The principle that each individual owns his or her body and life


Self-ownership - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Self-ownership (or individual sovereignty) is the condition where an individual has the exclusive moral right to control his or her own body and life. The writers William Rees-Mogg and James Dale Davidson described this condition as being a sovereign individual, in which individuals have supreme authority and sovereignty over their own choices, without the interference of governing powers. This notion is central to individualistic political philosophies such as abolitionism, ethical egoism, anarchism, classical liberalism and libertarianism. Those who support the product of labor as private property often premise their position on self-ownership, reasoning that if an individual owns himself then he personally owns his labor and the resulting products. Sovereign individuals hold to the premise that government only has authority and power which is given to it by the individual, with decentralized administrative organizations acting as their servants and not their master. ..."


How We Come to Own Ourselves, by N. Stephan Kinsella, Mises Daily, 7 Sep 2006
"State laws, regulations, and actions are objectionable just because the state is claiming the right to control how someone's body is to be used. When the state drafts a man or threatens him with imprisonment if he violates its narcotics laws, for example, it is assuming partial control of his body, contrary to his self-ownership rights."
Self-Ownership: The Foundation of Freedom, by David MacGregor, 1 Feb 2005
"Self ownership means just one thing, that YOU are the owner of your life--your body, your mind, your energy, and any consequent results of your life's efforts. If you are not sure of this--or disagree--then simply ask yourself, 'If I am NOT the rightful owner of my own life, then who is?'"
Alternative Medicine Is Libertarian Medicine, by Butler Shaffer, 2 Dec 2006
Discusses several aspects of healthcare, including self-ownership, being responsible for our own care, decentralised information, the collapse of external authorities and the dehumanizing decisions resulting from institutionalized healthcare
"How many of you own yourselves? I ask my first year property students this question on the first day of class. I raise the question not simply as an abstract proposition, but to get them to focus on the functional reality of the property concept. If you do claim self-ownership, I ask them, why do you allow the state — or anyone else — to control your life? And if you do not claim self-ownership, upon what basis can you object if the state — or anyone else — decides to claim what you do not want?"
Benjamin Ricketson Tucker, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Aug 2007
Biographical essay on Benjamin Tucker from birth to the early years of the periodical Liberty
"Sovereignty of the Individual was also known as 'self-ownership' — the principle that every person, simply by being human, possesses an inalienable jurisdiction over his own body and the peaceful use thereof. This universal right carried a corresponding duty to respect the self-ownership of others."
NewBenjamin Tucker, Individualism, & Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order, by Wendy McElroy, Literature of Liberty, 1981
Bibliographical essay covering the people and radical movements that influenced Tucker in his founding and publishing of Liberty, its major themes and contributors
"American libertarianism of the nineteenth century ... revolved around two themes: the sovereignty of the individual, sometimes expressed in terms of self-ownership; and the labor theory of value, often expressed as 'cost the limit of price.' Sovereignty of the individual referred to the absolute moral jurisdiction of each person over the use and disposal of his or her own body. The labor theory of value, which claimed that all wealth was created by labor and usually implied that it therefore belonged to the laborer, was considered to be a direct extension of self-ownership."
Life of Liberty: Robert Nozick, R.I.P., by Richard A. Epstein, National Review Online, 24 Jan 2002
Memorial tribute, comparing Nozick to Hayek and discussing some of the arguments he made in Anarchy, State and Utopia
"Starting with this perspective, Nozick quickly reached the conclusion that all individuals begin life with a system of self-ownership, which is then extended into the world by a principle of justice in acquisition whereby unowned things in the natural world received single owners. These owners in turn are allowed by virtue of the principle of justice in transfer allowed to convey the property to someone else who in turn inherits all the rights of the owner."
Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom, by David Gordon, The Freeman, Nov 2007
Examines the arguments made by Rothbard from the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follows
"[Rothbard] based his political philosophy on a simple insight: slavery is wrong. Few, if any, would dare to challenge this obvious truth; but its implications are far reaching. ... If we reject slavery, then are we not saying that each person owns his own body? Just what seems immoral about slavery is that some people, the slave owners, have the right to control the bodies of those under their domination. The owners can tell the slaves what to do and force them to obey if they refuse to comply."
The Economics of Self-Ownership, by Michael S. Rozeff, Mises Daily, 6 Sep 2005
"To have self-ownership is to be able to make one's own choices in all spheres of one's life. Self-ownership amounts to an undiluted right to one's life and the liberty to pursue one's happiness. If one has complete self-ownership, then one is not being aggressed upon. And if one (or one's property) is not being aggressed upon, then one is free to pursue one's own interests and one owns oneself."
Related Topic: Life
The Essence of Liberty: What is it that really makes one a libertarian?, by David F. Nolan, Libertarian Party News, Mar 1995
Discusses five points of "no compromise" that Nolan considered essential to libertarianism
"First and foremost, libertarians believe in the principle of self-ownership. You own your own body and mind; no external power has the right to force you into the service of 'society' or 'mankind' or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble. Slavery is wrong, period. Because you own yourself, you are responsible for your own well-being. Others are not obligated to feed you, clothe you, or provide you with health care."