Friday, July 22, 2022

One of these things is not like the other

When things are different, but someone claims they are the same by way of analogy:

"Me carrying a gun onto your property when you've said I can't is no different than me breaking into your house while you're gone and settling down on your couch to watch your DVDs on your big-screen TV. Even if I bring my own popcorn, and even if don't damage the lock on your door when I break in, and even if I leave a quarter on the dining room table on my way out to pay for the electricity I used, and even if you never know it happened, I'm still stealing from you. That house and that TV and those DVDs are yours, not mine." [link]

1- "breaking into your house". Not invited, even provisionally. Entering a private space, through a locked or closed door (or window) meant to keep out everyone but the property owners, without even the awareness of the owner. 

2- All the activities described involve wear and tear on the property. Damage; a reduction in the property's value/life span, even if minimal. Even if unnoticed.

3- Physical damage is theft; mere physical presence isn't theft.*

So, "no different"? Really?

If you don't want to respect people's bodily autonomy while they are on your property you have every right to close that property off to others-- as the homeowner in the analogy did. Slavery-- claiming property rights over the bodies of others-- isn't OK even if you "only" do it while they are on your property, or as a condition of them entering your property.  Yes, the best way to deal with such horribly untrustworthy people is to shun them.

If I am worried about what might be in your pants while you are on my property I will simply not open my property to you. I will not invite you onto my property at all, rather than claiming I have the right to dictate what's in your pants, unseen and not causing any physical damage to anything of mine. If I invite you onto my property, either my private property or my business property (which I presumably want "the public" to use), I will absolutely respect all your natural human rights, without exception. I struggle to imagine how someone could do otherwise and claim any sort of moral high ground.

*The claim that mere presence is theft is similar to the "Intellectual Property" claim that an idea can be stolen. In neither case is the thing itself damaged or harmed in any way. It is still there, unchanged, for the owner to use just as before.


  1. Kent:
    An excellent restatement of this subject; which we have discussed previously. I hope this serves to further clarify the matter for your readers but given the past apparently intractable confusion over the extent of both property rights and free association that this subject raises for some people, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for any unanimity of understanding on the point.

  2. Some people believe they have a right to the use of others' property without permission, if that permission is withheld over something they consider important.

    Others don't.

    The ones who don't are called "libertarians." The ones who do are called "force initiators."

    There's nothing special about guns that makes other people's property rights disappear. Nothing whatsoever. Guns are not magical objects, like victim disarmers, and apparently you, seem to believe.

    1. As I've explained over and over and over again, it has nothing specific to do with guns. I didn't even mention guns in my part of the post. Substitute anything else that fits the conditions I have set out: it never makes its presence known, it doesn't leak/radiate anything into the environment, it causes no damage/harm whatsoever by its mere presence.
      It's the same regardless of what the object (or non-object) is. The fact that this keeps being ignored and made about guns just proves my point.

      Guns are the one category of object that people seem to grasp as an excuse to enslave others who are simply going about their business away from home.

      "force initiators"... Ignoring "IP" is "force initiation"? Where's the force? There is no force (nor any theft). Yes, I get it-- some people would prefer you respect their IP "rights", and it might be nice to do so, but it isn't an initiation of force to fail to do so. The argument is very similar to arguing that simply possessing something that never intrudes into the other person's space is an initiation of force.

      However, this is about the bad analogy being used to "prove" an erroneous point rather than about the object. If the analogy hadn't been so bad I wouldn't have bothered to respond, since I know it is pointless to do so.

    2. The analogy isn't bad. The analogy is exact. You either have permission to use property or you don't. Using it without permission is theft. And whether it's guns or anything else, excuses are like assholes. Everybody's got one (for the force initiation THEY want to enage in), and they all stink.

    3. I consider the natural rights of individuals primarily important. Natural rights are inherent to each individual, including that of self defense and this is not dependent upon where the individual physically exists at any particular time. Simply possessing your intrinsic complement of natural rights is not a ‘use’ of anyone else’s ‘property’. The right of free association enables any individual to exclude those from their justly owned real estate if they so choose for any reason they choose. It does not accord them the right to pick and choose which natural rights others may possess on their property. A person who does this is a ‘force initiator’ because they believe that their opinions supersede and can circumscribe the inherent natural rights of others.

      As I noted in my original comment to Kent, due to the ‘apparently intractable confusion over the extent of both property rights and free association that this subject raises for some people, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for any unanimity of understanding on the point.’