Defending Voluntaryism from Radical Marxists and Feminists

ruminatrix / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

We at the Voluntaryist Reader have begun a series giving weekly installments of Auberon Herbert’s A Plea for Voluntaryism (part one) to the end of presenting to the world what, exactly, voluntaryism is. But there are those on the blogosphere and elsewhere who attack voluntaryism and I want to give an answer to Francois Tremblay, in particular, who has regularly criticized voluntaryism. His latest post on the subject is here. Tremblay immediately states that not only is voluntaryism a target, it is among “the roots that support the institutionalized evils around us.”

This is puzzling since – as voluntaryists – we not only see voluntaryism as precisely the opposite, we actually define it as such. Voluntaryism is the opposition to aggression in any form, whether institutionalized or not. The only possibilities are that either a) we are terribly confused or b) we are devious liars.

Now, before getting into the heart of the debate, I want to say a word of caution regarding -isms. There are two kinds of -ism. The -ism in, say, Marxism or Judaism which denotes not only a concept or idea, but also a “school” of disciples that have handed on the tradition from generation to generation. But the -ism in, say, phenomenalism or atomism refers to a set of related ideas or concepts that, merely for the sake of convenience, are labeled together. Voluntaryism is the latter, not the former. It’s just a set of ideas about human nature, human choice and the consequences to human society about trying to restrict and rewrite these.

To start with the most obvious cases in defining voluntaryism, consider a mugger, a burglar or a rapist. The mugger threatens the life of his victim and, thus, coerces the victim to turn over what belongs to him – his wallet or whatever. Clearly, this is not voluntary. A burglar enters someone’s dwelling without their permission. We all recognize that invasion of someone’s dwelling is one of the most terrifying forms of coercion imaginable, instantly invoking episodes of True Crime. This, also, is not voluntary.  And rape is clearly an involuntary act. It is an intensely personal violation of the victim – whether a woman or a man – involving forced entry into the victim’s body.

Violent crimes are examples of involuntary action but fraudulent actions are also involuntary, in that they deceive the defrauded into believing he or she has agreed to something which they have not, in fact, agreed. If you order a Blu-ray player from eBay and receive, instead, a bedpan, you will want to have the situation rectified. If eBay were to say “Well, you sent us your money and you received what we call a ‘Blu-ray player'”, you will not agree that this was actually voluntary. It was a trick to get money out of you on the pretense of giving you what you had specifically ordered in exchange. And there are innumerable variations that can be played on these two themes of force and fraud – the frauds of the stock manipulator, the intimidation of the legal bully with his batallion of lawyers, and so on. That an aggressor does not declare “I hereby aggress against thee!” does not mean that the act in question is voluntary.

Tremblay says, “Voluntaryism … [followed] to its logical conclusion, … would say that, for instance, slave contracts should be allowed.” This is either a misunderstanding or a lie. Please, Mr. Tremblay, quote the voluntaryist – Herbert, Spencer, Tucker, Thoreau, Spooner, Nock, Chodorov, Rothbard, LeFevre – that ever said anything about slavery but that it is an odious evil, a scourge of mankind and a marring of man’s beautiful nature?

Tremblay continues with more wildly irresponsible claims about voluntaryism:

Voluntaryists don’t usually identify as voluntaryists, but they follow various schools, most likely capitalists and “anarcho-capitalism,” Libertarianism, and sometimes liberals (although liberals tend to be voluntaryists only on social issues).

How does he confirm any of these wild claims?

… radical feminism is an eloquent confirmation of that fact. When radical feminists address issues such as femininity, sexism, porn, prostitution, the rape culture, and so on, their opponents will without fail invoke some form of voluntaryism as a counter-argument.

Now, I’m open to hearing an argument from the radical feminists or from Tremblay explaining exactly how it is that, say, femininity involves the use of force or fraud. If there’s a connection, it’s certainly not obvious even though Tremblay seems to think that it is. Sexism – if we mean by it the ugly belief in a general superiority of men and inferiority of women – is precisely an example of something that is not force or fraud.

In saying that it’s not involuntary – doesn’t involve the use of coercion – we do not mean that it is true or commendable. Nor do we mean that reprehensible values and attitudes cannot be a catalyst of social structures and behaviors that are coercive. In fact, the whole point of voluntaryist philosophy is to answer the bad values and the bad attitudes that really are bringing about a coercive, involuntary society. Nevertheless, we strongly distinguish between bad values and bad attitudes – so long as they exist solely within the mind and peacefully spoken words of an individual – and force or fraud because the former is only properly answered with other words, whereas force and fraud – and only force and fraud –  may be properly answered with force itself.

As an evil voluntaryist, that is, someone who espouses one of “the roots that support the institutionalized evils around us”, I was shocked to learn that I am among what Tremblay terms radical, liberationist feminists: “A sexual Liberationist would never argue that a sex act ought to be banned or that women ought to not be allowed to participate in whatever activities they deem appropriate, but she might question the choice to do so and the impact that choice has on women as a whole. With freedom comes responsibility, blah blah.” And here I thought we were disagreeing. Tremblay moves on to what he describes as his main criticism of voluntaryism:

My main criticism of voluntaryism is that it assumes actions exist in a vacuum. Like the political Libertarians, sexual libertarians can only arrive at their positive conclusions about “laissez-faire”/sexual liberation by completely omitting the institutions which embody past coercion and continue to exploit these “liberated” individuals and the energy they devote to “make the best out of it.”

Now, I might get this wrong, but I guess what Tremblay is saying, here, is that he thinks that voluntaryists hold that past aggression doesn’t matter in assessing whether present actions are aggressive or not. I would again challenge Tremblay to substantiate this: which voluntaryist I have named would hold that the slaveholder laws did not play a role in huddling slaves on the plantations, on the sure knowledge they would be wantonly punished by the authorities and their masters for attempting to escape to freedom?

In capitalist thought, this is related to the myth of the heroic entrepreneur who is “rewarded” by the market for their downright ascetic self-denial in saving enough money and their skillful exploitation of their fellow humans by ever-increasing profit margins. The entrepreneur is the capitalist’s idea of a winner as well as a justification for the losers, who just weren’t ascetic or skillful enough. Social Darwinism ho!

Needless to say, this is not capitalist thought, but recycled Marxist rhetoric desperately trying to jam capitalism into the narrative of class structure, status society and legal privilege. Capitalism has nothing to do with asceticism, in fact, quite the opposite. Nor does it have anything to do with rewarding self-denial. In fact, one of the central complaints of Marxists has always been the “unfair advantage” of the heir, who has not had to engage in any self-denial at all. Another doozy:

There is no such thing as a “free choice,” and the residual of social patterns is not choice but rather genetics. So whatever is labeled “agency” can be more accurately described as the result of genetic diversity in humans. There is no fundamental opposition between these forces, as all social patterns are ultimately the product of the interactions of beings possessing human genetics. Where the opposition occurs is when the interests of people clash in a stratified class society (e.g. workers v property owners, slaves and abolitionists v slaveowners, women v misogynists, or, more individually, the clash between an inferior and a superior), and the issue is a solely structural one of class pitted against class.

Now, it’s not even clear what Tremblay is trying to assert beyond denying free choice. If there is no free choice, then there is no moral responsibility. In other words, Tremblay should not condemn voluntaryists – or his understanding thereof – because, after all, we have no free choice in being voluntaryists, anyway. It’s just our genetics.

In context, Tremblay is attempting to do an end-run around capitalism by arguing that the apparently free choices we make are, in fact, coerced. Now, given that voluntaryists are criticizing the infusion of systematized coercion into the social order through the operation of the State, we agree that many of our apparently free choices are not very free or not free at all. If you want to drive, you will need a driver’s license from the State. If you want to operate a lemonade stand, you will need a license from the State. If you want to exit your country of residence, you will need a passport from the State. And so on.

It should come as no surprise that merchants and vendors – like so many vultures – swirl around the instruments of coercion in society, snapping up handling fees and quick profits. For example, tax debtors cannot easily set up a debit account with the IRS to make payments. They must either pay the debt in whole, or mail a monthly check or go through a process to set up a debit account with the IRS that takes months to go through. Or, you can have it all taken care of in the matter of a few days for the low price of $99 through a private vendor. The Marxist critique is like saying the private vendor is the problem. Eliminate the vendor and you will have eliminated the problems within society. But the entire precondition for the existence of the parasite “capitalist” vendor is the instrument of coercion itself: the State revenuer.

But Tremblay pushes on to exasperating extremes, “all personal problems are ultimately the result of institutional failures.” Yes, no one ever makes mistakes that they can and should learn from. No one can ever do with a little dose of sleeping in the bed they’ve made for themselves. We’re all to blame “society” and then stand out front of the Capitol steps picketing for bigger entitlements. Moving on from feminism, Tremblay now argues that voluntaryism is opposed to atheism:

Voluntaryism is not just an opposition to feminism. It is also, for instance, an opposition to atheism. One of the claims made about God, and perhaps the most egregious example of religious insanity, is that whatever God declares good, in his subjective opinion, is good, regardless of what it is. But voluntaryists preach that whatever an individual wants to do should be permitted. I find it hard to see any difference between that and saying that the individual declares what is good for themself based on their own subjective opinion.

First of all, not all voluntaryists are religious and there is nothing in voluntaryism that is inherently incompatible with atheism. But the difference between theodicy and subjective valuation should be obvious. God, in his role as the causer and determiner of all events, is not merely one who wishes or assays to alter the state of affairs – as a human being – but, rather, is one who brings about without fail this or that state of affairs. The individual person, on the other hand, may form whatever desires or wishes he pleases. And while we are free to answer and criticize these desires with reasons and arguments, we are not free to answer them with force. That is, not if we hope to have a society of flourishing individuals.

Arguing against voluntaryism within such a broad scope is difficult because the voluntaryist ideology is widely associated with self-ownership and freedom (“my body” -> “my choice” -> “freedom to act”). Therefore, anyone who argues against voluntaryism is believed to be arguing against freedom.

Here, Tremblay has almost got the truth. To argue against freedom in the small is to argue against freedom in the large. And while coercion in the large (systematized coercion) does, in fact, result in actual coercion in the small that can appear to be voluntary (such as needing to get a driver’s license “in order to drive”), the reactionist view of denying freedom in the small is simply to shoot oneself in the foot.

In summary, I don’t think it is voluntaryists who are confused or lying when we say that we are opposed to the coercive social order that systematizes aggression. Rather, it is Tremblay and those of his ilk that are either deeply confused or lying when they characterize voluntaryism as being anti-freedom. This kind of radical Marxist and feminist rhetoric makes a pretense of deeply caring about justice, while at the same time denying one of the necessary preconditions to justice: individual choice.

You do have a choice. Freedom is possible. And whatever wrong has been done to you is not “society’s fault”, it’s the fault of individual actors, each of which have chosen at every point to perpetuate a system of coercion and bondage – the statist order. Radical Marxist and feminist rhetoric only further enables this system of bondage by giving the State its scapegoat on a silver platter: society. It’s always “society’s fault” which is the same as to say nobody’s fault. But every act of force and fraud is, in fact, somebody’s fault. The radical Marxists and feminists would do well to consider the social consequences of holding each and every aggressor individually responsible for his crimes – whether he pretends, like the abusive police officer, to do so on the behalf of “society” or not.

Clayton -

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41 thoughts on “Defending Voluntaryism from Radical Marxists and Feminists

  1. gotlucky 12/19/2012 at 23:59 Reply

    Great article! It’s always strange to see these types of criticisms of voluntaryism. The whole point is that we value social cooperation over social conflict. As you know, that is not to say that voluntaryists are against violence per se, but they do not support starting the initiation of conflict.

    People like this Tremblay fellow are obfuscating this point in their criticisms of voluntaryism. If they are going to criticize social cooperation, just come out and say so.

  2. claytonkb 12/20/2012 at 00:04 Reply

    Like all statism, it’s inherently contradictory. We need to aggress to stop aggression. We need to violate property rights to preserve them. We need to engage in injustice to even out the past injustices. And so on.

    But the most bizarre part in all this is the attempt to say, not that voluntaryism is technically mistaken, or that voluntaryists have got this or that point in error, but that voluntaryism is among “the roots that support the institutionalized evils around us”! What?! Saying that each and every social interaction ought to be voluntary, without exception, is support for the institutionalized evil around us?? How does that work?

    • Anarchist 08/29/2014 at 10:42 Reply

      Aggression mean “initiation of force or fraud”. You understand “initiation”? Non-aggression principle says that you cannot initiate i.e. you cannot start the use of force against another person. The other person is allowed to retaliate once force has been used against him. Force can be used to counter force, but that does not amount to “aggression”. I don’t know which sane man would call defensive force “aggression” (especially when we are talking about aggression against body or property).

      • claytonkb 08/29/2014 at 11:45 Reply

        Hmm, I’m not sure if you’re replying to me since it seems you are expressing disagreement yet I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said… perhaps there has been a mistake?

  3. Francois Tremblay 12/20/2012 at 00:20 Reply

    This entry is a mess, but because it would take a long time to go through each point, I will address it at length on my own blog. One question though, do you or do you not believe that capitalist work contracts are voluntary?

    • claytonkb 12/20/2012 at 00:56 Reply

      A contract, by definition, is voluntary. I’m not sure what you mean by “capitalist contract” as opposed to some other kind of contract.

      • Francois Tremblay 12/20/2012 at 00:59 Reply

        Very well then.

        By “capitalist work contract,” I mean a contract where responsibility for a person’s production is delegated to someone else (a corporation, a business owner, etc). But this is not important in terms of my response, I just wanted to be specific.

      • Francois Tremblay 12/20/2012 at 01:45 Reply

        By the way, is that last paragraph supposed to be about me, or more of a general statement about people who hold similar views? Because I am not a Marxist nor a feminist, and I sure as hell blame the State, so it doesn’t really seem relevant to me personally.

        • claytonkb 12/20/2012 at 01:50 Reply

          The last paragraph is directed at Marxist/feminist rhetoric, plenty of which is used in the post I was responding to.

      • Francois Tremblay 12/20/2012 at 01:52 Reply

        Since I don’t read Marxist materials, I’ll leave that for you to judge. As for radical feminism, I can safely say I have never read any radfem argue that “it’s society’s fault.” Their standard argument is that it’s specifically the Patriarchy’s fault, and more generally institutions dominated by men. I don’t think “society” (whatever that still means nowadays) has much to do with it.

        • Schmooley Monroe 01/05/2013 at 09:42 Reply

          It’s curious that you would say that since, in your blog, you critique a quote as being more Ayn Rand than Das Kapital.

          I want to point out that I don’t read Marx or Rand.

  4. Michael Ezra 12/20/2012 at 04:35 Reply

    The issue of slavery is not one that it absolutely clear cut in libertarian theory and there are disputes. This is particularly so with the idea of “voluntary slavery”: the idea that you can sell yourself into slavery.

    Murray Rothbard writes in The Ethics of Liberty:

    The distinction between a man’s alienable labor service and his inalienable will may be further explained: a man can alienate his labor service, but he cannot sell the capitalized future value of that service. In short, he cannot, in nature, sell himself into slavery and have this sale enforced—for this would mean that his future will over his own person was being surrendered in advance. In short, a man can naturally expend his labor currently for someone else’s benefit, but he cannot transfer himself, even if he wished, into another man’s permanent capital good. For he cannot rid himself of his own will, which may change in future years and repudiate the current arrangement. The concept of “voluntary slavery” is indeed a contradictory one, for so long as a laborer remains totally subservient to his master’s will voluntarily, he is not yet a slave since his submission is voluntary; whereas, if he later changed his mind and the master enforced his slavery by violence, the slavery would not then be voluntary.

    Walter Block writes differently (Journal of Libertarian Studies, Spring 2003.) His issue is enforceability (p.40):

    You are a rich man who has long desired to have me as a slave, to order about as you will, even to kill me for disobedience or on the basis of any other whim which may occur to you. My child has now fallen ill with a dread disease. Fortunately, there is a cure. Unfortunately, it will cost one million dollars, and I, a poor man, do not have such funds at my disposal. Fortunately, you are willing to pay me this amount if I sign myself over to you as a slave, which I am very willing to do since my child’s life is vastly more important to me than my own liberty, or even my own life. Unfortunately, this would be illegal, at least if the doctrine of inalienability (non-transferability) is valid. If so, then you, the rich man, will not buy me into slavery, for I can run away at any time, and the forces of law and order will come to my rescue, not yours, if you try to stop me by force.

    Block’s article is worthwhile reading in full, but it clear he thinks that one should be able to themselves into voluntary slavery. He admits (p.41n4) that his position on voluntary slavery “is not well accepted by libertarians.” But there is one important libertarian thinker who, according to Block, agrees that one should be able to sell themselves into slavery: Robert Nozick. Block cites Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Basic Books,1974) p.58 in support of this contention. Checking this page, Nozick does not use the word slavery but he clearly implies that selling yourself into slavery would be permissible:

    [A person] may give another permission to do…things to him (including things impossible to do to himself.

    At any rate, Nozick is more specific on p.331:

    The comparable question about an individual is whether a free system will allow him to sell himself into slavery. I believe that it would. (Other writers disagree.)

    Part of the problem is definitional: are you a slave if it is voluntary? Rothbard thinks not. I would not normally recommend the comments section of a blog post to read, particularly if the commentators use pseudonyms but there was an interesting argument on this very subject in the comments section of this post. Those interested in this general subject might enjoy reading the debate.

  5. [...] Voluntaryist Reader has published a response against my latest entry on voluntaryism, “Voluntaryism: it’s not just about [...]

    • claytonkb 12/22/2012 at 00:01 Reply

      Saw it. Counter-response in-flight…

  6. Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 02:56 Reply

    I eagerly await the day when so-called Voluntaryists recognise the use of violence in the maintenance of unjust property relations as the root cause of our social ills and make that their primary target of criticism.

    Start with the ownership of natural resources and the use of non-contract violence to exclude people from their equal share … Or, more likely, engage in a tortured rationalisation of why it is morally right to have a Statist and violent enforcement of such exclusion.

    • gotlucky 12/22/2012 at 08:38 Reply

      Everybody owns everything always
      Everybody already owns it all somehow
      Something in your claim just told me
      Our always is now

      Everybody finds everything to be theirs
      There’s no telling where our property may appear
      Something in our hearts keeps saying
      Our property is here

      If we had it in our power
      We’d arrange for every person to have your home
      Then every minute, every hour
      Every person would find what we found in your home

      Everybody owns everything always
      And although our dreams were overdue
      Your home made it all worth waiting
      As we took it from you

      Everybody owns everything always

    • claytonkb 12/22/2012 at 11:18 Reply

      “unjust property relations” – I’m not sure what you mean by this phrase. If you mean the continued ownership of unjustly acquired property (property acquired by privilege), then I think we already agree!

      “ownership of natural resources” – This is why you Marxists need to study real economics. It is a very basic aspect of human nature that ‘collectively owned’ resources are generally neglected and wasted, where resources that are owned by an individual or a small group are economized.

      “non-contract violence” – I think I’m going to wear myself out repeating this: -any- form of force or fraud is liable to be answered by force.

      • Francois Tremblay 12/22/2012 at 14:39 Reply

        ““unjust property relations” – I’m not sure what you mean by this phrase. If you mean the continued ownership of unjustly acquired property (property acquired by privilege), then I think we already agree!”

        Then why didn’t you bring THAT up as an example of embodiment of past coercion? Seems like a wasted opportunity…

      • Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 21:18 Reply

        “This is why you Marxists need to study real economics.”

        a. I am not a Marxist.
        b. I have a MBA with extremely good results in … economics.

        If, of course, *you* had studied “real economics” you would understand why everyone from Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, Silvio Gessell, Paul Samuelson, Milton Friedman, Herbert Simon, James Tobin, James Buchanan Jnr, Robert Solow, and William Vickery all supported public income derived from site rents.

        The fact that this list includes the quite a variety across the political spectrum should give you an idea of the veracity of the idea among economists.

        • Francois Tremblay 12/22/2012 at 21:27 Reply

          You do know the argument from popularity is a fallacy, right? And economics is not even a real science.

          • Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 21:31

            It’s not an argument from popularity (argumentum ad populum), Indeed, I suspect the majority oppose the use of site-rents for public income

            Rather, it’s an argument from authority (argumentum ad verecundiam). Which is only a fallacy when it is used for people outside their field or when there is still significant debate on the subject. This is not the case on this matter.

        • Francois Tremblay 12/22/2012 at 21:37 Reply

          So a majority opposes it, but there is no significant debate on the subject? Whatever, Lev. Again, economics is just a collection of myths dressed up in maths. The concept of public income derived from site rents may be more valid than other concepts of where public income should come from, but it’s still based on nothing but myths.

          • Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 21:46

            It is quite possible for the majority (or a sizeable minority) of non-experts to oppose something which is generally accepted by relevant experts. The economics of natural resources is one of these matters. The human contribution to global warming is another. I still encounter people who think it is possible to engage in a perfect economic plan (I typically give them a lesson in simultaneous equations by handing them a piece of paper and saying “Show me!”)

            I had a person walk out of a logic lecture I was giving because he couldn’t tolerate the idea that 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 0.9999… = 1.0

            I’m sure you can think of one or two others.

        • Francois Tremblay 12/22/2012 at 21:50 Reply

          I don’t think economists are “experts” in ethical issues, no. Where public income should be derived from is an ethical issue.

          • Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 22:04

            Well, certainly most of the above had some pretty developed views on the moral justifications of political economy… Certainly for my own part, I wouldn’t support if it wasn’t (a) effective and efficient *and* (b) morally just.

          • Francois Tremblay 12/22/2012 at 22:10

            I’m not going to argue the ethics of public revenue with you, especially since this is not the time or place. Let’s just say your claims are dubious at best.

          • Lev Lafayette 12/23/2012 at 14:03

            Au contraire, this is the best time to discuss the matter because it very much part of the topic of a glaring problem in voluntaryism.

            I am also intrigued by how you consider that economics is founded on a myth. I assure you, there is no mythology in recognising that there is a need for resource allocation of scare resources relative to demands.

      • Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 21:27 Reply

        “I think I’m going to wear myself out repeating this: -any- form of force or fraud is liable to be answered by force.”

        Good! Let’s lynch the landlord, eh?

        • claytonkb 12/23/2012 at 00:41 Reply

          Huh?

          • Lev Lafayette 12/23/2012 at 14:01

            Ontologically, the private expropriation of natural resources requires force from all others who have an equal claim to it.

            It seems that you are unaware how heavily this was discussed by classic liberal political economists in the 18th and 19th centuries.

          • claytonkb 12/23/2012 at 18:40

            Yeah, yeah, as much and as good – but the fact is, it doesn’t involve any use of force nor does it hurt anyone. I am making no use of copper ore in China. That a Chinese entrepreneur should develop a copper mine hurts me in no conceivable way. In fact, by contributing to the reduction in the price of copper, it can only be said to help me. So, all the hand-wringing on this topic is wholly unnecessary.

          • Lev Lafayette 12/23/2012 at 20:17

            That’s simply not true. If a Chinese entrepreneur removes the copper ore, they are not leaving “as much or as good”. They are engaging in force against you (and others by doing so). Theft even.

            By all means argue that they should receive a fair price for the exploration, discovery, extraction, processing, and selling. But the actual value of the ore itself is a different matter.

            The hand-wringing on this topic is necessary for it is the *most important* problem in contemporary political economy. *Nothing* is more important than the misuse and monopolistic expropriation of natural resources.

            And that, by the way, is not an aesthetic claim, but an empirical one.

          • Francois Tremblay 12/23/2012 at 23:32

            I didn’t know you were dealing in racism now.

      • Francois Tremblay 12/22/2012 at 21:33 Reply

        ““ownership of natural resources” – This is why you Marxists need to study real economics. It is a very basic aspect of human nature that ‘collectively owned’ resources are generally neglected and wasted, where resources that are owned by an individual or a small group are economized.”

        1. No one here is a Marxist. Marxism is really not that far from capitalism, as I pointed out in my response.

        2. There is no such thing as “real economics.” Economics is fantasy from its very first premise to the last.

        3. The tragedy of the commons was made up by Hardin- the rural England collapses that he invented never took place. Common land was taken by force during the enclosure of the commons, it never collapsed in the manner predicted by the myth. It was pure invention. History shows that communal land is as well cared for, and fulfills collective needs better, than private property.

  7. Michael Ezra (@MichaelEzra) 12/22/2012 at 12:45 Reply

    In terms of property rights from the state of nature, I suggest that Lev Lafayette reads John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. and particularly chapter 5 of the Second Treatises. On entitlement to property Lev Lafayette should also read the relevant section in Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia..

    • Lev Lafayette 12/22/2012 at 21:12 Reply

      Thank you Michael I have read both the books you cite (originally as part of first year university many decades ago).

      The Lockean provisio, as Nozick coined it, argues that expropriation of natural resources is unjust unless “at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others”.

      In other words, unless the rest of the community receives compensation for such expropriations, to their value, then the expropriation is unjust.

      So when are voluntaryists going to make an issue of that?

  8. [...] Tremblay has responded to Voluntaryist Reader’s challenge. Needless to say, there’s a lot to disagree with, here. To start off, he tries to strawman [...]

  9. [...] Clayton’s response to my entry, where he contends that my definition of voluntaryism is inadequate and asks me to [...]

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