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View Diary: Getting It: Interstate Commerce & the New Deal (290 comments)

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  •  Natural rights (none)
    that's the only difference.  The libertarian says state power is justified only as necessary to protect the natural right to property.  Pull out that wedge and libertarianism slips into anarchism.

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    by yella dawg dem on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 02:54:50 PM PST

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    •  aoeu (none)
      Do you know how libertarians justify a "natural" right to property rights on land?

      no haikus now,
      join your local democratic party.
      There are fights in 2005 coming up.

      by TealVeal on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 03:05:37 PM PST

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      •  As a "Green Libertarian" (none)
        I argue for a "natural right" to property for bears.
      •  My ancestors took it (none)
        It was just sitting there. We took it.

        A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. - Emerson

        by freelunch on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 04:31:25 PM PST

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      •  You work it, you own it. (none)
        If it's previously unowned, that is.  The idea comes from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government:  what's primarily yours is your own activity, and because you own that activity, you also own all the economic value you produce.  This doesn't mean of course that we all have to be subsistence farmers.  Value can be created by different forms of activity.  Anyway, that's the only argument I can recall hearing for a natural right to private property.  

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        by yella dawg dem on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 06:25:32 PM PST

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        •  aoeu (none)
          At first glance this thought doesn't sit right with me.  Does one lose property rights if one stops working it?  Did the Indians have property rights on land?  They were working the land well before we showed up.  If so these were stolen from them as the Indians were driven off their lands and/or slaughtered.

          Thanks for the reply.

          no haikus now,
          join your local democratic party.
          There are fights in 2005 coming up.

          by TealVeal on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 06:33:38 PM PST

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          •  Yeah, there are problems. (none)
            It's impossible to trace the authority of current property holders back to some "state of nature."  Ultimately some sort of conquest gets in the way.  But the conqueror gets to make the property laws and to set up the courts that enforce them.

            I suppose a libertarian could decide to jettison the notion of natural rights, and I'm sure many people in the Libertarian party wouldn't defend natural rights, if pressed with arguments like this.  They'd be pragmatists about it, like the rest of us.  But the question then becomes how to justify the limitation of state authority to the protection of person and property.  If property rights are positive rights created by the government, rather than natural rights that the government is chartered to protect, then why should property rights have a special status that, say, welfare entitlements don't have?  And why can't property be taken away through taxation when the government decides some other goal is more important?

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            by yella dawg dem on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:15:27 AM PST

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            •  aoeu (none)
              If only we had more libertarians well versed in their ideology here..Thanks for your long reply, it's something I intend to ask my libertarian friend about next time I see him.

              no haikus now,
              join your local democratic party.
              There are fights in 2005 coming up.

              by TealVeal on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:37:08 AM PST

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    •  Libertarians (none)
      Okay, this is silly. "The libertarian says state power is justified only as necessary to protect the natural right to property."

      Libertarians object to power based on coercion. The libertarian objection to most of what "liberals" want is simply that it is obtained at the point of a gun. You don't freely choose to pay taxes and have them used for the things they are used for, you do it because you are coerced.

      Take "abstinance only sex education" for example. I don't want my money wasted on that worthless crap. Libertarians argue that that money is taken from me in taxes. I'm coerced into paying taxes because if I don't I go to jail and I go to jail, ultimately, because a police officer with a gun comes around and will shoot me if I try to escape.

      This is a legitimate argument. At what point does the government (or anyone else for that matter) have a right to force you to do things? If it's for the common protection (paying the army, paying the cops), a libertarian will go along. But just for social justice, no.

      The biggest flaw in the libertarian argument is that this is a modern world and it wasn't built on libertarian principles from the ground up. Since most people accept the modern world more or less as is, it would be very disruptive to remake it as a strictly libertarian society.

      The second biggest flaw is that might doesn't make right. There are inherent inequities in, for example, economic power. Ignoring them means some (in fact most) people are never given equal opportunity. That isn't the way the vast majority of people want to run society.

      As an ideal, libertarianism has a lot to recommend it. And it is not equivalent to anarchy. (I'll grant that it sometimes seems like anarchy when you talk to Libertarians, but that's another story.)

      Liberal Thinking

      Think, liberally.

      by Liberal Thinking on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:08:22 AM PST

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      •  I don't agree. (none)
        I'll grant you that my characterization of libertarianism was over-simplified -- it would have to be, given its length -- but it wasn't silly.  It's a very common libertarian position that the function of the state is to protect private property -- and personal safety, which I neglected to mention because everyone but the most extreme anarchist agrees on that -- and that any exercise of state power beyond that is illegitimate.

        You propose two different alternatives.  First, you say that libertarians "object to power based on coercion."  Surely libertarians don't object to all power based on coercion.  If they did, they would have to object to the criminal law, which is necessarily based on coercion.  We don't just ask people if they'd like to go to jail.  

        Second, you ask, "at what point does the government (or anyone else for that matter) have the right to force you to do things?"  The person who asks this question isn't objecting to all power based on coercion, but only to some of it.  The question is how to draw the line.  The classic libertarian position, held by many supporters of institutions like the Cato Institute, is that you draw the line at the protection of person and property.  Everything else is libertarian lite.  Not that there's anything wrong with that:  I have never found the arguments for pure libertarianism all that persuasive.  

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        by yella dawg dem on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 07:25:35 AM PST

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