In the comments section of one of Db0’s entries, someone posted this delightful article. Witness another of Walter Block’s logical absurdities:
You are standing in the path on an onrushing boulder, completely unaware of your fate. In a second, this massive rock will hit you, and you will die. (Let us stipulate the truth of this supposition). Instead, however, I push you out of its path, and into safety. The only trouble is, as a result of it, although I have saved your life, I also broke your arm.
Now, if you are a reasonable sort of person, you will be grateful to me. Instead, you insist upon sticking to the literal letter of libertarian law, and sue me for damages for the injury you have sustained. After all, I did initiate a violent act upon your person, which resulted in an injury. If this is not assault and battery, you argue, then nothing is. How shall the libertarian judge rule?
One possibility is to hold me innocent of this charge. This could be done by adding up the two acts, the life saving and the arm breaking, and deciding that the former is far more important than the latter. So much so that the one ought to be in effect “subtracted” from the other, and since the result would be a “positive” (I contributed more to your life by saving it than I cost you through the injury you sustained), I would be let off scott free. The point here is that I committed not two acts, but only one: saving-your-life-and-injuring-you, and that this complex but single act is not one of initiatory aggression.
A difficulty with this line of reasoning is that you might have been standing in the way of the boulder as part of a suicide attempt. You regarded the situation where you are dead far more highly than the one where you are alive, but debilitated. We may assume you wanted to end your life because of bodily malfunctions like a broken arm, and now I have worsened your welfare, not improved it.
Another problem is that these really are two separate acts. It is certainly possible that I could have pushed you out of death’s way without breaking your arm. To call it two separate acts is really to fudge: this would only be done in order to achieve the common sense result we all presumably want: to find me innocent of bodily harm.
No, the only proper libertarian judgment is that I am indeed guilty of a battery upon your person.
Here’s my challenge to all Libertarians and “anarcho-capitalists”: prove that Block’s reasoning is invalid
(while you’re at it, also prove Block’s Corollary wrong too).