Friday, July 22, 2011

What do you own?

In our society the concept of personal ownership runs deep. We like to think we own physical objects like property, things, stuff... Tangible property ownership seems a fundamental right and is built in to the idea of self and identity.

But there are things that we possess but may not own to the degree we think we do. How about your body parts and organs? Do you own them in the same way you own a car? Can you sell them? Can you trade them? If an artist wanted to create a collage of human hands are you free to sell one of yours to contribute? In the USA it is against the law to sell you kidneys for organ transplants. You can give one away if you receive nothing for it. Can you give them both away it the result means your own life is no longer viable?

How about your life? Do you own that? Is it yours to do with as you see fit? Can you employ someone to aid you in ending your life? Under what conditions can you willingly give up your life?

Libertarians believe in minimalist involvement of government in the affairs of the people. Let free markets run unchecked, let people make deals and arrange deals that suit them. What role does the government have in restricting this free expression of trade?

The consent of the governed seems to extend to the point that the masses intrude into the realm of the idea of personal liberty and personal property. Laws we create limit what you can do with your body, to the extent that you may not own it in the way you think you do. Are you ok with that?

Meeting tonight at 6:30.