Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Once upon a time, I believed that if your property ended up being surrounded by the property of others and they refused to let you cross their property to get to and from your property, it was "just too bad". You might starve but you had no right to complain if they wouldn't allow you to cross-- it was their property, after all. Your death was just the price of protecting their property rights.

Then someone reminded me of the concept of right-of-way.

It was something I hadn't considered before.

Now, obviously, I don't believe rights are (or can be) granted by courts or government. Either they exist, or they don't. I don't believe rights obligate anyone to do anything beyond not violating the life, liberty, or property of others.

Does right-of-way violate the property rights of some to prevent them from violating the life and liberty and property rights of another? Maybe.

Right-of-way has been recognized as a human right for centuries. That doesn't necessarily mean it really is a natural human right, though.

The purpose behind right-of-way seems to be to prevent someone from claiming property rights as justification to cause harm to the life, liberty, and property of someone else. To keep "property rights" from being used as a weapon to violate the property rights-- and more-- of others.

Perhaps the property rights of one can't outweigh the life, liberty, AND property rights (combined) of another.

Having right-of-way doesn't include the right to steal, vandalize, litter, homestead, or otherwise damage the property while you are passing through. "Leave nothing but footprints; take nothing but pictures" doesn't begin to go far enough when talking about exercising right-of-way. Keep your hands in your pockets and move along. Leave no footprints if it can be avoided, and take no pictures.

Those who believe property rights give a person the right to do anything they want to other people on their own property, claiming property rights as the justification, would probably disagree and discount the idea of right-of-way, or maybe place some arbitrary conditions beyond those rational ones I've pointed out.

Right-of-way makes ethical sense to me, but I'm open to arguments for and against.

Writing to promote liberty is my job.
I hope I add something you find valuable enough to support. If so...
YOU get to decide if I get paid.