What Is The Proper Libertarian Theory On Reparations?

Letter 1

From: Tim McGraw <mcgrawtim123@aol.com>

Sent: Saturday, December 7, 2019 2:07 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Private Property; the Argument for Privatization

Deserve Has Nothing to Do With It; The Unforgiven


Dear Walter, Dec. 6th, 2019

I enjoyed your book about Private Property until the Reparations chapter.  I don’t believe in reparations. They remind me of child support payments and negroes yelling in the street trying to take my money, even though my ancestors were in Europe while theirs were enslaved in the Americas.

So, I’ll send you your book with my notes on the margins that I wrote as I read it. I did enjoy it. What a fun few weeks it was.

Well, it is raining like mad here. A 4″ rainstorm is here in Sonoma County. My Dad continues to suffer in his rehab unit in KC. My Mom is suffering as well. My sister is there now so perhaps she can help out. Hard to be here in California so far away. But then our family has always been one of nomads. My folks even owned a Chevy Nomad in Lincoln, Nebraska when I was 12. Oh, to go back to those days of liberty and happiness.

Walter, I don’t think we are going to make it. Us Libertarians had our time. Clint Eastwood and Dr. Ron Paul were the highlights of our society. I see no future for us.

So,  to quote another Eastwood movie:



And style is life as far as I’m concerned.

Take care my friend,

Tim McGraw

Healdsburg, CA

Letter 2

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

To: Tim McGraw <mcgrawtim123@aol.com>

Sent: Sat, Dec 7, 2019 1:04 pm

Subject: RE: Private Property; the Argument for Privatization

Dear Tim:

Suppose my grandfather stole a clock from your grandfather. My grandfather bequeathed that clock to his son, my dad, who then gave it to me.

Posit that if my grandfather didn’t steal a clock from your grandfather, your granddad would have bequeathed that clock to his son, your dad, who then would have givenit to you.

I think I owe that clock to you, in the form of reparations, eg., return of stolen property. Why do you disagree?

Best regards,


Letter 3

From: Tim McGraw <mcgrawtim123@aol.com>

Sent: Saturday, December 7, 2019 4:41 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Private Property; the Argument for Privatization

Dear Walter,

It’s the time problem. Your family has had that grandfather clock now for three generations. It’s yours unless I forcibly take it back. And then it would be my clock.

I am reminded of the movie “Nobody’s Fool”. Paul Newman and Bruce Willis keep stealing a snow blower from each other. Who really owns the snowblower? Perhaps Bruce Willis bought it in the beginning or perhaps he stole it. It’s not clear. So who really owns it? Whoever has it owns it.

Healdsburg is on land that the Mexicans stole from the Pomo Indians, that was then stolen by Americans. There is a whole history of land squatters and conflict here after the Mexican vs. American War of 1848. Many Americans squatted on old Mexican estates which had been abandoned by their owners during the war. Sheriff Louis Norton is a local legend. He was a big fierce guy who would go out to the squatters and force them off the land. Norton supposedly stared down a grizzly bear that had climbed a redwood tree in front of his house. (The tree is still there on Grove Street). When Norton died he had a dozen bullets in his large frame. His grave is in the local cemetery. I knew his descendants who have since died or left town. They are quite a family of characters.

The NAP works for me most of the time, but when it comes to stolen property; force is what I would rely upon. Lawyers work, too, but again, that takes time.

I’ve often thought, “What would I do if the bank took all my money in the bank?” Well, of course due to legal mumbo jumbo I only have a lien on that money I deposited. I could try hiring a lawyer, or I could use force against the banker, or I could write it off as a loss like most folks did during the bank failures during the Depression.

I see no good solutions. Same for me with the grandfather clock in your example. You are an honest man willing to make good on a crime committed by a distant relative.

People like you are rare, Walter.

God bless ya!


Letter 4

From: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2019 5:45 PM

To: Tim McGraw <mcgrawtim123@aol.com>

Subject: RE: Private Property; the Argument for Privatization

Time, schmime. I’m assuming the TRUTH of what I said.

So, you don’t believe in returning stolen property?

That means you don’t really support private property rights, of which the return is an integral part?

Here are some of my pubs on this issue:

Alston and Block, 2007; Block, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2019; Block and Yeatts, 1999-2000; Crepelle and Block, 2017

Alston, Wilton D. and Walter E. Block. 2007. “Reparations, Once Again.” Human Rights Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, September, pp. 379-392; http://tinyurl.com/2b75fl

Block, Walter E. 1993. “Malcolm X,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 18-19; http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/5361.aspx

Block, Walter E. 2001. “The Moral Dimensions of Poverty, Entitlements and Theft,” The Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 83-93; http://www.acton.org/publicat/m_and_m/2001_spring/block.htmlhttp://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=922087http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marketsandmorality.com%2Findex.php%2Fmandm%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F587%2F577&ei=lBn9UuLIOtDOkQe1toHwBw&usg=AFQjCNF2MZ5XoFKKMF5UcOfOT5Kv-HQgZA&sig2=VVYWZhyl0ZmAWRAKXtkxWw; Search for “Walter Block” under “Authors” here: http://www.marketsandmorality.com/index.php/mandm/search

Block, Walter E. 2002. “On Reparations to Blacks for Slavery,” Human Rights Review, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-September, pp. 53-73;


(David Horowitz, Randall Robinson)

Block, Walter E. 2019. “Return of Stolen Property: A Libertarian Case for Reparations.” December 23; https://www.theepochtimes.com/return-of-stolen-property-a-libertarian-case-for-reparations_3177301.html

Block, Walter E. and Guillermo Yeatts. 1999-2000. “The Economics and Ethics of Land Reform: A Critique of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s ‘Toward a Better Distribution of Land: The Challenge of Agrarian Reform,’” Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 37-69; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/ethics_land_reform.pdf

Crepelle, Adam and Walter E. Block. 2017. “Property Rights and Freedom:  The Keys to Improving Life in Indian Country.” Washington & Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice; Vol. 23, Issue 2, Article, 3, pp. 314-342; http://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1435&context=crsjhttp://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/crsj/vol23/iss2/3/

Houma Indian


2:35 am on February 2, 2020