Re: Private Property and Capitalism

Dr. Rich Artym (
Sun, 27 Oct 1996 10:34:27 GMT

In message <>, Ian Goddard writes:

> At 08:51 PM 10/26/96 +0100, Dr. Rich Artym wrote:
> > Hrmmph!!! Since when has the scientific method been able to say anything
> > about "ownership"? By all means let's discuss ownership, but please leave
> > science out of it. It's not within its scope.
> IAN: By "scientific" I imply tangible physical measurement,
> or "materialist," as in "the materialist measure of ownership
> versus the imaginary measure of ownership."

I know that that was what you meant, but when you used "scientific" so
inappropriately then you were just asking to be corrected. :-)

> To that effect: to manipulate physical matter is control
> physical matter, and to control it is to own it.

That's just handwaving, of course. Possibly quite reasonable handwaving,
but handwaving nevertheless, and lightyears from being indisputable, let
alone logically unassailable. In effect all that you are saying is that
"I define ownership as direct physical control." Fair enough, but you
shouldn't try to disguise such a personal view as a higher truth demanded
by logic.

> There may then be a theoretical system of "ethical" rules that
> govern the allocation of physical properties among various actors.
> It's that system that we agree is but a phantasm.

It sure is, along with everything else about ownership and property.
You're letting your Capitalist leanings colour your usually sound logic.
I happen to agree that the system you and I support is probably as good
as it gets in today's world, but that view can stand alone on its merits
without needing to be bolstered by a handwaving argument. Some phantasms
are useful; that doesn't make them real in any physical sense.

> >> The Earth owns us all, the galaxy
> >> owns the Earth, and the Universe the galaxy.
> >
> > No it doesn't. The great power-being Polkadot The Meaningful owns
> > everything. So there! :-)

> IAN: So your saying that ... [lots of good stuff snipped]

Don't you dare question the teachings of Polkadot! You will be
tormented for all eternity by her Magnificent Pulcritude, which
she has currently contracted out to the legions of devilbunnies,
and you don't want to mess with them. :-)

> There is no "right" greater than the right you claim, and
> your right is no more "real" than your ability to enforce it,
> no more "real" than your ability to manipulate physical matter.

Yes, I know, we agree completely on the principle and why it works.
We only differ in you wanting to justify it first by associating it
with science and second by trying to give it the backing of hard logic.
That's a flawed and unecessary approach. Just be pragmatic: property
works in today's world, and that's a good reason for standing by it.


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