Friday, November 06, 2009

One final look at the 'bubble' of personal property

One final look at the 'bubble'

I think that one reason I am so highly skeptical of the claim that a concealed weapon can be legitimately prohibited by a property owner who otherwise "invites" visitors or customers onto his property is because of the similarity between this and the "if you don't like it you are free to leave" argument that statists continually use against those who suggest ways to increase freedom in America (or anywhere else) and who disagree with the rampant out-of-control growth of government power. It's that magical "social contract", don't you know.

Those who make that claim point out that nothing is stopping you from moving somewhere else that may be more to your liking. They ignore the governmental gauntlet that you must run, and the barriers erected to keep you from leaving with "too much" of your own property, but they are technically right. It is not impossible for you to leave. You can leave the increasingly fascist America for somewhere else even if it costs you most of your possessions and your family. Forget the fact that governments claim "authority" over every square inch of the planet now. Also forget the fact that there is no such thing as a "good government" and you would just be going from the frying pan to the griddle or into the fire. (And either will kill you.) Also ignore the fact that if all the good people abandon their homes to the bad people who make the demand, the bad guys have "won" by default.

So it is with this issue. If you don't like it, move somewhere that it isn't an issue, or change your behavior to reflect what others think you should do. After all, it is not impossible. It is possible to stay out of every business that is posted "no guns" (notice that LEOs are not obligated to obey this wish at all, which is not a recommendation to follow their lead by any means). You can get new friends and avoid your relatives if you happen to have the wrong ones. It would not directly kill you to avoid going places where your weaponry is forbidden, nor to disarm every single time before you go into those places you can't reasonably avoid. It might cause embarrassment to have to refuse to enter certain places without any honest explanation to your companions, but it is possible. You can choose to avoid the whole problem by never being armed with anything other than your mind and body. You would probably not even be killed on any particular occasion as a consequence of going about life as a toothless disarmed sheep. Can you count on that "probability" strongly enough to act on it? If that is the case, why bother ever taking the initiative to protect yourself? Just take your chances.

As I have said before, rights do not overlap. If you have a right to your body, then that right doesn't go away no matter where you are and no matter what others may demand. If someone chooses to invite people onto their property, then one of the drawbacks of that choice is that the person you invite retains all the rights that come along with a living human body. You can not ask that they give up even the "least" of their human rights in exchange for passage. Well, you can ask, but no one is obligated to comply.

Perhaps you believe that you have a right to pick and choose what rights a person has when they are invited to your property. I don't. I have too much respect for you as a whole, functioning human being to make that demand, and too much respect for myself to even think that way. Yes, my real-estate is mine and I have absolute rights to it and what is done there (ignoring for a moment the reality of governmental violations of these rights), but I know and accept that my rights to my property end where your rights to your body begin even if I have invited you onto my property and you are surrounded and engulfed by my property. If I don't like that I am not forced to permit anyone to enter my property. It is the nature of rights that others have the exact same rights as I do regardless of their location.

As Bob Schoettker commented on Knappster's take on the issue

"I set the conditions for use of my property -- if I can't, then it's
hardly honest to pretend that it's my property, is it?"

I have commented on this subject before in another venue, but it seems the
arguments are being defined a little more definitively here. I think that the
phrase "use of my property" above shows the core of the disagreement between
most libertarians on this issue.

What is "use" of your property?

I believe in inherent natural rights and I do not think that a person being
on "my" property in any way legitimates my abrogation of their rights; not to
life (i.e. can I kill anyone on my property because it's my property), not their
liberty (can I enslave any one on my property). Then under what distorted
definition of "use" can I deny them the right to self defense? How are any of
these things a legitimate usurpation of the owners "property" rights? In what
way do they affect his own use or disposition of his "property"? They
nevertheless are CLEAR violations of the visitors natural rights.

I have an obligation to my children to protect them, and myself, in spite of demands that I not be effectively equipped to do so. I also have an obligation to teach them to think these matters through for themselves and not take my word, nor the word of any other individual, without making sure it makes sense and passes the test. This is the issue I have weighed more carefully and intensely than any other. Yet I still come down on the side of a person's body and the immediate, intimate surroundings of that body being the primary vessel of his human rights, with all other rights deriving from that foundation. I think any other view is putting the cart before the horse, although it seems more polite and socially palatable.

I intend this to be my final word dealing with this issue, and I'll just have to agree to disagree with those who think I am off-base here. It in no way diminishes my respect for those who disagree with me, which I hope I have made clear, and I hope the same can be said of their opinions of me. In some cases you have to do what you think is right in the face of massive disagreement, and then live with the consequences of your decisions. This is one of those times.

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