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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). To be included in Law in a Libertarian World.

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On Conflictability and Conflictable Resources

It’s been my impression that usually, when some author coins a bunch of new terms, or over-uses older, arcane terms, it’s a sign he’s a crank. Usually it’s some amateur wannabe “intellectual,” or a quasi-mystic, who borders on incoherent. I figure you only get to coin a new term if you are some serious scholar and real genius pioneering new ground; and if you coin more than one, then the bar is even higher. For example Mises coined praxeology, catallactics and thymology, I believe. That’s at least 3. But hey, he is entitled; they all make sense, and he is one of the greatest geniuses and original thinkers of the 20th century.

Another neologism I like is “cooperatism,” coined by Hazlitt to describe what we call libertarianism.1 Libertarianism has been somewhat coopted by minarchists and doesn’t really get at the essence of our property rights allocation rules, which are not directly about “liberty” or “freedom,” but about rules that permit conflict-free use of scarce (rivalrous) resources, and thus enable cooperation between human actors in a division and specialization of labor society or community. Anarchy is too broad since it covers non-libertarian anarchists, and anarcho-capitalist is too narrow. I tend to prefer libertarianism or anarcho-libertarianism, or if we want to get real specific, Austro-anarcho-libertarianism. In any case, “libertarianism” is preferable to “voluntaryism,” since coerced action is “voluntary” but can still be unjust and aggression.2 If you hand over your wallet to an armed robber, your action is voluntary, but you didn’t meaningfully consent to it. So the crucial criterion is whether a given action is consensual, not whether it’s “voluntary.” So “consensualist” could be another good term for the freedom philosophy, but cooperatism is good too and libertarianism is fine for now. I’m too stubborn to give it up. Some annoying libertarian anarchists say things like “Oh, I’m not a libertarian—I’m an anarchist.” This is dishonest. Others who are obviously libertarians but shun the word for various reasons, such as “I prefer the term ‘liberal.'” Annoying. Just because you don’t “like” a word doesn’t mean you can unilaterally change its definition. As I often point out, all consistent libertarians are anarchist,3 and all true anarchists are libertarian.

But we have to be careful with neologisms. Writers often abuse the privilege, like Hayek with nomos, thesis, taxis, cosmos—concepts and terms  almost no one really remembers or finds useful. I’ve come across others over the years but can’t recall the specifies… Voegelin with his “gnosticism,” others with “immanentizing the eschaton,” Galambos with his “primordial property,” blah blah blah. [continue reading…]

  1. See my post The new libertarianism: anti-capitalist and socialist; or: I prefer Hazlitt’s “Cooperatism”. []
  2. See also  The Problem with “Coercion”. []
  3. See What Libertarianism Is. []
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LIBERTARIAN ANSWER MAN TIME
Restrictive Covenants and Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

(From this Facebook post)

[Update: see Libertarian Answer Man: Restrictive Covenants, Reserved Rights, and Copyright; also discussed a bit in KOL354 | CDA §230, Being “Part of the State,” Co-ownership, Causation, Defamation, with Nick Sinard]

FROM C:

“Hello,
“I’ve recently taken interest in how you’ve structured arguments against IP from a pro-property position, they’ve been really helpful in working my way through things I intuitively understood, but needed a more-cohesive framework for.

“There is, however, something that has been bugging me since before I stumbled upon your stuff. Not related to IP specifically, but to property in general. I’m hoping you can fill me in because my own research has led me nowhere – I’m not a lawyer so I apologize if this is quite basic, as well as for the length of my email. [continue reading…]

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From this facebook post:

LIBERTARIAN ANSWER MAN TIME

MIND-BODY DUALISM, SELF-OWNERSHIP AND PROPERTY RIGHTS

FROM N:

“Hi Stephan, The other day, I was asked whether argumentation ethics presupposes a mind-body dualism since Hoppe makes the argument in A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism that nth-use property rights (when n != 1) can’t be justified since nth-use property rights would imply an nth-use of the body, which contradicts the presuppositions of argumentation. He explicitly states, “And this distinction can only be made in such a clear-cut and unambiguous way because for bodies…the separation between ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ is not based on verbal declarations but on action,” and, “The separation is based on the observation that some particular scarce resource had in fact…been made an expression or materialization of one’s own will, or, as the case may be, of someone else’s will” (A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, pg 156). Isn’t Hoppe assuming that the body is something separate from the will which makes the separation between two bodies the same as any other separation of property (as a manifestation of one’s will), or am I misunderstanding him here?” [continue reading…]

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KOL373 | Against Intellectual Property (audiobook #2)

Play

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 373.

This is an audiobook version of my Against Intellectual Property. Narrated by RetroGames HQ. An earlier version is here: KOL008 | Against Intellectual Property (audiobook).

Youtube playlist; first Youtube:

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Play

Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 372.

Matthew Sands of the Nation of Sanity project (http://www.nationsofsanity.com/), which aims to promote the Non-Aggression Principle as a universal peace agreement, and I discussed various matters of libertarian legal theory, including the Rothbard-Evers title-transfer theory of contract versus contract as “binding promises” and the problem with the idea of “breach of contract”; and related matters such as burdens and standards of proof; civil vs. criminal law and the unity of the law; punishment, restitution and ostracism, and the like.

(See previous episode with Matthew, KOL362 | California Gold #6, with Matt Sands: Defining Libertarianism, Anarchism and Voluntaryism.)

Youtube:

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Areas that need development from libertarian thinkers

I tweeted: “One area that has not received much attention by libertarian theorists, that I know of, is bankruptcy. Still work to do!”

Someone asked me: “Do you have more topics without much attention from libertarian thinkers?”

My reply:

Yeah and I need to collect them.

But here are a few, off the top of my head. [continue reading…]

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The Three Fusionisms: Old, New, and Cautious

The modern libertarian movement is about 50 or 60 years old,1 although its origins have been traced to previous intellectual eras and movements such as classical liberalism (and the US Founding Fathers, the Constitution, etc.), the “Old Right,”2 and even the anti-state/anarchist left.

Strategically and tactically, libertarians in our fledgling political philosophy have attempted various types of alliances with both the left and the right. On attempts to ally with the left, see, e.g., the journal co-founded by Rothbard, Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, and John Payne, Rothbard’s Time on the Left.

As for attempt to form tactical or intellectual alliances between libertarianism and the right, we can trace three attempts at a so-called “fusionism”. [continue reading…]

  1. See Kinsella, “Foreword” to Chase Rachels, A Spontaneous Order: The Capitalist Case for a Stateless Society (2015). []
  2. See, e.g., on the old right, Murray N. Rothbard, The Betrayal of the American Right. []
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