The problems with property rights/contract based solutions


Samson Corwell

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On marriage: You have given no reason why a couple cannot write, sign and be legally bound to follow the terms of a marriage contract.

Actually, I have. You have failed to explain how a contract can handle:

  • joint filing for bankruptcy.
  • spousal privilege in trials.
  • access to medical records.
  • power of attorney.
  • right to make funeral arrangements for deceased partner.
  • default inheritance.
  • hospital visitation.
  • right to adopt step children
  • custody.
  • visitation rights in prison.
  • right to seek compensation for death of spouse.
You have little to no understanding of what you're talking about.
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However, harassment is often defined as any behavior one finds disagreeable.

Pot calling the kettle black.

On serving alcohol to minors: I have already explained elsewhere how children cannot give consent to drink, have sex, etc. because they are below the age of consent. Therefore, certain interactions with them may be regarded as involuntary and thus an act of force.

I fail to see how consent plays into this matter. It's not consent that's the problem, it's endangering the child's welfare that it.

Sure, maybe in some weird metaphorical way, but it's still not trespass. Nothing physical is involved. Still, why do you need to reduce everything. You can make new categories, you know.

On automobile speed, intoxication and accidents: adjudication of disputes would depend on the terms imposed by the owners of the road and the drivers that use it.

Not necessarily.

Vandalism is an act of force because it constrains the owner's use of his property. If the owner of a house does not want swastikas spray-painted on the side, the vandal has forced a change in property on the owner.

On sabotage: The above applies.

You fail to fully understand the nature of criminal charges. Robbery, burglary, pick pocketing, looting, shoplifting, and embezzlement are all separate charges. You should have a damn good reason for why we should upend our legal system and rewrite in such a drastic manner.

On blackmail: No one claimed that laws against blackmail criminalized thought. I never even used the term "criminalize thought." Fallacy of the strawman.

Sorry, I meant defamation. Here is what you wrote:

On defamation: If A merely states that B is a thief, A has exerted no force or threat of force against B. People are free to believe or disbelieve A. B is not entitled to a legal remedy to protect his reputation, because reputations exist only in the minds of others, and only the individual thinker may be said to have any right to what goes on in his own mind.

Bold mine.

On the airwaves: The government has already assigned property in radio-TV frequencies: the government owns it all and licenses certain frequencies on a limited basis. If you think you currently have a right to broadcast anytime, anywhere, build a large transmitter and start transmitting on the same frequency as an FCC-licensed station. We'll see how long you last. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2014/05/14/enforcement-against-pirate-radio-hurts-underserved-communities-advocates-say/3p7CuAZhPMhBbcUWafTETL/story.html

Still doesn't mean they own it.
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On marriage: You have given no reason why a couple cannot write, sign and be legally bound to follow the terms of a marriage contract.

Actually, I have. You have failed to explain how a contract can handle:

  • joint filing for bankruptcy.
  • spousal privilege in trials.
  • access to medical records.
  • power of attorney.
  • right to make funeral arrangements for deceased partner.
  • default inheritance.
  • hospital visitation.
  • right to adopt step children
  • custody.
  • visitation rights in prison.
  • right to seek compensation for death of spouse.
You have little to no understanding of what you're talking about.
  • Terms of bankruptcy depend on specifics of incorporation and contracts with creditors. Not criminal law and thus not an issue of force/rights violation.
  • A citizen has the natural right not to testify in a trial--of one's spouse or anyone else.
  • Access to medical records are properly determined by patient and doctor--and by a third party if involved in payment. Not criminal law.
  • All adult citizens have the natural right to delegate any right, including power of attorney. Not criminal law.
  • Unless designated otherwise in a will, right to make funeral arrangement goes to closest survivor of the deceased: 1. spouse, 2. adult child, 3. parent. Not criminal law.
  • Default inheritance, hospital visitation, visitation rights in prison: 1. spouse, 2. adult child, 3. parent. Not criminal law (unless terms of visitation are part of the process of punishment).
  • Child custody and adoption of step children are based on which potential guardian is best able to provide care and/or choice of child. Not criminal law.

Claim: "You have little to no understanding of what you're talking about." Like the typical statement in your posts: unproven assertion.

On pots and kettles: I do not base my conclusions on gut reactions. Rejecting an idea because one finds it "repulsive" or "an abomination" does not follow any rule of logic.

Adults are permitted to engage in sex with other adults because they alone can determine if such action is in their best interest (and if they are endangered by it). A child cannot and thus is not able to give consent.

On spam not being physical: if someone overwhelmed your inbox with 100,000 messages, would you think it was done by magic? Would you not understand that there are electronic signals involved which exist in the physical world?

On automobile liability: If you choose to drive on a highway where there are no regulations, limits or provisions for responsibility in accidents, then you are completely on your own.

On robbery, burglary, pick pocketing, looting, shoplifting, and embezzlement being separate charges: yes, they are, and no one has suggested otherwise. The punishment should fit the crime. All those crimes would all be prohibited under laissez-faire, and victims would stand a far better chance of being restored than under incompetent and corrupt statist rule.

On defamation: Since only the individual thinker may be said to have any right to what goes on in his own mind, a person may not legitimately claim that he is entitled to have a certain reputation established or restored, for that would literally mean that the plaintiff in a defamation case would have a right to a certain opinion of himself in other people's minds. Since no such right exists, defamation laws are illegitimate.

On ownership of airwaves: Like land, airwaves are definable scarce resources that can be peacefully exploited provided that there is a systematic approach to determining ownership. If we say no one can own land, then every farmer who sows a field must be prepared for a used auto salesman parking cars on it. Every person who builds a home must be prepared for someone to knock it down to drill for oil. Similarly, every broadcaster would have to be prepared to be jammed or overridden by any random radio pirate.

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Right, just as I'm force to keep off your land. There is force on both sides of the equation, so whether or not force is being used is entirely irrelevant.

Samson,

I agree with some of the issues you raised in your initial post, however when you make statements like the one above it makes me think you don't really have a good grasp of the concepts involved.

In Libertarian terms, it is the initiation of force that is the issue. Both initiation and force are important in that phrase. There may be force on both sides of the equation, but it matters who started it. When you have two kids fighting on a playground, each is quick to point his finger at the other and say, "he started it!" because even children know that it matters. However, you can't say that the word "force" is irrelevant. It's the initiation of what then? Perhaps the word "force" is over used, but that is the common phraseology.

Darrell

Darrell,

Thank you for your posts. They're both substantive and engage my points. I have read a decent amount of libertarian material, so I think I do have an alright understanding of it. Libertarian definitions of words tend to be very out of step from the rest of world and I think this is one of its major hindrances in selling it to other people. If, say, in the case of taking your wallet when you're not looking, the term "force" is being used as a synonym for "taking without permission", fine. But use those words instead, because ,ost people would not recognize it as force. It would be like me using "red" in place of "blood".

Force per se isn't a problem, but calling the force that should be illegal "initiatory force" is just as bad as calling it "bad force". Even then, it isn't always force that is the problem. What force is used in hacking? Leaving a child in a hot car? Insider trading? Breach of contract? Copyright or patent infringement? Counterfeit products? Was it force that made Operation Red Dog criminal in nature? Francisco believes fractional reserve banking should be illegal, but his reasons for it aren't good at all. Now, I don't enough about FRB to say it should be illegal. Maybe it's harmful for the economy, but it definitely isn't fraudulent.

"Non-initiation of force" (putting aside its emptiness) is also an incredibly crude simplification of law. It doesn't touch upon corporations versus sole proprietorships, bankruptcy, child custody, marriage, trusts, probate, restrictive covenants (I think these should be abolished entirely), personality rights, privacy, electromagnetic spectrum rights, radio jamming, warrants/subpoenas, harassment, emotional damage, restraining orders, stalking, the case of an apple falling from your neighbor's tree into your yard, rules that create property, identity theft, defamation/libel, blackmail, and many, many others.

Let's look at North Korea. It's government is the most illegitimate on Earth. I'd call its monarcho-stratocratic regime despotic, fascist, murderous, and controlling. Calling it "coercive", however, just feels sort of awkward for whatever reason. (North Korea is closer to fascism than it is to socialism (a word which is just about meaningless at this point). It's got the iron of Stalinism but none of the worker-oriented stuff.)

The libertarian usage of "force" (as well as "voluntary") is only common in libertarianism. You'll be hard pressed to find a non-libertarian who'd view calling trespassing an act of "force" as anything but Newspeakish.

Samson,

Thank you for your kind remarks. I've found that it helps to listen to what the other person is saying rather than simply trying to score points. Hopefully, we can both learn things that way.

I'm afraid that Ayn Rand herself is probably responsible for the overly broad use of the word "force."

The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No man—or group or society or government—has the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense. A holdup man seeks to gain a value, wealth, by killing his victim; the victim does not grow richer by killing a holdup man. The principle is: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force.

The example that Rand gives does involve the direct use of physical force, however, many of the examples you listed do not. It is argued that taking your wallet when you're not looking, for example, involves the indirect use of force since it would have required force or the threat of force --- which is the same thing --- if you had been looking. However, such convoluted reasoning is not very satisfying. It might have been better to say something like, "The basic political principle of my philosophy is that no man may act to deprive any other man of his life, liberty, or property," but that would have sounded too much like the Declaration of Independence. Also, the preceding sentence doesn't quite work because it doesn't contain the word "initiate" and it is important to draw a sharp distinction between someone who initiates a conflict with another person and someone who is acting in retaliation.

Things like copyright infringement don't involve the direct use of force, but I assume you see how you would get from ordinary property rights to copyrights. In case you hadn't thought of it, if there were no copyrights, authors and/or publishers could protect their works by requiring anyone that purchased a copy of a book, for example, sign an agreement not to copy it or allow anyone else to copy it and to only sell it or give it to someone else that had signed the copyright agreement and so on ad infinitum. A person that wasn't bound by the agreement wouldn't be able to legally obtain a copy and an illegally obtained copy wouldn't absolve the person of his legal responsibilities.

Fractional reserve banking borders on fraud for the following reason: When a person makes a deposit, the bank tells him that he will earn a certain percentage interest. The implication is that he will receive the return of his principal plus interest. But, if the bank cannot guarantee the return of the principal, it has a fiduciary duty to inform the depositor that he might not get anything back. If banks were required to make such disclosures, I would wager that very few people would put their money in a bank.

A more honest system would be something like a real estate investment trust (REIT). Now, I'll probably get myself in trouble because I don't know much about REIT's, but my understanding is that shares in REIT's can go up and down like stock prices. So, if the REIT makes investments in bad mortgages, its share price just goes down some, but an investor doesn't lose all his money like he does when a bank becomes insolvent.

The problem is that people want a safe place to store their money and banks pretend to be that. They have enormous, heavy vaults. They sometimes have security guards. But, they can become insolvent at any moment without warning. That borders on fraud in my book.

I don't know why you have a problem with restrictive covenants. If you don't like them, don't move into a neighborhood that has them.

The law is complex, but it is necessary to determine the principles around which the law should be based and that involves forming the highest and widest abstractions possible. One cannot, with any sort of consistency, address every problem that comes along in an ad hoc manner. The current crop of politicians has decided that liberty and property don't matter very much so they can play it deuces wild when it comes to writing laws. If it sounds like a law might have a positive effect on society, they don't worry about whose rights they are violating or how coercive their laws are. The result is usually unintended consequences. Look at Obamacare, for example. Many of the same ends could have been achieved with a much less coercive law and when this monstrosity is fully implemented, it will probably drive down the quality of care in this country substantially. If lawmakers had it as a goal to write the least coercive laws possible, the laws might just work a lot better.

Darrell

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On defamation: Since On ownership of airwaves: Like land, airwaves are definable scarce resources that can be peacefully exploited provided that there is a systematic approach to determining ownership. If we say no one can own land, then every farmer who sows a field must be prepared for a used auto salesman parking cars on it. Every person who builds a home must be prepared for someone to knock it down to drill for oil. Similarly, every broadcaster would have to be prepared to be jammed or overridden by any random radio pirate.

That non-ownership of airwaves would mean anyone can use any frequency is obvious. You've called yourself an IP skeptic. I assume that your reason for this is because IP isn't tangible. If that is the case, then you should also oppose property rights in the electromagnetic spectrum.

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On defamation: Since On ownership of airwaves: Like land, airwaves are definable scarce resources that can be peacefully exploited provided that there is a systematic approach to determining ownership. If we say no one can own land, then every farmer who sows a field must be prepared for a used auto salesman parking cars on it. Every person who builds a home must be prepared for someone to knock it down to drill for oil. Similarly, every broadcaster would have to be prepared to be jammed or overridden by any random radio pirate.

That non-ownership of airwaves would mean anyone can use any frequency is obvious. You've called yourself an IP skeptic. I assume that your reason for this is because IP isn't tangible. If that is the case, then you should also oppose property rights in the electromagnetic spectrum.

No, intellectual property and property in radio-television frequencies are not comparable. As I said above, "airwaves are definable scarce resources." We cannot stretch the electromagnetic spectrum to allow more stations. It is a finite commodity. On the other hand, IP is not. I do not prevent you or the copyright holder from enjoying your copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by printing one or more myself.

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Samson,

Thank you for your kind remarks. I've found that it helps to listen to what the other person is saying rather than simply trying to score points. Hopefully, we can both learn things that way.

I'm afraid that Ayn Rand herself is probably responsible for the overly broad use of the word "force."

The basic political principle of the Objectivist ethics is: no man may initiate the use of physical force against others. No manor group or society or governmenthas the right to assume the role of a criminal and initiate the use of physical compulsion against any man. Men have the right to use physical force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. The ethical principle involved is simple and clear-cut: it is the difference between murder and self-defense. A holdup man seeks to gain a value, wealth, by killing his victim; the victim does not grow richer by killing a holdup man. The principle is: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force.

The example that Rand gives does involve the direct use of physical force, however, many of the examples you listed do not. It is argued that taking your wallet when you're not looking, for example, involves the indirect use of force since it would have required force or the threat of force --- which is the same thing --- if you had been looking. However, such convoluted reasoning is not very satisfying. It might have been better to say something like, "The basic political principle of my philosophy is that no man may act to deprive any other man of his life, liberty, or property," but that would have sounded too much like the Declaration of Independence. Also, the preceding sentence doesn't quite work because it doesn't contain the word "initiate" and it is important to draw a sharp distinction between someone who initiates a conflict with another person and someone who is acting in retaliation.

Even still, "initiate"/"initiation" really doesn't cover it.

Things like copyright infringement don't involve the direct use of force, but I assume you see how you would get from ordinary property rights to copyrights. In case you hadn't thought of it, if there were no copyrights, authors and/or publishers could protect their works by requiring anyone that purchased a copy of a book, for example, sign an agreement not to copy it or allow anyone else to copy it and to only sell it or give it to someone else that had signed the copyright agreement and so on ad infinitum. A person that wasn't bound by the agreement wouldn't be able to legally obtain a copy and an illegally obtained copy wouldn't absolve the person of his legal responsibilities.

Sounds like a poor man's copyright and I don't think it would be enforceable considering most sales don't involve contracts. You don't need property rights to make that jump however. All you need is contract. My old phone probably had some kind of agreement to not modify it in whatever way. Did I heed it? Nah. I'm not going to let a piece of paper get in the way of my tinkering.

Having ventured into the FOSS movement, I have some knowledge of copyright. FOSSers make a distinction between two senses of the word "free": free like free beer and free like free speech. Gratis versus libre. They're about the latter. End-user license agreements are a combination of contract and copyright and drive most members of the movement insane. No right to modify, no right to redistribute, no right to reverse engineer. It's a hobby hacker's legal nightmare.

Fractional reserve banking borders on fraud for the following reason: When a person makes a deposit, the bank tells him that he will earn a certain percentage interest. The implication is that he will receive the return of his principal plus interest. But, if the bank cannot guarantee the return of the principal, it has a fiduciary duty to inform the depositor that he might not get anything back. If banks were required to make such disclosures, I would wager that very few people would put their money in a bank.

A more honest system would be something like a real estate investment trust (REIT). Now, I'll probably get myself in trouble because I don't know much about REIT's, but my understanding is that shares in REIT's can go up and down like stock prices. So, if the REIT makes investments in bad mortgages, its share price just goes down some, but an investor doesn't lose all his money like he does when a bank becomes insolvent.

The problem is that people want a safe place to store their money and banks pretend to be that. They have enormous, heavy vaults. They sometimes have security guards. But, they can become insolvent at any moment without warning. That borders on fraud in my book.

Still not seeing it. It's a bit out there like calling fiat currency "counterfeit".

I don't know why you have a problem with restrictive covenants. If you don't like them, don't move into a neighborhood that has them.

And if you don't want to pay US taxes, then don't work in the US! Of course, I'm not serious, but I hope it makes my point.

The law is complex, but it is necessary to determine the principles around which the law should be based and that involves forming the highest and widest abstractions possible. One cannot, with any sort of consistency, address every problem that comes along in an ad hoc manner. The current crop of politicians has decided that liberty and property don't matter very much so they can play it deuces wild when it comes to writing laws. If it sounds like a law might have a positive effect on society, they don't worry about whose rights they are violating or how coercive their laws are. The result is usually unintended consequences. Look at Obamacare, for example. Many of the same ends could have been achieved with a much less coercive law and when this monstrosity is fully implemented, it will probably drive down the quality of care in this country substantially. If lawmakers had it as a goal to write the least coercive laws possible, the laws might just work a lot better.

Darrell

That's precisely what worries me. Ever heard the saying about a foolish consistency? The method that you describe that the world uses is pretty much the best way to do it. The belief held by some libertarians that one can "deduce" an entire political program from a few words is, excuse my French, a fucking joke (not that you believe it). When some of them actually employ these "chains of logic" they end up in Bedlam. Murder park, shooting someone climbing in through your apartment window to safety, starving children, shooting someone for taking a paper clip, rejection of search warrants, despotic "covenant communities". Just a handful of some of the wackier conclusions people such as Block and Rothbard have come to.

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Just a handful of some of the wackier conclusions people such as Block and Rothbard have come to.

Not to mention Hans-Hermann Hoppe and his "Anarcho-Fascism" (which for all practical purposes is just fascism) and open advocacy of racism justified by the right of "free association".

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Just a handful of some of the wackier conclusions people such as Block and Rothbard have come to.

Not to mention Hans-Hermann Hoppe and his "Anarcho-Fascism" (which for all practical purposes is just fascism) and open advocacy of racism justified by the right of "free association".

Triple H is just a wannabe Boss Hog who has dressed his favored policies up in sophistic arguments. "Oh, you say I can't run a town like this? Well I can if I own it!" Difference in name only. It would be a privately owned state like the Congo Free State. But here's what blows a here in it: children. They never agreed to the conditions of the covenant community. Whaapaaaaaang!

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I am not aware of any standard dictionary that treats "fascist" as a synonym for bully. More importantly, where is the evidence of bullying?

George Orwell on the meaning of the word "fascism": "Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.". Hoppe's a fascist because his views are very illiberal. I recall him saying that people without "rational argumentation" could be enslaved. So, yeah, he's an asshole.

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On defamation: Since On ownership of airwaves: Like land, airwaves are definable scarce resources that can be peacefully exploited provided that there is a systematic approach to determining ownership. If we say no one can own land, then every farmer who sows a field must be prepared for a used auto salesman parking cars on it. Every person who builds a home must be prepared for someone to knock it down to drill for oil. Similarly, every broadcaster would have to be prepared to be jammed or overridden by any random radio pirate.

That non-ownership of airwaves would mean anyone can use any frequency is obvious. You've called yourself an IP skeptic. I assume that your reason for this is because IP isn't tangible. If that is the case, then you should also oppose property rights in the electromagnetic spectrum.

No, intellectual property and property in radio-television frequencies are not comparable. As I said above, "airwaves are definable scarce resources." We cannot stretch the electromagnetic spectrum to allow more stations. It is a finite commodity. On the other hand, IP is not. I do not prevent you or the copyright holder from enjoying your copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by printing one or more myself.

The. Spectrum. Isn't. Scarce. It's not tangible. Two people can broadcast on the same frequency without reality collapsing in on itself. And why is "scarcity" a criteria for property? It makes more sense to argue against property rights given scarcity than it does to argue for them. You're also unaware of channel access methods. And you totally miss the point of copyright, too.

I favor open spectrum policies.

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Your revelation. That the. Radio spectrum. Isn't. Scarce. Is quite exciting!

My favorite FM station is at 97.1. There is only one station in my city that broadcasts on that frequency. With your discovery of non-scarcity, it will now be possible for another broadcaster or a million other broadcasters to use that same spot on the radio dial at the same time and not interfere with each other in this city. Apparently "non-tangible" now means "infinitely expandable."

The argument for property is that a man has by occupying and developing a part of the earth made that part his own. If I have built a cabin in the wilderness, I am entitled to call it my own and occupy it exclusively. If scarcity is an argument against property, then every time a man built a cabin in the wilderness, he would have to share it with every traveler that happened along. Like 97.1 FM, perhaps the cabin would magically expand to comfortably fit in everyone that wanted to use it!

I did not miss the point about copyright that you are referring to. I addressed it in an essay I wrote several years ago.

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I am not aware of any standard dictionary that treats "fascist" as a synonym for bully. More importantly, where is the evidence of bullying?

George Orwell on the meaning of the word "fascism": "Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.". Hoppe's a fascist because his views are very illiberal. I recall him saying that people without "rational argumentation" could be enslaved. So, yeah, he's an asshole.

Orwell, God bless him, is not a standard dictionary.

"Illiberal" is another word that does not mean "fascist." Hoppe, in fact, is very much in the classical liberal tradition.

Where is the evidence that Hoppe called for enslaving anyone?

And once again, where is the evidence that Hoppe bullied anyone?

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Your revelation. That the. Radio spectrum. Isn't. Scarce. Is quite exciting!

My favorite FM station is at 97.1. There is only one station in my city that broadcasts on that frequency. With your discovery of non-scarcity, it will now be possible for another broadcaster or a million other broadcasters to use that same spot on the radio dial at the same time and not interfere with each other in this city. Apparently "non-tangible" now means "infinitely expandable."

The argument for property is that a man has by occupying and developing a part of the earth made that part his own. If I have built a cabin in the wilderness, I am entitled to call it my own and occupy it exclusively. If scarcity is an argument against property, then every time a man built a cabin in the wilderness, he would have to share it with every traveler that happened along. Like 97.1 FM, perhaps the cabin would magically expand to comfortably fit in everyone that wanted to use it!

I did not miss the point about copyright that you are referring to. I addressed it in an essay I wrote several years ago.

Yes, if scarcity is to be used as a reason for anything related to the topic of property, it makes much more sense to use it to argue against private property than it does to argue for it (not that I agree with this conclusion). If scarcity is a reason for anything, then it's that scarce resources should be jointly managed (not that I agree with this ocnclusion).

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I am not aware of any standard dictionary that treats "fascist" as a synonym for bully. More importantly, where is the evidence of bullying?

George Orwell on the meaning of the word "fascism": "Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.". Hoppe's a fascist because his views are very illiberal. I recall him saying that people without "rational argumentation" could be enslaved. So, yeah, he's an asshole.

Orwell, God bless him, is not a standard dictionary.

"Illiberal" is another word that does not mean "fascist." Hoppe, in fact, is very much in the classical liberal tradition.

Where is the evidence that Hoppe called for enslaving anyone?

And once again, where is the evidence that Hoppe bullied anyone?

He's called for enslaving debtors, I think, something Rothbard too argued for. He may be a "classical liberal", but he is very much illiberal, much like theocrat Gary North.

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I am not aware of any standard dictionary that treats "fascist" as a synonym for bully. More importantly, where is the evidence of bullying?

George Orwell on the meaning of the word "fascism": "Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.". Hoppe's a fascist because his views are very illiberal. I recall him saying that people without "rational argumentation" could be enslaved. So, yeah, he's an asshole.

Orwell, God bless him, is not a standard dictionary.

"Illiberal" is another word that does not mean "fascist." Hoppe, in fact, is very much in the classical liberal tradition.

Where is the evidence that Hoppe called for enslaving anyone?

And once again, where is the evidence that Hoppe bullied anyone?

He's called for enslaving debtors, I think, something Rothbard too argued for. He may be a "classical liberal", but he is very much illiberal, much like theocrat Gary North.

Where is it written that Hoppe supports a form of slavery? Where is it written that he favors an illiberal theocracy?

And, once more, where is the evidence that Hoppe has bullied people in such a way that he may be called a "fascist"?

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Your revelation. That the. Radio spectrum. Isn't. Scarce. Is quite exciting!

My favorite FM station is at 97.1. There is only one station in my city that broadcasts on that frequency. With your discovery of non-scarcity, it will now be possible for another broadcaster or a million other broadcasters to use that same spot on the radio dial at the same time and not interfere with each other in this city. Apparently "non-tangible" now means "infinitely expandable."

The argument for property is that a man has by occupying and developing a part of the earth made that part his own. If I have built a cabin in the wilderness, I am entitled to call it my own and occupy it exclusively. If scarcity is an argument against property, then every time a man built a cabin in the wilderness, he would have to share it with every traveler that happened along. Like 97.1 FM, perhaps the cabin would magically expand to comfortably fit in everyone that wanted to use it!

I did not miss the point about copyright that you are referring to. I addressed it in an essay I wrote several years ago.

Yes, if scarcity is to be used as a reason for anything related to the topic of property, it makes much more sense to use it to argue against private property than it does to argue for it (not that I agree with this conclusion). If scarcity is a reason for anything, then it's that scarce resources should be jointly managed (not that I agree with this ocnclusion).

If the existence of scarcity leads us logically to oppose private property, then all money would have to be owned by the world in common. If Vera gets paid $40 a day for making shirts, she would have to turn that money over to the "public." After all, money is scarce, i.e. finite in quantity. Accordingly, all 7.1 billion people on the planet should have a say in how Vera's 40 bucks are spent. Vera would have a say, too. Her voice would be 1/7,000,000,000 of the final tally.

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Your revelation. That the. Radio spectrum. Isn't. Scarce. Is quite exciting!

My favorite FM station is at 97.1. There is only one station in my city that broadcasts on that frequency. With your discovery of non-scarcity, it will now be possible for another broadcaster or a million other broadcasters to use that same spot on the radio dial at the same time and not interfere with each other in this city. Apparently "non-tangible" now means "infinitely expandable."

The argument for property is that a man has by occupying and developing a part of the earth made that part his own. If I have built a cabin in the wilderness, I am entitled to call it my own and occupy it exclusively. If scarcity is an argument against property, then every time a man built a cabin in the wilderness, he would have to share it with every traveler that happened along. Like 97.1 FM, perhaps the cabin would magically expand to comfortably fit in everyone that wanted to use it!

I did not miss the point about copyright that you are referring to. I addressed it in an essay I wrote several years ago.

Yes, if scarcity is to be used as a reason for anything related to the topic of property, it makes much more sense to use it to argue against private property than it does to argue for it (not that I agree with this conclusion). If scarcity is a reason for anything, then it's that scarce resources should be jointly managed (not that I agree with this ocnclusion).

If the existence of scarcity leads us logically to oppose private property, then all money would have to be owned by the world in common. If Vera gets paid $40 a day for making shirts, she would have to turn that money over to the "public." After all, money is scarce, i.e. finite in quantity. Accordingly, all 7.1 billion people on the planet should have a say in how Vera's 40 bucks are spent. Vera would have a say, too. Her voice would be 1/7,000,000,000 of the final tally.

Did it ever dawn on you that some arguments might only apply to only some things/contexts instead of all? That the world isn't all-or-nothing? I didn't say that scarcity means we should abandon ownership. I said that it's a better argument against it than it is for it. That aside, that you can enjoy a copy of a work without depriving someone else of the ability to enjoy a copy is irrelevant to the matter of intellectual property because the belief is that you shouldn't be allowed to without paying for it, so scarcity is ultimately irrelevant to the topic of ownership.

Also, it strikes me that you're using "finite"/"infinite" in funny ways. Sure, you might have only $40 dollars in existence, but you can add more to it. Similarly, debt is a type of property, but only for as long as people choose to hold someone accountable for their debts.

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If scarcity is a better argument against ownership than for it, then why don't you make that argument? Show, through logic and evidence, that the limited amount of petroleum, coal, gold, diamonds, and fresh water on this planet should make those commodities not ownable by anyone.

Of course, if petroleum is not ownable, then I have no business stopping at a gas station and filling up my tank. Taking possession of 17 gallons of petrol and burning it up in my car engine is clearly an act of ownership. So is drinking a tumbler of fresh water. Thus, under the non-ownership ethic, the people of the world would have to abandon their cars, planes and ships. We also would have to refrain from the consumption of water. Human life would soon be extinct.

But perhaps you didn't mean that scarcity forbids all ownership, just individual ownership. But what exactly would collective ownership of all finite resources mean? Would every man, woman, child and terminal cancer patient be allotted exactly 1/7,000,000,000 of the world's petroleum? Would the billions of people in the world who don't own cars (and perhaps have never ridden in one) be given the exact same number of gallons (or perhaps only pints) of gas as a New York City cab driver?

Or would it mean that each of us, before we used even a thimbleful or gas or water, would first have to obtain the permission of every other human on the globe?

Regarding "the belief is that you shouldn't be allowed to [enjoy something] without paying for it": I grow roses for a hobby. I have several dozen bushes in my front yard. Strangers passing by my house compliment me on the beauty and fragrance of the flowers and tell me how much they enjoy them.

Now if "you shouldn't be allowed to [enjoy something] without paying for it," then it follows that I am entitled to assess a fee from everyone who walks by my house on the grounds that they are taking pleasure from a product without rewarding the creator of that product.

Regarding "using 'finite'/'infinite' in funny ways": From Merriam-Webster: "in·fi·nite adjective \ˈin-fə-nət\ : 1: extending indefinitely"

It is true that Vera can through employment or receiving gifts add to her grand total of $40. But the number of dollars in the world, though constantly growing as a result of Fed inflation, does not extend indefinitely. Whether it is now 10 trillion or 20 trillion, the world's supply of dollars is finite.

How about this proposal? Repeal the laws against (private) counterfeiting and allow everyone to print as many dollars as they wish on a standard copy machine. If the Fed can do it, why shouldn't individuals? Wouldn't this be true equality?

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I apologize if I'm not properly following these rights as property rights arguments, but FF your primary focus seems to be on property as opposed to any particular human being and the man qua man he or she is. Of course one can extrapolate from you to that, but that is what I don't see you explicitly doing. You seem to be describing how the machinery works, but not quite in the way an Adam Smith, much less an Isabel Paterson, would. Still, you and her and him and Wolf all seem to be avoiding for whatever reason consideration of a simple, autonomous person facing life in a complex interactive society without what we can call a "soul" or, secularly, at least moral equivalence.

--Brant

may be all wrong about Smith, at least

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