Reply To: Tricky Questions for Libertarians


#1 As was said before, the LAW would not distinguish because a person also has a right to say whatever he pleases (While others, of course, have the perfect right to treat a person differently based on things that he has said but my not prosecute based on speech). A specific punishment would be the same whether a person paints a bunny or a swastika on their house, but it would be the social punishment dealt through freedom of association that would serve to worsen the punishment for the racist graffiti.

For instance:
If a 14 year old kid paints, say, his name (he would be stupid but lets suppose) he may still be able to find an acceptable first time job and move on with his life. If a man paints a swastika on a holocaust survivors house, based on freedom of association, that person may well be fired from his job, businesses may refuse to deal with him, and he may have a very hard time finding another job. If he tries to move, a home seller and perhaps some kind of neighborhood association would do a background check and may deny him the ability to move there. In short, I believe that the social punishment that would come around would be far greater than what a court would deal out and the difference between the kid writing his name and the man drawing the swastika would be much larger.

#3 The data on my computer, while it may not be a scarce resource, is still private data. I gave the illustration before, if I were to put video cameras in your house (ignoring trespassing problems on property for the moment) and recorded you throughout the day, could I then do whatever I wanted with that video because it is not a scarce resource? I dont think so.

This would be different from, for instance, an iPod sold by Apple. In the absence of copyright etc. any person could reverse engineer an Ipod and its operating system, copy, improve and sell. But this it because this data has been released to the public. The same would go for music and movies. In my view, personal video such as you described would be personal until it is in some way released to the public, not that someone else has copied it without the knowledge of the author. Should personal medical records necessarily be public information simply because a record is not a scarce resource? I dont think so either.

Hacking into a computer is accessing private property without the knowledge or consent of the owner. that would be against property rights. This would be different than hacking the OS of an iPod you bought