The Philosophy of Liberty
This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.
Me: What can you tell me about the philosophy of liberty?
BA (10): You own your life. Other people own their lives.
Me: Does any other person have a higher claim on your life than you do?
Me: What do we call it when we say someone has a higher claim on your life than you have?
Me: You exist in time, right?
BA: Yeah. Past, present, and future.
Me: What do we call it when someone steals your future?
Me: And when someone steals your property what are they stealing?
BA: That’s called theft. They’re stealing the time you spent in the past to get that thing.
Me: And when someone comes and enslaves you or uses force to get you to do what they want you to do?
BA: They’re stealing your present.
Me: Why not your past?
BA: Because you weren’t enslaved in the past.
Me: And why not the future?
BA: Because it hasn’t been determined yet.
Me: Property is pretty important.
BA: It’s something you spent your past acquiring. It’s like bees. They spend their time gathering stuff and making honey and that honey is like time made real. That’s their property and they will protect it.
Me: So you’re allowed to protect your justly acquired property.
BA: Yes. You can ask other people help you protect your property, too.
Me: When you’re protecting your property are you allowed to hurt people?
BA: Yes. But you aren’t going to hurt someone over a penny.
Me: We call that proportionality. Can you hurt innocent bystanders as you try to get your property back?
BA: No. You can not hurt innocent people. They’re allowed to come after you if you hurt them even if you hurt them in pursuit of justice.
Me: If you hurt them and they’re innocent then you have to make them whole?
Me: Give me an example.
BA: If you’re running after the guy who stole your TV set and you knock me down and break my arm, you have to pay my medical expenses because you have hurt me.
Me: But I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just wanted my TV back and you were in the way.
BA: It doesn’t matter. You break it, you buy it. It doesn’t matter what you were doing.
Me: So if they guy who stole my TV came through your house and I wrecked your house trying to get back my TV what would I have to do?
BA: Make me whole.