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Kinsella’s Sixth Epiphany: Means and Knowledge

I’m here in Positano, at the beautiful Villa TreVille, on the last leg of the longest vacation of my life so far (July 1-20: Venice, Capri, Positano, Berlin). And this morning, here in Positano, walking down the steps from our room to the terrace to lounge, I had my sixth epiphany. Or so.

First, there were two fairly minor and personal ephanies.

1. Hell/Jesus/Religion: First: at age 15 or so when riding the Gravely tractor/lawnmower, mowing our 3-4 acre tract. As a pretty devout Catholic schoolboy and former altar boy, I was thinking hard about religion and the world around this time. It had already occurred to me that if God condemns you to eternal damnation as punishment for some sins committed while mortal, this can’t be just. An infinite punishment is disproportionate for a finite amount of crime. So, I reasoned, there cannot be hell. Therefore not evertyhing the Catholics teach is right. So what else might be false? Then I dared to question the idea of Jesus, and of God, and it all crumbled. My epiphany was in the realization that I could dare not only to question Hell but the whole Catholic story about Jesus. [continue reading…]


A Way to Be Free: The Autobiography of Robert LeFevre

Libertarian Robert LeFevre published his two-volume autobiography, with publisher Pulpless.com, in 1999. It’s still available in print on Amazon:

PDF links for each volume are now available here: Vol. 1 [PDF]; Vol. 2 [PDF], posted here with the permission of the publisher.

I also discuss LeFevre here: Classical Liberals and Anarchists on Intellectual Property: observing: “Robert LeFevre (1911–86): expresses very good, early skepticism of the notion of IP or ownership of ideas (see LeFevre on Intellectual Property and the “Ownership of Intangibles”).”

Also see LeFevre’s The Fundamentals of Liberty, also available for download in many file formats here. His book The Philosophy of Ownership is also available online.


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 246.

This is my appearance on the CryptoVoices podcast, Episode 43, interviewed by host Matthew Mežinskis. As indicated in the show notes (below), we discussed a variety of issues related to bitcoin, property rights, and related matters. The hosts also informed me of a recent article they had written regarding the economic classification of crypto tokens: An Economic Definition of Cryptotokens.


Show support appreciated: 35iDYDYqRdN2x6KGcpdV2W1Hy3AjGje9oL

Matthew interviews Stephan Kinsella, longtime advocate of private property and personal liberty, and expert on intellectual property law.

We discuss broad-ranging issues on Bitcoin and private property. Is Bitcoin really property per se, and does anyone truly own bitcoin(s)?
Also, how does the nature of intellectual property (or lack thereof) play into the open-source aspects of Bitcoin? What is Bitcoin? Is Bitcoin a digital good? Stephan shares his knowledge on the history of intellectual thought, personal liberty, and intellectual property to answer some of these questions. We discuss some current topics about the brand of Bitcoin (versus Bitcoin Cash), and if blockchain could(?) ever resolve some of the faults and friction in IP that Stephan has studied for years. Stephan is a well-read intellectual and Bitcoiners would do well to read more of his writings.

Further references:


I wrote the “Introduction” (really, a foreword) to J. Neil Schulman’s latest book, Origitent: Why Original Content is Property (Steve Heller Publishing, 2018), just published this week (Amazon; discussed by Neil on Facebook here). It  includes a transcript of our previous discussion at KOL208 | Conversation with Schulman about Logorights and Media-Carried Property.

Here are links to my “Introduction” and the book’s final chapter, “Kinsella on Liberty Podcast Episode 208: Conversation with Schulman about Logorights and Media-Carried Property.”

[continue reading…]

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KOL245 | Nothing Exempt: Intellectual Property


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 245

From my appearance on the Nothing Exempt podcast, Ep. 53, discussing IP with a couple of libertarian hosts. Well, co-host Nick said he was 80% libertarian and disagreed with me on IP … but for somewhat inscrutable reasons, as I started asking him about, about 4 minutes in.


From my July 20, 2014 Daily Bell interview by Anthony Wile, “Stephan Kinsella on Libertarian Legal Theory, Self-Ownership and Drug Laws.” I have to point this out so many times over and over to people, that I thought I’d put it in a separate post.


Anthony Wile: You’ve called the following a fallacy: “If you own something, that implies that you can sell it; and if you sell something, that implies you must own it first. The former idea, which is based on a flawed idea about the origin and nature of property rights and contract theory, is used to justify voluntary slavery; the second, which is based on a flawed understanding of contract theory, is used to justify intellectual property.” Can you elaborate please?

Stephan Kinsella: I discuss this in more detail in some podcasts such as

This is hard to elaborate in a quick interview. But here is a summary answer.

Ownership means right to control. It is not automatically clear why this would imply the power or ability or right to stop having the right to control it. My view is that we own our bodies not because of homesteading but because each person has a unique link to his body: his ability to directly control it. Hoppe recognized this decades ago, as I point out in How We Come To Own Ourselves. I had to find an old German text of his and have it translated, to find out his early insight on this, from 1985. This has implications for the idea of the voluntary slavery contract and the so-called inalienability debate. [continue reading…]


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 244.

From my recent appearance on the first episode of rising libertarian and media star Michael Malice’s “Your Welcome” show on his new network, GaS Digital (consider subscribing–libertarian Dave Smith also has a great show on the network–I just did). I was in New York for the weekend, he was rebooting his show on a new network, so it was kismet. We discussed the basic case against intellectual property (I had to persuade Malice, an anarcho-capitalist who came into this without a lot of settled views on it), the Hoppe “toy helicopter” incident [e.g., 1, 2, 3], the infamous Robert Wenzel “debate,” and a few other issues, like my recent bout with prostate cancer (yeah, he got me to go there).

From the YouTube episode description:

It’s the first episode of “YOUR WELCOME”! Join Michael Malice as he speaks with American Intellectual Property Lawyer Stephan Kinsella on the current system of IP and how the implementation of its laws effect commerce, culture and society. From the drug industry to entertainment, the precedents set by those who govern over the laws of Intellectual Property help shape the foundation of culture as well as the economy. Listen as Michael Malice delves deep into the core of the issues and stories that effect our world today. “YOUR WELCOME”. Follow the show @michaelmalice, @NSKinsella

The YouTube video below will only be up for a couple weeks, I believe.


Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 243.

From my recent appearance on the Libertarian Christians podcast, discussing (what else) IP.



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