What’s the Correct Libertarian Perspective on Reparations?

Letter 1

From: Tim McGraw

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.

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

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

Subject: RE: Private Property; the Argument for Privatization

Dear Tim:

Thanks for your kind comments about this book of mine:

Block, Walter E. 2019. Property Rights: The Argument for Privatization. Palgrave Macmillan; https://www.palgrave.com/in/book/9783030283520

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

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

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?


2:18 am on February 14, 2020