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Commentaryism - Again? Sorry!

I was childish and posted again on that Matt Bruenig comment thread. I couldn't help myself. This time I only posted it today, so expect me to be eviscerated by some semi-decent arguments in future. [1]

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Every time you post one of these blogs it quickly turns into crazy talk from propertarians who come and make the same circumlocutory arguments they always make! Anyway, I still like them. Here's what I'm reading in sum:

"danfromct" is trotting out his standards: "rivalrous goods" somehow equals "individualist propertarianism," "dibs," and, of course, a fallback to the very issue in question, "anything other than propertarianism is violence even though you just proved it isn't!!!"

dan, please:

1. The fact that some objects are only consumable by a single individual (and thus rivalrous) does not mean that all objects must become "property" devolving onto some single individual. The reason pjames is noting that property can be rented is because the fact of renting property proves that the object claimed as property can be shared. This means that it does not logically have to be the "property" of some individual - in other words, it does not logically follow from the claim "some things can only be used by one person" that "all things can only become the property of one person." You're just not making that case, even if you think you are.

2. It isn't self-evident that the first person to reach an object and possess it must become the owner in perpetuity of that object, at all. In fact, in order to enforce any ownership claim against some potential user who has attempted to use the object without any attempt to force it from the supposed owner, force must be enlisted - which was Matt's QED.

3. And in the end you default to "we need to claim property to live." If keeping people alive is the reason for an institution, it ain't absolute property rights - it's a social welfare system.

And "Dr." J, who was rightly reprimanded for being the douche he always is (presuming his superior logical discernment in the face of overwhelming counter-evidence and always defaulting to propertarianism even after his suppositions have been disproved), has once again played the part of the mole, despite all his whackings. Now it's the labor theory of possession? Need we point out that the good "doctor's" concept of labor is as empty as the concept of utility he's always decrying? Seriously, when you get to the point that clicking a mouse to transfer money to a blind trust counts as "labor," the moral weight of the term has lost all meaning. But I'm assuming at this point Mr. J will just default to "but libertarians are nonviolent!" even though it's already been shown that they're just as violent in favor of their preferred institutions as everyone else (seriously, guy: saying that the recent spate of police violence is somehow directed at property is beyond obviously wrong; and, equally seriously, people call you names because coming on the same threads day in, day out and posting the exact same bullshit no matter how thoroughly it's been refuted is irritating as hell).

Anyway, last thing, for Hildebrand: there are a million reasons not to rape someone besides "property in the body." Even if that were the only legitimate reason, it doesn't logically follow that property in one thing entitles you to property in a theoretically infinite number of other things.

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How do you want ownership to transfer between people? Violently or peacefully?

danfromct and Dr J are into peaceful transfer.

Granted they've become confused by deontological nonsense but their endpoint is clearly the sensible one because, QED, every civilisation that has ever arisen did so on the back of intensive agriculture, which in turn relied on private property.

Not to mention there are no attested examples of any civilisation ever advancing from an agrarian to an industrial condition without either private property and trade or a democidal central-planning state, and no examples of anything but private property and trade leading to a post-industrial/affluent condition.


Original appropriation is taking an item or a plot of land 'from' nobody and so is peaceful. To say it's taking the land from anyone is, at the time of appropriation, a bizarre metaphysical claim.

Trade and gift are obviously peaceful.

Theft ain't so much. If you deprive me of the use of something I acquired peacefully then I should be entitled to defend it BECAUSE I acquired it peacefully. This is called common sense. It leads to peaceful, safe outcomes.


"1. The fact that some objects are only consumable by a single individual (and thus rivalrous) does not mean that all objects must become "property" devolving onto some single individual."

No, but it is what makes sense if you want to live in peace with your neighbours, QED human history and the relationships you have with your neighbours IRL.

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[1] Matt Bruenig | Violence, Property, Theft, and Entitlement


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