Thursday, June 16, 2011

Property rights

Other discussions on other blogs and on various forums around the internet frequently center on people who talk about how the government and others should not be allowed to infringe on their property rights. They go on and on about how they have a right to do whatever they wish with their property, and no one should be able to say otherwise. Those topics include:

1. anti-discrimination laws
2. fire codes
3. The Americans with Disabilities Act
4. Guns in parking lots laws, and CCW in business establishments, etc.
5. pick another law that controls the behavior of businesses

Overwhelmingly, these people complain that the government has no business interfering with what they consider to be the free enjoyment of their property. Of course, those same business owners have no problem with forming a corporation to run the business and therefore use the government to interfere with their exposure to liability, because the government interfering in the business transaction is fine with them, as long as the interference is to their benefit.

They likewise would have no problem inviting police to arrest shoplifters, thieves, bad check writers, and other people that the business finds objectionable, but they don't want the government interfering. No sir. They want those government funded roads to transport customers to their business, they want the fire department to put out the fire that is burning down the building, and they probably don't have a problem with the banking regulations that control the bank where they store the day's proceeds.

To them, what is really important is that no one can tell them that they can't chain the fire exits shut, or that they must have a fire alarm, or that they can tell their employees that they cannot have weapons on property. This isn't a principled stand on property rights. It is an attempt to game the system in your own favor, yet another manifestation of the NIMBY philosophy. I want the government to help me, but I want them to stay out of my way instead of helping that other guy.

Until the "property rights" crowd tells me that they are against ALL government intrusion, I just can't take them seriously.


Robert McDonald said...

I'm not sure why one needs government to form a corporation, except as the codifier of contract law.

Police and fire departments don't have to be government entities, and I'd much prefer they were a subscription service. As for banks, that's contract law again. You need someone to codify it, and I think that could be an appropriate role for a representative government. As far as arbitrating disputes and enforcing the conclusions of that arbitration those things should be addressed in the individual contracts.

I don't want government interfering period, whether it's to my benefit or not. I'm willing to be discriminated against, and have my ignorance taken advantage of if I don't keep up with exactly what's going on.

Divemedic said...

Wow, a lot here to address:

1. A corporation exists only because the government says it does. A corporation is a legal "person" created entirely by the law. It is the essence of government intrusion.

2 Private police was tried and did not work. The cops would inevitably side with the person with the most money.

3 Private fire was tried and did not work, either. (Do you know what a "bucket man" is?)

4 Arbitration does not work. The arbitration clauses that were in credit agreements were decided by the NAF, and they decided in favor of the bank over 90% of the time. Fundamentally unfair.

You are living in a fantasy world.

Robert McDonald said...

Corporations are contracts. The only thing the government does is say, "Yes, this exists and here is the record of it." Anything else is unnecessary.

I don't envision private police as we have police currently. We don't really need more than detectives, and private security forces in some instances (or just because you can afford it).

As for fire departments, I said a subscription service, not just a bunch of random companies running around. There would be those too, but it would be the property owners responsibility to keep them from trespassing.

Arbitration works just fine if both parties can find an objective arbiter. Hell, why have just one? Have many, and pick one at random when needed. Pick a random person or group of persons off the street and pay them to hear out both sides and argue it before them. Having one organization that does it all, or most of it, is what causes the problem.

Mainly, I'm just bouncing ideas around here. I don't necessarily see the need to remove government entirely, I just would like to severely trim it up to and including rewriting the entire legal code, including common law, starting from a very short set of principles. It would be an immense task, and frankly I don't think it'll ever happen on the large scale. The small scale is another matter though.

Divemedic said...

A corporation is an entity. It is a fictional person, in that it can own property, and it can be sued. It is a facade that protects the true owner of the property from legal liability.