#56 Property Theft is Violence


Private property is one of the most essential foundations of a free and flourishing society. I’ve heard it said by fools that the theft or attempted theft of one’s property is not violence. This is entirely incorrect.

The time value of money and labor are as such that to steal the fruits of one’s productive capacities is to steal a portion of his life. In fact, the very definition of slavery is expropriation of the fruit of another’s hands.

It is important, however, not to confuse the fruits of labor with entrepreneurship, which as we have discussed in the past, maintain asymmetrical risk and reward profiles. An individual may choose to labor for an entrepreneur under the agreement that they will be paid a wage according to their time and productivity. The entrepreneur risks accumulated capital in the present in order to try and profitably satisfy market demand in the future. These roles are not mutually exclusive and one can be both his own entrepreneur and laborer.

Any attempt to deprive one of the fruits of his labor is to some degree or another an attempt to enslave that individual. If we know the definition of slavery is the expropriation of the whole fruit of another’s work, then lesser degrees of slavery are still violence.

This theft of wealth (or theft of time) from an individual can take many forms. Whether it be at the direct threat of violence by a petty thug at the end of a handgun or by the indirect threat of a bureaucratic regime of democratically elected representatives.

It is important to delineate, even theft which is voted and agreed upon by a majority is still violence against the dissenting individual. There is equal moral reprehensibility for the tyranny of the majority as there is reprehensibility for the tyranny of a common criminal. No matter how many unite in agreement that theft should be legalized and moralized in a society, this cannot change the fundamental nature of human existence.

The default state of humanity is poverty. The default state of humanity is a fight to survive against the odds of nature. It is only through the accumulation of resources, the deferment of immediate consumption in favor of the future, and the peaceful and voluntary cooperation between each other than we advance our ways of life.

This is why no matter how many advocate for collectivist schemes which seek to actualize a socialist utopia, they cannot tolerate dissent. The whole of society must bend its knee to their authoritarian demands or see the threat of violence brought to fruition. Ironically, there is no such reservations about individuals forming collective societies within a greater liberty oriented and free market world. The same cannot be said, however, for those who would prefer peaceful and voluntary cooperation in a collectivist world. They must be compelled into slavery.

In light of the recent news about the USPS which is of great controversy in the current US political climate, I would point you to a quote by a man named Lysander Spooner.

Spooner was a man who knew this concept quite well, and his story is worth a post of its own. But in brief summary, he attempted to compete with the legal monopoly that is the US postal service via private enterprise and was ultimately deprived of that opportunity.

Legal monopolies unfortunately extend beyond just that of industry, but also to theft and violence. which is why his story is particularly appropriate today.


Book of the Month:

The Price of Tomorrow: Why Deflation is the Key to an Abundant Future

-“Every company that was designed to have success in the twentieth century is designed to fail in the twenty- first century.” Salim Ismail, author of Exponential Organizations, said”

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