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The Problem with Self-Ownership



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I believe that localism represents the best chance libertarians will have of getting their philosophy implemented into practice.  The most probable path to a libertarian government passes through Localism.   That's because Localism is really just a framework for keeping smaller and smaller units of government free to organize as they see fit.   It is designed to stop what Jefferson called "the natural order of things"- I.E. tyranny (the centralization of power) to grow and liberty to yield ground.  

Localism is simply a container to protect against the centralization of political power.  What is placed in that container is up to the people in each locality.  Then the market will resolve what systems of government are attractive to people and which aren't.  

With that said, let me begin to explain why I am not a libertarian by noting that of the three generally accepted libertarian pillars, the only one I agree with fully is the Rule of Law.     The other two pillars are the non-aggression principle and Self-Ownership. As a caveat, I recognize that not all libertarians consider Self-Ownership to be an essential philosophical foundation of the creed- they would substitute other things. Those other principles have weaknesses that I will not delve into here. Self-ownership is considered foundational by many if not most libertarians, so let's talk about Self-Ownership.

 Here is the definition from Wikkipedia:

Self-ownership (or sovereignty of the individual, individual sovereignty or individual autonomy) is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to havebodily integrity, and be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G. Cohen, the concept of self-ownership is that "each person enjoys, over himself and his powers, full and exclusive rights of control and use, and therefore owes no service or product to anyone else that he has not contracted to supply."

Who could argue with that?  Lot's of decent people, once you apply that absolute to some sticky situations.  An example might be whether a man who got a woman pregnant had any obligation to pay child support.   Insisting someone share the bill for national defense, or anything else with "free rider" issues, might be another example.  

The great Scottish writer George McDonald,  who wrote both Children's books and works on Natural Law, once said "The first principle of Hell is 'I am my own.'"    Understand I am not saying that the state owns us, or that we own each other.    My position is that God owns us, and though He has placed us in this world and granted us much freedom to become who we want to be, we are and will be accountable to Him for the use we have made of our freedom.

If I asked you why you thought you '"owned" your paycheck, you might say to me that your labor created the wealth that it represents.   You might say that you made a voluntary agreement to exchange your efforts for the money and that you lived up to your end of the bargain.   That is, you choose to do the agreed-to work and have therefore earned the agreed-on price.   You may be able to think of other good answers.  But I can't help but notice that the reasons we might give to say that we "own" our paycheck cannot be applied to make the case that we own ourselves!

If you think about it, it's really hard to make the case that we "own ourselves."  We did not create ourselves.  We did not determine when or where we entered this world, and we do not get to decide whether or not we get to stay in this world.   Others did many things to us and for us- some with our permission, some without, which permitted us to reach adulthood.   Each day a thousand things we cannot control in the heavens and on earth are necessary to sustain our lives.  Nor can we stop the ravages of time in our own persons.  Though we might live 100 years, still our destiny is a slow fade in this life as we begin our journey to the next.   We can dye our hair, but we cannot really turn even one hair of our head white or black.     Self-ownership does not seem a rational position.

A much better case for "self-ownership" can be made in any eternal afterlife that might exist.    There it might be argued that our place of entry is determined by our own choices, that the being we have become is the result of our own choices.   So while we may have had no hand in our own creation in this life, we would in the next.   And the condition would be, unlike this world, permanent.   What McDonald called "the First Principle of Hell" makes sense as a reality in Hell.   In this life, if God exists, we can only be as children in the womb, preparing for the next life but no more "sovereign" in this one than children yet unborn.

The concept of personal sovereignty, in the absolute sense Libertarians present it, implies individuals get to determine their own morality (except for the few absolutes they attempt to impose such as the conditions under which force might be used).   Again, measured against the vast scale of the cosmos, the enormity of time which has passed in all ages, and the value of wisdom which has endured for generations before us, the idea that the four pounds of grey matter in our skulls can be the final arbiter of right and wrong, even for ourselves, seems ridiculous.

We can try and discern right from wrong, and a worthy life will spend time doing so, but the idea that each generation, and even moreso each person, gets to re-write morality from a blank slate seems ridiculous.    Any one of us is only a tiny part of the natural world.   We remain in it only an infinitesimal portion of the total time it has existed.  The idea that we can construct our own personal morality, to apply only to us, displays what seems to me an almost psychotic misinterpretation of our place in the universe.

That is why I am a Localist.   Instead of fighting over who gets to hold the single gun that is pointed at the rest of us from sea to shining sea, the central government would get no gun for enforcing moral imperatives, be that gun libertarian, fascist, conservative, liberal, or whatever.

States and localities would, retaining their right to sanction moral behavior such as mandating child support.  But let them be careful how they use such power!  For in such an arrangement states who go too far (that is, impose rules for moral behavior outside the underlying moral reality of the universe or beyond the scope of government compulsion) are bound to lose productive citizens to states which do not.  States and localities who did not go far enough would too. And in each case government would look more like what the citizens who live there would want government to look like,. Decentralizing power would make the government subject to the marketplace.




PS- This article is not in the book. The book is more prescriptive. I wrote the article so that people can see there are other perspectives to build societies around that could be just as valid as that of self-ownership. My goal was to make people more open to localism instead of thinking "there is only one just way to organize society and everyone needs to do it my way." Would you be satisfied as a goal for example if 20 states were organized on libertarian principles, with anarchists counties in them, 20 states were limited government conservative, and 10 were pretty much what we have now (though I don't think states as socialist as we have now could compete for long in a free-market of governments)?



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Ayn Rand had already answered all these questions

in depth. The summary can be found in her "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" and other non-fiction books, NBI lectures (mp3) by Nathaniel Branden, and Lectures on Objectivism by Leonard Peikoff.

It is sad that Ron Paul himself did not direct our movement towards that venue. If he did, few would be struggling to find answers about freedom, individual rights, self ownership, Libertarian morality, etc.

Too bad nobody seems to be able to restate them here.

so that the arguments can be tested. But perhaps Dr. Paul had his reasons. Maybe he thinks that God's moral code gives us self-ownership to the extent of the NAP and that this sums up moral reality as it applies to government. I don't know. But it would be a more coherent position than the view that the individual owns themselves absent any higher moral authorization.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Why do you need

logic and coherency when miracles will suffice? Wont you allow God to work in mysterious ways?

Regarding "testing" truth on economics and social sience, you did not study von Mises' "Human Action." He explained that in depth as well.
:)

You own yourself...

because you are the only one who can exercise direct control over yourself.

You were the first and only person to exercise control of your body, so you have homesteaded ownership of it.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

You make a serious attempt to have a reasoned position

and I thank you for that. But I don't know that what you said applies without pre-supposing that we are NOT created beings. That is exactly the point at issue.

On another level, if I hack into your computer and become the only person who can exercise direct control over the operating system of your computer, do I become its owner? I mean to me you are simply re-stating the possession argument, and if possession implied ownership then their are no tenants or thieves.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

I don't see what you find objectionable.

This applies whether or not you think we are created by god or nature.

We exist don't we?

"On another level, if I hack into your computer and become the only
person who can exercise direct control over the operating system of
your computer, do I become its owner? I mean to me you are simply re-
stating the possession argument, and if possession implied ownership
then their are no tenants or thieves."

You were not the first to use the computer so you didn't homestead rights to it, nor was the property legitimately transfered to you by the owner, so it is not rightfully your property and you have stolen it.

I'm not restating the possession argument, you overlooked the word "first" in my argument.

I also made it clear I was talking about homesteading, when I used the word 'homesteaded'.

There are only three just ways to obtain property, through homesteading previously unowned property, through sale or gift by the previous owner, or inheritance.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

I Just Want People to Realize there can be more than one

set of beliefs to organize a government around that are just as reasonable as Self-Ownership and the NAP, given their premises. And since we may never resolve whose premises are correct in this world, adopt a more live and let live approach toward philosophy of government. Ironically it is the anarchists who seem the most opposed to this concept!

I DID overlook the work first, so thanks for pointing that out. I don't think it changes my argument though. You can't out-first the First Cause.

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Not a whole lot of "self-ownership" going on in that view. You may believe that view is incorrect, but others do not, and you can't disprove their premises. I can't, with certainty anyway, disprove an agnostic's premises. So live and let live.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

I don't think you understand what homesteading is...

If you think it's no different than the 'possession argument'.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

I don't believe in gods.

I don't believe in gods. Thefore, the next reasonable "owner" if you don't believe in "self ownership" is that your parents own you. However soveriegn individuals cannot own one another or else they are depriving another of their right to Liberty, and that is a crime.

As a child born to your parents, you did not a sign a contract with them to give them ownership of you. Therefore they can claim no ownership of you beyond that which is required to raise a dependant. You "are" their responsability as "they" created you, until such time as you are able to be independant in the eyes of the law.

So since your parents don't own you, and there are no gods; whom then owns you if not you? The state? I think not. The philosophy of Liberty hinges on the fact that no one has a higher claim to your life than you do. Your claim may not be perfect, but it is the best available unless you subscribe to ficticious dieties claiming ownership of you, which I do not. Since you cannot force me to believe in your god without being a dictator, that means you cannot use the law to enforce a system which denies me self-ownership based on a diety having a higher claim to individual ownership. Because this system is impossible without the use of direct force against my wishes, my own claim over my life remains the highest legally enforceable under just law.

That means that self ownership is the only reasonable claim for an individualist government. Divine ownership is a breach on soveriegn rights of any who don't believe in "your" god.

If you impregnate a woman, in what way does natural law exempt you from taking responsability for your own actions? How does "self ownership" immunize you from helping to support the product of your choices?

As for common defense, Mises.org has some excellent theories on free market solutions to private defense contractors and insurance. However many of us who support self ownership do not completely deny that there is a role for small, heavily contained governments used for specific purposes. Among those, are common defense. There are also constitutional ways to raise tax revenues which do not infringe upon self ownership.

As an individualist, I absolutly believe I am the only one who has any right to tell me what is moral and what is not. However this freedom does "not" give me the authority to deprive anyone of their Life, Liberty & Property. So the bigger question is: What possible business is it of yours or anyone else's what I am doing to myself and other consenting adults, wether I consider it right, wrong, or simply don't care as long as im not hurting anyone else?

You can live in a nation of people who watch porn, do drugs, do not worship gods or UFOs or whatever and listen to heavy metal music while playing Call of Duty and be perfectly fine so long as the rule of law is enforced, and people are responsable for the consequences of their actions. Self destructive behavior detructs only the self, and opens oppertunities for responsable people around them.

... and once again; religeon is opposed to human liberty.

Let's sort this out....

"if you don't believe in "self ownership" is that your parents own you. However soveriegn individuals cannot own one another or else they are depriving another of their right to Liberty,"

Look, your reasoning is a nice tight circle here because you ASSUME a sovereign individual when this is tied up in the very point at issue.

Still, "Your parents own you" is a better answer than 90% of the ones on this thread. Ancestor worship is still around, I would argue though, that parents (of whom I am one) have a moral responsibility to act in the child's best interest, even while I assume a degree of control over their life that I could never justly do with a "sovereign" individual. Of course I base that on my belief in a higher moral order established by God.

"So since your parents don't own you, and there are no gods; whom then owns you if not you? The state? I think not. The philosophy of Liberty hinges on the fact that no one has a higher claim to your life than you do."

If there is no God, only the material universe, then no one has "right of ownership" over you, not even you. In such a case there are no "rights", just individual preferences with none more objectively correct than the other. "Ownership" would morally equal "Possession" in such a case. It would not matter if it was obtained "justly" under the NAP or the Christian code, or "unjustly." Without a divine reference point it is all just personal preferences. "If there is no God then all things are permissable" said Tolstoy in the Brothers Kazarov.

The NAP absent a god would just be an organizing principle that some might agree to as long as it was seen to be in the mutual self interest of each member. Should a stronger outside society exist, they could choose to capture the weaker NAP society and make its members into laundry soap with an equally valid moral claim- that is to say NONE, because rights are granted by a Creator, as our Founders plainly stated.

Since you cannot force me to believe in your god without being a dictator, that means you cannot use the law to enforce a system which denies me self-ownership based on a diety having a higher claim to individual ownership. Because this system is impossible without the use of direct force against my wishes, my own claim over my life remains the highest legally enforceable under just law.

It is true that I cannot force you to believe in God against your wishes. Not even a dictator can do that, since belief is internal. However, I question your assertion that society cannot justly enforce a system which denies you self-ownership based on a higher deity having a higher claim on you, that is, a higher moral code you can be made obligated to follow even if you don't view that code as binding on you. It is done all of the time. Our prisons are full of criminals who do not view societies laws as biding on them, for whatever reason.

If there is no god there is no basis for individual liberty to be morally superior to rule by the Great Man. If there is no god then man makes that deity the state. I submit human liberty is worse off in such a case as compared to when both individual and state looked to a higher moral order to conform to and be accountable to.

You may protest that "my own claim over my life remains the highest legally enforceable under just law" but without a source for a higher moral order there is no reference point to determine any one action any more "just" than any other. Why does your own claim trump the claim of someone smarter than you or stronger than you, or who has their own needs for laundry soap? Why aren't their claims superior on some basis of their superiority, or rather aren't all claims equal and therefore meaningless?

Either there is a higher moral order or there is not. You are hoping between the moral relativism of a godless universe and the language of "rights" and "justice" which presuppose a transcendent moral law requiring a Lawgiver.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Utter nonsense. Rights don't

Utter nonsense. Rights don't come from gods. If they did, then how come they can be taken from and taken back by men? Rights are won on the battlefield. Period. I don't recall any accounts of Jesus killing Redcoats.

I appreciate your desire for debait, but you position is based on ideas that aren't true. You very much can have rights without the help of divine monarchy. Natural Rights, like every other philosophical concept; both good and bad are products of the human mind. Some like natural rights are born of reason and others like you silly cosmic King come from fear and ignorance of those who cannot handle that we don't have all the answers, and who must invent superstitious nonsense to explain the world around them.

You can force you religion on me by force, yes, but you would have to be a tyrant to do it. Because of that, you would be acting illegally by our standard of natural law. We would be justified in revolting and killing you and your theocracy by right of self defense.

Even if there was god or wizard or whatever nonsense you want to buy into; and it was assumed that natural law was some high level spell that only he could cast on humans, then self ownership would still be the law since in order to force atheists to subscribe to the concept, the principal of the law would immediately be broken. Self ownership is the highest provable claim on an individual which does not require the initiation of illegal force to secure.

The philosophy of liberty and the 3 pillars which define it will cease to exist when all of us who believe in them are dead and all written record are gone. They will return only when someone thinks them up again. This philosophy will only become "rights" when enough collectivists who oppose then are dead or defeated politically so that there is no one left who can block them. Your god has no part to play in it save to be a mental opiate used to keep up the morale of those who require it.

Nonsense? But We Agree!

If you will re-read my above post we are really saying the same thing in the case of there being no God. That is to say, that "rights" are relative in that case, not absolute. I think another fellow pointed out, and it is a fascinating concept, that if we had evolved as herd animals or solo predators we might have a different morality and a different concept of "rights". And if your belief that there is no God is correct, then our view of morality and rights being solely a product of human mind and experience, then what our "rights" are would change as human thinking changed.

It is my view that this approach to "rights" is a dangerous slippery slope. I would rather have "X" amount of freedom granted by a Creator than "2X" amount granted by other humans- because humans are very changeable. A Creator, well by now He is what He is, eh?

Really I think if you will look at my language above in the case of no Creator I am describing relative rights and so are you. I am just bluntly emphasizing the logical consequences of that assumption.

Now I need not remind you that the Founders took my view of Rights, or rather I took theirs, that they were the Gift of God. So I am on the side of some really smart people that advanced human freedom a considerable deal.

I also think that Jesus killed more redcoats than there were redcoats, all without hurting a soul. What He did was turn those tyrants into servants of the people by changing their hearts. He introduced a revolutionary new concept to government- that the ruler is the servant of all.

Matthew 20 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—

It is no accident that the nations from whom the idea of human rights and human liberty sprang forth were those nations whose heritage was protestant Christian. It was no co-incidence, rather, there was something in the message of Christ that when taken seriously, inevitably produced more human liberty.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

But even if there is a god,

But even if there is a god, and even if he's the fellow who invented rights, so what? You say rights come to us by god. Big deal, they are taken from us by men. Seeing as men have the power to dominate and destroy those human rights that your god invented, what does it matter who invented them? When they are gone, they are gone. That means god given rights are every bit as arbitrary and fleeing as those dreamed up by human reason. No matter their origin, they must be won on the battlefield and kept through vigiliant defense by us.

I don't see how the origin, be it magical fairy-tale creatures or the human mind makes any differance whatsoever. I would however point out that you wouldn't be the first person on earth to assert that your particular belief system is sanctioned by a god. At least I know that what I believe is just that... a belief that is fragile and can be taken if not defended. I hold no illusions that magic beings with super-powers are going to defend my rights.

I would argue only that there is no proovable claim of ownership of a human's life greater than his own. Therefore, wether you believe in god or do not, if you wish to have law based on free choice rather than coersion, gods cannot be the highest claim to our lives legally. You can submit your own ownership claim to your magic king, but you cannot submit mine without force which I would rebel against. This is why "self" ownership is one of the 3 pillars of individualism. Without it, the boat don't float.

Thank you for writing seriously

"they can be taken by men....when they are gone they are gone"

If something is in harmony with the higher moral order of the universe established by the Creator, it is never gone. The RECOGNITION of those rights from the state may be gone, but the state cannot change God's established order. The denial of due rights sets in motion forces which, absent any other factors, will itself correct the error. William Penn claimed that there has never been for any great length of time a good people with bad rulers or a bad people with good rulers.

If you are not presently rebelling against the capricious rule we have then I don't see what would induce you to do so under the much greater degree of freedom you would have in a Localist society. You may hold no "illusions" that magic beings will defend your rights, but if there are no divine beings, the illusion is that you have "rights" at all. What you have then are "deal-killer" negotiating positions, not rights. That is, "this is the amount of my life I will accept the public having a say in, anything less than this and I will violently resist society's claim." The very word "right" is infused with moral pretense. It is the opposite of "wrong."

Please humor me as I give you what I think is the big picture in regard to government recognition of rights...

I am sure you will agree that with freedom comes responsibility. Most populations for most of history lacked the virtue required to sustain self-government. It therefore mattered less if their governments did not respect their rights.

That is, a lawless people would only use freedom to destroy themselves and trouble their neighbors, resulting in chaos. Because of that, immoral governments which did not respect their rights still had "legitimacy", they still had value in restraining evil because as bad as they were, without them violence and the violation of rights would be worse. In short, when people did not respect one another's rights then it enabled a government which did not respect them either.

With the rise of Christianity in the protestant West, populations attained a level of virtue such that they did not NEED to be governed so much. The were largely capable of self-rule. When the people are respecting each other's rights because of internal self-control, the violations of rights coming from the rulers becomes much more glaring. In that case external control, especially in one's own business, is a bigger worry than getting mugged.

What exactly are our God given rights, and how are they to be applied? Not even the Founders knew. They made their list, then they added for safe measure the 10th amendment which said that the list was not all inclusive, the people could still claim rights in the future that were not on the list!

It seems to me that the more virtuous the population, the larger the proportion of their total rights must be recognized by the state. Otherwise people will start noticing that the government is more of a threat to their rights and a nuisance to their lives than their neighbors are.

The thing is, I don't know for sure what is on heaven's list of Creator-granted rights. Nor does anyone else. Add to it that we have more than one variable in this experiment- not only must we consider what ought to be recognized rights, but their scope will vary with the personal virtue of the population. "If men were angels, no government would be necessary" wrote Madison.

We can say then is that if men were angles, we could expand "rights", that is, things not subject to majority vote, infinitely. Since men are not, if we expand rights beyond that of heaven's list, then lawlessness can increase with no law to check it in whatever area of life we have agreed to leave completely to the individual.

So how do we find "the right answer" with respect to what our rights are? There may or may not be only one "Heaven's List" of Creator-granted rights, but no one knows the totality of that list in every circumstance. Plus, given the variables involved, there can still be more than one "right" answer to the question given those other those other variables.

For example, for the purpose of protecting people from injustice, granting the whole list of rights (100%) might give them the freedom to do "X" amount of injustice to one another, because they would exercise their freedom badly. But shortening the list of rights to (100%/2) might give the state the power to do an equal amount of injustice ("X" amount) to them. The population suffers the same amount of injustice one way or the other, so for the purposes of establishing justice, setting the bar at either 100% or 100%/2 results in an equal amount of injustice.

Were the population more internally lawful, they might be able to exercise 80% of the list or 90% or 100% of the list, without as much injustice to their neighbors as the state would do if it had authority in those areas. Notice this view allows for justice beyond the "force" or "fraud" standard. Example: Waving one's penis in front of a man's wife and kids is not force or fraud, but it is injustice.

What is the answer in such a situation? To some extent, accepting uncertainty, which I notice is hard for a certain class of persons, some of whom use religion in a quest for certainty, and some who use philosophy as such.

We have to poke around and try to find the best answer, what we see through a glass darkly. Various places can have somewhat different answers. Let each state try what they think, and each county modify it if they see fit, and then let's see what works. Let's see how much freedom people can have before it is clear we have moved beyond the list of heaven. For then fallen humans will "game the system" and use freedom to hurt not only themselves, but others. Then let people choose what kind of place they want to live.

Will a society organized around the NAP be the best one? I don't think so, but if people are virtuous enough it could be. At any rate, people should have the right to try it, if they can get one another to agree to trust each other with that much latitude in their conduct.

Right now it is obvious to me that the central state is as big a threat to our rights as my fellow citizens are. The power to define rights is the power of dictatorship, since rights by definition are not subject to majority vote. And the state is using mythical "group rights" to take away what little self-determination we have left.

That's why we should decentralize that and every other power government has. We still need it, until we are angles, but we have to keep it localized or it quickly turns from servant to master. Localism not only recognizes that, but it sets up a framework to keep local power from falling prey to the ambitious centralizers.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Very good.

Thx.

The Problem...

..what problem. No solution just that WE ARE, WE THINK, WE ACT!

Possibly a little problem with guts...

James

I think therefore I am

speaks to existence, but not to ownership. Pascal himself might take my position. But I appreciate the humor in your post as an aide to break up the unwarranted tension that what was meant to be a philosophical discussion. I could get silly with the "gut problem". "I own my own flatulence, listen while I play the star-spangled banner using only my hindward parts".

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

GREAT..

I'm not that smart. I just get up in the morning and know that I am my own person and if not, I prefer to not exist...Just trying to keep
life simple and freeeeeeeeeee....I just try to keep the golden rule...sometimes I have some successes.

James

James

There is an interesting discussion about voluntary slavery

Between Stephan Kinsella and Walter Block. Search it out, they touch on prerequisite issues such as self-ownership.

So far more I have heard many assertions, but no refutations

That is, some assert that self-ownership is true, but I have not heard them explain "why" it is true. I mean, the "self-use" thing was close, but even the other self-ownership poster took issue with it. One said "I have possession of it" as if possession alone was proof of ownership. That does not follow.

I also have seen some of the tightest of circular reasoning one could imagine: "The non-aggression principle says I have self-ownership therefore I do because of the non-aggression principal."

I have been insulted, and there was even a call to burn this ebook (in which my name does not appear, nor is this article which seems to have some so upset even to be found in the book) as if that was a refutation!

It seems you have a premise that you can't defend, except with abuse.

If there is a God, He has ownership over your body by right of creation. If there is not then there is no absolute moral order to the universe and the one who believes "right conduct" is looting you for the benefit of his clan is not bound by your assertions of the NAP. And if they are not, neither is the mistaken moralist who would make possession of pot illegal (a position I don't support).

Asserting what you think your rights are is one thing, getting others to accept those boundaries is another. I just think you need to be able to defend your premises. Whether you can or you can't, I am not your enemy, I am helping you. If you figure out a way to defend them (besides down voting, insulting and otherwise acting in the equivalent of an angry chimp hurling poo, then you will be better able to advance your belief. If you cannot, then you are better off knowing the truth of that.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

The founding fathers provided the why.

Men are endowed by their CREATOR with...

If you don't believe in the creator, well, then you're going to serve another master, whether you like it or not.

I don't believe in a creator,

I don't believe in a creator, and I certainly don't need a master; I am an adult and quite capable of taking care of myself -appearently unlike many here. I find it interesting that you believe in a creator and I don't, and yet our government is the same. Either I'm right and there is no creator, or you're right and there is a creator but he/she just doesn't like you believers very much.

Self-delusion is your master.

Whether you realize it or not.

Perhaps self-ownership...

...means you owe no one an explanation?

Cop out, I know.

I can see the humor in that

"I took what you thought was your stuff, because it is actually my stuff. Since I am a self-owner, I don't owe you any explanation."

"I am fully compliant with the NAP even though I just got angry and punched you in the nose. You may consider this to be a violation of the NAP, but as a self-owner, I owe you no explanation for the apparent contradiction."

"Hey let's all maintain that we each have the power to decide what our own rights according to how we see the NAP. If any conflicts arise there is no need for the use of reason, we will each just assert that as self-owners, neither of us owes the other an explanation. That should resolve the problem peacefully."

It should be heaven on earth!

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

I hear you

Is self-ownership the same thing as self-rulemaking? Smacks to me of the "anarchy is synonymous with chaos" fallacy.

Maybe we are getting somewhere

I am using the definition from Wikkipedia for Self-Ownership. I would say it amounts to self-rule making when the larger society does not agree to it, and another poster who holds to it seems to treat it that way. He asserted that each person determined the limits of his own rights, reminding me of the "sovereign citizen" movement. But maybe you should define what you mean by 'self-rule making'. I mean I see it has half self rule making because you are trying to tell everyone else that because of this principle what rights of yours they have to acknowledge. It excludes the other half, you can't make rules for them without rationalizing how it fits into the NAP, but people are very capable of rationalizing around unpleasant facts. That's how we get a lot of crime now.

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)

Good stuff, thanks for the engaging discussion

I think I consider self-rulemaking to be a non sequitur. If I claim to own myself, I am in no way claiming that others must recognize my list of demands upon their civility (especially considering I would have no such list). I am, rather, claiming that no one may defraud me with some arbitrary list of demands (or defraud me in any other way I suppose).

The phrase "...make rules for them" seems like something other than self this-or-that. I discipline myself, based on rules that I did not invent but rather on things like "common law" or "common sense" or, if you prefer, "the ten commandments." I expect others to do likewise, and if they don't then I consider them to be defrauding me (I also believe that market-based arbitration can handle such disputes). I agree that criminality increases as "rules" increase, regardless of their origin (actually I think you were implying that criminality increases when people pretend to be in a position to interpret rules in their favor).

As an aside: I don't trust much that emanates from the make-believe universe of Jimmy Wales.

Self-Ownership is the wrong word IMO.

If you own something that means you can take it with you when you die - IMO. If we can't take anything material with us when we die then how can we "own" it. The concept of personal sovereignty (which is basically libertarianism) is about "right of use" not necessarily ownership.

I have exclusive right of use of my body. Can anyone claim to the contrary? "Right of use" in practice is the same thing as saying "self-ownership" without the pitfalls of evidence to the contrary.

It isn't the wrong word silly..

Self-Ownership is the word and "Right of use" is a definition. It in no way denotes that you have to be able to take it with you just because you have the right to use it the way you see fit.

Patriot Cell #345,168
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Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.