Re: Why Libertarianism is not mistaken

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 14:38:53 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 5 Sep 1999, James Daugherty wrote:

> And yes, agression can only be defined in the context of valid property
> rights. However, possession is 9/10 of property law. Unless, you can get a
> consensus from your neighbors and/or private protection agencies that
> someone's holdings are illegitimate, their possessions will be accepted as
> legitimate property.
> Copyrights and patents are not libertarian and any minimal
> state violates violates libertarianism by definition.

You say we have property rights. I write a book, I sell you the book and in that process you agree not to resell copies of the book. You then violate that agreement. I say to all my friends, look he is violating my property rights. They all agree. How do you take back your property rights? Do you go "imprison" him? If you don't own a prison this is difficult. Do you go shoot him? That seems a tad extreme.

Repeat the same example where he steals my car and keeps it under lock and key so the only way I can get it back is to break into (and damage) his property, and perhaps myself in the process.

I don't want to risk life and limb because someone is making copies of my book or stealing my car. I do however want my property back. So I designate an agency (i.e. a police force and a court system) to do that.

If you look at the evolution of law enforcement in the wild wild west, it seems a perfect example of what happens if anarchy, capitalism, and libertarianism are given free reign. When the conditions get to the point where the bandits represent a significant threat to my property and life, communities designate agents (sheriffs, marshals, etc.) to fix the problem. Courts exist to prevent them from fixing the problem "arbitrarily" (as tended to be the case during earlier times in history). States evolve because you need an agency to deal with the problem of water and sewar systems to keep everyone, yourself included from getting cholera or dysentary. Those things don't come cheap, so you get taxes.

Libertarianism might work if you have 40 acres surrounded by a barbed wire electrified fence, a mine field between your hosue and the fence and you get to deliver your food to the end of your driveway. Oh yes, and don't forget, it isn't the American Express card you should 'never leave home without', its a tank.

Excuse me while I climb into my fire protection suit... Robert