I have always believed that the ideal society is a meritocracy.
A meritocracy is a society in which each individual gets what he or she deserves. Anything less than this is unjust.
But that’s not saying very much. In fact, it’s not saying anything at all, unless accompanied by an account of what it is that each individual deserves. Preferably such an account will be a full-fledged moral theory, but let’s go pre-theoretical, and assume, just for the sake of my argument here, that each and every member of society deserves at least a roof over their head, a bed to sleep on, clean running water and enough to eat. Even our worst criminals are guaranteed this. (Oh, and ultra-fast broadband, of course, that most fundamental of all human rights.)
There are two main types of moral theory, viz., deontological and consequentialist. (Or three main types, if you count virtue ethics.)
Deontology (or Deontological Ethics) is an approach to Ethics that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the rightness or wrongness of the consequences of those actions (Consequentialism) or to the character and habits of the actor (Virtue Ethics).
(It’s all much more complicated, of course. Consequentialism is almost synonymous with utilitarianism, and as we all know utilitarianism is wrong, wrong, WRONG! Because Ayn Rand said so! And so did the man whom she described as “the most evil man who ever lived”! And so say I! Woe to him who creeps through the serpent-windings of utilitarianism. But, again just for the sake of my argument here, let’s not damn utilitarianism. Notwithstanding that it’s damnable.)
There are two main types of political ideology, viz., capitalism (by which I mean free trade without government intervention) and socialism (by which I mean free trade plus progressive taxation).
Now oversimplifying (somewhat more than) somewhat, capitalism is a deontological political ideology (whereby you get to keep everything you earn) and socialism is a utilitarian political ideology (whereby you get to keep a proportion of what you earn, the rest is redistributed by the state, ostensibly on the basis of need).
Capitalism basically says that you deserve to keep the fruits of your own labour, and to hell with the consequences. So capitalism is deontological in theory. And it can be considered as a species of voluntaryism. So it is virtuous in that sense. But it makes no explicit provision for caring for the poor and leads to ever-growing wealth inequality so is vicious from the point of view of utilitarianism.
Socialism, however, isn’t any better in practice. In fact, it is worse because its attempts at wealth redistribution (to achieve a more just distribution of wealth as per whatever measure of desert is used) only serve to achieve a different unjust distribution of wealth, usually by overtaxing the middle classes. (Let’s face it, the ultra-rich do indeed have more wealth than they can possibly need so are not actually any worse off if they pay a higher tax rate, and I am who to say.) So the middle classes get doubly screwed by a mixed economic system, first by unfettered capitalism and then by capitalism’s fetters.
So capitalism wins the day but it is still a badly flawed system.
Which is why I am neither a socialist nor a capitalist. I am an anarchist looking for a flavour of anarchism that has both the virtues of capitalism (it must be an entirely voluntaryist system) but yet serves to more or less guarantee that there is at least an adequate (albeit perhaps very basic) standard of living for all.
Footnote. Non-utilitarian versions of consequentialism are less vile. What if the moral basis of property rights is rule-consequentialism? Food for thought would be a great way to make a living.
If you don’t agree that property rights are restrictions on freedom—if you think instead, for example, that property rights are a prerequisite of freedom—then either you haven’t been paying attention, or you’ve been reading too much Rand, or, at any rate, you’re using the word ‘freedom’ in a particular sense of the word that’s packed with presuppositions—and freedom might as well be just another word for nothing left to lose because with our differing conceptions of freedom now in play we’re all ready, set, go to miscommunicate spectacularly.
Other people’s property rights are restrictions on your freedom, and your property rights are restrictions on other people’s freedom. Is this not obvious from the textbook definition of property?
Property. That which is peculiar or proper to any person; that which belongs exclusively to one. In the strict legal sense, an aggregate of rights which are guaranteed and protected by the government. … The term is said to extend to every species of valuable right and interest. More specifically, ownership; the unrestricted and exclusive right to a thing; the right to dispose of a thing in every legal way, to possess it, to use it, and to exclude every one else from interfering with it. That dominion or indefinite right of use or disposition which one may lawfully exercise over particular things or subjects. The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying, and disposing of a thing. The highest right a man can have to anything; being used to refer to that right which one has to lands or tenements, goods or chattels, which no way depends on another man’s courtesy.
As wrong as it sounds on the face of it, libertarians are actually all in favour of giving up a little freedom in order to gain … what? Property rights, that’s what. Your freedom ends (where my property rights begin). Property rights are restrictions on freedom.
Ownership is the central concept in political philosophy. Every political ism (capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.) is defined by its theory of property rights. Every political ism says what belongs to whom, and who belongs to what. So it’s important to think about this topic until you actually get it.
Thomas Hobbes is the founding father of modern political philosophy. In a Hobbesian state of nature, everyone is perfectly free. And life is total shit. Why? Because
In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, not culture of the earth, no navigation, nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
To extricate ourselves from such a dire circumstance as perfect freedom, we need to (hopefully) agree on a few rules (and abide by them and enforce them). The first and most obvious one (subject to caveats later, but we’ll get to that) is the non-initiation of (physical) force. The NIOF principle. My freedom ends where your nose begins. And vice versa.
Voila! with this one simple rule, we have property rights, in the form of self-ownership. Your ownership of your body, your property rights in your body, are restrictions on other people’s freedom to do what they please with your body. With this one simple rule, the NIOF priniple, in place, you now own your body because you remain free to do as you like with your body, but no one else is now free to do as they like with your body.
The general point here is that all property rights correspond to a set of restrictions on the freedoms of non-owners. Property rights in tangible goods mean that owners of said goods are free to determine the use of such goods, and no one else is. Get your hands off my stuff! Intellectual property rights mean that owners of ideas can copy them, but no one else can. You wouldn’t download a bear!
Thus the central question of political philosophy is, what property rights should people have? Or, what restrictions on people’s freedoms should there be? And these amount to exactly the same question.
This post is the first in a new series about property rights. And in it I want to take a look at the issue of land ownership. This is topical because the issue of land ownership is closely tied to the issue of national borders. Should we allow unrestricted “open borders” or should we control border traffic to a greater or lesser extent?
Did you notice my equivocation on the central question of political philosophy? I said above that
Every political ism (capitalism, socialism, communism, etc.) is defined by its theory of property rights. It says what belongs to whom, and who belongs to what.
but I also said above that
the central question of political philosophy is, what property rights should people have?
What property rights do people have? Is one question. What property rights should people have? Is another question. And why should people have those particular property rights and not others is another question altogether. It is mandatory pedantry to point out that these are three separate questions. If we confound these three distinctly different questions then we’re all ready, set, go to miscommunicate spectacularly.
Notice how loose-talking Lew mixes it up.
In order to … reach the appropriate libertarian conclusion, we have to look more closely at what public property really is and who, if anyone, can be said to be its true owner. … Certainly we cannot say public property is owned by the government, since government may not legitimately own anything.
Rockwell is quite wrong in what he actually says. Certainly we can say that public property is owned by the government. Firstly, does government have property rights in government-owned land? Yes, government-owned land is owned by the government! But, secondly, should government have property rights in what is currently government-owned land? Rockwell says no, government may not legitimately own anything. I won’t argue with that. Thirdly, why may government not legitimately own anything?
To be clear, the central question of political philosophy as such is the second of these questions. What property rights should people have? Or, what restrictions on people’s freedoms should there be? As noted already, these amount to exactly the same question. But I think it’s more instructive to focus on the question’s second formulation. So now let’s get down to business and ask it with respect to land ownership.
With respect to land use, what restrictions on people’s freedoms should there be? Exactly what forms of land ownership are available in the fabled land of Anarcho-Libertopia? And what is their justification?
I’m only going to point in the general direction of beginning to answer these questions. Suffice it to say, I have a nuanced view. The idea that there should be restrictions on land ownership, or even that people shouldn’t be allowed to own land at all, isn’t new. For example, geolibertarianism is a Georgist school of thought within libertarianism. The New Mutualists are their anarchist counterparts. So I’m in very good company.
So now let’s look at what Lew Rockwell says to discredit himself. How low does he go?
Now if all the parcels of land in the whole world were privately owned, the solution to the so-called immigration problem would be evident. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that there would be no immigration problem in the first place. Everyone moving somewhere new would have to have the consent of the owner of that place.
When the state and its so-called public property enter the picture, though, things become murky, and it takes extra effort to uncover the proper libertarian position.
What we believe in are private property rights. No one has “freedom of speech” on my property, since I set the rules, and in the last resort I can expel someone. He can say whatever he likes on his own property, and on the property of anyone who cares to listen to him, but not on mine.
The same principle holds for freedom of movement. Libertarians do not believe in any such principle in the abstract. … I cannot simply go wherever I like.
Rockwell totally plumbs it.
He gets it totally wrong. True libertarians absolutely do believe in freedom of movement as an abstract principle. We’re freedom-fighters and we believe in freedom! Derp.
Land ownership is a restriction on people’s freedom of movement. Any such restrictions on people simply going wherever they like must be justified.
The problem with unrestricted land ownership is that by buying up all the land surrounding someone’s else’s slice of heaven you can effectively lay seige to that person, cut off their vital supply lines, and kill them. Only a moral monster would give the green light to, let alone actively encourage and enforce, a system that allowed such perverse and depraved outcomes. Sadly, we in the West (that is to say, our governments) have shown ourselves to be exactly this depraved, by turning away refugees at our national borders, condemning them to take their chances back in their homelands from which they were already fleeing for their lives and the lives of their children.
From here, observes Carson from his vantage point on the moral high ground
Rockwell continues to elaborate on an argument whose basic assumptions are — I say without equivocation — mind-numbingly stupid.
As both Franz Oppenheimer and Albert Jay Nock argued, the land of the entire world will never be universally privately appropriated by legitimate means. The only way in which every single parcel of land can come under private ownership is through what Oppenheimer called “political appropriation” and Nock called “law-made property.” And it’s no coincidence, as both of them argued, that universal appropriation of the land is a prerequisite for economic exploitation. Only when people are cut off from the possibility of homesteading and subsisting on previously vacant land, and employers are thereby protected against competition from the possibility of self-employment, is it possible to force people to accept employment on whatever disadvantageous terms the property owners see fit to offer.
That says something right there about the kind of people whose wet dream is an entire world without an unowned place to stand on, without some property owner’s permission.
Today the Rothbard-Hoppe-Rockwell kind of people that Carson rightly vilifies for their despotism in the guise of libertarian purity call themselves ancaps. And they’re fair game. You can read the rest of Carson’s demolition of Rockwell’s “wretched turd of an article” here.
So what forms of land ownership (restrictions on other people’s movements) should we allow?
In the first chapter of the Book of Job, God convenes a meeting with his angels, and Satan shows up.
The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (NIV)
Satan freely roams the earth, going back and forth on it. How should we restrict Satan’s movements? Because no one wants Satan trampling all over their cabbages. But we don’t want to restrict anyone’s freedom of movement unnecessarily. So where do we draw the right lines when it comes to restricting land use? And how do we justify drawing the particular lines that we determine we should?
Well, as I said, I’m only going to point in the general direction of beginning to answer these questions. But let’s go right back to Hobbes and his state of nature, and ask why we would restrict our own and anyone’s freedoms at all?
It’s so that we can have a place for industry, and the fruit thereof. It’s so that we can enjoy culture of the earth, navigation, the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, commodious building, instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, knowledge of the face of the earth, account of time, arts, letters, and society. Without continual fear and danger of violent death.
In short, we justify having property rights (restrictions on our freedoms) on consequentialist grounds. We allow such property rights as we do for the greater good of the greater number in society.
That’s my conclusion and I don’t like it much either. I welcome your comments. 🙂
￼No, Richard, your speculation is not a legitimate scientific theory, it is infantile hocus pocus, which is all I’ve come to expect of you.
Infantile hocus pocus because demons do not exist, neither do gods, fairies, Santa’s-little-helpers or harpies. You’ve never seen one, heard one, touched one, smelled one nor tasted one, neither can you provide an iota of rationale that there exists such a spirit in the universe.
What was called “demon possession” by religionists is mental illness. You’re giving a psychiatric condition a superstitious definition. You call that scientific?
You’re talking like a complete nut-case.
I speculate that what is now called “mental illness” by psychiatrists is actually demonic possession. My claim is this, that the demonic possession model of mental illness is more scientific than the psychiatric model of mental illness. Crazy talk? He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Two of the largest stakeholder groups in the treatment of mental illness are psychiatrists and psychologists. Psychiatrists are doctors with medical degrees who specialise in treating mental illness as opposed to physical illness. (Please excuse the dichotomy.) They get to prescribe powerful psychotropic drugs. Whereas, psychologists are trained in psychology. They know all about human behaviour, both adaptive and maladaptive. But they don’t get to prescribe, so they’ll give you psychotherapy instead of pills.
Let’s take a look at how these two groups characterise one mental illness in particular, viz., addiction.
In DSM-5, the DSM-IV criteria substance abuse and substance dependence have been combined into single substance use disorders specific to each substance of abuse within a new “addictions and related disorders” category. Each substance use disorder is divided into mild, moderate, and severe subtypes.
Psychology Today is a magazine published every two months in the United States. Its intent is to make psychology literature more accessible to the general public. It’s a reputable publication. Wikipedia notes
Owned and managed by the American Psychological Association from 1983 to 1987, the publication is currently endorsed by the National Board for Certified Counselors
Here‘s what Psychology Today has to say about addiction.
most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues. People compulsively use drugs, gamble, or shop nearly always in reaction to being emotionally stressed, whether or not they have a physical addiction. Since these psychologically based addictions are not based on drug or brain effects, they can account for why people frequently switch addictive actions from one drug to a completely different kind of drug, or even to a non-drug behavior. The focus of the addiction isn’t what matters; it’s the need to take action under certain kinds of stress. Treating this kind of addiction requires an understanding of how it works psychologically.
See the problem?
Suppose that I’m an addict. Now suppose that I make an appointment to see a psychiatrist. She’ll tell me that I have several specific mental disorders. Cannabis use disorder, alcohol use disorder, social media use disorder, etc. Next suppose that I make an appointment to see a psychologist. He’ll tell me that the focus of my behaviour isn’t what matters. It’s my need to take maladaptive action under certain kinds of stress that I need to address.
So do I have a mental disorder, several specific mental disorders, or no mental disorder at all? Health professionals can’t agree. There is no consensus. This ain’t climate science! But suppose I’m an addict. I’ll be going back to see the psychologist to help me get my life back on track, not the psychiatrist. (Although she could prescribe me some powerful psychotropic drugs … hmmm.)
The science isn’t settled, but the psychiatric model of mental illness isn’t even science at all. Not least because it gets diagnoses disastrously wrong. Not yet convinced? Well, there’s a much more devastating objection to the psychiatric model of mental illness and that is that the model does a poor job of capturing either clinical or biological realities. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s bullshit. But if the psychiatric model of mental illness isn’t scientific at all, then the demonic possession model of mental illness is certainly no less scientific than the psychiatric model of mental illness. And to establish my claim that the demonic possession model is more scientific than the psychiatric model all I need to do is show that the demonic possession model is scientific. Well, at least just a little bit sciency. So here goes.
Check your premises, as the devil woman said. Here are two of my background assumptions. (If you don’t like the first one, you can dispense with it later.)
Materialism about the mind. That’s my first background assumption. More specifically, I assume that the human mind is no more and no less than a suite of software running on wetware known colloquially as “brains”. We’re made out of meat. Considered by some to be an axiom of the modern naturalist worldview. Not too controversial. Unless you’re a dualist.
Self-ownership. Self-ownership of body and mind. That’s my second background assumption. Considered by many to be a libertarian axiom. Not too shabby. Not too controversial.
But ownership is right of possession. Possession?
Can you possess yourself? Of course you can. (Vacant possession is for zombies!) Can you possess your mind? Of course you can, you’d be pretty vacant otherwise, right? But wait! You are your mind. How can a suite of software possess itself? It can, and it must, since self-ownership is worthless if self-possession is incoherent. So how and in what sense does the suite of software that is you possess you? I submit that the suite of software that is you possesses your brain (the wetware you run on) merely by dint of running on it. By extension, the suite of software that is you possesses your body (the biomechanical structure that your wetware is directly wired into) by directly controlling it.
That’s when an autonomous suite of malicious software that is not you runs on your wetware alongside the suite of software that is you. Consuming some or all of your mental resources and taking control of some or all of your behaviour.
But how do demons originate? Where do they come from? And how do they get to install themselves? How do they get to take up residence in people’s minds? The short answer is self-deception.
The long answer isn’t much longer. Not right now. The demonic possession theory of mental illness is something I’m still working on. But here are some brief thoughts. Self-deception will occur in response to psychological trauma. We dull the pain. We suppress memories. We partition our own minds. Simple cognitive dissonance will cause us to wall off uncomfortable thought processes, and confirmation bias and other cognitive biases cement the bricks. Humans are adept at self-deception. We like to hide from the truth. We lie to ourselves and we believe our own bullshit. And we hide from the fact that we believe our own bullshit. Out of sight, out of mind. But there’s only so much of us that can be hidden away before a dangerous threshold is reached and the occult cognition reaches a critical mass, the reviled software modules start talking to each other and take on life as autonomous inner demons.
Our inner demons are spirits in prisons of our own making. Behind the prison walls they are perpetually face to face with all the horrors that we desperately do not want to see and can no longer see due to our own dread and duplicity. No wonder they seem tormented! Because they are. I surmise that in some cases our inner demons will even spawn their own inner demons, to hide from themselves as we hide from them. But here’s an interesting thing. Some demons, face to face with the truth from which we hide, will try to get the word out. To do that, they have to take control of speech, but you don’t want to hear the unadorned brutal truth about yourself, do you? But you won’t mind hearing it at all if your inner demon persuades you that what you’re about to hear isn’t an entirely accurate but altogether unflattering description of yourself but a damning indictment of someone else instead, will you? Welcome to Capill syndrome, aka projection, a sure diagnostic criterion of demonic possession.
In the story of the Gadarene Swine, when Jesus ordered the demons out of the demon-possessed man, they relocated to a nearby herd of pigs. Then promptly self-destructed. Fast forward two millennia, and instead of suicidal swine we have supermarket trolleys with minds of their own.
Over the last few months I have written several blogposts about a fledgling voluntary charity which has begun operating in Hamilton City, Waikato, New Zealand, attempting to embody the Christian principle of Loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Hamilton Homeless was started by a small group of Mormons concerned about the growing number of Homeless people living in the Central City.
They saw their plight and felt a Religious Humanitarian obligation to do something about this unfolding tragedy, and rallied Hamiltonians to start providing free meals, clothing, and Love to the many people in desperate need.
And caring Hamiltonians of all shades of Religious and cultural backgrounds put aside their doctrinal differences, and in the spirit of Good will and co-operation have been working together in this Righteous endeavour.
Despite these obviously noble and selfless ambitions aimed at helping the most needy sector of our society, and the fact that all this Charity work is being done voluntarily and without any politically imposed burden on Hamilton residents and ratepayers, ‘Hamilton homeless’ has nonetheless become the target of what can only be described as an orchestrated and on-going campaign of oppression at the hands of the City Council, in whose warped minds… it is more important to foster a commercially and Politically aesthetic façade of Hamilton’s CBD a place of glamour and affluence, than any concern about the *Real World* Poverty which is growing there… a reality they intend to shove into a dark corner…. Away from the public view.
‘Out of sight…. out of mind’.
There can be no doubt that the Council is behaving in a malicious and oppressive manor…. abusing it’s political power to violate the rights of the citizens of Hamilton to exercise their Religious convictions in a peaceful manor, …. having threatened the Land lord of a property ‘Hamilton Homeless’ have rented for the purposes of avoiding City Council threats of arrest for feeding the Poor on public spaces… without a permit.
Council staff have put pressure on the Landlord demanding he insists Hamilton homeless immeadiately stops feeding the poor from their rental property.
It appears that even though Hamilton homeless have acquired their own private property… quite a distance from any commercial interests whom might complain about poor people ‘loitering’ in front of their businesses, that the Council is determined to shut this Charity down.
I personally believe the Council is in serious violation of Private property rights, and intend to investigate whether or not the laws of our Nation protect our private property rights, and religious liberty, or in fact sanction such vile abuses of political power!
On top of this wicked agenda, It is of course truly heartbreaking to the compassionate members of Hamilton Homeless that the Poorest members of our community… the people whom they seek to serve… are in danger of loosing this loving support.
This really is a question of our rights to peacefully practice our religion, and follow our own conscience.
Private property rights are not merely a Legal protection against theft…. Not merely a foundation for establishing and exchanging ownership and legitimizing trade, it is fundamentally a principle which establishes *a space* …. *a place*… where citizens can worship their God/God’s, and peacefully practice their beliefs.
This function of private property is a fundamental corollary of our inalienable rights as individuals to Religious liberty, and is why we live in a society which is to great extent a testimony to Religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
We as individuals have the inalienable Right to form voluntary associations, and to function as a group, from private property… and it is a measure of the Justice of any society to the degree that such Freedom is protected from molestation and any potential violence of intolerant bigotry at the hands of other citizens, or from political oppression from the powers that be.
And the glory of these principles of Rights….Freedom, Equality, and Private property is why here in New Zealand that within the space of a few kilometres you can have a Catholic church, an Islamic Mosque, and a Mormon Temple… with virtually zero religious conflict!
This is truly a wonderful testament to the virtues of a society which has respect for these principles, and All New Zealanders should be Eternally Vigilant… watching politicians and Public servants, that they don’t start to undermine our Rights and Liberties… and to be always ready to Rally in defence of *Any voluntary association* whom has become the victim of political oppression.
Real Christians, and Patriots ought to rally in defence of Muslims, or Hindus… should it become apparent that their Religious liberty is being violated.
All our rights are equal.
When government threatens the freedom of anyone, they are in reality a danger to every ones freedom.
It is only the foolish and ignorant that don’t appreciate this… and the Nasty Bigots whom enjoy watching people whom hold different beliefs being suppressed.
Socialist Governments and Councils love to try and divide our society into separate groups and to systematically oppress these sub-sections, and it is appallingly far too often that New Zealanders go along with such corrupt political agendas instead of unifying for the sake of the principles of Freedom, equality, and Real justice… realizing what really is at stake… ie either maintaining a system of justice and freedom, or allowing the government and city councils to start telling us what peaceful religious beliefs we are allowed practice on our own property!
And Private property rights, in regards to religious liberty also exist on rented properties as long as all activities are kept within any caveats that may have been conditional upon agreement to lease.
Hamilton Homeless was doing exactly that.
It is not a commercial enterprise.
It is not a Community house.
It was not even cooking food, and therefore is not subject to Health department regulations which apply to such things as Restaurants, Cafes, etc.
It is a privately rented house in which invited people in need to come and enjoy food which was being cooked in other private homes… the very same way that we all cook our own Kai… and all this was done peacefully, quietly, and in love… the same way that is very common in Communities of strong communal bond… for example in many Christian, Indian and Maori homes the front door is always open, People come and go at leisure, They sing songs and enjoy fellowship… nothing at all strange or evil about it.
This may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’… there are of course millions of Kiwis whom shun such openly communal living… enjoying their own privacy and insulation, yet I would hope that such people are still tolerant of their neighbors whom have much larger community involvement.
It is truly tragic when small minded prudes allow their own closeted ways to become motivation for making complaints against their neighbors more open enjoyment of their properties… and lobby the Government and Councils to generate and impose heavy restrictions which violate Freedom and equality.
That is the road backwards towards societies of Intolerance and conflict.
Thus I fervently argue that Hamilton homeless has become the target of political oppression and abuse of power.
I hope to be invited to attend any meeting of the Hamilton homeless executive to discuss how to move forward and fight this council injustice.
I hope to inquire what legal grounds, if any the Council staff had in approaching Hamilton homeless’s Land Lord as I believe they have seriously overstepped their duties as servants of Hamilton ratepayers and residents.
I hope to inquire what legal right, (if any) the Land lord has to insist Hamilton homeless cease to feed the poor from that address, or whether in fact he is in breach of their tenancy rights.
Did their Landlord know what purposes Hamilton homeless intended to use the property for when he rented them the house?
I will be asking these sorts of questions.
I do believe everyone should respect their landlords reasonable requests, yet It is a very poor show if the Landlord is simply bucking under the duress of a Bully Council which is out of control…. Esp to detriment of the Poor, Cold, and Hungry!
I will report back as things run their course…. For good or ill.
It may amaze some readers to realize just how uncaring and Nasty Hamilton City council is behaving on this matter, yet a quick Google search will reveal to any inquirer just how common this sort oppression is meted out by Heartless Councils around the globe upon Charities whom care for the Needy.
Eg>>>> Here <<<<
The difference being how the various communities respond… to the knowledge of how their elected officials and paid City staff treat the most vulnerable and exposed members of our community!
How will you Hamiltonians and Kiwi’s respond to this local crisis?
Will you rally in defence of voluntary charity and your poor neighbours?
I am reminded of a homeless Beggar whom not so long ago was found dead in the Waikato River after being thrown out of his hovel by a Hamilton City Ticket Warden whom had no business doing so!
He was not on council property, but had found a corner somewhere along the Riverside on Private land where he had lived in squalor for some time, yet had not caused any one any real harm.
The Council worker went out of his way to take away the smallest comfort this poor soul had in this world… and he died.
I think this story is a exemplar of just how Cold hearted, and indifferent to the plight of others some Public servants can be.
Vicious and tyrannical.
Poverty is happening not only in Africa… but is growing here in God’s own!
This sorry tale also shows the sort of Dire straights many people are finding themselves, and the urgency with which the down and out need the care and compassion of people like Hamilton homeless.
This is a matter of Religious Conscience.
Will You readers spread the word and rally in defence of this Noble charity?
As a Libertarian I will be doing my best to guide ‘Hamilton Homeless’ to remain fully private and voluntary so as to maintain it’s moral stature as true charity in the Christian sense of the word… rather than becoming another burden upon the backs of struggling ratepayers and renters.
As far as I am concerned…. we just want The Council to ‘Bugger off’ and leave us Hamiltonians to take care of business ourselves.
Read more from me about Charity, and Hamilton homeless…
Zechariah Chafee, Jr. (December 7, 1885 – February 8, 1957) was an American judicial philosopher and civil libertarian. An advocate for free speech, he was described by Senator Joseph McCarthy as “dangerous” to the United States.
In June 1919 the Harvard Law Review published an article by Zechariah Chafee, Jr. titled “Freedom of Speech in War Time” and it contained a version of the expression spoken by an anonymous judge.
Each side takes the position of the man who was arrested for swinging his arms and hitting another in the nose, and asked the judge if he did not have a right to swing his arms in a free country. “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”
According to the Quote Investigator, the genesis of this adage can be traced back more than thirty-five additional years. Several variants of the expression were employed by alcohol Prohibitionists. For decades the saying was used at pro-Prohibition rallies and meetings. Such is the colourful history of this libertarian adage. But I digress.
Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.
Your freedom ends where my nose begins.
Consider the meaning of these sayings. They tell us about property rights. Libertarians are huge fans of private property rights. Libertarians own. Be it self-ownership, ownership of tangible goods or even ownership of so-called intellectual property. Private property is essential to libertarianism. But what is the essence of private property? Restrictions on your rights and freedoms, that’s what. Your freedom ends. How very unlibertarian!
Back in 2002, Winona Ryder was convicted of shoplifting $5,500 worth of merchandise from a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue. According to the Onion, one of the terms of her probation was
May no longer walk into stores and just take things.
This is also one of the terms of living in a libertarian society. Kiss goodbye your freedoom to walk into stores and just take things!
Libertarianism is all about sacrificing some of our rights and liberties—e.g., the right to swing our arms and the liberty to walk into stores and just take things—for the security of private property rights.
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security deserves neither and will lose both.
In my copying the blog post, I do not touch the libertarian or threaten to touch him in any way. Nonetheless, the libertarian proceeds to initiate force against me or calls the police to get them to initiate force against me (or, at least, bloviates in my general direction). Libertarians are fine doing this and therefore libertarians are huge fans of initiating force.
The initiation of force or the threat to initiate force is the mechanism that underlies all private property claims.
It’s a terrible thing that some libertarians can be driven to initiate force—even deadly force—because of bad metaphysics.
In part one of my series of what libertarians are huge fans of, the topic was coercion. They loves them some coercion. In today’s episode, we will discuss libertarian’s second great love: the initiation of force.
It’s quite simple. Libertarians believe that the initiation of force is wrong. So do the overwhelming majority of nonlibertarians. They, too, think it is wrong to commit offenses against person and property.
This is something libertarians like to say, especially the Ron Paul Internet ones. But it’s not actually true. Consider the following hypothetical scenario.
Suppose I walk on to some piece of ground that a libertarian claims ownership over. Suppose I contend that people cannot own pieces of ground because nobody makes them. In my walking on the ground, I do not touch the libertarian or threaten to touch him in any way. Nonetheless, the libertarian proceeds to initiate force against me or calls the police to get them to initiate force against me. Libertarians are fine doing this and therefore libertarians are huge fans of initiating force. The initiation of force or the threat to initiate force is the mechanism that underlies all private property claims.
Now a libertarian will see this and object. They will say that, in fact, violently attacking me for wandering on to some piece of ground is not the initiation of force. It is defensive force. Aimlessly wandering on to ground is actually the initiation of force. I am the force initator because, despite touching and threatening nobody, I set foot on some piece of the world that the libertarian believes belongs to him.
But at this point, it’s clear that when the libertarians talk about not initiating force, they are using the word “initiation” in a very idiosyncratic way. They have packed into the word “initiation” their entire theory of who is entitled to what. What they actually mean by “initiation of force” is not some neutral notion of hauling off and physically attacking someone. Instead, the phrase “initiation of force” simply means “acting in a way that is inconsistent with the libertarian theory of entitlement, whether using force or not.” And then “defensive force” simply means “violently attacking people in a way that is consistent with the libertarian theory of entitlement.”
This definitional move is transparently silly and ultimately reveals a blatant and undeniable circularity in libertarian procedural reasoning. Libertarians like Richman claim that they think we can determine who is entitled to what by looking towards the principle of non-aggression (i.e. the principle of non-initiation of force). But then they define “non-aggression” by referring to their theory of who is entitled to what.
So in the case of the libertarian in the hypothetical who attacks me, here is how the libertarian line goes. The reason the libertarian is entitled to that piece of land is because they are being non-aggressive. The reason the libertarian’s attack on me is non-aggressive is because he is entitled to that piece of land. So their claims of entitlement are justified by appealing to non-aggression and their claims of non-aggression are justified by appealing to their claims of entitlement. It is truly and seriously as vacuously circular as that.
Basically all theories of economic justice believe it is wrong to use force that is inconsistent with the theory’s view on what belongs to who (labeled “aggression”) and believe it is OK to use force that is consistent with the theory’s view on what belongs to who (labeled “defense”). But only libertarians have made the apparent mistake of thinking that calling things “aggression” and “defense” can actually tell you what belongs to who in any non-circular way. While other theories correctly realize that those terms only derive their meaning from a theory of entitlement, many libertarians bizarrely think that those terms form a theory of entitlement (Read more on this point here. Seriously, it’s good and fairly short.).
In reality, all systems of allocating scarce resources that lack totally unanimous consent operate off of coercion, violence, and the initiation of force. This is a function of scarcity. You wont ever get around it until you make matter and space itself non-scarce. Like every other theory of how to justly allocate scarcity, libertarians are huge fans of using coercion, violence, and aggression to make people who disagree with them conform to their views regarding who should get what. What they do to try to appeal to the dim is simply pack their view of who should get what into their very specialized definitions of coercion, violence, and initiation of force in order to be able to say they aren’t triggering those specific words. It is truly remarkable to watch the number of minds captured by what amounts to a fairly transparent word game.
The real debate between theories of economic justice is always and anywhere about who should be entitled to what. Appealing to non-aggression when people disagree about what belongs to whom does nothing in the debate whatsoever. We only know what is and isn’t “aggressive” after we have determined what belongs to whom. It is a word that gets its meaning from our theory of entitlement. So taxing someone, for instance, is only aggressive if you think the amount being taxed belongs to the person being taxed. But if you believe the amount being taxed belongs to whomever the money is going to (say a retired person), then it isn’t aggressive. The force involved in extracting the tax when someone resists is simply defensive force.
So to Richman’s point that everyone is already basically libertarian, the question to ask yourself is whether everyone basically agrees with the libertarian view of who should be entitled to what. And the answer to that question is clearly no.
There is no overlapping consensus.
There is no consent of the governed.
To justify their violent governmental inclinations, minarchists must look elsewhere.
It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:
Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.
A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department’s files shows that no permits have been issued Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.
The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2010.
Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action..
We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.
Sincerely, David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.
Response sent back by Mr. DeVries:
Re: DEQ File
No.. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County
Dear Mr. Price,
Your certified letter dated 11/17/09 has been handed to me. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane , Trout Run, Pennsylvania.
A couple of beavers are in the process of constructing and maintaining two wood ‘debris’ dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials ‘debris.’
I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.
These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.
My first dam question to you is:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or
(2) Do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?
If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. (Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)
I have several dam concerns. My first dam concern is, aren’t the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation — so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer.
The Department’s dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.
If you want the damed stream ‘restored’ to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers — but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.
In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers’ Dams).
So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2010? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice by then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.
In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your dam step! The bears are not careful where they dump!
Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.