Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bubble Theory vs the ZAP etc.

I've been thinking a lot about my so-called "Bubble Theory of Property Rights" recently. Part of the reason is probably because of the video I made to try to explain my views on it. The rest of the reason is simply because it seems so completely self-evident to me, even in the face of the arguments against it.

Using the concealed weapon example is easiest for me because that's where the discussion began, but it applies just as well to anything you could carry or wear privately on (or in) your body.

It applies to the TSA abuses. It is what the Fourth Amendment was supposed to protect (although it was then thoroughly compromised with weasel-words telling how government could violate it "legally"). It is at the heart of self-ownership and individual sovereignty, since it means making choices for yourself and accepting the consequences of those choices rather than being responsible for other people's choices.

But I began to wonder how it held up against the Zero Aggression Principle. After studying it, I realized it passes with flying colors.

I completely agree with those who disagree with my Bubble theory of property rights on one particular point: Forbidding weapons from being carried concealed by visitors to private property does not initiate force.

However, the reverse is also true. Bubble theory does not initiate force in any way. You are not using physical force on another person by exercising your bodily property rights even when surrounded by their property.

Is being ZAP-compliant enough? I maintain that the ZAP is essential, but not sufficient, for ethical behavior. You must also not initiate deceit nor commit non-aggressive theft (fraud).

How does Bubble Theory stack up here? It does not deceive any innocent person, nor does it steal any object from anyone. It "steals" no part of the other property owner's rights from him, since his rights end where his property ends, and therefore does not penetrate the bubble of property traveling around with other people's bodies.

The only time it would initiate fraud is if you explicitly agreed to not carry anything the property owner forbade, and then did so anyway. Otherwise, while it might be nicer to acknowledge the prohibition and agree to abide by it, you are not harming anyone in any real way, neither physically nor economically, if you ignore their unreasonable demands. You are not violating the ZAP, nor are you harming anyone, but are taking responsibility for yourself and expressing your individual sovereignty.

That leaves only trespassing as a possible wrong you have committed. Is the property open to "the public", or did you receive an invitation? Then you are not trespassing if you are there. What about your "forbidden object"? An object can not trespass; only a person can. (If you go onto the other person's property and drop your "forbidden object", then you are littering. This is about as close to trespassing as an object can come, but the offense is yours, not the object's.)

No one is obligated to open their property to the presence of others. "Hermit" is a legitimate lifestyle choice. However, if you want to have it both ways: to not be a hermit, but also try to violate the personal rights of those who come to your property, you are not being a good person. I don't think you are even being rational.

As I say, I will still do my best to respect the wishes of other property owners, but I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I respect the property and liberty of others, as I claim to, then I can not pretend to have any control over what is inside their personal property bubbles. If I don't trust you with your liberty, then I don't trust you and have no business inviting you onto my property in the first place. You do what you feel is right, just as I will.

Added: I think claiming that real estate property rights can exist without "the bubble" of personal property rights existing is like claiming that you can exist without your grandparents ever having existed. Just my view on the matter...


  1. Kent,

    This is getting tiresome.

    It's not complicated.

    No one is "violating the personal rights" of anyone else by setting conditions on the use of their property.

    Anyone who violates such conditions, on the other hand, IS violating the personal rights of the property owner, IS aggressing, and IS trespassing.

    Those two statements will remain true no matter how many times you click your heels together and chant "but I WANT TO SOOOOOOOOOOO BAD that it must be okay."

  2. I appreciate your patience as well as your disagreement. Seriously. If I were you I wouldn't bother reading anymore of my thoughts on this issue (but I appreciate your effort).

    You would have been proud of me today. I went to Amarillo (about an hour and a half away from "home") and left my gun at home since I knew that I wouldn't be able to go in anywhere without violating a "no guns" policy. Sure enough, almost everywhere I needed to go had such a policy posted somewhere.

    On the other hand, I felt like I was abdicating my responsibility to my daughter by not doing all I could to protect her.

    Anyway, I still think without a bubble of personal property rights that is absolute, there are zero property rights anywhere, no matter how much you might like to believe otherwise. Which might be the case.

    I ran my "bubble theory" past L. Neil Smith a while back and he agreed with me (which is what inspired my ZAP reflection), which might mean nothing, but on the other hand it means a lot to me.

  3. mamaliberty@rtconnect.netThu Dec 30, 07:19:00 AM 2010

    Seems to me that this is a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" problem.

    In a free society, just who would object to someone coming onto their property armed? And if some nut case did object, who would want to go there?

    Perhaps you've proposed a relatively non existent problem to solve.

    I just wrote a chapter for my new book about a wedding where everyone was openly armed, including all the members of the bridal party and their parents! In church, yet. It was a hoot. :)


  4. Perhaps so. I would definitely like to see a free society where we could see how big of an issue this really was. I do not live in a free society right now, and can't (or shouldn't) flee to freer pastures due to other circumstances.

    L. Neil did tell me one thing that slightly disappointed me with regards to my idea- he said it is nothing new and was something Robert LeFevre also advocated. Here I thought I was being original.

    The church I went to in Colorado (back when I still went to church) didn't have a problem with anyone being armed, and it seemed it was just assumed some were. A guy once opened his briefcase in our Sunday school class, which was taught by the preacher and his wife, to get out his Bible and there was other work-related stuff - and his pistol- inside rather than what he expected. He just said "Oh, wrong briefcase" and no one even blinked.

  5. Kent,

    You write:

    "Anyway, I still think without a bubble of personal property rights that is absolute, there are zero property rights anywhere"

    I agree 100%.

    That bubble of personal property rights extends to ALL your property, and anyone else who brings their bubble within that bubble has to do so on the voluntarily agreed terms, or it's aggression.

    Your contention is that your bubble gives you more rights than my bubble gives me, or that somehow my rights disappear even within my own bubble when you want to bring your bubble into my bubble. I disagree.

  6. "Aggression" is a physical attack- only. I got corrected on this issue once myself. I was saying fraud was a form of "economic aggression" and was put in my place, and rightfully so. If there is no physical force applied to another's body, there may still be something wrong going on, but it isn't aggression.

    As for the rest of that paragraph, yes, your bubble of property extends to all of your property, BUT if you allow someone else on your property (something you are not obligated to do) your bubble ends where it intersects their bubble. Your property does not include the visitor's body or the immediate space surrounding them. Even if they agreed to be your property while engulfed by your property (which is where this leads), I would not ever support that contention if it arose during dispute resolution. That would be slavery.

    "Your contention is that your bubble gives you more rights than my bubble gives me..."

    No, I'm saying that property rights don't overlap and that if you allow a person onto your property their body does not become your property. Not more rights, but equal and identical rights. Your property ends where it adjoins the property of another, even if that property is the other person's body as they move through spacetime. Your rights still exist completely intact and undamaged outside the bubble of the other person, just as they always have and always will.

  7. I'm way late to this (It's April!)- BUT...

    If a property owner abducts people into slavery on his property, how would each of you explain the 'wrongness'?

    I would say that personal Liberty trumps property, always.
    And life is necessary pre-requisite for liberty or property; therefore life trumps both.

    Therefore, anyone declaring property rights over right to life- is worse than a slaver. Because slavery only involves liberty; while coercive denial of the right to self defense threatens life.

    [I am interested in the reasoning both advocates use to support their perspectives. My own opinion wa also offerred for discussion and ridicule.]

  8. I would guess the others might say it would only be OK if that were a condition attached to entering or using the property- "a contract".

    I would say even then it depends upon whether coercion were used to get the person to agree to that condition. Did they really think they had a choice in the matter or not?

    I don't think slavery is OK even if you "only do it on your own property" and your slave signed away his liberty as a condition of entering your property.

    Such a scenario, to me, violates the "bubble" in a severe way.

  9. I'd like to hear from kn@appster too. His comments are reasoned, and challenging counterpoints may serve to refine or refute my thinking.

    Me? I think slavery only involves liberty; while coercive denial of the right to self defense threatens life itself. Asking someone to 'conditionally' agree to no longer be a whole man... It is a repugnant local practice which must be stopped. As slavery is evil, disarming is worse: Slavery only involves liberty; while coercive denial of the right to self defense threatens life itself.

    Slavery wasn't 'undone' in a day. Hopefully in time, we can also 'undo' this barbaric local meme.

  10. In a related note: The family has wanted to visit Colorado to climb 'fourteeners', but out of state CCW is not recognized, and CO does not issue CCW to out of state residents. Citizens of America do not have a right to bear arms in CO.

    Like most folks, we like remote outdoor activities, but would not go anywhere without the ability to defend against quadripedal and bipedal wildlife. We would be remiss in our reponsibilities to ourselves and our children. And a state that demands that we are not fully men, and lose our rights when treading upon their soil- Makes itself repugnant. Coercing vistors to disarm, under threat of government force- Is worse than slavery. The right to Life itself is denied, not just mere Liberty.