Lifeboat Situations: Freedom in Times of Emergency

From time to time, the fundamental right of each of us to our individual liberty is challenged by the notion that such a right shouldn’t necessarily apply in emergencies. In the regular, fair weather of societal relations, it is easy enough for us to agree that we should, for instance, have no right to physically injure or steal from other people. But what if an emergency could be resolved only by a breach of the non-aggression principle (NAP)? What if that situation was so desperate that the only way to avoid almost certain loss of life (or severe bodily harm) was to violate the property rights of another person?

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How Land Comes to be Owned

Some years ago, I decided to cease any participation in online discussion forums. While such engagement was far from fruitless, it can very quickly become a net burden if, like me, one lacks the willpower to prevent all of the waking (and many non-waking) hours from being consumed by back-and-forth arguments on every single little detail of Austro-libertarian theory that happens to arise. Far more productive, I tell myself, to spend the time I have available reading and writing original material for outlets such as Free Life.

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