Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

A Debate Over What Kinds of Rights Should Have Priority

with 2 comments

A truly inspired reframing of Rand-Paul-style libertarianism at The Edge of the American West:

Should your tax dollars be used to pay police to remove people from private businesses solely because the proprietor doesn’t like the color of their skin?

… this whole debate is not one between those who would prefer a society free of state interference versus those who think that some state interference is warranted, but a debate over what kinds of rights should have priority.

The libertarian answer in this instance is that property rights trump civil rights, and that the state should prioritize enforcing those.

2 Responses

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  1. Robert Hale and the legal realists were on this about 90 years ago. There used to be a free version of this article online somewhere, but I suspect you have JSTOR access: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2142367

    Shankar D

    May 25, 2010 at 1:18 am

  2. Here’s a relevant excerpt:

    “In protecting property the government is doing something quite apart from merely keeping the peace. It is exerting coercion wherever that is necessary to protect each owner, not merely from violence, but also from peaceful infringement of his sole right to enjoy the thing owned.”

    Shankar D

    May 25, 2010 at 1:28 am


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