In ancapistan, if you have no property, you have no rights


Ancaps often declare, "All rights are property rights."

I was thinking about this the other day, in the context of running into libertarians online who insisted that libertarianism supports "the freedom of movement," and realized that this principle actually entails that people without property have no rights at all, let alone any right to "freedom of movement."

Of course, immediately, any ancap readers still left here are going to say, "Wait a second! Everyone owns his own body! And so everyone at least has the right to not have his body interfered with." Well, that is true... except that in ancapistan, one has no right to any place to put that body, except if one owns property, or has the permission of at least one property owner to place that body on her land. So, if one is landless and penniless, one had sure better hope that there are kindly disposed property owners aligned in a corridor from wherever one happens to be to wherever the nearest charitable homeless shelter is located.

Or consider the position of a lone poor person, owning a shack and a small patch of land, in the midst of an area that has attracted many rich people: let's call him "Jeb." (When I lived in Weston, CT, I saw such situations: despite Weston being one of the wealthiest towns in the nation, there were still little patches of "Swamp Yankee" housing remaining from the days when Weston was a poor backwater.) The wealthy landowners want Jeb gone, since his shack is an eyesore and brings down property values. But Jeb likes where he lives, and doesn't want to sell. Under standard ancap doctrine, per say, Rothbard or Block, the wealthy landowners literally have the right to starve Jeb to death should he fail to sell, since once they have him surrounded, they can refuse to let him off of his land. (We can even imagine that Jeb's land abuts a privately owned road, but even then, the wealthy landowners can simply pay the road owner to refuse Jeb passage on his road, unless he agrees to sell his land to them. Further, we can note that Rothbard and Block think that as a practical matter, this won't happen [often? ever?], since people will own easements off of their land. But the fact is, if a person does not own such an easement, others do have the right to blockade him.)

It is very strange to characterize such a regime as embodying "freedom of movement"!

UPDATE: I removed "Block" from the sentence with "standard ancap doctrine," as KP notes that Block forbids this.

UPDATE II: Put Block back in, as when I checked the passage KP was citing, it has nothing to do with this problem at all! It is, instead, about others having the right to get in to a piece of fenced but never homesteaded land. I also added the bit about the role of easements for Block and Rothbard.



122 comments:

  1. I don't doubt someone said it, but can you link to the libertarian(s) citing "freedom of movement"?

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  2. Block has specifically said that such a person would have an "easement".

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    1. Based on what ancap principle? Block has also said you can kill trespassers on sight in ancapistan, without even asking what they are doing on your property.

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    2. Homesteading. Encircling someone is "effective blockading" according to Block, and thus a no-no.

      And if it is your easement (as Block contends) you aren't a trespasser.

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    3. who's going to ensure that guy gets an 'easement', given that there is supposedly no government in ancapistan to enforce any principles or laws or 'easements' or anything.

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    4. So which property owner is guilty of "encircling"?

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    5. Homesteading. Encircling someone is "effective blockading" according to Block, and thus a no-no.

      And if it is your easement (as Block contends) you aren't a trespasser.


      Block's arguments and explanations aren't exactly top-knotch

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    6. BTW, is it necessary to base your encirclement argument in "homesteading"? Talk about having a small toolset.

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    7. I reckon the one who says "no pasaran" to the shack owner.

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    8. Mr., where exactly are you getting your information about anarcho-capitalism from?

      As quite far from no government, ancapistan (hypothetically) has many, many governments.

      Samson, as with the previous dust-up, you seem bent on attacking libertarianism. Yet I'm, once again, merely correcting Gene's mistakes.

      Block replies to emails fairly regularly, if you don't like that he bases his argument on homesteading, email him.

      For my part, no, I don't think it's necessary for the argument to be based on homesteading, but Gene asked. And really if I had such a handy multi-tool then I'd use it as much as possible too.

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    9. K.P., the fact that Block devised an ad hoc solution to this problem doesn't mean I made a "mistake."

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    10. Homesteading: yes, this imaginary practice can be waived like a magic wand whenever one wants.

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    11. I'd suggest that Block found a situation he didn't like and proceeded to find some way out of it.

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    12. …ancapistan (hypothetically) has many, many governments.

      ???

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    13. Call it what you want then Gene. Under (Blockean? Blockish?) ancap doctrine the wealthy landowners simply do not have the right to starve Jeb. At least under the particular scenario put forth.

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    14. Block can declare anything he wants a "no-no." But since the wealthy landowners have the money to pay the defense agencies, and Jeb does not, as a matter of fact, they will certainly have that right.

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    15. "But since the wealthy landowners have the money to pay the defense agencies, and Jeb does not, as a matter of fact, they will certainly have that right."

      Yes, if right means might, then agreed. Of course, we're no longer in the world of doctrine.

      "I'd suggest that Block found a situation he didn't like and proceeded to find some way out of it."

      On plain reading, I can't see anything wrong with that. However, take your suggestion to Block and see what he says, your speculating doesn't really accomplish anything of substance.

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    16. "ancapistan (hypothetically) has many, many governments"

      Lots of states then. So ancapistan is a world characterized by the existence of lots of states.

      In the multi-state world of ancapistan, who exactly decides that one particular government can exercise authority over a given area or territory?

      Who decides what the governments can and can't do within those territories?

      Mr Block? Bob Murphy?

      Or the governments themselves?

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    17. "Under (Blockean? Blockish?) ancap doctrine the wealthy landowners simply do not have the right"

      Who enforces this rule?

      Wealthy landowners?

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    18. Mr., KP's fatuous approach to deciding what will occur in ancapistan has inspired a new post.

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    19. "If might makes right"

      Very funny: it is very explicitly posted of as a *feature* of ancap That the market will determine what the law is.

      "we are no longer in the world of doctrine"

      Yes, some of us prefer to look at the way the world actually works.

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    20. "Very funny: it is very explicitly posted of as a *feature* of ancap That the market will determine what the law is."

      Maybe, but definitely not by Block in this instance. Block (and Rothbard, for that matter) has rules, lots of them. Obviously they're not all market determined ones.

      "Yes, some of us prefer to look at the way the world actually works."

      You shouldn't have said "doctrine" then. It just looks like you're trying to shift focus now.

      Just by doctrine Jeb cannot be rightfully starved. Agreed?

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    21. Mr.,

      I'd like to help you but this:

      "Lots of states then. So ancapistan is a world characterized by the existence of lots of states."

      just makes me question your sincerity.

      Not that I'm opposed to a world of micro-states but I'd being doing libertarians a huge disservice if I didn't point out that government *does not* necessarily mean state.

      Now, there's an abundance of literature out there (much of which is free) that answer your questions and I'm more than happy to point some favorites out for you if it's too overwhelming.

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    22. I have amended supposed to remove Block from that sentence, and credited you with prompting the change.

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    23. "Just by doctrine Jeb cannot be rightfully starved."

      Does Jeb have a right to food?

      If not, then Jeb can be rightfully starved to death in ancapistan, by those who deny him access to the food he needs to survive.

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    24. Thanks Gene, greatly appreciated.

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    25. "government *does not* necessarily mean state"

      Your government is a person or group of people who make the rules for a given territory, correct?

      A state is a territory under the rule of a government.

      What's the difference?
      How is your ancap

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    26. Mr., I think you can stop jabbing at ancaps. They may be misguided, but they're not (usually) malevolent.

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    27. I don't know how this gets a pass. You know the challenge put forth, please don't change the subject.

      "since once they have him surrounded, they can refuse to let him off of his land."

      No, they can't. (theoretically, of course)

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    28. No, not correct, you've made a mistake or two Mr. (at least based off of the libertarian/ancap/Weberian view of the state)

      The state is the political apparatus (or institutions) which occupies a territory (so, monopoly on legitimate violence and all that). The government is just what controls that body.

      Look at the NBA for a contrast, it is clearly a government (it governs people!) yet clearly not a state.

      Anarcho-capitalists contend, among other reasons, that because the state violates nemo iudex idoneus in propria causa est that it's unjust.

      "How is your ancap"

      My ancap fine I guess?

      How is yours?

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    29. Samson,

      I'm just pointing out what seem to be obvious problems with the ideology. If people choose to continue to subscribe to such a flawed ideology then they might well have malevolent reasons for doing so. I don't know.

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    30. "Look at the NBA for a contrast, it is clearly a government (it governs people!) yet clearly not a state."

      The NBA does not rule a territory. It is subject to the rule of governments in whatever territory it operates.

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    31. "How is your ancap"

      That sounds like some sort of humorous question but actually it is just a part of a question that I deleted. It was left in my comment by mistake.

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    32. "The state is the political apparatus (or institutions) which occupies a territory (so, monopoly on legitimate violence and all that). The government is just what controls that body."

      A state is a territory under the rule of a government. There are usually people living in that territory, so they are usually members or citizens of that state. The government creates laws and institutions which organize activity in that territory, and so those laws and organizations are also part of the state. Force, or violence is used on occasion to enforce those laws or to enforce the established borders of the territory, so those things are also part of the state. But the most basic description is that a state is a territory under the rule of a government.

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    33. "the state violates nemo iudex idoneus in propria causa est"

      You mean no one should be the judge in their own cause.

      The problem is that ancapism doesn't provide a solution to this potential issue at all.

      Saying that it does is simply dishonest.

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    34. KP,

      "Not that I'm opposed to a world of micro-states"

      Why do you assume that the the territories ruled b governments in ancapistan, i.e. states for all intents and purposes, would be 'micro states'?

      I can see absolutely no reason why these governed territories would necessarily, in theory, be small. They could potentially be any size at all.

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    35. It governs. It's a government, eloquent yet simple.

      Look, you can debate what State means until your blue in the face, the point remains that libertarians use it in a particular way and if you want to communicate with them then you'll have to understand it too.

      "The problem is that ancapism doesn't provide a solution to this potential issue at all.

      Saying that it does is simply dishonest."

      You've pretty much opened the window and then shut it. Again I'm having trouble telling if you're sincere or not.

      "Why do you assume that the the territories ruled b governments in ancapistan, i.e. states for all intents and purposes, would be 'micro states'?"

      I didn't, as one there aren't "states" in ancapistan. Micro or otherwise. I, myself however, am not necessarily opposed to micro states even in the Modern Weberian sense.

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    36. We most certainly do not have to join in libertarians peculiar use of language. In fact, the network of defense agencies in and Would constitute a state. A state ruled and run entirely on the basis of wealth. "Propertarianism" is the actual system proposed.

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    37. "…that libertarians use it in a particular way and if you want to communicate with them then you'll have to understand it too."

      Yes, in a very, very strange way. Like how an employer isn't "forcing" his or her employees to reveal the passwords to their accounts on social networks. Or how you'll "leave everyone alone". Or how you lot have expanded "market" to mean any and all human interaction.

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    38. "I reckon the one who says 'no pasaran' to the shack owner."

      Mind translating?

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    39. "you can debate what State means until your blue in the face, the point remains that libertarians use it in a particular way"

      The way you have defined it so far is no different to the way I have used it.

      The governed territories you describe are really no different to 'states' in the usual meaning of the term.

      How, exactly, are your ancapistan governed territories different to 'states'?

      "You've pretty much opened the window and then shut it"

      That sounds more like poetry than an actual argument. Do you have an actual rebuttal to my point, or not?

      "there aren't "states" in ancapistan"

      Everything you've said so far indicates that in fact there are. You haven't really explained why you think there aren't.

      But anyway, leaving aside the contentious word 'state', there is clearly no reason why governed territories in the world of ancapistan should necessarily be small or 'micro'. They could potentially be any size at all, in theory. They could in theory even cover entire planets or galaxies or whatever, if you really want to be imaginative about it.


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    40. Who said "join in"? Use terms however you wish, just understand what they mean first. You won't go anywhere if you can't communicate effectively. Again, same with Marxism or any school of thought really.

      And no, it wouldn't constitute a state under the libertarian/Weberian view of "state". Aristotelian? Sure, but that's not a state to them.

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    41. the above might seem a bit absurd, but I'm just pointing out that there is really no theoretical limit on the extent of these 'ancap' governed territories. Some corporations currently have a larger 'GDP' than some countries. And that's not even sci-fi.

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    42. Gene,

      "A state ruled and run entirely on the basis of wealth"

      In ancapistan wealth = power.

      Or rather, in ancapistan, power = wealth.

      When you say that ancapistan is "a state run entirely on the basis of wealth", what you really mean is that it is "a state run entirely on the basis of power".

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    43. "The governed territories you describe are really no different to 'states' in the usual meaning of the term."

      I didn't describe a single governed territory. Where are you getting this?

      "That sounds more like poetry than an actual argument. Do you have an actual rebuttal to my point, or not?"

      You didn't make a point whatsoever, merely noticed the problem and immediately asserted that regardless libertarians don't have a solution. Libertarians obviously say otherwise. Until you actually establish your point there's nothing to discuss.

      "But anyway, leaving aside the contentious word 'state', there is clearly no reason why governed territories in the world of ancapistan should necessarily be small or 'micro'. They could potentially be any size at all, in theory. They could in theory even cover entire planets or galaxies or whatever, if you really want to be imaginative about it."

      And? Was I engaged in such a discussion at all? Al's Protection Racket certainly could hypothetically serve the entire world and then some. Libertarians don't deny that as a possibility.

      "Yes, in a very, very strange way. Like how an employer isn't "forcing" his or her employees to reveal the passwords to their accounts on social networks. Or how you'll "leave everyone alone". Or how you lot have expanded "market" to mean any and all human interaction."

      My lot? Huh? You're going to clarify your point if you want something from me as this just reads like one of your tangents.

      "Mind translating?"

      Not at all. Gene asked "So which property owner is guilty of "encircling"?" (Unless more details are available) the property owner who tries to stop Jeb from using his easement is.

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    44. Who says he has an easement? Unless we take the new private owner of the formerly public road running by Jeb's land to have implicitly adopted an easement for all adjoining properties in acquiring the road.

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    45. Indeed we (as in Block and other libertarians) do exactly that. I believe Hoppe (Maybe Van Dunn?) wrote a paper explaining the libertarian bonafides of the exact idea you just expressed!

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    46. "I didn't describe a single governed territory. Where are you getting this?"

      "ancapistan (hypothetically) has many, many governments"

      Governments control territories.

      "Until you actually establish your point there's nothing to discuss."

      That is very funny K.P. You are a very funny person.

      "Al's Protection Racket certainly could hypothetically serve the entire world and then some. Libertarians don't deny that as a possibility"

      What are you saying here? On the one hand you suggest ancap territories would be 'micro'. On the other hand you suggest Al's ancap territory could potentially cover the entire planet. What are you actually saying? What do you actually believe?

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    47. Let's try and get the semantics out of the way here Mr.

      Is there *any* form of governance other than the state?

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    48. "Governments control territories"

      That's the thing in dispute friend. At least the necessity of it.

      "That is very funny K.P. You are a very funny person."

      Thanks!

      "The problem is that ancapism doesn't provide a solution to this potential issue at all.

      Saying that it does is simply dishonest."

      How should someone who contends that it, in fact *does*, respond to this? You've immediately painted him as dishonest. What do you expect?

      "What are you saying here? On the one hand you suggest ancap territories would be 'micro'. On the other hand you suggest Al's ancap territory could potentially cover the entire planet. What are you actually saying? What do you actually believe?"
      You've either terribly misread me or I've terribly misled you then (or a bit of both). There simply aren't territories at all in ancapistan. (Territories corresponding to modernity, like, say France). Al's Protection Racket doesn't have territory just like Progressive doesn't have territory. I shouldn't have brought up the idea of micro-states, that is a KP idea not a ancap one.


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    49. that's interesting, because you changed the word from 'government' to 'governance'.

      Why did you do that?

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    50. ok, let's try to have a civilsed debate.

      "There simply aren't territories at all in ancapistan"

      WTF does that mean???

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    51. "How should someone who contends that it, in fact *does*, respond to this?"

      Up to you.

      Try to explain away the problem of 'power', in as many words as you like.

      Go.

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    52. KP, I think the problem is that libertarians are drawing artificial distinctions. As far as I can tell, it happens a LOT, as can be evidenced by the amateurish and uninformed venturings into social studies (i.e., the Wild West, Iceland, Somalia, etc) on the Ludwig von Mises Institute's website. The level of understanding displayed on numerous non-economic subjects there is about on par with Sarah Palin's foreign policy credentials. Other than formalization, there is really not much separating medieval Republic Iceland or any of the various historical feudal estates from the governments of modern Westphalian nation-states. The United Nations doesn't govern a country, but that doesn't lessen its status as a governmental organization. Same for INTERPOL, the ICC, and others.

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    53. "that's interesting, because you changed the word from 'government' to 'governance'.

      Why did you do that?"

      Because we keep arguing over the semantics of "government".

      "WTF does that mean???"

      That's civilized debate??? I went into further detail in that quote, so you'll have to go a little further than "WTF".

      "Try to explain away the problem of 'power', in as many words as you like."

      Why would I do that? As libertarians don't explain away the problem of power at all, the problem of power seems to be their entire raison d'etre.

      "The United Nations doesn't govern a country, but that doesn't lessen its status as a governmental organization. Same for INTERPOL, the ICC, and others."

      I think you just made my point for me! There are "governmental organizations" (usually called "governments" by the way) that aren't territorial.You and I have had this specific conversation over at Free Advice, including the role that the Peace of Westphalia has played! You say "not much" they say "too much", you both still acknowledge a difference. If you had expectations that I would make you *care* then I apologize, that was never my intention.

      (Further still, if there's really not that much separating the medieval Republic of Iceland from Modern States then anarcho-capitalists are pretty dang milquetoast in their goals!)

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    54. I made a pretty lengthy reply, if it went through please disregard this comment!

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    55. All right, attempt #2.

      Mr.,

      "that's interesting, because you changed the word from 'government' to 'governance'.

      Why did you do that?"

      Because we're in a spat about the very word government. Why bang on about semantics?

      "ok, let's try to have a civilsed debate.

      "There simply aren't territories at all in ancapistan"

      WTF does that mean???"

      I've never been apart of or witnessed that included "WTF does that mean???" Make your question more specific please.

      "Try to explain away the problem of 'power', in as many words as you like.

      Go."

      If only I had somewhere to go! Libertarians don't explain away the problem of "power", it's their raison d'etre for goodness' sake.

      Samson,

      You and I have had this very discussion on Free Advice, including that of the Peace of Westphalia.

      "The United Nations doesn't govern a country, but that doesn't lessen its status as a governmental organization. Same for INTERPOL, the ICC, and others."

      This, however, is gold. Pass it along to Mr. please. There is such a thing as a "governmental organization" (short form: government?) that doesn't have a territory. (Contrast that with, say, that thing called France)

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    56. What are you on about, KP?

      You said there would be 'lots of governments' in ancapistan.

      If you have a 'government' controlling and making the rules for a certain area of land then that is basically a state. Which is why I said there will be lots of states in ancapistan.

      You've not really explained why you disagree with this.

      If you have a government controlling and making the rules for a given area of land, why do you think that is not a state?

      Try to be clear and try to make a substantive comment, rather than just trying to sound clever.

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    57. Mr.,

      I'm not sure how much clearer I can make it.

      "If you have a government controlling and making the rules for a given area of land, why do you think that is not a state?"

      Doesn't matter, as in ancapistan you *do not* have that.

      "There simply aren't territories at all in ancapistan. (Territories corresponding to modernity, like, say France). Al's Protection Racket doesn't have territory just like Progressive doesn't have territory."

      Or see Samson's comment:

      "The United Nations doesn't govern a country, but that doesn't lessen its status as a governmental organization. Same for INTERPOL, the ICC, and others."

      This just leads back to my question you've missed, do you think there are institutions that govern (call them whatever) that aren't states?

      The Church? The company? The tribe? The family? The Gang?

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    58. "in ancapistan you *do not* have that."

      You have 'land owners', correct? These people make the rules for and control their land, correct? So they are the 'government' of that land, right?

      So in ancapistan you have land under the control of 'governments'.

      If you have an area of land under the control of a government, how is that not basically a state?

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    59. "The Church? The company? The tribe? The family? The Gang?"

      These organizations are all subject to laws created by governments in whichever territories they operate.

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    60. The best I can tell you is that I'll know it when I see it. If there is a society, then there is also government. The distinction between state and government as drawn by many libertarians is a shallow one.

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    61. "The United Nations doesn't govern a country, but that doesn't lessen its status as a governmental organization. Same for INTERPOL, the ICC, and others."

      This, however, is gold. Pass it along to Mr. please. There is such a thing as a "governmental organization" (short form: government?) that doesn't have a territory. (Contrast that with, say, that thing called France)


      Yes, the United Nations isn't like a country government, but neither is the European Union. So what?

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    62. "If you have an area of land under the control of a government, how is that not basically a state?"

      Now that's a good question! You see a lot of anarchists make it ("private property is the state writ small!") Instead of getting into specific characteristics of a state and explaining where they part, I'll stick with the the easier libertarian route.

      In contrast to property owners, the state is "eternal", it claims the land regardless. If the owners sold their land but still claimed (and successfully enforced) the right to govern they'd indeed be acting as a state.

      One could respond "But K.P., say they don't sell, and stick to just their land and governing their tenants, aren't they at some level *functioning as a state*?"

      The answer is the same that's been given to Samson, "basically a state" and "functioning as state" does not make a state to them. It simply didn't purchase all the land it claims dominion over (or acquire it in any just manner). As Gene and many others have pointed out, many libertarian theories are perfectly fine with "private states" - even large ones - as they were simply acquired justly.

      "These organizations are all subject to laws created by governments in whichever territories they operate."

      That's simply not true historically. These organizations, particularly the tribe and family all pre-date the state. There's more than a few anthropological works on the subject, or see van Creveland or even Fukuyama.

      Again one might respond, "well... sure, they lack the sophistication of modernity but they were nevertheless still basically a state."

      But that'd just be arguing via idiosyncratic definition. (Which is fine, but that should be made clear up front)

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    63. "In contrast to property owners, the state is "eternal", it claims the land regardless. If the owners sold their land but still claimed (and successfully enforced) the right to govern they'd indeed be acting as a state."

      The state does not claim to own private land!

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    64. "The state does not claim to own private land!"

      Yes! I thought I was making that point. I wish I had written it so eloquently. Thanks.

      "In contrast to property owners, the state is "eternal", it claims [the right to control] the land regardless [of the owner]..."

      The state claims the right to govern land it doesn't claim to own.

      Now, both the neo-reactionaries and egoists say that because the state does control the land, it is the de facto owner. But we're talking about libertarians here.

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    65. "As Gene and many others have pointed out, many libertarian theories are perfectly fine with 'private states' - even large ones - as they were simply acquired justly."

      Yes, and that's where you guys go off track.

      "Now, both the neo-reactionaries…"

      Those screwballs? Do you actually take them seriously?

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    66. "In contrast to property owners, the state is 'eternal', it claims the land regardless. If the owners sold their land but still claimed (and successfully enforced) the right to govern they'd indeed be acting as a state."

      Property is preceded by law!

      "That's simply not true historically. These organizations, particularly the tribe and family all pre-date the state."

      No difference at all. Really.

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    67. "Yes, and that's where you guys go off track."

      Perhaps I haven't stated it here but I'm not a libertarian. It's not my concern that you don't share their idea of justice.

      "Those screwballs? Do you actually take them seriously?"

      I've mentioned several ideologies, I like reading screwballs of all stripes, I don't take much of any of them (NRs included) seriously. Just pick and choose ideas I like and dislike.

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    68. "Property is preceded by law!"

      And? Regardless of whether it's true, is that supposed to shake libertarians? They'll just say "law not legislation!"

      I'll contend the opposite though, that property is the ultimate foundation of law and that they evolve together.

      "No difference at all. Really."

      People who study the field seem to feel differently than you. Write some of them your objections instead of repeating your assertions to me.

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    69. ok so the difference is supposedly that "The state claims the right to govern land it doesn't claim to own". And you think this is 'unjust', for some reason.

      Feudal kings claimed to own all the land in their kingdoms. So ancap lands are like feudal states, rather than modern states?

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    70. "law not legislation!"

      What's that supposed to mean?

      "property is the ultimate foundation of law"

      The law defines what property is, what property rights are, who owns what, etc. So property can't logically be 'the ultimate foundation of law'.

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    71. "And? Regardless of whether it's true, is that supposed to shake libertarians? They'll just say 'law not legislation!'"

      And I'll point out the words are synonyms.

      "I'll contend the opposite though, that property is the ultimate foundation of law…"

      [Dalek]Explain! Explain![/Dalek]

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    72. Mr.,

      “ok so the difference is supposedly that 'The state claims the right to govern land it doesn't claim to own'.”

      That's *a* difference, definitely. Are Gene and I off our rockers here or do you accept it?

      “And you think this is 'unjust', for some reason.”

      No, *libertarians* think it unjust... for a variety of reasons. I've never seen an idea of justice that really sat well.

      “Feudal kings claimed to own all the land in their kingdoms. So ancap lands are like feudal states, rather than modern states?”

      See Hoppe on this one, he's gone into great detail here.

      Samson and Mr.

      “The law defines what property is, what property rights are, who owns what, etc. So property can't logically be 'the ultimate foundation of law'.”

      You simply haven't gone back far enough. How did the law arise in the first place?

      Brute force. People battling over land and goods. Either “woe to the conquered” or an uneasy peace. The stability will institutionalize.

      “And I'll point out the words are synonyms”.

      They'll in turn say that you're simply wrong again. And probably point you to Hayek.

      Delete
    73. Attempt #2

      Mr.,

      “ok so the difference is supposedly that 'The state claims the right to govern land it doesn't claim to own'.”

      That's *a* difference, definitely. Are Gene and I off our rockers or do you accept it?

      “And you think this is 'unjust', for some reason.”

      No, *libertarians* do for a variety of reasons. I've never seen an idea of justice that really sat well.

      “Feudal kings claimed to own all the land in their kingdoms. So ancap lands are like feudal states, rather than modern states?”

      See Hoppe on this one, he's gone into great detail here.

      Samson and Mr.

      “The law defines what property is, what property rights are, who owns what, etc. So property can't logically be 'the ultimate foundation of law'.”

      You simply haven't gone back far enough. How did the law arise in the first place?

      Brute force. People battling over land and goods. Either “woe to the conquered” or an uneasy peace. The stability will institutionalize one way or the other.

      “And I'll point out the words are synonyms”.

      And they'll point out that you're mistaken again. And probably point you to Hayek.

      Delete
    74. "See Hoppe on this one, he's gone into great detail here."

      Sorry, that is not an answer to my question. If you don't want to answer my question directly you could at the very least tell me what you are referring to in Hoppe's work.

      Delete
    75. "Brute force"

      so are you saying that brute force is 'the ultimate foundation of the law', or that property is based on brute force, or what?

      Delete
    76. Legislation is law. It's nonsense to say that law is not legislation. It sounds like what you are really saying is that you think certain types of law are just and other types of law are not. You might as well just say that.

      Delete
    77. "Sorry, that is not an answer to my question. If you don't want to answer my question directly you could at the very least tell me what you are referring to in Hoppe's work."

      You're a funny fellow, Mr. You've been dodging questions all week but still manage to get your feathers ruffled because my answers to your question isn't specific enough to your liking. I've previously offered to mention works which fell on deaf ears, but now when I just mention a name it's not enough for you.

      Because I'm too kind...

      “Feudal kings claimed to own all the land in their kingdoms. So ancap lands are like feudal states, rather than modern states?”

      Simply due to your curious phrasing, the answer is an easy "no". Ancapistan isn't more like feudal states than modern ones. However, the question of "who owns what?" would indeed be more like middle ages. In that there is an individual (or group) that can be pointed to.

      "so are you saying that brute force is 'the ultimate foundation of the law', or that property is based on brute force, or what?"

      No, I'm saying exactly what I said. Conflict arose over property, so obviously property is the logical foundation.

      Do you disagree?

      "Legislation is law. It's nonsense to say that law is not legislation. It sounds like what you are really saying is that you think certain types of law are just and other types of law are not. You might as well just say that"

      Should Hayek have titled his book, "Law, Law and Liberty"?

      Delete
    78. "You've been dodging questions all week"

      I haven't been dodging questions. You asked me one question ("Is there *any* form of governance other than the state?) which wasn't even relevant.

      "Ancapistan isn't more like feudal states than modern ones."

      So what is the difference between ancap lands and feudal states, given that feudal monarchs claimed to own all their territory?

      "Conflict arose over property, so obviously property is the logical foundation"

      That doesn't make sense.

      If winning a conflict by force determines who gets to make the rules (law) regarding an area of land and the things in it, how can 'property' be the ultimate foundation of that law? Property is determined by that law.

      "Should Hayek"

      Legislation is law. Yes or no?

      Delete
    79. Mr., generally it is considered that legislation is a form of law, but not the only form. There are also, for instance, judge made law and customary law.

      Delete
    80. "I haven't been dodging questions. You asked me one question ("Is there *any* form of governance other than the state?) which wasn't even relevant."

      Haha. That one has been repeatedly asked, so yes, major dodging. And no, it's not even the only one. Even more hilarious, in a comment calling out your laziness you still didn't even answer all the questions within it. Get it together, pal.

      "So what is the difference between ancap lands and feudal states, given that feudal monarchs claimed to own all their territory?"

      *The* difference? God only knows how many there are. Here's another easy one. No one could be born a serf or villein (if be one at all).

      Let's try this a different way though, is the monarch's claim to the land the only thing that distinguishes feudalism from the Modernity?

      "If winning a conflict by force determines who gets to make the rules (law) regarding an area of land and the things in it, how can 'property' be the ultimate foundation of that law? Property is determined by that law."

      Where exactly did they live before the conflict?

      "Legislation is law. Yes or no?"

      Yes, legislation is law, law isn't necessarily legislation though.

      Again, what should Hayek have titled his book?

      Delete
    81. Yes I agree. I didn't mean that legislation is the only form of law. I was responding to KPs comment "law not legislation!"

      Delete
    82. "Conflict arose over property, so obviously property is the logical foundation."

      I'm not sure what it means to say it was the "logical" foundation, but conflict be over many more things than just property: animal rights, religion, freedom of speech, etc.

      Delete
    83. 2nd Attempt.

      "I haven't been dodging questions. You asked me one question ("Is there *any* form of governance other than the state?) which wasn't even relevant."

      Haha, that one has been repeatedly asked, so yes, major dodging. And no it's not even the only one! Even more hilarious, in a comment calling out your laziness you still didn't even answer all the questions within it. Get it together, pal.

      "So what is the difference between ancap lands and feudal states, given that feudal monarchs claimed to own all their territory?"

      The difference? God only knows how many there are, here's another easy one. No one could be born a serf or villein (if be one at all).

      Let's try this a different way, is the monarch's claim to the land the only thing that distinguishes fuedalism from the Modernity?

      "If winning a conflict by force determines who gets to make the rules (law) regarding an area of land and the things in it, how can 'property' be the ultimate foundation of that law? Property is determined by that law."

      What exactly was the conflict over? Property! It obviously comes first.

      One can theoretically conceive of property without law at all, it's just an ugly sight. For the non-theoretically inclined, just look at animals and how they maintain their property.

      "I'm not sure what it means to say it was the "logical" foundation, but conflict be over many more things than just property: animal rights, religion, freedom of speech, etc."

      Yes, Samson it *may* be over many other thing, but that's not relevant.

      "Legislation is law. Yes or no?"

      Yes, legislation is law, law isn't necessarily legislation though.

      Again, What should Hayek have titled his book?

      Delete
    84. No, no dodging. You asked about 'governance'. Governance is a much broader term than 'government'. Asking whether there are 'other forms of governance' is changing the subject from the specific issue of government.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governance

      You then asked me whether there are institutions such as the church or family which 'govern'. And I told you that these institutions are all subject to the laws of governments in the territories in which they operate, which is a fact.

      "The difference? God only knows how many there are, here's another easy one. No one could be born a serf or villein (if be one at all)."

      Why not?

      Delete
    85. "What exactly was the conflict over? Property! It obviously comes first."

      The fact that things exist and that people fight over them does not mean that 'property is the ultimate foundation of the law'. If it did, you could just rephrase you sentence to say 'land is the foundation of the law', or 'food is the foundation of the law', or 'water is the foundation of the law', or 'cattle is the foundation of the law'. None of which would make sense.

      Say you are inhabiting a piece of land, and I come along with my tribe and kill you, then pronounce myself to be the ruler of the land. I then set down a whole set of rules for the land - what people can and can't do on it. Then I declare that certain parts of the land are a thing called 'private property' which people can buy from me. I determine the rules governing this 'private property', including the fact that I retain ultimate legal authority over it.

      It's obvious here that property is not 'the foundation of the law'. Rather it is my law which determines what property is.

      Delete
    86. What exactly was the conflict over? Property! It obviously comes first.

      Well, no that isn't obvious. But perhaps my problem is with the way you phrase this.
      Yes, a fight's winner sets who gets what. But what of it? Of what relevance is this? That two countries fight a war over oil says nothing about what the law ought to be.

      Yes, Samson it *may* be over many other thing, but that's not relevant.

      On the contrary, it is very relevant. Conflict has been over many things and this falsifies the reason you cite for making property so central. Does this mean property is irrelevant? No, but it means it's not particularly interesting. (I've never found the Founding Father's writings (or anyone's writings) on property to be of much significance.)

      "Legislation is law? Yes or no?"

      Yes, legislation is law, law isn't necessarily legislation though.

      Again, What should Hayek have titled his book?


      Hayek himself may not have been correct which is what is being disputed.

      Delete
    87. "No, no dodging. You asked about 'governance'. Governance is a much broader term than 'government'. Asking whether there are 'other forms of governance' is changing the subject from the specific issue of government."

      Yet you answered neither and I even though I disagree with that assessment, I took the time to avoid the contested word simply so we could establish where you stand. Can't really communicate if you keep yourself in the dark. Can you state, for the record, whether there are forms of governance other than the state?

      "You then asked me whether there are institutions such as the church or family which 'govern'. And I told you that these institutions are all subject to the laws of governments in the territories in which they operate, which is a fact."

      Yes, *today* it's true, but has that always been so? Were bands a state?

      "Why not?"

      Yikes! Read up on libertarianism. Generically, you're born without positive obligations.

      "If it did, you could just rephrase you sentence to say 'land is the foundation of the law', or 'food is the foundation of the law', or 'water is the foundation of the law', or 'cattle is the foundation of the law'. None of which would make sense."

      You could indeed, those things are all happen to be property so my phrase is correct, sensible (and succinct!)

      Samson,

      "Yes, a fight's winner sets who gets what. But what of it? Of what relevance is this? That two countries fight a war over oil says nothing about what the law ought to be"

      Agreed. I never stated what I think it ought to be, just what it happens to be.

      "On the contrary, it is very relevant. Conflict has been over many things and this falsifies the reason you cite for making property so central. Does this mean property is irrelevant? No, but it means it's not particularly interesting. (I've never found the Founding Father's writings (or anyone's writings) on property to be of much significance.)

      Squabbles over property is where it began, otherwise we'd still be in the position of animals.

      "Hayek himself may not have been correct which is what is being disputed."

      I'm not arguing that he, or libertarians are correct at all. Sheesh, I thought the inclusion of air quotes and the preface would have made that clear.

      Are you at the Sound and the Fury levels of confusion here? Is there a way to write text in different colors or something here? Maybe that would help keep everyone on point.

      Delete
    88. "Read up on libertarianism. Generically, you're born without positive obligations."

      Yikes! If 'landowners' have complete dominion over their land and make the laws on their land, why couldn't they potentially decide to have serfs, or slaves even?
      You say 'people aren't born with positive obligations', but who is there to enforce this rule?

      All you're really saying is that you think people shouldn't be born with positive obligations. But you have provided no reason for why they wouldn't or couldn't be born with positive obligations in ancapistan.

      "my phrase is correct"

      No. Things in themselves are not 'property'. Land is just land, water is just water, cows are just cows, etc. When we declare something to be 'property' we are claiming that someone has the right to control something in a particular way. We are making a rule, or in a more formal case a law, usually backed up by the threat of some form of enforcement. By making such rules or laws regarding things in the world, we are creating 'property'.

      "are forms of governance other than the state?"

      'governance' can refer to all forms of decision-making and rule-making in different contexts, such as 'corporate governance' or 'family governance' for example. The term is different to 'government' which is what we were discussing.

      Delete
    89. "Yikes! If 'landowners' have complete dominion over their land and make the laws on their land, why couldn't they potentially decide to have serfs, or slaves even?"

      Nope. According to libertarians, people aren't born apart of the land. You aren't obliged to a land lord or even your parents unless you make an agreement. In stark contrast to feudalism, someone should argue the problem with libertarianism is that children risk being *kicked out of* their ancestral homes!

      "You say 'people aren't born with positive obligations', but who is there to enforce this rule?"

      Couldn't say, possibly no one... but that says nothing on what theory itself says.

      "All you're really saying is that you think people shouldn't be born with positive obligations. But you have provided no reason for why they wouldn't or couldn't be born with positive obligations in ancapistan."

      Indeed, I'm only speaking theoretically. That's also true of every political theory ever though. Checks and Balances *should* work, doesn't mean it necessarily will.

      "No. Things in themselves are not 'property'. Land is just land, water is just water, cows are just cows, etc. When we declare something to be 'property' we are claiming that someone has the right to control something in a particular way. We are making a rule, or in a more formal case a law, usually backed up by the threat of some form of enforcement. By making such rules or laws regarding things in the world, we are creating 'property'. "

      You and I will have to part ways then. As we simply disagree as to what constitutes "property". Land you use isn't "just land", the very act of using is what makes it property. (Robert LeFevre goes even further, that is everything even if it hasn't been used, like Mars is property.)

      "'governance' can refer to all forms of decision-making and rule-making in different contexts, such as 'corporate governance' or 'family governance' for example. The term is different to 'government' which is what we were discussing."

      Indeed it can, it's certainly a broader term, of coarse "government" is broader term than "state" too (which was the spark of all of this). I'd say that decision and rule making groups are all indeed "governments".

      Delete
    90. "You aren't obliged to a land lord or even your parents unless you make an agreement"

      If the landlord has complete dominion over the land and makes all the laws, he could just say that actually, you are obliged to him.

      There is no one to enforce these rules that you keep coming up with. You have provided no reason why these rules of yours would have to be abided by. Can Walter Block shoot trespassers on a whim? You might not think so, but who knows? Just ask Walter Block, and he'll tell you whether he has the right to shoot trespassers on a whim or not. That's ancapistan.

      "Couldn't say, possibly no one... but that says nothing on what theory itself says."

      It renders the theory utterly meaningless.

      You say: 'people can't do X in ancapistan". Reply: "why not, what's to stop them?'. You: 'possibly nothing... but that says nothing about the theory... because in theory people can't do X in ancapistan. So there's no problem!'

      "Land you use isn't "just land", the very act of using is what makes it property."

      Yikes! Using land does not make it property. Not in real life, not according to existing law, not in theory.

      There isn't some sort magical process which occurs when you use land which somehow turns it into 'property'. Land in itself is just land. We attach labels to it, such as 'property'. We make something 'property' by pointing at it and saying "that is my/your property" and backing up our claim with enforcement, not by using it.

      We might give a reason or justification for our claim by saying "I used that land", but that in itself does not 'make' the land property - it is simply a justification for claiming the land as property.

      This should be obvious. What you are actually doing here is making or proposing a rule. You are saying that "using land makes it your property". This is a rule. And you would back this rule up with force. It is actually this rule, and its enforcement, which would make land 'property', not the act of using land.

      "I'd say that decision and rule making groups are all indeed "governments"

      In the real world, things such as parents and corporate boards are subject to the laws created by the governments of the jurisdictions in which they live or operate.

      Whoever makes these laws in the imaginary world of ancapistan would be a de-facto government… the most obvious and likely candidates would be large corporations, 'private armies' etc. Any large organisation with power and the means to enforce their rules over a given area, basically.

      Delete
    91. "If the landlord has complete dominion over the land and makes all the laws, he could just say that actually, you are obliged to him."

      Sure, he can say "4 sides makes a triangle" too.

      "There is no one to enforce these rules that you keep coming up with. You have provided no reason why these rules of yours would have to be abided by. Can Walter Block shoot trespassers on a whim? You might not think so, but who knows? Just ask Walter Block, and he'll tell you whether he has the right to shoot trespassers on a whim or not. That's ancapistan."

      Simply by definition it isn't. Maybe ancapistan will end up like that, or never get off the ground at all. And therefore isn't an idea to be strived for but that simply is a different matter. If you'd like to discuss that just say so.

      "It renders the theory utterly meaningless."

      You have an odd view of theories then, no worries.

      "Yikes! Using land does not make it property. Not in real life, not according to existing law, not in theory. "

      Nonsense. Yes in real life, maybe in some famous theory, not sure there.

      "There isn't some sort magical process which occurs when you use land which somehow turns it into 'property'. Land in itself is just land. We attach labels to it, such as 'property'. We make something 'property' by pointing at it and saying "that is my/your property" and backing up our claim with enforcement, not by using it. "

      Magic? It's just a naming convention, calm down. Instead of saying "land in use" shorten it to "property". Easy.

      "This should be obvious. What you are actually doing here is making or proposing a rule. You are saying that "using land makes it your property". This is a rule. And you would back this rule up with force. It is actually this rule, and its enforcement, which would make land 'property', not the act of using land."

      A rule of names, sure. Just like giving birth to a fetus makes it your "child". I wouldn't back the rule up with force, call it "land-in-use" and "former womb occupier" if you prefer. It's still the same thing no matter what you call it.

      "In the real world, things such as parents and corporate boards are subject to the laws created by the governments of the jurisdictions in which they live or operate."

      How old is the real world to you?

      "Whoever makes these laws in the imaginary world of ancapistan would be a de-facto government… the most obvious and likely candidates would be large corporations, 'private armies' etc. Any large organisation with power and the means to enforce their rules over a given area, basically."

      Sure, I don't even necessarily disagree with you. You just aren't saying anything new here, friend.

      Delete
    92. "he can say "4 sides makes a triangle" too"

      Yikes! What a silly comment. You say "people can't do X in ancapistan" but in fact you provide absolutely no reason why they can't do X.

      "Simply by definition it isn't"

      Yikes! Your definitions are BS. I don't really care about how the cranks who write this 'anarcho-capitalist' BS 'define' themselves. I am telling you what their arguments imply.

      "Yes in real life"

      No, in real life, using something does not make it your property. This is a statement of fact.

      "Instead of saying "land in use" shorten it to "property"

      No, because they are not the same thing. Your whole argument, indeed your whole ideology, is apparently based on arbitrarily re-defining the meaning of words.

      "How old is the real world to you?"

      Not relevant.

      "A rule of names"

      No, just a rule.

      I'm not your friend.

      Delete
    93. "Sure, he can say "4 sides makes a triangle" too."

      Yikes! You say that people can't do X in ancapistan, but you provide no reason for why they can't actually do X.

      "Simply by definition it isn't."

      Yikes! It doesn't matter how ancaps 'define' their ideology, what matters is what their arguments actually imply.

      "You have an odd view of theories then"

      No, it is obvious that if I say "in cloud cuckoo land no one will be able to do bad thing X" but provide absolutely no reason why they won't be able to do X, then what I am saying is meaningless.

      "Yes in real life"

      No, in real life using something does not make it your property. This is a statement of fact.

      "Instead of saying "land in use" shorten it to "property"."

      No, the two things are different. "land in use " is not the same thing as "property". Your whole argument, indeed your whole ideology, apparently depends on arbitrarily redefining the meaning of words to mean whatever you want.

      "A rule of names"

      No, just a rule.

      "I wouldn't back the rule up with force"

      whatever. In anarcho-capitalism, property claims and rules are backed up by force, i.e. they are enforced.

      "How old is the real world to you?"

      Not relevant.

      "You just aren't saying anything new here"

      As is often the case, you aren't really saying anything here, just trying to sound clever.

      Delete
  3. Nah. I think I've got a tricky way to get out of this.

    Anarcho-capitalist: Why is your car on my land? Move it off.
    Me: Why is your land underneath my car? You move can move your land.

    Hey, I've never heard them say which property rights take precedent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your land was in the way of my rocket.

      Delete
    2. "Hey, I've never heard them say which property rights take precedent."

      Really?? Then you need to read more friend.

      It's first use, pretty well established, and repeated almost ad-nauseam is some cases.

      Put simply: If I started growing wheat first, you can't drive over it. If I started driving first you can't plant what in my road.

      Delete
    3. K.P., I'm being silly on purpose with the precedence thing. I'm using my admittedly cranky example to show that property rights reductionism doesn't pan out.

      Delete
    4. Oops, my apologies then, carry on with your silliness.

      Delete
  4. This is the biggest problem with ancap and related ideas. Once you say there is no hierarchy of rights, that they are all fungible, then persons qua persons have no value beyond what a headlamp or neck-tie has.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So ancapistan requires the permission of at least on property owner. That's pretty good compared to the alternative. In a democracy, you could have permission from 49% of the population and you'd still be out of luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What the hell are u talking about, KPres? In most liberal democracies, everyone has a right to live somewhere, whatever vote percentage they can get. And what the hell do you even mean by saying they would have 49% vote? Vote for what, exactly?

      Delete
    2. The substance of your objection is unclear.

      Delete
  6. The lengths to which anarcho-capitalists go to try and establish this are quite stunning. I've seen one try to paint the right to a fair trial as a property right by, get this, noting that a trial is necessary for taking property. I called him out on his desperation. He also tried to claim voting is a property right by claiming it's a stake in one's government. Libertarianism is just one equivocation fallacy after another.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bob Murphy, describing ancapistan:

    "so we see that those without insurance would have their options, including their freedom of movement, greatly restricted."

    'Chaos Theory', p.21

    ReplyDelete
  8. I suspect Murray wrote it to find some way to counter "human rights over property rights". I think it dates back to Ayn Rand, though. Do you still find his argument convincing or does it still stick with you?

    ReplyDelete
  9. "everyone owns his own body, and so has the right to not have his body interfered with".

    If any ancaps say this then they are lying.

    Like any rules, ancap rules are backed up by the threat of force. Don't do that or I will use force against you. Do this or I will use force against you, etc.

    Using force against people's bodies means interfering with their bodies.

    If Mr Block shoots someone in the head because they stepped on a piece of grass that he says is his property, Mr Block is interfering with that person's body.

    So people do not have the right to not have their bodies be interfered with, in ancapistan.

    Obviously.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just wondering if you decided not to publish my comments, or if they got lost I the ether somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "This term in its particular application means 'that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.'

    In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.

    In the former sense, a man's land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.

    In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.

    He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.

    He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.

    He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.

    In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights." — James Madison, Property (Link)

    ReplyDelete
  12. As always, Gene, I remind you that the Internet does not convey tone of voice, body language, etc., so please don't interpret this as an attack. I am trying to get you to be a little more merciful in your future posts on an-cap / libertarian theory.

    In the OP, you said that libertarians insist that they have the right to freedom of movement. I asked you to name one of them, and you haven't done so yet. But "Mr." above has quoted me explicitly denying that libertarianism entails this. So the central point of your post--that libertarians don't even realize they are contradicting themselves--is pretty dubious so far. I can't control what some random guy says on Facebook, granted, but I would be surprised if you found a respected libertarian theorist saying what you claim.

    Later in your post, in the original version you claimed matter of factly that standard ancap doctrine "per, say, Rothbard or Block" said that landowners could be blockaded.

    This struck me as ironic, since *the one libertarian on Earth who has done more to attack this idea* is Walter Block. When he does his standard roads lecture at Mises U, for example, he hits this point as a matter of course.

    Now maybe Block is grasping at straws, but it would be as if knoxharrington casually wrote, "Standard Christian doctrine, per say Paul, claims that Christians are bound by the Mosaic Law." I hope that if I challenged him on that, and then knoxharrington came back and said, "Now you guys are changing definitions--is it a Law or not? Man what a fatuous argument." that you would agree he was being somewhat obnoxious.

    Finally, Murray Rothbard himself, in *For a New Liberty*--hardly an obscure work in the libertarian oeuvre--wrote this:

    The answer is that everyone, in purchasing homes or street service in a libertarian society, would make sure that the purchase orlease contract provides full access for whatever term of years is specified. With this sort of “easement” provided in advance bycontract, no such sudden blockade would be allowed, since it would be an invasion of the property right of the landowner. [For a New Liberty, p. 205]

    So I hope you can at least entertain the notion that when libertarians get frustrated with your posts like this, it's not merely because you've devastated us and we have no response. No, it's more like how I would be frustrated if knoxharrington made claims against Christianity as I described in my analogy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob, your Rothbard quote does not address any of the problems raised by Gene in his post.

      In Gene's example Jeb's surrounding neighbours want him gone. They will not want to provide a contract for full access to him.

      Delete
    2. The answer is that everyone, in purchasing homes or street service in a libertarian society, would make sure that the purchase or lease contract provides full access for whatever term of years is specified. With this sort of “easement” provided in advance by contract, no such sudden blockade would be allowed, since it would be an invasion of the property right of the landowner.

      What the? Rothbard's mangling contracts and easements badly in this passage. Easements are not contractual. And a blockade is certainly not classifiable as a property rights violation. It's a bit hard for me to entertain this idea of "free market roads" because it seems nonsensical to paint them as a good or a service. Does that mean I think private roads can't exist? No, but I think such a view requires one to see a market where a mess is.

      Delete
    3. More hand-waving from Rothbard!

      Delete
    4. I love how he predicts what everyone would do. Did he have a crystal ball or something? And why is he calling contractual terms "easements"? Where the hell did he get his ideas on law from? Did he ever familiarize himself with actual law at any point in his life?

      Delete
  13. Email exchange with Block.

    KP: Assuming we start in the modern world, not the quasi libertarian one, I own plot of land "A", you own bagel "B" all of the roads within and you happen to hate my guts. Do I still maintain prescriptive rights (an easement) to get to and from "C"? (assume I don't have a helicopter)"

    WB: if you ("you") were stupid enough to buy land A, knowing that I (B) hated you, you deserve what you get. hey, how did you get into A in the first place, if I own B?

    KP: I owned (A) first. You purchased (B) (as well as all roads) at a later date(s) and encircled me.

    WB: you idiot (I hope you realize I'm just kidding about this.) you purchased A, first, without being clear that whoever owned B would let you out?

    KP: Yes. This was before the ancap revolution you see. I had been using common streets so the idea of clearing it with B fist was never an issue.

    WB: oh, well, during the transition period, we'll make sure that this entrapment doesn't occur.

    KP: Here's a quote by Hoppe on a similar situation:

    "How is it possible that formerly unowned common streets can be privatized without thereby generating conflict with others? The short answer is that this can be done provided only that the appropriation of the street does not infringe on the previously established rights — the easements — of private-property owners to use such streets "for free." Everyone must remain free to walk the street from house to house, through the woods, and onto the lake, just as before. Everyone retains a right-of-way, and hence no one can claim to be made worse off by the privatization of the street."

    Does that sound more or less correct?

    WB: yes, I agree with Hans. where does he say this?

    KP: http://libertarianpapers.org/wp-content/uploads/article/2011/lp-3-1.pdf

    KP: Can I have your permission to reproduce this correspondence?

    WB: yes

    WB: but please make it clear that I'm not calling you an idiot. I certainly didn't mean to do so. I regard you as a very bright and committed libertarian. just add this to our correspondence.

    I'll forward the entire exchange to anyone interested.

    It looks clear that according by Block's Law (via Hoppe), Jep cannot be imprisoned in the scenario presented (purely from a rights perspective). Block might have blinders to Rothbard's logic here, but he does forbid imprisoning Jep.

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    1. Well, That is interesting. But it is clear from his remarks that if you bought some property did not take care to make sure you had an easement, a blockade would be permissible.

      The other interesting point is that this makes "privatizing" the roads very problematical. Let us take the state highway my house is on: literally every person in the world (who can gain entry to the US) can use the road for free. Who is supposed to be paying for the road maintenance?

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    2. Also, in the comments, you said you were not a libertarian. But block regards to as a "committed libertarian." Have you been deceiving him?

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    3. "Block does forbid imprisoning Jep"

      I guess Block will be king of ancapistan, huh. So he'll make everyone follow his rules.

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    4. "Well, That is interesting. But it is clear from his remarks that if you bought some property did not take care to make sure you had an easement, a blockade would be permissible."

      Yes, absolutely. The "idiot" who moves to ancapistan and buys land without strings attached doesn't have the right to an easement.

      "Also, in the comments, you said you were not a libertarian. But block regards to as a "committed libertarian." Have you been deceiving him?"

      No, not intentionally at least. Years ago, back at UofR I got into it with Dr. Block after a lecture he gave, pushing my usual egoist clap-trap, and it was frightening! I'm glad he's forgotten me since.

      "I guess Block will be king of ancapistan, huh. So he'll make everyone follow his rules."

      If we're lucky.

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    5. WB: if you ("you") were stupid enough to buy land A, knowing that I (B) hated you, you deserve what you get. hey, how did you get into A in the first place, if I own B?

      And libertarians wonder why others see them as jerks.

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  14. Gene, do you still hold the belief that "property rights protect all rights" or any residue of it?

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