Hans Hoppe (as well as many other living Rothbardians) argues that the purpose of property rights is to resolve disputes over scarce resources. (It is through this channel that Stephan Kinsella argues against the existence of legitimate “intellectual property” rights, since IP isn’t scarce.)
Gene Callahan doesn’t like Hoppe’s claim. Today he writes:
Of course, when property rights are agreed upon, there won’t be disputes — but that really says nothing more than where there is agreement, there is no dispute!
But property rights are often the very source of disputes. Reading Bailyn’s account of the English settlement of Massachusetts drives that point home with great force. In understanding the human world, history trumps theory! [Bold added.]
Yet hold on a second. Bailyn’s account of the English settlement of Massachusetts contributes absolutely nothing to Gene’s point. Hoppe (and Kinsella) obviously doesn’t think the world is free from disagreements over the use of scarce items.
In fact, I’m sure that Gene would agree with me, since on June 14, 2011, he wrote a whole blog post criticizing Hoppe’s position, relying purely on a Socratic dialog. No specific historical experience necessary; Gene’s point (whether you think it silly or brilliant) is obvious enough once it is mentioned.