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[T]he crucial question is not, as so many believe, whether property rights should be private or governmental, but rather whether the necessarily ‘private’ owners are legitimate owners or criminals. For ultimately, there is no entity called ‘government’; there are only people forming themselves into groups called ‘governments’ and acting in a ‘governmental’ manner. All property is therefore always ‘private’; the only and critical question is whether it should reside in the hands of criminals or of the proper and legitimate owners.
Most libertarians agree that all rights are, in effect, property rights, beginning with this fundamental right to self-ownership and control of one’s own life. As owners of their own lives, individuals are completely free to do absolutely anything they wish with them provided, of course, that it doesn’t violate the identical right of others whether the people around them approve of what they do or not.
In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them. He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.
You have to have a government to provide you with legal order, with stability, enforcement of property rights, enforcement of contracts, definition of rules and regulations – the rules of the game, so to speak – and to provide certain shared goods and services, public services. Several people have tried to estimate this and they come out with figures like government spending at 15% of GDP. In the modern world it has gone to 40% or above. So we are way beyond the optimal, and that is easier to say than what the optimum is.