So, upon reading Nozick again I ran into something I haven't seen any libertarians argue vis a vis justifications of property rights (I don't think Nozick wouldn't promote this as an argument since it's more of an end-state theory written this way rather than an entitlement theory). I realized that a plausible argument for property could go something like this:
- Negative liberty is the only liberty that should be promoted.
- Property promotes negative liberty. :. Property is justifiable as an institution.
I realize that a one could bring up problems with both point 1 and 2 (by arguing for positive liberty and by pointing out how property violates negative liberty [a la Cohen, Carter, et al]), but ignoring that, is there anything else wrong with this?
What I have trouble letting go of is that this doesn't seem to justify property de jure, i.e. this doesn't seem to grant property 'rights', but more provides a reason for why property should be a thing agents strive to get. Which then brings up the question of how they would get it? What process would make it an agent's property so they can then obtain negative liberty (and I know there's theories of property acquisition, again, ignoring those theories)? If there's no property rights, can agents, then, just take property to promote their negative liberty? Etc.
Is my claim regarding property rights legitimate? Does this fail to actually provide a justification for property rights?