This Post Needs a Title!

What is absolutely remarkable in this argument is that first, libertarians justify unrestricted private property rights by citing Lockean theories of homesteading and voluntary title transfer. But then, when you point out that pretty much no property in existence has such an unsullied past, they respond by essentially saying, "Well, now, that's hardly important, is it?"

They have missed their calling as sleight-of-hand artists!


  1. The passage of time launders all sorts of sins.

    This is why the classical liberals were so positively disposed towards property redistribution and so opposed to inheritance.

    I'm not sure that's the best solution on a practical level - particularly since we've emerged pretty decisively from feudalism. But it's certainly a more reasonable view of the nature of rights and property.

    Private property rights are highly functional and deserve protection and maintenance - but they deserve that because they're functional, no because there's some sort of pristine, axiomatic, angelic presence about them.

  2. I have a post title for you Gene:

    "I made it sound like I came up with an objection nobody had ever thought of before, and I still am pretending this is so despite eighteen people pointing out I'm wrong."

    It's not very catchy, I grant you.

  3. Let us agree to agree! I will go further, though: There is a genuine moral intuition behind the Lockean theories, in that there is a sense in which it is just that someone can keep what they have made by their own efforts. But the percentage of what we do that is attributable to our own efforts far less than 100%. We owe our very productive capacity to the society that reared us, and for that society to ask for, say, a percentage of our income in return is certainly not "theft"!

  4. Daniel, that shirt looks pretty liberal if you ask me.

  5. "I made it sound like I came up with an objection nobody had ever thought of before..."

    Bob, the first time I posted on this, did you notice MOST OF MY POST WAS A LONG QUOTE FROM ALASDAIR MACINTYRE?! (Yes, Bob, I'm shouting right now, because I pointed this out on the other thread when someone said my objection "wasn't original.") How in the frigging world can you imagine I thought I was being original IN QUOTING SOMEONE ELSE?!

    Now, the objection is not original, but it sure isn't answered by the hand-waving I got in the previous thread! Nor do you apparently have any idea how to answer it here: thus the "funny" title recommendation instead of an answer.

    And hey, it's Sunday: aren't you supposed to be off today? (Yeah, me too.)


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