Divided they fall

October 21st, 2013   Submitted by Topher Wulf


The libertarian solution to the monopoly on violence is decentralization. A libertarian seeks to separate the powers of government into smaller pieces. How far one carries this fragmentation of power differs from one person to the next. The difference in individual ideas validate the view of the anarchists that power needs to be broken down to the singular person. From the federal to the states, the states into counties, the counties into households, and the households down to the individual, power is to be dissolved until one may rule over only one’s own property. Anyone who does not wish to restrain their power to themselves wishes to have power over another. Decentralized power is a weakened power.

Think of power as a stone. A 5 pound stone dropped on the hood of a car will do some noticeable damage. That same 5 pound stone, granulated into 5 pounds of sand, when poured onto the hood of that car, might scratch the paint. It is of almost no concern.

The same strategy liberty-lovers call for to weaken the grasp of the state, government uses to weaken those they wish to control. A decentralized concept of the right to property clouds the individual’s view of who and what is aggressing upon him, and from where. The equal rights advocate works to silence the bigot, and once successful has silenced everyone. The typical “gun rights” supporter rails against the legalization of drugs. The typical drug decriminalization advocate, is all for the regulation, and maybe even prohibition of private firearms.

What the “gun guy” doesn’t understand is that the forces charged with rounding up all the drugs and the drug users will be the same forces that round up all the guns and gun owners. These forces are all well trained and funded thanks to the war on drugs. What the “pot smoker” doesn’t understand is that greater restrictions of private arms reduces the individuals ability to defend himself, and leaves the state in the position to enforce any whim with its guns. The same paramilitary forces will be coming through their door for one thing or another.

The attributes of your right to property that you hold dear, you fiercely protect. Those attributes that seem less important you might leave within the reach of tyrants, and like pulling on a leg, the body will follow. You cannot remove a part without sacrificing the whole. No one person truly has a right to property in the presence of a state. If what is supposed to be your property can be taken from you, if its legal transference from you to the state can be initiated by the state, you are not the real owner. If you can be conscripted, you are not the real owner of your body. Whether it’s your life, free speech, firearms, drugs, raw milk or a business, it is all the property of an individual.

Where there are taxes, no individual can truly own property. Not only are taxes theft from individuals buying and selling goods, services and labor, worse still, the funds are used to feed the imaginary thing called “the public”. Could public property really exist? Ostensibly, you are co-owner of the property called public, be it a public library, park, or the very roads you drive on. Yet everyday individuals must ask permission to use the property they co-own. They must pay for its use. They can be kicked off of it, and charged with trespassing on it. Public property does not exist.

The public itself does not exist. The public, when looked at in its effect, can be defined as everyone except you. And everyone can define it correctly the same way. Meaning that no one is the public.

Over centuries, there has been a line of debate that argues Christianity as a polytheistic religion. “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost” are divided up into three distinctly separate personas. The Holy Trinity is best illustrated as H20. In its various forms, it can be ice, water, or steam. It is still H20, no matter how it is presented. The Trinity is not many, it is one. You cannot attack one aspect without attacking the whole.

Your rights as an individual is the same. It is The Holy Trinity of your right to be. That is “Life, Liberty and Property”. The forms your right may take might vary, but never ceases being your one true right: the Property Right. There is no other right, only aspects and variations in how the Property Right manifests.

Life. ~ It is given to you, much like an inheritance or a gift. It is yours without equivocation. None have any claim to come and take it by force.

Liberty. ~ It is what you do; it is how you spend your life. None have any claim to direct you in the manner in which you live.

Property. ~ Like “The Son”, property is the physical, the tangible product of the trinity. It is what you have legitimately acquired during the exercise of liberty and life.

The four essential components of property right can be described as:
The legitimate right to use the property.
The legitimate right to earn income from the property.
The legitimate right to transfer the property.
The legitimate right to the enforcement of property right.

Individuals have the right to own their body and mind. The products of your bodies’ labor, and your minds’ thoughts are extensions of you. Your right is not plural. They are not many, and the enumeration describing aspects of your right is no more than a division to weaken you, the individual, and separate you from your property right.

The bill of rights is a fraud. Government leads you to believe you have property rights. That your right to property is divisible and contingent on the type of property, the circumstances under which they may be owned, what arbitrary jurisdictional boundaries you’re surrounded by, and whether you have paid the proper fees for permits and licenses. Imagine how hard an average person would resist losing their one and only Property Right. The belief in enumerated rights, in limiting rights concerning an individual, was and is a key to control by those who would claim to grant those rights. The founding lawyers knew this. Your Right divided will fall.

This redux version of Pastor Niemöller’s poem, shows how fragmentation of people or property right can eventually lead to tyranny:

First they came for the intoxicants, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a user.
Then they came for the guns, and I did not speak out– 
Because I was not a gun owner.
Then they came for the business’, and I did not speak out– 
Because I was not a business owner.
Then they came for certain religious groups, and I did not speak out—Because I was not among them.
Then they came for those who would move from one place to another, and I did not speak out—Because I did not travel.
Then they came for my neighbor’s house, and I did not speak out—Because I paid taxes.
Then they came for certain subjects of speech, and I did not speak out—Because I had nothing to say.
Then they came for me, and there was nothing left of me.

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16 Responses to “Divided they fall”

  1. BrodieNo Gravatar says:

    I could care less about decentralization. All I want is a fair trial. If I could get a fair trial, I could stop paying taxes. The current system is a system where the opposing attorney and the judge both represent the government, making the government both the opposing and judging parties. Give me a trial where the judge is a non-government judge, and I will win an accusation against me by the government that I owe taxes.

  2. KellyNo Gravatar says:

    One singular right. Even folks within the liberty movement could stand to reconsider their position on property right… I try to guide conversations toward this concept of a singular right just to plant the seed and get the conversation going.

  3. SnowDogNo Gravatar says:

    Kelly, what is the ‘one singular right’?

  4. topherNo Gravatar says:

    The one singular right is property right. Every other so called right either is a broken off piece of property right, or a direct negation of it, such as the “right to vote”, which claims the right to control the property of others.

  5. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    The fundamental (first) right is human (sentient)life. Some would argue that right should be extended to some or all animals. But everyone agrees that we have a right to life. What does that imply? What good would a right to life be without the right to do what is necessary to sustain life? None. Life requires action. Action requires freedom of movement, i.e., liberty. Since the mind/body can be expressed in external physical objects, ownership of self would be extended by property. It follows, those who attack property rights, attack liberty, and right to life.

    The right of action may be delegated. That does not forfeit the right. If I give up my power by delegation it may mean I lose the ability to act, but not the right to act. Some would say they are the same. I disagree. Rights are not lost by temporarily waiving them. They cannot be lost by contract or sale. They are inherent.

    Your ability to kill me does not prove I have no right to life. Otherwise, a right would have no meaning. My right to property is not contingent on my ability to defend my property. I should be allowed to own, does not mean I will be allowed to own. Rights are no guarantee of outcome. Rights are a statement of what should be, not what will be.

    • Brian DrakeNo Gravatar says:

      I would strongly suggest that with your personal definitions, you abandon “liberty is the freedom of movement”. That’s a sloppy and dangerous way of defining the term because freedom of movement is NOT something that can be advocated without severe caveat.

      The existence of the property of others can/will justly restrict my freedom of movement. For example, I cannot justly move my fist into your nose without your consent. The existence of your house means I cannot freely move into it without your consent. If you say no and shut the door, my freedom of movement has been restricted. Is this unjust?

      If you use the word “liberty” to refer to freedom of movement, you must then declare that liberty can be justly limited by others. You’ve now opened a wide door for all sorts of violations to be argued for because now it’s just a matter of opinion as to what those limits are.

      I would propose the more coherent and reliable definition of liberty: self-ownership.

      Defining liberty this way does not mean delving into the argument of whether the “self” is metaphysical or not. It’s simply a recognition that your BODY is a resource that can be the subject of conflict (e.g., I want to sell your kidney on the black market, you want to keep it) and that YOU (whether you are that body, or something that inhabits that body is irrelevant) are the person with the justly established right to decide in those conflicts (i.e., you are the owner).

      To conceptually help this definition make sense, consider the antithesis of liberty: slavery. Slavery is when a person is owned by another person. Liberty is when no one else has a claim of ownership over you.

      With this definition (liberty = self-ownership), you don’t need to concede to any just limitations, because there aren’t any. The liberty of one person does not conflict with the liberty of another.

      It is for this reason that the term “libertarian” is used, not “freedomarian”. Freedom is not a coherent thing to argue for (at least without redefining it and thus confusing the issue) since it is quite regularly justly restricted. But liberty can be advocated without caveat since it’s literally about recognizing the just borders (aka property) of where freedom may be limited by the requirement of obtaining consent.

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      You got it right when you said that rights have no meaning. Or rather they have no physical meaning. Those who do not recognize the existence of “rights” can act freely to further their position irrelevant of anyone’s rights. The concept of rights is useful as social grease to allow people to get along, but one does well to keep in mind that the concept is imaginary and does not bind anyone’s actions.

  6. AgoristTeen1994No Gravatar says:

    Excellent article Mr. Wulf.

  7. kunkmiesterNo Gravatar says:

    On a similar discussion, I had the following linked in consideration of whether or not we have rights, or at least whether or not to actually call even the most basic rights “rights.”

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      I really like that article.

      I want everyone in the world to believe I have a right to life, and all that follows. But it’s a very thin layer of protection and I’m not banking on it, hence, my eagerness to take responsibility to protect my own life.

  8. Brian DrakeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t agree with the right to life. Having a right TO something implies an entitlement which can quickly be twisted into an obligation of others to provide. Nobody is entitled to live nor is anyone obligated to sustain the life of another (without voluntarily taking on such an obligation, such as birthing a child).

    I really don’t understand why people balk at the idea of simplifying all “rights” to simply respecting the consent of the owner (aka property rights). Rothbard was right: all human rights are indeed property rights. ALL human disputes are ultimately in regards to who is the person to give or deny consent with regards to a rivalrous resource. I.e., they’re disputes over who is the OWNER of what is contested.

    Whether that dispute be over who gets to drive a certain car, who gets to build on a piece of land, or who gets to give or deny consent for a bullet being shot into a brain, these disputes are about ownership (aka property rights) and a consistent RECOGNITION of this (since I am convinced it is not an arbitrary distinction, but rather an accurate understanding of the fundamental nature of human conflict) makes distinguishing justice and injustice much more possible providing no wiggle room for those who want to redefine justice to include predation on others (like “social justice” for example).

  9. Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

    I disagree that the U.S. has recently abandoned the rule of law. The law has always been a powerful tool for rulers. It serves them well by defrauding the public into believing that the law provides protection. The opposite is true. The SCOTUS has consistently used its decisions to deny protection. The problem with relying on the govt. to decide the law is conflict of interest. In cases where the authority of the govt. is challenged, i.e., where government limits are prescribed by law, the govt. decides if it is exceeding its authority, or violating the spirit of the law, or violating rights. Since the adoption of the supreme law of the land (the Constitution) govt. has steadily given itself more power at the expense of the individual. The idea that a govt. can limit itself is absurd, as history has proven.

    What appears as recent (since 911?) govt. lawlessness is merely a bold encroachment on rights that exposes the agenda of govt. since its inception.

  10. TopherNo Gravatar says:

    RE: Brian Drake. The main thrust of my argument IS that that there is only one right. Property Right. All else merely stems from this root, thus eliminating the pluralism of “rights” The right to life is born of this root, as your life, mind and body, are your property. Albeit property that was given to you. Its no different than a birthday gift that once given to you, is yours to do with as you will. This does not mean one can claim the obligation of anothers support or subsidy, but the recognition that another may not take it without consent.

    • Fritz KneseNo Gravatar says:

      OK, but the assumption that any right exists is just that, an assumption without proof. If one looks at rights as a convenient fiction that allows us as people to get along better but is not real in the sense that the laws of physics are real then one can have a rational discussion about what rights I will respect. This leads to the idea that all ethics are situational instead of the basic libertarian idea of natural moral law being absolute. I have been amazed at the hostility that libertarians show when I state that the non-aggression principle is self destructive for it places one at a total disadvantage to those who ignore it. When one gets away from the idea that rights or morality are absolutes and accepts that they are functions of the society one is in you are in a better position to think rationally about your situation and make decisions based on that rationality rather than wishful thinking.

    • SHIVANK MEHRANo Gravatar says:

      I have come up with a definition of anarcho-capitalism, tell me how you find it:

      —Three fundamentals of anarcho-capitalsim—
      A.) Ownership: Whatever I own, I may put it to whatever use I want as long as I do not violate another’s liberty to do the same.
      B.) Self-ownership: I own my body.
      C.) Legitimate acquisition of property entails:
      1.) either being given voluntarily (without the use of force or deceit)
      2.) or claiming something thus far unclaimed
      3.) you take sole responsibility of its protection
      This means that if I discover a new island, I cannot claim it to my property unless I have the power/money to guard the entire island. It would be meaningless. In an anarcho-capitalist society, I believe, I’ll have to register my property under a protection company. If I don’t have the means to protect it myself, or enough money to pay for its protection (a concept I like to call ‘buying from nature’), then I cannot claim it as my own. I can, if it is in my capacity to do so, mark a small territory on the island, guard it from intruders, and build whatever I want on it.