Tuesday, September 12, 2017




Whenever disscussion of property rights come up people interject with mumbo jumbo about "God," "natural rights," or the so-called "state of nature." Meaningless nonsense ensues. These platitude-based arguments only serve to obscure the real discussion about the origin of property rights. Even worse, the arguments made by natural rights libertarians and anarchists actually interfere with their ability to accurately see the big picture, to think strategically, and to design system that actually work. Their hysteria over the notion that government is the source of their property rights, instead of some figmentary higher principle of mythical moral nonsense, actually sabotages the hyperstitional realization of their anarchist dreams.

Essentially, there are two competing theses about property rights. One is the anarchist thesis, which states that property rights are magical and defend themselves. This position is best articulated by the blogger Alrenous‏ as follows;
"Property rights are self-enforcing. The state spends most of its time intervening, preventing them from being enforced. The state is officially defined as the locus of legitimized coercion. Coercion can only be coherently defined as anti-property. Property is the reasonable expectation of control. You control things despite the state trying to take them from you, not because of it.
"If the state weren't 'protecting' my rights, I would be able to see to their protection myself. And then they would actually be protected.As a matter of fact, the state completely fails to protect your property. I can remove trespassers myself — but I'm not allowed to. If my valuables are stolen, the state will neither retrieve nor replace them. If my property is vandalized, the state will not help clean. If my person is threatened — when seconds count, police are only minutes away. Any security I have is despite the state, not because of it. Not only are police only minutes away, but were I to end the threat myself, I'm apt to face criminal charges for doing so."
The other argument is the statist argument of property rights; which is simply this; the police are the ones that enforce your property rights when someone trespasses on your land, therefore your property rights come from the state as enforced through the police. End of discussion.

But which argument is correct? Superficially it may appear that the anarchist argument is correct and the state really is nothing but an infringement on rights. But this cannot be true, because anarchism does not work in reality. Does the state create property rights or the individual? Anarchist property rights are not hyperstitional; that is, they do not make themselves real. But why?

Two words: commitment limits.

Yes, you may be able to protect your property rights. Let us assume that your property is small enough to be viewed from every point by yourself. In that case it is most likely possible that you could deter a single intruder from seizing your property. But what about twenty intruders? Or a thousand? What about an army of fifty thousand? The essential difference between the state and the individual is that the state can ratchet up its commitment to almost infinite limits relative to the paltry power of individuals. And thus, your property rights come from the state, because the state says so, and because the state can bring to bear any measure of force against you in order to overwhelm your opposition. Might makes right. The state wins. You lose. Therefore your property rights come from it.

Notions that rights are "natural," that they "come from God," or are "self-enforcing" are simply a rebellion against reality. The group that can scale violence beyond its enemies oppositional commitment limit is the source of property rights, nothing more or less. Sovereignty lies with the winner in the fight. And this is important, because if a project like blockchain is ever to defeat statism in the game of defending property rights it must be able to overwhelm any competing force. The refusal of anarchists to simply accept reality inhibits their ability to succeed.

Until a superior anarchist force is developed that can scale its commitment to violence beyond anything a state can bring to bear, or is willing to invest, ideas about self-enforcing property rights are just that: ideas. In the real world the state only defines property rights so it can generate a taxable surplus which it can harvest. In this world, the action of property and expropriation are the same; rights are only defined so they can be infringed, with the level of infringement ratcheting up over time.

1 comment:

  1. Rational StirneristOctober 9, 2017 at 3:07 PM

    The case of execution of property rights is a thing that anarchocapitalists can not understand with the main reason of their attachment to the intellectualy poor and mystical philosophical basis. They try to eliminate any use of violence other than in self defence because of moral reasons and fail to see its use in defending the values they hold so dear. These values not being defended in an absolute way of course beacause even in their model of ancap the defense agencies may do something different than Rothbard has imagined just if the financial incentives will be right. But if you get rid of that moralistic bullshit you're on the way of creating much better models of society - neocameralism and further. Answer should be somwhere there on the road.


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