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From: TS
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:17 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Deed Restrictions – bogus?
Hello, I was recently arguing with people about property rights and the topic of deed restrictions came up. In the situation person A was selling the house to person B. Person A included restrictions such as you are unable to wear yellow shirts, or have chickens, or even you have to pay all the taxes the government says. If person B agrees to buy that house must they follow all of the deed restrictions? If they do not follow them do they lose the house back to person A? I am not a troll or anything like that. I am a voluntaryist and this whole deed restriction thing does not seem right to me. At the same time this is a contract that person B is not forced to sign. But at the same time how can person B really own the house if they must follow the rules from person A? It would make sense if person B was renting the house from person A because person A would be the real owner at that point still. Am I on the right track or is this true about the deed restrictions and I would have to follow the laws/taxes of the government if I/person B bought a house from someone? I eagerly await your response and I hope that you can clear up this issue for me.

Dear TS: I favor the legalization of all deed restrictions, except of course for those requiring the breaking of libertarian law. I may not sell you my house with the proviso that you go out and murder an innocent person in order to take possession of it. Other than that, there should be no limits. I once overheard two libertarians, who should have known better, complaining about the totalitarian requirements of a condo association housing development: all houses had to be painted the same color, have the same type of picket fence, parking was strictly limited. All homeowners had to have the same color curtains, for goodness sake. My point to them, and, now, to you, is, hey, everyone who purchased a home there AGREED to be bound by these “intrusive” strictures. Complaining about them is like a boxer objecting to his opponent punching him in the nose. Hey, they both AGREED to be hit (above the belt, of course). If person B violates his contract with person A, the former should sue the latter. Presumably, unless it is an egregious violation, the house would not pass back into the ownership of A.

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From: NF
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:25 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Libertarian Question
It is against libertarian law to get a mega leaf lower and blow someone off a cliff, but what if they put themselves to close to the edge that just you breathing will push them off? Are you then not allowed to breathe? I see three situations,
1. Someone puts himself on the cliff
2. Nature puts them on the cliff, like if the person were to be blind and accidentally walk there
3. Someone puts a gun to person A’s head and tells person B that he’ll kill A if person B breathes
Are you allowed to breathe under any or all of these circumstances? My instinct is that you may under all of them, but you have more knowledge than me. NF

Dear NF: Such false modesty? This is a continuum problem. There are no real clear answers:
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

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From: AL
Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2017 1:53 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Burden of proof under libertarian law
Dear Walter, I just had a new thought, which is about due process and burden of proof. Rothbard posited that courts in an anarcho-capitalist society should have a “beyond a reasonable doubt” threshold for punishing someone for crimes. But he also said that a policeman is allowed to torture suspects, provided that the person tortured is indeed a real criminal (and if it turns out he isn’t, the policeman will be guilty of a crime). But in order to prove in court that the policeman is guilty, it needs to be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the person that the policeman tortured is NOT a criminal (so that the policeman is not justified in torturing him), i.e. the burden of proof now goes in the opposite direction. So by torturing that person no matter what, the policeman can effectively lower the epistemic bar for punishing that person. Simply put, if there is no conclusive evidence in either direction, the policeman can just torture the suspect and get away with it. Isn’t this a problematic system? Thanks a lot for your kind consideration! Best wishes, AL

Dear AL: Sorry, I just don’t see the contradiction in these two (both correct) views of Rothbard’s. I think the libertarian assumption that unless found guilty, you are innocent. So, A, the cop, tortures B, the man on the street. If and only if B is found guilty of a heinous crime the punishment of which would include torture, is A let off the hook. If B is found innocent, or never charged with a crime, or is found guilty of only a minor crime for which torture would constitute excessive punishment, then A is guilty of a crime of torture, or, excessive punishment. Please do not think I am a “pale carbon copy” of Murray, and always and ever support each and every thing he ever wrote. I am indeed on record for criticizing a few of his positions (e.g., abortion, immigration, inalienablity), but in this case (and in 99.9999% etc. of everything he has ever written), I support him. Enthusiastically. He is Mr. Libertarian, the grand old man of that philosophy, plus Austrian economics, peace studies, history, law, and much, much more.

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From: NF
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 11:25 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Libertarian Question
It is against libertarian law to get a mega leaf lower and blow someone off a cliff, but what if they put themselves to close to the edge that just you breathing will push them off? Are you then not allowed to breathe? I see three situations,
1. Someone puts himself on the cliff
2. Nature puts them on the cliff, like if the person were to be blind and accidentally walk there
3. Someone puts a gun to person A’s head and tells person B that he’ll kill A if person B breathes
Are you allowed to breathe under any or all of these circumstances? My instinct is that you may under all of them, but you have more knowledge than me. NF

Dear NF: Such false modesty? This is a continuum problem. There are no real clear answers:
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

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From: AG
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:59 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Re: The Trolley Problem Challenge to Libertarian Theory
Dear Dr. Block, I read this blog post when it was published, and I thought, “Well, that’s an interesting thought experiment.” Then, this morning, I ran across the blog post again while perusing other blog posts at LRC. And the thought occurred to me that this is not just a problem for Libertarians, this is a problem for everybody. I don’t know why the person who posed the question assumed that this was a problem unique to Libertarianism. I don’t see any other ethical systems as being any more equipped to handle this kind of conundrum. It seems to me that this kind of a dilemma points out one problem of being human – we don’t have exhaustive knowledge and can’t know for certain the ramifications of our actions until we take them. I think that is one basic problem with posing the questions as it was posed. Rarely, if ever, are all of the options apparent to any of us. We only see what’s in front of us, what information we have. None of us has perfect information. I would appreciate your comments on how this dilemma affects all ethical systems. Thanks for your time. Regards, AG

Dear AG: Thanks for your thought provoking comment on the Trolley Problem (Go here for part I of this thread: https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/trolley-problem-challenge-libertarian-theory/). I agree with you in part, only. Yes, virtually all people, virtually all shades of opinion in political economy, oppose the murder of innocents. So, yes, in that sense, the Trolley Problem affects virtually all of us. But, libertarians are positively rabid about this non aggression principle, even going so far as to apply it to the government, which few others do. So, in that sense, this challenge is a shot across only our bows, not an attack on any other political philosophy.

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From: HK
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:13 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject:
As an early 20’s aged former neo-con having woken up from talk radio indoctrination, what would you recommend as three of the most accessible/valuable books to read to fully sell me on the austrian/anarcho-capitalist brand of libertarianism that you stand as a spokesman of? Also, I’m programming a book summary web app and I’ll probably do a summary post on whatever you recommend to me. Thanks, HK

Dear HK: It’s late at night, and I can think of a dozen books in third place on the basis of your question; but, to put them together would take more effort than I can expand at the moment. Here are my top two choices:

Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York; http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

Rothbard, Murray N. 1998 [1982]. The Ethics of Liberty, New York: New York University Press. http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

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From: NG
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:45 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: America
Dear Professor Block, First off I would like to thank you for your research in Austrian Economics and libertarianism/anarcho capitalism in general. It has greatly influence my own views. With everything happening in America, do you think it is the best place for libertarians to try to find a home? I’ve been looking into Liechtenstein and it seems like an amazing place, more freedom, and I think I would fit in if I were to immigrate and could integrate well. Do you think there are better opportunities outside of America for libertarianism, Liechtenstein or otherwise, or do you think America is still the best option? Thank you very much, NG

Dear NG: Probably, Liechtenstein, or Monaco, or Hong Kong, or Singapore or Switzerland or New Zealand might be better than the US from a narrow, personal point of view. However, if the US goes under, probably, those places won’t be so safe. Here is the case for staying in America (the last few sentences of Human Action): “Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping toward destruction. Therefore, everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interest of everyone hangs on the result. Whether he chooses or not, every man is drawn into the great historical struggle, the decisive battle into which our epoch has plunged us.”

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From: JT
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:21 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: A couple quick questions….
Dr. Block, I’d like to say that I am a huge fan of yours (I especially enjoy the ‘Radical Austrianism, Radical Libertarianism’ lecture series you did for The Mises Institute). I do have a couple questions for you, one that I don’t feel I’ve ever heard a really good answer to by anyone. I was having a debate the other day with an acquaintance about if spanking children violates the NAP, my way of thinking is that it obviously does, he argued that it didn’t. I am curious what your thoughts on the topic are. Also, like I said, I’m a big fan. I have recently started on a quest to track down my biggest influences and have them sign something for a ‘wall of freedom’ I’ve envisioned for my ‘man cave’. Could you be persuaded into signing something for it? It could be a napkin, a picture, a pocket constitution. I’d be happy to send a SASE, if it’d be easier. I thank you very kindly for your time and I wish you all the best, JT.

Dear JT: Here are my views on this matter, below. Sure, I’ll be glad to sign something for you and send it to you. Please, give me your mailing address.

Block, Walter E. 2014. “Rozeff on Zwolinski; Block on Rozeff.” April 28;
http://archive.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/rozeff-on-zwolinski-block-on-rozeff/ (starve child? Positive rights?).

Smith, Edward, Jordan Reel and Walter E. Block. 2014. “The Natural Rights of Children” International Journal of Health Policy and Management. Vol. 2, No. 2, February, pp. 85-89; http://www.ijhpm.com/?_action=article&vol=602

December 9, 2013. Debate: Walter Block and Stefan Molyneux, Freedomain Radio on spanking children. Michael DeMarco; operations@freedomainradio.com; skype: michaelmdemarco; 716-533-2171; Video: http://youtu.be/EgCmoVbdYtE
MP3: http://cdn.media.freedomainradio.com/feed/FDR_2552_Walter_Block_Debate.mp3

Block, Walter E. and Michael Fleischer. 2010. “How Would An Anarchist Society Handle Child Abuse?” October 13; http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block167.html

Block, Walter E. 2015. “Expiration of private property rights.” The Journal of Philosophical Economics. Vol. VIII, Issue 2, Spring; http://www.jpe.ro/?id=revista&p=410;

http://www.jpe.ro/pdf.php?id=7114

Block, Walter E. 2004. “Libertarianism, Positive Obligations and Property Abandonment: Children’s Rights,” International Journal of Social Economics; Vol. 31, No. 3, pp 275-286; http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContainer.do?containerType=Issue&containerId=18709; http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-children.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Libertarianism vs. Objectivism; A Response to Peter Schwartz,” Reason Papers, Vol. 26, Summer, pp. 39-62; http://www.reasonpapers.com/pdf/26/rp_26_4.pdf Nambla, child sexuality, child abuse

Block, Walter E. 1991 [1976]. Defending the Undefendable, New York: Fleet Press, first printing 1976, second printing 1980, third printing 1985; New York: Fox and Wilkes, fourth printing, 1991; chapter on “The Litterer” translated into Italian as “L’imbrattatore Di Luoghi Pubblici: Un Eroe”, in Claustrofobia, March 1978, No. 33, pp. 19-24; chapter on “The Employer of Child Labor” reprinted in Libertarian Familist, Vol. 11, No. 8, October 1992, pp. 1-4

April 27, 2015. Michael FreeMan [mailto:sithfit138@gmail.com]; Josh Davis;
https://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/hoaevent/AP36tYf_4FiPkEMZZUXkwGLSWokcvU1VB6JoPapQz1DLdLfXJFYM0Q?authuser=0&hl=en; how I became a libertarian, minimum wage, the future of higher education, anarchism versus monarchism, children’s rights, pro choice versus pro life, kid’s rights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIwYRxVlKTQ; http://www.targetliberty.com/2015/05/walter-block-on-how-he-became.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TargetLiberty+%28Target+Liberty%29

Block, Walter E. 2016. Starving Child, Part III: Spanking Children; November 5;

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/starving-child-part-iii-spanking-children/

Mosquito, Bionic. 2016. “Walter Hits One Out of the Park.” November 5;

http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2016/11/walter-hits-one-out-of-park.html

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Dear Professor Block: I have another question for you. This one involves the Trolley problem.
The trolley problem is a thought experiment in ethics. The general form of the problem is this: There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options:
1. Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track.
2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
Which is the most ethical choice?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

There are endless variations on this theme. I say that while it’s completely moral to do nothing, you can be responsible if you hit the switch. This is how I look at it. I had nothing to do with putting anyone in harms way therefore if I take no action I am in no way responsible. However, if I take action that kills an innocent person who otherwise would not have been harmed I am in fact guilty and can only beg forgiveness from the person or family members harmed. For instance if I tossed your wife in front of a train to save my family, (your wife’s body derails the train and it misses my wife’s car that is stuck on the tracks) I could beg you to understand but I would still be guilty of having murdered your wife. This one was brought to my attention by a person who claims that we have a moral obligation to fight the war on terror, even when it means killing innocent people. Best Regards, BS
Dear BS: I have published on this issue:
Block, Walter E. 2015. “The trolley: a libertarian analysis.” Journal Etica e Politica / Ethics & Politics; Vol. XVII, No. 2, http://www2.units.it/etica/; http://www2.units.it/etica/2015_2/BLOCK.pdf
I think my response to this challenge satisfactorily answers it. If you don’t agree, let me know, please, where you think I’ve gone off the rails (I couldn’t resist saying that.)

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—–Original Message—–
From: BR
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2017 9:13 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Blackmail Criminal Justice

Prof. Block: I had a question about your defense of blackmail. Does that include threatening to turn someone into the police or district attorney, or is that more like extortion? Sincerely, BR

Dear BR: I’ve published an entire book on this, see below. This is a complex issue you raise. In my view, whether this is extortion or not depends upon whether the threat is licit or not. If so, then it is blackmail, if not, then extortion. For example, suppose the threatener threatens to tell the cops that his target murdered or raped someone. Well, murder and rape are indeed illicit acts, so the threat to expose the murderer or rapist is legitimate, and it would be blackmail, which would not be against the law in a libertarian society. But, it would be extortion is the threat is to turn in the target to the police for a victimless crime, such as concerning drugs, pornography, or any other illegal act that takes place between consenting adults. Then, in my opinion, this would be extortion, prohibited by libertarian law.

Block, Walter. 2013. Legalize Blackmail. New Orleans: Straylight Publishing, LLC; http://www.straylightpublishing.com; https://gumroad.com/l/SzSd; ISBN 978-0-9910433-0-9 (hardcover), 978-0-9910433-1-6 (e-book). My publisher, bless his heart, is a bit weird. Well, more than a bit weird. He is willing to sell you this new book of mine for whatever price YOU decide upon at Amazon.com. If this isn’t weird, I don’t know what is. Of course, legalizing blackmail, rescinding all laws outlawing blackmail, it cannot be denied, is also a bit weird. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Legalize-Blackmail-Walter-Block/dp/0991043308. Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/legalize-blackmail-walter-block/1117524839. Direct from the publisher:; Legalize Blackmail is now available in all eBook formats for $9.99 across the board. The book may be obtained digitally in these formats: DRM-Free PDF, ePub, and MOBI — https://gumroad.com/l/SzSd; Kindle — http://amzn.to/1jkO5bE; Nook — http://bit.ly/1bDSNMJ; https://gumroad.com/l/SzSd

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