-13 votes

More Ethical Absurdity of Rothbardian Rights Theory

Watch Rothbard explain in his own words how allowing children to starve to death should be legal according to his ethics and rights theory. Presumably his cult followers like Walter Block agree. Sh1t to make yer head spin, all from the horse's mouth. Enjoy, lol. (emphasis added)

“Suppose now that the baby has been born. Then what? First, we may say that the parents-or rather the mother, who is the only certain and visible parent-as the creators of the baby become its owners. A newborn baby cannot be an existent self-owner in any sense. Therefore, either the mother or some other party or parties may be the baby’s owner, but to assert that a third party can claim his ‘ownership’ over the baby would give that person the right to seize the baby by force from its natural or ‘homesteading’ owner, its mother. The mother, then, is the natural and rightful owner of the baby, and any attempt to seize the baby by force is an invasion of her property right.

But surely the mother or parents may not receive the ownership of the child in absolute fee simple, because that would imply the bizarre state of affairs that a fifty-year old adult would be subject to the absolute and unquestioned jurisdiction of his seventy-year-old parent. So the parental property right must be limited in time. But it also must be limited in kind, for it surely would be grotesque for a libertarian who believes in the right of self-ownership to advocate the right of a parent to murder or torture his or her children. We must therefore state that, even from birth, the parental ownership is not absolute but of a ‘trustee’ or guardianship kind. In short, every baby as soon as it is born and is therefore no longer contained within his mother’s body possesses the right of self-ownership by virtue of being a separate entity and a potential adult. It must therefore be illegal and a violation of the child’s rights for a parent to aggress against his person by mutilating, torturing, murdering him, etc. On the other hand, the very concept of ‘rights’ is a ‘negative’ one, demarcating the areas of a person’s action that no man may properly interfere with. No man can therefore have a ‘right’ to compel someone to do a positive act, for in that case the compulsion violates the right of person or property of the individual being coerced. Thus, we may say that a man has a right to his property (i.e., a right not to have his property invaded), but we cannot say that anyone has a ‘right’ to a ‘living wage,’ for that would mean that someone would be coerced into providing him with such a wage, and that would violate the property rights of the people being coerced. As a corollary this means that, in the free society, no man may be saddled with the legal obligation to do anything for another, since that would invade the former’s rights; the only legal obligation one man has to another is to respect the other man’s rights.

Applying our theory to parents and children, this means that a parent does not have the right to aggress against his children, but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die.

The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive. (Again, whether or not a parent has a moral rather than a legally enforceable obligation to keep his child alive is a completely separate question.) This rule allows us to solve such vexing questions as: should a parent have the right to allow a deformed baby to die (e.g. by not feeding it)? The answer is of course yes, following a fortiori from the larger right to allow any baby, whether deformed or not, to die. (Though, as we shall see below, in a libertarian society the existence of a free baby market will bring such ‘neglect’ down to a minimum.)”

From his bizarre "The Ethics of Liberty," which first made me scratch my head about ol' Rothbard.

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now i did :O~~

now i did :O~~

Cute refrain. did you remember that.... you are the OP?

do you stand by your own version of "natural law"

or is that too complicated for you?

my ex-wife does not think you are funny or smart.
I hope you meat her....

your next stupid question SHOULD be........

" what does the law of nations have to do with the concept of natural law"

or are you too stupid or too ashamed to ask it?

darn, I brushed my tooth, and even wore deodorant too!....

dimwit, I WAS trying to help and be nice.....

"To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;"

you just pissed me off.

You're taking "natural"

You're taking "natural" rights too literally. What the founders meant by "natural" rights were simply derived from the Christian doctrine that all men are equal("You are neither jew nor Greek, slave nor free but all one in Christ"). So children do have rights as a child of Gor, but obviously not literally in a state of nature.

Agree 100% that our rights need a coercive framework for enforcement though. Look at the middle ages to see what rights you had if you spoke out against the feudal lord lol. Wild west lynch mob justice, like what is happening with the Zimmerman case. Even Rothbard said there needed to be a permanent libertarian constitution and legal code in his anarchic society("enforced by competing for-profit courts") lol. Im sure they'd be really loyal to our rights the way Blackwater is loyal to the laws of war and Geneva conventions.

Ventura 2012


Most of the "founders" were deists - not Christians.

"All men are created equal" can be more accurately stated as "All men are equal before the laws of nature." If the President and a homeless man both fall off a cliff at the same time, which one hits the ground first?

The personal religious

The personal religious beliefs of thr founders has nothing to do with the evolution of individualism in Western civilization, culminating in "natural rights". That is heavily Christian based.

Of course, calling them "natural rights" is very much a Deist/athiest/freemason way of re-labeling "God given inalienable rights". Which is why the terms are used interchangeably. One need only spend a few seconds looking at nature to see that it looks more like Nazi social Darwinism than individual freedom enforced by law.

Ventura 2012

"Nazi social Darwinism"

that is your best description of natural law?


If you couldn't even

If you couldn't even understand my post, I sincerely doubt you understood that book you linked to.

Ventura 2012

I am jacking with your sockpuppet..

care to intervene?

complicated stuff confuses me.....

you have invented your own version of "Natural Law"

and are not smart enough to understand that you have been intellectually bitchslapped..... yet.

How vulgar and low

How vulgar and low brow....away with you

Ventura 2012

a Brawler from Baltimore called me "vulgar and low"

do I get a cookie for such a feat?

or too much heat in the kitchen for ya?

Here's your cookie


You should give these two a break.


but, but I was havin fun!!!!

thank you for seeing the humor.

check this out, you might like. another member posted it on the music thread.

what about BILL3?

don't you want to come to his rescue?

The philosophy of Jefferson,

The philosophy of Jefferson, Locke, Paine, and other philosophers of the Enlightenment period is that Rights are innate to Humanity - preexisting any man made law or government. It is our birthright by providence.

Bill(?) doesn't seem to agree with this philosophy, or if he does his interpretation is more than a little muddled.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

He probably does agree with

He probably does agree with that. He just thinks that those rights mean nothing without state infrastructure to actually enforce them. In a state of anarchy, those rights will not be enforced and therefore do not really meaningfully "exist".

Ventura 2012

Then he does not understand

Then he does not understand the concept of natural rights.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

Sure he does. Rights -

Sure he does. Rights - enforcement = slavery. Rights + enforcement = liberty

Ventura 2012

lol you just claimed that the

lol you just claimed that the founders based their conception of political equality on newtonian physics acting on bodies with mass. stop trollin...

So are the relations and interactions of animals also based on equality because of the laws of gravity, or just people?

one sentence w/ caps. one without. Threw you off, huh?


Thomas Paine - the true founder of the US - and true author

of the Declaration of Independence was a self-taught student of Newtonian physics.


real thomas paine

yer boy thomas paine was a proto socialist. perhaps thats why he was such a fanboy for the socialistic bent of the french revolution.

Agrarian Justice is the title of a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, published in 1797, which advocated the use of an estate tax and a tax on land values to fund a universal old-age and disability pension, as well as a fixed sum to be paid to all citizens on reaching maturity.

It was written in the winter of 1795-96, but remained unpublished for a year, Paine being undecided whether or not it would be best to wait until the end of the ongoing war with France before publishing. However, having read a sermon by Richard Watson, the Bishop of Llandaff, which discussed the "Wisdom ... of God, in having made both Rich and Poor", he felt the need to publish, under the argument that "rich" and "poor" were arbitrary divisions, not divinely created ones.[1]

I think you'll have a different opinion

if you take the time to read the lectures which I've posted.

do these lectures include a

do these lectures include a disavowal of his protomarixst pamphlet agrarian justice?

I've actually read Agrarian Justice. Have you?

I doubt it.

Paine was attempting to address an issue which he could have had no foresight. First of all, the pamphlet began on the false assumption that undeveloped populations - such as Native Americans - exercised no property rights. Paine was speaking out of good faith to the principles which he envisioned in the face of, then, current theoretical criticisms of life without coercive government.

By the way, Paine strongly opposed direct taxes in the pamphlet. At least, he had that much foresight.

Given the period in the past in which Paine lived, he provided the most sane view of governance that could be expected. Paine was the reason that the kings of the world failed. If not for him, George Washington may have likely been the first king of the US rather than the first president.

It would do you good to listen to the lectures. They are enjoyable and very informative.

The complete writings of Thomas Paine can be found at Mises.org.

Glad he meant well in his

Glad he meant well in his socialism. I'm sure no other socialists ever meant well.

From Agrarian Justice:

[On the matter of acquired property], equality is impossible; for to distribute it equally it would be necessary that all should have contributed in the same proportion, which can never be the case; and this being the case, every individual would hold on to his own property, as his right share.

bump for


"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

Shweew. Let's just be glad he

Shweew. Let's just be glad he didn't study animal husbandry or accounting. Who knows what would have made it into the constitution.