Is There a Statute of Limitations in Libertarianism? Yes, It’s Called ייאוש

In my debate with Jeremy Hammond on the legitimacy of the State of Israel from a libertarian perspective, the center of Hammond’s argument is that a 2,000 year old claim to previously homesteaded land is invalid because there is a statute of limitations in libertarianism.

First of all, he quotes a footnote in the paper that reads as follows.

But are there no statutes of limitation? Surely, two millenia and counting would more than qualify for any statute of limitations. There is such a thing, for the libertarian, as a ‘natural’ statute of limitations: the further back ones [sic] goes into the past, the more difficult it is to encounter any relevant evidence. Since the burden of proof always rests with he who wishes to overturn extant property rights, mere passage of time can serve as a natural limitation.

Sure sounds like there is a statute of limitations according to our paper! But Hammond deliberately leaves out the second part of the footnote to give the impression that we hold that libertarianism does support a statute of limitations, when we hold no such thing. Here is the full footnote. Note the However after Jeremy’s selective out of context quote:

statute-of-limitations

I have requested that Jeremy put up the full quote on his article on his site discussing this very issue. I put it in the comments in any case.

But anyway, there is a statute of limitations in libertarianism, and it is a priori, but it has nothing to do with time passed. It cannot have anything to do with time passed because any measurement of time is a posteriori, whereas libertarianism, or should I say the positive Austrian method of deductive analysis as set forth by Ludwig Von Mises in “Economic Science and the Austrian Method” which leads to normative libertarianism, is a priori.

So what is the statute of limitations in libertarianism? It is when a claim is entirely foregone. When a claim is foregone, that claim cannot be picked up by subsequent generations. Once someone gives up a claim, that claim is gone and can no longer be inherited. In halacha the concept is called ייאוש, transliterated ye’ush. Giving up.

In Judaism for example there is a religious obligation to return lost objects to their previous owners. Lost objects cannot ever be taken regardless of the amount of time passed, unless there is ייאוש by the person who lost the object. It is not time-dependent. It is ייאוש dependent.

Once there is וודאי ייאוש, or definite relinquishing of claims, there is no longer any obligation to return a lost object, and the person who found it can keep it.

Now let’s reason this out deductively, just like Mises reasoned out the business cycle and just like Chazal reasoned out ייאוש in בבא קמא. If a person declares a piece of his property hefker (ownerless) and someone takes that piece of property, the child of that person can no longer claim that piece of property as his inheritance, obviously. Further, if a parent’s property was stolen and the parent has ייאוש, meaning he completely gives up on ever getting the property back, the child’s claim is now null and void and the child can no longer claim the property either, even though the property was lost unjustly in the first place.

If we now enlarge the sample size, do Mexicans have a claim on California and Texas? No, they do not, because Mexicans have given up their claims entirely. I don’t hear of any Mexicans claiming these places. Do Native Americans have a claim on their stolen land? In that case I am not 100% certain because I am unfamiliar with Indian tribes, but in the event that they have given up any hope of ever getting their stolen land back, then subsequent generations cannot claim it back either.

So, have Jews ever given up their claims to Judea/Israel/Palestine? No, not ever. We have never had any ייאוש regarding our eventual return to our homesteaded land. Not for a single generation. Our claims are reinforced every single day of our lives without exception and we are in fact commanded never to give up our claims. This is inherent in our mandated belief in the גאולה, the redemption of the Jewish People by the משיח at whatever point in the future and the ingathering of the exiles, which in fact has already happened.

Have some Jews given up their claims? Certainly. Have some Jews experienced ייאוש? Absolutely. Most of those Jews are no longer part of the nation. They are gone, assimilated, kaput. Many Jews have not had ייאוש, including yours truly. If and when a Jew who has given up his claims to his homeland marries one who has not, he or she re-inherits the continuous unbroken claim through marriage. Think of the Jewish Nation as one body, like Wolverine or the T-1000. If one strand breaks off and gives up the claim, the core heals and makes the body, the claim, full again. One piece flies off, but if it is found by the core and reabsorbed, the claim is restored through joining back up with the unbroken, whole Nation.

The only thing I need to prove is actual physical descent from the original homesteaders. All land with evidence of previous Jewish homesteading goes to the nearest of kin, which are Jews, whether they happen to practice Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Hinduism it does not matter. Since there is no one Jew who can prove individual ownership of any plot of land, all land with evidence of previous Jewish homesteading goes to the descendants of Jews by shares of stock, whether these descendants call themselves Palestinian or Israeli or whatever.

I can easily prove descent. I have the genes and I have the claim, repeated constantly and never, ever broken. Anyone else who can prove decent also has a right to previously homesteaded land, unless he has had ייאוש. Most Palestinians have not had ייאוש either.

So here’s what it comes down to practically:

Since possession is 9/10ths of the law, any human being sitting on homesteaded land in Israel that has no previous evidence of any homesteading by Jews, gets to stay there. If there is previous evidence of homesteading by Jews, anyone on that land must prove descent from Jews, and if they cannot, they must leave. All people who were expelled from their homesteaded land unjustly in 1948 or whenever, has a right of return. If he descends from Jews, he can return regardless of whether the land he was expelled from was homesteaded by Jews in the past or not. If he is not descended from Jews, he only has a right of return if the land he was on has no previous evidence of homesteading by Jews.

So does a statute of limitations exist in libertarianism? Yes. It is called ייאוש, ye’ush. Jews never had ye’ush, our claim is still valid, and it must be so a priori. All previously homesteaded land in Israel belongs to us by shares, simply because it is impossible to know which Jew owns which plot of land. Shares of stock in previously homesteaded land in the areas currently under the control of the Jewish State, must be distributed to all demonstrable descendants of the Jews that originally homesteaded the land.

As for Har Habayit, that specific land was homesteaded with Jewish money, donated and taxed, on the condition that it be used for the Beit HaMikdash. Any other use of it is a violation of contract. Therefore, according to libertarianism, the Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, must be rebuilt.

 

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PREPARE for Something Amazing! My Debate With Jeremy Hammond on Israel Will Air Tonight

Wow that was SO much fun. What a thrill to be on the Tom Woods show! He really is one of my favorite, if not actually my #1 favorite libertarian speaker. He is a scathing but light-hearted and hilarious cynic, with a biting sarcasm and wit possibly even more scathing than my own. He just does it better than me I think and with more poise, while I am more spastic and emotional. He can destroy any statist argument in seconds and he is entertaining as anything.

Here is Tom at his best. I loved this talk.

Here is what he writes in preview of our debate on his site:

There aren’t too many countries created from scratch before our eyes, so that historical episode raises important and interesting questions, for libertarians in particular.

Here’s the resolution: “Israel was founded on the basis of legitimate homesteading of land and reclamation of lost Jewish property from previous generations of Jews.”

Arguing in the affirmative: Rafi Farber.
Arguing in the negative: Jeremy R. Hammond.

The episode is already recorded, so I can tell you: this topic is debated in a manner that is at once civil, engaging, and informative.

I decided to host a debate on the topic when I discovered that Walter Block and the late Murray Rothbard, two Jewish libertarians, disagreed on the issue. So I thought we ought to hash it out and see what conclusions we can reach.

Now you’ll never guess: on Twitter, someone demanded to know why I was allowing a debate on the legitimacy of the state of Israel. Why not Germany, England, France, etc.?

I found the question obtuse. How about because major libertarians disagree, and it’s good to try to resolve disagreements? Or how about the significance for current events of the circumstances surrounding the creation of Israel? Only if we understand Israel’s birth correctly can we form correct judgments about ongoing events in our own day.

Keep reading…

I’m not sure exactly how well I performed because I haven’t actually heard it yet, and you people in the US will probably hear it before me because it will be Shabbos here in Israel by the time it’s online. But I believe I did very well, at least in my own head. I dug in there with my Jewish claws so to speak and didn’t let go, and spoke from the soul about Rome, Har Habayit (the Temple Mount), Ma’arat Hamachpela (Cave of the Patriarchs), the expulsion from Gush Katif (Gazan Jewish settlements) and other topics. I also made a request of Tom personally as a Catholic libertarian at the end of the debate which you will hopefully hear, and I am serious about the request. It has to do with the Vatican and some stuff they have.

I have to commend Jeremy for a respectful debate. I believe he and I made history here, along with Tom, in conducting this discussion civilly. You’ll hear in the debate that we actually agree on much of the practical solutions to this conflict, which happen to be very similar to the solutions of Moshe Feiglin.

No Jeremy and those that agree with him generally will not turn into Feiglinites any time soon, that I’m certain of. But on principle, paying the Christian and Muslim Judeans to leave voluntarily (and with that nomenclature I’m giving you a small hint of the direction of my argument) is a solution that Jeremy did not object to on principle if the non Jewish people now living in Israel so desire to leave for money.

I believe they do. So let’s get it done.

Enjoy the show! You’ll find it here some time today. I will link to it on Motzash.

233% custom embroidered teddy bear tax

Long ago, around February or so when my daughter Dafna Betty was born, my cousin Ginny decided to send us a gift from America. We told her not to do anything that crazy, but instead to buy something from Israel, because sending something from America is asking for trouble. A few weeks later I got a package slip notifying me that something was waiting for me at the post office and that I would have to pay 274 shekels to see what it was. That’s about $70.

I didn’t even bother to even attempt to pick it up because I wasn’t going to pay the government anything for my right to accept baby gifts, certainly not 274 shekels. And where the heck did that number come from anyway? Who decided it was 274, and why?

Eventually my landlord, with whom I share a mailbox, told me that the post office was getting angry because I wasn’t even acknowledging that I owed them 274 shekels, and that I should tell them what to do with the gift. I responded that I really didn’t care what they did with it, I’m not paying them anything.

Eventually, I had to go to the post office to pick up my glasses I ordered from China for $10 which work great. Glasses are about 20 times more expensive here, money I’d rather not spend. I got lambasted at the post office by the woman who told me I was taking up room in her post office because I never picked up my other package. I said I didn’t want the other package. She asked why. I said because I don’t want to pay the customs fees. I didn’t even know what was in the package or who sent it.

How it works in Israel is that if you feel the government has wronged you, you can fax in a complaint to an office about why you should not have been required to pay the customs fees. If they feel like giving you the time of day, they will send you a refund. I’m sure this works great. Nevertheless, I didn’t attempt to use this system.

Today I got a phone call from my mother in law who informed me that the gift was in fact two stuffed teddy bears embroidered with the names Tzitzia and Netanya, one for each of my daughters.

Their names are Tzivia and Dafna, but close enough. (Both were born in Netanya so Ginny got that right. And I in no way am demeaning the gifts. In fact, I can’t wait to pick them up when I get to the US because now there’s a story behind them. When Dafna asks me why she has a bear with the name Netanya, I can tell her that she was born in Netanya, and she’ll think that’s pretty cool. No one else has a teddy bear indicating their birth city.) My guess is they’re worth about $30 for the custom embroidery. So the 274 shekels would constitute roughly a 233% custom embroidered teddy bear tariff.

Well, I guess the Israeli government has to try and rip me off for my teddy bear importation. They do have a lot of $100 Katyusha rockets to shoot down with $1 million precision guided missiles. Somebody’s gotta pay for that. May as well take it out on the damn bears.

Hey, at least our budget’s balanced…more or less.