segunda-feira, 21 de junho de 2004

Ethical Rules and Human Rights

"...If a person A were not the owner of his physical body and all goods originally appropriated, produced or voluntarily acquired by him, there would only exist two alternatives.

Either another person, B, must then be regarded as the owner of A and the goods appropriated, produced,

or contractually acquired by A, or both parties, A and B, must be regarded as equal co-owners of both bodies and goods.

1) In the first case, A would be B's slave and subject to exploitation. B would own A and the goods originally appropriated, produced, or acquired by A, but A would not own B and the goods homesteaded, produced, or acquired by B. With this rule, two distinct classes of people would be created—exploiters (B) and exploited (A)—to whom different "law" would apply.

Hence, this rule fails the "universalization test" and is from the outset disqualified as even a potential human ethic, for in order to be able to claim a rule to be a "law" (just), it is necessary that such a rule be universally—equally—valid for everyone.

2) In the second case of universal co-ownership, the requirement of equal rights for everyone is obviously fulfilled. Yet this alternative suffers from another fatal flaw, for each activity of a person requires the employment of scarce goods (at least his body and its standing room). Yet if all goods were the collective property of everyone, then no one, at any time and in any place, could ever do anything with anything unless he had every other co-owner's prior permission to do what he wanted to do. And how can one give such a permission if one is not even the sole owner of one's very own body (and vocal chords)? If one were to follow the rule of total collective ownership, mankind would die out instantly. Whatever this is, it is not a human either.

Thus, one is left with the initial principles of self-ownership and original appropriation, homesteading. They pass the universalization test—they hold for everyone equally—and they can at the same time assure the survival of mankind. They and only they are therefore non-hypothetically or absolutely true ethical rules and human rights."

The Ethics of Liberty - introduction by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

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