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Matt Bruenig versus definitions...


Private property was a necessary precondition for the long-term adoption of farming. Matt Bruenig had a bee in his bonnet about libertarian entitlement theories, and I would sympathize if the attack was purely against the 'non-aggression axiom' crowd, but in practice it's an attack on private property rights per se, hence my previous post on the subject back in December 2015.

Matt's definition of the libertarian position on property rights makes a big omission and needs to be changed from;
Theft occurs when (1) you threaten or use force against someone (2) to exclude them from scarce material resources (3) without their consent.
... to;
Theft occurs when (1) you threaten or use force against someone (2) to exclude them from previously legitimately claimed scarce material resources (3) without their consent.

Those three words in bold are very important. Could 'legitimately' above be a synonym for peacefully? For consensually? At least for now I'll defer to others on the matter.

I have assumed 'use force' to simply mean 'take action' since theft can be undertaken without the owner's knowledge.

Matt chose a leaky definition, maybe because he wasn't aware of how the statement can be shored up a bit, as I have above, or maybe because he just wanted to strengthen his argument; I don't know which is the case, if either.

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