Speaking of property, my latest at Libertarianism.org is up, looking at the relationship between freedom and property. The controversial part of my thesis, at least for libertarians I guess, is that property rights necessarily restrict freedom. I think they enhance it in various ways too, but it’s important for libertarians to squarely face the costs. Along the way, I approvingly cite a well known Marxist academic. And I include this quote from … want to guess without Google?
[I]f one portion of the earth’s surface may justly become the possession of an individual, and may be held by him for his sole use and benefit, as a thing to which he has an exclusive right, then other portions of the earth’s surface may be so held; and eventually the whole of the earth’s surface may be so held; and our planet may thus lapse altogether into private hands. Observe now the dilemma to which this leads. Supposing the entire habitable globe to be so enclosed, it follows that if the landowners have a valid right to its surface, all who are not landowners, have no right at all to its surface. Hence, such can exist on the earth by sufferance only. They are all trespassers. Save by the permission of the lords of the soil, they can have no room for the soles of their feet. Nay, should the others think fit to deny them a resting-place, these landless men might equitably be expelled from the earth altogether.
David Friedman quickly followed up on my piece with a short critique. My rejoinder went up today. Knowing David, I don’t expect the conversation is anywhere close to being over.