Over at Inkandescence blog, I have a fresh post continuing the conversation about the Libertarian Party I mentioned earlier:
I’ve emphasized the serious philosophical incoherence at the heart of Libertarian Party expressions of libertarian political philosophy: the notion that “individuals” are somehow proper subjects of law apart from “their bodies,” such that “their bodies” can be regarded as objects they “own,” is a metaphysical belief about the nature of human creatures, the nature of property, and the foundations of justice–and it is one that simply cannot be true. In fact, the idea that a human creature’s proper subjectivity is radically distinct from bodily existence is a constant threat to the possibility of a binding natural law that addresses humans as they actually are.
All human creatures are embodied before they become capable of responsibly exercising their freedom, and live their whole lives in relationships, in varying degrees of dependency, which condition their freedom; no responsible law or standard of justice can possibly address humans as though they existed in a state of radical or unbridled subjectivity, or as though the human body was a negotiable economic instrument.
In fact, this denigration of the body to a merely instrumental role in human existence, and the concomitant treatment of a disembodied will as the proper subject of the laws, reverses the Lockean derivation of property rights from which it–especially the peculiarly American treatment of private property–nominally descends. Rather than “property” being a necessary condition for each human creature’s freedom to live securely in society with other free creatures, and hence a moral imperative intrinsically related to each one’s basic needs and flourishing in society, “property” becomes a hypothetically natural and absolute responsiveness of the real to each individual’s subjective inclination.