“No man touches Red Sonja! Death to the Man-Spider!”
- Red Sonja (Earth-616)
I will try to avoid that fate!
I will address several comments from Sonja Cramer, beginning May 16, 2016 at 1:01 PM.
In general Sonja’s main point appears to be that no one owns anything and libertarian theorists must develop a proper theory of property ownership else all other concerns are a waste of energy. While it is possible that this observation is so completely profound that it is beyond my understanding, for now I find this an unnecessary and pointless exercise and will explain why further on.
Rather than the dubious claim that the "taxpayers" are the owners…
I will assume that you are referring to my statements regarding what is known as government-owned (but actually government-controlled) property – the peaks of the Rockies, the western deserts, etc. I must assume this as it is the only context in which I have referred to anything in this vein.
I am writing of the legal theory of the case consistent with the NAP, and I argue that in theory the taxpayers are the legal owners. What do you suggest? The government certainly controls such lands, but one cannot assume that control means ownership. A thief controls the stolen goods – it doesn’t make him the owner. The owners is still the owner – he no longer has control of his property, nothing more.
We could suggest that no one owns such lands; this is Block’s position as best as I understand it, although on a different basis than yours. The best I can make of your position is that no one owns anything – even if I grant it true for today it says nothing about libertarian-based legal theory.
There is no justifiable property ownership in the current paradigm of masters and slaves. Tradition, and customs, and homesteading do not cut it.
Are we talking theory or practice…?
In practice, all you are doing is adding more weight to my view – in the world of state control, open borders is no more “libertarian” than any other option.
In theory, there is often value in discussing and exploring theory. But not on the question you raise (to be kind, let’s just say I certainly don’t see it). “Property” will be defined socially; to think otherwise is a utopian notion.
My question to you – say a libertarian theorist comes up with the perfect theory to justify property ownership: what good would it do in this (or any other) paradigm?
More generally, libertarian theorists such as Walter Block and Murray Rothbard have not provided a framework for justifiable property ownership. This deficiency should be priority one for "libertarian theorists."
I find zero value in this exercise; you obviously see otherwise and I would welcome further explanation. My view is that this will be defined by different communities in different ways – even in different otherwise likeminded libertarian communities; it has been true for all of human history and will be true for as long as humans have a future – they have no reason to listen to Block’s apparently yet-to-be-developed theories. If other groups are satisfied with their own framework, what do you care? Why do you want to define it for them?
The non-aggression principle is beautiful in its simplicity. Why try to burden it with things that it can never carry. It will not be able to define “property” or “aggression” for everyone everywhere at every time. Despite this, the theory remains valid – even priceless.
Do you think the ruler is going to pay attention to what you have to say, other than to suppress it?
Have I ever suggested that he would? My paradigm is simple – there will be decentralization, and libertarianism in theory is decentralization in practice.
But I will turn this question to you: do you think by flushing out a definition of property that the ruler will listen to you? Or Walter?
Do you expect him to embrace what you are saying and give up a little of his power...try on a little "limited government" for size? How's that working out for you?
Point to one place where I have advocated for limited government.
You correctly point out (or at least hint) that the notion of "mixing" labor with property justifies ownership is nonsense.
I don’t say it is nonsense, in fact I find it a rational concept. I just say it need not be the only way. I also say that the “how much” labor-mixing cannot be answered by libertarian theory, and it is a waste of time to try to nail this down. Different communities will figure out what makes sense to them and figure out how to enforce their decisions.
What constitutes justifiable property ownership? I keep coming back to that question, and where I seem to disagree with you is in that I don't think that just anything will do.
Go tell someone in the highlands of Southeast Asia that you have the definition for them. How far will that get you? As long as they agree amongst themselves, that is their business and not the business of a libertarian theorist.
If there are other people around who decide you are not going to own something, and there are enough of them and only one of you, then you are not going to be able to defend your property---even your life.
What is your point? Do you think that if I spend the next 20 years developing a theory of property that this will change? Somehow my theory will stop all theft? Ultimately, you have to be able to defend your property if you want to keep it. It is always true and has always been true, everywhere.
In any case, I disagree with your "folks around here" generally agree... Folks in Germany generally agree to the title/ruling class management of property.
Why do you take my comment out of context? I refer to your original statement, which I was addressing:
Upon what principles can a community (in some geographic location) of likeminded voluntarists….
“Likeminded voluntarists.” This is the context.
I refer to my comment to Sonja in the previous thread, the one that resulted in this post:
I will consider your comments in the next days; I will reply thereafter, if I believe I can add value by doing so or otherwise move the discussion forward.
I don’t know if I added any value or moved the discussion forward. The more I have considered Sonja’s comments the more I have concluded that there was nothing worth addressing beyond the comments I made in the discussion thread.
But I already did the work, so there you have it.