In an email Rick Miller has posed an important question of what is required of a farmer who has attack dogs on his property (SEE: Walter Block: Thoughts on the Farmer Dilemma),
Prof. Walter Block has responded with this claim:
My claim is that yes, the owner should be able to have attack dogs roaming his property, but, if so, he must place fences with barbed wire around his territory, along with signs, large ones, warning of this danger.But at another time Prof. Block has written (June 1 1969, Libertarian Forum):
Any threat or initiation of violence against a man or his property is in violation of man's rights and hence inimical to liberty.These two positions seem to be in conflict. One may argue that rules/laws must be required to protect children, but the advocacy of such must cause one to leave the world of anarcho-capitalism.
The first question that can be asked to illustrate this point is Who is making this rule? Suddenly, there is some sort of ruler over private property. A second question: Where does this stop? Should a swimming pool owner also be required to have "fences with barbed wire around his territory, along with signs, large ones, warning of this danger"? What about a child that is being fed "too much sugar"? Should society intervene to stop this if responsibility doesn't stop with the parents?
And finally, we must ask, what is to be done to a private individual who simply ignores outside regulations? How are these regulations to be enforced if not by some violation of an individuals right to be left alone.
There are many who now call themselves anarcho-capitalists, who fail in fully advocating an anarcho-capitalist society. They are actually limited government advocates. You can call a group that overrides private property rights by many names, but in the end it is some sort of over-ruling body, that is, some type of government. It may be advocacy for an extremely limited government but it is still an advocacy for some sort of over-ruling body. People who believe such an over-ruling body is necessary should realize this. They are not anarcho-capitalists, if anarcho-capitalism means respect for private property and no government.
I happen to hold the view that the fears that most hold about an anarcho-capitalist society, what I prefer to call a Private Property Society, are unjustified. The significance should be recognized that we, even now, despite the supposed protection of government, for the most part protect ourselves and our children by staying away from danger. It is a myth that government protects us from danger. If government was the key driver of protection of person and property, locks on doors wouldn't exist, nor babysitters. We protect ourselves.
Anyone who demands an over-ruling dictate that requires certain things be done on a private property, regardless of the property owner's desires, can't possibly believe that we protect ourselves. They, to at least a minor degree, buy into the idea that government protects. It is an extremely dangerous notion, since one can think of many, many rules that can be made to "protect children" and, say, the low IQ, the handicapped.
I would further argue that contra to Dr. Block, the farmer dilemma is not a "very difficult case for libertarians." It is at the core of libertariansim that each person and his property should be be left alone as long as he is not violating NAP. The entire concept of libertariansim is based on the idea that people are quite capable of taking care of themselves (and their children) and that there is no need for over-ruling bodies. It is the observation that the actions of over-ruling bodies, despite possibly initial good intentions, turn evil. The danger with creating a central power is that it creates a focal point that can be corrupted. For the desire to protect some theoretical child, who theoretically climbs on to the private land of a theoretical child-molesting killer as theoretical parents ignore the child, a very real central power is created that the worst in mankind can focus on and capture. This is the great danger that has resulted in hundreds of millions of deaths on this planet, the capture of central power by the evil ones. It has been repeated in history time after time.
The message of libertarians to the world should be that central powers are extremely dangerous and that Lord Acton was very right when he warned power corrupts. It should be emphasized that government protection now is largely a myth that we protect ourselves and that creating any central power is creating a seed that has always led to great death.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at EconomicPolicyJournal.com and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics