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Re: Libertarianism and property rights

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  • Thomas J. Webb
    One worry could be that as someone accumulates more land, they effectively have more control over legal structure. If someone wants to create a theocracy, they
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 1, 2010
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      One worry could be that as someone accumulates more land, they effectively have more control over legal structure. If someone wants to create a theocracy, they could simply buy huge chunks of land adding up to the size of a state and enforce their rules in the area. Things like this are why I think it's reasonable to have a minimal government that exists to assure other government-like entities aren't allowed to take certain rights away from you. A sort of second bill of rights.

      Of course, there are many advantages of the right to set rules on your own property. For one, people who value safety over convenience can live in walled communities where there is a private security force. Also, one of the best ways to protect the environment isn't crippling legislation from above, but buying land and basically not letting anyone tread on it other than scientists, etc.

      -Thomas

      > There is a choice to enter the property or not. There can be a notice issue as to rules.
    • jeo1@verizon.net
      So you have a minarchist, Randian position. Why would someone want to buy all land and try to enforce dumb rules and make people not want to live on his land
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 1, 2010
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        So you have a minarchist, Randian position. 
         
        Why would someone want to buy all land and try to enforce dumb rules and make people not want to live on his land or do business there?  What would be the point other than wasting a lot of resources?  Wouldnt there be more than one person or organization in the market for land and property?
         
        And what keeps a govt "minimal"?  The U.S. was supposed to have a minimal, federal govt at least.  Didn't work out so great.
         
        What are historical examples of powerful gov'ts that voluntarily became more minimalist?  Or that didn't expand their power?


        Jun 1, 2010 10:32:07 AM, LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com wrote:
        >
        >

        One worry could be that as someone accumulates more land, they effectively have
        >more control over legal structure. If someone wants to create a theocracy, they
        >could simply buy huge chunks of land adding up to the size of a state and enforce
        >their rules in the area. Things like this are why I think it's reasonable to have
        >a minimal government that exists to assure other government-like entities aren't
        >allowed to take certain rights away from you. A sort of second bill of rights.
        >
        > Of course, there are many advantages of the right to set rules on your own
        >property. For one, people who value safety over convenience can live in walled communities
        >where there is a private security force. Also, one of the best ways to protect the
        >environment isn't crippling legislation from above, but buying land and basically
        >not letting anyone tread on it other than scientists, etc.
        >
        > -Thomas
        >
        > > There is a choice to enter the property or not. There can be a notice
        >issue as to rules.
        >
        >

      • Thomas J. Webb
        How is my position Randian? Let me rephrase what you said: why would /a government/ want to buy all land and try to enforce dumb rules... What makes private
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 2, 2010
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          How is my position Randian?

          Let me rephrase what you said: "why would /a government/ want to buy all land and try to enforce dumb rules..." What makes private seats of power incapable of what government does now? It's only a difference of scale.

          The US constitution isn't libertarian or minarchist. I suppose it's not a point for me, but it's not a point for you either that a minimal government hasn't been tried yet.

          -Thomas

          > So you have a minarchist, Randian position.
          >
          > Why would someone want to buy all land and try to enforce dumb rules
          > and make people not want to live on his land or do business there?
          > What would be the point other than wasting a lot of resources?
          > Wouldnt there be more than one person or organization in the market
          > for land and property?
          >
          > And what keeps a govt "minimal"? The U.S. was supposed to have a
          > minimal, federal govt at least. Didn't work out so great.
          >
          > What are historical examples of powerful gov'ts that voluntarily
          > became more minimalist? Or that didn't expand their power?
        • jeo1@verizon.net
          It hasnt been tried because govts always expand their power. Randians are minarchists and statists, in the sense that they believe in a constitutionalist,
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 2, 2010
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            It hasnt been tried because govts always expand their power. 
             
            Randians are minarchists and statists, in the sense that they believe in a constitutionalist, (allegedly) minimalist, night watchman type state. 
             
            In present form Randians are also warmongers as they see the US state as all powerful and great, like neocons, Obamaites etc.
             
            The difference between private actors and govt is that one relies exclusively on theft, force and coercion, and monopoly of power, the other doesnt.  Guess which one does what.
             
            This is really basic stuff covered often on this board and throughout libertarian thought.  If these concepts are unfamiliar to you, please feel free to read the archives and sources cited. 
             
            I don't have time or the inclination, at least at the present, to give a tutorial on libertarianism 101 to an avowed statist on this board. 
             
            Maybe some of the great thinkers and writers on the list are more interested in the task.


            Jun 2, 2010 07:04:08 AM, LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com wrote:
            >
            >

            How is my position Randian?
            >
            > Let me rephrase what you said: "why would /a government/ want to buy all
            >land and try to enforce dumb rules..." What makes private seats of power incapable
            >of what government does now? It's only a difference of scale.
            >
            > The US constitution isn't libertarian or minarchist. I suppose it's not a point
            >for me, but it's not a point for you either that a minimal government hasn't been
            >tried yet.
            >
            > -Thomas
            >
            > > So you have a minarchist, Randian position.
            > >
            > > Why would someone want to buy all land and try to enforce dumb rules
            > > and make people not want to live on his land or do business there?
            > > What would be the point other than wasting a lot of resources?
            > > Wouldnt there be more than one person or organization in the market
            > > for land and property?
            > >
            > > And what keeps a govt "minimal"? The U.S. was supposed to have
            >a
            > > minimal, federal govt at least. Didn't work out so great.
            > >
            > > What are historical examples of powerful gov'ts that voluntarily
            > > became more minimalist? Or that didn't expand their power?
            >
            >

          • Thomas J. Webb
            I m still wondering why you re called me a Randian since you ve still yet to provide any evidence other than somehow equivalating minarchism and Objectivism.
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 3, 2010
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              I'm still wondering why you're called me a Randian since you've still yet to provide any evidence other than somehow equivalating minarchism and Objectivism. If you bothered to read my introduction you would've seen me admitting that I am (just barely) a statist, though I do believe in ultimate evolution to a stateless society. Rand's philosophy is egoist. I'm a utilitarian. Rand believes in a government that's primary function is military and police. I believe its function is mostly to prevent formation of other governments and to assess a basic tax on environmental destruction, to be redistributed evenly to all citizens, making me (as I talked about in my introduction) a geoist. If you want to accuse me of being something you don't like, at least get it right.

              I don't use the term "minarchist" to describe myself since, as the term is usually used, it means belief in a government that's purpose is defense.

              You're not telling me anything I'm not aware of, except for some things that are false. It is not true that only governments "rel[y] exclusively on theft, force and coercion, and monopoly of power". Or if you are to define it so, then A) many "private" entities would meet this requirement (and then some) and be sorts of mini-governments that must be restricted or eliminated - the Church of Scientology comes to mind, and B) since I don't believe in a government that does these things (but rather exists on donations and is controlled by direct democracy), then you're defining me as a libertarian. One thing that is special about the government as it stands today is that it is at least controlled by some simulacrum of democracy and this is a fact that I don't think escapes most left-Libertarians.

              -Thomas

              I don't believe in a standing army. Really, I fail to see how I'm a randian. Also, minarchists, I believe

              What does "it hasn't been tried because govts always expand their power" mean?

              > It hasnt been tried because govts always expand their power.
              Randians are minarchists and statists, in the sense that they
              believe in a constitutionalist, (allegedly) minimalist, night
              watchman type state. In present form Randians are also
              warmongers as they see the US state as all powerful and great,
              like neocons, Obamaites etc. The difference between private
              actors and govt is that one relies exclusively on theft, force
              and coercion, and monopoly of power, the other doesnt. Guess
              which one does what. This is really basic stuff covered often
              on this board and throughout libertarian thought. If these
              concepts are unfamiliar to you, please feel free to read the
              archives and sources cited. I don't have time or the
              inclination, at least at the present, to give a tutorial on
              libertarianism 101 to an avowed statist on this board. Maybe
              some of the great thinkers and writers on the list are more
              interested in the task.
            • Thomas J. Webb
              Ugh, please ignore these last two lines. In my haste to get to work in the morning, I neglected to delete them.
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 3, 2010
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                Ugh, please ignore these last two lines. In my haste to get to work in the morning, I neglected to delete them.

                > I don't believe in a standing army. Really, I fail to see how I'm a randian. Also, minarchists, I believe
                >
                > What does "it hasn't been tried because govts always expand their power" mean?
              • xipetotec56
                ... Well, O.K., but land accumulation doesn t just happen in a social vacuum, and I suspect that in a free society it would be pretty expensive to pull this
                Message 7 of 10 , Jun 12, 2010
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                  --- In LeftLibertarian2@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas J. Webb" <magusofthedark@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > One worry could be that as someone accumulates more land, they effectively have more control over legal structure. If someone wants to create a theocracy, they could simply buy huge chunks of land adding up to the size of a state and enforce their rules in the area.

                  Well, O.K., but land accumulation doesn't just happen in a social vacuum, and I suspect that in a free society it would be pretty expensive to pull this off, it it were even possible. (Say Tom Monaghan wants to buy all the land in Florida. Well, who's going to sell? Either he's going to have to spend an awful lot of time and effort being sneaky about it, or else it's going to become clear enough pretty quickly what he's doing. In the latter case, landowners are going to start jacking up their asking price, thus making the scheme more and more prohibitively expensive; or, if they hate the notion of theocracy, will start selling only with contractual conditions on how the land can be used; or will simply refuse to sell at any price, thus frustrating the plan entirely. Of course, if everybody in Florida is just as happy to put up with a theocracy as long as the price is right, they might end up with a theocracy; but you'd likely end up with trouble in any case under that kind of cultural climate, no matter what political system you have.

                  > Things like this are why I think it's reasonable to have a minimal
                  > government that exists to assure other government-like entities
                  > aren't allowed to take certain rights away from you. A sort of
                  > second bill of rights.

                  Well, if you're worried about the prudential problem of land accumulation, it seems like you could solve the problem just as easily by adopting a mutualist use-and-occupancy standard for land ownership as you could by pulling in a minimal state. If the problem you're worried about is concentration of land ownership, why not strike at the root, rather than trying to strap on a Rube Goldberg governmental mechanism to deal with the problem after you've already needlessly let it arise? [*]

                  In any case, it sounds like you're considering a lot of potential problems with private enforcement, but none of the potential problem with government enforcement. The worry about other government-like entities only makes sense as a prudential argument for government if you're *more* likely to be able to get the kind of rights-protection you want from a limited government, through the use of political mechanisms, than you are to be able to get the kind of rights-protection you want from private landowners and free associations, through the use of economic mechanisms in a free market.

                  But supposing that the people in the government aren't likely to be any less ambitious than the landowners and associations are, this becomes a question of how to keep them in check, and to prevent them from becoming invasive. But I'll just submit that there has been no constitutional theory ever yet devised in the history of political thought which has come anywhere near solving that problem through any set of political mechanisms (paper constitutions have been tried and failed; regular elections have been tried and failed; irregular elections have been tried and failed; direct democracy has been tried and failed; religious sanctions have been tried and failed; certainly the track record of monarchy, oligarchy, party bureaucracy, etc. is no better; etc.) Of course, you can always say that you need things like an activist populace jealous of their liberties, a vibrant civil society, etc. O.K.; but those would tend to act just as well to check private landowners and associations through economic means in a no-government society. So they don't provide any advantage for the adoption of political mechanisms.

                  Government isn't a simple mechanism that you can drop in to solve whatever problems you see with the market; it's a human institution, which always far outruns the intentions of those who set it up, let alone the wishes of those who have to deal with it. Unless you have some further theory about how to structure this minimal government so that it will handle this "bill of rights" just the way you want, and not go on to invade against all kinds of other rights that you didn't expect, calling it in to solve any kind of problem with anarchy is just going to be like swallowing a spider to catch the fly.

                  -C

                  [*] I'm not saying this as a positive defense of use-and-occupancy; incidentally. But I do suspect that many of the folks here who *don't* like a use-and-occupancy standard would still prefer it to a "minimal" state, if it comes down to those two options. And there are many things you can do to strongly encourage smallholding and discourage accumulation from within a rigidly Lockean framework, even if the local community doesn't formally adopt use-and-occupancy as a binding legal principle.
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