Geopolitical Conflicts: From An Ethical Standpoint, How Long Back Should One Look To Decide Who Is The Rightful Owner Of Land?

This only appears to be a complicated question. It really isn’t.  If a judgement will be made, how will one make such a thing?

1) Property Rights. Property rights of any kind are derived from the portfolio of those rights within any given jurisdiction (country/state). Property rights exist in order to prevent disputes, and to permit cooperation.  Military conquest is not a subject of property rights. The very purpose of military conquest is to abrogate and redefine property rights.  There is no other reason to conduct military conquest.  In that sense, both the israeli and amerindian conquests are settled matters, because they were settled by conquest.  So to some degree to make a legalistic argument over property rights on a military matter is simply irrational. 

2) Arbitrary Time Frames.  We have all been conquered people.  None of us can return to our homelands and our traditions. Even Northern europeans cannot go home any longer. The problem is infinitely recursive. These matters are not possible to solve by other than military means. That is why we solve them so.  It is an arbitrary and illogical statement to prefer one time and state of affairs to another time and state of affairs, because each state of affairs is predicated on the prior state of affairs and those conflicts. SO why, should we not take over Istanbul and rename it Byzantium, because the muslims conquered and stole if from Christians?  Where does this end?  Must we try to return Rome to the Etruscans?  Or are you just arbitrarily biased in favor of amerindians at the expense of everyone else?

3) Practical Matters: it is not practical to displace a people, and they would simply go to war to stop it.  So it is an absurd parlor game of a question.  Israel is doing two things: building walls, and building settlements in order to expand it’s defensible boundaries. There is nothing new about what they’re doing.  The germans put them in concentration camps and killed them. There is a difference. The displaced peoples have a choice, the executed people’s do not.

The English conquered (mostly) the amerindians in north america and the spanish and Portuguese in south america.  But, for example, if we quote George Washington, it’s because  (roughly quoting) they will be conquered by someone who we will have to defend ourselves against if we do not conquer them ourselves.(end roughly quoting). It is not that the English (Americans) were any different from anyone else.  Should the Kurds get their own territory? Should we go to war with china to give Tibetans their land back?  Should the russians drive out the chinese that have invaded eastern russia like the mexicans that have invaded the southern united states?  Land and the property rights imposed on that land are in constant flux everywhere in the world.

So, these are not moral questions.  They are not philosophical questions. They are not legal questions. They are practical questions because in the end, the action necessary to alter the existing property definitions could only be resolved by military conquest.  THat’s what military conquests do: reassign property rights.

Property assignments in any state are dependent upon a set of definitions established within that state using a monopoly on violence by that organization we call ‘government’.  Those assignments may be capricious (Asia), they may be nearly non-existant (muslim world and south america), they may be collective and corrupt (Romania) they may be collective and uncorrupt (sweden) they may be individual and utilitarian (the USA).   But they are meaningful ONLY within those jurisdictions during the life of the entity that enabled them. 

This is a complex topic so if some other libertarian wants to challenge me, please understand that I’m erring on the side of brevity no on the side of incomprehension.  Liquid Personal property may be immutable. But land and fixed structures are not. That is not a moral statement. It is an historical one.

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