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Least, Sufficient Force: Libertarian Theory of Defense

Interesting article by one “Marco”: “Least, Sufficient Force: Libertarian Theory of Defense,” The Voluntaryist Reader blog (2013). He argues that a victim may use force in self-defense, during an act of aggression, and for  punishment/retribution, after the fact, and that while there are upper bounds on the level of force that may be used in each case, they are different. For punishment to be just, it must be proportional to the offense being punished. So you could kill a murderer but not someone who punched you in the arm. For self-defense, the victim may also use force to defend himself during the attack, but is limited to using the “least, sufficient force” that will prevent or repeal the attack. These standards are different, meaning, for example, that the victim is entitled to kill the aggressor in self-defense in some cases where capital punishment after the fact would be disproportionate. For example if someone is going to give you a severe beating that would not be punishable by death, you may still kill the guy during the act if that’s the only way to stop him.

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  • Marko August 3, 2022, 6:18 pm

    Thanks Stephan, that’s a pretty good summary. I’m a fan of your IP work.

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