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This is an interview I did a few weeks ago with English libertarian Richard Storey. We discuss the nature of libertarianism, its roots in Western Rationalism and how to defend and promote it, property rights and scarcity, the significance of Hoppe’s argumentation ethics, praxeology, Misesian dualism, logical positivism, legal positivism,  and related matters. Related material: * What Libertarianism Is (mises.org/daily/3660) * Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide (mises.org/daily/5322/) * Logical and Legal Positivism (www.stephankinsella.com/2010/06/logic…l-positivism/)

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discussions

  • I’ve followed the Bundy Ranch situation closely on social media throughout the weekend. Though a virtual mainstream media black out exists (only Fox mentioned the situation), I’ve been overwhelmed by the disparate reactions the stand-off has inspired. Some “liberals” (authoritarians) on Twitter were actually angered that the Bureau of Land Management did not “open fire” on “squatter” Cliven Bundy and the several thousand “radicals” that “unlawfully assembled” which will inspire “domestic terrorists”.  Meanwhile, conservatives, constitutionalists and libertarians have been arguing for several days over the central question: are the Bundy’s right or wrong? What are your thoughts?

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  • Dominance, Sharing, and Privacy gives us a simplified (maybe oversimplified), and intuitive way to categorize human sociality. Instead of thinking of social structures as being diverse and too complicated to be categorized, these three categories allow us to classify behaviors that address conflict as one of three types or a combination of the three.  For example, might makes right is not really a property norm but it is a dominance strategy. The ethic that the world belongs to everyone is not an alternative property norm, it is the nullification of property in favor of a sharing norm.  The violent defense of a territory is not a might makes right or dominance behavior but is the defense of privacy. The reluctance to intrude on others prior establish territory is not just a fear of retaliation but a respect for privacy.   For moe read: Dominance, Sharing, and Privacy (DSP), The Three Principles of Sociality  

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  • If the state was abolished but private property was not then wouldn’t landlords effectively become the state? There are a lot of similarities between a landlord and a state.  They both hold territory that they can exclude people from.  A proprietor can tell their tenants what to do while they are on their property. Taxes are similar to rent.  Laws are like the rules of a rental contract.  A proprietor may defend their property with force.   So what is the difference?

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  • What is the origination of property rights? Where do they come from that you can reason their existence as natural? We usually argue for property rights at some point in our discussions as libertarians, but I’m curious as to where we can claim they’re from. Personally, I derive mine from God and my religious beliefs, similar to what Jefferson stated about God given rights. But what about someone who doesn’t believe in a deity? How can they derive property rights in a way that can’t be dismissed as ideals, but derived in nature? This is also (and arguably more so) important for arguing these natural rights to people who won’t accept a divine aspect. It’s important to have property rights, and they’re evidently beneficial, but the argument remains for declaring these as rights, otherwise the NAP is in jeopardy. How do we have a right to property?

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  • Can you tell me the declarative sentence that Hoppe claims is implicit in argumentation, the one that contradicts other ideas about property? Here is my best try: I have property in my body and I gain ownership of something that is unowned when I mix my labor with it. The statement implicit in criticisms of property would be: No one has property in their bodies and no one gains ownership of anything by mixing their labor with unowned stuff. I’ve tried to be fair to Hoppe but I don’t think this sentence works. If you think I’ve got it wrong, please suggest a better candidate sentence (not a phrase, not a hand wave, a declarative sentence). If mine stinks, give me a better one. Supporters of Hoppe should be able to either defend this sentence or give one that they can defend. I see a problem with unpacking “property” and “ownership” in a way that holds up all the weight Hoppe puts on this concept.

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