Can You Murder A Brain Dead Person? Yes.

From: I
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2018 12:11 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: a conundrum

Dear Walter,

how are you? Consider the following quandary:

imagine a libertarian society in which some patient is brain-dead but his family decides to keep him under ventlilator, having stipulated with a doctor that the patient should be thus kept until he rots. Notice, there is no mention of the problem whether the patient is NOW dead or alive. They deliberately abstract from predicating death to the patient. His brain stem may be even be dead (he would not breathe spontaneously) but he is still ventilated…

Crucially, the contract has it that if the doctor unplugs the patient before he rots, the former is liable to pay $ 1 million damages to the latter’s family.

Now, one fine day, some intruder enters and unplugs the patient. What should the intruder be responsible for?

For manslaughter? Or simply for tinkering with the machine and a trespass?

What do you think? With best wishes. I

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu]
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2018 1:28 PM
To: I
Subject: RE: a conundrum

Not manslaughter. Second degree murder. You take your victim as you find him.

I have not published anything directly on this conundrum, but here is something close to being on point:

Block, Walter E. 2011. “Terri Schiavo: A Libertarian Analysis” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 527–536; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_26.pdf;http://mises.org/sites/default/files/22_1_26.pdf; Block, Walter E. 2011. “Terri Schiavo: A Libertarian Analysis” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 527–536;http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_26.pdfhttp://libertycrier.com/walter-block-terri-schiavo/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LibertyCrier+%28Liberty+Crier%29http://mises.org/sites/default/files/22_1_26.pdf

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2:19 am on March 28, 2019