Posts tagged Property rights

Re: A Quick Note on “Borders”

“It comes down to a question of whether property owners have a right to deny access to their land to others, arbitrarily . . .”

No, it does not come down to that at all. I am quite happy to welcome undocumented immigrants onto my property; so what it comes down to is a question of whether or not other people, who do not own my property, have a right to deny access to my land to others, arbitrarily. Of course they do not. They have no right to do anything but keep their preferences, and their borders, on their own property, not on mine.

“This may well be true; but if so it actually renders all argument irrelevant since their right to have any policy- including open borders- unsupportable. For instance, an illegitimate state operating an open borders policy is enacting unjust domain over the properties of its citizens-”

Horsefeathers, sir. This is absurd.

Of course you are right that in my view, no nation-state can legitimately have any policy at all, because no nation-state can legitimately exist. But the mistake here is in trying to treat political demands for amnesty or open borders as if they were demands for an active policy in the first place. They are not demands for government action; they are specifically demands for a structured sort of in-action, and they cannot reasonably be described as “actions of an illegitimate State against its oppressed citizens.” They are not impositions of “unjust domain over the properties of its citizens” because the property rights of a states’ citizens don’t include the right to force immigrants off of other people’s property in the neighborhood. Nothing is being imposed upon them, any more than the absence of war is somehow the political imposition of “peace” on unwilling civilians; or, at least, if you are going to claim that a state without border restrictions “is enacting unjust domain over the properties of its citizens” in virtue of its lack of border restrictions, then you will have to tell me whose property rights are being restricted by the open borders, and how they are being restricted by government’s simple refusal to harass or detain international migrants.

Re: Nick Hogan jailed for 6 months

[Google Reader comment on shared article Nick Hogan Jailed for 6 Months.]

It is certainly evil to imprison a man for allowing smoking on his own damn property. However, I certainly don’t know why I am supposed to wax indignant at either of the following cases in which people who did real damage were acquitted:

“Two anti-nuclear protesters who entered a dockyard planning to disarm one of Britain’s Trident submarines with an axe were yesterday cleared of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.”

“Four women walked free from Liverpool Crown Court yesterday after a jury found them not guilty of criminal charges despite their admission that they did more than pounds 1.5m worth of damage to a Hawk warplane.”

Well. Good for them. I’m glad they are free. Nobody should be imprisoned for damaging the war machines of government militaries. Those war machines are used to threaten or inflict death on innocent people throughout the world, and the government militaries that purchase and maintain them are hyperviolent criminal organizations, funded by coercion and habitually dealing out destruction. Government militaries have no legitimate property rights to anything, and where there’s no property rights there are no identifiable victims. Where there’s no victim, there’s no crime.

The people who engaged in these direct actions against government “property” (property in name only, derived entirely from coercive taxation) — these people, I say, are heroes, not criminals, and shouldn’t be locked up for even a minute. The more people can get away with disabling or destroying the State’s hideous war machines, the better.

Whose conventions?

Matt Simpson:

I’m a conventionalist when it comes to property.* A cursory glance at the current convention in the geographic region we call Israel shows that the Israeli government does, in fact, have the right to be there.

Whose conventions show that?

Last I checked, a lot of Palestinians, for example, do not accept the property conventions in question (e.g. they reject the colonialist conventions behind the Mandate and Balfour, accept property conventions that would allow for a right of return after forcible exile from traditionally-held lands, etc.). So what then gives the Israeli government the right to force Palestinians to act according to the boundaries set by its own property conventions, as opposed to the property conventions that they themselves accept?

(Note that you can’t answer by appealing either to conventions that allow for that kind of imposition, or to the alleged legitimate authority of the Israeli state to fix property conventions, without crassly begging the question.)