So today was my first day at the Foundation for Economic Education, where I'll be interning over the summer, and I've already had some excellent debates; this is going to be a fantastic experience. Everyone seems really passionate and interesting, and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot from everyone. I wanted to put one of the more controversial debate topics on my blog as a record, and to get the idea out to a wider audience. I've been toying around with the idea for a few days; I'm really curious to hear what other people think.
The idea is this: If we recognize private entities' claims to property titles as legitimate, even when they have a known history of violence and illegitimacy, then it's difficult to argue that currently existing governments are illegitimate for property rights-based reasons. Governments claim that we live in their territory, and their claims have roots that go back many generations. To claim that a government is not justified in enforcing rules in its territory is, effectively, to claim that the government is not the legitimate owner of that territory. But saying that, it seems to me, makes it very difficult to consistently argue that many (most, if not all) private property titles are legitimately held.
We had a bit of fun with this one at dinner, and I'm not completely sure what I think of it. Of course, everyone else at the table was not too comfortable with the idea, and it made for some lively debate. But nevertheless, I figured I'd post it here. Feel free to leave any comments; I'll be interested to hear what people think about this.