Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Leave it to a libertarian to describe a human body as a "resource"

Steven E. Landsburg:

Now on to the preferences of [Terri Schiavo's] husband and parents. This is essentially a fight about what to do with her body: He wants to dispose of it; they want to feed it. And the question arises: Once someone has decided to dispose of a resource, why would we want to stop someone else from retrieving it? If I throw out a toaster, and you want to retrieve it from my trash, there's a net economic gain. If Michael Schiavo essentially throws out his wife's body and her parents want to retrieve it, it seems pointless to prevent them.

Well, that's one way of looking at it. So if, after Landsburg dies and is buried, I want to dig up his corpse and use his head as a soccer ball, does it not seem pointless to prevent me? Who are YOU to say that that would not be the highest and best use for his lifeless skull?

Via Mark A. R. Kleiman


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