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From: JB
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2017 7:32 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Requesting your insight to a hypothetical

Professor Block, A friend of mine supplied to me this scenario and I was hoping you might have time to review it and provide me with insight. I have tried to keep it as brief as possible.

Assuming an AnCap society. A young man, John, is new in the area and meets an older man, Bob, at a gun show or something and Bob tells John to come by the house. Bob has a pretty large piece of property and throughout the conversation John finds out that some of the property once belonged to someone else. Eventually it comes out that Bob had acquired the property from a man whom he had killed and had taken the man’s land. A lot of time had passed since the crime and, when the community found out, they were not too concerned about it because nobody liked the guy anyway. The man had no known family and nobody to pay for an investigation. The crime had taken place 20 years previous. John was horrified by the tale and ran off. My friend wanted to hear what, if anything, could come of this situation, if there was any chance of something happening to the older man Bob from a legal standpoint.

I tried to introduce many possibilities. I suggested it is unlikely a community would simply be comfortable with someone having taken property by force and committing murder. My friend insisted that the community did not care in this scenario and could anything else come of it. I suggested that it is unlikely that the crime would have gone unnoticed because the man’s protection service or insurance company would notice.

However, let’s just say the man was out there winging it with no protection service and no insurance company, no family, and is now just dead. The young man, John, has now learned of the crime and can now potentially bring it to the attention of someone who might be interested.

Could, say, one of the protection services in the area launch an investigation against Bob for initiating force and murdering someone, and could they potentially make claim to Bob’s ill-gotten gains as payment. The dead man has no heir and no one to make a claim, so could a third party initiate that investigation and lay claim?

My friend also asked what would compel Bob to have to participate and cede that property should he be found at fault. I suggested Bob would have an interest because he could otherwise call bad attention to his area and therefore to himself, even from neighbors who initially did not care.

I suggested an indirect approach that the area protection agencies would certainly have an interest in addressing such egregious acts, as this would be a safety issue for other customers in the region. The community would ultimately be compelled to care because if they didn’t and they were just comfortable with crime like that happening in their area and word got out to the surrounding towns, people would not want to come there. Also, you could, for example, even see insurance agencies possibly refusing to cover liability on delivery trucks going into that town and other such scenarios that would greatly affect everyone in the area.

1. Are my responding scenarios reasonable possibilities.

2. Could those third parties act in that manner and could they make a claim to pay for their investigative actions, exposing a killer and securing the area?
3. What could happen to that man, if so? / What could compel him to go to court?
4. And my final question is this: On one end of the spectrum I can understand a situation where a guilty party must accept a punishment voluntarily and on the other end of the spectrum permission is not needed from the guilty party (immediate self-defense). What is the middle ground there, or the dividing line? At what point do I go from needing to not needing permission to act on a guilty party?

Thank you so much for your consideration! JB

Dear JB: In my view, John, or any third party (such as a private protection agency), would be justified in seizing this land from the murderer, Bob, and placing him in jail. I don’t see any “middle ground.” If the guilty party goes quietly to jail, well and good. If not, he should be compelled to do so. I don’t see the point of the several decade gap between Bob’s murder and the present. Bob should be treated exactly the same as if he murdered an innocent person 20 minutes ago and 20 years ago. There should be no statute of limitations on anything in my view, certainly not on murder.

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—–Original Message—–
From: JH
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2017 5:15 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu

Sir, Since I often mention Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard in the same sentence, I would greatly appreciate it if you could briefly summarize your reasons for saying that I should discontinue that practice. Feh [meh?] on Ayn Rand? Her attack on altruism and her defense of rational self-interest won me over long ago, as did her artful story telling to illustrate her moral themes. Where did I go wrong?
Thanks for any clues, JH

Dear JH: When Ayn Rand was good, she was awfully, awfully, good. When she was bad, she was horrid. I’m very ambivalent about her. On the one hand, she, personally, along with Nathaniel Branden, converted me to libertarianism. On the other hand… Well, see my pubs on her:

Block, Walter E. 2002. “The Libertarian Minimal State?” A critique of the views of Nozick, Levin and Rand, Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 141-160; reprinted in Younkins, Ed, ed., 2004. Philosophers of Capitalism: Menger, Mises, Rand and Beyond; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/minimal_state.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. 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. 2007. “The Non Fictional Robert Stadlers: Traitors to Liberty.” Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”: A Philosophical and Literary Companion. Edward W. Younkins, editor. Hampshire, England: Ashgate.

Block, Walter E. 2008. “Religion and Libertarianism: Ayn Rand was wrong.” June 18;


Block, Walter E. 2010. “Is Libertarianism a Part of the Right or the Left? Neither. We Are Unique” April 13; http://archive.lewrockwell.com/block/block156.html

Block, Walter E. 2011. Ayn Rand, Religion and Libertarianism, Journal of Ayn Rand Studies Vol., 11, No. 1, Issue 21, July, pp. 63-79.

Block, Walter E. 2014. “Justifying a Stateless Legal Order: a critique of Rand and Epstein.” Journal of Private Enterprise; 29(2) Spring: 21-49; http://journal.apee.org/index.php/Category:Spring_2014; http://journal.apee.org/index.php?title=2014.Spring.JPE_part2.pdf

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From: NF
Sent: Saturday, March 04, 2017 12:34 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Graduate School
How did you get a PhD in Economics from Columbia with a bachelor’s in Philosophy? Also, don’t you think the following quote from Rothbard is hypocritical since Rothbard never studied moral philosophy in a university but he included a large amount of his views on moral philosophy in his work? “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”

Dear NF: Murray is ignorant of moral philosophy? Au contraire, although to be sure not credentialed in that field, he is the preeminent moral philosopher of, I was going say, the 20th century, but, I really think of all time. Who else is there? Ayn Rand? Robert Nozick? John Locke? Feh on them. They don’t belong in the same sentence with Murray.

There are two questions here: how did I get accepted in their program and how did I get the degree. As for the first, I had a few graduate econ courses, and did well on their entrance exam. As for the second, by the skin of my teeth. I was probably the person with the lowest GPA to ever get the PhD from Columbia. Also, I failed my oral exam the first time I took it. My dissertation committee examined me for two hours, and then took three more hours to decide to award me that degree. As I say, by the skin of my teeth.

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From: SS
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2017 12:48 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Copyrights and Patents
Walter, Murray’s viewpoint was that copyrights were legitimate because it was a way of breaking of private property into pieces giving you the exclusive right to still sell your work, while patents are just state sanctioned monopolies. What is your viewpoint on this? Does it differ from his? SS

Dear SS: Yes, my view diverges somewhat from Murray’s. Here’s my view on this matter:
Block, 2013; Boldrin and Levine, 2008; De Wachter, 2013; Kinsella, 2001, 2012; Long, 1995; Menell, 2007A, 2007B; Mukherjee and Block, 2012; Navabi, 2015; Palmer, 1989.

Block, Walter E. 2013. Defending the Undefendable II: Freedom in all realms; Terra Libertas Publishing House; isbn: 978-1-908089-37-3; http://store.mises.org/Defending-the-Undefendable-2-P10932.aspx

Boldrin, Michele & David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm; http://mises.org/store/Against-Intellectual-Monopoly-P552.aspx

De Wachter, Joren. 2013. “IP is a thought crime.” at TEDxLeuven. June 6;

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2001. “Against Intellectual Property,” Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2, Winter, pp. 1-53; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_1.pdf

Kinsella, N. Stephan. 2012. “Economic Freedom of the World Rankings and Intellectual Property: The United States’ Bad Ranking is Even Worse Than Reported.” http://c4sif.org/2012/09/economic-freedom-of-the-world-indexes-and-intellectual-property-the-united-states-bad-ranking-is-even-worse-than-reported/

Long, Roderick. 1995. “The Libertarian Case Against Intellectual Property Rights.” Formulations. Vol. 3, No. 1, Autumn; http://libertariannation.org/a/f31l1.html

Menell, Peter S. 2007. “Intellectual Property and the Property Rights Movement.” Regulation, Fall; http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv30n3/v30n3-6.pdf

Menell, Peter S. 2007. “The Property Rights Movement’s Embrace of Intellectual Property: True Love or Doomed Relationship?” Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 34.

Mukherjee, Jay and Walter E. Block. 2012. “Libertarians and the Catholic Church on Intellectual Property Laws.” Journal of Political Philosophy Las Torres de Lucca. Issue No. 1, July-December, pp. 59-75;


Navabi, Ash. 2015. “To Taylor, Love Freedom.” June 23;


Palmer, Tom. 1989. “Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach” Hamline Law Review, Spring, Vol 12 No. 2.

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From: MF
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 11:03 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Hello Dr Block. I read this article in the NYT about highway accidents and I immediately though of your excellent work on privatization. Nowhere in this argument is there any consideration that privatization could address these problems. If you and I owned a highway we would use all legal voluntary contractual means at our disposal to compel drivers or customers on our road to not allow themselves to be impaired or distracted by cell phones or whatever else.

Thank you for your work on this. It really gave me the tools to think more critically about these important issues. MF.

Dear MF: Thanks for mentioning this book of mine. Every author hopes his book will do some good, and, happily, mine did, with you:
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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From: David Fisher [mailto:davidfisherenterprises@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 18, 2017 9:26 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Your 500 refereed articles
Dear Prof. Block
Your blog post on LRC (https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/deal-referees-editors-scholarly-journals/) so inspired me (I’m crunching through my dissertation in a completely different field) that I did a data visualization of all of your articles with the ability to link off to the actual article if a URL was available. It took me a few hours to get the data ready cleaned up to where I could process it. I think the most difficult part was I had to manually edit the citations to eliminate the multiple URLs. In choosing which URL, I linked to your blog/website if available, then to miss.org, then to cite sites and finally to the journal cite. I made these determinations to 1) drive traffic to you or libertarian sites first and 2) because these generally had the whole article available at no cost (unlike many of the journal sites). BTW, what style of citation are you using. It did not look like Chicago, MLA or APA, so I couldn’t use some of the automatic parsers out there to separate the different fields. You can access the visualization here:


Feel free to link to it, blog it or ignore it. If you do choose to share it in some way, also feel free to use my name if you’d like. In liberty, David

Dear David: I am very grateful to you. Thanks. I have no typical format style. I just write and write and write.

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From: SW
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 1:28 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: RE: May I ask a Question from Across the Pacific?
Thanks, my question is this. A standard response to the notion that imports are negative is to point out that if an American buys a good from Australia, the Australian manufacturer will only be able to use those USD in the purchase of American goods. Ergo it’s fine for America to import from Australia because the USD will be used to increase exports to Australia. However in a system of free trade, with gold standard, without legal tender laws and all that. If an American purchases an Australian good for gold, the Australian manufacturer could use that gold for anything (perhaps import from the UK), meaning importing from Aus will not necessarily engender increased exports. Am I incorrect in this conclusion? And I suppose there are the follow up questions of, Is there a way out of this deficit? What are some good arguments to show that such a deficit is not detrimental? Thank you for your time.

Dear SW: I have two responses. First, the exporter could use the money in India, which would then go to Brazil, and, eventually may end up on the US or Australia. Second, it really doesn’t matter. Trade “imbalances” are not a problem in any case. For example, I have a horrid trade deficit with McDonalds and Wal-Mart. I spend quite a bit of money on them per year, and they don’t buy anything at all from me. On the other hand, I have a gigantic surplus with my employer, Loyola University New Orleans (hint: come study with me and my free enterprise colleagues). They pay me a six figure salary, and I purchase from them little or nothing. Are these problems in need of rectifying? Of course not. Ditto for trade deficits or surpluses between people in different countries.

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From: GL
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2017 3:42 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Remembering the philosophy of rights in Locke
Dear Walter, I hope this message finds you well. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to accompany you through your visit to Brazil on February, 2016. I am writing you today because I’m about to finish my book on the question of how human rights (from the mainstream legal tradition definition) behave under government intervention. I believe I’ve came through an interesting theory. I was remembering one lecture you gave us that time, in which you justified as how Locke defined that we own ourselves through an utilitarian perspective. I wonder if you have written anything about it, or if you could recommend me something on that matter. I want to briefly approach the Lockean utilitarian perspective on the right to property, in order to better contextualize my defense of Rothbard’s theory of rights.
Deepest regards from Brazil, GL

Dear GL: Sad to say, I have not written anything on this exactly on point. However, I’ve written about this at least peripherally, and this might help:

Block, Walter E. 2016. “Forestalling, positive obligations and the Lockean and Blockian provisos: Rejoinder to Stephan Kinsella.” Ekonomia Wroclaw Economic Review. http://ekon.sjol.eu/category/22-3-2016-529

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From: J
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2017 1:06 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject: RE: AERC meeting
I am looking forward to being at AERC this week. You played a major role in my conversion to anarcho-capitalist about 20 years ago. It will be great to meet you in person.

Dear J: You are very kind. You made my day. I look forward to meeting you at the AERC.

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From: DC
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 7:44 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Minimum Wage
Mr. Block, I disagree with you on minimum wage. I am a chemical engineer and peer review scientist and I work for no pay. If I were to get paid it could corrupt the science, i.e. global warming. I am not in a special case situation, I do what is right at any cost. I attended Cornell University, Case Western and UCL(University College of London). I minored in Economics (which I believed to be an academic farce). I have worked low wage jobs and suffered poverty. There is a minimum wage to survive, just above slavery. I have worked recently at half that level ($8 per hour) to survive the hard times of general unemployment, but I have also earned $100 per hour on engineering projects that I have earned. The current economy does not work. The system is corrupt beyond measure, It has been corrupt for decades. I have helped many homeless and unemployed people. They need $15 to $20 per hour and I would like the same. DC, Great American

Dear DCGA: Please read a dozen or so of these. They will, I expect, disabuse you of your views on the minimum wage law.

Dear Everyone else: Please add to my biblio. I’d like it to be as complete as possible.

Best regards, Walter

Akihari, 2016; Batemarco, et.al. 2014; Baum, 2015; Becker, 1995; Block, 1987, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2014, 2015; Block and Barnett, 2002; Boudreaux, 2015A, 2015B, 2016A, 2016B, 2016C, 2016D, 2017; Burkhauser, Couch, Wittenburg, 1996; Caplan, 2013A, 2013B, 2015; Cappelli and Block, 2012; Deere, Murphy and Welch, 1995; European, undated; Friedman, undated; Gallaway and Adie, 1995; Galles, 2014; Gitis, 2014; Hanke, 2014A, 2014B; Hazlitt, 1946; Hovenga, 2013; Howland, 2013; Klein and Dompe, 2007; Landsburg, 2004; Leonard, 2016; Lingenfelter, et. Al., 2017; McCaffrey, 2014; McCormick and Block, 2000; Mercer, 2015; Murphy, 2014, 2015A, 2015B; Neumark, 2015; Neumark and Wascher, 1992, 1995; North, 2014; Powell, 2013; Reisman, 2014; Rothbard, 1988, 2015A, 2015B; Rustici, 1985; Salihu, 2013; Saltsman, 2015; Schiff, undated; Shaw, 2016; Sohr and Block, 1997; Sowell, 1995; Tucker, 2915; Vedder and Gallaway. 2001; Vuk, 2006; Ward, 2016; Wenzel, 2013, 2015; Wiegold, 2014; Williams, 1982, 2013, 2014A, 2014B, 2014C, 2015A, 2015B, 2016A, 2016B, undated.

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