So what of the case where my mentally instable child seems suicidal and I take away his/her gun and switchblade? Technically, I just reduced the number of choices. This question brings the subjectivity of choice and action into question. Maybe alcohol makes one person an addict incapable of function but it makes another person relaxed and free. The trouble is that the individual ultimately controls which one they will become (though it may not feel that way). Maybe my instable child was about to carve a sculpture with that switchblade and start the journey of being a sculptor.
I disagree that *any* poor people are powerless because they are poor. Human beings are incredibly resourceful - there are even homeless people who choose that lifestyle because they like travelling all their lives with no attachment. Others would kill themselves if they became homeless. We don't worry about the ability of birds to feed themselves, and yet humans are so much smarter, stronger and resourceful. The street smart can and often do go to pizzerias and bakeries at closing time to get free food. Religious organizations suffer in order to help the poor. People are generally very altruistic if approached peacefully and humbly.
In my example, the person has their finger over the button of a device you know to be capable of killing millions. Will they push it? We don't know for certain, but chances are, if they went to the trouble to obtain and emplace the device, they intend to use it.
Sure, but why kill them? Killing one person isn't moral just because they might have killed many other people. I want to stress that the action you describe is something that should probably be considered legal or at least unpunished, but it is not moral and is definitely a violation of someone's rights.
I believe the French would have been justified in preemptively attacking the Nazis after the invasion of Poland, for instance.
This is an interesting situation. Millions of people just had their rights terribly violated, and were looking for help. No one came. It would have been totally justifiable as well as moral for all people to go and fight back the Nazis. It would be unjustifiable to create a draft, and force all those people to go fight the Nazis.
In the case of someone holding a gun to your head and saying "suck my dick" -- that is definitely coercion and totally unjustifiable. This is really quite different from offering a poor person a shitty job.
Do you or do you not believe in absolute property rights? You claimed you didn't before, but here you seem to. Does your right to control the fruits of your labor extend to physically harming those who would take them from you?
Yes, I believe in absolute property rights. Absolute property rights do not trump other people's rights. Therefore, I can't justifiably hurt you just because you're on my property. If I do hurt you, I have committed a sort of crime and should be dealt with according to the particular situation and damage done. If you take something of mine, I can take it back or try to stop you even if it involves subduing you.
If I kill someone because they stole my strawberry, I should be punished according to the murder I committed. If someone is trying to kill me and I kill them instead, I should not be punished. Property rights are derived from self-ownership but are not equal to it. My property is not me, and the punishment should always fit the crime.
In the case of my neighbor's farm burning down and giving them just enough food to get by -- I'm a total asshole but I'm not unjustified in my actions. No one is forcing them to stay there -- it's farmland territory so they can scavenge anyway. Hell, they own their property so they should just start rebuilding it -- certainly they should ask for help but not force people to do it.
As for ownership, homesteading is an important concept in property rights. If no one claims ownership of some land, and you're using it -- congratulations! you now own it. This continues until it is abandoned. I tend to reject the theory that when you mix your labor with land or resources you own it -- how much labor? how much land?
Taking a natural resource as your own necessarily means that no one else can use it. It removes that choice from everyone else on the planet, whether they support your idea of property rights or not.
This is a very common fallacy, which also happens to be a key misunderstanding of Marx's about the factors of production. Prices exist as a result of conflict over resources. All prices exist as a resolution to conflict -- this is what a price is. When you sell a resource, you are making it available to others.
Further, it may be said that all property was initially some form of theft -- of depriving others of some resource. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with this (especially given that this is a reference to an ancient time, where man was not as aware as he is now), and there is no argument that justifies violence or re-appropriation of those resources. If those resources are wanted that badly, there should be a mutually agreed upon trade for those resources. Whether it involves capital or not is irrelevant.
I simply reject the notion of people as property. I don't think the concept of property applies to people. I believe that using it in that context is simply an underhanded way of advancing the idea of property as a fundamental right.
The trouble is that people exist, and have bodies. Who owns your body? You or Society? Ownership of the body is identical to possession of the body and related to identification with that body and all of its experiences and memories -- you are the one moving around and doing stuff. What happens if you punch someone in the face? If no one owns the fist or the face, who bears responsibility for the action? If no one felt it, why does it matter? I identify myself with my totally neutral awareness. My body and all of my likes and dislikes are together on their own level. Thus, I am a point of awareness that may or may not exist, but I take complete responsibility for whatever my body may do simply because that is IMO the nature of life, and the nature of living.
Taken to the logical end point, the idea of private ownership of natural resources necessarily leads to a world where all natural resources are owned by a small subset of individuals, and everyone else is dependent on those individuals for survival. I find that outcome unacceptable. Either some limits must be placed on ownership of natural resources, to ensure that everyone has access to a means of survival not controlled by another person, or we must collectively and democratically manage natural resources together.
There's no reason to think that a small subset of individuals would own everything, heck -- how is this any different from government? I will maintain that government is always a small collection of individuals telling everyone else what to do.
As an individual, you really have no input into what the government officials will say or do. When I argue against government -- I'm actually arguing for the decentralization and localization of government. Collective care is a central social role. It's something people naturally care about and engage in. When politics is decentralized to the point that it's more about local views and customs, people are making more informed decisions because they consider the repercussions as they apply to themselves and their neighbors.