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Posts Tagged ‘force’

A post over at the Art of The Possible asking for libertarian perspectives on blackmail law morphs into an interesting discussion on private property, coercion, reputation and related philosophical issues.

I have detailed my position on blackmail law and related issues in the comment thread linked above, so I will not expound on it here. However there is one sentence from one of the comments that is worth repeating, especially for the benefit of non-libertarians:

[a]n insight that appears elsewhere in libertarian thinking (e.g. prostitution), namely that it shouldn’t be illegal to sell what one can legally give away for free.

This is of course, standard fare for libertarians, as it follows directly from the non-aggression principle. Nonetheless, I think it is an important insight that deserves to be highlighted separately because it clarifies the libertarian position on a lot of issues (blackmail, prostitution, minimum wage, social gambling vs for-profit gambling)  and applies to a great many situations in a more obvious manner than the NAP does.

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Spend, armour, destroy. Or perhaps, WTF?

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Another brilliant letter from Don Boudreaux. Excerpt:

Just as many on the right naively fantasize that foreign problems are best solved by force, “liberals” fantasize that domestic problems – real and imaginary – are best solved by force. Jobs disappearing in Ohio?  No problem – force Americans to buy fewer foreign goods.  Too many Americans without health insurance?  Force taxpayers to give it to them.  The “distribution” of income doesn’t satisfy some Very Caring Person’s criterion?  Government should forcibly redistribute.  A mine collapses in West Virginia?  Uncle Sam should force mine-owners to increase safety.  See?  All very simple.

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Apropos of nothing…I remembered myself from ten years back.

When I hated all mongerers of superstition; when I simply could not fathom why the government did not declare the practice of astrology, quackery, faith-healing and all related unscientific mumbo-jumbo illegal; when I would have liked all religious extremists and preachers of hate put behind bars; when the ultimate aim of the government to me was the advancement of a scientific spirit; when I truly believed that the world would be a better place if those who were caught in the warp of irrationality and actively spread dogmatism were silenced, by force if necessary; when I was fifteen.

Today, as then, I believe in the scientific spirit. But I no longer believe in coercion. Does that make me a wiser person?

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