Property Is Coercive
From Critiques Of Libertarianism
- Initiation of Force (4 links)
- Another deceptive libertarian shibboleth. All property and indeed all real rights are based on violence, coercion, initiation of force. Libertarians claim there is an invisible right to property which magically exempts property from being intrinsically violent. In other words, they deceptively hide the violence they like as a mystical, made-up "right".
- All Rights Are Coercive (6 links)
- All rights have correlative duties, and duties must be enforced by coercive means (either threat or actual force.) If I have a right, then everybody else has a duty to respect that right at some cost to themselves. Few will bear that cost for free unless they are coerced. When we are choosing which rights to create, we should create rights that have benefits greater than the costs of coerced duties.
- A Thought About Property Without The State [More...]
- "I’d like to use a thought experiment to show how a world of solely private property is little different from our current world and how private property contains many of the arbitrary coercion that libertarians so passionately denounce in states."
- Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State [More...]
- Property systems are coercive. Robert Hale points out in 1923: [T]he systems advocated by professed upholders of laissez-faire are in reality permeated with coercive restrictions of individual freedom and with restrictions, moreover, out of conformity with any formula of "equal opportunity" or of "preserving the equal rights of others." A difficult read.
- Confessions of a Recovering Ideologue, Part I [More...]
- Gene Callahan claims to be post-ideological, which frees him to recognize that property is just as coercive as government.
- Initial Appropriation: A Dialogue [More...]
- Matt Bruenig explains the coercion involved in "initial appropriation". Much easier to read than Proudhon. He also ridicules the "mixing of labor" idea as being symbolic, rather than an actual description of a physical process.
- Libertarian Fairy Tales: The Bundy Militia’s Revisionist History in Oregon [More...]
- "Western militia-types like to fantasize that they are oppressed by a “foreign” government. They like to play dress-up, to pretend that they are entrepreneurial family farmers who built it all themselves. But you can tell the story of Harney County as a morality tale about the evils of big government only if you leave most of it out. And so they do."
- Look at the Violence Inherent in the System! [More...]
- Libertarian Gene Callahan points out that private property is a social invention, which explains why some nations have "trespass" where others have "right to wander".
- Matt Bruenig: How the property is coercive violence move functions in the debate [More...]
- Because property is based on involuntary coercive violence, libertarians who would oppose taxation on those grounds would have to oppose property on the same grounds.
- Matt Bruenig: The other move on property [More...]
- If a libertarian admits property is based on involuntary coercive violence, they often seek to excuse it on the grounds that it is generally peaceful and we can live with it. But the same is true of taxation.
- Property And "No Property" [More...]
- "But with respect to many aspects of life, those with little property tend to experience, not their own exercise of their own rights, but others’ exercise of rights that affect them[...] [The homeless] experience of property is thus likely to be not the rights-asserting, power-enforcing side, but the side that imposes duties (for example, to stay out of private spaces into which she is not invited) and liabilities (for example, to civil or criminal penalties for trespass)."
- Rousseau’s Challenge to Libertarianism [More...]
- "What Rousseau brings into focus is that, at the most fundamental level, property rights are coercive and so trigger a requirement of justification to those who are putatively disadvantaged by the property system."
- Salvaging Non-Aggression for Egalitarianism [More...]
- "[...] we can say that we should only impose such institutions [property] if we do so in a way that essentially strikes a fair deal with those whose negative liberty we are destroying. This is, essentially, what Robert Nozick has in mind when he says that you can blow up people’s negative liberty so long as you do not worsen their welfare."
- The Libertarian Bizarro World [More...]
- "If you are a libertarian who believes justice requires the following of a certain liberty-respecting process, you have to explain how anything can come to be owned in the first place. That initial move is, by any coherent account, the most violent extinction of personal liberty that there ever can be."
- The Nozickian case for Rawls’ difference principle [More...]
- "There is a very strong Nozickian case to be made for Rawls’ difference principle. Because the reality of scarcity causes the use of resources to necessarily infringe upon the liberty of others, it makes sense to say (as Nozick does) that you should only be able to undertake such use if it does not worsen the position of others."
- Violence Vouchers: A Descriptive Account of Property [More...]
- When a state upholds a system of property, all it is doing is issuing to owners a set of vouchers for violence against those who ignore property. Trade is similarly based on property and violence. Rents also are based on violence, ruling out just deserts and just processes arguments.
- Violently Destroying Liberty Is Important For Flourishing, Libertarian Argues [More...]
- "Thus we can't ever actually be debating about whether we are for or against aggression or coercion. That's ridiculous. Folks on all sides of the debate are for using force that is consistent with their theory of what belongs to whom (called "defense") and against using force that is inconsistent with their theory of what belongs to whom (called "aggression")."
Far from denouncing coercion, libertarians celebrate it -- provided that it is deployed for the benefit of the possessors of property.
Rob Hunter, "A Philosophy for the Propertied"
Libertarianism’s veneer of rational detachment cannot conceal its reactionary results: an expanded sphere of private domination, facilitated by a contracting sphere of public authority and public oversight.
Rob Hunter, "A Philosophy for the Propertied"
How is property given? By restraining liberty; that is, by taking it away so far as is necessary for the purpose. How is your house made yours? By debarring every one else from the liberty of entering it without your leave.
Jeremy Bentham, "Anarchical Fallacies"
It will be implausible to view improving an object as giving full ownership to it, if the stock of unowned objects that might be improved is limited. For an object’s coming under one person's ownership changes the situation of all others. Whereas previous they were at liberty (in Hohfeld’s sense) to use the object, they now no longer are.
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and Utopia"
Contra Locke, property is not made by mixing labor: it is made by mixing coercion.
Mike Huben, "Interview With Mike Huben, Creator Of Critiques Of Libertarianism"
What is wanting in many libertarian political theories is the recognition that property rights are coercive and so stand in need of justification to others.
Kevin Vallier, "On the Problematic Political Authority of Property Rights: How Huemer Proves Too Much"
The relentless emphasis on property’s abstract positives distracts our attention from the less-appealing reality that many people may always and only be those “dutyholders” whose behavior is subject to systematic “constraints” in favor of the rights of others. Such persons can hardly be “self-directing” in the manner promised by these happy property stories... In the situation of “no property,” one’s abstract rights to speech and liberty, like one’s abstract right to hold property, do not provide much actual freedom in the real world.
Jane Baron, "Property And "No Property""
[W]e have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
George Orwell, "Review of Power: A New Social Analysis by Bertrand Russell"
Rousseau asks us to imagine someone who is not convinced of natural rights to property, at least as interpreted by the richer laborers in society. The responder has a rational complaint: who made you [the rich, the “haves"] judge of where your property rights begin and end? It’s a dangerous juridical power, one that can easily be used to keep people hungry and powerless. In light of the suffering of the property-less, why should they ever think that the claims of the rich and powerful are naturally legitimate?
Kevin Vallier, "Rousseau’s Challenge to Libertarianism"
That property violates the non-aggression principle is so obviously true that it is amusing anyone ever contends otherwise. The institution of property is the most statist, violent, aggressive, anti-libertarian, big government program in history. Through laws of one sort or another, people are violently restricted from nearly every single piece of the world around them. They do not consent to these restrictions, which are imposed from without, unilaterally and at the barrel of a gun. In the process, every shred of negative liberty and self-ownership is destroyed.
Matt Bruenig, "Salvaging Non-Aggression for Egalitarianism"
So the thing to look for when reading a libertarian theory of initial appropriation is how they choose to hilariously turn all of this on its head. All of a sudden, once someone unilaterally asserts ownership of something, moving about the world freely somehow gets recategorized as violating other people's liberty. Even worse, moving about the world freely is even recategorized as aggressively attacking someone!
Matt Bruenig, "The Libertarian Bizarro World"
The appeal of the NAP [Non-Aggression Principle] lies in its apparent simplicity and intuitive plausibility (tautologies tend to be intuitively plausible), but it’s typically deployed in a way that amounts to a kind of shell game: I argue that socialism must be rejected on the grounds that it violates this one simple moral principle, and hope my interlocutor doesn’t notice that I’ve essentially begged the question by baking a theory of strong property rights incompatible with socialism into my conception of “aggression,” when of course libertarian property rights are ultimately backed by the threat of (individual or state) violence as well.
Julian Sanchez, "The Non-Aggression Principle Can’t Be Salvaged -- and Isn’t Even a Principle"
The problem is that this homesteading action is outrageously un-libertarian. It involves a single actor unilaterally deciding to eliminate the previously existing access every other person had to some piece of the world, doing so without the consent of those dispossessed of their access, and through the use of violence (i.e. if you try to access the object they now claim to own, they physically push you off or worse).
Matt Bruenig, "The Nozickian case for Rawls’ difference principle"