Saturday, November 03, 2018

There's no place like home

This is the wrap-up from the questions brought up here, here, here, and here (among other places).
The popular conviction that I am wrong about the issue brings one question to my mind:
Do you have any rights-- any at all-- once you set foot off your own real-estate? Yes or no.

Do you only have rights when on your own real estate? What if you don't own any real estate? Do you then have no rights? That seems to be the implication.

If you do have portable rights which travel with you, what are they?

And, if so, how do you keep these rights while you "lose" others? What makes the ones you keep "special" and permanent while the others are disposable?

Is there really any such thing as an "inalienable right", or do rights only exist when you are on your own property? If that's really the case, then it is what it is, but we should stop pretending rights actually exist-- which raises other related questions.

Remember-- the difference between a right and a privilege is that you need permission to exercise a privilege; rights are yours to exercise without anyone's permission.

So, again, do you have any rights beyond your property lines-- beyond the physical boundaries of the real estate you own?

Might you only have the right to not be murdered while traveling, but no other rights? Or do you even have that right? Do you only exist at the whim of others when not on your own property?

Because, frankly, what is being promoted by all those who think I'm wrong here feels exactly like the Mad Max world anti-libertarians always claim will result from libertarian ideas-- where you are at the mercy of warlords who claim the territory and you have no "rights" unless they allow you to. Could they have been correct all along, after all?

How would this not justify every statist anti-liberty policy, rule, or "law" on the planet as long as the majority believes governments own the entire country? And since you never actually "own" real-estate, but are forced to pay a yearly ransom ("property tax") to keep government from taking it from you, how could you even have rights at home? You obviously don't actually own it. You already know government doesn't believe you have rights on your own property-- thus door-bashing 3 A.M. enforcement of anti-gun "laws" and anti-drug "laws" which they believe apply to you in your own home.

The only reason this comes up seems to be that people, even libertarians, are uncomfortable treating the right to own and to carry weapons as a right, They want to leave wiggle-room to turn it into a privilege so as not to scare or offend people, and in order to do so, they have to go into the mental landscape outlined above. Even though they don't seem to realize where they are going.

Change my mind by addressing the points above.

And we've finally come to the end (as far as I'm concerned) of this particular path. On to other things I hope we can agree on.

P.S.-- I really do appreciate the discussion we've been having around this. Even if almost everyone disagrees with me.

Reminder: I could really use some help.

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


  1. Thanks Kent for facilitating the discussion. For the record, I'm a bit of a windsock on where the boundaries of proper responses are for real estate owners to trespassers. It probably springs from the idea that it's difficult to ascertain which real estate has been "justly acquired" and some emotions I haven't corralled with logic yet pertaining to what property is etc. I appreciate your point of view and the comments from your readers.

    In the presence of an external central authority, we are mostly disallowed the opportunity to put our ideas into practice. So most of the discussion about the various ways of asserting real estate property rights today becomes hypothetical or at least skewed from what might have been. (a public service message from Capt. Obvious)

    For me, it's easier to pin down and put into practice what constitutes self ownership (body) and personal property rights, than it is to define rights related to owned real estate and other people. For instance, emotionally, I would feel more like a trespasser, if I planted my ass on an unknown persons living room couch, than if I cut thru a wooded section of a 100 acre owned parcel in route to a fishing hole. So I "feel" that not all property rights violations or trespasses are equal, therefore it seems reasonable that different responses to different kinds of trespasses would be reasonable too.

    Although logically, I see the argument as valid that if both a living room couch and the 100 acre wooded land parcel are owned, I am trespassing in either instance. Yet, I maintain the feeling that somehow I'm engaging in nonharmful or "near" nonharmful behavior when hiking to the fishing I reason any property owners response should be proportional to the damage I caused (or didn't) . At least that's how I'd handle things if I were the owner who'd been subject to trespass. I recognize and respect others might follow a different course. Yup, I'm still sorting it out. Great topic.

    1. Kent,

      Great topic and wonderful discussion from your readers.

      The Three Pillars of Liberty and Freedom are Property Rights (Your body), Property Rights (Personal goods or chattel) and Property Rights (Real property). No one has the right to initiate force against any form of property.

      If someone is on your land or in your home, you certainly have the right to set conditions, such as shoes off or don't walk that path (endangered species area, etc.). Even on your real property, you do not have the right to INITIATE force. I believe the key to solving this problem is who is the "initiator"?

      If you warn them not to trespass and they continue, THEY are the ones, initiating force against you and you certainly have the right of self defense. If you invite them into your home but with conditions, such as no shoes, no explosive vest or even no firearms and they violate your conditions, again THEY are the ones initiating force against you and you again have the right of self defense.

      Hopefully, your degree of self defense will be appropriate to their violations but since they are the initiators, the violators,the aggressors, the decision of how much defensive force you use to accomplish said self defense, is entirely up to the one rightfully defending their "property". They have violated the NAP by refusing to cease or leave. The results of such refusal is entirely on them.

      Of course, there are situations where their initial actions require no warning or conditions, such as someone kicking in your door, attempting to burn your crops or attacking your person.

      This is my current position considering this problem. Thanks for hosting the discussion and putting yourself out there.


  2. A contradiction cannot exist, and rights don't conflict with each other because that would be a contradiction.

    If two rights appear to conflict with each other, then there's a contradiction involved. Which means that either:

    1) The rights don't actually conflict with each other, or

    2) One of the asserted rights is not actually a right.

    My resolution of the apparent contradiction between a right to keep and bear arms and a right to dictate the conditions of use for one's property is to note that they don't conflict and that no contradiction therefore exists. You don't have to leave your gun at home. He doesn't have to let you use his property. You're free to decide that using his property is worth leaving your gun at home, or not. He's free to decide that having you use his property is worth allowing a gun on it, or not. Nobody's rights are violated either way.

    Your resolution of the apparent contradiction is to invent a fictional third right (the "right" to use someone else's property without their permission as long as you keep the violation of his terms hidden beneath your coat).

    To bring this a little closer into focus, let's add a specific that I haven't added before:

    You want to use my property.

    I'm OK with that, so long as you don't bring your gun on the property.

    So, am I violating your rights when I specify that no, you aren't going to bring a big hunk of metal into my $1.2 million MRI machine?

    1. No violation of rights. You own the MRI. It's your property. You forbid guns on your property. Anyone wishing to secure permission to use that MRI must choose to stow their gun somewhere until they leave your property - or choose not to get the MRI scan.

      No one coerced, no one's ownership rights violated.

      Jim Henshaw

  3. I concur with Thomas Knapp's resolution above.


  4. And yet the question goes unanswered.

    1. If you're talking about proportionality - it comes back to self-ownership. From the comment upthread about a walk through someone else's woods versus sitting on someone else's couch.

      To preserve BOTH people's self-ownership and abstain from EITHER initiating force, you have the right to end them aggressing against your property, but they have the right to not be killed if a significantly less forceful response would end their aggression and get you restitution.

      So, walk in the woods scenario - you could point your weapon at them, inform them they are trespassing, and order them to leave. No one is harmed by that. If they leave your property as a result, and pay you if they've damaged some of your plants, aggression resolved.

      If you shoot them without a warning, you've certainly ended their violation of YOUR self-ownership - but initiated a far more significant violation of THEIR self-ownership - which they have the right to resolve.

      By shooting you.

      Because you have signaled your unwillingness to resolve shit by talking, and they would expect you might aggress and shoot them again.

      If you ignore proportionality by removing their chance to resolve peacefully, you're the aggressor.

      Jim Henshaw

  5. To me, it's simple - you own yourself. Period. Anyone who tries to peel off a portion of any of the rights that are necessary to implement that self-ownership is archating. There is no conflict between individuals all owning themself.

    For example: you own your body, and the physical needed to keep that body alive and protected. So you have the right to have a firearm. If you want to go on a friend's property with their permission, their self-ownership allows them to forbid you entry while packing heat. You don't lose your right to carry the means for self-defense, but you can voluntarily choose temporarily to not carry in exchange for them voluntarily choosing to let you on their property temporarily.

    Basically, self-ownership implies no coercion as the way to resolve seeming conflicts of rights.

    Jim Henshaw

  6. Kent asked "Do you have any rights-- any at all-- once you set foot off your own real-estate? Yes or no."

    Yes, You retain the "right" of self defense when on others property but they have the right to require you to leave many "tools" of self defense, (pistol, grenades etc.) at the property line. I initially confused the "tools" of self defense with the "right" of self defense, although I stand behind my previous two posts.

    Good one Kent.

  7. Do you have any rights-- any at all-- once you set foot off your own real-estate? Yes or no.

    My answer is essentially, no you don't have any rights when you're on someone else's property, except those that you negotiate with that person. Example: you don't have the right to flop down and sleep on someone else's property without their permission. Do you consider that assertion horrible in some way? Isn't getting sleep a basic human need, and isn't satisfying that need a basic human right? Another example: what if someone says, "You can come onto my property if you pay me $100 first"? Isn't your right to preserve your money as basic as any? How dare someone demand you give up that right just to enter his property?

    I'll qualify my "no" to this extent: if for example a property owner intends to shoot anyone who trespasses onto his land, he is responsible for making that extreme position absolutely clear so that no one would get shot without knowing in advance that he's taking that risk by entering.

  8. Because, frankly, what is being promoted by all those who think I'm wrong here feels exactly like the Mad Max world anti-libertarians always claim will result from libertarian ideas-- where you are at the mercy of warlords who claim the territory and you have no "rights" unless they allow you to. Could they have been correct all along, after all?

    Seriously, Kent? As I'm sure you have pointed out many times, the great majority of our interactions are done entirely voluntarily and without armed oversight, and almost without exception they are peaceful and mutually beneficial. This "Mad Max" fantasy is just that, paranoid fantasy. Even if a few misanthropes declare a free-fire zone on their property, society would not collapse. Selfishness, if nothing else, dictates cooperation with others.

  9. Hello Kent! I'll try my hand at answering your question. My answer is yes, every human being has the right to life, liberty and property all the time, everywhere.

    It seems obvious to me that the owner of the land has the right to allow / deny access for any reason, correct? If you invite me for dinner and I show up wearing a Hillary 2020 shirt, wouldn't you be within your rights to rescind the invitation? If you can't rescind your invitation, then do property rights exist?

    I think that rights exist, are equal and identical, and must be respected unless a contract / debt exists which overrides the right. If I steal your hat (because it's awesome), I have created a debt to you. Thus, you are justified in taking the hat back or taking something of equal value from me which could be sold to finance a new hat for you. If you loan me your car, you have surrendered the right to use it temporarily.

    Thus, I have to agree with Thomas Knapp's eloquent resolution.

    I think that the "Mad Max" world would be avoided the same way we'd avoid having people randomly murdering each other. Rational self interest makes it unlikely that anyone would place unreasonable conditions on using their property. After all, who would trade with that guy that makes you get a tattoo of his face on your wrist before you step onto his land?

    "How would this not justify every statist anti-liberty policy, rule, or "law" on the planet as long as the majority believes governments own the entire country?"
    - If they legitimately owned the land, property rights would justify their laws. Unfortunately for them, the reality is that they don't have a rightful claim to the vast majority (if not all) of the land. Majority belief doesn't alter reality. In order for them to legitimately own the land, they would have to first return 100% of the property they've stolen. Then, since they'll be worse than broke, they'll have to beg for donations to cover the rest of their debts. Once all government debts have been paid off, THEN they can ask for donations of land / money to begin to establish a legitimate "country". Unfortunately for them, I (and hopefully many others) will accept the repayment of what's been stolen from me and will refuse to allow them control over my property. In fact, I'll take the money that's been returned to me and use it to purchase as much useful land as possible to prevent government from purchasing it.

    I personally WANT people to be free to carry guns everywhere. I think we have a much greater chance of achieving that when individual property owners are the only obstacle, instead of the final obstacle. If my favorite coffee shop doesn't allow me to carry, they're going to lose my business. If my best friend doesn't allow me to carry, I'm not going to be visiting them at their home. As libertarians, we must advocate for freedom for EVERYONE, not just those that agree with us. If Hillary Clinton doesn't want guns in her house, she has the right to ban them there, and there alone. If I don't like her ban, I won't visit her house. If she doesn't like me allowing guns in my home, she doesn't have to visit me. That's freedom, and I think it's wonderful!

    1. Yours is the best answer I've gotten.
      I just wish people gave me the same consideration I give them. But I guess that's unreasonable and unrealistic. Because, no, I wouldn't kick someone out of my house for a "Hillary 2020" shirt. I would probably ridicule the shirt, but I wouldn't kick them out. Their shirt doesn't violate me or my property in any way, and I still consider a "rule" against their shirt to be rude and asinine and a violation of their person. Obviously, that's just me.

    2. "Yours is the best answer I've gotten."
      Thanks! Since you brought it up, I've been thinking about it much more than I would have otherwise.

      "I just wish people gave me the same consideration I give them."
      You and me both... but if that were the case, we wouldn't have government, would we?

      "I still consider a "rule" against their shirt to be rude and asinine and a violation of their person. Obviously, that's just me."
      I'll agree that it's rude and asinine, but I'm not sure I'd say it's a violation of their person. I'll have to think about that one some more.

      The good news is that whether you're right or I'm right, it won't change my behavior. You're always welcome in my home (provided you don't damage or steal things or hurt people) and I will respect the rules of your house if / when I visit.

    3. Probably about the only rules in my house would be the same as the rules you laid out for your house: don't damage or steal things or hurt people. Well, if someone is breaking into my house while you are there feel free to hurt them if you get the chance, and if that's what it takes to end the threat.