Tag Archives | Self-ownership

Against Self-Ownership

Picture: CGS (CC)

Rajiv Shah writes at the Social Rationalist:

I. Introduction

I first read Rothbard (For a New Liberty and The Ethics of Liberty) sometime in 2008. I was quickly persuaded by the gist of the arguments offered. At the core was the idea of Self-Ownership (SO), which I found very persuasive and from which I gained considerable intellectual confidence. I knew I could deal with whatever issues of public policy (e.g. drug prohibition) by invoking SO. Of course people could deny SO but such a position appeared to me to be quite implausible.

I have since abandoned those views. I actually stopped believing in SO over a year ago but it has taken me quite some time to articulate why. What follows is my attempt at doing so.

I have three main arguments against SO. The first one is a claim that the concept itself is incoherent.

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