The Source of Property?

Curt Doolittle writes that the source of property is violence. But is it? Is property obtained through violence toward others? It doesn’t seem that using one’s labor to appropriate some thing (movable or immovable), thereby creating an “objective link” with said thing is an act of violence toward other human beings. Other human beings may not even be around. Very strange. And more, the use of violence is not inherently necessary in the protection of property. Is it not conceivable that a given free society could evolve nonviolent norms and conventions, things like the threat of ostracism or diminished reputation, to protect property? Yes, property can be protected through in act of violence, defensive violence I hope, but not necessarily. Should we, as Doolittle pleads, “put violence back into liberty?” No. Violence is the state’s means, ours must be its opposite.


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Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.