This is a response to a user, digdeeper. I highly recommend his site for anyone interested in technology. I decided to make this article because I thought that digdeeper made a few mistakes in his article on Libertarianism that needs addressing. Treat this as a work in progress.


“While we do have a certain amount of free will, the choices we make are heavily impacted by the environment, the things we see and hear, the people around us, our previous experiences, or even biological stuff like hormone levels, etc. The idea of fully independent agents is mostly illusory, and you only need to meet an addicted person to prove this. Unless you have complete control over every particle of your body, you can't really say that you own yourself”

An objection that can be raised here is it doesn’t seem to logically follow that just because free will doesn’t exist, self ownership cannot exist as well. Property is a scarce natural resource that’s mixed with one’s labor. You are scarce resource, that is to say there can only be one of you at one place at one time. Self-ownership just means that you’re your own property. There doesn't seem to be a requirement where you must have free will in order to have property, so there shouldn't be a problem with you being your own property either (at least from a free will perspective). I’ll go in depth on my justification for self-ownership in a future article, as this article’s purpose has more to do with pointing out the flaws in digdeeper’s critiques rather than grounding my own framework from the bottom up. A quick note would be that I recognize that digdeeper believes in some kind of free will. I just wanted to establish that even in the most extreme case, no free will is needed in order for self-ownership to be true.

The context to what digdeeper said earlier was in response to Murray Rothbard’s quote: “The right to self-ownership asserts the absolute right of Property and Exchange each man, by virtue of his being a human being, to own his own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference.” My guess would be that digdeeper’s response to that quote had to do with a misunderstanding of what it is to be coercive. Coercion is when a person acts to compel an action out of the other. Action just means purposeful behavior. You don’t use language like coercion to describe events outside of human action. Say for example there was a tornado rampaging in a town and in order to get inside of a shelter, a toll guy charges you a fee. You would not have entered the shelter had the tornado not been there. Where you coerced? To say you were coerced seems to be a stretch of the definition in the least. Even if I were to grant you that you were in fact coerced, the coercion would be the fault of the tornado, not the toll guy. Therefore, if anything were to be held accountable for coercion, it would be the tornado, not the toll guy. To hold a non-rational thing, much less an inanimate object, accountable for the events said thing participates in seems to me very odd. This brings us to one of the reasons why I don’t think it’s very useful to include events outside of human action in the definition of coercion.

Land ownership in libertarianism

“Libertarians believe only in justly acquired property, which means that which happened without using (their definition of) coercion / force / fraud. Therefore, to be consistent with their principles, they'd have to prove that all the current owners have acquired their property justly. This would entail establishing a chain of acquisition right from the first homesteading up to the current ownership and show that libertarian principles have never once been violated.”

Digdeeper is almost correct here. The only thing that I would object here is that digdeeper flipped the burden of proof on the person that's accused. The burden of proof is always on the accuser to show that a crime has been committed, not vise versa. Just as we wouldn’t expect a person to prove that he/she isn't a murderer, we wouldn’t expect a person to prove that he/she isn't a thief. Because of this, the accuser has to prove that the person accused possesses the stolen property. This would mean the accuser would have to establish a chain of acquisition to prove that libertarian principles have been violated.

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