Monday, 8 April 2013

Self ownership, Extractive introjection & Jacking it in San Diego.

How does the Libertarian notion of Self-ownership differ from a set of Legally enforceable Entitlements all reasonable people would loosely agree 'amounted to the same thing'?
Ownership unlike Entitlement does not discriminate between animate and inanimate objects- a rock or a stone can own things in Anglo Saxon Law- as can abstract as opposed to concrete things. Since Libertarians tend to have rocks for brains and since their notions of Community are pretty sketchy and utterly abstract, they naturally prefer the notion of Ownership to Entitlement.
There are other differences.  Assignability and survivability (i.e. posthumous rights) characterize something owned. Thus, in America, 'the right to publicity' is considered something assignable and survivable such that my heirs, assignees, or Receiver in Bankruptcy can derive a revenue from the sale of naked pics of yours truly. However, my 'right to privacy' is not similarly assignable and survivable such that though I can claim damages against you for illegally downloading naked pics of me, my heirs or assignees have no such right absent some overt inter vivos  action on my part such that it is clear that I am claiming protection under 'the right of publicity' not privacy.

The concept of 'Self ownership' gives rise to a rabid sense of Entitlement and may, assuming some degree of rationality and sense of Reality- also militate for voluntary recognition of a Legal system of Entitlements with two different types of rights- ones which are justiciable only by the possessor of some corporeal thing, or his agent or assignee- and others which are justiciable independent of the desire of volition of the person in whom the Entitlement is vested. Both types of rights give rise to allocational and dynamic inefficiencies provided the ability to evaluate the value of, or otherwise exercise, those rights are unequal hence giving rise to Agent-Principal hazards. With property type rights, the very fact that it is of the essence of the right that a local monopoly is created militates for allocative inefficiency and strategic behavior. But this does not mean that Entitlement type rights are free of defect.
The law relating to Minors or vulnerable people lacking competency, is an example where the Legal Guardian can exercise rights and claim damages on the part of a person who, it may be, has no interest in pursuing legal redress.
This creates an Agent-Principal hazard- as in Munchausen's syndrome, where the Guardian exaggerates or inflicts injuries for some selfish motive. More generally, there is a type of psychic injury, which the psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas has termed 'extractive introjection' whereby the Agent confiscates the Principals' genuine injury for the sake of Publicity or some other sort of 'Rent' accruing to the role of Spokesman.
Much 'moral entrepreneurship' is genuine but much is self-seeking, strategic or downright corrupt. In the same way that 'extractive introjection' hollows out the vulnerable person- whose pain has been confiscated leaving them with less inwardness and moral agency than before- so too does it 'hollow out' the manicly protesting pseudo-Guardian who ultimately, South Park tells us, ends up 'naked & jacking it in San Diego.'

As regular readers of my blog will know, I only ever advert to such arcane topics as feature in this post when I've gotta killer hangover and the only thing that helps me keep my Cocopops-marinated-in-bloody-mary down is pretending I'm the ghost of John Rawls & Ronald Dworkin just got a sneak peek behind my veil of ignorance and is laughing himself silly. 
Still- to get to the 'kids, what I've learnt today' bit- the fact remains that self-ownership of a property type is vitiated by hysteresis based repugnancy costs (the dead dictate the disposition of living things) whereas, on the other horn of the dilemma, the hyper-inflationary bias of Entitlement theory hollows out the concept of self-hood from within.

No comments: