Private Property and Capitalism

David Musick (
Tue, 15 Oct 96 21:16:36 UT

I think I'm starting to understand what Suresh Naidu is saying about private
property. He is maintaining the position that owning private property is a
form of coercion since the ownership is maintained by force. He also has
indicated that if one person uses force against another, then the victim or
their protectors are justified in using force to stop the attacker. Now, what
I don't understand is why it isn't blatently obvious to Suresh that private
property is only maintained by force *when others try to forcefully take it
from the rightful owner*. If no one tried to steal the property that I have
earned, I wouldn't have to defend it by force, but when people like Suresh
come along who think they have some sort of right to what I have earned by my
own work, they are the ones being coercive; I would only be defending myself
when I maintain my property rights. Owning private property is not a form of
coercion, any more than living is. To maintain my life from those who would
take it, I must use force, so according to Suresh's logic, living is a
coercive act, and no one must be allowed to live, for EXACTLY the same reasons
he says no one should be allowed to own private property.

In Suresh's world, no one would be allowed to own private property, because
that would be a form of coercion, and if someone was committing that sort of
coercive action, Suresh and his brute squad would be justified in using
retalitory force to take the property away from those who would hoard it. So,
if I was living in Suresh's world, I could spend my day out in the fields,
taking care of my crops and gathering some food to bring home to my family.
As I'm walking home, some people see the load of food I'm carrying and they
tell me to share it with them. I would refuse, and the people would cry out
to Suresh and his brute squad and report that I was hoarding, that I was
trying to own private property, which is a coercive act, according to Suresh.
The food I had worked all day gathering would be taken from me and distributed
to the lazy beggars and my family would starve. In Suresh's world, gathering
food for one's family is a crime, while taking food from others is not. Why
the horrible immorality of Suresh's ideas aren't blatently obvious, is beyond
my understanding. But then, people often will defend their pet ideas beyond
the point of reason. "It seemed like such a good idea, surely it would work!"

But Suresh's logic is very flawed. He is the coercive one. He wants to steal
from people what they have earned through their own labor. Owning private
property is not coercive, but taking it from people is. And this is exactly
what Suresh is proposing.

- David Musick