When Libertarians approve of theft

Listen to this article

When protesters marched through the streets of Ferguson, Libertarians thought they had finally found an opportunity to side with black Americans. Then the riots began.

“Wanton destruction of people’s stuff,” Robby Soave brooded on Reason.com. “Isn’t it great?”

The short answer, of course, is a resounding yes – but for our noble hardline capitalists, footage of black protesters burning down an empty Little Caesars was a bridge too far. Sure, Libertarians totally care about the black community and are deeply troubled by the execution of Michael Brown. But as a matter of principle, Libertarians simply can’t sanction violating the rights of private property. Right?



Check out Reason.com, where senior editor Peter Suderman is explicitly encouraging readers to steal Sony Corporation’s inalienable and undisputed private property. The site has even gone so far as to embed an illegally pirated clip of the film in the article – which Sony, evidently, has already managed to pull down.

Libertarianism has always been a ridiculous orgy of blatant hypocrisy, but this instance is particularly telling. When it comes to pushing back against the enormous tide of violence against black Americans, Libertarians become the strident guardians of absolute property rights, rending their garments at all of the Funyuns looted from Ferguson convenience stores. But if white Americans don’t get to see the latest Seth Rogan comedy … well, then maybe private property isn’t such a great idea after all.