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The Homesteading principle contradicts Self-ownership

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,377 times Debate No: 16681
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




For anyone to accept this debate, they must accept the definitions provided in this OP. Additional definitions may be provided by them in their round, if they wish to define other words and such, but they cannot dispute these definitions.

Human [1] - "A rational animal." This article refers to humans as "man" though it should be clear that it is talking about "mankind" not just the "males" of the human race. This is used to distinguish human rights (and so what qualifies for those rights). We can see more arguments here for human rights [2].

Self-ownership [3] - "...absolute jurisdiction over one's own body." - Rothbard (summarized, he says "his" instead of "one's").

Homestead Principle [4] - "The way that unowned property gets into private ownership is by the principle that this property justly belongs to the person who finds, occupies, and transforms it by his labor." -Rothband. This often just shortened to the first person the works or labors an un-owned piece of property, since "occupies" does not apply to all forms of property. If I'm a logger, I don't need to "occupy" a tree, merely find it, cut it down, and I am the owner (assuming it was un-owned to begin with).

Abandonment - "Abandoned personal property is that to which the owner has voluntarily relinquished all right, title, claim and possession, with the intention of terminating his ownership, but without vesting ownership in any other person, and without the intention of reclaiming any future rights therein." [5] This is the legal definition in regards to abandonment of property. Since this debate is about owning property, that is the definition which seems most fit, as there is not a solid libertarian definition on this.

I thank whoever accepts this debate. They are free to start in R1, or pass and let me start in R2.



As per the rules I will not try to change any of the definitions that my opponent provided. However I would like to define the term 'contradicts'.

Contradict: To be contrary to; be inconsistent with.

This is the only word that I think needs to be defined before we could get this debate underway. I will choose not to begin arguments in this round seeing as my opponent is the one affirming the resolution. I wish him the best of luck and look forward to an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I'll try to keep this short and sweet (since that gets more readers and more voters).

The Homesteading principle (as defined in R1), says that non-owned property becomes privately owned when a person mixes their labor with (it becomes owned by them now). This is key to property rights and capitalism, since they must have an objective method off which something can go from being un-owned to being owned. However, another equally important feature to capitalism and property rights, is self-ownership (which I would dis-agree with anyway, but that is a different debate).

Self-ownership basically says that you own yourself and no-one can own you without your consent. This, coupled with the non-aggression principle, should provide objective understanding that everyone is free and sovereign.

The problem between the two of these occurs when a human is created in the womb of the mother.

When a women is impregnated, a baby begins to form in her body (I assume that no source is needed for this). Since her body is "laboring" (no pun intended) in the creation of the little baby, the homesteading principle states that the embryeo/fetus is her property. In the early stages of pregnancy, the fetus is not classified as a human (as far as rights are concerned), since it is not capible of rational thought. Because it is not human (perhaps "person" would be a better word than "human," I'll let my opponent decide if that is acceptable) in a "rights" sense, it has no self-ownership.

The real problem occurs later in pregnancy (or after, whether it is in the womb or crawling around on a carpet doesn't really matter), when the fetsus reaches "human" rights status; when it becomes capible of rational thought. Self-ownership claims that the baby "owns" itself, while Homesteading claims that the baby is "owned" by its biological mother. Thus, a contradiction.

The non-aggression principle states that you cannot steal the property of one and give it to another (morally speaking). Since the homesteading principle shows that the body of the fetus first belonged to the mother (before the baby became a person), that should be the policy that is respected. Thus, there is no self ownership at any point later in its life unless the mother willingly gives (or trades) the ownership rights of that child to the child.

To keep this short, I'll leave it at that and allow my opponent to respond.

Thank you


socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


extend, my opponent's account is closed.


socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Bumping to end.


socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Grape 5 years ago
If you resend this challenge to me I will accept and you can have the debate. I regret not having taken this in the first place.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
You might as well. Since Social closed his account, this debate has no where to go.
Posted by Grape 6 years ago
Hmm, that's clever. I thought you would try to show a contradiction from an analytic perspective, but that is an interesting example. I won't comment on the debate itself until after it's done for the sake of fairness.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Woot woot, should be fun.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Default win.