A Question for Libertarians: Property Rights Over Self Defense?

Four years ago, I blogged about a Philadelphia school now requiring random drug testing of their students. At the end of the article, I state,

“No corporation can enforce its will at the expense of violating people’s civil rights in the name of property rights.
No school can enforce its will at the expense of violating its students civil rights in the name of “helping students.
No government can violate the civil rights of people in the name of safety and security.”

I’ve stated this elsewhere in public forums, comment sections of news outlets, and video sharing sites. And it’s not long before some Libertarian comes along and tries to defend property rights over civil rights. For those who are not familiar with the modern Libertarian mantra, they believe that

1) Every one needs to be personally responsible
2) A unregulated free market will solve ALL economic problems.
3) A free market will not only solve economic problems, but all personal and social problems as well
4) And that interactions have to be voluntary and cannot use force

Now, what they won’t tell you, but only through implication, is that your civil rights end where another person’s property rights begin. I have a scenario for the Libertarian to answer.

If you were to hold a party at your house and the rules were no guns, knifes, pepper spray, et al. In fact, as all your party goers arrive they have to go through a metal detector and are padded down by two guards. So the party goes on for a few hours and everyone is having a good time. You take a break from partying and look out the window to see the two guards are now hanging from the tree . . . dangling like worms on a hook. To your chagrin, you hear the metal detector going off. Before you can get to the front door, your front door flies across the room and impacts itself into the wall. Standing at the door is a 200 lb muscle bound meat head armed to the teeth with 15 years of commando experience. He starts head shooting everyone and stacking bodies up as if it were Judgment Day. So as this goes on, you run out the back door not taking any personal responsibility for your party goers’ deaths. You’re waiting outdoors and the commando walks up to you and as he’s ready to shoot . . . click . . . he’s out of bullets. For what ever reason, he then walks away leaving you there.

Now do you bare responsibility, in part or in whole, for their deaths? You may not be responsible for their deaths, but you did in fact deny their basic human right to defend themselves. You went so far as to deny their right to defense that you hired two guards and installed a metal detector ergo you do bare some responsibility for creating the environment.

In the end, how many of you Libertarians would:

1) accept responsibility and make reparations
2) accept responsibility and weasel your way out making reparations
3) knowingly deny responsibility. And reparations? Fuck that. It’s their fault they died. The dead should take personal responsibility.


  1. Allan Rs. · · Reply

    A libertarian would not except responsibility it is the fault of the killer. And we’re all within our rights not to want weapons in our house plus the guest voluntarily entered the home they could have refused and went home. Schools arent private though and we as students are required to go. We have no choice. And I really dont get your comparison. This took me 2 seconds of thought. Choice is what you neglected in your arguement.


    1. You conveniently overlooked the end of the blog post where the host denied their party goers the ability to defend themselves. If you deny someone the ability to defend themselves, then you have to provided equal or greater protection than one can provide for themselves.


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