows what is Demos?

    Suppose I walk on to some piece of ground that a libertarian claims ownership over[...] In my walking on the ground, I do not touch the libertarian or threaten to touch him in any way. Nonetheless, the libertarian proceeds to initiate force against me [???] or calls the police to get them to initiate force against me.


    Would Mr. Bruenig consider saying to him "Will you please leave my land?" an initiation of force? An act of aggression? What exactly does Mr. Bruenig have in mind when using the term "initiation of force"? Because he begs the question while making his argument that libertarians are hypocritical by simply assuming that violence will be the immediate and unequivocal answer by a libertarian to a simple and non-violent (at that point) transgression of property.

    They have packed into the word “initiation” their entire theory of who is entitled to what.


    I don't know who would make the concept of "initiation of force" the whole basis for a theory on ownership. It is whowever the basis for a moral theory on how one should approach other people's rights, not just other people's property.

  • Irish||

    I wonder what Bruenig would do if I just walked into his house. Considering that he apparently believes calling the police is the initiation of force, I guess he'd just have to let me stay there.

  • XM||

    Yes, you can be just like Bartleby.

    "I would prefer not to.... leave"

    And he can't do a thing, unless he becomes a libertarian and votes for Ron Paul.

  • Juice||

    He doesn't believe that. He's just saying there are people who do, and that no one can objectively say they're wrong.

  • ANARCHOVOLUNTARYIST||

    There are millions of natural barriers that prevent absolute free movement across the earth and space. To suggest that humans creating property boundaries and enforcing them as a barrier to unwanted traffic is a violation of human free movement across the earth, water or space is to suggest that man has a claim against natural barriers which he cannot or which are difficult to traverse; that natural changes to earth, space and water that create new obstacles are violations and thus constitute claims of oppression; or that a human's freedom to move somehow trumps a human's freedom to defend himself or anything he chooses to defend...

    In a state of nature, as it is at all times, everyone is free to attempt to do as they please. You can try to steal a man's kidney and he can try to stop you. It is only in attempted to create a moral order, that this is changed to a new "barrier". Originally the barrier is the chance that the man will defend his kidney, but the barrier soon becomes the moral code (if adopted) and all who defend the moral code. All are arbitrary.

    Ultimately, Bruenig's claim relies the premise that humans have/had free movement, everywhere, at all times, and it is clear that we do not. In fact, all animals have limited movement.

  • GILMORE||

    WHITE INDIAN TEAR ROLLS DOWN CHEEK

  • Response||

    These optimal liberal/communist views of freedom work in theory. But so does every political/societal view. The problem is when one can only see one's own theoretical optimal perspective. At that point if one tries to discount or refute another's optimal perspective, then they show themselves as being blind to their own downfalls - which is, of course, practice. No one physically lives in the lands of theory. Those who mentally live there are the ones who fail improving society.

  • setTHEline||

    I guess I can take the shirt off of Bruenig's back?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    So, according to Sheldon, the libertarian position on repelling the trespasser is identical (or very similar) to Tennessee law. Can't just shoot them unless they threaten your life, in layman's terms.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Austrian Anarchy,

    So, according to Sheldon, the libertarian position on repelling the trespasser is identical (or very similar) to Tennessee law. Can't just shoot them unless they threaten your life, in layman's terms.


    That's not what he said. What he is saying is that the answer to someone's transgression should be proportional to said transgression, not that you can only answer to aggresive acts that you can determine and establish in a court of law they represent a danger to your life or great bodily harm.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    He said minimal force, and I said similar and layman's terms.

    Neither his formulation nor Nashville's allows you to blow holes through someone for walking across your yard.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Austrian Anarchy,

    He said minimal force, and I said similar and layman's terms.


    You're both talking about different things. He's talking about the proper response for a perceived threat or transgression so as to satisfy the non-aggression principle, whereas the Nasvhille law presumes to prescribe what a threat is and what would consider the proper response.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    And I never said "you can only answer to aggresive acts that you can determine and establish in a court of law they represent a danger to your life or great bodily harm," neither did Nashville.

    If someone comes onto your property and threatens your life, you can legally blow them away, within both the letter and spirit of the law.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It seems to me the answer is that Richman's article was, for simplicity sake, focusing on one of the fundamental axioms of libertarianism but that, yes, you can not get all of libertarianism from just that one. For me I start with the idea of self ownership, but the next, and equally important, is that I own those things I create by my labor (or that are voluntarily given to me by those who have done the same). That is an axiom, and this Bruenig fellow is free to argue against that axiom, but it being a fundamental axiom I think it justifies the claim that someone who physically tries to deprive me of that which I create or have received through voluntary exchanges is initiating aggression towards me in the same way that if they physically attack the self which I also own.

  • Robert||

    That's frequently the problem: people trying to reduce it to too simple a formula. I can usually bring up either ambiguities our outright counterexamples when people try to do so. For instance, self-ownership even with NIOF doesn't get you far when someone has you physically boxed in (in a locked room that you entered, say, or by parking at the curb across your driveway); your body may be at complete disposal to yourself, but what good is that when you can't move it elsewhere?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Robert,

    your body may be at complete disposal to yourself, but what good is that when you can't move it elsewhere?


    The pragmatic fallacy.

    Just because the principle is not useful to escape from confined spaces does not mean the principle is false. You still own your body, nobody else.

  • Robert||

    The fallacy is that ownership of the self is sufficient to define the bounds of freedom. Clearly it's necessary, just not sufficient.

  • XM||

    Oho, so If I see an adult stranger waltzing into my private property, I shouldn't call the police as long as he doesn't look threatening. Even If I had put a fence around the place, put warning signs to thwart solicitors and such, and one of my kids were playing on my property.

    What exactly might be this piece of "ground" that I own? I'm obviously not going to shoot a high school kid who stepped on my yard absentmindedly as she checked her texts. If I see someone on my yard that was GATED (or in my kitchen) then I might call the police or loudly proclaim "NRA Hurrah" to strike the fear of death into the trespasser.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The police are minutes away when seconds matter.

  • estrauss||

    I suspect Matt's going to get quite few comments on his article now. I left one that basically said, "Oh snap! You just got served, Bruenig!"

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Giving them any attention only encourages them.

  • prolefeed||

    But at this point, it’s clear that when the libertarians

    One little word reveals so much about his collectivist mindset:

    The libertarians ...

    The gays ...

    The blacks (or -- The N-word)...

    Teh Jooz ...

  • Brian D||

    Could someone extend my gratitude to Matty B for proving that libertarians are in fact not anarchists, and thereby disproving the 'Somalia is a libertarian paradise' argument?

    Thanks

  • mepton||

    Sounds like the main problem is Bruenig mistaking a statement of a theory's consistency for circular reasoning, seeing lines of implication where really factors are simply consistent with one another.

    Personally, I don't buy the notion of objective morality, so I'd claim all theories of justice must rest on unprovable axiom at some level. The concepts Bruenig finds no support for (and thus substitutes what he imagines to be flawed support, setting up his strawman) are not only non-disprovable axioms, but ones that would be considered reasonable to overwhelming proportions of people. Those together make them fair.

    Humanity demands a notion of property rights. The axiom that property rights exist is therefore a find foundation to start with. Showing that a larger theory of rights is compatible with that axiom does not make reasoning circular; it makes the reasoning solid.

  • Sugarsail||

    Excellent rebuttal to a very selfish and not-too-sharp person.
    This Bruenig guy, like most commie hippies, doesn't seem to know the difference between individual property rights and selfish entitlement. The first are earned the second are assumed by the selfish person and taken from others.

    I've had many experiences where communal hippy types like this guy feel entitled to using my property (like borrow my car) but then offer nothing of commensurate value to me in return. I am a far less kind and generous person now as I have been taken advantage of numerous times by people like this.

    I hope some strange person wanders into his abode and buggers his bum while claiming freedom.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Hey U Sugarsail U, The bean-counters, they says, “Agree, concur, duly noted”! That them thar hippies, they use to say, “Free Love! Free love for ALL!” If they had been honest, they would have said, “Free sex, and free irresponsibility, for all”!!! The “free love” hippies, I don’t think hardly ANY of them EVER sought high and low, seeing if they could find any single, un-wed mothers whose children needed a few hours of free baby-sitting in the name of “free love”… No, they were looking for free SEX!!! And now, Government Almighty will give it to you, if you are dirt-poor and not worth chasing down in order to shake you down for a few dollar’s worth of “child support”… So tax-paying, trying-to-be-responsible pepples, we are going to be held responsible for ALL of the world’s problems, and “the Collective Hive” AKA Government Almighty, will make ALL of our charity choices for us, in these matters, and if we disagree, then we will be called hateful, racist, and curmudgeonly… Welcome to “free” AmeriKKA, Bro or Bro-esse…

  • ||

    "Matthew Bruenig is a philosophy and black studies senior at the University of Oklahoma, and is active in Students for a Democratic Society"<//i

    ROFL.

  • ||

    Oops. Anyways, Sheldon just got trolled by a philosophy major. I was expecting some notorious Sadbeard or Krugnuts-type villain.

  • GILMORE||

    NEEDS MOAR GAMBOLING

  • ibcbet||

    We need the freedom to *act* when someone is being unmutual.

  • Edwin||

    To be fair to idiots like Breunig,
    I have repeatedly been told on libertarian forums that it is OK to shoot someone just for mildly trespassing, that if someone were shipwrecked on an island you owned, you could kill them if they refused to thro themselves in the ocean off your island to their certain death.
    One kid was suggesting they buy up all the land around other people's houses and then restrict them from leaving with rifles, in order to force them to give up their land, so that the libs could create a libertarian town.
    There's a lot of psychotic loonies in some libertarian circles.

  • Edwin||

    So apparently Breunig wrote yet another article in response to this one:
    http://www.demos.org/blog/11/2.....ian-argues

    his response to Richman here is piddling at best. He basically ignores Richman's main point, acts like Richman is advocating various libertarian theories instead of just explaining them, and a lot of other mistakes

  • shipley130||

    Easy to answer that. If people did not have property rights, that is ownership, there would be nothing but chaos. After putting all your hard work into your house or garden, someone could just come by and say that it now belonged to them. It is basic survival skills being employed when one uses force to retain what they have. It is inhumane to act as redistributers, as Obama and all the other socialist/communists blabbermouths do.

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