Monday, April 5, 2010

In Response

A reader wrote in response to my post The Most Private of Property:
 do you decide where to draw the line about which government laws/services are appropriate and which aren't? It seems from your post that you do think that a police force or penal system of some sort is necessary. So there ARE some things that you want to see in place...  So I am curious: how do you decide what types of laws are necessary and what types are not? This is not a facetious question at all, I am really wondering where you draw the line.

This is fantastic question and I have a couple answers for it.

The more conventional libertarian/constitutionalists would like a limited government to make and enforce laws prohibiting the invasion of personal property by another person.  By this I mean it should be against the law (as it is) to hit someone else in the head with a bat for no reason.  Many people interpret the constitution to say that the federal government's one job is to protect the States from foreign invasion, (and for some antiquated reason, run the post office). I tend to agree with these points of view relative to the world that we live in right now.  It is wrong to invade other peoples(or countries) property or steal from them.

For the ideal, albeit somewhat philosophical system for the enforcement of these basic laws I once again lean on the brain of the great anarcho/capitalist Murray N. Rothbard who proposed that private companies compete for protection services through the voluntary participation of consumers.  I think this would provide the most just and fair enforcement of the "rule of law" within a anarcho/capitalist society.  This likely sounds kind of crazy too you.  You might be saying, "you foolish anarchist! there are no laws to enforce!"  If A chooses to  infringe upon B's human rights, by knocking down his door and hitting him till he is unconscious, B has every right to retaliate in kind.  Rothbard says:

           "For, apart from ruling out as unjustified all activities such as murder, homicide, rape, trespass, robbery, burglary, theft, and fraud, the ethics of private property is also incompatible with the existence of a state defined as an agency that possesses a compulsory territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction) and/or the right to tax."

I draw the line when private property gets unjustly invaded.  And as I see it the government is playing the role of the aggressor invadeing peoples property through the coercive theft of taxation. 


  1. So, why private property? Of all the things that you could base your worldview on, why that?

  2. Because it seems to me that any political and economic belief system why puts the concept of individual property above all else will tend to have more positive benefits for those who own more property.