Threats, Too, Are Proscribed By The NAP

Dear Fellow Libertarians:

I don’t advocate punishing pre crimes. I suggest that violence is justified against threats.

Best regards,

Walter

From: The NAPster

Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2020 7:59 AM

To: Kenn Williamson ; Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Typhoid Mary

Walter and Kenn:

Interesting discussion that you two are having.

I agree with Kenn in principle: libertarianism does not allow for punishing pre-crime (to use the term made popular in the movie, The Minority Report).  Pre-crime is how most state regulation works: the state posits that action A might lead to damage, and thus prohibits action A, but that unnecessarily and immorally constrains all of those using their own property engaging in action A who don’t cause the theoretical damage.  Only when damage is actually caused, or is imminent, is responsive force justified.

However, I would raise a slight issue with one thing Kenn said, namely, “Any person has the right to regulate who is coming into their property but they do not have the right to regulate the activity of others on their own property.” I think that it would be compatible with libertarianism to “regulate” (by which I assume Kenn means “use force against”) the activity of others on their own property if that activity were itself causing an invasion of one’s own property.  So, to use Kenn’s example, if A had a fan that was blowing VINE-19 seeds onto B’s property, then B could use reasonable force to try to stop this.  It would be no different than if A were firing bullets at B from A’s property.

Applied to Typhoid Mary, private-property owners could always exclude her from coming onto their property, but could only enter her property if she were somehow spewing forth her infectious disease from there.

Zack Rofer

Check out my book: Busting Myths About the State and the Libertarian Alternative

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4:21 am on November 23, 2020

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