The capitalist wannabe-Block Corollary-killers just keep lining up. This time it’s Alex Peak, from Last Free Voice, who argues that I am a “vulgar socialist” and argues that the property of the body trumps other forms of property… somehow.
The first technical point he makes is also the only point I really need to quote:
If I have a right to justly-acquired scarce property that I have either homesteaded myself or that I have acquired through voluntary trade from someone else who has justly-acquired it, it can only be the case that I have this right if and because I justly own my own body and the fruits of my labour.
And herein lies the problem: this claim is logically impossible to validate. In order to validate it, Peak would have to prove that all other means to justly-acquire property (or in my case, possession, since I do not believe in property at all) are invalid. Otherwise he could not make the claim that self-ownership (which is a meaningless and incoherent concept) is the only possible justification.
His argument is the same as the Creationists who claim that, by disproving Neo-Darwinism, they have proven that Christian Creationism is the sole valid position on the origins and/or diversity of life. The Creationist still has to disprove the multitude of other ideologies regarding the origins and/or diversity of life. In fact, Peak believes that proving or disproving anything is impossible, as testifies this quote from one of his subsequent comments:
I can neither “prove” nor “disprove” anything, for I do not believe that “proof” exists.
Therefore he has no means whatsoever to disprove all the alternatives to his position, and his most vital and fundamental argument crumbles, making his whole attack incoherent. There are so many theories of what it means to justly-acquire something that we’d be here until we both die, anyway.
I’d say he has proven nothing at all, but that would be redundant.
The reason my property ownership cannot justify my murder of you is that our mutual self-ownership is a natural prerequisite to either of us owning any external property in the ﬁrst place. To murder you, even if the murder takes place on my property, I must believe that self-ownership is some sort of ﬁction, and if I do believe it is some sort of ﬁction, it stands to reason that I cannot accurately be described as someone who believes in any property rights whatsoever.
This is the sort of muddled account that capitalists give to try to prove (or not prove, in this case) that the kind of property in “self-ownership” somehow has primacy over other kinds of property. In order for their argument to make sense, they have to cleave property into two different concepts. It’s their only way to escape the moral consequences of property.
Not only does the distinction make absolutely no sense, since in both cases property rules are applied in the same way, but it also leads to conclusions that go counter to the capitalist worldview. For instance, a trespasser’s body must be a superior form of property to that of the land, therefore the land owner should not be allowed to do anything to a trespasser’s body. This is not capitalist property any more: we’re gone into never-never land. And if trespassers cannot be stopped, then there is no such thing as property (that is to say, if anyone can exert control over one’s property, then it is no longer one’s property), and the argument self-destructs.
Rather, I am of the hope that this deviation will be short-lived. For clarity, I do not encourage that anyone treat Mr. Tremblay too hostilely, for such reactionary tendencies are just as likely to lead a libertarian to vulgar libertarianism as they have lead Mr. Tremblay toward vulgar socialism.
So he has no qualms resorting to childish insults against me on his very own entry, for all to see. Unlike him, I will not resort to such low-handed tactics.
Besides, all they do is highlight his necessary lack of arguments.
It appears to me that reason indicates that a business owner cannot justly claim ownership over her ﬁrm if she does not respect the property rights of the self-owners with whom she interacts. But likewise, it appears to me that reason indicates that if a person has a right to not be pinched, she must naturally have a property right in the scarce matter that constitutes her physical body. If this is the case, then it would stand to reason that she also owns the product of her labour, for one’s labour is naturally and indubitably an extension of one’s self.
This is a bizarre set of deductions, since Peak seems to assume people own the products of their own labour, which is a very anti-propertarian premise to make. In the capitalist system of property, the worker does not own the products of his labour, since the owner has full right of usury, including on profits. To take the right of usury away is to talk about something less than property: at least, something which does not exist today, and has no connection to what we call property.
That being said, what we observe here is nothing more but the extension of the dichotomy Peak set up earlier. There is no reason at all to believe that the body (or its conceptual extensions) has any sort of primacy over the business owner’s property, and that said owner must “respect the property rights of the self-owners [to their own bodies],” unless we posit the dichotomy in question. But, as I said before, not only is this a pure ad hoc rationalization, but it is also self-contradictory.
Let all libertarians, left and “right,” unite, rather than allowing our vulgar variants divide us.
More insults painting me as the bad guy, and him as the good guy (so much for “unity,” if you’re the wrong kind of libertarian according to Peak). How quaint. I am not trying to “divide” anyone, but merely to call a spade a spade (that private claims of property are as tyrannical as public claims of property). For someone so intent on respecting logic, one should expect Peak to approve of this goal. Yet he persists in denying the logical consequences of capitalist property theory, on a rather flimsy basis.
I’d rather keep telling the truth and perhaps dividing some people (by make them aware of the true nature of other people’s ideology) than to “unite” people by feeding them lies.