Does receiving stolen property violate the NAP?
What if said property was sold to you by the state after the state acquired it through force?

9/23/14
Many people will argue something about the property being owned by another and therefore the buyer of stolen property is obligated to return the stolen property and be out of the wealth traded for the stolen property.  I argue something different.

 

If the stolen property received is done so without knowledge of its origins then how is it fair to the recipient to confiscate what he now believes is his justly?  It is not fair.  To even remotely suggest that 'life isn't fair, so deal with it' is borders on being disgustingly ignorant.

 

Even if the recipient knows of the stolen property's origins, what difference does it make whether the peddler of stolen goods destroys the goods, gives them away, or sells them?  The fact is that the goods are no longer in the possession of the now victim and should be considered lost…unless they remain in the possession of the thief.

 

If the latter is true then reclamation of the stolen goods is absolutely and well within the rights of the victim to claim.  If not then the capture of the thief and a term of servitude to compensate the victim is where justice will be most appropriately found.  By creating yet another victim to appease the initial victim just create unnecessary suffering.

 

'But stolen goods are the problem!'

 

Just as cars don't run people over without a human component and guns don't shoot people without a human component, stolen goods don't become stolen without a human component.  Reduce the human component by teaching morality and liberty to reduce the negative actions of the human component and there will be fewer stolen goods being traded or sold.

 

So to answer the first question about receiving stolen goods being a violation of the NAP, I answer: No!  The recipient didn't partake in the actual theft; and unless the recipient was accessory to the act then there is no violation.

 

However, this leads to the second question about receiving stolen goods from government.  This question involves the concept of all/most things being acquired by government being stolen goods. 

 

If you vote to have government intervene into the lives of others then you are violating the NAP; and I should add doing so with great cowardice.  I state this because most who vote and ask government to intervene into the lives of others without their consent at all don't have the courage to do such things on their own; or at least they find themselves at odds with their own moral compass that states the individual may not do it but if the majority believes it's okay to let a few do it for the majority's benefit then it's okay!

 

Either way, being the recipient of stolen property is not necessarily a violation of the NAP.  If the individual receiving such property, or money in most cases, truly is ignorant of how government works then it is an innocent violation that equates to a drunkard starting a fight.  But if the property/money received from government is of government's own creation, via the printing press, is there still a violation?

 

No.  But yes.  But no!

 

This might depend on the rules imposed by the government to coerce others to use the money it controls.  By printing the money the government is potentially decreasing the value of the money already in circulation.  By giving that printed, and not taxed money, to another the recipient is not violating the NAP.

 

It's a very fine line to walk receiving property from government.  In the end it is almost certainly a violation of the NAP that might equate to acidentally stepping on someone's lawn because others have made a path of it; but that doesn't make it okay.

 

So would it be okay for the lawn owner to just start shooting at others because they are the majority and didn't know the path was private property?  Technically yes!

 

But morally speaking, in terms of the preservation of Humanity, no!

 

Just as it is technically a violation of the NAP for people to vote to have government intervene into the lives of others without their voluntary consent, it would be technically okay for the victims of this infringement to defend themselves against the aggressors; and these aggressors would be all the law enforcement, legislatures, arbitrators, and voters who asked for and supported these infringements.

 

But why is it okay!?!

 

It's okay because such actions violate the NAP.  The intensity of the defensive measures employed are dependent on the victims.  This may seem absurd but it is what will keep people mindful of violating the liberty of others.  HOWEVER…

 

Morally speaking it is to the benefit of the infringed to reason as much as possible with the individual(s) infringing upon him/her.  This creates more mindful individuals and a platform of open communications that will help teach others.  This platform is the court of public opinion.

 

While the court of public opinion is not always right, by maintaining an amicable relationship with it will go a long way, even if it seems to take a long time to catch on, by creating a significant amount of public debate.  Of course dead bodies piling up on the lawn or people taking that path and not returning will teach the lesson too; but it will create unnecessary fear and animosity.  And that is typically bad for the court of public opinion that is already often slow to catch on to new ideas when subjected to constant appeals to authority as often happens in societies that justify the existence of government.

 

In addition this could create feuds between less reasonable people that wouldn't have a public platform of history to review and help cure the situation faster to avoid unnecessary and collateral damage.

 

'But that's what government is for!  So why bother trying to teach something else and just leave the government there!?'

 

Well, because government violates the consent of all individuals beneath its claimed jurisdiction to be governed at all!  This is why taxation is theft and the money / property government redistributes become stolen goods.  Eliminate the entity that creates these stolen goods and there is no more worry about whether or not someone should be punished for encouraging stolen goods!

 

Just as with the concept of teaching morality and liberty to ward off the poor justifications of individuals thieves, teach the immorality of government to ward off the poor justifications of taxmen and welfare clerks.

 

-JLD

 

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