Re: Property rights (was Re: Can't afford to rescue cows)

From: Byrne Hobart (
Date: Sun Apr 27 2008 - 09:06:13 MDT

On Sun, Apr 27, 2008 at 1:37 AM, Nick Tarleton <> wrote:

> This is a bizarrely collectivist-type argument (your value to society
> justifies your existence) from an apparent libertarian. What about the
> value, to that person, of their continued existence? Surely, even if
> they can't produce any value for others, and even if they have no
> money or other resources with which to express their preference, their
> preference should count *ethically*, should be as much a part of the
> global utility function as anyone else's. Many of us have this crazy
> idea that people have intrinsic worth independent of their economic
> circumstances or value or utility to others.

I don't see any evidence of collectivism, here. I mean, I guess you could
call me a collectivist because I believe that people should contribute as
much as they can to the well-being of society, even though I believe that
the way to do this is through deregulated, low- to no-tax economies with
stable property rights. But that would be nuts. It's not collectivist to
argue that people stick around until nobody cares that they die, and it's
not revolutionary to note that in many cases, the person dying thinks he
should stick around, even if everyone else disagrees.

You also seem to be missing that this is a description of how the world
works *now*: some people grow enough food to live on, some people earn
enough money to buy food, some people get food from their dependents, some
people who don't have any dependents get food from governments (because
not-letting-people-starve is a popular political platform) and charities,
and some people steal. And people who cannot grow, buy, beg for, or steal
enough food to live will expire. If we had a system that recognized this,
and that structured itself so we'd have the appropriate incentives (e.g. if
your family wants you to stay alive even though you're starving, you can
steal a meal and they will pay the associated fines), it would all work out
better. As it is now, I can tell the present understanding of the system is
messed up because when I give a fairly neutral assessment, people call me an
alien commie monster.

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