Thursday, November 04, 2010

Property rights: absolute with one limit

Property rights: absolute with one limit

Yes, I said long ago that I had written my last word on the Bubble Theory of Property Rights. Well, it keeps rearing its head, and the more I examine the concepts and counter-arguments, the more sure I am of where I stand. That still doesn't mean I am right.

Property rights are absolute (even if The State acts as if they are not). Property rights have only one limit: they end where the property ends. You can't claim ownership of your neighbor's house just because it is adjacent to your property, even if your property is completely surrounding his property and he must parachute to his house from deep space in order to avoid crossing your land. Your property lines are where your property rights end in this example. Those who own land in the middle of national forests still retain ownership of their own property (even if the feds aren't happy about it and seek to violate those property rights in myriad ways).

The same goes for smaller units of property such as a house or business and an individual allowed to enter that property. If you allow me to come onto your property, my body does not become your property even though it is engulfed by your property. My property "bubble" extends to the outer surface of my clothing because my clothes are still my clothes even if you allow me, and them, on your property. Your property rights end at my surface, and do not penetrate any deeper. So, anything beneath the surface of my clothes, as long as it remains only there, is occupying only my property even if I am surrounded and engulfed by your property at your permission.

You can insist I leave my rights behind if I enter your property, but the demand is no more valid than the demand that I become your unwilling sex slave if I enter your property. Slavery or murder is not OK just because you "only" do it on your own property. Now, obviously, anyone evil enough to make the demand that you relinquish your rights in order to enter their property is someone you should avoid if at all possible. It is better to avoid putting yourself in these situations if you can. You can cooperate or not as you see fit, but I don't consider it noble to kowtow to bad guys.

Added as clarification: It's not so much that I think I have a right to carry a concealed weapon onto other people's property, it is that I don't believe I have a right to forbid such on my own property. If I invite someone, I invite them as a sovereign individual with all their rights fully intact. I have no right to regulate what is in their pockets as long as it stays there in every way.

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A federal jury in Albuquerque has convicted a Rio Rancho man of the "crime" of being a "convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition". They've obviously never heard of

The man was charged in the case in June 2009 after a cop stopped his car and during an undoubtedly unethical violation of property rights, found a .40-caliber pistol and ammunition in a computer bag.

Why was he stopped? Why did the cop illegally search the car? And why, if the man is still a danger who can't be trusted with a gun, was he running free? Anyone who can't be trusted with a gun can't be trusted. And rights can never be "lost".

On top of this, one of the two "felonies" he was previously convicted for was probably not even wrong. "Aggravated assault on an officer" is one of those false crimes that anyone who doesn't bow to a LEO's puffed-up "authority" quick enough, and is then put in a position of having to defend oneself from an attack by the authority-crazed cop, could be charged with.