Article: A Manifesto of the Private Property Anarchists

Many are likely to at least partly subscribe to the philosophical ideal of individual liberty that is at the heart of private property anarchism but still think that the application of private property anarchist ideology to society would necessarily lead to chaos.

However, when the private property anarchist talks about leveling government, he is referring to the multitude of entities that infringe upon property rights, and disposing of all such entities and preventing them from reemerging would not only not create chaos, but would effect the very opposite outcome of restoring and maintaining perpetual order, peace, and prosperity forever.

Kevin Cornell is currently studying to get a B.S. degree in Liberal Studies from Southern Connecticut State University.

Read the Full Article by Kevin W. Cornell

Afterwards, discuss it below.

7 comments… add one

  • One quibble: we do not own our labor. Labor is an action. We own our bodies. That gives us the derivative right to perform actions.

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  • You’re right. Perhaps it should be changed to the following: “because every individual owns his physical body, he owns the right to sell his labor, since one’s labor is simply a product of one’s focused bodily movement.”

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    • Kevin, I think this also is a bit of a compressed way of saying it. I wouldn’t call labor a product, but that’s a quibble. It’s just what you do. You can sell labor, but only in the sense that the action to be performed is a necessary condition for the payment to be made to you.

      In other words, unlike a normal exchange–which is bilateral, in that A gives B title to (ownership of) something in exchange for something else that B gives A–the “sale of labor” is simply a unilateral title transfer. If A is to perform service or labor in exchange for some fee paid by B, then the only title transfer is from B to A: B’s money becomes A’s, IF and WHEN A performs the specified behavior. But B does not then become the “owner” of the labor. Suppose the service is the singing of a song. Once A has finished singing, it’s gone. B didn’t acquire ownership of anything. If I pay a masseuse I do not walk out owning a massage.

      So it can be misleading to call it a sale of labor: to most people this conjures up the idea of a normal bilateral exchange, so it gives the impression that the “labor” is some thing, some substance, some separately ownable entity–which leads to all sorts of errors, including the erroneous notion of intellectual property.

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      • I got you. I submitted a correction to Daniel Coleman that excises out the confusion and that helps the article to flow more smoothly.

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  • For any who liked this piece, an essay of mine titled “A Natural Law Justification for Certain Forms of Anarchist Violence” should be published on dailyanarchist.com soon.

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  • “The logical conclusion to draw from this is that everyone should agree to get rid of all government and do their part to advocate for this end. Until we do this, we will continue to live under governments which oppress the masses at the benefit of the few politically connected.” That is, forever…

    I can never see how someone can start out with anarchism and end up with getting rid of all government. What are you going to do with people who want government? Take them out back and put a bullet in their heads?

    No, the logical conclusion is that anarchists should work to free themselves from government control, and otherwise let non-anarchists do as they please – including having government. Fortunately this (while difficult) is a heck of a lot easier than converting everyone on earth to be anarcho-capitalists. All we need ask for is tolerance. See: What Is to Be Done With the Statists?

    Also, depending on the notion of “rights” is pretty shaky, since rights are nothing but an infinitely maleable meme we carry around in our heads. See: Life Without Rights

    I’ve also written about property, without depending on such slender reeds as “rights”:Private Property vs. ‘Your Stuff’

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  • I struggle with the idea that ‘insult’ is not a violation of ‘propery’, appropriately defined (in much the same way, I am increasingly dissatisfied with Rothbard’s idea that reputation is not property).

    One’s reputation is the product of a specific attempt to produce a set of behaviours that signal to the world that you are an individual of a specific type. That ‘output’ has unambiguous value, including but not limited to its role as an input into other production processes. For example, a lawyer whose reputation is smeared may suffer a decline in their business, since reputation is an important contributor to their competitive advantage and therefore to their production process.

    Damage to reputation has tangible effects on the reputee’s ability to trade and is thus either a tort or a violation in equity (arguably one does not have a ‘right’ to a reputation, but iff reputation is property one has a right not to have it damaged: whether or not it’s property, one has the right to be compensated for ‘downstream’ damages that flow from the reputational damage).

    There are folk who cling to a rather naive idea of what constitutes ‘property’ – it pretty much limits it to tangible things. That is a very difficult idea to sustain. A flow of services may have absolutely no physical manifestation whatsoever except in the person of the producer (for example, verbal legal advice – rare these days, but palpably it’s “a thing”) and which has value which depends critically on the reputation of the producer.

    I’m not arguing here for nonsense like Intellectual Property law (which is a shibboleth from top to bottom), which serves only to prevent goods from being reproduced at marginal cost (i.e., near-zero for anything that can be expressed in bits). You can’t reproduce a 10-year reputation at zero cost, I assure you – and damage to reputation changes the marginal revenue of the producer.

    I admit that I still vacillate on this issue: Rothbard’s framework (that reputation ‘belongs’ to those who think about the individual concerned) is increasingly unappetising, given that the ‘labour’ and other actions of reputee plays an unambiguous part in the formation of the reputation.

    I am all for untrammelled free speech (in that I don’t think there ought to be laws against any type of speech whatsoever). However I also support asymmetric private retalilatory violence in response to damage to reputation (asymmetric in that it should rightly include a punitive element as a disincentive to recidivism).

    And if one’s personal sense of honour is outraged, and one’s sense of honour is the result of a lifetime of specific behaviour (which is not costless), then as the reputee one has the right to seek redress. This is why private duels existed independently of, and entirely outside of, religious and political/State legal institutions: individuals value reputation. And as we all know, value is (almost) entirely subjective: it is not to be arrived at by green eyeshades poring over double-entry books of monetary costs incurred.

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