Saturday, April 02, 2011

"Bubble Theory" roundup

Thanks to Thomas Knapp and his objections to this theory, I continue to be challenged to hone the way I attempt to explain it. That is a good thing. I am not being sarcastic here. Kn@ppster has always been a decent guy and a thoughtful ally on the road to liberty. He is just keeping me on my toes. Some day he may convince me yet.

For background and an explanation of what I am talking about when I mention "the bubble theory of personal property rights", see here and here and here and here and (most recently) here.

Because I believe this is a self-evident truth, yet I recognize that many people don't agree, I have to act in the only way I think is right as I try to spread the idea.

This means that I will always try to respect the wishes of property owners who do not agree with me. This means I will consider an "invitation" that puts conditions on what is inside my pockets as a non-invitation. (I will, however, assume liberty unless informed otherwise beforehand.)

But mainly, it means that I will continue to act as I always have and not try to make it my business to fret about what is inside your pockets. It has never occurred to me to think about it in the past, even before I "took the red pill", and I see no reason to begin worrying about it now or in the future. The change, if one is to occur, has to start somewhere, and I have started with myself. Why not join me?


  1. I also think bubble theory or a variation thereof is self-evident.

    I didn't see a derivation of how bubble theory extends, so you may find the following useful.

    Self-control is technologically inalienable. No matter what coercion you apply, you cannot guarantee the coerced outcome because the causal decision stems from the individual.

    If your decision is to pick up a rock, it becomes your rock, and wrong for me to knock it out of your hand or otherwise interfere without your permission. But why?

    First, consider that you'd never have tried to control the rock if you hadn't a good reason to expect to succeed. If it were a ton boulder, or tied down, or guarded, you wouldn't bother.

    Because of this, the idea that I have the right to take the rock is self-contradictory in two different ways.

    My favourite is that if I have the right to take it out of your hand, you must have the right to take it (back) out of mine - humans are morally symmetric. More generally, you must have the right to take my right to take it out of your hand. Coercive 'rights' imply their opposite.

    I also like the fact that if I have the right to knock it out of your hand, it contradicts the idea that you reasonably expected to control it. If you thought that your gun would just be stolen, you'd never buy it in the first place - and thus neither you nor the thief would get a gun. Taxes, exactly similarly.

    Legitimize theft and ultimately there's nothing left to steal. A thief must conceal not just their presence and actions, but their nature.

    Legitimize vandalism and there's nothing left to break. Legitimize bank fraud and there's no one left to invest. Legitimize divorce rape and there's no one left to marry.

    On the other hand, real security directly increases real wealth. When can you reasonably expect to control something? When you've secured it: that's what securing a thing means. Secure commercial flights to the moon means you can secure real estate on the moon which means the total possible real estate suddenly rockets.

    Legitimizing consequences against coercion/violence always increases wealth, just as the opposite always decreases it.

    I always laugh when someone says children need to be taught morals. It's important, so how can we tell the difference between violence and consequences? Because he started it. Because I had it first. Being right really is that simple.

  2. Alrenous- I have read your comment a few times to really digest it, and I haven't found any reason to disagree.

    As for "bubble theory", I just think it all comes down to this: If you don't fully own yourself, including the immediate intimate surroundings of yourself (inside your clothing, out of sight), then it isn't even possible to claim you can "own" other property where you could then control the visiting person's immediate intimate surroundings. Perhaps that is the case; perhaps not.

  3. Kent,

    I'm not going to give up on you.

    I agree that you DO "fully own yourself, including the immediate intimate surroundings of yourself (inside your clothing, out of sight)."

    But, consider the meaning of ownership.

    If you own something, you are free to do any number of things with it, including treating its use or its particular status at any given moment as a tradeable commodity.

    By "particular status at any given moment" as opposed to use per se, I mean things like being "on call" -- e.g. I'm not actually working for a client from 4pm-8pm, but I have agreed to be available should that client make my phone ring during those hours. He's not paying me for work per se, he's paying me to be in a particular status.

    If your "bubble theory" is correct, then the status of your immediate intimate surroundings is something you can trade. If you can't trade it, you don't own it.

    So, if you're wanting something from me, and part of my condition for trading that thing to you is that you adopt some particular status of your immediate intimate surroundings, there's no question of anyone's rights being violated. It's just us trading things we own, and if either of us doesn't find the trade acceptable, neither of us is required to enter into the bargain.

    Now, would I ever insist that you go unarmed as a condition of using my property? I don't see that happening, for the simple reasons that 1) I see no utility or profit in doing so, and 2) if I don't trust you on my property armed, I don't trust you on my property at all.

    But, some people do see utility or profit in it, and no matter how crazy I think their estimate of its value is, it's their decision to make.

    If I walk up to a restaurant and see a sign on the door that says "no guns allowed," then I'm being offered a trade -- my disarmed state in return for access to their dining room. I can accept the bargain, or I can eat elsewhere, but if I walk into that dining room with a gun, I am trespassing -- stealing the use of their property.

  4. That's the closest you've come to convincing me so far. If nothing else it will probably make me modify my thoughts somewhat.

    I have been in the restaurant scenario several times. My choices, as I see them, are: 1) trespass. 2) tell the people I am with I can't go in. 3) reveal my armed status by disarming in the car. Or, 4) never leave the house armed in case such a situation might arise, which I see as an abdication of my responsibility and also unethical. No good solution.

    I don't think any restaurants around here (New Mexico) actually care whether a person is armed or not- it is a State policy for restaurants that serve alcohol. (I think it may have been overturned recently, but the state-issued signage hasn't come down.) I avoid the only grocery store in town (Texas) because its "no guns" sign is not mandated, but chosen.

  5. "Alrenous- I have read your comment a few times to really digest it"

    I'm susceptible to getting a big head. Don't stroke my ego too much. :)

    "and I haven't found any reason to disagree."

    Awesome. I do like to check I'm not quietly going batty here under my rock.

    Err...hopefully that doesn't sound like sarcasm. (I probably will use it sarcastically elsewhere, because it would work so well.)

    "I can accept the bargain, or I can eat elsewhere, but if I walk into that dining room with a gun, I am trespassing"

    This is why I denote your one ethical right as, 'do not unto others as they would have you not do unto them.'

    As long as a variable of bubble theory is true, (which it is) at no time can their condition of entry to their property interfere with your ability to use your property as you please. If you want to carry at all times, you still can, for example. You just can't put a gun on their property if they don't want a gun on their property, just as you can't put paint on their property they don't want.

    If apparent rights can so interfere, then actually one or another of the things must not be property, and you can't have rights to it.

    "I have been in the restaurant scenario several times."

    That set of choices does seem to be all of them. Unfortunately, as property owners should have the right to set any price for entry that they like, you're going to have to go with the least-bad choice if you want to be moral.

    If I had a gun I'd personally go with 2), literally saying I can't go in because I consider the price too expensive.

    Alternatively, as state laws aren't legit, it isn't morally trespassing. Seems unwise, but not unmoral.

    To check, compare to a perfect society: "So you want to disarm me? Okay, who is going to be responsible for my safety, then? Where is this person? Do they have the necessary tools to prevent harm to me? What do I get in compensation if they fail?" It seems like there could be reasonable answers to these questions.

    Seems cheaper to outsource your safety to you, though.

    "including treating its use or its particular status at any given moment as a tradeable commodity."

    One reason I define ownership as 'reasonable expectation of control,' is so that the tag 'inalienable' is not superfluous. As it turns out, only your bodily self-control is inalienable, but still.

    If you think about it, you have control over your body but not control over whether you have control.

    This is inevitable for anything with any kind of control. You have to control with something. You can't use the controller to control itself.

    But you can certainly write 'control' so many times it loses all meaning. I feel like a smurf.

  6. Of course, this is all predicated on the notion that "rights" are a good thing....

    I submit that, if we are to support an eventual free society, rights as they are currently understood are an enemy.

    I write this because rights by their very nature are acts of the state. This originally was the definition of the term, prior to the "enlightenment" semantic gymnastics, and still is the binding one.

    To claim a "right" one must claim it to whom?

    Without the state-and there are many documented current stateless societies-property and "rights" exist, but they are faaaaar from anything that approaches the modern definition of either.

  7. To claim a right, I claim it for myself and to the person engaged in violating it. There is no one else who could possibly be a concerned party. Even if someone comes along and tries to stop me from claiming my rights from the violator, then that person becomes involved only because he is engaged in violating my rights at that point.

    I still say that if rights do not exist, then no one has a right to rule anyone else or to do much of anything, so the entire question reverts back to "No one has a right to run your life for you or to prevent you from living as you see fit". Once again you arrive at liberty.

  8. Giving up your bubble of personal property rights for some temporary consensual arrangement is like agreeing to engage in S&M. Without that freely obtained consent it is an act of aggression. And consent under duress is not consent.

    You can negotiate to not exercise your "bubble" for some specific situation and period of time, but it still exists. It is the basis of individual sovereignty. No one has a bigger bubble of sovereignty just because they own real estate; their individual sovereignty is still the identical size as every other person's. Your "bubble" is your sovereignty. It always exists.

    And, just as a person who can get people to agree to be raped and/or killed in exchange for permission to enter a piece of property may have the right to make such a demand, you can also make any other condition to allow access to your property, but you are not a good person to make such a demand. And anyone who agrees to those conditions doesn't value themselves very much.