Land Reparations For Grandchildren of Slaves, From Government

From: B
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 12:11 AM
Subject: Reparations

Dear Professor Block, thanks again for all your great work and for sharing your valuable time.

Should the ancestors of slaves be able to sue the government, in the same way that you suggest they sue the original slave owner’s estate? Breach of contract for the 40 acres, maybe?

One last question if I may and I promise no follow ups.  What do you think of the idea of actually giving them land now?  If the FED’s gave each of the 35 million eligible decedents 5 acres, that’s still only a fraction of what the FEDS and States “Own”. Decedents could get first crack at the land and then the rest could be given out to everyone else.   (5 acres per extended family member is of course far more than 40 acres per estate.)

Your friend in liberty, B

Dear B:

Sure, the ancestors of slaves should be able to sue the present government. But so should a lot of other people. Pretty much all tax payers, apart from members of the ruling class.

But, in the ideal anarcho-capitalist world, there would be no government. In the ideal minarchist world, the government would be extremely small. It would not have any land to give away to anyone. All of its functions would be legitimate, and occupy very little land. No one, in this view, progeny of slaves or anyone else, would be able to sue such a limited government since it would be legitimate, at least under minarchism. So, I think the case for the grandchildren of black slaves against the present owners of plantations, on which their grandparents worked, is much stronger than their case against government.

I’ve written a bit about this latter point:

Alston and Block, 2007; Block, 1993, 2001, 2002; Block and Yeatts, 1999-2000; Crepelle and Block, 2017

Alston, Wilton D. and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Reparations, Once Again.” Human Rights Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, September, pp. 379-392;

Block, Walter E. 1993. “Malcolm X,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 18-19;

Block, Walter E. 2001. “The Moral Dimensions of Poverty, Entitlements and Theft,” The Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 83-93;;; Search for “Walter Block” under “Authors” here:

Block, Walter E. 2002. “On Reparations to Blacks for Slavery,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-September, pp. 53-73;;

(David Horowitz, Randall Robinson)

Block, Walter E. and Guillermo Yeatts. 1999-2000. “The Economics and Ethics of Land Reform: A Critique of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s ‘Toward a Better Distribution of Land: The Challenge of Agrarian Reform,’” Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 37-69;

Crepelle, Adam and Walter E. Block. 2017. “Property Rights and Freedom:  The Keys to Improving Life in Indian Country.” Washington & Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice; Vol. 23, Issue 2, Article, 3, pp. 314-342;;

Houma Indian

Best regards,



8:49 pm on August 24, 2019