Sunday, May 14, 2017

Property rights abused, misunderstood

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 12, 2017)

Property rights is a pillar of civilization. A pillar which is crumbling from neglect, abuse, and misunderstanding.

As long as your use of your property doesn't damage other people or their property in a tangible way, it's no one else's business. This applies to trash, vermin, odors and dust, holes, and nuclear waste.

What if your mess won't stay put on your property? What about someone who drains the aquifer?

Arbitration and restitution could ease these sorts of problems, but government courts have been fairly useless for protecting private property rights. Tax money, government interests, and political cronyism get in the way-- and voters will vote for anything they believe protects their income, be it policy or politician.

Does freedom mean the right to use your property however you want? Where does your freedom end? Freedom often violates other people, because "freedom" is simply doing whatever you want to do. Liberty, on the other hand, is the freedom to do what you have a right to do, and you never have a right to violate other people's life, liberty, or property.

Since you have no right to use your property in a way which will harm your neighbors' property, if you do-- if you drain or contaminate their wells or can't contain your mess to your property, and you can't reach an agreement with them-- you will owe restitution.

Some people fear if businesses are held accountable for pollution, the economy would crash; no one would do anything because of the risk of owing restitution to surrounding property owners. This might cause trouble for a while since property rights have never been taken very seriously, but business would adjust.

Property owners might be approached ahead of time, with agreements-- perhaps including a financial stake-- being ironed out before anything happens. A market could arise for tools to keep pollution contained to the property where it originates-- or to collect and ship it elsewhere to be cleaned or recycled. "Pollution" is just another name for resources wasted because we don't yet know how to profitably use them.

I'm not saying this is the only way these things could be solved-- given motivation, people are pretty innovative and will come up with even better solutions. Opposition to proper respect for property rights reminds me of those who couldn't imagine how cotton would be picked if slavery were ended. Do the right thing, then figure out where to go from there.

This blog, like all of, is reader supported. 
Any donations or subscriptions are GREATLY appreciated! Thank you.

Adventures with the DMV's harpy

I don't believe in the legitimacy of "driver's licenses", but I have been helping someone, at their request, try to obtain one. For "pragmatic" reasons. Therefore my patience with the nonsense is a bit thin already.

Living where I do, the closest DMV office is in another town, about 20 or 30 miles away. The hours are inconvenient and subject to the whims of the office's lone surly bureau-rat.

An appointment was set to take the driving part of the test. The "new" driver (who has actually been driving for decades, but wants to get "legal") arranged to borrow a car for the test, because my old pickup is "too large" and unwieldy. The owner of that car met us at the DMV, after driving an hour out of his way to get there.

Things were set. We left the new driver and the car at the DMV and went to McDonald's to wait. Then I remembered I have no cell phone service in this town. Oops.

When we thought enough time had passed, we went back to the DMV. We were then confronted with bureaucratic evil and stupidity. The license-seeker had been trying to call me for almost the entire time, without success-- no cell signal.

Turned out the bureau-rat wouldn't administer the test because of a burned out light bulb. An inconsequential light bulb. Which the license-seeker isn't even responsible for.

The brake light in the top of the rear window has 4 bulbs. The one second to the end on the right was out. This third-- extra-- brake light was still perfectly functional without this bulb. The light bar was still perfectly visible from a distance-- and in fact you had to be close to notice the small gap in the rectangle of light. But "No test for you!!"

So, everyone had to be inconvenienced again, just because of the arbitrary whims of a tax junkie. Hooray.

The bulb was replaced, the test was rescheduled, and passed with no further trouble.

And, as it turns out, that particular light isn't even a required part of the car checklist, as you can see below from the scan of the actual checklist:

The BureauHarpy simply wasn't in the mood to give a test that day, and lied to get out of it. I expect nothing better from people of that sort-- it's government.


I was reminded again of the time I decided I ought to get "legal" and get a driver's license for the state I had been living in. I went in, but I didn't have all the demanded papers and documentation (or even a "legal address" for that matter), and they wouldn't give me a license. So I walked out, loudly proclaiming to the shocked faces on the waiting victims of bureaucracy: "Then I'll just keep driving illegally. Doesn't matter to me. Bye." And I did. And it saved me tons of money over the years, even including the "fines" when I eventually got caught (years later, in an altogether different state).

Ah, the joys of statism. How can people even twist their minds enough to believe this stuff is legitimate?

This blog, like all of, is reader supported. 
Any donations or subscriptions are GREATLY appreciated! Thank you.