Foucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and Harm

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(Starts on page 11.) Law Professor James Boyle points out that libertarianism fails to justify which rights we should have in three ways: common law, natural rights and Property. "When the vague first principles turn more specific, then the fun really begins."

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We cannot simply say “Well, individuals have a right to do anything that does not harm another” because that answer simply dissolves into another value-laden debate about what counts as “a harm” in the first place.
James Boyle, "Foucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and HarmFoucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and Harm" pg. 16.
The more sophisticated libertarian philosophers -- Robert Nozick for example -- tend to build their libertarianism on extremely vague statements that command a high degree of acceptance in our society: for example, “individuals own their own bodies.” Now it is worth noting that, while this is a pretty uncontroversial claim in any Western democracy [...] Large numbers of people through history have believed, and still believe, that women, children, black people, kulaks, slaves and so on did not own their own bodies.
James Boyle, "Foucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and HarmFoucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and Harm" pg. 21.
Odes of praise to the common law, and mistrust of legislative modifications of it, allow libertarians to say that the true benchmark of rights is provided by the older rules, not the newer ones. Judged against this standard, of course, the rules that benefit employers, landlords and manufacturers simply define liberty and property rights whereas the rules that benefit workers, tenants and consumers are interferences with liberty. The rules one likes are the foundations of sacred property rights, those one does not like are meddlesome regulation. This is a nice trick...
James Boyle, "Foucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and HarmFoucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and Harm" pg. 19.