Who Owns a Man’s Life?

No doubt, a man can ruin his life by using opioids recklessly. A man can also ruin his life by a reckless use of whores, fast cars, and false religion. Perhaps Trump’s next great proposal will be for capital punishment of pimps, Maserati dealers, and storefront preachers.

The question abides, however: why doesn’t a man have a right to control his own life, however recklessly, so long as he does not violate anyone else’s natural rights in the process? And what gives Trump or anyone else the right to take control of a man’s life merely because the man has chosen to act recklessly? Who owns a man’s life, the man himself or Trump?

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Robert Higgs

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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