In a post titled Feedback, Bionic Mosquito has posted his comments, along with that of others, with regard to my comments on how I view a Private Property Society.
I am going to respond to the commentary in the hopes of advancing why I hold that full respect for private property is the best way to achieve a decent and reasonable society.
First, Bionic posts a Rothbard comment which was supplied to him by an anonymous provider:
I was sent the following by one of the prefer-to-remain-anonymous feedbackers, an excerpt from Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty, Chapter 13:
Thus, it should be quite clear that, under libertarian law, capital punishment would have to be confined strictly to the crime of murder. For a criminal would only lose his right to life if he had first deprived some victim of that same right. It would not be permissible, then, for a merchant whose bubble gum had been stolen, to execute the convicted bubble gum thief. If he did so, then he, the merchant, would be an unjustifiable murderer, who could be brought to the bar of justice by the heirs or assigns of the bubble gum thief.
Shooting someone for stealing a stick of gum – and in Rothbard’s example, not even a child.Rothbard is proposing this restriction on punishment based on his proportionality view of punishment. But I ask anyone who holds the Rothbard proportionality view to please state how these proportionalities should be determined.
I see a huge quagmire. Do proportionalities have to be determined on an ad hoc basis? Or are they already set? That is, if Stevie Wonder pokes out a person's eye, when that person's other eye is glass, is proportionality poking out both of the already blind Stevie Wonders eyes? Or must we now have some kind of "punishment body" to determine proportionality?
If there is a heckler at a Donald Trump campaign stop, does this mean Trump gets to go to that person's house and heckle him on two separate occasions or do we bring in the ruling "punishment body" for some other punishment?
Or how about this: A landowner has a sign "No blacks," and a black trespasses, who gets on the "punishment body" in that case?
Or if a thief steals a wallet should his hand be cut off? Which, I am certain would be considered proportional punishment in parts of the Middle East.
How is the outcome of punishment less protected under a Private Property Society where the property owner has the ultimate word in punishment? Why are outsiders somehow better at this? Further. in a Private Property Society, no edifice must be constructed over private property. Call it governance, culture or whatever, it is, for all practical purposes, a ruling body over all, if rules over all are made despite the wishes of the property owner. Thus, those who are not in favor of the owner of a private property determining punishment must recognize that they are no longer anracho-capitalists. They can be limited-government libertarians but they are not against the essence of government, which is the ruling over people who may not wish to be ruled over.
Bionic then introduces Walter Block who writes in part:
[T]o think that victims and they alone may make up any punishment rules thay want on their own property, without notifying everyone else of unusual rules (like killing, or seizing coats, a la Donald Trump) I find completely incompatible with libertarianismIt seems to me by reading this comment that Prof. Block agrees with me that a property owner can set his own punishment rules on his own property--as long as warning is given. So I would say, he and I are in 95% agreement on this point. Where we differ is as to a necessary warning about the punishment,
I hold that in a society where private property is respected that no notification should be required of by a property owner of the punishment rules on his property, I see this as a minor rule above property, which I would consider a movement away from anarcho-capitalism, since who is to determine what are "unusual rules"? Again, are we going to be setting up committees or something?
I hasten to ask what would be the practical difference of a property owner who posts, "I jail people for 50 years who sneeze when on my property"? and one who keeps his rules secret? Who would go on either property?
In a Private Property Society, I fully expect decency and reasonableness to be the norm and that people would just avoid unknown areas, just like they avoid the bad parts of town now.
Bionic next introduces "Black Flag":
[P]erhaps the most succinct and insightful comment was offered atthe subject post:
Black Flag January 21, 2016 at 3:09 PM
Why should Wenzel oppose the state when he's fine with an individual operating the same way? Is the libertarian objection to action, or the label attributed?
Wenzel hasn't defended Anarcho Capitalism, he has defended the judge, the jury, and the executioner, (all bundled together as one man) likely of statist ilk, who feel they can operate without consequences for error.
I wish I thought of this line of reasoning. In sixty words, Black Flag said more than I did in ten-thousand. Wenzel wants to create two billion tyrants. This isn’t libertarianism.It is difficult for me to discern Black Flag's argument here. He correctly points out:
he has defended the judge, the jury, and the executioner, (all bundled together as one man)But isn't this what anarcho-capitalism is? Who does Black Flag suggest be the judge, the jury, and the executioner in an "anarcho" capitalist world? I further add that in a PPS world people would simply avoid areas where reasonable and decent rules aren't set up, including areas where property owners haven't chosen reasonable judges, juries and executioners. The beauty of PPS is that it allows for freedom within the bounds of one's property and those one chooses to associate with---without the oppressive veil of government, which does now monopolize choices for all in judges, juries and executioners.
That is, there is good reason to oppose the state, very good reason, if the alternative is a Private Property Society. Since a PPS means a society where there is no government and a general respect for private property. To equate PPS with a state is extremely difficult for me to understand.
I believe a large part of the problem here remains because many don't really believe a peaceful society can exist without some rules beyond a respect for private property.
But my argument is that in many ways we live a PPS life now, with a government veil over us that pretends to protect us, when it is, in fact, the case that we protect our own property. If it was laws that protected us, why would we stay out of bad areas? Why would we have locks on our doors?
Just because one does not believe government is necessary to protect one's property does not mean that such a person is in favor of theft. To say we shouldn't have government police on standby to protect our property doesn't mean we don't want our property protected.
To say that there should be no rules that are not set by a property owner does not mean we are an advocate of any kind of punishment, that we are for/or against racial rules on properties etc.
It means that just like now, we avoid trouble spots and act in a decent and reasonable manner with the people we choose to deal with. Isn't this what we do now?
Just because young kids could burn themselves playing on a hot stove, it doesn't mean we should call for a ban on stoves, it means that we watch kids so that they don't get themselves in harms way.
In the same way, in a PPS, you wouldn't allow kids to wander off into unknown territory, just like you don't now.
What would be the difference in the way you act other than not having the government breathing down your neck?
More on Private Property Society here.