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Essentially what I was trying to get across in the first point is that, property is an extension of oneself. I take a piece of clay that was in the commons. I mix my labor with it and turn it into a statue. I say this is mine. This is my property. Regardless of whether or not I am currently in possession of it, it is mine. You have no right to it in the same vein that you have no right to my heart or my liver. Why? It is an extension of myself, my labor, my property. In taking it, you violate my right to self-ownership. I have a right to use force to defend it, take it back, or receive just compensation for it regardless of whether or not I am currently in possession of it. If you steal the fruits of my labor I am your slave. In this way, you are violating my right to self-ownership.
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2012 on The Retributive Theory of Property at
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So if I understood you right, then there would still be nothing immoral about theft (of a possession) in and of itself. The only immoral action here would be in so far as it conflicted with your person. Taking the apple from your hand is immoral because I forced you to move your fingers in such a way x that was against your will, not because I stole your property. Though the libertarian can still posit that the theft itself is immoral because, the apple was an extension of his person. I own property in my own person. I own my own labor. My labor is an extension of myself. I own that which, having been previously unowned, I have mixed my labor with (until I have in some way relinquished that right). This then becomes a part of me. I own myself just as much as the apple I took from the previously unowned apple tree. It in fact becomes a part of me, of my person. So regardless of whether or not I am currently "in possession of" or currently making physical contact with the T.V. 1000 miles away in my vacation home, if you stole that T.V. it would be equivalent in some way to chopping off my arm and keeping it for yourself. As vague as "mixing one's labor with" may be, that does not necessarily mean we should throw out the Lockean theory of property rights altogether. It could just mean we need to strengthen it. Am I wrong? Is there a reason why you seem to find the harm principle preferable to the aggression principle? By denying you my apple I may be harming you, but I am certainly not initiating invasive force or violence against your person. You argue that you have a right to the apple (even if I possess it) so long as you need it to live. I don't see how this could be the case. According to you, if I take that apple from you then I am interfering with your right to self-ownership. I have no right to your body, and thus, by extension I have no right to your apple. Say I need your liver to live. Say I need just your left arm. Do I have a right to either of these things? No. Why not? Because they are rightfully yours. I have no right to use force against you to take that which is not rightfully mine. You own yourself. I have no right to the property of your person. If forcing you to give me that apple or your liver (even if it would save my life) was legitimate, that would mean slavery too was legitimate. I inherently own some part of your person. It seems you think private property rights extended farther than a mere possession cannot exist without the state. Is that the case? If no, care to explain your view any further? If yes, have you thought about the effectiveness of competing private security firms or private rights enforcement agencies?
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2012 on The Retributive Theory of Property at
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Mar 26, 2012