What gives ownership of property its legitimacy? Only the fabricated architecture of the rule of law as created from whole cloth by human beings, usually to facilitate material security in isolation from society…and of course to facilitate trade. But extending personal sovereignty over one’s own mind and body into property — as in the longstanding tradition of Locke’s theory of labor appropriation — is a convenient, self-justifying fiction that borders on ridiculous. It’s little different than a dog believing it “owns” a patch of grass that it has peed upon, or a bird “owning” a tree where it has built its nest, or a hunter “owning” a wild animal they caught in a snare…these are all just variations of a King of the Mountain children’s game. There is no “natural law” that extends “mind and body” into property of any kind…only made-up belief constructed to justify appropriation, defense of property, and commerce.
As I discuss at length in these essays: Integral Liberty and Property As Violence,
property ownership is actually a non-rational impulse that interferes mightily with liberty, is predicated on ego-centrism and atomistic individualism, and is incompatible with the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). It is, essentially, a very immature and irrational way of interacting with our environment (unless you are a dog, a bird, a bear, etc.) that ends up reflexively depriving everyone else of their liberties. In this sense, ownership is primarily an antisocial behavior, regularly violating the non-aggression principle. Someday — hopefully in the not-too-distant future for humanity’s sake — we will begin to shift back into the more sane, rational and prosocial mode of possessing things temporarily for their utility, enjoyment or resource contribution, but without the childish need to “own” them during this temporary possession. We’re getting there…slowly…with concepts like Open Source. But we have a long way to go.
My 2 cents.
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