What Would Murray Say About the Martin-Zimmerman Affair?

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Judging from passages in The Ethics of Liberty, Murray Rothbard would not say that Spike Lee committed a crime under libertarian law. That’s because Lee made no direct, palpable and immediate threat on anyone. Lee violated a contract with Twitter. That’s a tort.

Quoting from p. 78, “It is important to insist, however, that the threat of aggression be palpable, immediate, and direct; in short, that it be embodied in the initiation of an overt act. Any remote or indirect criterion-any ‘risk’ or ‘threat’– is simply an excuse for invasive action by the supposed ‘defender’ against the alleged ‘threat.’”

Zimmerman used a gun on an unarmed Martin. By the same Rothbardian reasoning, he had no right to do that unless his life was being threatened palpably, immediately and directly by Martin. Was it? We need to know whether or not Zimmerman brought about the confrontation after being warned not to. We need to know what occurred when the two men came together. We need to know who initiated force. We need to know what force levels were being applied and by whom.

1:11 pm on April 2, 2012
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