Property [was Re: The Education Function]
Fri, 11 Dec 1998 09:33:42 -0700

On Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:34:47 -0000, "Samael" <> wrote:

>There are three quotes that I find very useful:

>1) Property is freedom.
>Capitalist view - Having property means you can support yourself.

So far so good.

>2) Property is theft.
>Communist view - owning anything means you are stealing from everyone - as
>in a natural state nothing is owned by anyone.

I assume this absurd contradiction is not your position. (Of course, it's true that resources are not initially owned by anyone, so it's utter nonsense to speak of "stealing" them "from everyone" or anyone. It's hard to believe anyone ever bought into this Proudhonian bilge.)

>3) Property is impossible.
>Scientific view: 'Property' is just a term applied to objects that you do
>not wish anyone else to take away from you. It doesn't have an intinsic

What on earth is "scientific" about this vapid statement?

No word has "intrinsic" meaning; each user of a word assigns it a meaning - "words don't have meanings, people do". You can give a word any meaning you like, but if you expect to be understood you need to take account of the way other people typically use it. Here you're using the word "property" in an odd and apparently arbitrary sense, but at least you've made your definition explicit. I suggest that in the interest of clear communication you choose another word for the idea you're referring to above. It's simply not what the rest of the world means by "property".

I think most people understand the idea of property as involving the right to exclusive control over the use or disposition of an item, acquired either by extracting an unowned resource or by legitimate (i.e. uncoerced) transfer from someone who previously owned it. It's not just a desire to keep someone from taking something.

What exactly is your objection to property as usually defined?