Why Your Dog Doesn’t Own Your Entire House, and the Government Doesn’t, Either

I wrote recently about some views expressed by Elizabeth Warren and certain politicos of a previous era to the effect that the government has every right to take at least a big chunk of your earnings and, in some expressions, even your entire earnings for purposes the rulers stipulate.

Nearly ten years ago, the great political philosopher Anthony de Jasay wrote a charming little essay related to this matter called “Your Dog Owns Your House.”  There, he spells out some of the ways in which such sweeping claims—by your dog or the rulers—are incoherent, absurd, and indefensible, and he sketches how to think more sensibly about the issue.

One sees upon even a small amount of reflection that the kind of reasoning advanced by Warren and her predecessors proves too much. Yes, if your dog did not ward off burglars, you might have lost all your household possessions; hence your dog’s diligence in some sense accounts for everything you have. ……….

 

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