Campus Life

Former professor calls libertarianism ‘most logical’ political system

Former UCA professor and libertarian Walter Block explained why libertarianism is “the most logical system of political thinking” Nov. 9 at the Young Americans for Liberty lecture in the College of Business auditorium.
Block has written dozens of books and journal articles about libertarianism. He taught at UCA from 1997 to 2001.
Block said libertarianism has “two sides to the same coin.”
One side is the non-aggression principle, which is the initiation or threatening of violence against another person or their property. While many political ideologies claim to adhere to this principle, Block said only libertarians take it seriously.
The other side of the coin is inherent property rights, and this principle says everyone has the same basic human rights. He said infringing on them is an act of aggression.
In reference to intellectual property, Block said no one owns an idea because everyone can understand it.
“I can own a book, but I cannot own the idea of a book even if I wrote the first one,” he said.
Block spoke briefly about slander and libel, which he said are useless laws because “you don’t own your reputation.”
He said a reputation is a culmination of everyone’s thoughts regarding one person, and that a person cannot own other people’s thoughts, therefore it is not infringing on property rights.
“Libertarianism is the difference between civilization and barbarianism,” he said.
He summarized his newest book ,“Yes to Ron Paul and Liberty,” which was published on May 1. The book is an aggregation of Ron Paul’s policy, philanthropy and philosophy. Block’s book offers a unique view on foreign policy, economic liberty and personal liberty, he said.
Block said Paul’s foreign policy is a “leave-the-world-alone” view. In essence, Paul would withdraw all troops, not just from the Middle East, but from everywhere in the world where “time is needlessly wasted.”
Defense spending totals more than the next 14 countries in line in the list of the top 15 defense budgets of the world, he said. Both Paul and Block view this as a colossal failure in prioritization.
Block explained Paul’s views on personal liberties by using the legalization of marijuana as an example.
“Thank God for Colorado and Washington,” Block said referring to the legalization efforts, Amendment 64 and Initiative 502 that passed Nov. 6. “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, but even if it were, people have a right to put whatever they want into their body because, it’s their bodies [and]no one else’s. They aren’t infringing on anyone else’s rights, so drugs should be legal.”
Block made the same case for prostitution, provided it was between two consenting adults. Block explained that he opposed “sin taxes,” taxing things like alcohol and tobacco more heavily to discourage use, as well as doctors’ prescriptions for medicine because it makes for a “nanny state.”
Block then spoke about economic liberty, citing Austrian economics as an example.
“This economic problem we’re having is all about the misallocation of resources,” he said.
He referenced his first book, “Defending the Undefendable,” written in 1976. In his book, Block spoke about more controversial topics including drug legalization and prostitution, as well as the wage gap and “glass ceiling” for women.
Block explained the reason women tend to make less than men is that women are more likely to be stuck at home “taking care of the homestead.”
The wage gap accounts for maternity leave and other “women-only” health conditions. Block said studies suggest, the wage gap only exists for “ever-marrieds,” women that have been married at some point in their life. Block said wage gaps do not exist for women who have never been married.
“We’re very lucky to have such an amazing, illuminating speaker at UCA,” senior Zak Kubin, president of Young Americans for Liberty, said. “Block is revered for his work in educating people about libertarianism. As libertarians, we focus on things that aren’t partisan in nature, but on things that we can all come together on.”

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