[ExI] libertarians and inheritance

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Tue May 5 14:07:20 UTC 2009

--- On Tue, 5/5/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/5/5 Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com>:
>> As a strict libertarian, in terms of justice, I'm only
>> worried about what's justly acquired -- not necessarily
>> earned.  In this case, the person who justly acquired
>> property has a right to give it to her heirs as she sees
>> fit.  No, as a person, I might find it repugnant when a
>> person who worked hard all her life, spoils her kids and
>> then leaves them a big fat inheritence.  But I wouldn't
>> initiate force to change her decision.
> It depends on your definition of "justice". Some people
> think taxation is theft, others don't.

The statement was made and applies to the libertarian notion of justice -- not to non-libertarian notions of such.  To wit, the libertarian view of force is it can't be justifiably initiated.  You might respond, well, some people think it can be.  Yes, well, true, but those people are not libertarians; they disagree with the defining principle of libertarianism.*

As a side note, too, I wonder if those arguing against inheritance -- or for heavily taxing it -- would recognize any general limit on interference in other people's lives or property, especially when those other people are doing things you strongly disagree with.  If not, then what sort of world do you hope to live in?  Naturally, I'd expect, one where your desires trump everyone else's, but imagine what's more likely: no limits on interferences in life and property -- pretty much what we have now.  Are Extropians and transhumanists likely to benefit on net from this?  Or would they benefit more from living in a more or less libertarian world, where, yes, some rich idiots might support families of lay-abouts, but everyone else's rights are generally respected?



*  This, of course, does not justify or validate the libertarian view of justice or of initiating force.  My only point was to explicate the libertarian view here: not to ground it in something deeper.  (This doesn't mean I think such a grounding is impossible.)


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