The government steals from us all the time. That seems to mean that government people are thieves. Thieves don't have any moral right to what they have stolen, as I understand it. If we steal (really: take back,or homestead) things from government or from government people, do we act morally? If so, what of the fact that what we liberate will be repurchased with funds that come from insurance pools that include non-state people who are guilty of nothing?
[First, here is advice from Mike:
Well, anonymous, Since it's "free market" advice, I'll take a shot.
I'd have to say first and foremost that the collective "we" is out of place
here, and it muddles things considerably. If you, or any other actual person
with a name, has had some specific piece of property taken from you, then, yes,
you have a moral right to it, no matter who took it. Of course, if you you try
to take it back from the government, expect to be jailed or killed for your
trouble. Morality and reality are not the same thing-ask Jesus.
But, when you say "we" and "us" you get into very dangerous territory,
since you have no claim on something stolen from someone else-only your own
stuff. That means that if you "liberate" something, be it money or other
property, that was stolen from me, or that someone else like an insurance co.
has a claim on, you are still a thief, but morally and legally. Since just
because it was once stolen, does not make it fair game for you to take as
This is part of why collectivism is so terrible, it confounds morality. But
that's just me. Can't wait to hear Kent's thoughts.]
If some of your property is in government possession, if you take it back you have acted morally. I will blog about the injustice of your arrest (kidnapping) or honor your memory. Since you know the government will continue to steal from others to replace your property if you take it back, the only permanent solution is to make certain the thief can't continue to steal.
Then Mike asks:
"Since at one point virtually all property was stolen, particularly land, is it really possible to have a claim to private property? In the strict principled sense, or is there a degree of pragmatism involved since true original ownership is impossible to determine?"
If the original owner of a piece of land, or specific descendants, can be identified, I think they should be reimbursed. If the real original owners are lost in the mists of time, then no living person was stolen from, and no one alive is guilty of theft. I don't hold people responsible for what their parents did, much less for the actions of their great-great grandparents. I can wring my hands over the injustices of the past, or I can focus on making sure no more injustices occur. Just my opinion.