Van Dun on Freedom and Property: A Critique
Walter E. Block
Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
July 5, 2011
Libertarian Paper, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2010
The thesis on Van Dun is that there is a conflict between freedom and property rights, and that libertarians ought to side with the former. If not, people, many people, will likely starve to death by being trapped in their houses, unable to get out of them, or, caught outside of them, without the ability to return home. This is unjust, and hence unlibertarian, since such people will in effect be imprisoned, without being found guilty of any crime, indeed, without even having been accused of perpetrating any illegal action.
This sad state of affairs will come about (VD) asserts, if the libertarian emphasis on private property rights is fully implemented. How so? If the non-aggression principle (NAP) of libertarianism is adhered to, private road owners will be able to charge the veritable “arm and a leg” to homeowners for access and egress. These capitalists will thus be empowered to trap individuals in their homes, prevent them from returning there unless they pay large fees, and/or forbid such movement outright. The highway corporations would have every right to impinge upon the freedom to travel of their clients, since, in the libertarian society, all property, including roads, would be privately owned, and the proprietors of these vehicular passageways would have every right to charge price they wished, up to and including an infinite price, which would be equivalent to out right prohibition. They could engage in this sort of encirclement, or as I (Block, 2008) have characterized this problem, as “entrapment.”
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 7, 2011
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