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Friday, April 23, 2010

Free variables in libertarian theory

Pam, when I chimed in on this discussion, it was to answer your question about why your eyesight and genes aren't part of the natural commons.  You suddenly lost interest in that question, so please don't accuse me of "changing the subject".

I happily concede that citing Locke's axiom about just property acquisition can't "win the argument".  That's why it's called an "axiom".  You either accept it, or you don't.  I call your axiom of resource-conquest "allodial", "royalist", "conquistadorian".  You call Locke's axiom of resource-sharing "socialist", "Marxist", "collectivist".  Neither axiom can be deduced from other libertarian axioms such as self-ownership or non-aggression.  I'm not the one here trying to pretend otherwise.

I don't demand that all Libertarians renounce allodial libertarianism and embrace geolibertarianism.  I don't say that allodial libertarianism is un-libertarian.  I say that this question is just one of many free variables in libertarian theory.  Pam, do you claim there are no free variables in libertarian theory?  If so, please consult your Austrian tablets of Libertarian Truth and give us the correct bindings for all these variables:
  • Enfranchisement variables
    • rights of animals and species
    • rights of the unborn
    • rights of children
    • rights of the mentally disabled
    • rights of the comatose, the cryonically suspended, etc
    • rights of the dead (e.g. to bind the living with a covenant)
    • rights of inheritance
    • rights of corporate persons
  • Property variables
    • rights in natural (i.e. non-excludable) resources e.g. atmosphere, water, non-solid minerals, spectrum, orbits
    • rights in excludable resources e.g. land, solid minerals
    • rights-of-way and how they get established and maintained
    • rights in intellectual property
      • copyright
      • patents
      • trade secrets
      • trademarks
      • one's own genetic information
      • the genetic information of other persons
      • the genetic information of non-persons
    • rights to sell one's body parts
    • what forms of servitude into which one may contract oneself
    • status of stolen property
  • Aggression/Process variables
    • thresholds for reckless endangerment
    • thresholds for nuisance
    • whether blackmail is aggression
    • forms of allowable judicial punishment
    • rules for allowable extra-judicial defense and retaliation
    • due process: whether to exclude evidence against the accused due to how it was acquired
    • due process: whether the accused may subpoena innocent witnesses
    • extent to which unequal associations are coercive