Why Trump Rally Protesters Are Property Rights Criminals

Though I would not vote for Donald Trump, and will probably have to write-in Ron Paul if the Libertarians don’t run someone decent, I believe the protesters who interrupt his rallies are committing a crime against both him and his supporters who attend those rallies.paul 19

The reason this is a crime was brilliantly explained by the radical Libertarian and founder of the Libertarian Party in America, Professor Murray Rothbard.

In an insightful analysis of why shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, or interrupting a speech or lecture with heckling, is a crime, Rothbard points out the real reason this is a crime, in contrast to the incorrect analysis by the U.S. Supreme Court which is usually glibly quoted by those discussing the crime.

Interrupting a speech, lecture, or concert, Rothbard argues, is a property rights crime (as are all crimes). The Crime is Contractual Fraud. Those attending the lecture or concert, by purchasing a ticket or merely attending a free lecture, have implicitly agreed to let the concert or lecture take place without interruption. If someone yells, “To Hell with Beethoven” in the concert hall in the middle of a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or starts heckling a lecturer or politician during a previously scheduled and announced lecture, they have violated the property rights of the ticket holders or attendees, who had the right to the quiet enjoyment of what they paid for when purchasing a ticket, or agreeing to attend the lecture or speech by their presence. The crime of a heckler or demonstrator is contractual fraud against all the attendees, who could reasonably expect to hear the event uninterrupted, the speaker or performer, and against the sponsor or promoter of the event. If the promoter of the event caused the disruption, he would be the criminal in the case. If an attendee causes the disruption, his property crime is against the ticket holders, the performer or speaker, the attendees, and the promoter of the event.

Note that this would not be the case if someone got up on a soapbox in the middle of a public street or a public park. Then there would be no crime in heckling or interrupting him, because no listener had a reasonable expectation of enjoying the speech without interruption, nor were any funds expended to hear the speech.

So the people who are interrupting the Trump rallies are Criminals who are violating the property rights of the attendees, Donald Trump, and anyone else who promoted the event. In my view, their punishment should be a fine equal to the cost of putting on the event, the time spent by the non-heckling attendees at a rate of the current minimum wage in that State times the length of the event, plus the time spent and cost of transportation for all the non-interrupting attendees at the rate of the minimum wage. Trump should sue the protesters for that amount, and the courts would be justified in giving that amount to him and to the non-interrupting attendees.

These protests will merely gather more sympathy and support for Trump and his campaign. The protesters are free to stage their own rallies, and vote for whomever they wish. Those protestors should not violate the property rights of Trump and his attendee supporters by assaulting the attendee’s implicit property rights in their courteous attendance at his rallies.

Note that the same reasoning applies to the Black Lives Matter interruption of Bernie Sanders, when he just folded, let them take over the stage and harangue the crowd, shamefully permitting them to violate the property rights of his attendees at that rally. But Senator Sanders obviously does not understand property rights the way Professor Rothbard did.

So whether you agree or disagree with Donald Trump, protesters should not make him a martyr by interrupting his speeches and aggressing against his property rights. If Americans correctly understood Property Rights Crimes, they would know why interrupting one of his rallies is a Crime.

-Paul Grad, Libertarian Party of Oregon Gubernatorial Nominee 2014

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