Nice Letter 2, On My Book Defending

“We read together this libertarian epigraph of Gandhi: (State represents violence in a concentrated and organized manner. The individual has a soul. The state is a soulless machine, and it never renounces violence. Without it, state would not exist). This is the idea of a libertarian and liberal when he talks about state bureaucracy. The “founder” of the libertarians was Murray N. Rothbard, philosopher and american politician. He died in 1995. “No one can attack the person and the freedom of a person”. This may sound like a generic definition, but it isn’t. Mazzilli (Italian journalist) summarizes this: “In addition to private property, a man possesses the property of his own body. He alone can decide on his body, and his properties. Any aggression against a person’s property is an illegitimate act.” Now let’s take an example. A libertarian is in favor of self-defense (he is in favor of possessing weapons) if someone tries to take his property. At the same time, a woman can choose what to do of her uterus, or a man of her kidney. These are their property. You don’t have to be scandalized.

There are distinctions. But the libertarian has a golden principle: Property is an inviolable natural right. Only the owner can decide what to do about their property.

On Americans and their weapons, so many people have written: it is an old west mindset, cowboy mentality, some say. Meanwhile, our Caesar Beccaria, in 1700, wrote: “It’s a wrong idea to ban something that has a thousand advantages but a drawback. Then you should take out the fire, because it burns. We should take the water away, because there are those who drown us. With laws prohibiting possession of weapons, Only good people will have no weapons. Malicious people, yes.” One of the libertarians most scandalizing people is Walter Block. He teaches economics, and has been one of the prominent exponents of the American

Libertarian Party. Defending the undefendable, his best seller, was published in Italy by “LiberiLibri”. This booklet with the red cover is very precious. Block preface synthesizes libertarian thought. “it is unlawful to undertake aggressions against non-aggressors. Libertarianism is not pacifism. It does not prohibit the use of violence. Libertarian philosophy condemns those who begin violence.”

The concept of initiating violence is very wide. Taxes are a violation. it is violent who decides to ban the use of drugs, who decides to prohibit pornography.

This we already knew with Antonio Martino, or classical liberals. Block takes a step forward: “An aggression by a majority, remains untruthful”. The market works well, but it doesn’t have a moral. It’s like the fire, quoted by Beccaria. it is useful and also dangerous. “Libertarianism is not a philosophy of life”. For these reasons, Block defends the dealer, the masochist (sublime pages to be read by several Italian politicians), the abusive taxi driver, the prostitute, and many more.

Block defends all these people using logic. The postponement is very interesting. this was written by him 15 years after the release of the book, 23 years after the book’s creation. There is a mea culpa. Block does not deny the libertarian being. He admits to be ashamed of some chapters (eg prostitution). He is not ashamed of the most controversial chapters (eg the corrupt policeman).

“I understand where I was wrong: but I’m not just a libertarian, I’m also a cultural conservative”. These two universes, for Prof. Block, aren’t incompatible. The Bestseller have a sequel, “Defending the Undefendable 2”. Ron Paul writes in the preface: “Many libertarians will be shocked by Block’s statements”. In the 7 chapters Block defends: BP, smokers, human organ merchant, child salesman, etc.

You do not have to be scared. In 1976, when the first book came out, Block said the heroin pusher should not go to jail. The pusher works because there are those who require this service. There was a strong scandal between moderates, progressives, conservatives. Hayek and Rothbard appreciated the book.

Block adores creating controversy. He also has a sense of humor. Block highlights a principle. “My goal was simple and clear: to appreciate libertarianism by applying it to difficult cases”. Among the most interesting chapters is where he talks about homophobia. Block discusses a ruling against sexual discrimination. Boy scouts had removed a homosexual boss. Block defends everyone’s sexual tastes. Block, however, believes that any organization can discriminate whoever wants. “We all discriminate in some way. Based on honesty, beauty, talent, etcetera.” Block, but also the Supreme Court of the United States, believe that boy scouts had the right to dismiss a gay. It is not a politically correct thesis”. See here.

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.


2:23 am on September 16, 2020

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