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The Matrix

Jeremiah Cornelius's Journal: Property is Moral Opposite of Liberty 10

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Think about that, while you make absolute positions...

"...Liberty, as defined in its truest negative sense, is freedom from external restraint. This, along with the principle of self-ownership, commands that nobody shall have the right to act on the body of another without their consent. But "property rights" as Gobry slyly calls them gives people precisely that right. For a right to property is not a right over a piece of the world, but rather a right to act on the bodies of others: to attack and externally restrain those bodies without consent.

In a world that respects liberty, people are free to do whatever they'd like, provided they do not act on the body of another (e.g. externally restrain it). This requires that people may walk about the world as they please, grabbing and utilizing any of its various pieces and resources as they go. No person may stop them from doing so because such stopping would impose an external restraint on their body, a destruction of their negative liberty.

Yet, this kind of liberty-destroying external restraint is precisely what property ownership is. In fact, it is the only thing that property is: a social relation of violent exclusion wherein the "owner" has claimed a right to attack other human beings if they try to act on a particular piece of the world. Claiming a "property right" does not change the piece of world that it is meant to attach to, nor the person claiming it. It merely advertises a terrifying threat: everyone else's pre-existing liberty to use this piece of the world is hereby extinguished at my violent hands whether they consent to have their liberty so destroyed or not."

http://mattbruenig.com/2014/07/23/does-nature-command-the-destruction-of-all-human-liberty/

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Property is Moral Opposite of Liberty

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  • There is nothing good or evil about stuff, insofar as it's there. Interposition between the individual and God is where the issues commence.
  • by rk (6314) on Thursday July 24, 2014 @11:41AM (#47523283) Journal

    If you assume two things as always true:

    1. A person owns their own self, and
    2. A person owns their labor and may use it as they see fit;

    Then things free for the taking become a person's property when they transform it with their labor.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      What exactly is "free for the taking"? Water? How much may I have? All of it? Half? Or only as much as I need? Do I get more if I want to take a bath, or bathe my dog, or add chemicals and pump it into the earth at high pressure to extract oil?

      There's a problem with seeing anything as "free for the taking". There's always a cost. Always a value. To me, to you, to everyone.

      Best to ask your neighbors, "Hey, there's water running under my land, you wanna see if we can put in a well and use it? If we

      • Bravo. Seeing things differently. Challenge your cognitive assumptions, and investigate as potentially useful, those things you might find obnoxious or untenable.

    • Which leads us to... oh dear, pretty much where we are right now. Because there's no such thing as "free for the taking"; everything costs something to someone, somewhere.

      The notion that at things can be taken from nature without any cost is (IMO) the central and fatal flaw underlying unbridled capitalism. See David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital.

      • by rk (6314)

        Love all the snark from both replies when I led off with "If".

        I honestly don't know why I bother saying anything anymore.

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