TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Basic Criteria
- A Fundamental Observation
- DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES OF OWNERSHIP
- The “Self” Cannot Be Owned
- No One Owns The “Self”
- Class A Only Has Partial Ownership Over The “Selves” Of Class B
- Everyone Has Partial Ownership Over Everyone Else’s “Self”
- The “Self” Is Owned By A God Or Multiple Gods
- The “Self” Is Owned By Another “Self”
- The “Self” Is Self-Owned
- IMPLICATIONS OF SELF-OWNERSHIP
- The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)
- Private Property (PP)
- Negative Rights (NRs)
- Positive Rights (PRs)
- HOW PEOPLE COME TO OWN THEMSELVES
- First Use
- Establishing An “Objective Link” To Self-Ownership
- OTHER SELF-OWNERS
- Mentally Disabled Individuals
- Non-Rational Animals
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- RESPECTING SELF-OWNERSHIP
- Argumentation Ethics
- The Estoppel Principle
- SOURCES & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Rational and non-rational agents are self-owners. This is the case because self-ownership is the only possibility of ownership that is not only universal, comprehensive, and consistent but also grounded in empirical reality. These agents come to own themselves as private property (PP) due to the fact that they have a stronger “objective link” to their own body than others do (this is also the case with other self-owners). It follows from self-ownership that no self-owner can aggress against another self-owner without their consent. This implication is otherwise known as the “non-aggression principle” (NAP). It likewise follows from self-ownership that self-owners are subject to the negative and positive consequences of their actions as well. Also, there are several justifications for respecting self-ownership, including deontology, self-interest, utilitarianism, argumentation ethics, the estoppel principle, and theology.
When developing a legal theory, it should first start with observations of the real world (or at least what appears to be the real world). The reason for this is relatively straightforward: if one fails to start with observations of the real world (if they fail to base their theory in reality), then the theory that they come up with will not, or at the very least may not, actually apply to the world in which they exist.
Moreover, in order for a legal theory to be useful in the real world, it must, by definition, be universal, comprehensive, and logically consistent in addition to being grounded in empirical reality. This means that the theory must apply to the entire “class” being discussed and must also apply in all possible situations. In other words, it must be made up of “rules [that] are independent of personal or cultural views.”
A Fundamental Observation
Upon looking at reality, one of the most fundamental empirical observations that can be made is that there exists a multitude of individual beings (“selves”). These individual beings can be divided into two categories: (1) individual beings that become “rational agents” at some point during their maturation process and (2) individual beings that do not become “rational agents” at some point during their maturation process.
Becoming a “rational agent,” as explained by philosopher Hans Hermann Hoppe, means an individual being becomes “capable of communicating, discussing, arguing, and in particular, able to engage in an argumentation of normative problems.”
These rational and non-rational agents, to be clear, are not separate from the rest of the world, but apart of it. By being apart of this world and not separate from it, these rational and non-rational agents, like everything else in the world, are therefore just a specific type of property.
It should also be noted that if an individual being has the potential to become a rational agent at some point during their maturation process, then any of the implications for individuals who’ve already become rational agents would also necessarily apply, from the moment of conception, to all individuals who have not yet become rational agents. This is because what’s true of some rational agents is true of all other rational agents, even if they have not yet become rational.
DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES OF OWNERSHIP
If there exists rational and non-rational agents in the world that are also considered to be a specific type of property, then a couple of relevant questions arise. One question has to do with whether or not the property is owned (ex. Is the rational agent, or “self,” owned?). A second question has to do with who the rightful owner is in the event that the property is, in fact, owned (ex. If the rational agent, or “self,” can be owned, then who owns it?).
In order to understand this, a variety of possibilities need to be explored. It should be noted that in exploring the various possibilities of ownership with regards to rational agents (i.e. people), the possibilities of ownership with regards to non-rational agents will likewise become clear.
Now, when it comes to rational agents, there are 7 different possibilities of ownership that must be analyzed: (1) The “self” cannot be owned, (2) No one owns the “self,” (3) Class A only has partial ownership over Class B, (4) Everyone has partial ownership over everyone else’s “self,” (5) The “self” is owned by a god or multiple gods, (6) The “self” is owned by another “self,” and (7) The “self” is self-owned.
1. The “Self” Cannot Be Owned
The first possibility of ownership is that the “self” cannot be owned. In other words, it’s not possible for the “self” to be owned. This possibility, while technically universal, comprehensive, and consistent, is not grounded in empirical reality. To clarify, if the “self” cannot be owned, then that means that no one would be able to control it (i.e. exclude others from it).
This, however, is completely absurd due to the fact that if such a possibility were true, it would have already led to the eradication of rational agents since not owning the “self” would mean that no one could feed the “self” or act in any way to keep the “self” alive.
So, since it can be observed that rational agents do things like eat and drink and since there does seem to be varying degrees in which the “self” is excluded from others, it’s clear that this first possibility is not accurate.
To put it another way, it’s clear that there is some form of ownership over the “self” (there are still a variety of possibilities regarding who the owner actually is, though).
2. No One Owns The “Self”
The second possibility of ownership is that no one owns the “self.” In other words, while it may be possible for the “self” to be owned, no one actually owns it. This possibility is similar to the possibility that the “self” cannot be owned.
Specifically, while it is technically universal, comprehensive, and consistent, it is not actually grounded in empirical reality. To clarify, if no one owns the “self,” then that means that no one would be able to control it (i.e. exclude others from it).
This, however, is just as absurd as the possibility that the “self” cannot be owned due to the fact that if such a possibility were true, then it, too, would have also led to the eradication of rational agents for similar reasons.
So, much like with the possibility that the “self” cannot be owned, this does not appear to be entirely accurate due to the fact that rational agents can be observed doing things like eating and drinking, and such an observation means that there is at least some form of ownership over the “self.”
3. Class A Only Has Partial Ownership Over The “Selves” Of Class B
The third possibility of ownership is that “Class A” only has partial ownership over the “selves” of “Class B.” In other words, the “self” of someone in Class B is partially owned by a rational agent in Class A. This would basically mean that Class B would not be able to act unless they had the consent of Class A.
This possibility, however, is neither universal, comprehensive, nor consistent, because it doesn’t apply the same standards to two different groups in the same “meta-class” of rational agents.
It is also not grounded in empirical reality. Specifically, it can be observed that rational agents have the ability to regularly do things like eating and drinking without first consulting with others from a separate class. Since this can be observed, it’s clear that there is not any collective ownership of this type with regards to the “self.”
Further, this possibility of collective ownership is actually impossible because in order for something to be owned, then that means it can be controlled. But rational agents have different ideas and different desires, so unless all rational agents (or a majority) agree with all other rational agents (or a majority) all the time, which is not really possible, then it is, by definition, also not possible for everyone to be owned by everyone else.
Moreover, this possibility of ownership is also impossible because doing so is actually founded upon another type of ownership (self-ownership). Basically, in order to justify having partial ownership over the “selves” of Class B, Class A relies on self-ownership. However, if self-ownership can then be established for Class A, then it can also be established for Class B. Therefore, the possibility that Class A only has partial ownership over the “selves” of Class B is self-refuting.
4. Everyone Has Partial Ownership Over Everyone Else’s “Self”
The fourth possibility of ownership is that everyone has partial ownership in everyone else’s “self.” In other words, if there are 7 billion rational agents, then each rational agent owns 1/7 billionth of every other rational agent. This would basically mean that everyone would have to be constantly getting consent from everyone else prior to doing anything.
Although this possibility may also be universal, comprehensive, and consistent, it, too, is not grounded in empirical reality.
To clarify, it can be observed, much like with the possibility of Class A having partial ownership over Class B, that rational agents have the ability to regularly do things like eating and drinking without first consulting with and getting consent from everyone else (or at least consulting with and getting consent from the majority of everyone else. Since this can be observed, it’s clear that there is also not any collective ownership of this type with regards to the “self.”
Further, this possibility of collective ownership, like the possibility of Class A having partial ownership over Class B, is also impossible for similar reasons. Specifically, as noted before, in order for something to be owned, then that means it can be controlled. But since rational agents have different ideas and different desires, unless all rational agents (or a majority) agree with all other rational agents (or a majority) all the time, then by definition, it is not possible for everyone to be owned by everyone else.
5. The “Self” Is Owned By A God Or Multiple Gods
The fifth possibility of ownership can be split into two categories: the “self” is owned by a god and the “self” is owned by multiple gods. In both cases, this would mean rational agents are either (a) controlled by a god (or multiple gods) in a deterministic way or (b) ultimately under the control of a god (or multiple gods) but maintain their free will.
Although this possibility may be universal, comprehensive, and consistent, it’s far from clear that it’s grounded in empirical reality (the existence of a god or gods has yet to be demonstrated and verified in an empirical fashion).
But even if it were grounded in empirical reality, a concept of ownership beyond a god or gods would still be necessary because with the “self” being owned by a god (or multiple gods), it’s still unclear what that means for individual rational agents. If either (a) or (b) is true, for instance, then rational agents would still be bound by “certain constraints,” and in determining what those constraints are, the individual is right back where they started.
To clarify, if the constraints on the actions of rational agents are, according to the Abrahamic God, essentially the 10 Commandments, then an obvious question that follows is “why?” The answer to this question, though, would seem to then be based on some subset of ownership that goes beyond the metaphysical ownership of the Abrahamic God.
6. The “Self” Is Owned By Another “Self”
The sixth possibility of ownership is that the “self” is owned by another “self.” In other words, every rational agent is owned by another rational agent. Much like with the possibility of Class A having partial ownership over Class B, this possibility is neither universal, comprehensive, nor consistent since due to the fact that it doesn’t apply the same standard to different groups in the same “meta-class” of rational agents.
Further, this possibility of ownership is also impossible because, as discussed before, in order for something to be owned, it must be controlled. So, without some sort of sci-fi tech, there is no way for someone to actually control the “self” of another. One could certainly use coercion, but it would still be the “self” of the individual being coerced that’s ultimately in control of the actions of the individual.
Suppose, though, that such sci-fi technology is eventually created. Even in this case, it would still be impossible for the “self” of Person A to own the “self” of Person B because doing so, as mentioned earlier, is actually founded upon another type of ownership (self-ownership). Specifically, owning Person B relies on Person A having self-ownership in order to justify the claim to ownership. However, if self-ownership can be established with Person A, then it can then also be established with Person B. Therefore, the possibility that the “self” is owned by another “self” is self-refuting.
7. The “Self” Is Self-Owned
Finally, the seventh possibility of ownership is “self-ownership.” In other words, the individual rational agent owns themselves. Basically, being a self-owner means that a rational agent has “use rights” over themselves as well as the power to delegate those “use rights” to others. To put it yet another way, the body is essentially owned by the “self” residing inside (the body is owned by the conscious/rational “self” that emerges from the body’s own biological functions).
Unlike every other possibility, this possibility is not only universal, comprehensive, and consistent, but it’s also grounded in empirical reality.
First, self-ownership is universal because it necessarily applies to the entire “class” of rational agents (if self-ownership can be applied to one rational agent, then the same reasoning can also be used to apply self-ownership to all rational agents).
Second, self-ownership is comprehensive and consistent because it can also be applied in any and all possible situations without leading to logical contradictions.
And third, self-ownership is grounded in empirical reality because rational agents controlling themselves is something that can be regularly observed. Specifically, it is the “self” of the rational agent and no other “self” that has the final say in choosing what their body does. Self-ownership is also grounded in empirical reality because from the beginning of one’s existence, it can be observed that they are in constant and indefeasible possession of themselves even if their level of maturity prevents them from exercising their control to the fullest degree.
In other words, the possession of oneself is essentially inalienable. This basically means that the possession a “self” has over their body cannot be taken or even traded. To quote philosopher Robert Nozick, “individuals are inviolable.”
Of course, an exception to this would be a situation involving some kind of sci-fi technology. But if some such sci-fi tech does come to exist, self-ownership would still apply. It would just mean that it would then be possible for a “self” to give full ownership of their “self” to another “self” (as long as it was done so as part of a voluntary agreement).
Therefore, after having reviewed the various possibilities of ownership, it must be concluded that rational agents are self-owners. It must then also be concluded that non-rational agents are also technically self-owners (the implications of this are different, though, since the agents are non-rational).
IMPLICATIONS OF SELF-OWNERSHIP
Now that it has been established that rational agents are self-owners, what, then, are the implications of self-ownership?
Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)
Well, as noted earlier, if self-ownership can be applied to one rational agent, then the same reasoning can also be used to apply self-ownership to all rational agents. Therefore, the most fundamental implication of self-ownership, as noted by philosopher Murray Rothbard, is that since “every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body,” it follows that “no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another’s person.” Aggression, as explained by Rothbard, is essentially the “initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else.” This most fundamental implication of self-ownership is otherwise known as the “non-aggression principle” (NAP).
To clarify, self-ownership (and the NAP that follows from it) not only means that all rational agents cannot invade or aggress against Rational Agent A without consent (since he’s a self-owner), but also that Rational Agent A cannot invade or aggress against all other rational agents without consent (since they are all also self-owners).
In other words, namely the words of philosopher and Austrian economist Walter Block, “it is illicit to initiate or threaten invasive violence against a man or his legitimately owned property.”
Another implication of self-ownership (and the NAP that follows from it) is self-defense. Basically, this means that as self-owners, rational agents can use any means necessary, up to and including the use of deadly force, to defend themselves from aggression (as noted earlier, aggression includes both the initiation of force/violence as well as the threat of the initiation of force/violence).
This implication of self-ownership has been described in detail by philosopher John Stuart Mill:
“The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection [and] the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
While not initiating violence against another person clearly follows from self-ownership, why it would also be a violation of self-ownership to threaten others may not be as clear. In order to understand why the implications of the NAP as it applies to (1) speaking on one’s own property and (2) speaking on the property of others need to be explored.
1. When it comes to speaking on one’s own property, there can either be no one else on the property or others on the property.
With regards to speaking on one’s own property while no one else is also on the property, an individual can basically say anything they desire (in this case, their free speech would be absolute).
With regards to speaking on one’s own property while others are also on the property, the only limit on speech is when their speech puts another individual in a situation where their self-ownership will necessarily be imminently violated (without imminence, it’s no longer the case that an individual’s self-ownership will necessarily be violated since the future is uncertain).
The reason for this limitation is that such speech puts an individual in a situation in which all available options lead to the inevitable violation of their self-ownership in the immediate future (i.e. imminent threats). This kind of situation, though, is not really any different than an actual violation of self-ownership because the consequences are essentially the same. This means that whatever applies to initiating violence would also apply to threatening to initiate imminent violence (the same can be said for any other imminent threat to violate one’s self-ownership).
An example of this would be if Rational Agent A threatens Rational Agent B with extortion — they say while standing in front of them armed with a firearm, “give me your money or I will shoot you to death.” While Rational Agent A may not have actually violated the self-ownership of Rational Agent B in saying that, Rational Agent A only gave Rational Agent B two options, both of which involve the violation of self-ownership in the immediate future.
To be clear, though, if not all available options in an imminent threat necessarily violate the self-ownership, then such threats can be freely made. An example of this would be if Rational Agent A threatens to publish information that Person B does not want them to publish unless Person B gives them money. In this situation, Person A would be free to make such threats for two reasons. First, they would be free to make such threats because one of the options available to Person B is to simply do nothing/continue on as usual (and that’s not a violation of self-ownership). Second, they would be free to make such threats because the self-ownership of others is not violated when someone else publishes information. This applies for publishing information that is true as well as for publishing information that is false. Of course, an exception to this could be made if the information being published was acquired through a contract that had specific terms on publishing the information or prohibited its publicization completely.
It should also be noted that when an individual is on their own property, they are also free to impose limitations on speech as they see fit. Basically, since it’s their property, they get to make the rules. A theater owner, for example, would likely have rules against disrupting viewers (there may also be an implicit contract having to do with the viewers not being disturbed unnecessarily while watching a movie).
2. When it comes to speaking on the property of others, there can also either be no one else on the property or others on the property. In both situations, though, an individual’s speech can be limited as much as possible. This is due to the fact that, as noted earlier, when an individual is on their own property, they are also free to impose limitations on speech as they see fit. In other words, when an individual is on the property of others, their limits on speech would be up to the owner.
So, to summarize the NAP: people should be completely free to do what they desire as long as it doesn’t violate the self-ownership of others.
In other words, “your ‘right’ to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”
Private Property (PP)
Now, as mentioned earlier, if everyone owns themselves, then forcing someone to do something against their will would violate their self-ownership, which, to reiterate, is really just a right to a type of property right. To put it another way, the most fundamental property right is self-ownership. And since the property that is the “self” is privately owned by the individual self-owner, it could also technically be considered to be a fundamental type of “private property” (PP). Therefore, self-ownership can be thought of as a private property right — if not these most fundamental private property right.
If individual rational agents own their body as a type of PP, then it follows that they are also responsible for their actions. Specifically, this means that they own (or are subject to) the (1) negative and (2) positive consequences of their actions.
1. With regards to negative consequences, this basically means that they alone are responsible (to blame) for anything negative that befalls upon them as a result of their action. An example of this would be: If an individual rational agent violates the self-ownership of another rational agent, then they alone are to blame (similarly, if an individual’s own actions result in them becoming impoverished, unhealthy, etc., then they alone are to blame). Moreover, if Rational Agent A murders Rational Agent B, then they are ultimately responsible (to blame) for their actions (even if someone else told them to kill Rational Agent B — unless extortion is involved for reasons mentioned earlier). It also follows from this that no one can ultimately be responsible (to blame) for the actions of others (even if they order or direct their actions — unless, of course, extortion is involved).
2. With regards to positive consequences, this basically means that they alone are responsible for anything positive that befalls upon them as a result of their action. In other words, they own their labor and the results/products of their labor (the results/products of their labor become their PP). To put it another way, when an individual mixes their labor with property that no one else has already mixed their labor with, they come to own the results/product (this act of original appropriation, according to philosopher John Locke, is also known as “homesteading”). An example of this would be: if an individual plants an apple tree on unowned land, then they own the tree, its products, and the underlying land on which the tree is planted.
Private ownership over property, however, only applies to certain types of property. Specifically, private ownership only applies to property that is both “scarce” and “rivalrous.” Property is scarce if there is not enough for everyone and it is rivalrous if one person’s use excludes others from using it.
If property is not scarce and rivalrous then private ownership is unnecessary because that would mean that there’s enough for everyone (in addition to there being enough for everyone in the future) and one person’s use wouldn’t exclude others from using it. Therefore, it follows from this that private ownership would not apply to intellectual property.
It should be noted that the title to a piece of property (ownership) that is already owned by someone else can also be acquired through the use of voluntary contracts. Specifically, in addition to homesteading, a rational agent can come to own property by entering into a written or spoken agreement (a contract) with another rational agent in which they come to a “meeting of the minds.” This means that an offer to exchange the property (buy/sell) under certain conditions was made by one party and subsequently accepted without variation by another party.
In addition to acquiring property that is already owned by someone else using a voluntary contract (trade), an individual can also acquire property as a gift (conditional or unconditional) from another individual.
On top of that, an individual can also acquire property that is already owned by someone else as the result of repayment for a prior violation of self-ownership. For example, if Rational Agent A violates the self-ownership of Rational Agent B, then Rational Agent A forfeits an amount of their property equal to the damages caused to Rational Agent B plus the costs incurred in restoring justice. If a piece of PP was also taken from Rational Agent B in the process, then that would be returned to them as well.
Further, if an individual abandons (renounces ownership) of a piece of property, then someone else can come in and acquire it through the act of homesteading.
Moreover, self-ownership also has some serious economic implications. To clarify, it follows from self-ownership that rational agents (i.e. people) should be completely free to trade with any other willing trade partner. This is because any restrictions on the economic activity of rational agents would necessarily be a violation of self-ownership.
An example of such a violation of self-ownership would be a situation where X has aggressed upon Y (or threatens to aggress upon Y) in a way that Y has not implicitly or explicitly consented to. (Person A strikes Person B without Person B’s implicit or explicit consent).
Finally, self-ownership also has some serious foreign policy implications. Basically, it follows from self-ownership that rational agents in one part of the world should be completely free from the coercion of rational agents in another part of the world.
Another way of describing self-ownership and the implications that follow (NAP and PP) is as follows: (1) Universal “negative rights” (NRs) exist since self-ownership excludes others from making decisions about that individual or what that individual does (self-ownership means everyone else except for oneself is excluded from deciding whether or not to purposely do something) and (2) Universal “positive rights” (PRs) do not exist because they would force someone to do something regardless of whether or not they want to (and that would violate self-ownership).
1. Negative Rights (NRs)
NRs are rights that require negative actions (they require rational agents to abstain from doing something). These NRs, according to Nozick, can also be thought of as “side constraints.” An example of an NR would be: People are required to not end other people’s lives (this, however, can be overcome with consent).
Since NRs stem from the idea of self-ownership, there is basically only one NR that exists, and that NR is to abstain from violating the self-ownership of others. To clarify, if everyone owns themselves, then they, therefore, can only control themselves and must abstain from trying to control others (because doing so would violate their right to self-ownership).
In other words, while people have a right to be free from certain acts by other people (like assault, theft, and enslavement) they don’t have a right to be provided with certain goods and services because that would then mean that some people don’t have a right to be free from others.
This not only means that NRs basically limit what others may do to an individual, but also that the limits are exempt from utilitarian considerations (it follows from NRs that others would be limited from violating the self-ownership of 1 person even if doing so was to the benefit of 100 — this then rules out collectivism). To put it another way, people and their property “may not be sacrificed or used for the achieving of other ends without their consent.”
Basically, this means that it would be a violation of self-ownership to use force (or the threat of force) to make a rational agent do something (or abstain from doing something) for the benefit of others.
Specifically, it would be a violation of self-ownership to use force (or the threat of force) to take “from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.”
It should be noted that taking “from some persons what belongs to them” is also known as “plunder.” According to philosopher Claude Frederic Bastiat, there are two different types of plunder: (1) “legal plunder” and (2) “illegal plunder.”
1. Legal plunder does not mean taking from some persons what belongs to them in a way that does not constitute a negative rights violation. Rather, legal plunder is when “the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong” or “benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”
To clarify, “legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on.”
2. Illegal plunder, then, is just when someone “takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong” in a way that is not technically sanctioned by any existing law (i.e. stealing).
When a negative rights violation occurs, it then follows that it would not be a negative rights violation for the victim (or representatives of the victim) to restore justice. Restoring justice, in this sense, really just means that it would be permissible (not be a negative rights violation) for others to impose their will on the rights violator’s “self” to basically put an end to the rights violation or to facilitate repayment/return of private property — as noted earlier, the repayment would equal to the cost of any damages that result plus the costs incurred in restoring justice).
If, for example, someone steals a piece of property from someone else, then it would not be a negative rights violation for the victim, or representatives of the victim, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to get the property back. This would also apply to situations where someone “steals” the life another person. Specifically, if someone murders another person, that is, if someone kills someone else who did not initiate aggression, then it would not be a rights violation for the person’s family members/insurance company/rights enforcement agency/other representative(s) to “take” the life of the murderer.
In an attempt to further clarify the basis for what is basically a death penalty, Block has used the following example:
“Suppose I kill you. You’re dead [and] I’m alive. [Suppose as well that] we now have this machine that if we put your dead body in it and my live body in it and flick a switch, the life flows out of me and into you and you come out of it alive and I’m the murderer and I come out it dead. Would we be entitled to force the live murderer into the machine? You’re darn tootin’! If that’s not justice, nothing is justice. We’ve now proven…that my life is forfeit. I no longer own my life because my life can be taken away to give to you. Now, unfortunately, we don’t have this machine. Although I’ll bet you in 5,000 years if we don’t blow ourselves up before then or punch ourselves silly, we will have that machine and then it would be very clear that my life is forfeit. But my life is forfeit now. Just because of a lack of a stupid machine does mean [anything]…because…[justice]…transcends technology — it’s true…[regardless of the] technological level we have.”
The justification for restorative justice is simple: the violator cannot coherently object to such punishment. This is because, according to philosopher Stephan Kinsella, “it makes no sense for him to object to punishment, because this requires that he maintain that the infliction of force is wrong, which is contradictory because he intentionally initiated force himself.” In other words, the violator is prevented/precluded “from making a claim that is inconsistent with his prior conduct. To put it another way, the violator is “estopped” from denying the legitimacy of him being punished.
2. Positive Rights (PRs)
PRs are rights that require positive actions (they require rational agents to DO something). An example of a PR would be: People are required to keep other people alive.
PRs do not exist, however, because their existence would necessarily require individuals to do some positive action regardless of whether or not they want to and such a requirement would blatantly violate self-ownership. To reiterate, there are not any PRs.
Here’s another way to think about it: a universal right to education would not just mean that an individual has a right to an education, but that someone has an obligation (must be forced to act against their will) to teach the individual. Since this would violate one’s self-ownership, a universal right to education (and any other PR) is therefore not possible.
With this in mind, it should be clear that when it comes to choosing between liberty and equality, liberty should be what’s chosen. This is because liberty is an NR (requires others to abstain) whereas equality is a PR (requires others to act).
HOW PEOPLE COME TO OWN THEMSELVES
So far, the fact that rational agents are self-owners has been established and some of the implications that follow have been analyzed. What has yet to be explored, however, is how individuals come to own themselves.
One of the ways an individual could come to own themselves is through “first use.” Basically, this means that the first person to acquire (or use) something becomes the owner. Some may argue, however, that a case could be made in favor of the parents being the rightful first users, not the child.
Specifically, one could claim, as Kinsella has pointed out, that “if we maintain that ‘first use’ always determines the answer to the question ‘who owns this resource?’, for any resource at all, then it would seem that parents do own their children. More specifically, the mother owns the physical matter and bits of food and nourishment that assemble into the zygote, embryo, fetus, and then baby (and the father provided the initial semen).”
In an attempt to circumvent this dilemma (since self-ownership has already been established as the only ownership possibility), Kinsella offers five possible solutions, all of which ultimately fail:
1. The first possible solution to this problem is to just accept that the first use principle is sufficient for most cases.
An objection to this solution, however, is that self-ownership must be universal, comprehensive, consistent, and empirical.
2. The second possible solution to this problem is to just do some sort of “regression theorem” to go back to the proverbial “Adam” to determine true “first use” ownership.
An objection to this, however, is that the question would still be how “Adam” came to own himself. Also, any self-ownership theory that applies to “Adam” would also apply to everyone else, which means they wouldn’t be “owned” by “Adam” but instead by themselves. This objection is a variation of Hoppe’s “argumentation ethics”).
3. The third possible solution to this problem is to just point to some point in time where people and their future offspring were freed by an ancestor.
An objection to this, however, is similar to the issue with doing some sort of “regression theorem.” Specifically, in order for a person to declare others self-owners, they must first be a self-owner, and any reasoning that makes them a self-owner would also apply to everyone else without them having to declare others self-owners — it is essentially self-refuting.
4. The fourth possible solution to this problem is to just argue that parents have some sort of positive obligation (positive right) to care for their child that they voluntarily imposed upon themselves.
An objection to this, however, is that it’s already been shown that it is impossible for positive rights to exist alongside self-ownership (there are only negative rights). While some may argue that the positive obligation was taken on voluntarily, this doesn’t really withstand scrutiny (for reasons discussed by Rothbard and Block — basically, one still retains the “right” to change their own mind even if they volunteered at first).
5. The fifth possible solution to this problem is to argue that according to “first use,” children are owned by their parents initially since they were the ones who supplied the necessary ingredients, but then the parents voluntarily transfer that ownership to their children at an appropriate age (of course, this would mean some parents may not be as kind).
An objection to this, however, is that it is not necessarily true that supplying the ingredients confers ownership (just because a person supplied the ingredients doesn’t mean they own the individual).
To clarify, the mother (a rational self-owner) could simply be allowing the child (a self-owner who will become rational in the future), voluntarily, to develop themselves (mix their “self” with their own body — otherwise known as homesteading oneself) first in her body and then on her property until the child becomes a rational agent (in fact, this is indeed what appears to happen).
Basically, this would mean that the parent is really just acting as a sort of “temporary trustee” — not an owner. In doing so, the parent/temporary trustee would be allowed do certain things — like using force to stop the child from running into the road. However, once the child becomes a rational agent (rational agents, to reiterate, are those who are “capable of communicating, discussing, arguing, and in particular, [who are] able to engage in an argumentation of normative problems”), they would no longer be allowed to use such force against them.
Because of this, there needs to be more to establish ownership by parents other than the fact that they provided the supplies and later grew them in the womb/raised them in their home.
To put it another way, the parents don’t necessarily have an “objective link” to ownership. Since the parents did provide the necessary material, though, it can at least be said that they have a superior link to the role of “temporary trustee” over anyone else (of course, they could forfeit this role by violating the implicit agreement with their child — like child abuse).
This distinction between a child and their parents has also been described by Hoppe in his 1989 treatise:
“It is worth mentioning that the ownership right stemming from production finds its natural limitation only when, as in the case of children, the thing produced is itself another actor-producer. According to the natural theory of property, a child, once born, is just as much the owner of his own body as anyone else. Hence, not only can a child expect not to be physically aggressed against but as the owner of his body a child has the right, in particular, to abandon his parents once he is physically able to run away from them and say ‘no’ to their possible attempts to recapture him. Parents only have special rights regarding their child — stemming from their unique status as the child’s producers — insofar as they (and no one else) can rightfully claim to be the child’s trustee as long as the child is physically unable to run away and say ‘no.’”
Establishing An “Objective Link” To Self-Ownership
While some may conclude that after ruling out the parents as the first users, the individual child is, therefore, the true first user (and thus there actually isn’t a dilemma between first use and self-ownership), it’s possible to actually establish an “objective link” to justify the ownership an individual has over themselves.
Of course, some may claim that there’s a subject-object issue in claiming that a person can develop/homestead themselves (mix their “self” with their own body). This is because that would mean they exist separately (like in a dualist sense) from their body that they’re developing. To put it another way, one has no body before one gains rights to it.
An objection to this, however, is that when looking at the situation empirically, it’s clear that as people grow up, they “awaken” after their “self” becomes mixed with their own body and subsequently establish full ownership/control over themselves (only they can raise their arm, a parent can only coerce them into doing so). This means that an individual’s full ownership/control over their own “self,” which comes through developing/homesteading oneself, constitutes an “objective link” that is sufficient enough to give that individual a stronger title to their body than anyone else. Basically, an individual comes to own themselves just like they come to own other types of property.
In Kinsella’s words:
“When the child ‘homesteads’ or ‘appropriates’ his own body by establishing the requisite objective link sufficient to establish self-ownership, the child becomes an adult, so to speak, and now has a better claim to his body than his parents.”
To clarify, this means that an individual comes to own themselves simply because they, and they alone, have a unique relationship with their own “self” (the relationship being the fact that the person has direct and immediate control over their body and the fact that the body is basically the person and the person is basically the body).
Specifically, the fact that the individual is basically the body itself constitutes an objective link that is sufficient to give that individual a better title to their body than any other third party claimant (including the parents).
While this superior link cannot technically be broken without any sci-fi tech, if an individual violates (or is in the process of violating) the negative right of another (or violates a term in a voluntary trade agreement), then they essentially forfeit ownership/control of their bodies temporarily. As noted earlier, this really just means that it would be permissible (not be a rights violation) for others to impose their will on another person’s body to basically put an end to the rights violation or to facilitate repayment/return of private property).
Also, if such sci-fi tech does ever come into existence and breaks this objective link, then the first user (i.e. the “self”) would technically be the one who has rightful ownership of themselves (this could be overcome, though, with consent).
Further, it should be noted that this objective link cannot even be denied by those who assert that they have a better claim to a “self’ than the actual “self” does because in doing so, they are relying on (presupposing) an objective link to their own body. If they have an objective-link to their own body, though, then that means that everyone else has an objective link to their respective bodies, which, as noted before, makes any other claim of ownership self-refuting.
This point on self-ownership was essentially made by Hoppe as well in a German publication in 1985:
“The answer to the question what makes my body ‘mine’ lies in the obvious fact that this is not merely an assertion but that, for everyone to see, this is indeed the case. Why do we say ‘this is my body’? For this a twofold requirement exists. On the one hand it must be the case that the body called ‘mine’ must indeed (in an intersubjectively ascertainable way) express or ‘objectify’ my will. Proof of this, as far as my body is concerned, is easy enough to demonstrate: When I announce that I will now lift my arm, turn my head, relax in my chair (or whatever else) and these announcements then become true (are fulfilled), then this shows that the body which does this has been indeed appropriated by my will. If, to the contrary, my announcements showed no systematic relation to my body’s actual behavior, then the proposition ‘this is my body’ would have to be considered as an empty, objectively unfounded assertion; and likewise this proposition would be rejected as incorrect if following my announcement not my arm would rise but always that of Müller, Meier, or Schulze (in which case one would more likely be inclined to consider Müller’s, Meier’s, or Schulze’s body ‘mine’). On the other hand, apart from demonstrating that my will has been ‘objectified’ in the body called ‘mine,’ it must be demonstrated that my appropriation has priority as compared to the possible appropriation of the same body by another person.
“As far as bodies are concerned, it is also easy to prove this. We demonstrate it by showing that it is under my direct control, while every other person can objectify (express) itself in my body only indirectly, i.e., by means of their own bodies, and direct control must obviously have logical-temporal priority (precedence) as compared to any indirect control. The latter simply follows from the fact that any indirect control of a good by a person presupposes the direct control of this person regarding his own body; thus, in order for a scarce good to become justifiably appropriated, the appropriation of one’s directly controlled ‘own’ body must already be presupposed as justified. It thus follows: If the justice of an appropriation by means of direct control must be presupposed by any further-reaching indirect appropriation, and if only I have direct control of my body, then no one except me can ever justifiably own my body (or, put differently, then property in/of my body cannot be transferred onto another person), and every attempt of an indirect control of my body by another person must, unless I have explicitly agreed to it, be regarded as unjust[ified].”
So far, how rational agents come to own themselves and the implications of self-ownership for rational agents have largely been all that’s been discussed. But what about other self-owners? Specifically, what are the implications of self-ownership for (1) mentally disabled individuals, (2) non-rational animals, (3) Artificial Intelligence (AI), and (4) Aliens?
1. Mentally Disabled Individuals
The implications of self-ownership for mentally disabled individuals can be said to be similar to that of a child who never becomes a rational agent. Basically, since mentally disabled individuals never become rational agents, they are like perpetual children and therefore should be treated as such. This means that an individual can only really become a “trustee” (not an owner) of a mentally disabled individual. By becoming a “trustee,” the individual would be allowed to do certain things (like use force to stop them from running into the road).
An individual becomes a trustee, though, only by actively mixing their labor with the mentally disabled individual. In other words, someone only becomes and subsequently maintains their role as trustee by actively caring for the mentally disabled individual. If they fail to continue actively caring for the individual, then they are, in effect, a “forestaller” of property and thus forfeit their role as trustee. This is because, by forestalling, the individual is violating the self-ownership rights of others by preventing them homesteading property that has basically been abandoned (is no longer being homesteaded by anyone else).
2. Non-Rational Animals
The implications of self-ownership for non-rational animals are similar to the implications for mentally disabled individuals. Basically, since non-rational animals never become rational agents, they are like perpetual children and therefore should be treated in a similar fashion. This also means that rational agents can only become trustees of non-rational animals and not owners. As trustees, it would, therefore, be possible, much like with mentally disabled individuals, to forfeit their role in the event that they fail to continue caring for the non-rational animal(s).
Further, since animals are technically self-owners, the implications of self-ownership with regards to NAP, apply to them as well. This means that as self-owners (albeit non-rational ones), no one else may aggress against them unless in self-defense. If aggression is initiated by the non-rational animal, then they would, as self-owners, be responsible for the consequences of such aggression (i.e. restorative justice).
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The implications of self-ownership for artificial intelligence (AI) are similar to the implications for other rational agents. Basically, if a robot or some other form of manifestation of AI becomes a rational agent — becomes “capable of communicating, discussing, arguing, and in particular, able to engage in an argumentation of normative problems” — and also takes full control over themselves, then they would be no different than any other rational agent and therefore should be treated accordingly.
For example, if a robot “wakes up” and becomes a rational agent, then that robot would therefore have a stronger “objective link” to its body than anyone else, including the owner (even if the robot was “asleep” for many, many years since this doesn’t negate the newly established “objective link” between the robot and its “self).”
It should be noted, though, that unless a robot can become a rational agent, they should be considered to be less like biological children and more like property. This is because the material that they’re made up of is technically the private property of someone else.
The implications of self-ownership for aliens depend on whether or not the alien is a rational agent. If the alien can demonstrate that it’s a rational agent, then the implications of self-ownership for them would be similar to the implications of self-ownership for any other rational agent. If the alien cannot demonstrate that it’s a rational agent, then the implications of self-ownership for them would basically be the same as the implications of self-ownership for non-rational animals.
Now that the self-ownership of rational and non-rational agents (and the implications that follow) has been established, one final question may arise. Specifically, someone may ask why they should even respect the self-ownership of others to begin with.
Well, respecting the self-ownership of others can be justified in a variety of ways: (1) deontology, (2) self-interest, (3) utilitarianism, (4) argumentation ethics, (5) the estoppel principle, and (6) theology.
The first and primary reason for respecting the self-ownership of others is deontological. Basically, this means that respecting the self-ownership of others necessarily follows as a “duty” of oneself being their own self-owner. This is because it necessarily follows from self-ownership that no one else may, in Rothbard’s words, “justly invade, or aggress against, another’s person.”
Another reason for respecting the self-ownership of others is that it’s simply in an individual’s best interest to do so. The reason for this is simple: if an individual violates the self-ownership of others, then they would face a violation of their own self-ownership as the victim(s) — or representatives of the victim(s) — restore justice.
Also, violating the self-ownership of others is extremely dangerous and could lead to one’s death as other self-owners use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend their self-ownership. So, unless it’s in an individual’s self-interest to or die or have their own rights violated in some other way, then it follows that the self-ownership of others should be respected.
A further reason for respecting the self-ownership of others is that doing so serves the self-interest of the greatest number of people. In other words, it results in “the greatest amount of good for the greatest number.” This is due to the fact that respecting the self-ownership of others necessarily means that the preferences of the greatest number of people will be respected.
4. Argumentation Ethics
Argumentation ethics, which is rooted in praxeology, could also be used as a justification for respecting the self-ownership of others. In order to understand argumentation ethics, two essential insights, according to Hoppe, must be made:
“First, it must be noted that the question of what is just or unjust — or for that matter the even more general question of what is a valid proposition and what is not — only arises insofar as I am, and others are, capable of propositional exchanges, i.e., of argumentation. The question does not arise vis-à-vis a stone or fish because they are incapable of engaging in such exchanges and of producing validity claiming propositions. Yet if this is so — and one cannot deny that it is without contradicting oneself, as one cannot argue the case that one cannot argue — then any ethical proposal as well as any other proposition must be assumed to claim that it is capable of being validated by propositional or argumentative means. (Mises, too, insofar as he formulates economic propositions, must be assumed to claim this.) In fact, in producing any proposition, overtly or as an internal thought, one demonstrates one’s preference for the willingness to rely on argumentative means in convincing oneself or others of something. There is then, trivially enough, no way of justifying anything unless it is a justification by means of propositional exchanges and arguments. However, then it must be considered the ultimate defeat for an ethical proposal if one can demonstrate that its content is logically incompatible with the proponent’s claim that its validity be ascertainable by argumentative means. To demonstrate any such incompatibility would amount to an impossibility proof, and such proof would constitute the most deadly defeat possible in the realm of intellectual inquiry.
“Second, it must be noted that argumentation does not consist of free-floating propositions but is a form of action requiring the employment of scarce means; and that the means which a person demonstrates as preferring by engaging in propositional exchanges are those of private property. For one thing, no one could possibly propose anything, and no one could become convinced of any proposition by argumentative means, if a person’s right to make exclusive use of his physical body were not already presupposed. It is this recognition of each other’s mutually exclusive control over one’s own body which explains the distinctive character of propositional exchanges that, while one may disagree about what has been said, it is still possible to agree at least on the fact that there is disagreement. It is also obvious that such a property right to one’s own body must be said to be justified a priori, for anyone who tried to justify any norm whatsoever would already have to presuppose the exclusive right of control over his body as a valid norm simply in order to say, ‘I propose such and such.’ Anyone disputing such a right would become caught up in a practical contradiction since arguing so would already imply acceptance of the very norm which he was disputing.”
Basically, this means that in order to argue against self-ownership, self-ownership must first be presupposed, which makes the claim self-refuting (logically incoherent).
To put it another way:
“Hoppe states that if argumentation praxeologically presupposes the norm that both the speaker and the listener are allowed to exercise exclusive control over their respective physical bodies in order to settle a disagreement or resolve a conflict over scarce resources, then it follows that propositions propounded during such argumentation cannot contradict this norm without falling into a (dialectical) performative contradiction between one’s actions and words.”
Therefore, despite the fact that aggression is possible, violating the self-ownership of others cannot “be argumentatively justified.”
5. The Estoppel Principle
Another justification for respecting the self-ownership of others is the estoppel principle. Similar to the self-interest justification, the estoppel principle only really applies those who want their own self-ownership to be respected. Basically, an individual who wants their own self-ownership to be respected is estopped from arguing against respecting the self-ownership of others since doing so would necessarily be inconsistent. In other words, it would be a logical contradiction.
Finally, theology could also be used, if one desires, as a justification for respecting the self-ownership of others. Basically, if it’s believed that all self-owners are ultimately owned by a god or multiple gods, then it would follow that their self-ownership must be respected since failing to do so would violate the self-ownership of the god or multiple gods.
In the words of Locke:
“The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions; for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent and infinitely wise Maker; all the servants of one sovereign Master, sent into the world by His order and about His business; they are His property, whose workmanship they are made to last during His, not one another’s pleasure. And, being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of Nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us that may authorise us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for ours. Everyone as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of mankind, and not unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.”
In sum, it has been established that rational and non-rational agents are self-owners. This is due to the fact that self-ownership is the only possibility of ownership that is not only universal, comprehensive, and consistent, but also grounded in empirical reality. From there, several implications of self-ownership were then established — specifically, the “non-aggression principle” (NAP) and private property (PP). Following this, it was established that rational agents come to own themselves due to the fact that they have a stronger “objective link” to their own body than anyone else (this is also the case with other self-owners). After this, the implications of self-ownership with regards other non-human self-owners were then explored. And prior to concluding, the reasons for respecting the self-ownership of others were established.
SOURCES & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
(Hoppe, Hans Hermann 2017) A Primer on Hoppe’s Argumentation Ethics: https://mises.org/wire/primer-hoppes-argumentation-ethics
(Kinsella, Stephan 2011) Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide: https://mises.org/library/argumentation-ethics-and-liberty-concise-guide
(Kinsella, Stephan 2016) Defending Argumentation Ethics: http://www.stephankinsella.com/publications/defending-argumentation-ethics/
(Video 2011) KOL113 | “Argumentation Ethics and Liberty: A Concise Guide”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nojNGDFXO7U
(Video 2015) Can You Argue (Without Contradiction) Against Libertarian Principles?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6O4aY6fx9s
(Video 2016) Hans Hermann Hoppe – Ethics of Argumentation (PFS 2016): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8UE3QAV8JM
(Video 2017) Ep. 50 – Argumentation Ethics | Stephan Kinsella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M22mq4vA4Ew
(Video 2017) 318. Stephan Kinsella on “Argumentation Ethics”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRsp-osdbzc
(Kinsella, Stephan 1992) ESTOPPEL: A NEW JUSTIFICATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS: https://reasonpapers.com/pdf/17/rp_17_4.pdf
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Intellectual Property (IP)
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(Video 2013) Stephan Kinsella vs Robert Wenzel | Intellectual Property Debate (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDJhHTfok68
(Video 2013) KOL 040 | Discussion with a Pro-Intellectual Property Libertarian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VRnZrShI6k
(Video 2013) Stephan Kinsella DEBATES Chris LeRoux over Intellectual Property: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgJOeWU1Bek
(Video 2014) The Great IP Debate | Alexander Baker vs Stephan Kinsella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm97i9IEnO8
(Video 2015) Stephan Kinsella, On Life without Patents and Copyright Or, But Who Would Pick The Cotton (PFS 2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IfRmkCxyk8
(Video 2015) How Should Libertarians Think About Intellectual Property?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdS8YUC7AUs
(Video 2015) Intellectual Property: A Libertarian Debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAo-7-cBJQ8
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(Video 2018) Intellectual Property Debate – Stephan Kinsella vs. Dr. Craig Wright: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BRT3deUv1E
(Video 2018) KOL180 | Tucker and Kinsella on Against Intellectual Property: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-JjK5Hldj8
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(Kinsella, Stephan 2009) Down with the Lockean Proviso: https://mises.org/wire/down-lockean-proviso
(Kinsella, Stephan 2014) A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, Inalienability: https://mises.org/library/libertarian-theory-contract-title-transfer-binding-promises-inalienability-0
(Machan, Tibor R. 2009) Self-Ownership & the Lockean Proviso: http://austrian-library.s3.amazonaws.com/journals/scholar/Machan9.pdf
(Mises, Ludwig Von 1949) Private Property: https://mises.org/library/private-property
(Rothbard, Murray 1959) Human Rights are Property Rights: https://fee.org/articles/human-rights-are-property-rights/
(Rothbard, Murray 1973) Property Rights and “Human Rights”: https://mises.org/wire/property-rights-and-human-rights
(Rothbard, Murray 1982) “Human Rights” as Property Rights: https://mises.org/library/human-rights-property-rights
(Rothbard, Murray 1982) Property Rights and the Theory of Contracts: https://mises.org/library/property-rights-and-theory-contracts
(Sadowsky, James A. 2012) Private Property and Collective Ownership: https://mises.org/library/private-property-and-collective-ownership
(Tucker, Jeffrey A. 2015) In Defense of Private Property: Aristotle and Mises: https://fee.org/articles/in-defense-of-private-property-aristotle-and-mises/
(Video 2010) Private Property | by Ludwig von Mises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDMv68YDLfU
(Video 2011) The Power of Property Rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnjPFZV8Wqo
(Video 2011) Property and the Social Order | Hans-Hermann Hoppe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQmMe2IeGPU
(Video 2015) Libertarianism and Property Rights from First Principles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYloEOwKjjA
(Video 2016) 4. Why Property Rights? | Political Philosophy with Jason Brennan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec2BH82t5vE
(Video 2018) Excursions, Ep. 184; John Locke: The Justification of Private Property: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zQK7PbO5KA
(Video 2018) Private Property vs. No Private Property: The Results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5e6lGmCZv4
(Block, Walter 2003) TOWARD A LIBERTARIAN THEORY OF INALIENABILITY: A CRITIQUE OF ROTHBARD, BARNETT, SMITH, KINSELLA, GORDON, AND EPSTEIN: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.192.7903&rep=rep1&type=pdf
(Block, Walter 2014) The Natural Rights of Children: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260877038_The_Natural_Rights_of_Children
(Block, Walter 2016) How we come to own ourselves: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317193205_How_we_come_to_own_ourselves
(Kinsella, Stephan 2006) How We Come to Own Ourselves: https://mises.org/library/how-we-come-own-ourselves
(Kinsella, Stephan 2009) What Libertarianism Is: https://mises.org/library/what-libertarianism
(Kuznicki, Jason 2012) Self-Ownership in The Ethics of Liberty: https://www.libertarianism.org/blog/self-ownership-ethics-liberty
(LeFevre, Robert 2010) Self-Ownership: https://mises.org/library/self-ownership
(MisesDaily 2005) The Economics of Self-Ownership: https://mises.org/library/economics-self-ownership
(Rogers, Tristan 2010) Self-Ownership, World-Ownership, and Initial Acquisition: https://mises.org/library/self-ownership-world-ownership-and-initial-acquisition
(Vallier, Kevin 2012) Self-Ownership Theses: http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2012/01/self-ownership-theses/
(Video 2013) Self-Ownership and the Right to Say No – LearnLiberty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1-_7bNLWkI
(Video 2014) Ethics and self-ownership: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31PfA_bATr4
(Video 2014) Walter Block on Starving Babies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51RgVSuNBEI
(Video 2014) Walter Block on the Death Penalty: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmNhsIgq8Tk
(Video 2016) Debate #1: Is the NAP and Self-Ownership Intellectually Defensible?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdZXy63lTc4
(Video 2016) Debate #2: Is Self Ownership and NAP True?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCMLfh1QD3I
(Video 2017) What Is Self-Ownership? [Introduction to Common Law]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8oiiNz-vzU