Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Searching for Ownership

One of the central ideas of Libertarianism and rational morality is Ownership. It's also the one that has given me the most trouble to test the soundness of. To my advantage it is an almost universally accepted concept which rarely comes into question except in the case of Tradtional Anarchists who deny Ownership, so I never have to actually explain it to people.

But that's not good enough for me. This is after all an idea on which the concept of rights are built. Should the concept of Ownership have no valid justification at all, then the only valid philosophy would be Traditional Anarchism, and if I cannot prove that Ownership exists, how can I say that rights exist?

It is insufficient for me to ask "What is the alternative to Ownership?" first because I can only speak from the perspective of someone who has lived his entire life in a world of Ownership, and second because it does not prove a reasonable basis for Ownership except a utilitarian one, and as utility is subjective. I could certainly discuss the ramifications of abolition of ownership, and it would not be pretty at all in my opinion.

I could talk about scarcity and value, and how life must consume resources, and how in a world where resources are not infinite nor omnipresent it becomes necessary to allocate resources, but this could at best be an arguement for possession, not ownership.

I could talk about how peace is desirable, and that ownership is repsected because failure to respect it results in violence...but this would be accepting Non-ownership as a basis to disprove Non-ownership while simealtaneously assuming Ownership to prove Ownership. I suppose ownership is subjective, but I do want some firmer, objective foundation for it.

Perhaps a combination of these are why the very idea of owning something is never questioned. People just don't want to question it because the results of questioning it might result in long-held beliefs simply falling apart.

Hence is the quest for truth. If I cannot refute Non-ownership nor prove Ownership, I might have little choice but to accept Non-ownership. Unless perhaps Ownership builds upon Non-ownership, but I haven't figured out how that might work yet. I certainly like Ownership, and don't want to give up the idea as unfounded. But in intellectual honesty if I can't give it a foundation it won't hold up to any criticism. It is unlikely that Ownership will be criticized by anyone I encounter, but I still like the security of having a sound basis for it.


Anonymous Kyle Bennett said...

Ownership is control, and as such it is an attribute of consciousness. Your consciousness irrevocably controls both itself and the body. Consciousness cannot act except through the one body it is part of, and the body cannot be controlled except through the one consciousness it is part of. Your consciousness and only *your* consciousness controls your body, and only *your* body.

2:01 PM  

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