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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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I’ve come to look upon the

I’ve come to look upon the concept of self-ownership with skepticism. I can’t, presently, argue for or against the concept, for I can’t articulate exactly what my position on it is. However, I will link to a couple a posts that have done much to question my assumptions behind self-ownership.

The author of these posts is a philosophy professor, and a former libertarian, who is familiar with Rothbard and his arguments. Below he is analyzing Rothbard and his concept of self-ownership.

Rothbard as a philosopher

Rothbard revisited

Is self-ownership axiomatic?

For me, challenging my assumptions is an important step in fully understanding my views. At the very least, this will be a mentally stimulating exercise for those interested.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

I am an aristocrat. I love liberty; I hate equality. - John Randolph of Roanoke

E-BOOK Burning!!

I may not have "created" myself but I am in possession of my body and I don't know of anyone else that can lay claim to me unless it's my family and you believe in slavery.

You make some really absurd leaps.

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

Too bad...

I find this post quite disappointing. I will first apoligize that I haven't read your book, but this doesn't help with the motivation. I explained to you before that the choice of the term "self ownership" is not really exactly what is intended, and isn't really in opposition to your preferred assertion of "ownership by God." What is being asserted by "self-ownership" is primarily the denial of ownership by other humans. It is true, perhaps, that most who advocate self ownership do not believe in God, and therefore the denial of other human ownership is easy to conflate with self-ownership.

In addition, even given the wiki definition above, you are not justified in your addition of the idea of "creating their own morality." The assertion of the morality of self-ownwership is not the same as "rewriting morality from a blank slate," and your conflation of the two is patently disengenuous.

The problem I think I see in what you are continuing to write is that you really don't believe in God, so you want some mechanism to "help" him exercise his ownership.

I should just leave you to ponder that, but I'll address your "sticky" examples.

1. You like "child support." This is, perhaps, too nebulous to say much about. "A man who got a woman pregnant"? Believe it or not, this can happen in a lot of different ways. I mean...there's really only one sort of "way," but there can be a lot of different attending circumstances. Probably in some of them, the man should be immediately killed, and I don't reckon he's going to be providing much child support after that.

But I get your point: "Child support is always good, and I need me some (local) monopoly on force to create a system in which it can flourish. It's for the children." I'm sorry, no decent person agrees with you.

2. You like national "defense" and other forced "free rider" programs. The problem here, perhaps, is that you can't see past nationalism, that "infantile disease which is the measles of mankind." I'm afraid it is also evil. You say that decent people would agree with you, but I don't know of any. You've only got sick infants and psychopaths on your side.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. ---Robert Heinlein

Please get this straight: We are not "free riders." We do not consent.

It seems that I am learning more from you than you are from me.

And I think it unfortunate that our intellectual relationship is not more symmetrical. The assertion of self-ownership is not quite the same thing as asserting the right to create your own morality, but it provides the philosophical under-pinnings which logically permit it. I am sorry you consider that "patently disingenuous." I think people can disagree without anyone being disingenuous, especially when it comes to short leaps like that.

Self-ownership is the basis for which a person can, while staying logically consistent to their premises *correct or not* reject anyone else's attempt to put a moral claim on them other than on their own terms. I think that is the basis of our disagreement and all of your other examples hinge on divergence at that point.

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 assertion of self-ownership is not quite the same thing as

asserting the right to create your own morality, but it provides the philosophical under-pinnings which logically permit it."

It works that way because you can't have one without the other. One does get to decide their own morality but they also have to live with the consequences of their morality when it crosses into another persons life and effects them.

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

Self-ownership is the foundation of natural rights.

Because I own myself and you own yourself, if one of us initiated aggression against the other we would be violating the others property rights.

Fundamentally, all of our natural rights are property rights.

It is from this understanding of self ownership that we discover the natural law.

An individual certainly could attempt to proclaim that they live by their own morality and violate the rights of others, but he would still be violating the natural law, and would be subject to the defensive actions of his neighbors.

Good comment, I'm just elaborating a little and adding my .02 cents.

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com


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

I know right?

They think they can sneak their way into the conversations while knocking down the pillars we stand on as if they are completely transparent.

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

???????

"It works that way because you can't have one without the other. One does get to decide their own morality but they also have to live with the consequences"

Well then you must see that you are making my point. Why your initial objection to my lumping them together if you can't have one without the other?

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)

Not so buddy..

See where we disagree? I said it DOES give one the right.. How does it do that? Simple.. Non-Aggression Principle.. It doesn't impose their morality on you it only states that you can't do something that effects another human being.

That's the only limit. So it limits abuse to others by an individual based on his or her sovereign rights.. those natural laws.

If Anarchist want to live outside of YOUR law they are afforded that right naturally. Nobody gave you stewardship over other human beings. He gave us stewardship over the land and the animals in that we should take care of it.. not lord over it.

You have life twisted.

Edit: Here's a little quote for you..

Luke 12:13-15: Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.

The whole basis of Christian arguments calling for the lording of other human beings stems from Cain And Abel and the "I am nit my brothers keeper" line.

God made us and gave us complete free will.. We are only accountable to him and him alone. We live a free life with all of the natural laws in tact and are judged by him at death. This is NO WAY gives people like you the leeway to follow in the Lords footsteps trying to be our Master.. We have one Master and he is in heaven.

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

Hold on now,

When you wrote "If Anarchist want to live outside of YOUR law they are afforded that right naturally. Nobody gave you stewardship over other human beings." are you saying that you are not relying on society, or government, recognizing your rights? That is, if the government, duly elected, says you have to pay taxes and you don't want to that you should not have to?

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)

Sure.. Are not Anarchist afforded the same natural rights that

the next person is? Sure they are.

Government is an institution of men not God. No man or woman if they so choose have to do anything they do not want to as long as they aren't hurting another.. Ya know.. Live and let live.

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

Well yes they are, but that is half the question

The other half is what rights the society you live in have agreed to recognize as rights. I mean, that is what a "right" is, correct? The other half is "what does my society recognize as a right?" A right is a claim against the majority. It is something that is according an individual and not subject to majority vote.

In a Republic, the founding documents list things that are "off limits" to majority vote. That list is not as extensive, or as revered, as I would like, but by the Rule of Law principle the majority is not bound by what I THINK my rights are but rather they are bound by what rights they have previously agreed to recognize.

Your desire to inform the rest of your society that you have decided that your realm of life not subject to majority vote is going to be a lot bigger than what they are willing to recognize as rights slams your NAP smack up against the Rule of Law, which is listed in the piece as part of the foundational libertarian principles, without which even the NAP is useless.

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 other half is what rights the society you live in have

agreed to recognize as rights. I mean, that is what a "right" is, correct?"

No, a right is just what I said earlier.. That which the individual decides for the individual specifically. He can't decide for others, only himself, the same way others decide for themselves..

If a socialists decide that it is their right to have health care.. that goes beyond natural rights but he or she is welcome to make that happen as long as they aren't trying to dictate that to others.

"In a Republic, the founding documents list things that are "off limits" to majority vote. That list is not as extensive, or as revered, as I would like, but by the Rule of Law principle the majority is not bound by what I THINK my rights are but rather they are bound by what rights they have previously agreed to recognize."

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

If you indeed uphold the rule of law, then you'd uphold that law and the natural laws that were put forth by the Founding Fathers. Those pillars of libertarianism didn't pop out of thin air last week.

So, I don't think that's what you are here for.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qo8CmO...
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

Again you question my motives

because I don't share your premises. I don't share your definitions. I don't think a right is what the individual determines their rights are. I think there is an absolute moral standard for rights, which we group to understand, in the fabric of the universe. The issue then becomes the RECOGNITION of existing rights. On that I think the answer is just what I said before, a recognized right is something that is not subject to majority vote.

In that context, the doctrine of having each individual try to assert their own version of what they think their rights should be against all their neighbors is just silly. You don't get to decide what rights your neighbors must acknowledge. We do that by agreement and it is by necessity a group activity. I would that the bar be moved toward much more freedom than we have, but I am only one voice. I must persuade others that more freedom is better.

And if your version is correct, that rights are a result of individual construct rather than something transcendent and a part of the moral law of the universe, then why in the world would any others be bound by what YOU THINK your rights are? Why don't they just hit you over the head and take your stuff if they think their tribe is the best tribe?

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)

Can you provide the book that this universal law is written in?

"Why don't they just hit you over the head and take your stuff if they think their tribe is the best tribe?"

That's what they're doing now and all you're trying to do is muddy the water.

"Again you question my motives"

Oh and absolutely I do.

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

This is awesome! I never could put words to why I consider

myself libertarian, yet disagree so much with many of them. You put it perfectly. There will always exist wicked men, and therefore we need some sort of government. God didn't originally put man in subjection to other men. But, when man sinned and became alienated from his creator, he brought the need for civil government.

Hope this makes front page originals.

Check out mine if you haven't already.

http://www.dailypaul.com/276485/would-you-believe-the-god-of...

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

Thank you

I believe you are correct in that there is a direct inverse correlation between how virtuous people are and how much government they will need to keep from tearing one another apart. Public virtue is the best defense against big government. A nation of Ron Pauls would need no government, but we must have laws because of the lawless.

Also, I urge you not to pay heed to silly over-the-top examples like the fellow below who implies that recognition of a higher moral law is a justification for rape. While it could be misused so, we don't judge a tool or a philosophy on how they might be mis-used. Almost all men know that it is wrong to rape, that the higher moral law says that it is wrong.

The anarchist philosophy on the other hand, could have a fellow walk around naked, smeared with mayonnaise in front of your daughter and wife and there could be no public sanction of him and his friends because they did not "initiate force or commit fraud".

IOW, they must use an example of MIS-using the principle I cite here to show an unjust situation, I can use the their principles correctly and find unjust situations. This is because while their principle encapsulates MUCH of the higher moral law, it does not get it all.

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)

"God didn't originally put man in subjection to other men.

But, when man sinned and became alienated from his creator, he brought the need for civil government."

Then, when a man rapes a woman, he'll be able to use yours and his silly logic.. He was merely laying claim to that which you do not own.

Patriot Cell #345,168
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qo8CmO...
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

Are you being silly?

Man is in subjection to other man with civil government. That was all I was referring to.

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

A main base for his argument and his point was that we do not

own ourselves and you seemed to be agreeing with him in the sense that he was right because of your statement.

I'm just pointing out that the idea that we aren't self-owned and sovereign is stupid. Even his own words with some of what he wrote contradicts his assertion of that.

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

"If you think about it, it's

"If you think about it, it's really hard to make the case that we "own ourselves." We did not create ourselves."

Is it? Who has a greater claim on ownership of yourself than you?

"Self-ownership does not seem a rational position."

Nowhere have you made a case that the claim of ownership over ones self is somehow illegitimate.

"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."

Why?

"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."

Who gets to decide what everyone's morality will be again?

"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)."

I haven't read where anyone would be forcefully imposing anything. That's the idea. People would instantly gravitate to the most affordable and secure areas of voluntary interaction that they wished to engage in.

"Decentralizing power would make the government subject to the marketplace."

Agreed. But this isn't a new idea. It's kind of what libertarians have been railing about for many years now.

So what you're saying is 1) You don't have any legitimate claim of self-ownership without stating who does. 2) Get rid of all centralized government, replace with the previous model of city-states. 3) Once you're dead, you have a legitimate claim of ownership.

Maybe I'm thick, but I do not remotely understand your premises, which is in stark contrast to anything I've ever read of Rothbard concerning the Ethics of Liberty.

I may actually read your book if you can clear any of this up.

I am sorry that you did not get as much out of it

as the poster immediately above you and immediately below you. I have found this has little to do with intelligence though. It is kind of like algebra, it starts with insight, and only then can reason kick in. I did not get some localism principles either the first time it was explained to me. Some of it is counter-intuitive.

I DON'T WANT to make the case that self-ownership is illegitimate. I want to make the case that other ways of looking at it, as in we are "owned" by our Creator who gave us freedom and a stewardship, are also legitimate.

You do not need to agree with my view that when compared to the vastness of the cosmos, and the complexity of even the smallest cell, and the enormity of time, that our four pounds of grey matter need a little help from revealed truth to get it right. You don't need to agree that the problem is too big for our hardware, you only need to be able to tolerate that most people in the next county or next state have that premise and so their conclusions will be different from yours on where the lines are drawn.

Who gets to decide what everyone's morality will be? NO ONE. Different states, and even counties within those states, may have different ideas about where the lines will be drawn. Think about what a "right" is in a Republic. It is something that is NOT SUBJECT TO MAJORITY VOTE, right? It is a claim that the individual can make against the whole of society. And when a Republic organizes, it lists the things the founders agree will be "rights" and the things subject to majority vote. There is a process to add or subtract rights that are recognized, but it is laborious and requires a super-majority.

What does a libertarian want? They want the list of rights expanded until they line up with the NAP, right? To do that, you need a majority of the founders, or a super majority of the people later, to agree with you. The rest then go along because that is where the majority decided the lines should be drawn.

So how do you get from A to Z? I suggest that you can do so all at once, or by an evolution whereby rights over time become recognized to look more and more like the NAP. Or some might find that the NAP is too broad and stop somewhat short of it. My point is there would be no difference as far as recognizing rights than what we have now, but a lot more chance of making it happen because your coalition could be much larger.

Libertarians have not addressed how they keep the libertarian state from falling back into centralized control. Look at our nation, it started as a decentralized federation of republics and has devolved into this. What defends the libertarian state against fiat money? Against centralized courts doing to the NAP what they have done to the Constitution? Against foreign governments and massive corporations controlling your choices so that your "freedom" means nothing? Localism answers these questions.

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)

Thank you

Thank you for your reflections on how to get to true liberty. Localism also seems more do-able as your voice is not as diluted. Also the relevant issues will vary from area to area. The other thing is when I think of all the areas in the world where people live on $1.00 a day. How do they do it? I guess by relying on each other.

Vickie

Lots of good info, however

there's zero actionable steps. What do you say when people ask, "Fine, what do I do tomorrow? What's MY first step?"

There has to be some place that outlines all the steps that people can do, being very specific, so they can pick which best applies to them. Where's this list?

Do You Mean In the Book or in the Article?

The article was about getting people to see how more than one philosophy on which to build a society could be correct, so that they would be open to the idea of localism instead of saying "no the only possible answer is for everyone to do it my way."

The book is prescriptive. That is, it posits lots of remedies to the problem of how you build a society to prevent power from being centralized, including problems that many of us have not even considered yet. For example, I believe in monetary freedom, but any entity foreign or domestic that cons people into accepting fiat money is a threat to the whole society, ergo there must be some defense against the corrosive effects of fiat money.

Of course, most of it would be more applicable after some kind of re-boot, but maybe it is time we spent some energy thinking about a re-boot instead of trying to save a corrupt system. At some point, quit trying to bail water and look for life boats.

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)

This article is NOT in the book

I wrote it. The book is more "this is how organize a nation so as to keep power decentralized". If I don't change anyone's mind on "self-ownership" I am OK with that. The baseline goal was to get someone who believes in self-ownership to see that there could be other ways of looking at it that are not necessarily wrong. It all depends on which premises are right. So if they set up their society with the one premise and you set up yours with the other you could both "live and let live".

What if we had the sort of decentralized framework called for in Localism and the US had 25 states that were libertarians (with maybe some anarchist counties in them), 20 states that were limited government conservative, and five states that were pretty much what we have now? Would that be acceptable to you, so long as people were free to live where they wanted?

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)

"So if they set up their society with the one premise and you

set up yours with the other you could both "live and let live"."

That would imply that they had the right to self-determination which leads you right back to self-ownership.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qo8CmO...
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

"So if they set up their society with the one premise and you

set up yours with the other you could both "live and let live"."

That would imply that they had the right to self-determination which leads you right back to self-ownership.

Patriot Cell #345,168
I don't respond to emails or pm's.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qo8CmO...
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution, inevitable.

Or stewardship

I mean this is the classic Christian position that the West had before they fell to modernism. We are stewards, we have been given authority to manage the estate for a while, but we are still accountable to the Master for our choices.

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)