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Can You Steal from Thieves?

On the blog, Becky Akers asks, “Can you steal from a thief?” referring to the government as an organized gang of thieves whose property is stolen property.

Indeed, most of the reports on this story speak of “theft” from the NSA and “stolen data.” But since the NSA is nothing more than a glorified, legalized thief, does it own anything to steal? In other words, if a burglar named, say, Obummer steals $100 from me, and then a second burglar named, perhaps, Hitlary swipes that hundred bucks, did she steal it from Obummer or from me? Also, if Obummer used my money before Hitlary’s hit to buy a lock-pick set and rob some houses, so that his total take is $2500, does any of that loot belong to him?

The Feds plunder us of billions in taxes to pay the NSA’s hackers, turn on its lights, power its computers, cool them with water in a desert (yo, EPA: where are your draconian fines for this wretched despoiler of the environment?), etc. Does anything the NSA produces belong to it? Or do we, its victims, own every misbegotten product and exploit of this infernal agency?

We could obviously extend this speculation to all the State’s “property.” Since every pencil, triplicate form, and weapon government “owns” comes from us, is it possible to “steal” from these thieves what they stole from us? Or are those who help themselves to property their taxes bought far less culpable than the government that thieved in the first place?

In the Libertarian Forum in 1969, Murray Rothbard addressed this issue. Scroll down to “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle.” Very interesting stuff.

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