From: Mads Nørgaard
Subject: Question about slavery
I just listened to the Tom Woods podcast you attended ep. 1592 where you explained your conflict with the New York times and it made me wonder where I myself stand on the question of voluntary entry into servitude.
If you for ex. needs a million dollar to save your son from death and I am willing to give you a million dollars if you become my slave and thereby my property.
Then what if I was a psychopath who later decided to torture you to a slow and painful death, but let’s say the neighbors see us and they try to stop me, would the neighbors the not be the bad guys?
According to the property rights, I guess they would be, right?
But isn’t there something inherent in human nature that makes us very uncomfortable when seeing other people suffer, and making bad guys out of those trying to prevent the suffering seems to be the immoral thing.
Yes, the neighbors would be the bad guys, if the voluntary slave contract allowed for death by torture.
Here are some readings on this:
In the view of Boldrin and Levine, 2008, p. 254: “Take the case of slavery. Why should people not be allowed to sign private contracts binding them to slavery? In fact economists have consistently argued against slavery – during the 19th century David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill engaged in a heated public debate with literary luminaries such as Charles Dickens, with the economists opposing slavery, and the literary giants arguing in favor.”
Andersson, 2007; Block, 1969, 1979, 1988, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007A, 2007B, 2009A, 2009B; Boldrin and Levine, 2008; Frederick, 2014; Kershnar, 2003; Lester, 2000; Mosquito, 2014; Nozick, 1974, pp. 58, 283, 331; Steiner, 1994, pp. 232-233; 2013, pp. 230-244; Thomson, 1990, pp. 283-284.
Andersson, Anna-Karin. 2007. “An alleged contradiction in Nozick’s entitlement theory.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall: 43–63; http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_3/21_3_3.pdf
Block, Walter E. 1969. “Voluntary Slavery.” The Libertarian Connection, Vol. I, No. 3, April 13, pp. 9-11.
Block, Walter E. 1979. Book review of Nancy C. Baker, Baby Selling: the Scandal of Black Market Adoptions, New York: The Vanguard Press, 1978; in Libertarian Review, January, Vol. 7, No. 12, pp. 44-45.
Block, Walter E. 1988. “Rent-a-womb market,” Thunder Bay Ontario Daily; June 26.
Block, Walter E. 1999. “Market Inalienability Once Again: Reply to Radin,” Thomas Jefferson Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, Fall, pp. 37-88; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/market_inalienability.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2001. “Alienability, Inalienability, Paternalism and the Law: Reply to Kronman,” American Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 28, No. 3, Summer, pp. 351-371; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/reply_to_kronman.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2002. “A Libertarian Theory of Secession and Slavery,” June 10; https://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block15.html; http://libertariantruth.wordpress.com/2006/12/08/a-libertarian-theory-of-secession-and-slavery/
Block, Walter E. 2003. “Toward a Libertarian Theory of Inalienability: A Critique of Rothbard, Barnett, Gordon, Smith, Kinsella and Epstein,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol.17, No. 2, Spring, pp. 39-85; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/17_2/17_2_3.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2004. “Are Alienability and the Apriori of Argument Logically Incompatible?” Dialogue, Vol. 1, No. 1. http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2004/256gord6.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2005. “Ayn Rand and Austrian Economics: Two Peas in a Pod.” The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. Vol. 6, No. 2, Spring, pp. 259-269
Block, Walter E. 2006. “Epstein on alienation: a rejoinder” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 33, Nos. 3-4, pp. 241-260
Block, Walter E. 2007A. “Secession,” Dialogue. No. 4; pp. 1-14; http://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog/2007/4.07.WB.pdf
Block, Walter E. 2007B. “Alienability: Reply to Kuflik.” Humanomics Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 117-136; http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=0685BBB744173274A5E7CE3803132413?contentType=Article&contentId=1626605
Block, Walter E. 2009A. “Yes, Sell Rivers! And Make Legal Some Slave Contracts” The Tyee. July 25; http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2009/07/24/SellRivers/
Block, Walter E. 2009B. “Privatizing Rivers and Voluntary Slave Contracts” July 27;
Boldrin, Michele and David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/against.htm; http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm; http://mises.org/store/Against-Intellectual-Monopoly-P552.aspx
Frederick, Danny. 2014. “Voluntary Slavery,” Las Torres de Lucca 4: 115-37, http://www.lastorresdelucca.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=145:laesclavitud-
Kershnar, Stephen. 2003. “A Liberal Argument for Slavery,” Journal of Social Philosophy, 34 (4): 510-36
Lester, Jan Clifford. 2000. Escape from Leviathan. St. Martin’s Press. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312234163/qid%3D989845939/107-8070279-6411737
Mosquito, Bionic. 2014. “The Sanctity of Contract.” April 19;
Nozick, Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State and Utopia, New York: Basic Books, http://www.amazon.com/Anarchy-State-Utopia-Robert-Nozick/dp/0465097200
Steiner, Hillel. 1994. An Essay on Rights, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers; https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2mi4-xFgT7NNWhEQWNhbXB6enc/view
Steiner, Hillel. 2013. “Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights.” Ethics 123 ( January): pp. 230–244
Thomson, Judith Jarvis. 1990. The Realm of Rights, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press
Barnett, 1986, 1988; Calabresi and Melamed, 1972; Epstein, 1985; Evers, 1977; Gordon, 1999; Kinsella, 1998-1999, 2003; Kronman, 1983; Kuflik, 1984, 1986; Long, 1994-1995; McConnell, 1984, 1996; Radin, 1986, 1987; Reisman, 1996, pp. 455f., 634-636; Rothbard, 1998; Smith, 1996, 1997; Unknown, nd.
Barnett, Randy E. 1986. “Contract Remedies and Inalienable Rights” Social Philosophy & Policy Vol. 4, Issue 1, Autumn, pp. 179-202
Barnett, Randy E. 1988. The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law, Oxford: Clarendon Press
Barnett, Randy E. 2007. “Libertarians and the War.”July 17;
Calabresi, Guido and Melamed, Douglas. 1972. “Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 85, No. 6, April, pp. 1089-1128
Epstein, Richard. 1985. “Why Restrain Alienation,” Columbia Law Review, vol. 85, 970
Evers, Williamson. 1977. “Toward a Reformulation of the Law of Contracts,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 1, Winter, pp. 3-13; http://mises.org/journals/jls/1_1/1_1_2.pdf
Gordon, David. 1999. “Private Property’s Philosopher,” The Mises Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring, pp. 1-7
Kinsella, N. Stephan. 1998-1999. “Reply to George Smith: A Victim’s Right to Punish,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter, pp. 79-93
Kinsella, N. Stephan. 1998-1999. “Inalienability and Punishment: A Reply to George Smith,” Winter, Journal of Libertarian Studies.
Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2003. A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability, Journal of Libertarian Studies 17, no. 2 (Spring): 11-37
Kronman, Anthony. 1983. “Paternalism and the Law of Contracts,” 92 Yale Law Journal
Kuflik, Arthur. 1984. “The Inalienability of Autonomy,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 4, Fall, pp. 271-298
Kuflik, Arthur. 1986. “The Utilitarian Logic of Inalienable Rights,” Ethics, 97, Oct. 1986, pp. 75-87
Long, Roderick. 1994-1995. “Slavery Contracts and Inalienable Rights: A Formulation.” Formulations. Winter; http://libertariannation.org/a/f22l1.html
McConnell, Terrance. 1984. “The Nature and Basis of Inalienable Rights,” Law and Philosophy, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 25-59
McConnell, Terrance. 1996. “The Inalienable Right of Conscience: A Madisonian Argument,” Social Theory & Practice, Fall, Vol. 22, Issue 3, pp. 397-416
Radin, Margaret Jane. 1986. “Time, Possession and Alienation,” 64 Washington University Law Quarterly, 739
Radin, Margaret Jane. 1987. “Market-Inalienability,” Harvard Law Review, Vol. 100, No. 8, June, pp. 1849-1937
Reisman, George. 1996. Capitalism. Ottawa, Il.: Jameson Books
Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 . The Ethics of Liberty, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1998 , pp. 40-41, 135-136; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp
Smith, George. 1996. “A Killer’s Right to Life,” Liberty, Vol. 10, No. 2, November, pp. 46-54
Smith, George. 1997. “Inalienable Rights?,” Liberty, Vol. 10, No. 6, July, p. 51
Unknown Author. No date. “But What About Voluntary Slaves?”
From: Mads Nørgaard
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2020 6:24 AM
To: Walter Block <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Question about slavery
That makes sense.
I will definitely have some more reading for when I’m done with Rothbard and Mises. I’m a big fan of the Mises Institute and especially you, so if you’d answer one more of my questions it would be greatly appreciated.
I have been thinking a lot about negative rights recently, and I don’t completely understand how the right to life would work in an anarcho-capitalist society.
If I have a right not to be killed, wouldn’t that entail that someone has to help me when a person tries to kill me? But then you’d still be facilitating someone else’s labor as if it was a positive right.
Or the right to not be abused or coerced, but who can ensure that right? Only myself I guess. And then what’s the point of calling it a right when there is no one but oneself to enforce the right?
Den man. 8. jun. 2020 kl. 18.56 skrev Walter Block <email@example.com>:
You have no right not to be killed; you only have a right not to be murdered. Would that entail that someone else has to help you when a person tries to kill (murder) you? No. It would only imply that everyone else on the planet has a duty not to murder you.
If you are killed by a storm, or an earthquake, your rights will not have been violated.
2:08 am on July 28, 2020 Email Walter E. Block
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