Re: Private Property and Capitalism

Ian Goddard (
Sun, 27 Oct 1996 01:03:57 -0400

At 08:51 PM 10/26/96 +0100, Dr. Rich Artym wrote:

>> IAN: Perhaps the most scientific measure of
>> "ownership" is that X owns Y where X controls Y.

> 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."

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

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.

>> 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 the physical fact that the Earth experts
gravitational control over you, and thus, where control = ownership,
the Earth therefore owns you, is equivalent to "Polkadot The Meaningful" ??
Have I made some reference to features external to physical reality ?
There seems an equivalence of fantasy and physical reality in your
thinking, unless we're just talking past one another.

The distinction that seems to be missing in your counter is,

specifically, that we can verify that you can manipulate physical matter,
yet we cannot verify the existence of any "Polkadot the Meaningful."
Ergo, the former "ownership" criterion is consistent with physical fact,
while the latter, "Polkadot God," is inconsistent with physical fact.

> "Ownership" is meaningless except as an accommodation
> between people. If you were my slave then I would "own" your body
> despite the control you have over it. There really isn't any future in
> reasoned argument about intrinsic rights of ownership, because the whole
> area is founded on a figment without substance outside of human society.

IAN: I suggest that physical matter exists, and its manipulation
is the only logical measure of "control," and thus of "ownership,"
where " to control = to own. "

> Yes, it's a useful concept in society today, like God was for thousands
> of years. However, there is only partial intersection between the sets
> of what is useful and of what has substance in the universe.

IAN: Rights are imaginations. The manipulation of physical matter
by a volitional being is a physical measurement of a rights claim,
and rights are measurable to no degree in excess of this physical
criterion. That's what I refer to as "scientific" measure, but
perhaps more appropriately it should be defined as a "materialist"
criterion for the measurement of a rights claim.

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.

That's primary savagery: if X can tackle an kill Y, then X
owns Y. It is *then* that a theoretical system of ethics may
be conceived that will dictate what is the "just" enforcement
of rights claims. And some theoretical systems will produce
different outcomes than others, and we choose the best
system of ethics based its proven physical performance.
I choose those systems that maximize individual liberty.

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