Monday, August 04, 2008

More on libertarianism

Obnoxio the Clown has written the second of his On Libertarianism posts and deals with drugs and guns, amongst other things.

When I referred people to his first installment, I copied across the P.J. O'Rourke quote used on the original post.
There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

Whereupon a slightly horrified Anonymous commented thusly.
Thus it is perfectly acceptable that I kill you, take over you farm and carry on prior business as if nothing changed.

Someone else can do the same to me.

If a 'group bands together' and does the same, then what happens to the property?

I replied at some length, not least because I thought that it may be a wind-up (it wasn't), but here is what I actually should have said.

Libertarianism is built on the concept that you own your life, liberty and (justly acquired) property.

Therefore property rights are absolutely central to libertarianism; for, if there are no property rights, then you cannot own said life, liberty or property.

There are a number of people who have argued that you cannot, in fact, have a free society without property rights, for if someone can simply remove your property, then you are not free to do with it as you choose.

A libertarian society actually only requires one, single law: "you may not initiate force or fraud against any person's life, liberty or property." The initiate is important, for you may use force to defend said property.

That should be the quintessence of all criminal law and it is, in truth, the only one that is needed. Our current laws quite clearly go beyond that: our current laws would, for instance, make me a criminal for taking drugs whilst harming no one else.

For those of you who have not seen it, the animation laying out the Philosophy of Liberty [requires Flash] can be found at the International Society for Individual Liberty, and I have also transcribed it.

2 comments:

anthonynorth said...

I like that single law but I think there's a few omissions. Between 'initiate' and 'force' I'd place 'non-consensual'. As I see it, without this you outlaw boxing and other consensual activities.
Also there is a gap concerning public property. After 'property' I'd include '(including state)'.
You also need, I think, a statement regarding the difference in accountability for, and crimes against, minors.

Mike said...

omg you take drugs? you naughty person! obviously nothing you have to say has merit.

(just kidding)