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From: A
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2017 9:28 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Libertarian solutions to libel
Walter, I’m surprised I didn’t ask you about this sooner. About three months ago, someone made a video about me that definitely qualifies as libel. Some elements are provably false. I can also show that it has cost me donations, interviews, and possibly a TV show with RT. He’s definitely not a part of government in any way, so your reasoning with the NYT doesn’t seem to apply here. What do you think I should do? Thanks! A.

Dear A: In my humble opinion, suing for libel is ordinarily incompatible with libertarianism.
But, there are two exceptions;

1. government:
Block, Walter E. 2014. “May I sue the New York Times? A Libertarian Analysis of Suing for Libel.” September 5; https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/09/walter-e-block/may-i-sue-the-ny-times/; https://walterblock.liberty.me/a-libertarian-analysis-of-suing-for-libel/

2. Suppose I punch you in the nose, gratuitously; I’m a clear criminal, you’re an innocent victim. You can’t sue me for that assault and battery of mine against you, nor claim I’m a criminal, because you have no evidence that I did this to you. It is just your word against mine. However, I also libeled you, in a separate incident. Then, I think, you could properly sue me for libel. Did this person ever violate your (libertarian) rights? I doubt he punched you in the nose, but, maybe, he committed some sort of fraud against you, for which you have no evidence? Then, I think, all bets are off and it would be compatible with libertarianism to sue him for libel, if that is the only way you can get back at him for this (presumed) fraud or some other such rights violation, assuming he also libeled you.

Actually, now that I come to think about this, there is only one exception above: if the person you “attack” with a libel suit is a member of the ruling class from the libertarian perspective (violates the non aggression principle), then I opine, you may sue for libel without violating libertarian principle. The government and its minions are of course the paradigm case of such membership. But, so are petty criminals, people who commit fraud, those who punch others in the nose, etc. Best regards, Walter

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From: PF
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2017 6:44 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Help! My child cannot have a pet snail!
Dear Dr. Block; Recently, posted on my Facebook wall, was a picture of a woman holding a giant African snail. The creature is quite large, about double the size of a man’s fist. They are gentle, and according to numerous websites, make excellent pets for people who want some sort of exotic animal. However, they are not available as pets in the United States. It seems the “powers that be” have determined that if such creatures were to become feral, (a feral snail… imagine that), they would breed in the wild, and, with no natural predators, rapidly become a serious agricultural pest. There is a legitimate danger in that. In my native Phoenix, we are dealing with an invasion of peach-faced love birds, a popular pet, some of which have escaped, and begun to breed here in the Valley of the Sun. While the love birds are pretty, they are displacing native species. So you can easily see that the concern for the escape of these snails is based upon legitimate protection of existing agricultural commercial interests. So, here is my question. In your view, how would a free society deal with exotic pets, or any other type of (potentially) invasive species? I assume that a person would be held accountable for his own pets, however, an accidental release could have disastrous repercussions that a single individual could never mitigate. I look forward to your response. PF

Dear PF: Thanks for sending me this very intriguing and important question. Here are my comments. We need more than the non-aggression principle (NAP), private property rights and the principle of free association to derive libertarian conclusions for all challenges, such as this one. We also need (private!) courts to deal with such complicated grey area issues. We I a judge on a court being confronted with this challenge, I would uphold a law forbidding your child, or anyone else, from having a pet snail. To my way of thinking, this is similar to laws preventing people from keeping caches of dynamite, or a nuclear weapon, in their basement in the middle of a city. I’ve written about gray area issues here: Block, Walter and William Barnett II. 2008. “Continuums” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics, Vol. 1, pp. 151-166, June; http://www2.units.it/~etica/; http://www2.units.it/~etica/2008_1/BLOCKBARNETT.pdf , and about where nuclear weapons may properly be stored here: Block, Walter E. and Matthew A. Block. 2000. “Toward a Universal Libertarian Theory of Gun (Weapon) Control,” Ethics, Place and Environment, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 289-298; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/theory_gun_control.pdf; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228127780_Toward_a_Universal_Libertarian_Theory_of_Gun_(Weapon)_Control_A_Spatial_and_Georgraphical_Analysis?ev=prf_pub; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228127780_Toward_a_Universal_Libertarian_Theory_of_Gun_Weapon_Control_A_Spatial_and_Georgraphical_Analysis; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/toward-a-universal-libertarian-theory-of-gun-weapon-control-a-spatial-and-geographical-analysis/

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—–Original Message—–
From: AT
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2017 3:20 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: 2016 debate with Nick Gillespie
Walter, I just found this debate this night and “played the tape” on youtube. You did great. It’s amazing how some people (libertarians!) can blow off the importance of Top Guns and Russian fighters facing off! I did not know that Reason mag and Nick Gillespie had joined the NYT mud slinging. I think maybe Reason.com is getting jealous of lewrockwell.com peeling off newcomers to freedom. I am in Miami, Florida, looking forward to your debate in Coral Gables with Augustus Invictus (is that a “real” name?). AT

Dear AT: Thanks for your kind words about this previous debate of mine with Nick Gillespie of Reason: https://twitter.com/skycorridors/status/793580125488943105 (the debate starts at around the 24 minute mark; the comedic introduction starts near the 18 minute mark) in New York City. I think your assessment of Reason, vis a vis lewrockwell.com in particular, and by extension of the Mises Institute in general, is very accurate. I’ll bet you the budget of the former is a multiple of that of the latter. So, in terms of “bang for the buck,” the difference is even more stark. I assume Augustus Invictus is a nom de plume. Actually, I’m involved this coming weekend in not one but two different debates; I hope you’ll attend (or watch on live stream) both:

February 11, 2017. Walter Block’s Opponent: Augustus Invictus
7pm Holiday Inn 1350 S Dixie Hwy Coral Gables, Fl 33134
Topic: Libertarianism Yay or Nay
Subtopics:
Is Taxation Theft (Invictus says no)
Privatize everything (Invictus says no)
Privatize highways (Invictus says no)
Libertarian Nuremberg trials (Invictus opposes)

February 12, 2017. Walter Block’s Opponent: Charles Peralo
3pm Holiday Inn 1350 S Dixie Hwy Coral Gables, Fl 33134
Topic: Was Milton Friedman better for libertarianism than Murray Rothbard?
Subtopic: Austrian economics

For further information:
luis@americasfuture.org
Luis R. Rivera III, Chairman
America’s Future Foundation Miami/Rothbardian Circle
(786)399-0315
those who cannot physically attend the events can watch them here:

https://www.facebook.com/RothbardianCircleAmericasFutureFoundationChannel/?fref=ts

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From time to time, I get nice letters; very nice ones. I greatly appreciate this sort of thing. Hey, who wouldn’t? I’m human. I thought I’d share some of them on this blog. Here they are:

From: AP
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:42 AM
To: Walter Block
As you may remember our youngest son is named after you, and you continue to make us proud of that choice. Congratulations on reaching 500! Take care, AP

From: CA
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2017 4:24 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Thanks Dr Block!
Just wanted to say thanks to you for your efforts in support of Donald Trump, including Libertarians for Trump. I’m sure that principled stand was difficult with flack from all sides (I listened to the debate with Nick Gillespie), but I appreciate it. Can’t say that I agree with or cling to everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth, but I’m convinced he’s our best hope for extracting ourselves from several of the quagmires that are of our own making. Keep up the good work! CA

From: RB
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2017 2:23 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Reparations
Yo, Walter! I just read your piece on reparations, written with my friend Wilt Alston (Rochester, city of my roots). And as usual with your stuff, I was most impressed, and shall use some of your logic in the future in any debates on the issue. It was nice to learn that you and Wilt had some connection, once again proving the great minds magnet theory. RB

From: SK
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2017 3:23 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Thank you for lunch
Dear Walter, Thank you for lunch, the ride, advice and giving me some great insights! The last was very helpful. I am pretty sure I would not turn down the chance to be your co-author. Even if it involved the personal dissatisfaction of actually doing work on it, haha.I googled your work on abortion. That is a brilliant application of libertarian theory to separate the issue of killing and eviction. I might use that in class… Good thinking! Anyway, enough praise for one mail. SK

From: VA
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2017 2:50 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Your masterpiece
Dear Professor Block, I’m VA, a European libertarian finishing his PhD in Economics (if anything goes at it should, I should graduate for the end of the month). I got as a Christmas gift your book, Defending the Undefendable II. I literaly eat it, reading it in 12 hours. I really loved it. The thing that most disappointed me, is that I found your position totally acceptable and shareable, I am not being shocked at all, as I expected. Does it means that I’m innerly undefendable? I hope not. At this point you are wondering what I want from you: just to wish an happy new year to the author who give me an amazing book.
Best regards, VA. P.S.: While I’m looking to find all your bibliografy over Amazon, I’m looking forward to the third one of the Defending the Undefendable serie!

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From: IW
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2017 4:13 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: indifference and same good problem.
Dear Professor, I read your rejoinder to O’Neil and I feel like I’m re-born. That paper was killing! Now I cannot imagine how I could take ‘praxeological indifference’ seriously?! Of course the action is about binary distribution – things done, and things foregone- simple as that. Of course indifference cannot be demonstrated! It is logical impossibility or metaphysical one…in no possible world would it work. And I fully embrace your point that the law of marginal utility operates in the realm of praxeology though the same supply must be perceived thymologically.

Yet, one problem arises. it follows that one cannot demonstrate that something is the same good for him or the equally valuable unit of a commodity. How then to define a good or a supply of it? After all, we must remain subjective and a scarce resource must be perceived as satisfying some needs. Then I thought about defining a good as a three-fold relation. G (x,y,z,) where x is a scarce resource, y an individual valuing it and z is the need it can satisfy. But then it strangely follow that in ONE scare resource there are several goods (it is in relation of good to several needs it serves). So perhaps, I thought, maybe we should take homogeneity – this in turn would imply the same good even if the subject is unaware of many of some uses he can put the scare resource to use. On the other hand, can we for example treat CDs and DVDs as part of the same supply when a subject BELIEVES they serve the same and only the same purposes?! Sorry for such a lengthy e-mail but those elementary concepts are always the darkest and most interesting ones. With kind regards! IW

Dear IW: Thanks for your very kind remarks about my rejoinder to O’Neill on indifference (he is a brilliant scholar, but he and I disagree on this topic.) I attach, below, all of my publications on indifference, plus my debate with Hans Hoppe on this subject (a brilliant scholar, perhaps the leading libertarian theoretician now actively writing, but he and I disagree on this topic). Please take a peek at my paper on Nozick in this regard, in which I try to wrestle with the issue of, if we can’t be indifferent between different apples (for example), how can there ever be any such thing as a supply of apples, or a supply curve for them, which there most certainly can be.

Debate between Walter Block and Hans-Hermann Hoppe on Nozick’s methodology and indifference::

1. Block, Walter E. 1980. “On Robert Nozick’s ‘On Austrian Methodology’.” Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 4, Fall, pp. 397-444; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/on_robert_nozick.pdf;
http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/on_robert_nozick.pdf; Spanish translation, Libertas, Vol. 14, No. 26, May 1997, pp. 71-131

2. Hoppe, Hans Hermann. 2005. “Must Austrians Embrace Indifference?” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 8 (4): 87–91; online at: http://www.Mises.org/story/2003.

3. Block, Walter E. 2009. “Rejoinder to Hoppe on indifference” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics; Vol. 12, No. 1: 52–59; http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae12_1_4.pdf

4, Hans-Hermann Hoppe. 2009. “Further Notes on Preference and Indifference: Rejoinder to Block,” Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 12, no. 1, pp. 60-64, http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae12_1_5.pdf.

5. Block, Walter E. with William Barnett II. 2010. “Rejoinder to Hoppe on indifference, once again.” Reason Papers, Vol. 32, pp. 141-154; http://reasonpapers.com/pdf/32/rp_32_9.pdf

“Perhaps these divisions amongst scholars who might be expected to agree are due to the fact that we are all imperfect human beings. Perhaps some young scholar(s) will one day come along and definitively solve all of these disputes in such a way that all present parties to them will agree to the solution. Until that time, the most we can do, I think, is to do our best—to publish our ideas, imperfect as they are, in the hope that the process of public debate itself will shed some light on these vexing issues. Two heads are better than one, and all of the professionals who read this journal, plus the two of us (Hoppe and the two present authors), are better than just the three of us alone.”

Block, Walter E. 2012. “Response to Ben O’Neill on indifference.” Dialogue; Issue No. 2, pp. 76-93; https://www.uni-svishtov.bg/dialog_old/2012/2.12.7.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2009. “Rejoinder to Machaj on Indifference,” New Perspectives on Political Economy, Volume 5, Number 1, pp. 65-71; http://pcpe.libinst.cz/nppe/5_1/nppe5_1_5.pdf

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—–Original Message—–
From: EM
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2017 8:45 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Lobbying local government

Dear Dr. Block: I have asked our local county, which owns a bike trail crossing of a fairly highly-traveled road that it also owns, to improve its functionality. The county’s engineers determined putting in a bike-user controlled traffic light was the cheapest way to improve the crossing. The nearest city is trying to forcefully annex this crossing and the area surrounding it. Because of that, the county asked the city to concur whether they support the project. The city has not responded so the county “tabled” the project despite being the current owner. The crossing itself is not on the border of the city currently.

1. Have I violated any anarcho-capitalist principles by asking the owner of the property, the county, to potentially spend more money to improve that property?

2. Would I be violating any of our principles by lobbying the city to answer the county’s letter, especially basing my argument on property rights, telling the city since it doesn’t currently own it, it should stay out of the issue.

I consider this analogous to Dr. Paul rightfully “earmarking” while in Congress. If they are going to steal my money and then spend it, it might as well be on something that I want. If I had my druthers, I’d buy the crossing, put up the light, and charge a toll to use it. Privatize these roads and trails! Thank you very much for your time. Sincerely, EM

Dear EM: Your first question is a very tough one, and I’m honored you should ask me to try to answer it. After long and careful consideration I have tentatively come to the conclusion that it would be anti libertarian, and therefore improper, to ask the country government to spend more money, even on a (stipulated) much-needed and relatively inexpensive project. Your resort to Ron Paul’s “earmarking” while in Congress, I think, fails as an analogy. For he was not asking the government to spend more money, only to reallocate money already taken in. You are asking the county government to spend more money. Why, not, instead, ask the county government to reallocate money from their very improper use of it (regulations, prohibitions, etc.) and toward this investment, which, as a libertarian, I think is less improper. Then, you would be “covered” by what Ron Paul did while in Congress.

Your second question is a relatively easy one. Telling a government, at any level, to “butt out” can hardly be incompatible with libertarianism.

And, certainly, I agree with your contention: “Privatize these roads and trails!” Indeed, I wrote a book about that very sort of thing: Block, Walter E. 2009. The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors; Auburn, AL: The Mises Institute; http://www.amazon.com/Privatization-Roads-And-Highways-Factors/dp/1279887303/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336605800&sr=1-1; available for free here: http://mises.org/books/roads_web.pdf; http://mises.org/daily/3416; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/radical_privatization.pdf; audio: http://store.mises.org/Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook-P11005.aspx; http://www.audible.com/pd/Business/The-Privatization-of-Roads-and-Highways-Audiobook/B0167IT18K?tag=misesinsti-20; http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bf16b152ccc444bdbbcc229e4&id=6cbc90577b&e=54244ea97d

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I have just hit the 500 mark in terms of publications in refereed peer reviewed journals (Tom Woods interviewed me about this here: http://tomwoods.com/ep-823-major-milestone-libertarian-walter-block-looks-back-on-500-peer-reviewed-articles/). As that rock and roll song of the 1960s goes, “I may not know much about history, philosophy or geography” but I know how to deal with editors and referees of scholarly journals.

My practice in this sort of thing is to incorporate each and every suggestion of all referees, given that they are not substantive. If the referee wants double instead of single spacing or the opposite, or end notes instead of footnotes, or more or fewer abbreviations, or more or fewer citations, or a bigger or smaller bibliography, I do it. If he suggests word changes about which I am indifferent, I comply. I do ANYTHING the referee or editor wants done, with but one exception: no compromise on matters of substance. If the editor wants a longer or shorter introduction or conclusion, what the heck; I conform, and with alacrity. If he wants paragraphs rearranged, so that this goes before that, or that appears before this, fine with me. But if I am asked to compromise on libertarian theory, or Austrian economics, well, there are lots of other journals out there.

From whence did this practice of mine spring? From Murray Rothbard, who I follow on this issue and many other things too. Specifically, I was his associate editor of the Review of Austrian Economics. Murray announced his policy thusly: we will be just like every other journal in all unimportant matters. If they have advertising, we’ll have advertising; if they don’t we won’t. If they publish with footnotes or endnotes, single space or double space, we’ll emulate them there, too. Whatever size margins they employ will be good enough for us. The only thing we will never compromise on is matters of substance. All I did in my practice with editors and referees I’m asking to publish my articles is to extrapolate Murray’s policy regarding RAE to this venue. I recommend this practice to all those who wish to publish in refereed journals. The only thing I added to Murray’s policy, since it is a rather different relationship, is when a referee or an editor makes a good suggestion, I thank him for it in the first footnote, and sometimes even quote him fully in the revised text. Why not give credit where it is due?

If you’re curious, I attach the listing of these 500 articles; they are in order by date of publication. I’m now working on my second 500. I’ve already got almost 20 newly accepted articles, so I’m now up to 520, if you account actual publications plus those forthcoming. I publish about 25 per year. So, in another 20 years, if I last that long (I’m now 75), I’ll have attained this goal of mine or 1000 articles in refereed scholarly journals.

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From: TC
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 6:48 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Introduction & Inquiry
Dear Dr. Block, I hope this finds you well and having had a remarkable 2016. Simply wanted to write you directly complimenting you on your 40 plus years of scholarship and championing of freedom, liberty, and peace – the pillars of any prosperous society. I had the distinct pleasure of hearing you speak in person for the first time this past October at the B.C. Libertarian Party annual convention at Columbia College, where I also had the honor of being elected to the provincial party’s board of directors. I am also deeply interested in your opinion on a commercial concept myself and a partner are presently incubating given both your scholarly background and unique (and refreshing) Libertarian perspective:
The two big problems we are attempting to address with Cosigned are youth unemployment (13.3% global) and student loan debt ($1.5 Trillion U.S. & CAD alone) by and student loan debt ($1.5 Trillion U.S. & CAD alone) by originating, underwriting, and servicing business grants (small business acquisition loans) directly to new high school graduates, providing them with a “third option” of owning their own business after graduation as an alternative to attending college/university or entering the workforce. I realize that you are much too busy to reply in most cases, but needless to say any of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and for your kind consideration all the same. Sincerely, TC

Dear TC: I don’t know if this will be of much help, but gargantuan youth unemployment is almost entirely due to minimum wages. This is a no brainer for the BCLP: favor the complete elimination of this pernicious law. As for student debt, it was voluntarily undertaken, and so should not be much of a challenge for libertarians. However, it is owed to the government, and that institution already has far too much money. So, you might adopt the plank of forgiving past student debt, and prohibiting the government from lending out any more money in future. I hope this helps. Best regards, Walter.

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From: CP
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2017 12:21 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: When did you first defend evictionism?
Dear Walter, I am wondering if you remember what year you first defended evictionism (or what year you published something on the topic)? I am just trying to get an overall timeline of the abortion debate and where evictionism fits in in the historical timeline. It was nice seeing you in Toronto for Rothbard University. Best, CP

Dear CP: As you can see from my bibliography on evictionism (below), the very first of my publications on that topic was in 1977.

For libertarian publications on evictionism, see Block, 1977, 1978, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010A, 2011A, 2012, 2013, 2014A, 2014B, 2014C, 2014D, 2014E; Block and Whitehead, 2005; Dyke and Block, 2011. For critiques of these by libertarian, see, Akers, 2012A, 2012B, Davies, 2012; Parr, 2011; Presley and Cooke, 1979; Shaffer, 2012; Wisniewski, 2010A, 2010B, 2011, 2013. For rejoinders to these critiques see Block, 2010B, 2010C, 2011B, 2011C, 2011D, 2013B, 2014C, 2014D, 2015

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From: BA
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2017 7:50 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Quick question
Dear Walter, Hope you don’t mind a quick question, without “pre-clearance.” Regarding the “Principles of Microeconomics” and “Principles of Macroeconomics” courses at this website:

http://www.mruniversity.com/

Do you think it is a good use of my self-education time to view these courses, taking into account opportunity costs (time I could have spent with other resources), if my ultimate goal is to deepen my understanding of free-market economics? Each course is about 10 or 12 hours long. I welcome your “sense” of this. Best, BA

Dear BA: If you want mainstream economic material, those courses are as good as any, and better than some. But, mainstream economics in my view is fallacious. If you want some good electronic courses on what I regard as correct (Austrian) economics, then I HIGHLY recommend what the Mises Institute offers. Go to their web and poke around. Best regards, Walter.

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