Tag Archives | IP

Spooner or Later

In the midst of beginning-of-term hecticity, I forgot to mention this while it was happening, but I recently participated in a Liberty Matters discussion with Randy Barnett, Matt Zwolinski, and Aeon Skoble on the legacy of Lysander Spooner; read it here.

See also my previous Liberty Matters discussions on Molinari and Spencer.

Kopieren Ist Kein Diebstahl


A solemn, slow march … introduces the assembly of the priests [in The Magic Flute] in the most appropriate manner. It is said that in answer to the accusation of a friend that he had stolen this march from Gluck’s “Alceste” (Act I., sc. 3), Mozart laughingly replied that that was impossible, as it still stood there.
(Otto Jahn, Life of Mozart, vol. 3, trans. Pauline D. Townsend (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., 1882), p. 323.)

CFP: Lockean Libertarianism

[cross-posted at BHL]

Billy Christmas (who was part of the same MANCEPT 2014 workshop as me (“The Current State of Libertarian Political Philosophy”) in September, and who also participated in the Molinari Society’s symposium on libertarianism and privilege with me this past December) writes to tell me that he is convening a workshop on “Lockean Libertarianism” at MANCEPT 2015 (Manchester UK, 1-3 September 2015). Check out the description below and consider submitting an abstract. I greatly enjoyed last year’s MANCEPT gig and can recommend its sequel.


Call for papers: MANCEPT workshop on Lockean Libertarianism

MANCEPT workshops, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK.
Tuesday 1st September – Thursday 3rd September 2015.


Lockean libertarianism is a family of theories of justice based upon property rights: those we have over ourselves and those we have over the external world. The connection between these two sets of rights is a contentious issue. The self-ownership principle holds that all individuals are, initially, the full moral owners of their own person, including their body, mind, and the product of their labour. The world-ownership principle specifies the rights we have to use and appropriate external resources, including natural resources (e.g. a plot of land, water, forests, deposits of fossil fuels) and products of human labour (e.g. a house, a pencil, a car). Locke himself claimed there is a proviso on the appropriation of external property that required one to leave ‘enough and as good in common for others’. Nozick favoured a weak interpretation of the proviso, while others reject it altogether (e.g. Rothbard, Hoppe), or believe the only proviso that is consistent with self-ownership is so minor that it has no effect of equality (e.g. the ‘Blockean proviso’). Others still think the proviso should be interpreted as in strong support of extensive redistribution of external resources to those who have less than an equal share (e.g. Steiner, Van Parijs, Otsuka, Vallentyne, Roark). Whereas some claim an unjust appropriation of previously unowned resources is an incoherent idea (e.g. Feser), or that resources do not exist independently of an act of discovery (e.g. Paul, Rassmussen & Den Uyl). Some from outside the Lockean tradition believe that the reconciliation of self-ownership with equality is incoherent (e.g. Risse, Cohen), while some within it would agree and oppose any form of egalitarianism (e.g. Rothbard and Hoppe), others reject the incoherence theses (e.g. Steiner and Otsuka), and others still believe equality should be reconceived as equality of authority, which stands in a natural equilibrium with respect for one’s self-ownership (e.g. Long). Lockean libertarianism then, is a very diverse set of political theories, with diverging socioeconomic implications. This workshop aims to provide a space to critically discuss Lockean libertarianism: what it is, and what its implications are. Whether the Lockean approach is taken to be problematic or promising, we invite papers that discuss self-ownership or world-ownership separately, as well as papers on the conceptual connection between self-ownership, world-ownership, and the proviso. We also encourage investigations into potential applications of these different forms of Lockean libertarianism. How should we conceive of, both philosophically and socioeconomically, things like public property and national borders? Can intellectual property be justified on a Lockean basis? Are children self-owners, or the fruits of their parents labour? How ought a Lockean respond to historical injustices such as land theft and slavery?

Please submit abstracts by email to Kasper Ossenblok (kasper.ossenblok@ugent.be) and/or Billy Christmas (billy.christmas@manchester.ac.uk).

Deadline for submissions: 1st June 2015. You will be notified of the success of your submission by 20th June. Please note that the deadline for registering for a graduate student bursary from MANCEPT in June 10th.


Of Making Many Books There Is No End

I’ve just created two Patreon pages.

One is a per-month pledge page for several libertarian book projects I’m working on; these include:


  • Austro-Athenian Foundations of Libertarian Ethics, the transcribed record of my 2006 philosophy seminar at the Mises Institute;
  • selections of material from my Free Nation Foundation / Libertarian Nation Foundation days;
  • collections of more recent online writings, from my blog and elsewhere;
  • a collection of translations of works on libertarian class theory by Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, Augustin Thierry, and Gustave de Molinari;
  • Frodo Shrugged, a book comparing and contrasting Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged;
  • a new interdisciplinary libertarian academic journal, the Molinari Review.

Details here.

The other is a per-post pledge page for my four science-fiction/fantasy blogs: on Star Trek, The Avengers (the UK one, not the Marvel one), Danger Man/The Prisoner, and the Oz books. These posts will also be collected as books. Details here.

Pledgers will have opportunities to get advance content, free signed books, and the chance to influence the order in which I tackle the various projects.

You can pledge as little as a dollar per month (for the books page) and/or a dollar per post (for the blogs page). Any help is appreciated; I have a lot of cool stuff I want to accomplish, but am in tight circumstances financially (and my home computer is on its last legs).

Boiling the Jaywalkers

So this guy made £35,000 selling forged celebrity autographs, and they caught him. Good. But they’ve also charged him with copyright violations, which is crap; and they’ve decided to lock him in a cage for 21 months, which is absurd. He should be forced to pay back the people he ripped off, to be sure; but he poses no serious danger to anybody. And even if I believed in retributive punishment, which I don’t, how could anyone think nearly two years’ imprisonment was a proportionate response to selling fake autographs?

Of course there is nothing unusual about this case.

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