Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

"I don't own myself"

This post has 39 Replies | 6 Followers

Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,056
Points 78,245
Brainpolice Posted: Sat, Jan 12 2008 6:17 AM

I think that someone who proclaims that they do not own themself is engaging in a performative contradiction, for they have to exercise their ownership over themselves in order to even make the statement. "I don't own myself" is a self-detonating statement. The most common counter-arguement to this that I've seen is that a slave doesn't own themself, that the statement would be true coming from a slave and therefore everyone does not naturally own themselves.

I think this arguement is easily countered. The slave technically has complete self-ownership, but they are being denied full exercise of it due to the threat of force by their master if they try to refuse to work and run away. They are actually fully capable of refusing to work and of running away, but the mere psychological stigma attached to the threat of force keeps them in place. An entire plantation of slaves vs. one master should actually be quite easy to escape from but it simply doesn't happen. What keeps the slaves in place is not the actual master's actions so much as the psychological manipulation that leads to the passive resignation of the slave. This is sort of related to La Boetie's observation about tyrannies resting on passive resignation.

Another related point is that, short of the advent of being able to install a chip into someone's brain that controls them like a robot, it is simply physically impossible to entirely control someone else's body in every which way. Your brain cannot attach itself to someone else's nerves and directly control their actions. You can coerce them into taking certain actions and apply force to control their bodies in some ways (such as the case of rape), but you cannot actually directly control them. You can use force on them to control them in some ways, but this would not mean that they do not own themselves, just that their ownership is being partially violated.

Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 299
Points 4,430
Bank Run replied on Sat, Jan 12 2008 7:32 AM

 I hate "Real I.D."

I will drill or cut mine to break the circuit. If we the slave-ols don't continue the american revolution, I will be dead behind bars and more state goodies like physically abused. Likely any other cattle that dares to not fall into rank and order, will find that grim fate. If too many people break the circuit, more of us have a chance.

I find that the layman is not aware that they have a property right of "in and of themselves". It's a valued lesson to add whatever civil right they could concieve of rests solely on a right to property.

A lot out there will try to whip you by their chains of conformity, but only an individual can act the way they wish to.

"Shock therapy will make a monkey dance" 

I would freely give of myself to those individuals I adore, in retrospect. 

 

Individualism Rocks

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 297
Points 4,060
macsnafu replied on Wed, Jan 16 2008 1:54 PM

I would largely agree with you, Brainpolice.  I think it's Rothbard who said, "you cannot alienate your will," which seems to be a succinct way of putting it. A lot of people seem to conflate 'self-ownership' with the kind of ownership one has over one's property, like a car or television set.   But such things are easily alienable, force or no force.

 

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,056
Points 78,245

macsnafu:

I would largely agree with you, Brainpolice.  I think it's Rothbard who said, "you cannot alienate your will," which seems to be a succinct way of putting it. A lot of people seem to conflate 'self-ownership' with the kind of ownership one has over one's property, like a car or television set.   But such things are easily alienable, force or no force.

 

What say you about Walter Block's position that there can be such thing as "voluntary slavery" then? The inalienability arguement debunks it? Or is it just a matter of semantics?

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Wed, Jan 16 2008 7:24 PM

Wouldn't dictating that someone owns themselves mean you're owning them? Part of 'themselves' are their thoughts. If they choose to think in contradiction to you, should they submit to you or anything else? If Rothbard says I can't alienate my will, do I become Rothbard's will? It seems that radical self-ownership is connected to the concept of omnipotence. But we're obviously subject to things. If I totally owned myself I would not alientate myself from life, ie die. If you say I can't let someone enslave me then are you owning me? If I put myself into slavery, can I try to free myself, based not on the rightness or wrongness of slavery but upon radical self-ownership?

Maybe we're just animators, more directly controlling that space we call our bodies and more indirectly controlling that space we call other bodies.

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 369
Points 7,175
baxter replied on Wed, Jan 16 2008 8:13 PM

"I don't own myself" essentially means "I don't own my self", which is a condradiction, since "my" implies that the self belongs to the speaker. I wouldn't believe someone who said that.

If BP said "I don't own BP" that might be believable. I would conclude that BP was a non-living android and is either someone's property, or up for grabs. But I would have little subjective interest in acquiring BP, because it resembles a human, and I'm afraid that it might reveal itself as such and thus invalidate my ownership over it.


  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 72
Points 1,160

Brainpolice:
What say you about Walter Block's position that there can be such thing as "voluntary slavery" then? The inalienability arguement debunks it? Or is it just a matter of semantics?

Basically, I think it's just a question of defining slavery. Let's say that one agrees to a contract that is benefitial to all parties. Then at some point he discoveres some new information and decides to break the contract 'cause he can now find a better solution to his needs. At this point he would probably have to pay some kind of compensation to the second party of the original contract. Since this now puts him into a situation were he is worse off than he would be without the contract, one could say, that he is in voluntary slavery. On the other hand, when making the contract in the beginning, one certainly admits the possibility of new information and therefore also calculates with these risks. Personally, I don't think that the uncertainty of the future should be associated with slavery unless one is not allowed to breach the original contract. But this can't happen on the free-market 'cause making it compulsory to follow the contract (and not allowing to cancel it on any occasion) would be forcing one into the position which he wouldn't accept voluntarily, thereby making him worse off.

I hope it wasn't too confusing, it's about 4 a.m. here and I'm getting a bit disoriented.Confused

One night I dreamed of chewing up my debetcard - there simply is nothing like hard cash in your pocket!

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 369
Points 7,175
baxter replied on Wed, Jan 16 2008 8:23 PM

> Wouldn't dictating that someone owns themselves mean you're owning them?

No, proclaiming that someone owns themselves means that you intend to treat them as an economic actor, rather than as property. They might choose to treat themselves as property, but you have no need to respect that choice. I see it as a practical matter. If a slave-owner and slave agree to believe that they are a property-owner and property, they can continue to act that way, but it sounds unstable in the long-run and the slave isn't worth trusting. I wouldn't purchase him, for example.

On the other hand, treating someone's android as an economic actor and entering into contracts with it is not sensible either - in practice you have to recognize that it is someone's property, you should make sure you trust its owner, and you should have the ability to sue the owner


  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,175
Points 17,905
Moderator
SystemAdministrator
Inquisitor replied on Thu, Jan 17 2008 12:54 PM
You're not dictating anything. Sure, someone can enter a voluntary slave 'contract', but when they violate it, their 'owner' will have no recourse, because of inalienability. This is all that Rothbard's argument shows. It dictates nothing, except in that it shows voluntary slave contracts are pure nonsense (and with them, social 'contracts'.)

 

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 755
Points 18,055
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator

Ownership implies a normative element prohibiting others from attempting to use you in a way that you don't approve of.  "I don't own myself" is perfectly coherent.  It just means that others may use you against your will without unjustly crossing any ethical boundaries.  "I am not in sufficient control of myself to say this sentence" is a better example of a self defeating claim.  You might be interested in my article on this subject.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 698
Points 12,045
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Brainpolice:
I think that someone who proclaims that they do not own themself is engaging in a performative contradiction, for they have to exercise their ownership over themselves in order to even make the statement. "I don't own myself" is a self-detonating statement.
 

 I think this conflates control with ownership, an 'is' with an 'ought'. This is a problem that plagues a number of libertarian theories, particularly of the Kantian/Hoppeian variety. From the fact that one controls one's own body, it does not automatically follow that one own's it; and, contra Kinsella, it matters not that such control is direct objective link rather than indirect one. It is still just control and this control by itself has no special moral significance. Something more is required that these theories do not provide. Likewise, one cannot start one's defense of libertarian rights from self-ownership because it is not basic and primary; it is a cluster concept and a conclusion (which happens to be true, I must add) at which one must arrive by way of argument from more fundamental premises. I do agree that the right to liberty is inalienable, by the way. Saying "I do not own myself" is certainly wrong, but it is not a performative contradiction. Additionally, one can distinguish between the moral ought of ownership and ownership as recognized by positive law (which may or may not be just).

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Thu, Jan 17 2008 1:24 PM

Inquisitor:
it shows voluntary slave contracts are pure nonsense (and with them, social 'contracts'.)

Can you give me your definition of 'social contract' and an example of a nonsensical social contract one might erroneously enter into (in addition to slavery)?

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 698
Points 12,045
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

For a good argument against slavery contracts from the inalienability of rights, see Roderick Long's "Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights." In one of my working papers (On the Social Contract and the Persistence of Anarchy) and in my dissertation, available on my website, I generalize Roderick's argument to "contracts" with the state as well.

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,175
Points 17,905
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

Pairunoyd, if you're familiar with the Hobbesian notion of the social contract, that is what I have in mind.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Thu, Jan 17 2008 2:03 PM

Is this slavery?

I can contract w/ someone to do work for them.
Included in the contract is the length of time I will perform said work.
Can the length of time be, 'Until I die'.
Included in the contract is the compensation for work performed.
Can the compensation be nominal?

If there are questions about how I'm treated by the other party, can I contract w/ them as an entertainer as well? If I somehow fail in the above contract, can I then default to a secondary contract, one that is supposedly in the spirit of entertainment?

Example: (Other party): If John defaults in his primary contract he has agreed to provide me with entertainment. Entertainment will consist of things like, my beating him with a whip, etc.

He gets his jollies by beating people with a whip, just like someone else gets theirs by riding a rollercoaster or a mechanical bull. Also, theres an art to being whipped. John will provide all the goodies, such as, begging for his life, tears, etc.

There would be no defaulting on the 'entertainment' contract because part of the entertainment would be watching John in his chains. If John escapes, the recapture is also part of the entertainment. John puts on a good 'show'.

Where am I wrong here? I by NO means neccessarily believe what I'm saying. I'm simply exploring the concept of self-ownership. I'm probably mostly sympathetic towards it, but I'm just trying to elucidate myself...

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,175
Points 17,905
Moderator
SystemAdministrator
Contracts involve transfer of property titles. However, it is possible to breach them so long as the injured party is compensated.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Fri, Jan 18 2008 7:49 AM

Inquisitor:
Contracts involve transfer of property titles.

Huh? People can't contract for services?

Inquisitor:
However, it is possible to breach them so long as the injured party is compensated.

What/Who decides the compensation - the contract? If the contract doesn't predetermine the compensation and someone else does, on their own initiative, wouldn't this be theft/crime?

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,175
Points 17,905
Moderator
SystemAdministrator
Inquisitor replied on Fri, Jan 18 2008 10:31 AM

You own yourself, therefore you own any services you provide; you in effect rent them out.

 As for remedial measures for breach of contract, see here.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Fri, Jan 18 2008 12:37 PM

Inquisitor:

You own yourself, therefore you own any services you provide; you in effect rent them out.

So you can rent your services out for what maximum length of time? What's the minimum level of compensation you can rent out your services for?

Inquisitor:
As for remedial measures for breach of contract, see here.

"Typically, the remedy for breach of contract is an award of money damages. When dealing with unique subject matter, specific performance may be ordered."

What if they have no money?

Also, what if the contract for rented services are services like I describe above, 'entertainment'? If I say I'm contracting for entertainment services, where John will 'pretend' to be a slave and I'll 'pretend to be a master, how would that jibe w/ owning and not owning oneself? You could list as part of the entertainment services things like, "John will beg to be let out of his contract. John will pretend to escape, etc."

Can all the essence of slavery be contracted for but in the sense of entertainment, in order to make it valid?

Also, what makes any outside entity/human being, physically intervening in the performance of contracts, legitimate? I can see if both parties are subjects of a greater contract, one they freely entered into, but do others have power over the two contracting parties even though they weren't contracted with/agreed to?

What's it called when any and all actions subsumed under contractual agreement are legitimate due to said contracts, regardless of the notions of inalienable rights? 

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 698
Points 12,045
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

pairunoyd:
When dealing with unique subject matter, specific performance may be ordered."

I'm not sure I'd accept giving much scope to that.

 

 

pairunoyd:
What if they have no money?

 

Then they would owe and probably have to pay back in installments, but they wouldn't thereby become slaves and have to do earn the money for paying their debt in any way the person to whom the money is owed would like. 

 

pairunoyd:
Also, what if the contract for rented services are services like I describe above, 'entertainment'?

 

Contracts with specific penalties written in exist just for such cases of failure to show up or failure to perform.

 

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Fri, Jan 18 2008 1:17 PM

gplauche:

Contracts with specific penalties written in exist just for such cases of failure to show up or failure to perform.

And the written in penalty for not providing services for life for a nominal fee is entertainment. The entertainment would be the contracted party being an actor for me. He would act as though he wanted out of his contract. He was act as though he's trying to escape. Etc.

We know entertainers can enter into contracts for their entertainment services, so how would you differentiate between what is 'real' and what is acting?

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 698
Points 12,045
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

 By penalties, I meant monetary penalties not ones that dictate specific actions.

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,175
Points 17,905
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

I agree with Geoffrey on the above. Some advice: when discussing things like contracts in an anarcho-capitalist society, it helps to have a basic knowledge of how contracts currently function, especially in a common law context, because the law has evolved to deal with many difficult situations, often with libertarian principles at its basis.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Fri, Jan 18 2008 2:06 PM

Inquisitor:
Some advice: when discussing things like contracts in an anarcho-capitalist society, it helps to have a basic knowledge of how contracts currently function, especially in a common law context, because the law has evolved to deal with many difficult situations, often with libertarian principles at its basis.

I understand that and I appreciate the advice. However, I think it can be good to discuss things in a little more radical way (though I obviously lack restraint) so as to consider or reconsider some assumptions or the 'law's evolution' (paraphrasing you). Thanks again though. I definitely need some educatin'.

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Sat, Jan 19 2008 8:22 AM

Of course, you could make the entire contract for entertainment and make it impossible to breach because 'pretending to breach' would be part of the 'entertainment'.

Who is to define the monetary unit (U.S. dollars, gold, cows, unicorns)? Who or what determines the level of the penalty? Also, how does another party have the right to intervene in the contract and protect the defaulter from it's terms? What if they perpetually default, i.e., default on the default on the default on the default ad infinitum? Is it ever moral to free a man from his contract with no compensaton for the other party?

Thanks

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Male
Posts 119
Points 2,075

 Under what conditions could someone "forfeit" their life? I think that people do in fact "own" themselves, but the price of "self" is dictated by nature, not by some artificial measurement we could put on it. That doesn't mean that I can't sell myself though, just that I can't transfer my self for below the price put on it by nature. If I purposefully put myself in a position where I can be killed, I am agreeing to that price. I "forfeit" my self (or life) in certain situations. I can voluntarily take that action and I can enter into that action with another. There is only one price to pay for transfer of self and that is death, anything under that "amount" isn't really a transfer of ownership and is invalid.

 At least that is how I look at it.

The Anarchists are simply unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats. They believe that 'the best government is that which governs least,' and that which governs least is no government at all.
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 63
Points 800
Junker replied on Sat, Jan 19 2008 1:09 PM

Essentially true, BP. Many focus on that idea. It seems to me that more effort could be put into the "ownership" idea, and related legal constructions. I can see profit in spending time and effort in tightly differentiating sapients, land, and IP from chattels, but those areas still seem mired in confusion.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 47
Points 865
Brainpolice:
I think that someone who proclaims that they do not own themself is engaging in a performative contradiction, for they have to exercise their ownership over themselves in order to even make the statement.
gplauche:
I think this conflates control with ownership, an 'is' with an 'ought'. This is a problem that plagues a number of libertarian theories, particularly of the Kantian/Hoppeian variety. From the fact that one controls one's own body, it does not automatically follow that one own's it; and, contra Kinsella, it matters not that such control is direct objective link rather than indirect one. It is still just control and this control by itself has no special moral significance. Something more is required that these theories do not provide. Likewise, one cannot start one's defense of libertarian rights from self-ownership because it is not basic and primary; it is a cluster concept and a conclusion (which happens to be true, I must add) at which one must arrive by way of argument from more fundamental premises. I do agree that the right to liberty is inalienable, by the way. Saying "I do not own myself" is certainly wrong, but it is not a performative contradiction. Additionally, one can distinguish between the moral ought of ownership and ownership as recognized by positive law (which may or may not be just).
I agree with Geoffrey: control does not necessarily mean ownership, and this difference is very important to libertarian principles. Here is a statement, copying Brainpolice's format, that is more obviously not necessarily true: I think that someone who writes that they do not own the pen they are writing with is engaging in a performative contradiction, for they have to exercise their ownership over the pen in order to even write the statement. I controlled the pen with which I wrote that I did not own the pen, but Brainpolice (for example) might own it. Ownership seems to be a social concept - an agreement. There is a distinct difference between one's self and any other property (e.g., the pen), as you cannot separate your mind from your body, while you can separate your mind/body/self from any other property. But I agree with Geoffrey that control does not necessarily mean ownership.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 3,056
Points 78,245

I agree with Geoffrey: control does not necessarily mean ownership, and this difference is very important to libertarian principles. Here is a statement, copying Brainpolice's format, that is more obviously not necessarily true: I think that someone who writes that they do not own the pen they are writing with is engaging in a performative contradiction, for they have to exercise their ownership over the pen in order to even write the statement. I controlled the pen with which I wrote that I did not own the pen, but Brainpolice (for example) might own it. Ownership seems to be a social concept - an agreement. There is a distinct difference between one's self and any other property (e.g., the pen), as you cannot separate your mind from your body, while you can separate your mind/body/self from any other property. But I agree with Geoffrey that control does not necessarily mean ownership.
 

Well control does not necessarily mean just ownership. I might control, say, a car, but how do you know that I didn't steal it from someone else? So I definitely understand that not all things currently in control are justly owned. I most certainly would be the first person to declare that not all of currently existing private property titles are just ones. Obviously a theory of justice in property aquisition must be referanced to. But in the case of self-ownership, there is no aquisition process to take place to begin with. You don't aquire yourself, you already are yourself. And it seems impossible for someone to actually directly aquire another's "self", they may only indirectly control them. So it seems as if self-ownership is not justifed on the grounds of any theory of aquisition but as a result of an inherent and pre-existing part of your nature as a human being. I'd like to see precisely how Geoffery wishes to justify self-ownership then if the performative contradiction arguement does not suffice. I already can see where this is going and have a fairly good idea of how this can be done but I'd like a precise justification for self-ownership to be spelled out.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 47
Points 865
I don't know whether we "own" ourselves, but I do agree that our self is a unique class of property (if it is property) and ownership (if it is ownership). I also agree that you cannot control any other person. You can coerce or convince them to act, but you cannot make them act. I can tie someone up and then they cannot move their arms, but I an not controlling them to not move their arms - I am controlling the environment which prohibits them from moving their arms. In the reverse: I can forcibly move someone's arm and squeeze their fingers around an object to pick it up (perhaps the person is unconscious, or maybe they're controlling their muscles to fight me all the way), but I cannot actually control their muscles - I would have exceptionally limited "control" over their body (I could not make them breathe, or urinate, or run efficiently, or speak, etc.).
Brainpolice:
But in the case of self-ownership, there is no aquisition process to take place to begin with. You don't aquire yourself, you already are yourself....So it seems as if self-ownership is not justifed on the grounds of any theory of aquisition but as a result of an inherent and pre-existing part of your nature as a human being.
This is the key, I think. You don't acquire yourself, and you don't create yourself. So do you own yourself? All else you own is through acquisition or creation: homesteading, for example. Do you homestead yourself? Does your mind homestead your body (no one else can)? If so, is that at the point of conception? Birth? Maturity (when you first declare yourself capable of caring for yourself and leave the care of your parents)? When you first understand self-ownership?
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,175
Points 17,905
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

To understand where BP is coming from, I suggest having a look at this.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 698
Points 12,045
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

 My original post was intended as a counter to that kind of argument.

 Here is how I wrote it in my dissertation:

The self-ownership thesis, the idea of owning oneself, was first explicitly used as the starting point for a theory of property rights by Locke124 and still commonly serves his function in contemporary libertarian thought (e.g., Rothbard and Hoppe). Self-ownership cannot serve this function, however. It is essentially a cluster concept invoking individual sovereignty and autonomy, and the inviolability of the individual. To use it as starting point, rather than as a conclusion, is essentially to conflate “individuality, possession, and control”125 with ownership. From the fact of the former,126 the latter does not automatically follow. Nevertheless, self-ownership is true; it follows from the rights to life, liberty and property that one’s life is one’s own – that each of us is an end in himself.

124 Locke (1993), 5.27, p. 274: “yet every man has a property in his own person.”
125 Rasmussen and Den Uyl (2005), p. 109.  [See their Norms of Liberty for a more in-depth discussion of these issues.]
126 Or even from the fact that such a state of affairs is necessary for one’s flourishing or for rational argumentation.

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 698
Points 12,045
ForumsAdministrator
Moderator
SystemAdministrator

 

mike barskey:
Do you homestead yourself? Does your mind homestead your body (no one else can)? If so, is that at the point of conception? Birth? Maturity (when you first declare yourself capable of caring for yourself and leave the care of your parents)? When you first understand self-ownership?

 Here was my response to Stephan, the author of the article Inquisitor linked to, when these issues recently came up in anothe forum:

"I might also point out that you seem to be forgetting that ownership and control can be legitimately separated. I think it is a mistake to think of children as owned by or property of their parents, as if there was no difference between them and any other kind of property. They aren't. Rather, children have rights and can be said to be self-owners from the very beginning (6 month fetus or at birth, are the two options I lean towards) and the parents are their presumed trustees (of a sort) until the children come of age as competent adults (when their rights fully mature). The parents, then, don't own the child as if he/she were their property; rather, they merely own a temporary and conditional right to control the child's, for his/her benefit, i.e., for the purpose of raising him/her to be a competent adult."

 Just a note, I say a six month-old fetus as one of my two alternatives because in previous discussions on the same forum I had argued that it is at around this point in the fetus's development that the biological basis for the capacity for rational thought (itself the basis for rights) fully develops, that biological basis being the cerebral cortex, if I'm not mistaken.

Yours in liberty,
Geoffrey Allan Plauché, Ph.D.
Adjunct Instructor, Buena Vista University
Webmaster, LibertarianStandard.com
Founder / Executive Editor, Prometheusreview.com

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 47
Points 865
gplauche:

 Just a note, I say a six month-old fetus as one of my two alternatives because in previous discussions on the same forum I had argued that it is at around this point in the fetus's development that the biological basis for the capacity for rational thought (itself the basis for rights) fully develops, that biological basis being the cerebral cortex, if I'm not mistaken.

This is a side topic, so maybe should be another thread (or perhaps an email conversation), but the pre-birth idea of when a human has rights is interesting. I think that a living unborn human baby is indeed a human (or a potential mature human with rights). However an unborn human is also a parasite of sorts. Until it is born or can be removed from the mother without harming her, it is living off of her body. She likely (but not necessarily) chose to create the baby in the first place, but while it's still part of her body (or is another human that is attached to and living off of her body), wouldn't that make it her "property" after all?

I really don't want to hijack this thread, though. Brainpolice's original topic of self-ownership is also very interesting.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 184
Points 3,690
mike barskey:
gplauche:

 Just a note, I say a six month-old fetus as one of my two alternatives because in previous discussions on the same forum I had argued that it is at around this point in the fetus's development that the biological basis for the capacity for rational thought (itself the basis for rights) fully develops, that biological basis being the cerebral cortex, if I'm not mistaken.

This is a side topic, so maybe should be another thread (or perhaps an email conversation), but the pre-birth idea of when a human has rights is interesting. I think that a living unborn human baby is indeed a human (or a potential mature human with rights). However an unborn human is also a parasite of sorts. Until it is born or can be removed from the mother without harming her, it is living off of her body. She likely (but not necessarily) chose to create the baby in the first place, but while it's still part of her body (or is another human that is attached to and living off of her body), wouldn't that make it her "property" after all?

I really don't want to hijack this thread, though. Brainpolice's original topic of self-ownership is also very interesting.

Your argument is flawed. If they are parasites, wouldn't the parents have the right to murder three-year-olds since they are dependent to their parents?

Even three-month old fetuses suffer and panic from abortions. Their heart rate increases, their limbs move, etc. when they are being murdered. You have to see a video a three-month old fetus being killed. When these anti-late-term-abortionists see videos of a three month old fetus suffering, I bet 80% of them would convert to anti-early-term-abortionists as well.

The unborn child displays an implied contract when it is being murdered. It moves its limbs, and screams when being murdered. Similarly, if you see a woman screaming and moving it's limbs when being stabbed by a man, then you have the right to use force to save the woman, even though she never said "help". If you see a fetus suffering, then private agences have the right to also use force to save it.


mike barskey has "hidden assumptions" in his pro-choice argument:
He made a non-sequitur argument: If fetuses are physically dependent, then it is using violence. However, he did never say that the women assumed the risk of getting pregnant when she decides to had sex. (The rape exception is very rare, and these arguments are used by pro-choicers to scare pro-lifers.) She has to deal with her decision. He also assumed that the fetus is biologically the same, even though it is biologically seperate. He also assumed that fetuses do not have the ability to make implied contracts, only born children do.
  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 47
Points 865
Actually, libertarian, you are wrong a number of times about my statements.
libertarian:
Your argument is flawed. If they are parasites, wouldn't the parents have the right to murder three-year-olds since they are dependent to their parents?

I think we differ on the definition of the word "parasite." I did not mean it in the metaphorical sense, like my drunk brother-in-law who is living in my basement is a parasite. I meant it literally, like an embryo's life is physically dependent on feeding off the physical biology of the mother. Any human that has been born (once their umbilical cord has been cut) is no longer dependent on the mother's body for survival. Indeed, the baby may die without milk from the mother or without nutrients via the umbilical cord, but that baby is no longer physically attached and biologically dependent on the mother; milk and/or nutrients and/or love, etc., can be supplied by anyone.
libertarian:
Even three-month old fetuses suffer and panic from abortions. Their heart rate increases, their limbs move, etc. when they are being murdered. You have to see a video a three-month old fetus being killed. When these anti-late-term-abortionists see videos of a three month old fetus suffering, I bet 80% of them would convert to anti-early-term-abortionists as well.

The unborn child displays an implied contract when it is being murdered. It moves its limbs, and screams when being murdered. Similarly, if you see a woman screaming and moving it's limbs when being stabbed by a man, then you have the right to use force to save the woman, even though she never said "help". If you see a fetus suffering, then private agences have the right to also use force to save it.
This is a logical fallacy, although I don't know the name of it. You are appealing to emotion here by stating that abortion is bad because it makes you feel bad. I am not arguing whether an embryo or fetus is human, or whether they feel pain. And it is irrelevant what you bet 80% of people would do if they saw something horrific. Despite the embryo or fetus displaying movement or screams, it is still parasitic on the mother's body. I do not see how movement or screams implies a contract. Actually, I don't think anything implies a contract. I don't think a contractual agreement between 2 or more people can be implied; I think it must be explicitly communicated, or it doesn't exist.
libertarian:
mike barskey has "hidden assumptions" in his pro-choice argument:
He made a non-sequitur argument: If fetuses are physically dependent, then it is using violence. However, he did never say that the women assumed the risk of getting pregnant when she decides to had sex. (The rape exception is very rare, and these arguments are used by pro-choicers to scare pro-lifers.) She has to deal with her decision.
Actually, I did say this:
mike barskey:
She likely (but not necessarily) chose to create the baby in the first place...
If she chose to create the baby, she created this part of her body that is parasitic. It is biologically connected to her, it is living off of her body. I think she has the right to remove it (i.e., kill it). It could be argued that when she chose to create the baby, she implicitly agreed to raise it to maturity - but not only do we run into implied conrtacts again, I think this is a separate argument. And if she did not choose to create the baby (e.g., she was raped), then it cannot be argued that she ever made such a contract, implicitly or explicitly.
libertarian:
He also assumed that the fetus is biologically the same, even though it is biologically seperate.
I don't understand this statement. Do you mean that I assumed that the fetus is biologically part of the mother? I don't think that is the case. I think it is a life that is biologically dependent on and living off of the mother, and in fact biologically connected to her, but is indeed a separate life.
libertarian:
He also assumed that fetuses do not have the ability to make implied contracts, only born children do.
I did not assume this. I think that no one - not fetuses, not born children, not any human - can make implied contracts.
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 184
Points 3,690
mike barskey:
meant it literally, like an embryo's life is physically dependent on feeding off the physical biology of the mother.
It does not matter if the embryo is inside the placenta or not. The mother still has to make money to feed the her bornt children. She has to work harder to feed her children, same as she has to physically eat nutrients to her fetus. She has to physically spoonfeed her children, same as physically feeding through the umbilical cord. I do not see any difference of the embryo and her toddlers using up her resources. If we were marsupials, this distinction would be harder. Topologists cannot see any difference between inside and outside the placenta.

Anyway, fetuses can survive outside in an incubator as early as 23 weeks. Therefore, the fetus is not dependent on the mother after 23 weeks. You would oppose abortion after 23 weeks to be consistent with your reasoning that "Indeed, the baby may die without milk from the mother or without nutrients via the umbilical cord, but that baby is no longer physically attached and biologically dependent on the mother". Fetuses after 23 weeks are just like that.

Scientific evidence suggests that fetuses are biologically seperate from the mother, seperate genetic code and seperated from the amniotic sac. http://l4l.org/library/mythfact.html

mike barskey:
And if she did not choose to create the baby (e.g., she was raped), then it cannot be argued that she ever made such a contract, implicitly or explicitly.
Unless you are an eugenicist, rape is not an exception. Two wrongs does not make a right. The rapist is the one that should be punished, not the innocent fetus.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 512
Points 8,730
pairunoyd replied on Fri, Jan 25 2008 2:52 PM

yea, call the doctor and tell him youve got a parasite. I'm sure he'll assume something different than a baby. You just wish to see it as such so that it's not a human being murdered. I'm torn about whether abortion rights can be addressed via defending the unborn w/ physical force. I lean toward it being something that simply has to be, but I vehemently despise abortion and I despise the baby being referred to as a parasite.

Let me ask a personal/emotional question. If you had a girlfriend or married a woman and found out that she'd had 15-20 abortions, would this affect your perception of her? Let's assume these pregnancies were from the same guy so that charges of promiscuity is not as much an issue. If instead of using the usual preventive methods she just got abortions cause they were free and easy, would you percieve her as being someone youd want to raise children with? Be honest, would you feel differently about her because she aborted SEVERAL fetuses? I can't believe that even the most rabid pro-abortionist guy could HONESTLY say he'd feel no differently if she'd had 0 abortions or 20 abortions. Something about them changes in your mind.

"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd

"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 47
Points 865
libertarian:
It does not matter if the embryo is inside the placenta or not. The mother still has to make money to feed the her bornt children. She has to work harder to feed her children, same as she has to physically eat nutrients to her fetus. She has to physically spoonfeed her children, same as physically feeding through the umbilical cord. I do not see any difference of the embryo and her toddlers using up her resources. If we were marsupials, this distinction would be harder. Topologists cannot see any difference between inside and outside the placenta.
The difference between a fetus and a child that has been born is the matter of choice. A mother cannot choose whether a fetus feeds on her body; a mother can choose whether she spoon-feeds or b r e a s t-feeds her baby or child. Spoon-feeding your child is not the same as feeding the child through the umbilical cord. When the child is within the womb and feeding via the umbilical cord, the mother cannot decide to not feed the bay, cannot forget to feed the baby, cannot ask someone else to feed the baby for her. When the child is born, she can choose to abandon it, or put it up for adoption, or hire a wet nurse, or bottle feed, or whatever. Choice is a significant differing factor, especially when it comes to morality.
libertarian:
Anyway, fetuses can survive outside in an incubator as early as 23 weeks. Therefore, the fetus is not dependent on the mother after 23 weeks. You would oppose abortion after 23 weeks to be consistent with your reasoning that "Indeed, the baby may die without milk from the mother or without nutrients via the umbilical cord, but that baby is no longer physically attached and biologically dependent on the mother". Fetuses after 23 weeks are just like that.
Yes, I already said as much:
mike barskey:
Until it is born or can be removed from the mother without harming her, it is living off of her body.
libertarian:
Scientific evidence suggests that fetuses are biologically seperate from the mother, seperate genetic code and seperated from the amniotic sac. http://l4l.org/library/mythfact.html
I also have stated twice now that this point is correct: a baby is a different biological being and life form. What I said - and what I am saying again - is that this life form is dependent upon the biology of the mother in order to survive, similar to a parasite.
libertarian:
Unless you are an eugenicist, rape is not an exception. Two wrongs does not make a right. The rapist is the one that should be punished, not the innocent fetus.
I had to look up what a eugenicist is, and I am not one. I'd also like to make clear that I have not yet expressed an opinion about abortion. You and pairunoyd have made assumptions about my opinion of abortion, but all I've stated are opinions on the morality of abortion. Since pairunoyd also asked what my opinion on abortion is, it is this: my abhorrence of abortion depends on the circumstances. If a person repeatedly got abortions because she wanted to have sex a lot without prophylactics and not be responsible for the life she was voluntarily creating, then I would probably be disgusted by her actions/moral stance. If a person planned ahead to have a child and saved money and learned how to care for it, etc., and got pregnant but then her partner died and she got terminal cancer and her parents were abusive people, etc., and so she decided to abort the fetus, I would be sympathetic. If someone became pregnant due to rape and decided to abort, I would be sympathetic. Realize that in each of these scenarios there could indeed be yet more factors that alter my opinion further.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 184
Points 3,690
A majority of divorses are caused from economic reasons. So I am against abortion for divorse. If a partner is ill, I am against, because in a free society, no one would be poor. Healthcare would cost much less. If a women needs to concentrate on education, I am against her having abortions. That's because in a free society, private education would make her finish much more earlier than today's regulated education. If a negro raped a white women, I would too be sympathetic. If the embryo has down syndrome, I would be sympathetic. I am an eugenicist. I am against people claiming that they were raped and get abortion, without any evidence of rape. If the embryo is just a few days old, I would too be sympathetic.

Most supporters of abortion are egalitarians and behavorists, who want a "nurturing environment". They don't value genetic diversity nor neurodiversity. Nurturing environments are damaging to children. Their behavorist religion has been discredited by scientists, replaced in favor of a heriditarian hypothesis.

Nurturing environments are often totalitarian. Their parents do not know what is best for them. If early intervention is influenced in Albert Einstien, he would not be famous. If nurturing environments are applied to all people, then the world would be worse than it is now. It is best to let the children explore by theirselves, so they would be more open-minded and more intelligent (so their parents would not force-feed them knowledge and make them use rote memorization).
  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (40 items) | RSS