Property rights: absolute with one limit

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Property rights: absolute with one limit

Post by swiftfoxmark2 on Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:10 pm

Property rights: absolute with one limit

Kent McManigal wrote:Yes, I said long ago that I had written my last word on the Bubble Theory of Property Rights. Well, it keeps rearing its head, and the more I examine the concepts and counter-arguments, the more sure I am of where I stand. That still doesn't mean I am right.

Property rights are absolute (even if The State acts as if they are not). Property rights have only one limit: they end where the property ends. You can't claim ownership of your neighbor's house just because it is adjacent to your property, even if your property is completely surrounding his property and he must parachute to his house from deep space in order to avoid crossing your land. Your property lines are where your property rights end in this example. Those who own land in the middle of national forests still retain ownership of their own property (even if the feds aren't happy about it and seek to violate those property rights in myriad ways).

The same goes for smaller units of property such as a house or business and an individual allowed to enter that property. If you allow me to come onto your property, my body does not become your property even though it is engulfed by your property. My property "bubble" extends to the outer surface of my clothing because my clothes are still my clothes even if you allow me, and them, on your property. Your property rights end at my surface, and do not penetrate any deeper. So, anything beneath the surface of my clothes, as long as it remains only there, is occupying only my property even if I am surrounded and engulfed by your property at your permission.

You can insist I leave my rights behind if I enter your property, but the demand is no more valid than the demand that I become your unwilling sex slave if I enter your property. Slavery or murder is not OK just because you "only" do it on your own property. Now, obviously, anyone evil enough to make the demand that you relinquish your rights in order to enter their property is someone you should avoid if at all possible. It is better to avoid putting yourself in these situations if you can. You can cooperate or not as you see fit, but I don't consider it noble to kowtow to bad guys.

If criminal law were oriented around this idea, we'd see a much more sensible country.

If I were a government skool teacher, I'd teach this concept to all my students. Of course, I'd probably be fired in short order.

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