Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2017 11:00 AM
Subject: The Self-Contradictory Nature of Anarcho-Capitalism
Dear Sir: If you would give comment on the following observations, I would appreciate your feedback. Consider these two definitions.
1. [T]he state [is] any organization that succeeds in holding the exclusive right to use, threaten, or authorize physical force against residents of its territory.
2. Private property is an owner’s claim to the exclusive right to use, threaten, or authorize physical force against others to control their behavior with respect to his territory.
So construed, private property is a coercive relationship between agents, and not necessarily a relationship between agents and non-agents.
It is immediately obvious that private property is the state.
Moreover: 1. There is nothing in the definition of private property which limits the amount of property an individual or group can own.
2. Nor is there any limit to behaviors the owner(s) may choose to call “aggression” against their property and thus respond with force to eliminate.
3. In particular, the only real limitation on the contents of contracts between owners and renters is the enforcers’ qualms, which payment tends to overcome.
4. In general, when contractual conditions for use of property are costlier than force, force will be applied and a change in ownership / regime may result.
5. Therefore, private property in principle must result in totalitarianism and war.
Against the definition of private property offered above may be asserted the “gainful use” theory of property – which may be reduced to the notion that touching something first justifies threat of force against those who might threaten to touch it second. Threat of force against agents with respect to territory remains, preserving the identification of property with the state.
The upshot is anarcho-capitalism is statism, renamed.
Dear JL: War is peace. Truth is a lie. There are more errors in your short note than you can shake a stick at. Let me limit myself to only two. First, there are indeed limits as to what a property owner may do to a guest of his. If he kills him, that is murder (unless the guest fully understands the risk.) Yes, the first person to mix his labor with the land is the legitimate owner, not the second, or last. Otherwise, no property could ever be owned. Anarcho-capitalism is statism, indeed. This is like those “proofs” that 1+1 does not equal 2. But, nice try. Criticism keeps us ancaps on our toes.5:31 pm on January 31, 2017 Email Walter E. Block