Sunday, October 28, 2018

"Guilty" of possession?

Mere possession of anything can't be a krime. There must be possession plus... something. What "something"? To be a krime there has to be possession plus archation--possession plus an act which violates someone, and mere possession doesn't. It can't.

Possession is passive. Believing this violates someone is basically the same as believing offending someone violates them-- it's like believing in "microaggressions". No one has a right to not be offended, and no one has the right to prohibit mere possession of something.

This was the realization which long ago ended my support of the War on Drugs; which made me realize it was really the stupid and evil War on Politically Incorrect Drugs.

But then I thought and considered this from every angle for a decade or two and finally came to realize it didn't end there. Mere possession of anything doesn't violate anyone, ever. I keep trying to think of a way to passively archate-- violate someone in some real way without acting-- and I haven't yet.

For possession of anything anywhere to be archation you have to have possession plus. Plus a credible threat to archate. Plus aggression. Plus theft. Plus radiation or some other active dispersal of something physically harmful onto another person or their private property. Plus something. Because mere possession isn't a violation of anyone's rights.

Just one example, concerning a hypothetical freedom of religion scenario:
You can possess any religious beliefs you want. You can possess those beliefs wherever you go, even when on the private property of someone with different religious beliefs. This is passive. No one can possibly be violated by your religion-- no matter what it is-- until you put your beliefs into action by actually doing something; by no longer passively possessing those beliefs, but by acting them out. By whipping them out and waving them around, as it were. You can be banned from performing rituals on someone else's property, but they can't reasonably (or ethically) ban you from passively possessing religious beliefs they oppose while on their property. It's just none of their business.

Reminder: I could really use some help.

This blog is my job.
"I do the job... I get paid."


  1. "You can be banned from performing rituals on someone else's property, but they can't reasonably (or ethically) ban you from passively possessing religious beliefs they oppose while on their property. It's just none of their business."

    If I condition your use of my property on you not believing a [insert belief here], using my property while believing a [insert belief here] is using my property without my permission, which is an initiation of force.

    1. I think you are trying to err on the side of niceness. I think that's commendable. It's nice to be nice.

  2. Suppose some really depraved individual acquires a nuclear bomb, or a canister of Sarin, and stores it peacefully in his basement. Possession, that's all. He may have made it, or bought it, but he committed no aggression when acquiring it.

    Are you content to live nearby? Or is it valid to presume some intent on his part?
    And what if, over time, the Sarin canister degrades and starts to leak?

    Then, there's a whole host of people, even more depraved because they stole the money to make them, who do actually possess these awful WMDs, today; they call themselves "government." But, with only a couple of minor exceptions in 1945, all they're now doing is to "possess" them. Any worries?

    1. I've said "possession, plus" is necessary to make it archation. A Sarin leak is that plus-- it won't stay on his property but will be a credible threat to yours. Can Sarin be possessed without it being a credible threat to others? I don't know.

      The same with a nuclear bomb. Can anyone possess a nuclear bomb without being a credible threat to others? Not as long as anyone is living in the blast zone, or in range of any fallout. Because even if they "only used it defensively" [sic], the "collateral damage" would be extreme.

      I don't believe there is ever "mere possession" of the types of WMDs States stockpile. Even if they got them without robbing people.

  3. "with only a couple of minor exceptions in 1945, all they're now doing is to 'possess' them. Any worries?"

    Two things:

    1) As you point out, what they are "possessing" is property they stole (the "krime" element Kent refers to); and

    2) They're continuing to steal wealth to maintain that "possession."

    Vis a vis "mere possession," an argument could be made that in the case of nukes or sarin there is no such thing -- that, like a similar argument vis a vis drunk driving, what is involved is inherently negligent brandishing of a weapon, a "krime" which those it's being brandished at are perfectly entitled to defend themselves against.

  4. Hmmm. So to keep a nuke quietly in the basement is to "brandish"?

    I don't say such a thing is likely. It would be a form of madness. But alas, madness happens. We might imagine the guy plans suicide, and is such a sociopath he wants to take with him as many as he can. So he stores it, and when the voices tell him it's time, he hits the button. The pilot of that Germanwings flight did just that kind of thing; arguably, so did the 19 executioners on 9/11.

    If then to store a nuke is to "brandish" it, how about storing a large conventional bomb? And then, an arsenal of howitzers... Uzis... Glocks? Is there a spectrum here; is it valid to say Hey, this guy has a dozen automatic weapons downstairs, we have a right to defend ourselves? I'd not agree of course, but on what basis can a line be drawn?

    1. I don't think bombs are ever defensive. Their zone of destruction can't be sufficiently aimed and always (when/if used) damage the person and/or property of the innocent.

      Guns-- of any type or design-- can be aimed and can be used defensively to take out the threat and only the threat. Not that this is possible in every situation-- but in that case to shoot would be to violate the rules of responsible gun use.

      Also, it is very unlikely that a gun will fire without the trigger being pulled. Bombs can and do just fail and "go off" without anyone intending to trigger them. It is more likely that a bomb would fail to go off when intended than to go off when not intended. But this just makes another argument that bombs aren't defensive weapons.

    2. Just to play devil's advocate (which I enjoy doing), what about using a bomb to clear out an enemy base in your territory? So long as the bomb is appropriately sized to only demolish the target and there are no innocent people in the base, would you consider that a defensive use?

    3. No innocents at all? No children? No private property that belongs to someone who isn't one of the bad guys gets damaged in any way? Not even any broken windows at the nearest non-enemy houses?
      In this hypothetical scenario, I would say that's a defensive use of a bomb if all those conditions are met. But I don't think it's possible in the real world.

  5. Interesting questions.

    Storing a large conventional bomb in your two-bedroom condominium in the middle of the hall on the third floor of a seven-story complex would be more along the lines of "negligent brandishing" (you left that first word out) than storing it in a barn on your hundred acres in the woods would be.

    An arsenal of howitzers, Uzis, Glocks requires a large staff to operate them. They're not being "brandished" until that staff points them in a certain direction, loads them and threatens to fire them -- but the ammo for that first part could be "negligently brandished" if there is such a thing (maybe you've never heard or felt several thousand tons of those things exploding at once; I have; it was intentional and miles away for safety, but still knocked my house over, and I've also been near smaller accidental detonations).

    So, how far away from other people would a nuke have to be stored for it to not be inherently dangerous to other people and therefore a case of "negligent brandishing," if such a thing exists (when I say "an argument could be made," it doesn't necessarily follow that I support said argument)? You tell me. Any nuke is going to have a larger immediate damage radius than a normal conventional bomb, and the pollutants it unleashes (fallout) also seem to be more dangerous as a rule than the smoke and non-radioactive dust a conventional bomb blows around.

    1. "So, how far away from other people would a nuke have to be stored for it to not be inherently dangerous to other people and therefore a case of "negligent brandishing,"

      Off-planet, at least. In an orbit high enough to not degrade and drop the nuke on anyone.

  6. Possession of anything cannot be violent. Misuse/negligence/mismanagement can. It is the act itself that is the violence, not the tool/property.

    Use a lamp stand to bash someone over the head and steal their money vs using a lamp stand to bash an intruder over the head as he enters your home. In both instances, the lamp stand had no control, is neutral and was used as a tool. One instance is a violent act and the other defense.

    Weapons grade uranium in a sealed lead encased container in a locked concrete cellar does no harm. Weapons grade uranium siting in an open 5 gallon bucket next to the garage gets the neighbors sick. One is an act of violence through negligence, the other is responsible property management. Both instances, the uranium had no control.

  7. What a pleasure it is to read such principled and intelligent replies to the puzzle I set! There's probably more to be said, but all these are excellent ideas.

    After government has vanished, if any such anomaly ever occurs a free-market court will have to unscramble the matter and these principles will surely be used.