Racial Discrimination

From: J
Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2017 5:28 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Requesting your opinion

Professor Block, If you have the time, I would appreciate any comments, criticisms, links, suggestions, etc. Also, if you are able to respond, may I have permission to share your thoughts with a discussion group? My thoughts: There has been a good deal of chatter going on about whether or not consistent libertarianism and homogenous communities are congruent notions. I would like to focus on the specifics of residence. The pro side says that, as long as it is on a completely voluntary basis, covenant communities exercising their right of association could exclude, for example, other races from entering the community. It has also been suggested that multiple covenants of this type could link together and basically form an ethno-nation (not to be confused with state). However, this agreement could not hold without special provisions of which I think is not discussed enough.

In order to kick people out for breaking the covenant, one must have the ability to do so. It is not good enough to simply say: here you may purchase this property but these are the only things you can do with it. You could, perhaps, create a contract which says: if you use this property in a way which is not favored, I, the current owner, retain the right to purchase the property back from you. If, however, the property can not be purchased back, the owner would retain the right to stay. The other possible way would be that the residents of the community would all be lessees and not actual land/home property owners. Then the owner of the community could just evict the transgressor. In both of these scenarios, market forces would certainly be in effect, in that the covenant’s terms would need to continue to attract individuals who would be interested in forgoing land/home property ownership, or at the very least be willing to purchase property with strings attached that could force a sale. Thank you for your time, J

Dear J: You’re asking two very different and separate questions of me. They must be kept apart from each other. As to the first, yes, covenant communities, in which people of one race, or sexual preference, or anything else under the sun, are excluded, is compatible with libertarianism. Remember, our philosophy is predicated upon the non aggression principle, private property rights based on homesteading and voluntary trade, and the law of free association. No one should be forced to associate, live next to, trade with, anyone else. This sounds callous, in that minority groups might suffer. For an antidote to this objection, read pretty much anything on discrimination written by Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams. Or, take a peak at this publication of mine:

Block, Walter E. 2010. The Case for Discrimination. Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/The-Case-Discrimination-Walter-Block/dp/1933550813/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605494&sr=1-1;
http://mises.org/store/Case-for-Discrimination-P10442.aspx; available for free here: http://mises.org/daily/4957

Your second question is very different. Under (hopefully) limited government, the state courts should uphold these restrictive covenant contracts. No need to resort to rentals, leases, etc. And, under anarcho capitalism, competing defense agencies should do the same.

Please feel free to share this response of mine with anyone you wish.


7:14 pm on October 1, 2017