Question and response on rape and evictionism theory.

From: David Salamon []
Sent: Sun 6/21/2015 10:41 AM
Subject: Thanks and question

Hi Professor Block,

First of all thank you — although I’ve been a libertarian for the last ten years, your work has shown me countless blind spots in my thinking, and caused me to reconnect with what drew me to libertarianism in the first place (clear thinking). I second FA Hayek’s review of your book 🙂

At the end of you indicate you don’t believe a woman who has been raped has any rights beyond eviction, on the grounds that the child shouldn’t be punished for the sins of the father. While I found myself agreeing with basically everything else of yours I’ve heard, your position here strikes me as wrong So my question is: what, if any, rights do you believe a person has to their genetic code?

For my part, I believe the mother should have both the right to evict AND to remove her DNA from the fetus… as I assume would be the case for any other derivative work based on stolen intellectual property. (Similarly to the post-eviction medical aid you mention, in the future the unlicensed DNA could be replaced with other DNA). I feel like the above has to be true, especially for sub-1-day fetuses, but thinking about DNA as property opens up a troublingly large can of worms. Okay, well, thanks again for the informative and insightful content you’ve
put out 🙂 Thanks, David Salamon

For my response, continue reading:

Thanks for your very challenging question. I have published quite a bit about evictionism (in my view, the only correct libertarian solution to the challenge of the pro-life pro-choice debate) – see below on this – but I have never addressed the challenge you raise. Heck, I’d never before heard of it, so I am very grateful to you for posing this to me.

First, what is the genetic code? I looked this up, and here is what I found:

1. The set of DNA and RNA sequences that determine the amino acid sequences used in the synthesis of an organism’s proteins. It is the biochemical basis of heredity and nearly universal in all organisms.
2. The set of 64 codons corresponding to the 20 amino acids used for protein synthesis and as the signals for starting and stopping protein synthesis.
3. The biochemical instructions that translate the genetic information present as a linear sequence of nucleotide triplets in messenger RNA into the correct linear sequence of amino acids for the synthesis of a particular peptide chain or protein.

I’m no biologist, so I speak under correction here, but what I glean from this is that the genetic code is something like computer code, or a recipe, or a set of notes in music. In other words, this constitutes information. I’m a supporter of Stephan Kinsella on intellectual property:

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2001. “Against Intellectual Property,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2, Winter, pp. 1-53;

So I don’t believe that this genetic code can be owned. However, if this information can somehow be extracted from the fetus by the pregnant mother who is a rape victim without harming her baby, one day old or not it does not matter, then, I suppose, there would be no libertarian objection to her doing so. But this is not at all the implication of your question, since such a procedure would be entirely compatible with evicting, not killing, the fetus.

This leads to the question, May such a mother abort (that is, evict plus kill) her baby so as to seize from him her genetic code? To this I give a very clear answer: No, that would constitute murder. After all, even though his father is a criminal rapist, the baby who is a product of that dastardly act is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing. Therefore, if the mother murders him to get information out of him, her genetic code or whatever, she, too, becomes a criminal. She is an even worse violator of the libertarian criminal law than the rapist father, since murder is worse than rape.

Walter E. Block ’s publications and speeches on abortion, pro life, pro choice, evictionism, followed by critiques of his views, followed by his responses to these critiques:

Block, 1977, 1978, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010A, 2011, 2012, 2014A, 2014B; Block and Whitehead, 2005; Dyke and Block, 2011

Block, Walter E. 1977. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Abortion.” The Libertarian Forum. Vol. 10, No. 9, September, pp. 6-8;

Block, Walter E. Undated (1997?). “L’Aborto: Una Legittima Difesa,” Claustrofobia, anno 1, n. 3, pp. 16-22.

Block, Walter E. 1978. “Abortion, Woman and Fetus: Rights in Conflict?” Reason, Vol. 9, No. 12, April, pp. 18-25.

Block, Walter E. 2001. “Stem Cell Research: The Libertarian Compromise.” September 3;

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Libertarianism, Positive Obligations and Property Abandonment: Children’s Rights,” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 275-286;;

Block, Walter E. 2008. “Homesteading, ad coelum, owning views and forestalling.” The Social Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 96-103;

Block, Walter E. 2014A. “Evictionism and Libertarianism.” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 290-294;;

Block, Walter E. 2010B. “A libertarian perspective on the stem cell debate: compromising the uncompromisible,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Vol. 35: 429-448;
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Block, Walter E. 2011A. “Terri Schiavo: A Libertarian Analysis” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 527–536;;

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Toward a libertarian theory of evictionism,” Journal of Family and Economic Issues. June;

Block, Walter E. 2014A. “Should abortion be criminalized? Rejoinder to Akers, Davies and Shaffer on Abortion” Management Education Science Technology (MEST) Journal. Vol. 2, No. 1, January, pp. 33-44;;

Block, Walter E. and Roy Whitehead. 2005. “Compromising the Uncompromisable: A Private Property Rights Approach to Resolving the Abortion Controversy,” Appalachian Law Review, 4 (2) 1-45;;;

Dyke, Jeremiah and Walter E. Block. 2011. “Explorations in Property Rights: Conjoined Twins.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Art. 38;

Block, Walter E. 2012. “A Not So Funny Thing Happened to Me in Tampa.” August 30;

Critics of evictionism:

Akers, 2012A, 2012B, Davies, 2012; Parr, 2011; Shaffer, 2012; Wisniewski, 2010A, 2010B, 2011, 2013.

Akers, Becky. 2012A. “Not My Definition — or Webster’s Either — of ‘Trespassing’” September 6;
Akers, Becky. 2012B. “What if the ‘Fetus’ Could Shoot Back?” September 12;
Davies, Jim. 2012. “Abortion.” September 24;

Parr, Sean. 2011. “Departurism and the Libertarian Axiom of Gentleness.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, No. 34,

Shaffer, Butler. 2012. “Of Children and Fetuses” September 17;

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2010A. “A Critique of Block on Abortion and Child Abandonment.” Libertarian Papers Vol. 2, No. 16;

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2010B. “Rejoinder to Block’s Defense of Evictionism.” Libertarian Papers. Vol. 2, Art No. 27;

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2011. “Response to Block on Abortion, Round Three.”;

Wisniewski, Jakub Bozydar. 2013. “Abortion, Libertarianism and Evictionism: A Last Word.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 153-162;

Presley, Sharon and Robert Cooke (aka Morgan Edwards). 1979. “The right to abortion: a libertarian defense.” Association of libertarian feminists discussion paper

Block responds to critics:

Block, 2010A, 2010B, 2011A, 2011B, 2011C, 2014

Block, Walter E. 2010A. “Objections to the Libertarian Stem Cell Compromise,” Libertarian Papers 2, 34;

Block, Walter E. 2010B. “Rejoinder to Wisniewski on Abortion.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 32, No. 2;;

Block, Walter E. 2011A. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Two.” Libertarian Papers; Vol. 3, Article No. 4;

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Three.” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Art. 37;

Block, Walter E. 2014. “Response to Wisniewski on Abortion, Round Four.” Management Education Science Technology Journal (MEST);;;

Block, Walter E. 2011C. “Evictionism is libertarian; departurism is not: critical comment on Parr.” Vol. 3, Article 36, Libertarian Papers;

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Rejoinder to Parr on Evictionism and Departurism” Journal of Peace, Prosperity & Freedom, Vol. 2, pp. 125-138;;

Block, Walter E. 2014. “Should abortion be criminalized? Rejoinder to Akers, Davies and Shaffer on Abortion” Management Education Science Technology (MEST) Journal. Vol. 2, No. 1, January, pp. 33-44;;


6:28 pm on June 23, 2015