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Property Rights Question

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In a debate on another forum, someone mentioned that property rights do not exist because if you trace it back, the land was forcefully taken from the native americans. How do you defend against this type of argument? thanks

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In a debate on another forum, someone mentioned that property rights do not exist because if you trace it back, the land was forcefully taken from the native americans. How do you defend against this type of argument? thanks

This question has been asked and answered several times in this forum, in several different ways, so I would imagine that people might be reluctant to answer again. I would suggest you first search the archive, which will point you to the various threads.

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At one time or another the "native Americans" forcefully took their land from one another, so you don't get anywhere with that line of argument.

More fundamentally, the native Americans didn't have a proper concept of land, in the sense of property rights. What they had was a primitive notion of "territory" over which their tribe claimed rights by dint of tradition and their mere ability to hold it against neighboring tribes. It is not much different than the territorial notions of a pack of wild animals.

So, in that sense, we didn't take "their land". They didn't have any land to take. In fact they didn't have much of anything worth taking (at least in North America where the Indians were pretty much at a Stone Age level).

Fred Weiss

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