The Most Misunderstood Issue of All

Monday, August 30, 2004
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It still remains that even libertarians don’t understand basic private property rights. This post on the LRC blog is rather irresponsible.

Gregory, there is a property rights issue involved here (with spam). Why is this true?: “I think when you sign up for an e-mail address, you implicity give permission to the world to send you junk, and it’s up to you to find ways to deal with it.”

“Implicitly?” Where is the connection between establishing an email account, and inviting trespassers? That same logic could be used in regards to leaving my front door open, and inviting “the world” into my living room. Libertarianism is pretty darn explicit. Private property rules are always explicit. Ownership is definitive and absolute. One’s actions cannot be “implicit” in the sense of assuming that which *could be* according to “the world’s” various, independent interpretations of a given action.

But before one even approaches the computer owner’s property rights, there is the private property of the ISP that is being used and abused, without permission, in order to be able to transmit the spam. Look up the various “trespass to chattel” cases in regards to ISP property issues (Intel, AOL, Compuserve, Earthlink, Juno, etc.)

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