What Is The Proper Libertarian View on Threats?

What Is The Proper Libertarian View on Threats?

Dear Michael:

It all depends upon whether or not that gun pointing constitutes a threat. If your “gun” is an armor piercing bazooka, capable of plowing through that wall, and all you need is for that “gun” to drop, or you sneeze on it in just the right way to launch the missile, then, yes, it should be banned and you’d be a criminal.

On what constitutes a threat, see this:

Block, Walter E. and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf

Best regards,


From: Michael Edelstein

Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 6:31 PM

To: Walter E. Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Cc: chris ar ; Matthew Block

Subject: Re: Nuclear Weapon Ownership.

Shall guns in my apartment be banned because one might be resting on a table pointed toward a wall I share with my neighbor?

Warm regards, Michael



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On Sep 23, 2020, at 3:41 PM, Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Chris:

Wow. The second of these is VERY complimentary to me and my co author, who I’m taking the liberty of copying on this.

Maybe my coauthor thought of that, but, I fear, I did not. I think he makes and excellent contribution to this discussion. I only wish he were not anonymous, so I could thank him for this. His view is certainly compatible with mine, but I must credit him for pushing forward on what I take to be the Rothbardian position on this matter.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Please tell me a bit about yourself? Age, schooling, residence?

Best regards,


From: chris ar

Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:35 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Nuclear Weapon Ownership.

Dear Dr. Block.

You argue that owning a nuclear weapon is illegitimate because you cannot limit it’s use to the “bad” guys. A possible objection to this as pointed out in this article https://www.google.com/amp/s/miseschrist.com/2014/05/11/nuclear-weapons-free-society/amp/ is that using something and owning something are distinct.

A counterargument to this critique (in my opinion) is pointed out in this article https://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/nuclear-weapons-in-libertarianism/ Basically the author, using your methodology argues that the reason why nuclear weapons are, in almost all cases, invasive is because they are necessarily pointed at someone (or someone’s property). Since pointing a weapon (any weapon) at someone is a threat of aggression therefore nukes are invasive, since they are almost always pointed at someone.

My question is, is this your viewpoint as well? the author of the article seems to think so, he credits the argument to you. You do seem to hint at it in your own theory, or perhaps it is implied in that, if something cannot be limited(pinpointed) then of course it is pointed at everyone around you. Just wanted a clarification, if this is in fact your view as well.

Best regards,

Chris Armoutidis.


5:31 am on March 13, 2021

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