Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 076.
IP Debate with Chris (aka “Sid Non-Vicious”) LeRoux, hosted by James Cox. LeRoux claims to be an anarcho-capitalist and former Randian but not a libertarian (he doesn’t like labels, you see). He was recently arguing kinda for IP-but-not-really on Shanklin’s podcast (see below), and contacted me about these issues. As you can see from the “debate” it’s not clear what his position is or why he even wanted to debate me, or what he really disagrees with me on, but, …. here it is. Cox did a good guy trying to moderate, but it ended up being a mess, as it always is with people that are not clear on basic libertarian concepts and not totally opposed to IP.
- How We Come To Own Ourselves, Mises Daily (Sep. 7, 2006) (Mises.org blog discussion; audio version)
- A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability, Journal of Libertarian Studies 17, no. 2 (Spring 2003): 11-37 [based on paper presented at Law and Economics panel, Austrian Scholars Conference, Auburn, Alabama (April 17, 1999)]
- “Intellectual Property Rights as Negative Servitudes,” Mises Economics Blog (June 23, 2011) (C4SIF)
- Hoppe, chs. 1-2 of A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism
- Fraud, Restitution, and Retaliation: The Libertarian Approach
- The Libertarian Approach to Negligence, Tort, and Strict Liability: Wergeld and Partial Wergeld
- The Problem with “Fraud”: Fraud, Threat, and Contract Breach as Types of Aggression
- The Libertarian View on Fine Print, Shrinkwrap, Clickwrap
James Cox’s original Youtube:
IP Debate with Chris LeRoux
Stephan Kinsella and Chris LeRoux
Aug. 30, 2013
JAMES COX: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we’re having an IP debate, and in the right-hand corner is Stephan Kinsella for or against IP. And in the right-hand corner, there is Chris LeRoux, who is for or against IP. We will find out in this debate, and if you want more content or more debates like this, please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Previously, we’ve agreed. We didn’t flip a coin. Stephan Kinsella asked Chris LeRoux here if he wanted to go first.
Chris has agreed to go first. The rules are quite simple. The beginning of this discussing IP, Chris gets to talk for three minutes, and then Stephan Kinsella gets to talk for three minutes. And then Stephan Kinsella gets to ask Chris LeRoux a question of which he has two minutes to answer and vice versa. We plan for a 20-minute talk on this, and then after that, any time that’s needed will be decided. And if everybody decides then we’ll go on for longer. So okay, Chris, three minutes starting now.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I believe – Stephen – Stephan and I have had some preliminary discussions. And I believe that he has essentially admitted that my position is correct, and he essentially admitted that contract rights are absolute in an anarcho-capitalist system. And they’re not subject to his interpretation of what’s scarce or rivalrous, his opinion of these things.
Now, these things may be absolute. They may be worthwhile concepts, but all he has is his opinion of them. And he admitted that interfering in a contract in these things that are what he calls IP – I don’t call them that – would be violence, as I said. And the principle is nonviolence. I apply the principle of nonviolence to all property rights, and that’s it. I don’t think he can weasel his way out of that position, and I’ll hand over my time.
JAMES COX: Okay. Hold on a second. Stephan, go.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, I’m actually not sure what you just said, Chris. You maybe should introduce your position so we can know what it is instead of saying I’ve agreed to it already. People here haven’t read our email exchange. You have told me that you don’t agree with IP. And you don’t like labels, and you’re not a libertarian, but you’re an anarcho-capitalist. You don’t think scarcity is necessary for property rights, and yet you conflate scarcity with lack of abundance, which is not what the technical term means as we use it.
So I actually am not sure what your position is. I – it’s not like you got me to admit tonight that I believe in contract rights. I’ve long been an advocate of contract rights, so if your argument is simply that contracts should be enforceable, I don’t know why this is a debate. I’ve never disagreed with that, and that’s got nothing to do with IP. The mistake people make is they believe that you could come up with something similar to today’s modern IP by using contracts.
And, as I think I’ve showed pretty definitively, you can’t. Rothbard made an attempt to do it, and you just can’t do it. The reason is because property rights are what’s called in rem. They’re good against the world. Contract rights are only between two people, so those are called in personam rights. You can’t use contract to create a right good against the world.
So let me state what my position is. I would define intellectual property as a type of right protected by modern legal systems in non-scarce, which means non-rivalrous, by the way. It doesn’t mean lack of abundance. It means non-rivalrous resources. There is no debate whatsoever among any economist in the world that ideas and patterns of information are not rivalrous. I mean this is well-known. This is why intellectual property laws are enacted. Now, they would include copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret and other types of rights.
Now, in my view, these rights are completely illegitimate because they contradict and undercut property rights that libertarians and anarcho-capitalists are in favor of. So that’s the problem with them. Now, you have some argument in your previous video with Shanklin that maybe it could be done by arbitration and then you confuse it with a contract right. So I think you have to have a coherent understanding of the nature and purpose of property rights. And you have to understand what contract is. Contract is not a binding promise or even a binding agreement. A contract is just the way that an owner of property assigns title to someone else or transfers it. That’s all. So if I give you a gift of a watch, that’s a contract. If we make a deal and we exchange a watch for money, that’s a contract. If we make a bet and I say I will give you the watch if…
JAMES COX: Ten seconds.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If it rains tomorrow, that’s also a contract. It’s a transfer of property rights. I don’t even know what it means for third parties to interfere with contracts. Third parties interfere with property rights, not with contracts.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I mean I think there’s a lot of common ground there, but the essential…
JAMES COX: Hold on a second. I think now Stephan gets to ask you a question.
CHRIS LEROUX: Oh okay.
JAMES COX: And then you have two minutes once Stephan has asked you the question.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Wouldn’t it make sense for him to go since I just went? I mean I’m okay with him taking his turn now.
JAMES COX: He went first on – well, okay, Chris can ask you a question I guess, and then you go.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris, it’s up to you, whatever you prefer.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I mean I would just say that, listen, contract rights is all there is. There’s no necessity for any concept of scarcity or rivalrousness, and…
JAMES COX: So what’s your question?
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t have a question. I don’t believe that…
JAMES COX: You want two minutes then.
CHRIS LEROUX: Mr. Kinsella has any answers.
JAMES COX: You want two minutes then to go.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What am I going to answer if I don’t have a question?
JAMES COX: You want two minutes then, Chris, to speak again and then…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris, why don’t you tell me what you disagree with me about?
JAMES COX: All right, two minutes. Go.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, you know, anything that people trade voluntarily in an anarcho-capitalist system is, by definition, property. They couldn’t trade it if it isn’t property, and your opinions about what’s scarce or what’s rivalrous are irrelevant. Those two people made the contract. They’ve established – in an anarcho-capitalist system, they’ve established third-party arbitration in the contract. We can assume that because that’s – I think it’s a norm we all agree on, and we can sort of assume that most contracts are probably going to have that or all contracts are going to have that I think, or we can discuss that. And I don’t see anything else worthy of discussion. That’s it. That’s the solution. It’s either voluntary contracts or involuntary contracts. The only problem with the current system is, one, it’s funded by taxes, which is theft, extortion, and slavery.
And number two, it’s the enforcement of involuntary contracts, so if someone goes to download such-and-such file from such-and-such place, they have not agreed to a contract that restricts them from downloading that file. But if they do make a contract that says that they will not download that file or share that file or reproduce that file or whatever, then they need to be held to their word. They shouldn’t have made that agreement if they didn’t believe in it, and that’s it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think…
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait. Don’t interrupt me because I mean isn’t this my time?
JAMES COX: Yeah, you’ve got 27 seconds.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’ve got 27 seconds. Well, okay, that’s it. The whole issue is contract and arbitration. There is no issue of scarcity or rivalrousness, and I’ll throw this out there, and certainly there’s lots of discussion about it. But a grain in the sand in a desert can be property. Property can be irrationally chosen. It’s a subjectively – and scarcity. Scarcity can be a physical factor, but it’s individually assessed.
JAMES COX: Okay, time. All right.
CHRIS LEROUX: Go ahead.
JAMES COX: Two minutes, Stephan, two minutes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It would probably be good if you would actually state a coherent position. I don’t know if you’re nervous or if you just are not used to doing this, but no one listening is going to know what your position is. You’re all over the map here. I’m not going to pick on you for using legal terms imprecisely because that’s not a big deal.
But first of all, I’ve already explained to you that we’re using the word scarcity in the technical economic sense of rivalry. So the sand example is a bad one. What you’re trying to say is that there’s abundance of sand, so it’s almost super abundant, so there’s no scarcity in the lack-of-abundance sense. Of course the argument that we use is that any resource that is rivalrous that can only be used by one person at a time is potentially subject to property rights or ownership.
So if you get a bucket of sand out of the desert like you mentioned in your last thing, yeah you could homestead that. There’s no reason that you can’t homestead it. It’s not that it’s not scarce. It’s that it’s rivalrous. So that – if you get some water out of the ocean, there’s tons of water in the ocean, but you can own that water too. We never deny that, so I don’t really know what you think you’re disagreeing with. You’re using – you’re equivocating because you’re using the wrong sense of…
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait…
JAMES COX: Hold on…
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t mean to interrupt.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You say that the only problem with modern IP law…
CHRIS LEROUX: [indiscernible_00:09:42]
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Is that it’s enforced by taxes and…
CHRIS LEROUX: [indiscernible_00:09:45] choice of words.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay fine. You can clarify it. I’m not trying to…
CHRIS LEROUX: I mean you’re calling me a liar.
JAMES COX: Hold on a second.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not calling you a liar. I’m saying that you are…
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, equivocating.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Equivocating is using one word and substituting its meaning. I don’t think you’re doing it on purpose, but I’ve already explained to you what I mean by scarcity. It means rivalrousness. It’s a technical economic term.
CHRIS LEROUX: So you equate those terms.
JAMES COX: Chris, hold on. Ten seconds, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: We can have an interchange in a minute, but let me finish. So you say the only problem with modern IP law is that it’s funded by taxes, which is theft, which you admit, and that it’s applied against people involuntarily. Well, that’s all that’s wrong with it?
JAMES COX: Time.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s enough.
JAMES COX: All right, you ready to go, Chris? Two minutes again. Are you ready?
CHRIS LEROUX: I think a lot of this is nonsense. I mean we’ve established that there is a property right in these various things that can be traded. And any interference with that contract is his opinion. I mean he’s talking about his opinion of what is scarce, and now he says I guess scarcity is a synonym for rivalrousness. I actually agree that his whole argument revolves around the word rivalrousness, and I think that we should focus on that word because I think it’s an anti-concept.
I think it’s actually a nonsensical distinction he’s made up. He’s dreamt up. He wants to artificially restrict what other – what kinds of property other people can have because he calls it a name. And that’s the end of it, and it’s total nonsense. Anything that people voluntarily trade is property. I mean it has to be property before they trade, and therefore there’s no issue. There’s nothing that’s – all ideas drive property. There’s no property without ideas. The reason humans have property is because they have ideas.
The reason they have ideas is because they have individuality, and so he doesn’t understand the motive force that drives humanity, and that is ideas. Ideas move the world, and ideas can be commoditized, they can be contracted, and they can be exchanged. I can write down my ideas, and I can trade them, and I can trade them with a do no – so let’s get to a specific example. He seems to oppose copyright. Let’s talk about copyright. Let’s talk about – or some examples, some type of example.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not clear.
CHRIS LEROUX: And let’s talk about a contract…
JAMES COX: Ten seconds.
CHRIS LEROUX: A voluntary contract to sell a book under a condition of do not redistribute. Does he oppose that or not? Is he going to interfere with that voluntary contract or not?
JAMES COX: That’s time.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay.
JAMES COX: Two minutes to rebut, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t even know where to start here. I see the Randian coming out in you though. First of all, I’ve never denied the importance of ideas, and none of us do. You’re just not making even a coherent argument. You’re just saying he’s saying this; he’s saying that. Listen, it’s very – a contract would be – first of all, you don’t have to own something to have a contract about it.
If I make a deal with you where I say I will pay you tomorrow if the sun comes up, that doesn’t mean I own the sun. It means I’m specifying a condition for the transfer of property ownership, same thing with ideas or services. If you agree to pay me to paint your fence, it doesn’t mean I own my labor or that I’m selling my labor to you. Those are just metaphors. It’s only a one-way exchange of property. That is, you’re giving me money that you own.
You’re giving me money if I paint the fence, if I perform an action that you desire. All human action employs scarce means, which means rivalrous means that are causally efficacious in the world, to achieve some end. But the end that humans aim at is not always the obtaining of a scarce resource. You might want a kiss from a girl or to see her smile. You might want to get information or learning. You might want a certain action to occur, or you might want a resource. So in those cases, it would be a bilateral exchange of title. You have to have a coherent understanding of contract to make all these arguments.
Now, if some publisher of a book makes a contract with a customer where the customer is not able to use the information he learns from the book, yeah, that can be enforced. No one ever disagrees with that. It’s just that those kind of contracts are extremely unlikely to be entered into in the first place because I’m not going to pay more…
JAMES COX: Ten seconds.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: For a book and be restricted. I’m going to go get a pirated copy of the book if you’re going to put these ridiculous restrictions on me and keep me from using the book that I paid for.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, he didn’t really answer the example that I gave, this particular issue.
JAMES COX: All right, so what’s – two minutes. What’s your question to him to get an answer from him?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I don’t have any – I have no questions throughout the whole thing. I have no questions of anything.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So what am I not answering?
JAMES COX: The thing is, in order for you to get an answer from him, and it could be a yes-or-no answer, just ask him a direct question to find out where you think he stands on what it is.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I think I know where he stands.
JAMES COX: Well, ask the question then.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What do you disagree with me on? Why don’t you just say – what am I wrong about?
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re wrong about a lot of things unfortunately, and we come to a lot of the same conclusions, so it’s something that we could agree on. But first of all, you said that there could be contracts without property. No, no, no, no, there can’t be…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, I didn’t say that.
CHRIS LEROUX: There can’t be – well, that’s – I could – I wrote that down as you said it. You said something along the lines of – that you could contract for things that aren’t your property is how I took it. Let’s clear – I mean if that’s not what you meant, I wrote it down as fast as I could write it, but you can’t trade things that you don’t own. So you can only contract for things that you own.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: How do you know what? Where do you get that from?
CHRIS LEROUX: I mean it’s property.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why do you say that?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I mean the definition of property that I use is the exclusive use of or disposal and control.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Right, but you’re talking about contract, not property.
CHRIS LEROUX: Exclusive control over use and disposal. I’m sorry.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Right, but why can you only contract about things that you own?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, otherwise it’s essentially fraud or…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No. We have to define fraud if you’re going to say that. What’s your definition of fraud?
JAMES COX: Are we not sticking to the time allot now? I mean have we just abandoned it all together?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Maybe we can have a little interchange.
JAMES COX: Okay, all right.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m totally flexible.
JAMES COX: Okay. If you guys are both agreeable to that, just to have an interchange.
CHRIS LEROUX: Absolutely.
JAMES COX: Just hold your comments about one another and just keep it specific to IP.
CHRIS LEROUX: Let’s leave you in charge, James. That’s my – let’s have a moderator, and let’s both respect the moderator.
JAMES COX: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I respect James.
JAMES COX: All right, Chris, go ahead with what you were saying if you have some questions to Kinsella and Stephan have some questions back to him.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: All right, let me ask Chris a question.
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait. But I’m not giving up. I mean, come on. Let’s have some fairness. I also – you said you don’t own your own labor. Well, yes you do. You do own your labor.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: How do you know?
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s a choice. It’s a choice whether you perform this labor or not, and you can sell this labor.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why does that mean you own it?
CHRIS LEROUX: The whole reason is because of self-ownership. You own yourself. Therefore, you own the labor, and you own anything your labor produces. So you know, to some extent…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Can you define what yourself is?
CHRIS LEROUX: Are you a capitalist? Do you believe in free trade or not? Do you believe in self-ownership?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, I don’t. No, I don’t believe in self-ownership.
CHRIS LEROUX: You don’t believe in self-ownership.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I believe in body ownership, but the self is a vague term. It’s – I mean what is the self? You tell me. Do we have to get into meta philosophy to discuss what self-ownership means?
CHRIS LEROUX: No. I think it’s…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That concept leads to confusion.
CHRIS LEROUX: I think it’s interesting, and I think it does show a weakness in your position that I’m willing to move past that at the moment.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You mean you think self-ownership is the basis of all rights, and I’m wrong on that, but you’re willing to move past it? Come on.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I don’t – no, I think like you said it’s a metaphysical question to some extent.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I believe you own your body…
CHRIS LEROUX: What is your body and what is…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But do you own your body?
CHRIS LEROUX: Do you feel free to interrupt me at will? You’re that special. You’re the leader.
JAMES COX: No, no, no, come on. Come on. Let’s stick to what this is about.
CHRIS LEROUX: How are you going to define…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I wouldn’t be surprised if people end up hanging up on the podcast because they’re going to hang up because they have no idea what you’re talking about. Just trying to get you to say something coherent and concrete.
JAMES COX: All right, I have a question.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re very condescending. You’re very condescending. You’re very arrogant. That’s consistent. That’s a consistent position.
JAMES COX: Chris.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re very confident…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: At least I’m clear.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re very full of yourself.
JAMES COX: I have a question so we can – and so I can be at least clear to both of you.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I’m trying to get to body ownership here, body ownership.
JAMES COX: I’ll ask you a question first, Chris. If I have an idea, if I write a book and put it on paper, and I have an idea and I sell the book to you, however, your cousin comes and he borrows your book from you and makes copies of it and then gives you the book back, can that third party, if he’s giving this book away now that he’s made copies of, can that third party be held liable for his actions?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I mean there’s a context issue. So…
JAMES COX: I sell a book to you.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, do this for me. Repeat it one more time because I’m thinking of a lot of different things as you say that, so say it one more time for me.
JAMES COX: I sell a book to you, and your cousin comes ‘round and borrows the book from you. Unbeknown to you, your cousin copies the book and then brings you the book back. Your cousin then starts giving this away to people, or he might start selling copies of it. Can your cousin be held accountable?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I think that would be a very difficult case to make in arbitration. It seems to me on the surface that he’s innocent and he’s been defrauded. Someone has violated his property rights in order to get access to that book. So it wasn’t him that violated the contract. It was the person that snuck in to get access – that committed a trespass to get to that book. And that’s, again, why I say it’s so simple. It’s a matter of is there a physical trespass, or is there a contract violation? And if not, there’s no issue to discuss. There’s nothing that would rise to the level of arbitration. The whole problem with the current state system, I don’t need to have any more. I can come up with plenty more, sure. But anything tax-funded is illegitimate. That’s enough right there, period. It’s over. The current system is done.
And the second factor is, yes, involuntary contracts are illegitimate. If you didn’t agree to the contract, then it’s not a contract. And so that’s enough. I’m sure I could come up with more reasons why the current system is screwed up. But I don’t need to come up with these mystical definitions of what are property, and what’s scarcity and what’s my opinion of scarcity. Scarcity is relative, and it changes.
JAMES COX: Before we get into scarcity, I want to – while we’re on that, I want to ask Stephan the same question.
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes sir.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me – I think – Chris, I think I know where you’re going with some of this. And you are on the same…
JAMES COX: No, Stephan, I want you to answer.
CHRIS LEROUX: See, you said that before.
JAMES COX: Before you go onto…
CHRIS LEROUX: And I find it arrogant.
JAMES COX: Before what Chris said.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t give a shit if you find it arrogant, Chris. Too bad.
JAMES COX: Your cousin comes in.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Man up.
JAMES COX: Stephan, borrows the book, makes copies of it, disseminates it, makes – sells it, whatever. Can he be held liable? And if not, why?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, of course not.
JAMES COX: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Information is not ownable. Information should not be property.
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s false.
JAMES COX: Oh no, wait a minute. Wait a minute, Chris. You can get to rebut him in a minute. We’re getting to some nitty-gritty stuff here. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris says it’s a matter of opinion. I think what you’re trying to say, Chris, is a point that others have made in slightly different language like Hans-Hermann Hoppe and other Austrians. What you’re getting at is the fact that there’s a subjective aspect to what makes something a good. Okay, it’s how we regard things, so you’re right about that to some extent.
If you have an unowned resource in the world that no one is even focusing on, it in a sense doesn’t even exist. Until someone turns their attention to it and regards it as a good and tries to appropriate it, that’s when it becomes a good or a scarce resource. So in a metaphorical sense, you could say you’re creating the thing by bringing it into the world of goods. But that doesn’t mean that everything is a matter of opinion. It doesn’t mean that rivalrous things don’t exist and that they shouldn’t be ownable in a property rights system. The problem with any – and look, you seem to say you’re against the state. I think you’re against copyright and patent law. You’re basically in favor of contract law, so I’m not sure why we disagree or where you think we do disagree except you think it’s mystical to talk about rivalrous things.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, a lot of your – okay, go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Except that in every example you’ve given, you’re talking about rivalrous things. You’re talking about a book. You’re talking about money. You’re talking about the force used to enforce an arbitral verdict. This is all – these are all tangible, material, rivalrous things in the world, and the only way we can be secure in our property, our bodies, our possessions is to recognize that things have borders, that there are rivalrous things, and we, as libertarians or as anarcho-capitalists, believe there should be property rights in these things as determined by the first-use principle and contract.
So I’m not sure where you think we disagree other than you have a prediction. You have some kind of prediction that some kind of system would emerge from some arbitral scheme and some kind of contract scheme that would resemble in some ways the current patent and copyright system in a free society, but it’s just a prediction. And so I disagree with you on your prediction. Is that really what our debate is about? We’re predicting a different way that a future society will look? Is that really all that we’re disagreeing with? Do you even know what we disagree about? Go ahead.
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t think we should disagree on much, and I told you that from the beginning of the email discussion that we had. Essentially, I have a little bit simpler solution to these problems than you do, and you should…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What’s the problem? What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
CHRIS LEROUX: Hold on now. Wait, am I not entitled to be uninterrupted for a little bit or…
JAMES COX: Go ahead.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, so – and I told you that you should simply recognize that I’ve discovered a little bit better formulation of these problems. There’s no necessity for anyone to have an opinion about scarcity or rivalrousness. And we need to talk exclusively about rivalrousness because I think that’s what your whole thing revolves around, and it’s empty. It’s meaningless. All there is, is contract. There’s property and there’s contract. There’s no rivalrousness. And we need to make you define it, so we’ll get to that. But you said information is not controllable. That’s not true.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I didn’t say that.
CHRIS LEROUX: I keep writing down what you say, and you keep saying that you didn’t say it. You said this.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I said it’s not ownable, not controllable.
CHRIS LEROUX: I think you said controllable, but I don’t mind the substitution for ownable. So we can say ownable, and it’s possible I was mistaken. I’m trying to write things down quickly. All right, so information is not ownable. I disagree entirely. An idea in your mind, you exclusively control use and disposal of that idea in your mind. Even if someone else has the same idea, the idea in your mind is not necessarily the same as the idea in their mind even if necessarily you as a third party might think it’s the same. You have exclusive control over the idea in your mind, and so I disagree with that assertion.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Because you own your body, right?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes. You own your body. You own your mind. You own everything in your mind including the neural patterns, the neural activation patterns and all the other things.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You don’t think that’s double counting to say you own your mind and your body?
CHRIS LEROUX: No. It’s just inclusive. And yes, that gets back to what you said about body ownership versus self-ownership. I think that’s a really dangerous false distinction.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, you seem to be implying by the substitution of the word body for self, which is generally accepted in the so-called libertarian community, which you seem to like the word libertarian. And most – a lot of libertarians seem to accept self-ownership.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Because they’re confused.
CHRIS LEROUX: You seem to have introduced something new: body ownership. Well, to me, body versus self indicates a physical – just the physical, and I reject that. It’s everything. It’s your soul. It’s your mind. It’s your conscience. It’s yourself. It’s your individuality. So it’s not just your body.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Do you own your soul?
CHRIS LEROUX: A body could be a dead body – of course. You own your soul. You own your thoughts. You own your feelings. You own your ideas. You even own your actions.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: How about your memories? Do you own your memories?
CHRIS LEROUX: You own your memories. You have exclusive control over these things unless violence is committed against you. So for – I saw that you used an example in a debate versus a very confused person. And you used the example – you asked him the question of whether a particular machine that scanned inside his body. You did not put it in context of whether it was with or without permission, which is pretty important. But you used that example of whether they could scan his body, and then in order to replicate I think it was either a liver or a kidney, one or the other, and absolutely. If you use an invasive technology, you submit someone to certain rays, technological rays. You are committing aggression against them.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, not necessarily.
CHRIS LEROUX: Copying your…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, what do you mean by invasive?
CHRIS LEROUX: Copying their kidney or their liver is not the issue. You committed a trespass in order to enable that copy. So copying of something in which you did not commit a trespass or a contract violation is fine. But the problem is you often seem to ignore the context. You often default to the status system, the current system. And it seems you’re obsessed a little bit with attacking the current system, and you have a knee-jerk reaction. And so, therefore, you want to put arbitrary limits on what can be and can’t be property. You want to say what other people can contract for. You want to tell them no, a book can’t be property. A poem can’t be property. A song can’t be property. This can’t be property. That can’t be property, and I reject your opinion on that. Anything can be property that – and we’re not even talking about a property now. We’re talking about a commodity, something people trade for. So it has to be a property before it can be a commodity.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think I need a turn. I think I need a turn.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’ll finish my sentence. Anything that is voluntarily traded as a commodity is therefore a priori, prior to that, property.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, that’s not true.
CHRIS LEROUX: And it’s not subject to your opinion.
JAMES COX: All right, do you want to go then, Stephan, now?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah. First of all, there’s so much confusion here in your framework. Property – you’re using the word property back and forth, and I’m not criticizing – I don’t want to pick on you about this because a lot of libertarians do this. But you notice you’re going back and forth. You use the word property sometimes to refer to the object owned, and then sometimes you say anything can be property.
So originally the word property meant a characteristic of a thing. Like if you go out as an actor in the world, let’s say you’re by yourself on a desert island, and you employ means to achieve things. You get a stick or you get a net to catch fish. It becomes an extension of your will, so it’s a property of yourself. And then we extend that into political theory, and we say that you have a property right in these things.
But technically speaking, there’s a property right in a scarce resource, so if you keep that distinction in mind, you won’t keep making these mistakes about saying anything can be property like your memories, yourself, your thought. If you have a property right over your body, then that gives you the ability to perform actions. It gives you the ability to keep things secret or to act upon your knowledge. You don’t have to say I have a property right in my body and I own my mind. That makes no sense. Your mind is an epiphenomenon of the workings of your brain, which you own.
You own your brain. You own your physical body. That gives you the ability to operate on these things. You act like the idea of rivalrousness is spooky and mystical, which is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard of. We wouldn’t have any possibility of conflict, interpersonal conflict, in the world if we didn’t have scarcity in terms of rivalrousness. If there weren’t resources that we couldn’t dispute over and have a conflict over, there would be no need for property rules in the very first place to solve these disputes and to allow cooperative, productive use of these scarce resources. So I can’t see how any supposed form of libertarian whatsoever, even though you eschew labels and you’re an anarcho-capitalist…
CHRIS LEROUX: He’s calling me a libertarian.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I can’t see how you could deny the need to have property rights in scarce resources that we need to survive like our bodies and other materials that we homestead in the world. And once you agree with that, then you’ve given up the case for IP because IP rules always undermine and undercut that.
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t – is it my turn?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Go ahead.
JAMES COX: Okay.
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t argue for IP. I only argue for property rights and contract rights. I keep repeating this. There is no such thing as intellectual property. All property is intellectual in origin. Anything that is property originated in an idea that was created by an individual, and he therefore acted on that individual – only individuals act.
Only individuals think. Only individuals plan, and that’s the way it is. So you have never, as far as I’ve seen, been able to define intellectual property, define scarcity, or define rivalrousness. So if we’re going to ask questions, I want that next, but before I give up my time, I also want to talk about how – conflict. You claim that it can only be property if there’s conflict, if conflict could be potentially generated by this particular thing. That is false. Someone can irrationally desire property. Someone can irrationally acquire property.
And someone else could irrationally desire to take it from them, and it’s not necessary – property is a – it’s prior to any judgment of it. Property is, as I’ve continually defined it to you over and over, exclusive control over use and disposal. It is a metaphysical fact. It’s not subject to any judgment. If one person lives on an island all by themselves and they acquire something, they have acquired property. They don’t need property rights in order to…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Wow.
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s the fact. Property is defined as exclusive control over use and disposal. Okay, swallow that. That’s what it is. That’s what property is. And any violation of that requires violence. Now, the fact that there is no one…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: By who? If you’re alone on the island, who’s the violence coming from?
CHRIS LEROUX: Exactly. So there’s no one to commit violence, and therefore, his property right is intact.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh my God. So you don’t even realize that property is…
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s a tough situation for you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s a normative social concept, right? You don’t even recognize that. Now it’s some kind of…
CHRIS LEROUX: No, I – well, I mean I don’t know. That’s a very vague question. But I also – okay, why don’t you go ahead and clarify that question? And then I really think James, as a suggestion to the moderator, we need to focus on rivalrousness because this is the only thing that he has…
JAMES COX: There were questions that you asked him, and so do you want to just ask those questions again, those two questions, and hopefully when he comes back now when it’s his turn, he’ll define what you are asking him? What are the two questions?
CHRIS LEROUX: Define intellectual property and define scarcity and define rivalrousness.
JAMES COX: Okay, go ahead, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, so intellectual property is a term used by proponents of a certain set of laws to – you want me to define it or not? Look, the Constitution was enacted in 1789, right? Patent law and the copyright law were enacted soon after. The Lanham Act, which is trademark, was enacted decades later, and state laws were enacted before that. Trade secret was a common law thing as well. So these types of laws started being called intellectual property because they were under assault by free-market advocates because they saw that they were monopoly grants by the state.
So instead of calling them monopolies, they started calling them intellectual property. So it’s a fairly incoherent term of positive law used to describe a group of somewhat related legal rights. They’re called intellectual property because the legal theory goes that they arise from the creation of the intellect. Like trademarks, which are designs or names of products, copyrights which are like artistic works, patents which cover inventions, which are also creations of the mind, trade secrets which are also creations of the mind, which are kept secret.
So that’s what intellectual property means. So as a libertarian, as an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, or actually I don’t say anarcho-capitalist. I say anarcho-libertarian. I think the term capitalist is potentially misleading. As an anarchist libertarian, what we do is we look around at the existing laws in society, and we have opinions on those laws. And we say this kind of law is close to what we would say is legitimate.
This kind of law is clearly illegitimate like laws against not paying your taxes, laws against not serving in the military when you’re conscripted, laws against selling pornography or drugs, etc. All these laws are incoherent – inconsistent with ownership of one’s body and the Lockian property rights that accrue from contract and appropriation. I can’t imagine you really disagree with that except maybe for some nuances.
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, some nuances.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So then we see that we have this spate of laws in society called intellectual property laws by its advocates, and we have to have an opinion on that. Or sometimes people ask us what’s your opinion, and I say, well, patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret, boat-hole designs, database rights, all these things are completely incompatible with the way property rights would work in a free society. And then someone like you comes along and says, well, I’m not in favor of that, but I believe in contract rights. Now, your but implies that you think the contract…
CHRIS LEROUX: What’s wrong with that?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Because it’s not the same thing. These rights are…
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, it’s not.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: [indiscernible_00:37:48] rights.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re so confused.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m confused, so you don’t agree…
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, I can support contract rights without supporting the state. That’s not really very complicated.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So you don’t really know what we disagree on.
CHRIS LEROUX: In whatever way – okay, is it my turn? Go ahead and finish.
JAMES COX: No, no, he needs to explain his definition of rivalrous, and there was another one too.
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me – give me two minutes to get one question out, and then I’ll let you have time to try to answer it, and I would like you to actually answer the question.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, things seem to be getting more polite, and that’s going to win me over a lot better.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s always been polite. It’s always been polite.
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think you’ve been very authoritarian.
JAMES COX: Okay, okay, okay, just…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not allowed to talk about…
JAMES COX: We’re here to discuss IP.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: [indiscernible_00:38:43]
JAMES COX: Stop. Stop. Stop. Timeout. We’re not here to discuss egos and things like that. We’re here to discuss a particular thing. This is a debate about IP, so timeout on that. We’re discussing IP. We are defining terms right now
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s a fundamental fact though. It’s a fundamental fact that he has admitted.
JAMES COX: We’re defining. Look. Look. Look. Are we grown-up adults here? Are we going to discuss IP?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No. We’re libertarians.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m allowed to make a point.
JAMES COX: I want him to discuss…
CHRIS LEROUX: I want to make a point.
JAMES COX: Rivalness.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me ask you a question, Chris.
CHRIS LEROUX: I do too, but I also – I want to point out that it is a contradiction, as he’s admitted, that he’s trying to make profit off selling books via copyright. He’s admitted that, so it’s not – for me to address that contradiction is fair game.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, it’s – you don’t know what you’re talking about.
CHRIS LEROUX: I do know.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s not factually true. If you go to my website…
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s your words.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: All of my stuff is available in the public domain.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m just going by your words. I downloaded your book for free, but I saw on an interview with someone you were debating about IP that you told him that you used copyright to make money.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, I didn’t say that.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m only using your words. I didn’t research it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I said that…
CHRIS LEROUX: If you’re going to deny it, that’s fine.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I published – no, I didn’t say I made money off copyright. I said I’ve made money selling books.
JAMES COX: Let me ask you a question, Stephan. Are all your works on Amazon copyrighted?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Me?
JAMES COX: Yeah.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: None of the – well, they’re all copyrighted because of the system that Chris…
JAMES COX: But why – if you don’t believe in copyright, why are your books copyrighted?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, but it’s automatic. You can’t get rid of copyright.
CHRIS LEROUX: But we can’t talk about this.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Everything you write is copyrighted. This video is copyrighted right now.
JAMES COX: So do you say that basically then that…
CHRIS LEROUX: Fair enough, fair enough.
JAMES COX: Do you say on Amazon that, listen, you have to pay for my books here if you buy them on Amazon? However – is it in the front of the pages? However, if you want to download this for free, you can come to my website and get them for nothing?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, everything…
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait, wait, wait.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me ask you this then.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’ll let it go. I understand your position on this point.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Everything I’ve written except for some legal books, which I have assigned my rights to the publisher and they can do what they want with them. That’s the system. Those copyrights the publisher holds, and they can do what they – West and Thompson and Oxford University Press. But what do you want me to say?
CHRIS LEROUX: I think it’s [indiscernible_00:41:17]
JAMES COX: All right now…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Everything other than my legal works I put on my website.
JAMES COX: It sounds a bit hypocritical if you ask me, but anyway, I’m not in this debate.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, no, no, hold on. Hold on. No, let’s talk about it.
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s not. It’s not.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why is it hypocritical? Why?
CHRIS LEROUX: I’ll defend you on this. I’ll defend you on this, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why is it hypocritical?
JAMES COX: I know why you did it. I know why you did it, and it’s understandable, and it’s so that other people can’t take your work and sell it and make a profit off you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, look, if you sell a book to someone…
JAMES COX: And claim it’s their work. And claim it’s their work, right?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Say again. What?
JAMES COX: And claim that it’s their work. You did it because if somebody could have – if you said this has no copyright on it and somebody takes your book and starts selling it…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s not it.
JAMES COX: They can make…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: A publisher comes to you and they say…
JAMES COX: Or they could sue you. They could sue you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: A publisher comes to you and they say…
JAMES COX: Hold on. Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s take a look at this. You write a book and you put it on Amazon, right? And it’s not copyrighted. Someone takes that book – hold on. Hold on.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: [indiscernible_00:42:15] on Amazon. That’s not what happens.
CHRIS LEROUX: Hold on now. Let’s let the moderator talk.
JAMES COX: Let me just ask you a question. Somebody takes your book and starts selling it, but then you don’t believe in copyright, so then somebody fucking sues you for copyrighting their work because they’ve copyrighted it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, that’s not how it works.
JAMES COX: But they could.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, they couldn’t.
JAMES COX: All right, let’s say they don’t put it on Amazon. They’re just selling it in the general public and…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’ve got no problem with that.
JAMES COX: And they’re just renting a book, and it’s on a table at a libertarian party conference or whatever.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Wait, wait, wait, go to my website…
CHRIS LEROUX: Let’s get – okay.
JAMES COX: Some guy takes the book and copyrights it.
CHRIS LEROUX: Come on. Let me get back.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: They copyright things. This is not…
CHRIS LEROUX: Let me have a word. Let me have a word.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: They copyright things.
CHRIS LEROUX: Please let me have a word. I actually agree with Stephan on this issue. I’m sorry. I keep saying Stephen.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s okay.
CHRIS LEROUX: I actually agree. The system is what it is, and he’s working within the system. Now, what I will…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But my site has a copyright zero license. I license everything – I free it as much as I can. That’s what you guys are missing.
JAMES COX: Well, listen…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not missing anything.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Go to stephankinsella.com.
JAMES COX: I just want to say this. Larken Rose has a book, The Most Dangerous Superstition, and he says that he copyrighted it so that somebody couldn’t take his book, copyright, and then sue him.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s layman’s talk. That’s wrong. That’s not right.
CHRIS LEROUX: I actually agree with Stephan.
JAMES COX: Can we get to the – you agree with Stephan. Okay.
CHRIS LEROUX: I agree with Stephan…
JAMES COX: I want to find out – Stephan has got two questions.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I have one, just one question.
JAMES COX: No, no, no, that you haven’t answered yet, what Chris asked you.
CHRIS LEROUX: Fine.
JAMES COX: And then we can get back to this.
CHRIS LEROUX: As long as I get my time. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t remember the question.
JAMES COX: What’s the question, Chris? Rivalry, rivalry.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, define – okay, fine. My question was define intellectual property…
JAMES COX: Which he did. He’s already done that.
CHRIS LEROUX: Define scarcity. He did? I don’t think so.
JAMES COX: Yeah, he did. He talked about copyright and everything and – because he started talking about all this…
CHRIS LEROUX: He didn’t define anything.
JAMES COX: He did. He talked about all the laws and everything.
CHRIS LEROUX: How about a one sentence – something, at least maybe one, two, three sentences. Let’s review it then. If you think you did, do it again, and then scarcity and rivalrousness.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, first of all, I don’t know why you want me to define IP. I’m against all the existing IP laws.
CHRIS LEROUX: What are you against? Define it, what you’re against. That’s what I’ve said all along. You’re chasing a ghost.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret law.
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m against any law that tries to assign rights in a non-scarce or non-rivalrous resource because that necessarily invades other rights that exist. It’s just like when you print money you inflate or dilute the purchasing power of money. When you create positive rights, you take away from negative rights. When you grant property rights in non-scarce resources, you take away rights in scarce resources. There’s just no way around that, and the reason I was going to ask you a question was to try to get you to see this, see what your answer to this question would be.
And my question is let’s forget about what we disagree on. You might think that there should be property rights in A, B, and C, and so do I and that you might think there should be rights in D and E, and I don’t agree with that. Let’s talk about what we agree on. I think you would agree that in the state of nature people getting along in society – they can homestead rivalrous resources like land, houses.
JAMES COX: Whoa, whoa, whoa. We have to define rivalrous.
CHRIS LEROUX: See, that’s – I mean that’s what I keep saying.
JAMES COX: Stop. Stop. Stop. So let’s define rivalness before you pose this question. You can’t ask him a question when he doesn’t understand what you mean by – you’ve not defined rivalness.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Fine, but you guys…
JAMES COX: He’s asked you that like two or there times.
CHRIS LEROUX: I deserve to make one fundamental statement. This is…
JAMES COX: No, you can in a bit. You can in a bit. Let him…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Go ahead, Chris. Go ahead.
CHRIS LEROUX: I mean fuckin’ A. You’re the preeminent anti-intellectual property person, and you don’t have a definition of intellectual property. I mean what are you fighting against? See, that’s what I’ve been saying all along. You’re fighting against a ghost. It’s not necessary to create all these complicated issues of rivalrousness and scarcity. The state can be opposed simply. Taxation is theft and slavery, and any involuntary contracts like the social contract or any other contract that the state enforces is totally irrelevant. And so – but that has nothing to do with – anything to do with an anarchist system. Any contract that two people make voluntarily is – has nothing to do with your opinion of it unless you’ve been selected as the third-party arbitrator, your opinion is irrelevant.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But when did I ever say that contracts shouldn’t be enforced? Why do you keep saying that? You keep saying that it’s not due with Kinsella’s opinion of it. When did I ever say a contract should not be enforced?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, but wait. In order to say that, you have to agree with my position, and then you have to abandon your so-called – all your talk about scarcity and rivalrousness because now that’s not a factor. The factor is the voluntary contract between these two parties, not your opinion of scarcity. See, scarcity is a physical fact, and it’s relative. It can change, so how scarce compared to…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Not rivalrousness. That’s not relative.
JAMES COX: Define rivalness. You keep throwing that word out there. He needs to know what you mean by that.
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s so important. I agree. Rivalrousness is so important, but let’s start with scarcity.
JAMES COX: Rivalness. No, no, no, let’s not because we’re going for a different word.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You guys do realize this is an accepted concept in economics that no one disagrees with, right? I mean there’s no dispute over the legitimacy of…
CHRIS LEROUX: That is an appeal to authority.
JAMES COX: Timeout. Timeout. Timeout, please. Rivalness, Stephan Kinsella.
CHRIS LEROUX: Go ahead.
JAMES COX: Define please.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: A rivalrous resource is one that can only be used by one actor at a time. When you use it, it excludes other people’s use. It’s very simple. It’s basically something in libertarian terms that conflict over it is possible. Rivalry – that’s what rivalry means is fighting over it.
CHRIS LEROUX: That – it’s time to destroy that.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh my God.
CHRIS LEROUX: Here it is. Here it is. There can be an exclusive owner, someone who has the exclusive control over use and disposal, and he can rent his property to someone to more – actually to more than one person. He could actually rent a house to a family or two families, so there’s more than one person using it right away.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, no, not at the same time.
CHRIS LEROUX: Why can’t they use the house at the same time? They can’t live in the house at the same time?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: The example you’re giving presupposes an owner of the resource, and he can use his power as an owner to enter into contracts and to let other people use it. That’s an – that’s why I said earlier I’m not trying to get technical, but that’s an in personam…
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I am.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, it’s an in personam right. It’s a right between two people, two or more people. It’s a contract.
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s not necessarily two or more people. I mean you can have co-owners. You can have three people that engage in a contract.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s called two or more. That’s two or more.
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay, so more than one person can…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But that’s in personam. That’s just between those people…
CHRIS LEROUX: You can have…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: People who enter into the contract.
CHRIS LEROUX: You could sell a tour of your building to thousands of people a day, and thousands of people a day could thus use that property.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: With your permission.
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay, absolutely, so now you’re totally agreeing with me. There’s only one person that has exclusive use of control and disposal and…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, no.
CHRIS LEROUX: And the other people are irrelevant. There is no rivalrous.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t know what it means to say they’re irrelevant.
CHRIS LEROUX: Rivalrousness is irrelevant.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: They’re temporary co-owners. I mean if you loaned your car to someone or if Avis rents a car to me, I have the use of that car for that day. It’s called a usufruct in the civil law.
CHRIS LEROUX: Right, just like if I was to say you can read my book, but you can’t reprint it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yes.
CHRIS LEROUX: You have the use of that book to read it, but you don’t have the use of the book to reprint it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But the right way to look at that contract is I’m selling you a book, and then I’m saying I’m really a co-owner of that book with you. You don’t have full rights in that book, or you could say you’re agreeing to me if you use the book in certain impermissible ways, then you have to pay me a million dollars in damages. So that’s just another contract for you to tell – to pay me money if you do something you shouldn’t do. Now, why you think that anyone would enter into such a contract is a mystery to me.
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait, now I never said anyone would enter in any particular contract. I am particularly…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Then what are you arguing for?
CHRIS LEROUX: I have told you over and over again that absurd contracts would not – no one would sign them in an anarcho-capitalist system. And an arbitration system would not enforce them, and if there weren’t damages that they couldn’t prove, they probably wouldn’t go to arbitration in the first place because the costs of the arbitration would exceed the amount of damages that they could turn.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But that’s punting a little bit. When you just punted the…
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s not punting. It’s freedom. That’s what freedom is. So you cannot…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But you can’t just say that it would be settled by arbitration. You can’t just say that because…
CHRIS LEROUX: Why? That’s freedom.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s not freedom to just say – because you could say what if I have a big house and my neighbors are poor and they want to use my house? Well, we have a dispute over who gets to use the house, so let’s go to arbitration. In a libertarian society, we would just have to have arbitration. Well, you don’t have arbitration over that, or if you did, you would get kicked out of court.
CHRIS LEROUX: You always like to examine hypotheticals out of context. Was there a contract? Was there a contract? So what’s the contract?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But that’s the whole point. That’s right. But earlier you intimated that you don’t have to have a contract. There could be a social standard or a…
CHRIS LEROUX: I never said any such thing. You’re imagining things now.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not imagining it. I’m listening to your…
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t support any social contracts. I support only voluntary contracts. I oppose all involuntary contracts, so let me just clarify that actually.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me ask you a couple of – maybe this will help clarify and…
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And we might not disagree actually to be honest.
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s what I told you from the start.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Then why did you want to have a debate?
CHRIS LEROUX: Because your explanation is not as clear as mine.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Your explanation for what?
CHRIS LEROUX: For property rights and for contract rights. I have no need to discuss these opinions about how scarce is something. Everything is scarce unless you’re going to claim that it’s infinite. I mean are you going to…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’ve already – you keep using – look, let’s use the word rivalrous so that you can’t do this little trick.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: The trick you guys play. This is equivocation.
CHRIS LEROUX: James, why don’t you introduce a debate about rivalrousness? Because I think the whole thing revolves around this one silly word.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Do you really think that there should not be property rights in rivalrous goods? Is that really your opinion?
CHRIS LEROUX: I believe…
JAMES COX: Have you guys ever seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, yeah.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: A long time ago, yeah.
JAMES COX: Have you seen it? The first…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: The Coke bottle.
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s been awhile.
JAMES COX: There you go. That’s what happens when there is something that’s scarce in a society. People all want to own it, and before you know it, there’s fighting and things like that, and that’s why the guy ended up taking the Coke bottle to get rid of it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me give an example. Okay, people say that people fight over religion. They don’t really fight over religion. That’s a metaphorical description of the motivations of fighting over bodies and land and resources. All fights are necessarily and always – all conflicts are always over scarce resources in the rivalrous sense. Okay, so if I want to make you be a Christian instead of a Muslim or vice versa and I say if you don’t convert to my religion I will cut your head off, then it’s really a dispute about your body.
If all I said was if you don’t listen to me I’m going to curse you, then I would say, well, go piss off. I don’t care. But the threats are always physical, physical force against physical bodies. So the dispute is really over bodies. This is what slavery is. Slavery is one person claiming to use the right to coerce another person to get them to do what they want to do. This is what we – I think we have to agree with as libertarians so…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not a libertarian.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You said you’re…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m an anarcho-capitalist. Libertarians – most libertarians from my perspective are minarchists. They embrace the state. I don’t embrace the state.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But you and I are the anarchist type of libertarians. I don’t know what the big…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not a type of libertarian [indiscernible_00:54:43]
JAMES COX: The small L as they call it. There’s a small L, which is [indiscernible_00:54:46]
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So I was trying – for…
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s a different debate, but I don’t like that word.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me get to my question, and then you can – I’ll give you five minutes to do whatever you want. So my question for you is a couple of things. Do you – you seem to say in your video with Shanklin, in your discussion with Shanklin, if someone comes up with a new invention like a new energy machine, and they just sell it on the market and other people observe this and they learn from it, they could compete with the guy. They can even make a very similar or maybe identical machine unless they signed a contract with him. You agree with that?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, now let’s say you go on the internet tomorrow, and you find a downloaded – an uploaded copy of a Harry Potter novel. Now, you’ve never bought a copy yourself. You’ve never made a contract with her publisher or with her. If you download those bits and print them on your laser printer at home, are you violating anyone’s contract?
CHRIS LEROUX: No.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, well, then you’re very solid. I mean you’re with me. So then the final question would be…
CHRIS LEROUX: No, I’m not. I’m not with you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yeah, you are.
CHRIS LEROUX: You continue to have this leadership, this – you want to hold the reins.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m just saying you agree with me. No, that’s not true.
CHRIS LEROUX: No, you do. You want to be the leader. You want people to follow you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Oh for God’s sake.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re very full of yourself. I’m not following…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I would love for someone else to do this. I don’t even like IP…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not agreeing with you.
JAMES COX: Can’t you just – hey, listen.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re agreeing with me. You’re agreeing with me.
JAMES COX: Can you just kiss and make up, you two guys?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I agree with you. We agree with each other.
JAMES COX: And be friends on Facebook. Can you unblock one another and send each other a friend request?
CHRIS LEROUX: I never blocked him.
JAMES COX: And kiss and make up. Because obviously you both agree on…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’d be happy to. Did I block you? Did I get blocked?
JAMES COX: I think you did. I think Tucker did too. But anyway…
CHRIS LEROUX: Tucker blocked me.
JAMES COX: Here’s the thing…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, I don’t remember…
JAMES COX: Here’s the thing.
CHRIS LEROUX: Neither one of you gave me a chance.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me go back to my question. I didn’t ask my question.
CHRIS LEROUX: You never gave me a chance.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I want to hear his answer to my question.
CHRIS LEROUX: Which question?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So my question is – and I just want to go step by step to see where we diverge if we diverge, and if we don’t, then I think I agree with you, Chris. I agree with your magnificent, simplistic – simplified theory of…
CHRIS LEROUX: Don’t get carried away now.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, whatever. Do you agree that – let’s say you homestead a piece of land in the woods and you build a log cabin that you own that piece of land and your house, which means you have a property right in it? Do you agree with that?
CHRIS LEROUX: I think so. I mean I don’t – I mean maybe you’re…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not trying to trap you. I’m just trying to get you to agree…
CHRIS LEROUX: Then yes, yes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: On some mostly uncontroversial stuff. Now, you might fight with me over whether that’s a rivalrous resource, but it is. But anyway, let’s move on.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not into that.
JAMES COX: I would say you don’t own it. I would say you’re using it.
CHRIS LEROUX: James, come on now. Don’t intrude with those views.
JAMES COX: Go ahead. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Ownership means the right to use, so the question is do you have the right to use it, so anyway.
CHRIS LEROUX: No, no, no, I disagree with that.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You don’t think you have the right to use your house?
CHRIS LEROUX: Ownership is exclusive control over use and disposal. It’s not a right.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, that’s – that is a right. That’s what a right means. It’s the right to…
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s just a fact. It’s a fact. It’s natural – the law of nature dictates it. It’s what happens absent violence, absent violence…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, this is what…
JAMES COX: This is what – let Stephan get to his question. Go on, Stephan.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: This is why you were, in my view, confused about your example about…
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s why you’re confused.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Hold on. No, this is why you think Crusoe has property on a desert island by himself because you’re seeing it as a metaphysical fact. You’re not seeing that it’s a socially relevant thing, but I don’t think it affects your analysis too much. My question is this.
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s not a matter of I don’t see it. It’s the matter of we have a fundamental disagreement. I believe property is a fundamental metaphysical fact. You believe it’s subjective, open to interpretation.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You were the one saying it’s subjective earlier.
CHRIS LEROUX: Not absolute, not axiomatic, not universal, not eternal. You’re fuzzy. You believe in keeping everything fuzzy. That’s why you like libertarian over anarchist. You think you’re very smart.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m an anarchist libertarian.
JAMES COX: Come on. Let’s get off with this.
CHRIS LEROUX: And you…
JAMES COX: Chris, Chris, Chris, stop, stop. Let me get to the question.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m analyzing. You’re a nihilist.
JAMES COX: All right, all right, all right, stop.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re a nihilist.
JAMES COX: Stop. Stephan, go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: We’re both ex-Randians, so I mean come on.
JAMES COX: Go ahead, Stephan. What’s the question for Chris?
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m just telling the truth.
JAMES COX: So you asked him. He’s got this log cabin in the woods.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: The question is, so imagine that you own your cabin and you have a neighbor who has his own cabin. And you sometimes meet and help each other out or talk or whatever. Now, if your neighbor wants a right of way over your land, you could grant that to him contractually. Would you agree with that?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So you could say I’m going to grant you an easement or what’s called a servitude in the civil law. So you can cross over this corner of my land. So basically you and your neighbor…
CHRIS LEROUX: I really don’t like that term, and I don’t like any of this nonsense about the state civil law, but go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: It’s not the state. I’m just giving you language. So basically your neighbor now has a property right to cross over your land, so you and he are co-owners of this scarce resource. Would you agree with that? But as defined by the contract between you.
CHRIS LEROUX: I would – yes, but I would add that you’re both absolute owners. There’s no limitation to ownership. It’s that as the absolute owner, you are able to restrict your own ownership rights. You are able to give some portion of your own because as an owner, you have ultimate use of – you have ultimate control over use and disposal. So you can grant limited access. Yes, I agree. I agree. Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let’s say you and I become best friends some day, which is highly unlikely.
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t think so.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, but let’s say we become best friends and…
CHRIS LEROUX: I like you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I like you too. You’re cute. So let’s say we want to buy a condo in Aspen together. Let’s say it’s a $500,000 condo, and we can’t afford it on our own, but we each have 250K to pony up.
JAMES COX: You guys would make a great couple in that condo.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think so. Well, people would confuse us, and – but anyway, so let’s say we pony up the money. We buy this condo together, and we make an agreement between ourselves that you can use the condo on even-numbered weeks, and I can use it on odd-numbered weeks or whatever. So we agree to this ahead of time. Now, isn’t that possible, a co-ownership arrangement like that?
CHRIS LEROUX: I think so, sure.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, so – but I wouldn’t have the right to use the condo in the weeks when you have the right to use it.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, but wait. You did, but you contracted a certain amount of land.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, we bought the thing together as 50/50 equal partners.
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, you made a deal. I don’t see what the problem is. It’s a contractual splitting of contractual rights. I mean that’s exactly the implementation of property rights.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But it’s not only contract. It’s property rights. I mean you and I are co-owners of this property.
CHRIS LEROUX: Contract rights are simply the implementation of property rights, so there’s nothing wrong with sharing.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t strongly disagree with that. So what I’m…
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay, wait, wait, wait, wait. As a property owner, you can give away. You can share. You can sell. There’s no conflict. You have ultimate…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You can extort. You can abuse. You can loan.
CHRIS LEROUX: You can burn it down. You can destroy it, and that’s why I object, the one very thin disagreement. I mean this is so off topic, but one very thin disagreement I have with Rothbard is he essentially – I haven’t read this in awhile, and it’s not a big issue to me, so I might have to review it. But I think as I recall he says that parents are essentially owners of their child, and I disagree. I think that they’re not owners because if they were owners, they could essentially suicide their child. They have ultimate control over use and disposal. You can suicide yourself. You can’t suicide your child. That’s murder. And I…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, Chris, I assumed…
CHRIS LEROUX: Hold on. Hold on. I think parents are temporary custodians until children homestead themselves according to…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No.
CHRIS LEROUX: Rothbardian homesteading law.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I agree with you until that last part.
CHRIS LEROUX: But we’re really off topic. We’re really off topic now.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, it’s not completely off topic. You’re actually right to make a tangent there. But I thought for being such a vociferous critic, you would have read what I’ve actually written. But I have a whole article on this called “How We Come to Own Ourselves.”
CHRIS LEROUX: I have not read everything you’ve written.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, that’s fine, but there’s a core work, and I agree with you that you don’t own your kids, but they don’t homestead themselves either. The fallacy – the flaw in the reasoning here is that all property rights come from homesteading. I don’t think they do. That’s why I distinguished body ownership from other things earlier because I think it makes a difference. I don’t think – you don’t own your body because you homesteaded it because to homestead something you have to be an actor. To be an actor, you have to have a body already, so it makes no sense to homestead your body.
CHRIS LEROUX: Sure it does. Kids homestead their body. They grow into their body. They learn to exercise their mind, their mental control over their body. That’s homesteading. It’s pure and simple.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So homesteading means acquiring or appropriating ownership of an unowned resource.
CHRIS LEROUX: Setting a boundary. Setting a boundary. I think…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Wait. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
CHRIS LEROUX: Let me make a reference because I think that Butler Shaffer in Boundaries of Order, fantastic book, wonderful book. I love that book so much, but I think the most important conclusion or the most important element of that book was unstated, and that was that in order to establish a property right you have to establish a boundary. He never exactly said that. He implied it, and I just wanted to give credit because I think it’s a wonderful book.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You don’t need to give credit because Hoppe is explicit about this in chapters one and two of Theory of Socialism and Capitalism when he talks about the entire process of acquiring unowned scarce resources is called embordering or putting up borders or boundaries. That’s his entire theory. That’s why he’s the most important theory in this, theorist.
CHRIS LEROUX: Interesting. I’ve read that book, and I don’t particularly remember that comment. I certainly agree with it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Look at chapters one and two. They’re very short.
CHRIS LEROUX: I never disagreed with really anything that Hoppe said. I mean…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, Hoppe is against IP, so maybe…
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, then we disagree on that.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But you said you’re not for IP.
CHRIS LEROUX: But I don’t support IP. I mean we’ve been over this. I mean you keep putting – you want to put that on me, but I don’t support it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I like labels. I’m what you call a conceptual being. I actually have [indiscernible_01:05:54].
CHRIS LEROUX: But you’re not. You’re a subjectivist. You’re an immoralist. You don’t believe that the law is not aggression is universal and eternal. Let’s get into that. Let’s get into how I think you’re a subjectivist.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, it’s not eternal because there’s a heat death of the universe coming, so it’s not eternal. But I thought you were the one saying that property is subjective earlier.
CHRIS LEROUX: No, no, no, property is objective.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You guys keep preventing me from getting to my question, which is…
JAMES COX: Go on then. Just get on with it. Get on with the show.
CHRIS LEROUX: Go ahead.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Remember the hypothetical I’m posing about the guy with the log cabin with a neighbor. And you grant to him the right to cross over, right? Now, let’s suppose you have a community association, 10, 20, 100 people living near each other. Let’s say they all agree on a restrictive covenant, and they say we’re going to all agree with each other that everyone living in this neighborhood, we will not use our houses for commercial activities or a pig farm. We won’t paint our houses orange, whatever. That’s legitimate, correct?
CHRIS LEROUX: I think so.
JAMES COX: Well, have the two people that have assigned each other this right to travel across the one person’s property agreed to the – this association?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m saying if they agree to it, it’s legitimate. I’m just making sure we agree on this.
CHRIS LEROUX: I think so.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So now – so you asked me what my definition of IP was and why I disagree with it, and here what I’m getting to is what intellectual property does is it imposes this kind of restriction on the use of one’s existing resources without a contract. Now, since you’re such a big advocate of contract, you should be the biggest – so that’s what it does.
CHRIS LEROUX: I agree with you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: If I go to the government and…
CHRIS LEROUX: I told you that. I’ve repeated this over and over to you. The problem with the current system is that they enforce involuntary contracts.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But it’s not just the current system. It’s the very idea of having property rights in non-scarce, non-rivalrous resources.
CHRIS LEROUX: No. Nonsense. It’s not – in an anarcho-capitalist – see, you’re stuck in this present system. In an anarcho-capitalist system…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Can you say comma dude after what you just said? That would really add a cherry on top. Just say dude.
CHRIS LEROUX: Dude.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Thanks.
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay. So you’re – I mean I just think you continually default to the current system.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So you think I’m right about IP or that you’re right about IP and that I happen to be on your side.
CHRIS LEROUX: I think that we’re both right…
JAMES COX: And I think what you’re doing is you’re arguing about words amongst one another. You both agree that a third party in the current system has no right to enforce a so-called contract that somebody who’s made something against somebody that they don’t have a contract with. I think you both agree with that, right? You agree that a third party, i.e. the state, does not have a right to go after a third party that had no contract with the originator of the so-called item. You agree with that, right?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Look at James tying it up here. I agree with that. I like it.
JAMES COX: You agree with that.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I do.
JAMES COX: Then you’re just arguing about words. You’re just arguing about terminology between one another, how each one of you argue.
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s what I told him from the start. That’s what I told him from the start.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What else are anarchists going to disagree about other than words?
JAMES COX: So my question is that the ultimate question here to…
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait, no. There are some important distinctions.
JAMES COX: I don’t think there are. I don’t think there are. I don’t think there are. I don’t think there are. I think it’s this.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, there are.
JAMES COX: Either you agree with a person that you and that person have a contract that you’re going to sell him goods, and he doesn’t have a right to copy it and make money off you.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, that means I win.
JAMES COX: Or give it away, whatever. No, it doesn’t. No, it doesn’t.
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes, it does.
JAMES COX: No, because basically if you…
CHRIS LEROUX: He’s against that.
JAMES COX: If you and him have a contract, then the contract states who gets to arbitrate it. The other person might say okay, well, I agree, but I want something in the contract where I get judged by 12 people of my peers. I don’t want to go to an arbitrator. I don’t want one person making a decision whether they think that I broke the law, this contract or not, right?
So it’s between the two people when they sign the contract. Like I said earlier, your cousin comes ‘round. He borrows a book from you whether it’s regarding contract – whether it’s trespass or whatever. He borrows the book, and he copies it and puts the book back and starts selling it. Nobody can use force against this person because there’s no contract, whether you leave the book in an airport and some guy picks it up and starts making copies of it or whatever.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think we can all agree on something, and that is that Chris did a lot better than Robert Wenzel.
CHRIS LEROUX: I don’t know who that is.
JAMES COX: I think that you two…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I think he crushed me.
JAMES COX: Well, I think that you two children have actually done a good job of staying pretty calm. And I just hope that you will unblock him, Stephan, and you guys will…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I will unblock him.
JAMES COX: You guys will send each other friend requests…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Before the night is over.
JAMES COX: And become friends, kiss and make up, and give each other a kiss on screen, and then you can get his – get your contract together for that condo in Aspen or wherever it’s going to be.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Maybe we’ll co-author a book on the revised theory of IP next week.
JAMES COX: I think you should do. Get a Google+ – get a Google document going and write something together and then put it out there. I think this has been a great discussion. Obviously there’s been a misunderstanding. I don’t think Facebook does a good job of controlling debates. I think it’s always better done on video, things like this, and terms and things have to be defined prior to a debate or during a debate, and time must be allotted. Otherwise people do tend to talk over one another, and I think that this has been a pretty good discussion, and I think we’ve had a bit of fun with it. And it’s been great, and I think something good came of it that you two guys are going to be friends after this video is over.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I think you did a good job of moderating, James.
JAMES COX: It’s like you. It’s like that – did you guys ever watch that thing called Soap in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yep.
JAMES COX: It’s like that. Will Stephan kiss and make up with Chris?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I like Chris now, but I hate you, James.
JAMES COX: That’s fine. You can hate me. You can love to hate me. But anyway, you were saying I did a good job of doing the moderation.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let’s get back to that.
CHRIS LEROUX: I mean I don’t accept that we’re in agreement.
JAMES COX: You are. You are.
CHRIS LEROUX: No, I don’t.
JAMES COX: You’re just not in agreement of words.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris, let’s agree to disagree about that.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’ve established that scarcity…
JAMES COX: When both people agree on things – when people both agree…
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s totally irrelevant…
JAMES COX: On IP, that the state has no right…
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait, I’m not allowed – am I not allowed to disagree?
JAMES COX: You can. You can disagree, but you don’t.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: We can agree to disagree. Let’s agree to disagree.
CHRIS LEROUX: We can respect each other and get along, and we can still have slightly different viewpoints. But let me put my viewpoint out there. I don’t think that what we have here is agreement. I think we still have some disagreement, and let’s be honest about that. I don’t think that scarcity and rivalrous is assessed.
JAMES COX: You are not disagreeing on IP. What you’re disagreeing on is terminology, which could be a different debate down the road. It’s just terminology, but IP – you agree that men with guns from the government cannot come and enforce a contract as a third party against somebody that didn’t agree to sign a contract. You agree, and that’s the whole debate. The whole time the debate was about IP.
CHRIS LEROUX: We’re both against the current system.
JAMES COX: Yeah, and you both are – if there was a – if we lived in a stateless society, you would both be for two people signing a contract, coming up with an agreement, and agreeing to it on a voluntary, mutual, consensual basis. And that is fine regardless of any other third party coming in and saying, well, you can’t do this. Well, you’re not part of our contract.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m not sure of that. I mean Stephan seems to think that he has the right to interfere with that contract because he thinks that the particular commodity being traded is not scarce or is not rivalrous. And we need to engage on rivalrousness. We haven’t done that, and that is the center of his position. And my position is not reliant upon that at all. My position is reliant upon private property and contract rights. I don’t need definitions, mystical nonsense.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Maybe that’s debate number two.
JAMES COX: I have a question. I have a question.
CHRIS LEROUX: Fair enough, fair enough.
JAMES COX: I have a question for Stephan. You can think about this before you answer. It could be answering a different thing. You live – we live on a mountainside, you, Chris, and I, and Chris owns right up to the top of the mountain, and it snows on the mountain and there’s rain, and it comes down. It collects in a pond, and it runs down over Chris’ property where he’s living, and it comes down onto my property.
However, Chris decides that he wants to sell the top of the mountain because he owns up to the top of the mountain to you. And you come along, and he defines a border with you. He’s quite entitled to do this. And he defines a border with you, and you buy the property, but then you and him decide that he – in the contract, you and him, you say that you want to dam this up and divert the water.
Now, I’m using the water that comes down the mountain, and now all of a sudden you and him have a contract. You’re going to dam it up, and you’re going to divert that, so now I have no water. There’s no well on my property. I don’t get to use water. Would you classify that as an act of aggression against me because now I can’t water my crops? I cannot – you’re not including me in the contract. You’ve not come to talk to me about this. I can’t drink water, and I’m going to die. Would you regard that as an act of aggression because you and him have gotten into a contract saying that you’re going to buy this, but you want to dam up the water and you want to divert it, and he says okay?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yes.
JAMES COX: It’s an act of aggression?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Yes.
JAMES COX: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s my judgment.
CHRIS LEROUX: I honestly couldn’t follow it all. It was too much context, and I had a lot of other things on my mind, and I’m sorry.
JAMES COX: All right.
CHRIS LEROUX: But I think I agree. I mean I was kind of paying attention, and I think so.
JAMES COX: That’s all there is to it.
CHRIS LEROUX: I mean I’m focused on this thing that we’re calling intellectual property, which I don’t agree…
JAMES COX: What you’re doing is you’re focusing on words that really are…
CHRIS LEROUX: I do focus on words.
JAMES COX: But the main thing was because you are in agreement with IP, right?
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay, but I started off this conversation with saying, did I not, Stephan? Did I not say that we had a lot of common ground?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You did not.
CHRIS LEROUX: Despite a very – I did.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, you did. You did. That’s right.
CHRIS LEROUX: Despite saying that we had a very…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: You said a lot of things. That’s one of the ones – things you said.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, well, we can continue this. Okay, it’s been good. At least it’s not like I’m invading the experts’ turf and I’m Mr. Know-It-All, and anybody who dares challenge me better agree with me or else because otherwise you’re a dumb-ass.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris.
CHRIS LEROUX: And all these other appeals to authority that you’ve been embracing and all these other things.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Listen. Honestly, if I was going to appeal to authority, don’t you think I could maybe do a little bit better job of it? I mean…
CHRIS LEROUX: No, no. It’s a useless argument.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, but my point is…
CHRIS LEROUX: [indiscernible_01:17:56]
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t try to use my status as a patent lawyer, for example. I mean I know the law. I know what to talk about.
CHRIS LEROUX: So-called law.
JAMES COX: Manmade slavery. That’s what he’s talking about.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, no, no, no, but my…
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s a bunch of bullshit.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I am actually – I’m hostile to the whole system, so I’m not going to give credence to this guy.
CHRIS LEROUX: But you did say in the video with the other dude who claimed to be sort of…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Now that’s a good reference.
CHRIS LEROUX: I can – I’ll post the link. But I’ll remind you of what you said.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, you won’t.
CHRIS LEROUX: I will.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I dare you.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m happy to do it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I double dare you.
CHRIS LEROUX: Let me remind you. You said that being a defense attorney, there was no problem with that. Well, let me tell you some problems with being a defense attorney, Mr. Attorney. You’re embracing – you’re legitimizing the current illegitimate system. I was just called for so-called jury duty, and they showed us a bunch of propaganda videos. And they admitted in the video that the jury system – quote, unquote – the jury system has evolved. Well, where’s the constitutional amendment that evolved it? Where is the constitutional amendment that gave them the right, the privilege to change 12…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Back up a little bit. You look like you’re sucking the microphone. Back up a little bit.
CHRIS LEROUX: A 12-person jury as defined in common law to six. Where is it that gave them the authority to screen people out according to this…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Hey, hey, Chris, Chris, silent whisper. You’re sounding a little bit like a crank now. Kind of tone it down a little bit. The crank meter is kind of going up.
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m passionate against this present system. I’m not sure why you don’t understand that.
JAMES COX: I think Kinsella is…
CHRIS LEROUX: They’re putting a lot of…
JAMES COX: Because nobody will like it.
CHRIS LEROUX: They are putting a lot of peaceful people in cages where they’re raped, and their lives are destroyed. Their families are destroyed. And so if you participate as a so-called defense attorney in this system, you are legitimizing what is essentially clearly an unfair trial as defined…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not a defense attorney.
CHRIS LEROUX: But you said there was nothing wrong with being a defense attorney, and I’m saying there is.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Why?
CHRIS LEROUX: Because you’re endorsing – look, in order to be a defense attorney, you have to submit to the judge’s authority. You have to speak as they tell you.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: To be an attorney, you have to swear an oath to the state.
CHRIS LEROUX: Isn’t that what I’m saying?
JAMES COX: And you have to be a member of the communist bar association.
CHRIS LEROUX: You have to agree. Wait. And if you say anything…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Did you say the Pledge of Allegiance when you were a kid in school?
CHRIS LEROUX: No.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Really?
CHRIS LEROUX: No. I thought it was bullshit.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Are you sure?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, I’m sure. I never…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: [indiscernible_01:20:48]
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, that’s your opinion.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Every kid I know said the Pledge of Allegiance when they were kids.
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, I mean irrelevant anyway.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Not really.
CHRIS LEROUX: What happened as kids.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Same thing.
CHRIS LEROUX: We were kids. We were imprisoned.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Okay, well, I was a young lawyer.
CHRIS LEROUX: We were indoctrinated. Okay, but now we’re talking now, and you’re the expert. You’re the anarcho…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’m not a defense attorney.
CHRIS LEROUX: You’re the – but you said that being a defense attorney – there was no problem with that. And I’m sitting here telling you that…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: What I was saying was if you help the government attack people, that’s bad. But if you’re helping the government – if you’re helping people defend themselves against the government, that is not bad.
CHRIS LEROUX: I agree with that.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I don’t see how – and believe me, if you get attacked by the government one day, you’re going to want a defense attorney to help you out.
CHRIS LEROUX: Yeah, possibly. But nevertheless, their speech is censored. If they say something the judge doesn’t like, they lose their license…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I know.
CHRIS LEROUX: To speak. Do you support licenses to speak in the court?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, not last time I checked.
CHRIS LEROUX: You don’t support licensing of attorneys. You don’t support the present system.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, I’m totally opposed to it.
CHRIS LEROUX: And therefore participating in the present system is endorsing the present system just like voting.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, therefore doesn’t follow. Do you drive on the roads?
CHRIS LEROUX: The roads are monopolized by force. I don’t have to go argue in the courts. I can argue from – and even in that situation where that’s in my – where I’m accused, I can defend myself.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So what are you saying? Are you saying that despite Ayn Rand’s and the objectivists’ advice that you have to martyr yourself and you can’t be an attorney? You have to be a loser?
CHRIS LEROUX: No, actually I…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That means you’ve got to be a loser?
CHRIS LEROUX: Actually, well, I don’t consider myself an objectivist, but I do actually agree with your position.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, you are heavily influenced by objectivism, aren’t you?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes, absolutely.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And you can admit that here. It’s a safe place.
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s a safe place.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: There’s nothing to be ashamed about. I mean we all get over our youthful obsessions with Ayn Rand, although you haven’t gotten over your IP stuff with her. But still I think I know what’s going on here.
CHRIS LEROUX: Okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Right?
CHRIS LEROUX: Right. So because – I’m an anarchist, so I obviously fundamentally disagree with Rand on this issue.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, you’re anarcho-capitalist. Most anarchists that I know that are radical don’t use the word capitalist. I’m curious why you do that because even I…
CHRIS LEROUX: Because I think for myself. I don’t worry about what other people…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: But what’s the reason?
CHRIS LEROUX: Well, because I believe anarchism…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let’s ask James. Let’s get James in here. James, what are thoughts…
CHRIS LEROUX: I believe anarchism is capitalism.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I want to get James in here.
CHRIS LEROUX: It is capitalism.
JAMES COX: I think that the extension – all these extensions of capitalism, communism, socialism, and all this, they’re all – to me they’re just bullshit add-ons.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: They’re –isms. They’re a bunch of –isms.
JAMES COX: Of the word anarchist, anarchism, right? And at the end of the day, here’s my thoughts on things. If you think that things should run naturally in life, that you should just mind your own business and leave other people alone so long as they’re not using violence against you and you’re not using violence against them or you’re not defrauding them or stealing from them…
CHRIS LEROUX: Don’t…
JAMES COX: Then you are an anarchist.
CHRIS LEROUX: Don’t violate contracts just because you think you have the right.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Well, we…
CHRIS LEROUX: Just because you think you know better what’s rivalrous or scarce.
JAMES COX: I don’t think we’re going to get into an argument about rights tonight because it’s late. I don’t think rights exist actually. I think that we – the Earth was here before us, and the Earth is going to be here after us.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, I’ll retire.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I’ll send you an email, but in addition to the other article I mentioned, I do have a whole article on libertarian theory of contract, which I think is extremely definitely directly relevant to what we’ve been talking about here tonight. So people that really want to follow this up in a systematic coherent way, take a look at my contract theory article on my website, and also the how we come to own ourselves argument, which is…
CHRIS LEROUX: Wait, whoa, hold on.
JAMES COX: Do you want to give [indiscernible_01:25:17].
CHRIS LEROUX: You just said you own yourself. You own yourself.
JAMES COX: Do you want to give your website?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I agree. I made a mistake [indiscernible_01:25:19].
CHRIS LEROUX: Not your body. You own yourself.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris, I’m not perfect either, okay? I’m sorry to bust your bubble.
CHRIS LEROUX: I never – I understand. Fair enough. Let’s continue.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I used the word property sloppily too.
CHRIS LEROUX: I make mistakes, and I use the wrong word. We live in a fucked-up society, and we live in a…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: And you do this. You’ve got to hit yourself when you do it.
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s my point. You dismissed me, and you shouldn’t have, and let’s continue the discussion.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: So what? Now you’re a stalker?
CHRIS LEROUX: No, you can go away. You’re free to leave me alone.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s kind of a freakazoid comment. You’re not going to dismiss me.
JAMES COX: This is not going to turn into a Wenzel argument. I mean it was all nice and peaceful and everything.
CHRIS LEROUX: Shanklin’s the one who said I should debate this with you. Honestly, you have…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Shanklin is starting this shit. I know what he’s doing.
CHRIS LEROUX: I honestly don’t think you have anything – you haven’t disputed anything I’ve said. You’ve accepted them. You’ve lost the debate.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I dispute that.
CHRIS LEROUX: You should admit it. You should admit it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I admit that I dispute that.
CHRIS LEROUX: That anything can be – that is subject to contract, that’s traded voluntarily is property regardless of your opinions.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Hey, why did I block you? You weren’t anti-Semitic or something weird, right?
CHRIS LEROUX: You never gave me a chance. You asserted authority. You told me I should kiss your ass because you’re the great leader, and then you blocked me.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Settle down. I will unblock. I will unblock you.
JAMES COX: I think you should. I think you should get Tucker to unblock him too.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I like Chris.
JAMES COX: Talk to Jeffrey.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris is a good kid.
CHRIS LEROUX: I like you too. I like you too. I’ve always liked you, and it upset me when you blocked me because I was only trying to communicate with you.
JAMES COX: That’s why this all started.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I created an IP…
JAMES COX: Facebook is…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: An IP enemy by my blocking tactics.
JAMES COX: Facebook is bullshit for having debates. If people are going to have a debate, it needs to be done in a private group just between those two people, those two people where they define terms and everything prior.
CHRIS LEROUX: Absolutely.
JAMES COX: Prior…
CHRIS LEROUX: Nice job, James.
JAMES COX: And nobody else comes in because then you get everybody else jumping in, and then once the discussion…
CHRIS LEROUX: That’s true. That’s right.
JAMES COX: With both of those people have ended with a conclusion that they either agree or disagree or agree to disagree, then they can invite other people in to see the discussion because when you get everybody jumping in…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Let me blame Jeff Tucker because Jeff Tucker told me to accept everyone, so I started accepting people and started getting all these random people. And then I would get these kooks, and I just started blocking people like on a dime because I had such an easy acceptance policy. So maybe that was a mistake. I suggest that we end on something we all agree on.
CHRIS LEROUX: Let’s be friends.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: We all agree on peace.
JAMES COX: Freedom.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Prosperity, cooperation.
CHRIS LEROUX: Justice.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That Kinsella is right on his rivalrousness. We all agree on that.
JAMES COX: Kinsella what?
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That I’m right on rivalrousness.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, we can agree on that, right?
CHRIS LEROUX: We haven’t discussed it. We can’t agree on it.
JAMES COX: If you’re talking about somebody wants to steal something from somebody else…
CHRIS LEROUX: I’m going to destroy you.
JAMES COX: While he’s using it.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: How are your dogs, man?
CHRIS LEROUX: You’ve already admitted it. You’ve already admitted it. A contract is absolute.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris, you said that 17 times. You’ve reached your limit. You can’t say he’s already admitted it anymore.
CHRIS LEROUX: But you have.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: No, no, don’t say it again. You’re violating the rules.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s enough.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, fine.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: James, you tie it up, man. Tell us about your dogs, and let’s tie it up.
JAMES COX: Well, I thought this was a great discussion. There’s a bit of banter backwards and forwards. It wasn’t like the stupid Wenzel debate. I guess that basically there’s an agreement here on IP. Just the choice of words is…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: I hear a dog.
JAMES COX: Not very good. Dogs are barking because of the wildlife. And it’s just choice of words, wording of things, and I think we’re all in agreement here that IP is – it’s wrong. If you have two contracts between two people agreeing, then that’s okay.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: IP bad, contracts good. I can agree on that. Chris?
CHRIS LEROUX: Yes, absolutely, amen.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Chris, you’re not nearly as stupid as Wenzel. I would – I’ll give you that.
JAMES COX: And you’re not as green…
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That’s a joke. That’s a joke. I’m joking.
JAMES COX: And you’re not as green as you are [indiscernible_01:29:47].
CHRIS LEROUX: It’s not a joke. It’s consistent. It’s consistent attitude from you.
JAMES COX: He’s got an ego. He’s got an ego.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Come on, man.
CHRIS LEROUX: He’s got an ego problem.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: Come on…
JAMES COX: We all have egos.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: All right, guys, enjoyed it.
JAMES COX: Well, listen, it’s been a great debate. If you want more content like this, please subscribe to my channel. Check out Stephan Kinsella at stephankinsella.com.
STEPHAN KINSELLA: That will work.
JAMES COX: Stephankinsella.com. Subscribe, share the video, and like it, and peace everybody, freedom and prosperity to all. Peace.
CHRIS LEROUX: All right, good night.
JAMES COX: Good night, everybody.