Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Code enforcement"

This is my latest column (10-7-2010) in the local paper, which has no website to link to:

I care how Farwell looks. I probably care more than the vast majority of Farwell residents, and I can offer concrete proof of my concern, backed up by my actions, to those who doubt me. However, I care about liberty even more.

All socialism has the myth of "the common good", also known as "the general welfare", at its heart [and nothing but socialism can result from it]. Socialism is wrong, even when you approve and even if you benefit from it. It places the desires of "society", or even just a portion of society, above the inalienable rights of the individual.

So I am particularly appalled by the recent emphasis on "code enforcement". That's socialist-speak for "Violating your property rights on behalf of The Majority using the threat of force". It is wrong even when it has been made "legal". Liberty is sometimes messy, but it is still preferable to, and the ethical opposite of, "neat and orderly" socialism.

I understand that some people get offended when a neighbor has an unkempt lawn or a junky car in their yard. Yet, what another person does with their own property, even to the point of destroying it, is no one else's business as long as no one else is being harmed- and being offended doesn't qualify as harm. If a neighbor's junk is winding up on your property, or causing you harm through attracted vermin or mosquito breeding, you have the right to take action to solve that particular problem or seek restitution. Until that happens their property is none of your business, no matter what.

"Codes" are just a way of taking control of a person's property away from them and giving it to a mythical entity called "the majority". It is wrong even if you like it and even if you can come up with reasonable-sounding justifications. I repudiate this violation of rights. Don't enforce the "codes" against my neighbors on my behalf.

Update: Check out the police chief's response, along with my added comments here.

Deadly ABQ motorcycle crash illustrates flaws of statism

Deadly ABQ motorcycle crash illustrates flaws of statism

Two people who were "speeding" and not wearing helmets were killed in a motorcycle crash in Albuquerque Saturday afternoon. Some control-freak types see this as an excuse to allow government to control what people do with their own bodies, for "the common good". They may claim that injuries cost "society" if the person isn't insured. They may claim that as long as government "owns" the road it can make the rules. And in making these claims they would be missing the point.

First of all there should be no government welfare that provides medical care through coercive financing. If charities, hospitals, or philanthropists want to donate time or money to take care of people who can't afford it, they can. Yet they wouldn't be forced to help those who they feel were injured by making life choices they don't personally like if they don't wish to. Anti-gun extremists could deny care to those who injure themselves in shooting accidents or while hunting, and those who feel everyone should wear a helmet could deny funds to those injured while not wearing one.

Second, government doesn't really own roads since government owns NOTHING it did not first steal or "buy" (or maintain) with money it stole. Thieves do not get to control the use of the property they stole. Private road owners could set any requirements for using their roads they wish (as long as their "requirement" doesn't violate a basic human right- which is never up for negotiation), and their customers could choose to use a competitor if they don't like the rules.

Since these conditions are not met it shows deeper problems that need to be addressed before the finer details can be debated in any meaningful way. That a cure reveals another disease doesn't discredit the original cure; it shows something else that needs to be addressed before the problem is truly solved.