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Does Libertarian Law Allow Us To Hurt and Harm Other People? Yes.

From: K
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2019 9:20 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Quintessential Libertarian Slogan


What do you think of the slogan below?

“Cause no harm to a peaceful person’s body or property.”

My friend, the party secretary, came up with it after the last XYZ Libertarian Party meeting.  I think it is a very good encapsulation of the NAP.  Do you see any problem with it? K

On Fri, Feb 22, 2019 at 9:20 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

I oppose it. Under libertarianism, we are allowed to harm people, to hurt them. By competing against them for marriage partners, for business contracts, etc. I think this is a mis-specification of our libertarian philosophy. We are allowed to hurt and harm people in all sorts of ways: hurt our parents by becoming poets and not going to medical school as they wanted us to do; write bad book and movie reviews, hurting the feelings of the authors, producers, actors, etc., and harming their financial position. Instead, I prefer to couch libertarianism in terms of rights violations, and none of these violate rights. I think we should be more careful with our language, be more precise than that.

Best regards,



1:30 am on June 24, 2019

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Research Ideas for Austrians, Part III

Here is part II, in this ongoing series:


Some very important new material just came in from a source who will not remain anonymous. I knew of this; I saw Bettina taking notes when I attended the Mises Seminar at NYU. I kick myself for not having included it before. Here it is now, thanks to my good friend Bob Wenzel:

From: Robert Wenzel [mailto:rw@economicpolicyjournal.com]

Sent: Friday, June 21, 2019 9:15 AM

To: Walter Block primary <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Mises Research Topics

Hi Walter,

When you originally referenced Mises discussing research topics and called for research ideas, I thought for sure someone would send a link to the Bettina-Bien Greaves list of Mises recommendations for research, but I see by your post today, apparently not, so here you go:


Best, Bob

Robert Wenzel


4:40 pm on June 21, 2019

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Previously, I wrote about this topic, here.

Since then, several suggestions have come in over the transom to me. I pass them along to this list just as they have been sent to me, anonymously, as is my practice, with no commentary attached. Some of them, hopefully, will be of use to at least some viewers of this LRC blog. I am very grateful to the several people who wrote to me on this topic.

From: N

Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2019 6:08 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Responding to request for ideas for research

Dr. Block,

I have enjoyed consuming your work for years. My most sincere thank you for your seemingly endless efforts.

You requested input for research topics related to Libertarianism and Austrian Economics. This is in response to that request.

I think digital coins deserve (demand) detail technical analysis from an Austrian Economics perspective. I hear an endless barrage of claims regarding money theory that even a economics layman such as myself can identify as erroneous.

For example: Peter Schiff (and others) are endlessly claiming that since Bitcoin has no intrinsic value it cannot be a currency or store of value (fingernails on a  blackboard for my ears). I believe Mises would disagree with this thinking.

The Bitcoin conversations are all oriented around claims that it cannot possibly work or that it is a given that it will work and take over the world.

It seems that a re-examination of the various Austrian theory regarding money is in order now that “Bitcoin” has established a new player with new characteristics on the money scene.

Lots of thoughts and opinions on digital currency are available and there is nothing wrong with that. But I have been generally disappointed in the lack of technical work being produced on this topic by the Austrian Economics world. I would think this topic would provide tons of raw meat for young students with interest Austrian Economics.  We are now ten years into this technology and I just do not see any real detail technical analysis from the Austrians?

I do note that “The Bitcoin Standard” by Saifedean Ammous provides a start.

Hope this is constructive input.



From: D

Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 12:18 PM

To: walter block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Austrian research topics

For S and perhaps your “general” list:

I have not seen many Austrian oriented analysis of the intersection of international business such as:

World pricing signals (and the concomitant distortions by gov’t manipulated exchange rates)

Time preferences of different cultures

Comparative depressions (approaches, length, severity, recovery from) across cultures

Probably not for S, but topics I’m currently researching a few topics that look at the intersection of archetypal & analytical psychology and business.  I presented a paper that explored one aspect of this at last years Libertarian Scholars Conference.  Unfortunately, due to acceptance at another conference in Japan I am unable to submit for the 2019 conference:

Archetypes in the business firm or cycle

Market archetypes

Hope this helps,


From: B

Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2019 8:11 AM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: RE: Austrian Research Topics

Hi Dr. Block,

In response to your request for help with some possible Austrian research topics, I’ve thought of two. I’m still not familiar with a lot of the Austrian literature, so I’m not sure if there’s already a large literature on these topics, but I’m gonna submit the ideas anyway and you can decide to add them to your list or not:


• What is the Austrian view on the economics of insurance?

• What makes an event insurable and non-insurable from a praxeological point of view?

• What’s the relationship between the Austrian understanding of case/class probability and the insurability/uninsurability of an event?

• We see companies offering unemployment or income insurance but is this really feasible?

• Is health insurance even possible? Since Mises argues that a person’s health is largely determined by their own actions, is health insurance really insurance?

• If a lot of what’s currently being insured by health insurance is not truly insurance, what health events are truly insurable?


• What is the history of warranties and guarantees?

• What is the economic theory of these things?

• How do these market innovations address alleged market failures?

Kind regards,


From: J

Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 7:06 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: Austrian Research Topics from Hülsmann

Hi Prof. Block,

I saw your recent post on the LRC Blog asking about Austrian research topics.

I remember a page from Prof. Hülsmann’s website where he outlines a few topics that he has thought of. See this link:http://guidohulsmann.com/Doctoralstudies.html

What is of relevance in this case is under the header “New Research Topics”.

Hope this helps you and the individual who sent you that question!




1:51 am on June 21, 2019

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Dear M:

Thanks for sharing with me your fascinating views on this matter.

I found this point of yours most important:

“we don’t call a person with three feet two people sharing a common foot, so a person with two heads is a single individual with split coexisting personalities.”

But, each head can have a different preference, a different will. Feet can’t do that. So, I think of conjoined twins as two people, just as I think of the mother and the fetus as not one but two different people.

You’ve seen this?

Dyke, Jeremiah and Walter E. Block. 2011. “Explorations in Property Rights: Conjoined Twins.”Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Art. 38; http://libertarianpapers.org/articles/2011/lp-3-38.pdf

Best regards,


From: M
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 8:21 AM
To: wblock <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: Conjoined twins


Just some off-the-cuff observations on conjoined twins…

If I understand, the reason conjoined twins are so attached, besides the obvious abnormal prenatal development, is that according to one or more physicians on their case, the “viability” of life after separation is considered very low for one or both, depending on how many organs are shared. 

So, if one or both personalities sharing the same body cannot survive apart, you could look at it like an ongoing viability issue from the 20th week. In other words, one or both will die apart. 

In fact, I do not know the cases of how many conjoined twins demand separation, but I imagine this procedure is very high risk for both, even if one or both live through the procedure.

One of the problems or errors of libertarian thought here, is assuming two individuals exist with their own separate individual rights. In fact, this also points to a fallacy in the abortion debate… that a fetus is sufficiently distinct from the mother such that it can be expected to live, or has the right to live, BEFORE it has “viability” sufficient to live outside the womb if medically extracted. 

So, in cases of involuntary pregnancy such as rape, the mother has the right not to care for the fetus before it is viable, including continuing to provide a natural incubator, and has the right to evacuate the fetus if it is viable so that it no longer makes demands of her body for care.

In the case of conjoined twins, we must treat this medical abnormality as a single individual. Just as a normal human with one head can be of two minds on an issue, a conjoined twin set is a single individual with two minds on an issue. That is, in every way the personalities share common organs and the same body, the literally split personality is still a single individual.

Therefore, it has individual, not group identity. According to it’s own biology, it must find a way for the split personalities to cooperate such that its individual existence continues.

Put another way, we don’t call a person with three feet two people sharing a common foot, so a person with two heads is a single individual with split coexisting personalities.

All my best,



12:39 pm on June 15, 2019

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Dear LRC blog readers, contributors:

When it comes to questions about Austrian economics or libertarianism, my answers may not always be correct, but, at least, I’m confident in my replies, and I don’t usually need help in answering them. Today, there is an exception. I really don’t know how to answer this important query, and I’d appreciate all the help I can get with it.

It is my understanding that at the Mises Seminar at NYU, he was continually throwing out topics for further research. I attended the last of these events (I don’t like to brag, but I actually shook hands with the Great Man; I never washed my hand since, so, if you shake hands with me, you get a bit dirty, but, you channel Ludwig von Mises!) but I don’t remember any of his suggestions.

So, if you have any, please send them to me, and I’ll pass them along to S, see below. The only thing I can think of is to do empirical illustrations (not tests; hey, I’m a praxeologist!) of Austrian insights, such as business cycle theory, minimum wage, rent control, free trade benefits, the economic disarray caused by statism, taxes, regulations, monetarism, fractional reserve banking, etc., but I don’t think this really cuts the mustard. I’d be happy to compile a list, and share it on this blog, of Austrian research topics. Please engage in a brain-storming exercise with me on this matter. When in doubt, send me your suggestions. But, don’t be limited by S’s specific requirements. I think it would be a good idea to have a general list of this sort.

Best regards,


From: S
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2019 9:10 PM
To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>
Subject: advice for a thesis topic related to Austrian?

Greetings, dear Professor Block.

If you have a minute, please give me an advice.

Could you tell me if there is any online list of suggested topics or fields of research at undergrad/grad level that are relevant to Austrian Economics?

What is your personal opinion on this matter?

I need to pick a topic now and give a brief on supposed contents and methodology. The work itself can be done over a course of several months.

Since my university itself and specifically my faculty is about international business, I cannot pick a purely theoretical or political topic, or something that will sound explicitly “heterodox”. At the same time, Iʼd rather pick a topic where Austrian theory or some aspects of it can be applied, as it will give me a chance to study it better and in a more applied way.

And another consideration for me: it makes little sense to pick a subject that is already dealt with in detail by others or that is outdated within modern economic framework (general mainstream one and Austrian).

I will appreciate if you may suggest me, what you consider being worth working on.

Best regards, S


12:09 pm on June 14, 2019

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From: C
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2019 1:25 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Debate (low income housing)

Hi Mr. Block,

My name is C, and I do high-school debate. This month’s debate topic requires us to debate whether or not we should or should not promote market rate housing in urban (low income) areas. I was reading your article that you wrote about this issue, and I have a few questions.

1) How do you think market rate housing and gentrification interact with each other.

2) Do you have any interesting ideas or ways that I can spin an argument against price controls on housing? Something out of the ordinary or could catch my opponents off-guard?

Thx, C

Dear C:

See below some readings on rent control. I hope this helps

Best regards,


In 1989, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.” (Dhillon, 2007). According to Lindbeck, 1972: “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” In the view of Myrdal, 1965: “Rent control has in certain western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.” For further elaboration, see Baird, 1980; Block and Olsen, 1981; Block, Horton and Shorter, 1998; Block, 2002; Dhillon, 2007; Friedman and Stigler, 1946; Grampp, 1950; Grant, 1989; Hayek, 1981; Johnson, 1982;  Lindbeck, 1972; Myrdal, 1965; Salins, 1980; Tucker, 1990

Baird, Charles. 1980. Rent Control: The Perennial Folly, Washington D.C.: The Cato Institute

Block, Walter E., and Edgar Olsen, eds. 1981. ”Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Vancouver, The Fraser Institute

Block, Walter E., Joseph Horton and Ethan Shorter. 1998. “Rent Control: An Economic Abomination,” International Journal of Value Based Management, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 253-263

Dhillon, Bob. 2007. “The perversity of rent controls,” National Post, June 28, p. FP15

Friedman, Milton and George Stigler. 1946. “Roofs or Ceilings?,” September, Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, http://www.fee.org/library/books/Roofs_or_Ceilings.asp; reprinted as Friedman, Milton, and George Stigler. 1981. “Roofs or Ceilings?” in Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter E. Block and Edgar Olsen, eds., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute.

Grampp, W.S. 1950. “Some Effects of Rent Control,” Southern Economic Journal, April, pp. 425-426

Grant, R.W. 1989. “Rent Control and the War Against the Poor,” Manhattan Beach, CA: Quandary House

Hayek, Friedrich A. 1981. “The Repercussions of Rent Restrictions,” Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter E. Block , ed., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute

Johnson, M. Bruce, ed. 1982. ”Resolving the Housing Crisis: Government Policy, Decontrol, and the Public Interest, San Francisco: The Pacific Institute

Lindbeck, Assar. 1972. The Political Economy of the New Left, New York: Harper and Row; cited in Rydenfelt, Sven, “The Rise, Fall and Revival of Swedish Rent Control,” in Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter E. Block and Edgar Olsen, eds., 1981. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1981, pp. 213, 230.

Myrdal, Gunnar. 1965. “Opening Address to the Council of International Building Research in Copenhagen”; cited in ”Dagens Nyheter (Swedish Newspaper), 25 August 1965, p. 12; cited in Rydenfelt, Sven, “The Rise, Fall and Revival of Swedish Rent Control,” in Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter E. Block and Edgar Olsen, eds., 1981. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, p. 224; cited in Block, Walter E. 1981. “Preface.” Rent Control: Myths and Realities, Walter E. Block and Edgar Olsen, eds., 1981. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, p. xiv.

Salins, Peter D. 1980. The Ecology of Housing Destruction:  Economic Effects of Public Intervention in the Housing Market, New York: New York University Press.

Tucker, William. 1990. The Excluded Americans: Homelessness and Housing Policies, Washington D.C.: Regnery Gateway

Tenants against rent control; http://www.wclf.org/articles/2.2.1.html


12:41 pm on June 13, 2019

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From: T
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 8:35 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Critical theory/intersectionality

Hi Dr. Block,

I am sure you know about Critical Theory/White privilege/intersectionality. I am wondering if being philosophically for individual liberty one is able to show that this politically correct scourge being advocated by the state is dead wrong. Thanks! -T

From: Walter Block [mailto:wblock@loyno.edu
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 8:42 PM
To: T
Subject: RE: Critical theory/intersectionality

Dear T:

This is all nonsense on stilts. Privilege comes out of the barrel of a gun. White and blacks, men and women, all violate the non aggression principle of libertarianism. Some of each group engage in the “political means,” not the “economic means.” Thus privilege has nothing to do with race or sex. There are criminals in all 4 categories. No one can be guilty of a NAP violation (or innocent of one) based only on pigment, sexual preference or internal plumbing.

Now, it just so happens that straight white males have contributed to civilization to a greater degree than many other groups. Think of baroque music, philosophy, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, computers (Al Gore – a member of this demographic — invented them (:)), mathematics, economics, astronomy, engineering, architecture, the list goes on and on. And on and on some more. But that does not mean that because of these magnificent contributions straight white males have exploited others (they have, but that is another story). According to intersectionality, the more characteristics a person deviates from these three, the more this person has been exploited. No evidence of any sort is ever offered to document this claim. The only “evidence” put forth is that straight white males have made more accomplishments than others, but this hardly demonstrates exploitation.

Best regards,



2:12 am on June 13, 2019

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From: E
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2019 8:24 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: is NAP sufficient for liberty


As I understand the NAP, it is about aggressive force. But what of defensive force?

The NAP does not require that I defend myself from an aggressor who would enslave me. So, wouldn’t you agree that if one does not use self defense, one is likely to lose their liberty? So, while the NAP is a good rule to decide what is legal, it is not necessarily a rule that guarantees liberty.

I can see one rebuttal, namely that a pacifist who refuses to defend themselves with defensive force would be making a choice, that they prefer non-violence more than their liberty. But wouldn’t that be like handing over your money when a robber says, “Your money or your life”. If it’s not a fully free choice, then it’s not liberty.

But maybe this is really just a problem with logic. Can a free man give up his freedom and still be free? It’s a little like who shaves the barber, if the barber shaves everyone who doesn’t shave themselves.

Regards, E

Dear E:

You raise a fascinating group of issues, challenges, to libertarianism. Thanks. This gives me a opportunity to further think about our beloved philosophy, libertarianism.

I do indeed agree that if one does not use self defense, one is likely to lose HIS liberty. If only a few people are pacifists, they can free ride on defenders of liberty willing to use violence. But, if all or most people are pacifists, I think they’ll be overrun by criminals.

The NAP does not at all “guarantee liberty.” It is only, along with private property rights, the foundation of libertarian law. In order to guarantee liberty, or at least promote it, you need a good physcial defense against criminals.

Can a free man give up his freedom and still be free? Excellent question, challenge, insight. My only answer to this is to offer you a bibliography of the literature on voluntary slavery. Well, if I had to give a yes or no answer, I’d say no. If you give up your freedom, either by voluntary slavery or conquest, then you are no longer free.

Best regards,


In the view of Boldrin and Levine (2008, 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; Frederick, 2014; Kershnar, 2003; Lester, 2000; Mosquito, 2014, 2015;  Nozick, 1974, pp. 58, 283, 331; Steiner, 1994, pp. 232; Thomson, 1990, pp. 283-84.

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 & David K. Levine. 2008. Against Intellectual Monopoly. http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

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;


Mosquito, Bionic. 2015. “Walter Block, Specific Performance Contracts, and Abortion.” July 12;http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2015/07/walter-block-specific-performance.html

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

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. 1990. The Realm of Rights, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press


5:06 pm on June 12, 2019

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Dear R: Thanks for your long and very thoughtful, no, extraordinarily thoughtful, criticism of my recent post on Lew Rockwell blog.

Sorry, I can’t answer each and every point you make. However, I think I cover both of your main points in previous publications.

On the gray area, or the continuum between a park and an orphanage, see this:

Block, Walter E. 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

On the proper libertarian rejection of all positive obligations:

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

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=18709http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/block-children.pdf;https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/03068290410518256;https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/03068290410518256?fullSc=1&journalCode=ijse

From: R

Sent: Saturday, June 08, 2019 9:57 PM

To: Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu>

Subject: your post on Lew Rockwell blog

Good evening, Walter.

I saw the three criticisms and your responses to them in your post. I have written a response to the third one, the abandonment of the autistic boy, R

Walter, you say this:

“Criticism 3.  Mrs. Jones decides she’s really tired of taking care of her autistic four year old, so she takes the kid to the park on a nice day, gives him a basket of sandwiches and soda pop, tells him to sit right here by the swingset and puts up a sign that says, “Autistic four year old, free to a good home” and walks away.”

“The Libertarian view:   She’s perfectly within her rights.  She left the kid in a safe place where many other adults can see his plight.    If someone wants him, they’ll take him home and if no one wants him, oh, well, in a week or so he’ll die and stop bothering people.”

“Response 3: Jones can’t leave him in the park. She’s gotta go to an orphanage, hospital, church, where people will very much more likely take care of the kid.   Remember, under libertarianism, ALL property, land and water, will be privately owned. The parks, too. Don’t you think the park owner would object to this sort of thing?”

Here is my response to you:

This response sounds to me very much like a positive obligation, which according to previous assertions on the subject, cannot happen under libertarian law.

“..it implies the acceptance of positive rights, anathema to this entire philosophy. In this perspective, people only have negative rights; the right not to be murdered, the right not to be raped, the right not to be enslaved, the right not to be stolen from, etc. There is no such thing in this viewpoint as positive rights…” (http://ekon.sjol.eu/category/22-3-2016-529)

As I remember, you have stressed that the placement of an abandoned child must be where there is a good probability, perhaps a near certainty, that someone will see him and rescue him. It is not good enough to put him outside in a blizzard nor to leave him to starve in a back room where no one can hear his pitiful cries. He MUST be placed where there is a reasonable expectation that he will be found in a reasonable amount of time.

Now, Mrs. Jones, who presumably lives in a well-populated area, takes her kid to a park on a nice day and leaves him there. Since it’s a nice day, there will be other people at the park as well who will see the kid and either take him home or tell someone else, even the proper authorities, about the situation. On a nice day, there might even be hundreds of people at the park, so it’s not likely that no one will see him. Since she placed him by the swing set, it is obviously a park which young children and their mothers frequent.

Why do you say that a park is not good enough? Why must she go to an orphanage, hospital, or church where the odds are better for the lad? Isn’t this just a matter of degree? Isn’t this like saying that Mrs. Jones must advertise in a newspaper for two weeks, but only if it has a readership of 50,000, which eliminates the newspaper in her town which might only reach 3500 people? What if she has no car? What if the park is within a short walking distance, but the nearest church is 1-1/2 miles away and there is no hospital nor orphanage within 20 miles?

It seems to me that taking the kid to a park on a nice day would raise his chances of survival considerably. Other mothers and young children would be there as well. Mothers of young children are probably the very people who would be most inclined to have compassion on an abandoned child. They would be highly likely to take up his cause and either adopt him themselves or see to it that someone else does.

Ownership of the park is irrelevant to this discussion. It does not matter to this lad or his mother whether the park is privately or publicly owned. All she is concerned about is leaving him where someone else can find him.

However, even if all property is privately owned, then the owners of the orphanages, hospitals, and churches could also object to abandoned children being left there, just as well as the park owner. Do they have a positive obligation to accept the child while the park owner does not? If so, why? If not, can they prohibit the abandonment of children? If owners of orphanages, hospitals, churches, and parks prohibit leaving abandoned children on their property, then what is Mrs. Jones to do? Leave him at a busy intersection, perhaps, or a school, all likewise privately owned and subject to the owner’s distaste for abandoned children? Or, maybe, decide that it’s easier and more convenient to starve him to death in a back room of her home.

According to your statement, “We can insist that the law compels the mother to offer her unwanted baby to someone else…” (http://ekon.sjol.eu/category/22-3-2016-529), all that Mrs. Jones has to do, the only thing she can be compelled to do, is to place her son in an area where someone else can find him within a reasonable amount of time. A park frequented by small children is as good as anywhere and maybe better than most. Telling her that it’s not good enough and she must go elsewhere is a positive obligation.

Thank you, R


1:56 am on June 11, 2019

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From: T

Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 11:56 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Healthcare


I have a friend looking for academic sources on the privatization of healthcare, the downfalls of UK-style healthcare, and universal healthcare.

Do you have any peer-reviewed on the topics or any other sources you would recommend? He is attempting to write a paper in defense of private healthcare in a PoliSci class.

Sincerely and for Liberty, T

Dear T:

Here’s a bibliography for you.

Best regards,


Block, 2003; Friedman, 1962; Goodman and Musgrave, 1992; Gratzer, 2005; Hamowy, 1984; Herbener, 1996; Holly, 2013; Hoppe, 1993; Johnson, et.al., 1998; Laydon and Block, 1996; Peltzman, 1973, 1974, 1987A, 1987B; Salerno, 2016; Terrell, 2003.

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Socialized Medicine is the Problem,” Surgical Neurology, Vol. 60, No. 5, November, pp. 467-46

Friedman, Milton. 1962. Capitalism and Freedom, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, chapter 9

Goodman, John C. and Gerald L. Musgrave, 1992. Patient Power: Solving America’s Health Care Crisis. Washington D.C.: Cato

Gratzer, David. 2005. “The Return of HillaryCare: Socialized medicine is still not a good idea. The Weekly Standard. May 23;http://www.medicalprogresstoday.com/spotlight/spotlight_indarchive.php?id=778

Hamowy, Ronald. 1984. Canadian Medicine: A Study in Restricted Entry, Vancouver: The Fraser Institute

Herbener, Jeffrey. 1996. “Socialized Medicine, Take Two.” The Free Market. Vol. 14, No. 7, July.http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=172&sortorder=articledate

Holly, Mike.2013.  “How Government Regulations Made Healthcare So Expensive.” December 17;


Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1993. “A Four-Step Health-Care Solution.” The Free Market.  Vol. 11, No. 4, April;http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=279

Johnson, Clint, Walter E. Block and Thomas Oxner. 1998. “Notes on Health Care Financing and Free Markets,” Journal of Accounting, Ethics and Public Policy, Vol. 1, No. 3, Summer 1998, pp. 488-502.

Layden, William R. and Walter E. Block. 1996. “Health Security,” Nomos, July, No. 47/48, pp. 38-45

Peltzman, Sam. 1973. “An Evaluation of Consumer Protection Legislation: The 1962 Drug Amendments.” The Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 81, No. 5, Sept-Oct, pp. 1049-1091

Peltzman, Sam. 1974. Regulation of Pharmaceutical Innovation: The 1962 Amendments. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Peltzman, Sam. 1987A. Regulation and Health: The Case of Mandatory Prescriptions and an Extension. Managerial and Decision Economics 8(1): 41–6.

Peltzman, Sam. 1987B. The Health Effects of Mandatory Prescriptions. Journal of Law and Economics 30(2): 207–38.

Salerno, Joseph P. 2016. “Laura Hillier, RIP.” February 11;


Terrell, Timothy D. 2003. “Socialized Medicine in America.” The Free Market. Vol. 23, No. 11, November;http://www.mises.org/freemarket_detail.asp?control=458&sortorder=articledate

The Primal Prescription: Surviving the “Sick Care” Sinkhole Book by Doug

McGuff and Robert P. Murphy

Socialized medicine: queues:

Barua, et. al., 2010; DiLorenzo, 2009; Esmail, 2009A, 2009B, 2011; Globerman and Hoye, 1990; Hazel and Esmail, 2008; Sanmartin et al., 2004;

Barua, Bacchus, Mark Rovere, and Brett J. Skinner. 2010. Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada (20th ed.). Fraser Institute.

DiLorenzo, Thomas J. 2009. “Socialized Healthcare vs. The Laws Of Economics,” Mises Daily,  no. 3586; July 28;http://mises.org/daily/3586

Esmail, Nadeem. 2009A. Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada (19th ed.). Fraser Institute

Esmail, Nadeem. 2009B. The Private Cost Of Public Queues, 2009. Fraser Forum (November):32-36.

Esmail, Nadeem. 2011. “The private cost of public queues.” Fraser Forum, March/April, pp. 22-27;http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/articles/private-cost-of-public-queues-march2011.pdf

Globerman, Steven, with Lorna Hoye. 1990. Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada. Fraser Institute.

Hazel, Maureen and Nadeem Esmail. 2008. The Private Cost of Public Queues. Fraser Forum (December/January):25–29.

Sanmartin, Claudia, François Gendron, Jean-Marie Berthelot, and Kellie Murphy. 2004. Access to Health Care Services in Canada, 2003. Catalogue No. 82-575-XIE.

H.T. Engelhardt, Jr., and Kevin W. Wildes, S.J., “The Four Principles of Health Care and Post-Modernity: Why a Libertarian Interpretation is Unavoidable,” Principles of Health Care Ethics, ed. Raanan Gillon (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994), pp. 135-147.



1:55 am on June 11, 2019

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