5.10, Hoppe and Justification Cont’d.

In 5.9 I presented a version of Hoppe’s profoundly intuitive and unassailable argument for private property rights. But it was limited to the private property right to the body. Today we extend that to other things outside the body.

Private property rights are the foundation of liberty. In 5.6-5.8 I showed how Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill and Isabel Paterson all argue for the importance of liberty for satisfaction (happiness), development of individuality and better-making beyond justice (charity). The psychologists (concerned with individual development), the welfarists (concerned with collective satisfaction) and the do-gooders (concerned with helping others) would take these writers seriously they would all be for liberty. Fundamental to liberty is private property.

Property rights are rights to the exclusive use of some means towards ends. One cannot act freely unless rights to the use of some means. Extended logically this end in right to exclusive use or private property rights.

An objection to 5.9 and Hoppe’s argument for the universally presupposed private property right in any action (like the action of objecting or otherwise arguing) is the following: so far Hoppe has only justified private property rights to the body. And, the objector might claim, we are happy to go that far. No slavery, rape, assault. BUT, the objector says with confidence, we do not extend the analysis to other means besides the body. Hoppe has not justified that.

Let us then respond by adding the private property rights to other means besides the body (as if there were some distinguishing characteristic relevant to the status of the body as means. There is a difference. I cannot be separated from my body (as far as anyone knows) and maintain existence down here. But status as separable is not relevant for status as private property.).

Let us assume, per impossible, that means other than the body are to be used to achieve ends. By what method are they to be distributed? There is no non-arbitrary method other than homesteading (rightful appropriation of unowned means). We will not here exposit the meaning of rightful appropriation except to say that it involves putting to use unowned means. How else are unowned means to be distributed?

The most immediate alternative is that unowned means are to be distributed by considerations relevant to late-comers (not first). How many? How far in the future are such late comers to be waited upon until by their arrival the distribution may be measured? There is no non-arbitrary answer. Nothing beyond first to put to use (homesteading) will work.

Let us think for a moment about the most popular of social justice theories just prior to the mob descending and claiming right to expropriate by violence for reasons of envy, greed, or desperation (are these reasons? No, they are conditions of soul). John Rawls argues or a justice as fairness theory that has been put to use by many. He begins his great work asking how a pie ought to be distributed. He assumes a pie (goods). He avoids, entirely, any question of how the goods were produced, saved, stored and presented for distribution. It is Rawls’ profane ignoring of production that permits him to argue so eloquently (but invalidly) for the distribution according to the advantage of everyone.

All other distributional models presuppose a rule or principle by which the vast unowned means other than bodies may be put to use. The ONLY possible principle available is homesteading. In a just (natural) society bodies are owned by their occupants, unowned means (which are not means to anything until put to use) are available to homesteaders, and after private property rights to bodies and non-bodily means have been established each may gift or trade or otherwise discard his private property as he sees fit given he has right to exclusive use.

That the current distribution of goods has been the result of past abuses of private property rights is beside the point. If one wants to discuss who is at fault, who has what and who must pay reparations for past injustices, fine. What must first be established is that private property is legitimate. Otherwise the entire question of reparations for abuse and violence is beside the point.

That we live in a time in which we are taken from without contract by bodies of men called government is no justification. Violence has always existed and likely will continue. But it has befuddled the puritanical libertarian why the existence of violence should justify violence. And why the average otherwise sane individual cannot be brought to see that he is better off the more this violence is diminished and the more contracts are the relations through which transfers are made he cannot fathom.

The main point for now is that the homesteading principle is not some scheme by which the powerful wish to connive to circumvent some otherwise crystal clear and available principle for distribution of means to ends. It shines alone. Beyond it is arbitrarity and infinitity. These are not the conditions for principles down here. Thank goodness for the homesteading principle.

Published by Purilib

Anonymously interested in grasping the good life.

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