Gov't NOT Coercion ?

Ian Goddard (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 15:25:59 -0400

I wrote:
> Free association is cooperation,
> central planning is coercion.

IAN: Like a broken record, I find myself spouting
libertarian doctrine even as I've seen the flaw in
the common application of libertarian moral theory:

If a landlord uses force to evict me, or even if
the contract says if I break his rules I go to a
cell in the basement, libertarian doctrine does
not see this as coercion, so long as I'm free
to leave his property.

The federal government is the landlord of the
property known as the United States. The rules
of the landlord must be followed or penalty
is effected. It is not coercion so long as
you are free to leave the U.S. property if
you have a problem with the contract.

As we can see, the U.S. property arrangement
is not different than the "private property,"
for we are free to leave the U.S., therefore
the application of U.S. law is not coercion.

You do not have to sign the contact to be
compelled to abide by it. When I walk into
a store, I still have to abide by their rules
even if I did not sign a contact. Entry =>
agreement with the terms of the property.
Thus to enter a preexisting claim is to
agree to the rules therein, or not, in
which case the landlord can use force
according to libertarian moral theory.

Also, if a child is born in an apartment
and its parents die sometime thereafter,
the landlord, in accord with libertarian
theory, has the right to evict the child,
to use force against the child, even as
the child did not sign any contract.

Libertarians seem to think that they have
an inherent right to property upon which a
preexisting claim has been placed: the U.S.

The only difference between the smalltime
landlord and Uncle Sam is that U.S. is big.
Yet there is no libertarian rule that places
a limit on the size of an area claimed. Yes,
force was used to wrongfully remove preexist-
ing claims of Native Americans, but none of
the guilty are alive today. If we say that
therefore the U.S. property is forfeit, so
too all land claims, for your dwelling pro-
bably stands on once Indian territory.

I think the importance of libertarianism
lies in the utility of private property,
such that people are more prosperous when
individuals are allowed maximum control of
areas that they purchase in exchange with
others. In short, if a landlord (Uncle Sam)
that owns a vast area wants his tenants to
prosper, he will allow them a very high
degree of liberty. He will allow them to
control parcels of land and trade them.

What makes the market work is the ease with
which customers can exit a given establishment.
What makes government not work is the difficulty
with which customers can exist the country. This
difficulty makes it a "landlords market," putting
the customers, or citizens, largely at the mercy
of those who are the de facto landlord. So it all
comes down to size. This places emphasis on the
need to expand beyond the Earth, beyond this
fixed and limited parcel of territory.

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