Thursday, December 12, 2019

Right-of-way and (sometimes) guns

I just can't stop kicking this hornet's nest, even though I find the experience intensely unpleasant, because I think it's important.

Of the libertarians I know and respect with whom I have discussed this, half say it's obvious I'm right while the other half are adamant that it's obvious I'm wrong. Both "sides" have explained their positions to me, either in private or in the comments on my blog, explaining why it's so plain that the other "side" is wrong on this matter. It's clear this isn't as obvious or cut-and-dried as either side seems to be positive it is.

Obviously, there is a blind spot, and I fully admit it may be mine. However, I'll try to explain why I don't believe it is. A primary part of that is because, regardless of how those who disagree frame my position, it's not about guns. It never was, nor have I ever claimed it was-- unless it was in the heat of the moment and I misspoke. It's just that guns are where the subject comes to a head.

If right-of-way is a legitimate concept, and I see no good arguments against it (and I have looked), there can't be anything you are arbitrarily forbidden to have on your person as you pass-- as long as it stays on your person and causes no harm nor any credible threat of harm. To forbid any specific object (including a gun) under these conditions is completely arbitrary and, I believe, wrong.

Supposing you have to cross someone's property, and-- due to right-of-way-- they grudgingly allow you to do so, are you then obligated to cross naked if they post a "no clothing" or a "no personal property allowed" sign? What if the weather would kill you if you were naked but it was essential for you to cross now instead of waiting until the weather is perfect?

If you are only allowed to take your bare body and nothing else-- no suitcase with clothes to put on once you get someplace where your humanity isn't violated, and not even anything stashed in either of "nature's pockets" (because that would be concealed carry)-- you'll never be able to take anything to or from your house. No food, no raw materials, nothing. You can't engage in trade. You are a prisoner and a slave to the other property owner.

Probably too hypothetical, but hypotheticals can still expose flaws in reasoning even if you say the situation is highly improbable.

So, my position is not just about guns-- even though that's where some people seem to believe the exceptions lie so that's where they focus their criticisms.

Why would clothes be different than anything else you need to carry? A gun is only "different" than clothes because of superstition. It is personal property which is necessary for survival in specific circumstances-- just like clothing. "But a gun can be used as a weapon!" So? I could strangle a person with a sock if I were a thug with that sort of training or experience.

You might say "You don't need a gun the same way you need clothing".
Well, you don't need clothing if the temperature and humidity are perfect, there's no chance of sunburn (since even wearing sunblock could be forbidden by the property owner you're dependent upon if he specifies "nothing but YOU") and if the weather were incapable of changing. But even in this case of absolutely perfect weather with zero chance of it changing, would such a requirement be reasonable or legitimate? Remember, you are surrounded by this other person's real estate-- "his property, his rules". His rules could (and probably would) kill you.

Clothes wouldn't be necessary in a climate-controlled world.
A gun wouldn't be necessary in a world without aggression.

We don't live in either of those imaginary worlds.

I understand trying to respect property rights, but there are some instances where it is anti-liberty and unworkable in the real world to do so in this way, to the exclusion of everything else.

Property rights are essential... but not sufficient. There's more to rights than property rights. If you can be held captive on your property by someone else's property rights, then there is no liberty.

It seems that right-of-way solves that. If you let it.

And, I really do believe it comes down to a superstitious belief-- a superstition created by decades of statist brainwashing-- that a gun is somehow fundamentally different from any other piece of property. It's plainly not.

Or, is a gun somehow the only legitimate (and/or acceptable) exception to right-of-way? If so, why, and how does that work?

Is this entire discussion about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

And, again, if I invite you to my property, I will NEVER ask you to leave your rights at my property line. Never. I can't even imagine being so twisted. If I don't trust you with all your rights intact, I don't trust you and have no business inviting you onto my property at all. It's all about actions. As long as you don't steal, damage, attack, or threaten to do any of those things, you're welcome here.

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.