Legitimate Government Property, Part II

—–Original Message—–
From: PL
Sent: Wed 12/28/2016 4:47 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Your recent article “Is There Any Such Thing As Legitimate Government Property? No.” at Lew Rockwell’s blog

You write “There is no such thing as legitimate public property”. https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/thing-legitimate-government-property-no/

I believe you have established that for the sort of thing your correspondent brought out, like Fort Ord, but that it is not true in general as there are rare, special cases with unusual circumstances where the government itself qualified as a homesteader acting through agents; a homesteader acting through agents is a scenario Locke accepted. I’m sure there are other examples, but I’m thinking in particular of the uninhabited Atlantic islands discovered and settled by the Portuguese government as part of the exploration programme initiated by Prince Henry the Navigator: Madeira and its archipelago, the Azores, the Cape Verde islands, São Tomé y Príncipe, Annobón, and arguably Fernando Po (later transferred to Spain, and renamed Bioko since independence, but probably already inhabited when discovered by the Portuguese). It can’t even be argued that these discoveries “really” belong to the taxpayers who funded the effort, as no taxpayers did that; it was funded by church revenues previously set up for pushing back Islam, once Portugal ran out of a land frontier with Islam, as this effort was considered to be a maritime extension of the same cause (indeed, the Portuguese promptly attacked the Muslim holdings they found once they reached a little way into the Indian Ocean, and Prince Henry actually began with a more direct maritime effort against Islam along the shores of the Mediterranean, which stalled). Yours sincerely, PL

Dear PL: I think you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as a legitimate government. The leaders of the “public sector” are all criminals. Thus, even if one of them does actually homestead some land, he cannot be the licit owner of it; since he is a criminal, libertarian law would compel him to give it up to his creditors. Well, it is a bit more complicated than that, for, suppose that his homesteaded land is worth $100, but he only owes $75 to his victims. Then, it might be argued, he may keep for himself (at least after he gets out of jail) at least part of “his” property. But this doesn’t hit the nail on the head either, unless he then repents of his evil, and becomes merely a private citizen. But according to you, he can go on being the head of state, and still own “his” homesteaded property. That is where you and I part company. I maintain that no Prince, or King, such as you mention, can be the legitimate owner of property that he himself has homesteaded, as long as he remains in that governmental position.


12:47 am on December 29, 2016