Tag Archives: consent

Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Three – Consent and Contract


Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Three – Consent and Contract

By Duncan Whitmore

We will begin our survey of the causative events of legal liability in a libertarian legal system with those that arise from consent because, even though people may view “the law” as being synonymous with wrongs such as crimes and torts, consensual legal relations are, in fact, the most frequent types of legal interaction that arise in an individual’s life.

Contract

The predominant form of legal relations arising from consent is, of course, the contract; a person may enter tens of these contracts every single day by, for example, just purchasing a coffee, a bus ticket, or lunch, whereas most people would scarcely commit a single crime in their entire lives (although we might note that today states are happy to spill oceans of ink in criminalising, through legislation, even the most innocuous of actions). While any good legal system must have strong proscriptions against horrific acts such as murder and rape, it is the contract that is the primary preoccupation of everyone’s daily lives.

The first question to consider, then, is what exactly is a contract? Although it should be clear that all contracts concern some sort of bilateral arrangement, different legal systems have varying and often elaborate definitions. Read more

The Danger of “Presumed Consent”


On August 5th of this year it was reported in the news that Parliament is close to passing an overhaul of the organ donation scheme in England through the so-called “Max’s Law”, under which “adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be.1” This is in contrast to the current system where potential donors have to explicitly record their consent on the NHS Organ Donation Register.

One should always be particularly wary of laws that are named after specific individuals or events – almost certainly the story of some child or tragedy has been deployed in order to tug at our heart strings so that we wave through a state intervention while struggling to hold back our tears. In this case, the tragedies are, according to the BBC, the 411 people who, in 2017, died before a donor organ became available to them, and of the plight of approximately 5,000 people currently on the waiting list for such an organ in England.2

We might start by pointing out that the real cause of a shortage of donor organs is, of course, the fact that they are forcibly prevented by the state from trading at a market price. The supply of something that is in high demand can rarely be met by altruism alone and so it is always likely to be the case that either under-pricing a good or removing any benefit, cash or otherwise, from those who could be prepared to supply it will lead to its shortage. That may be an uncomfortable fact for those who cannot bear to imagine people “profiting” from the sale of organs. They might, however, wish to consider whether transmuting a monetary cost into the cost of forcing 5,000 people to wait in limbo for a voluntary donor under the shadow of death is sufficient to justify their moral scruples. Further, they may wish to ponder whether it is worth pushing the trade in organs out of the light of legitimacy and into the shadows of the black market – a highly lucrative underground industry worth between $600m and $1bn in profits per year, and where organs are often sourced from kidnapping and murder specifically for the purpose.3 Read more

Organ Transplants and human property rights in “new” Britain, the one you don’t recognise any more…News Release: “New Labour: New Cannibalism”


NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International
Release Date: Monday 14th January 2008
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb on 07956 472 199 or via sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr062.htm

“Cannibalism: New Labour’s Next Step” Says Libertarian Alliance

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties pressure group, today denounces Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s proposal that organs for donation be taken without consent from the dead.

Libertarian Alliance Director, Sean Gabb, says:

“Whenever British politicians or their clients want to do something particularly gross to the rest of us, they announce it in a special  ‘caring’ tone. Watching Gordon Brown at work today, his voice so slow and husky it was barely audible, was rather like being lovebombed by Fred West.

“When the law allows organs to be harvested from the bodies of the dead without the explicit prior consent of the dead, or the explicit consent of the next of kin, the State becomes effectively a cannibal.

The proposal may save one or two lives. But it also puts lives in danger. Many National Health Service hospitals are chaotic infection traps. Their unwashed wards swarm with doctors who are high on drugs to stay awake, who think an epidural goes into the arm, and who frequently speak barely a word of English.

“Give these people the right to harvest organs, and no one without private insurance will be safe. Doctors will take organs from patients who are not dead. They will ‘accelerate death’ for patients whose organs they want for friends or paying clients.

“We are told that we shall have the right to opt-out of this presumed consent scheme. I do not believe NHS bureaucrats are efficient enough to draw this to the attention of medical staff. But I do believe they will eventually be efficient enough to withhold treatment from those patients whose records on the database now being constructed show a lack of consent.

“And presumed consent really is only the beginning. Let this through, and it is only a matter of time before blood donation becomes compulsory. After cannibalism, after all, vampirism is very little.”

The Libertarian Alliance believes that no organ or bodily part should be taken from any person for any purpose without the explicit prior consent of that person, or, if dead, without the explicit consent of the next of kin.

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Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His latest book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3. It may also be bought. His other books are available from Hampden Press at http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.

He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk