Saturday, October 03, 2009

The 'bubble' of personal property

The 'bubble' of personal property

This subject has been discussed in this column before. The fact, as I see it, is that rights don't overlap. If you have a right to something, the right doesn't go away just because of where you are. This most often crops up in gun rights discussions, where I am in the minority with my views. There is no need for "laws" that affirm your right to not be raped while at work or at the store. So it is with your other rights. No one can claim that by hiring you or opening for business their act negates your rights in any way. That would mean you have no rights; only privileges.

A recent column by the Dallas Libertarian Examiner caused me to think about this again. The more I contemplate it, The more clearly I see it this way, and the less I am able to see the other point of view. I know that's not good. So, convince me I am wrong.

Here is my explanation of how I view the subject:

I believe we each carry with us a "me-shaped bubble" of our own personal property. That personal property bubble remains intact no matter where we are. It consists of your body, your clothing, and the space between the two. No one can claim ownership of me and eliminate my property by posting a sign. Property rights don't overlap, and no one, under any circumstance, can trump your right to your own body, and that includes what is inside your clothing, as long as it doesn't make an appearance or "leak" out (like radiation or viruses).

I am not going to, nor should I, ask every property owner if I am allowed to enter his property "whole" when the property is open to the public or if I get an invitation. Do I also need to ask if my private thoughts are acceptable? My underwear? My brand of deodorant? Not one of those things is any less dangerous to someone who is not attacking the innocent than is my gun. It is a dangerous precedent to single out guns as the only thing that we need to declare to everyone, everywhere we go, every time we step out our front door. This is what hoplophobes would like us to do: think about guns differently than any other object.

If you have no "bubble" of personal property when you leave your home, on your body or in your vehicle, then the real-world implication is that you have no property at all except when you stay home. Anywhere you go, the property owner can demand that you hand over your money, your clothing, or your life. After all, someone claims every square inch of land you must traverse as you go about your day.

This brings up the subject of employees' cars in the employer's parking lots. Your property inside your car is also in a personal property "bubble". The presence of your car itself is a different matter. No one is obligated to allow it (or your body) on their property, but once they do, they accept it ALL as a package deal. If your car is still your property while it is on someone else's property, then the space inside your car is still your property, not part yours and part someone else's, and certainly not all someone else's. To claim otherwise is what government tries to do when it claims that by using "public" roads, we are consenting to whatever they decide to do to us and our cars. it is utter authoritarian nonsense and is not consistent with liberty.

No one has the right or the authority to make a contract which trades your right to not be molested or killed in order to enter their property. They have the right to not allow you on their property at all, or they have the right to ask you to leave if for some reason they decide they do not like you or what you have on your body. Everyone has the right to be a hermit if they so choose. They also have the right to use self-defense if you attack someone on their property, and I would never second-guess their determination of "how much" force they use in the defense of life and property. So don't cross that line if you do not wish to face the consequences.

As I go about my life I "assume liberty". Obviously, if you rightly assume liberty, but are then asked to leave by a property owner who doesn't believe in allowing you to be a sovereign individual who is responsible for yourself, by all means, leave and don't go back. No one like this has your best interests at heart and this person is not your friend. The only reason anyone wouldn't want you to be armed is so they can do things to you which you would not allow if you were adequately able to stop them.

I understand that ALL rights are, at their foundation, property rights. People say: "Entering someone else's property is a privilege, not a right." I agree. And my body remains my property no matter where I am, because that is a fundamental right that can't go away. You can't enter my property without my permission. If I invite you, I will always assume you are prepared to be a fully-functional human being. Anything less is disrespectful or worse. If you don't trust someone to be armed, you don't trust them and have no business inviting them onto your property in the first place.