A Follow up
11 Feb 1990
From: Ervan Darnell
Since I'm being asked to play the extremist here, let me do it
right. You asked in your last letter how I could demonstrate that
non-interference was better in the long run. I addressed this
point specifically in my last reply. I mentioned it in my first letter
only because you asked why people want to interfere. I was arguing then
the particular case that when people wanted to interfere in the interest
of some constructive good, they would not achieve their goals.
I think that, ultimately, it is irrelevant whether or not
non-inteference has long term benefit. If you steal my freedom and
tell me it is for my own good, I'm opposed. If the particular denial
of liberty that your propose really is better in the long run,
then you should be able to compensate me for my loss of liberty.
I will sell particular liberties for appropriate prices. If I won't
accept your bargain, that just means that undervalued my liberty in
the first place when you decided that interference had long run value.
For example, you could say that marijuana should be illegal
because people smoking it costs society $200 billion per year (something
I obviously disagree with!). In that case, buy my liberty from me
by offering me $1000 to not smoke marijuana for one year. If I accept,
we both get what we want. If I don't, then you have undervalued what
smoking marijuana is worth to me. To deny me that liberty without just
compensation would be to steal from me intangible property worth more
than $1000 (since I wouldn't accept that amount in exchange for the
restriction). The fact that it is worth nothing to you is irrelevant.
Chau-Wen absolutely refuses to see this point, that intangible property
has value. Just Friday, he made some comment to the effect that
'liberty has some small additional value'. I am dragging his name into
this, only because you seem to share his point of view.