Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Book Swapping

I once knew a professor who used to make the case (only half joking, I think) that it was permissible to steal books. He used a convoluted argument (borrowed and bastardized from Aristotle) about how the rightful owner of a thing is the person who will use it best. But we modern souls can now look to technology for our salvation. Because of this website it’s no longer necessary to teeter on the brink of this temptation. Paperback Swap allows members (and for now, membership is free) to post books with which they are willing to part and receive--also for free--books they wish to read. The only catch is that you have to pay for postage . . . something like $2 per book. So, there is no catch. You don’t pay postage for the books you get, however. Instead, you pay postage for the books you send. When you send a book, you earn a credit. You get two credits just for joining. One credit=one book. Audio books require two credits. There are over 2 million books already posted on the site. I encourage all NLT readers to join.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Once long ago (1960's) I loaned an anthology of stuff I was (am) very fond of and read every now and again to an English "teacher" at Glendale College.

When after a few days he had not returned it, that son of a bitch insisted I had never loaned it to me.

It has my book plate in the inside front-cover.

I don't loan books much any more.

As a soon-to-be-published author, I recommend all stay far away from that site!

Julie, your Prof's idea of use establishing right isn't that outlandish. There is a concept in property law where use can transfer title, albeit use along with a few other things. It's known as adverse possession. One of our arguments defending Manifest Destiny consists of the better use we made of the American West, compared to what use, or rather misuse, Mexico would have made.

The idea behind Manifest Destiny as it pertains to land is not necessarily Aristotelian...but perhaps Lockean. The justification for private property itself was that nature is rather barren and people had to be able to be sure that if they planted an apple orchard...or a wheat field that they could harvest the fruits of that labor. It would be rather pointless to do all the work and then have people move on to your land and share your bounty without sharing your sweat. You work I eat, is slavery as far as Lincoln was conerned...Property was justified as a requirement for human beings to have the incentive to put it to its highest use.

Interestingly enough Lincoln created Agricultural Land Grant schools that focused upon teaching people how to put such land to the highest use...and the typical critique of Locke at least among energy economist is that this mentality towards property resulted in great inefficiency and waste...some people also might try to characterize the Lockeian mindset as greedy and souless...i.e. There will be Blood.

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