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Should blackmail be legalized?

In his book "Defending the Undefendable," libertarian anarchist Walter Block argues that blackmail should be legal because the blackmailer does not initiate force against person or property. If I learn that Mr. X is cheating on his wife, for example, I may tell him that I will tell his wife about the affair unless he pays me $1,000 every month. Block says this is not an initiation of force, but merely a peaceful, mutually consensual trade. Block even goes on to say that the blackmailer is morally superior to a gossip. As a blackmailer, I would give Mr. X an "out"; he has the option of confessing to his wife or paying me. By contrast, if I were a gossip, I would snitch on Mr. X to his wife and give Mr. X no options on what to do. Therefore, Block says blackmail should be legal. Is Block right that blackmail is merely free speech and not an initiation of force? Since blackmail involves the withholding of very sensitive information -- secrets some people would kill to protect -- do laws against blackmail protect people from the likely initiation of force?

legendre007, 13.09.2013, 00:35
Idea status: under consideration

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