So as the Occupy movement switches tactics to occupy foreclosed homes, I pose the following questions for my colleagues here at BHL and the commentariat:
1. Given that many of those homes are the property of the very same banks who were bailed out with their/our tax dollars, is there any reason to object to Occupiers simply reclaiming property that we could argue, with some strong moral force, actually belongs to “them/us” anyway?
2. And given the questionable legality of the foreclosure tactics banks have used, isn’t there a legitimate question of whether those homes really belong to the banks?
In answering, one might think about Rothbardian and Nozickean theories of just transfer, Hernando de Soto’s work, and the Ragnar character from Atlas Shrugged. The tensions between deontological and consequentialist approaches are very fascinating here too.
I posed this on Facebook recently and a long and interesting discussion ensued and I was curious what the BHL crowd would say.
Finally, I don’t have a clear answer to either question myself, but I don’t think it’s clear and obvious that these attempts to occupy foreclosed houses are wrong on libertarian grounds.