Libertarianism and Boycotts

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News Story Source: by Wendy McElroy
The term "boycott" was coined in 1880 by the Irish Home Rule leader Charles Stewart Parnell to describe a campaign of social and economic ostracism that was being waged by the Irish against the land agent Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott; he worked for an English absentee landlord who had wrongfully, albeit legally, evicted former landowners. Captain Boycott was despised, but the tactic was aimed more broadly at all usurpation of land. It went beyond the punishment of one man. Boycotts attempted to non-violently change the institution of property ownership by making the current system unworkable and in the hope that legal privileges for the English and the legal oppression of the Irish would be abolished.

Parnell once asked an Irish crowd, "What do you do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has been evicted?" The audience shouted, "kill him," "shoot him." Parnell's response? "I wish to poin
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