Archive for the 'Property Rights' Category
A judge ruled that 10 rare gold coins worth $80 million belonged to the U.S. government, not a family that had sued the U.S. Treasury, saying it had illegally seized them.
The 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle coin was originally valued at $20, but sold for as much as $7.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2002, according to Courthouse News.
After President Theodore Roosevelt had the U.S. abandon the gold standard, most of the 445,500 double eagles that the Philadelphia Mint had struck were melted into gold bars.
However, a Philadelphia Mint cashier had managed to give or sell some of them to a local coin dealer, Israel Switt.
In 2003, Switt’s family, Joan Langbord, and her two grandsons, drilled opened a safety deposit box that had belonged to him and found the 10 coins.
When the Langbords gave the coins to the Philadelphia Mint for authentification, the government seized them without compensating the family.
The Langbords sued, saying the coins belonged to them.
In 2011, a jury decided that the coins belonged to the government, but the family appealed.
Last week, Judge Legrome Davis of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania, affirmed that decision, saying “the coins in question were not lawfully removed from the United States Mint.”
Barry Berke, an attorney for the Langbords, told ABCNews.com, “This is a case that raises many novel legal questions, including the limits on the government’s power to confiscate property. The Langbord family will be filing an appeal and looks forward to addressing these important issues before the 3rd Circuit.” (Read more)
Of all the things to criticize about Russia, I wouldn’t put this high on the list. It seems like they were trespassing in order to ridicule Orthodoxy.
Imagine how little support they’d get if they had desecrated a synagogue. They’d be called Nazis and Western governments would be falling over each other to condemn them most strongly.
Imagine if they’d desecrated a mosque. They’d be called anti-immigration nationalists. Then a story about their murder would probably appear on the back pages of some newspaper.
Instead, they desecrated a church, and the world weeps over their imprisonment.
Obama spokesman condemns ‘disproportionate’ prison term for Russian punk band membersThe White House on Friday condemned the “disproportionate” two-year prison sentence a Russian judge imposed on members of the punk band Pussy Riot, found guilty of “hooliganism” for an event mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The United States is disappointed by the verdict, including the disproportionate sentences that were granted,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. (Read more)
An Oregon man is expected to spend a month in jail after being convicted on nine misdemeanor charges related to his illegal use of…water. Gary Harrington was sentenced after being found guilty of illegally collecting water on his own rural property.
Harrington, of Eagle Point, Oregon, has been fighting for his right to do what he wishes with water since 2002. Now more than a decade after he first defended himself over allegations that the man-made ponds on his 170 acres of land violated local law, Harrington has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars and fined over $1,500.
Authorities say that Harrington broke the law by collecting natural rain water and snow runoff that landed on his property. Officials with the Medford Water Commission contested that the water on Harrington’s property, whether or not it came from the sky, was considered a tributary of nearby Crowfoot Creek and thus subject to a 1925 law that gives the MWC full ownership and rights. Therefore prosecutors were able to argue in court — successfully — that three homemade fishing and boating ponds in Harrington’s backyard violated the law.
For filling “three illegal reservoirs” on his property with runoff water, Harrington has been convicted on nine misdemeanor charges in Circuit Court. He says he will attempt to appeal, but as long as the conviction stands to serve 30 days of imprisonment. He has also been sentenced to an additional three years of probation. (Read more)
All Titles SHOULD be Allodial Titles.
An Allodial Title is a concept in some systems of property law. It describes a situation where real property (land, buildings and fixtures) is owned free and clear of any encumbrances, including liens, mortgages and tax obligations. Allodial title is inalienable, in that it cannot be taken by any operation of law for any reason whatsoever.
Allodial lands are the absolute property of their owner and not subject to any service or acknowledgment to a superior. An allodial title is the opposite of a feudal tenure such as fee simple. The derivation of the word is still doubtful, though it is probably compounded of the Germanic all, whole or entire, and odh, property. Allodial tenure seems to have been common throughout northern Europe, but is now unknown in common law jurisidictions apart from the United States. Allodial titles are known as udal tenure in Orkney and Shetland, the only parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where they exist. (Read more)
Heavily armed “Nuisance Abatement Teams” order California desert dwellers to destroy their own homesPosted in Dictatorship, Property Rights on August 24th, 2011
This is Anarcho Capitalism:
I’ve listened to the discussion of private security, likely the business of insurance companies five times already. It lasts from about 31:00 to 41:00.
Great Mises Daily article on Intellectual Property, found here.
I’m going to get this book.
From a correspondence with friends:
I hold the very radical belief that taking someone’s property by force or threat of force is stealing, regardless of whether it’s done by an individual or institution or government, regardless of whether you call it taxation, and regardless of what virtues are invoked to justify the violence.
My apologies for the long-winded reply, but this stuff is my passion. I’m happy to make my case, even if we agree to disagree afterward:
> “Is it wrong to keep a standing army?”
Yes. The United States did not keep a large standing army during peacetime until 1948. Since then, we’ve had a foreign, undeclared war every decade, and never mind the fact that our Constitution requires congress to declare war. The psychopaths in government are having too much fun sending suckers like me off to war and their friends are making too much money.
How you like them apples? You’re a citizen of a country that can’t go a single decade without invading another.
How about the fact that we spend more than the rest of world COMBINED on “defense” which to me looks more like “offense”?
> “With all that you own and all that was given to you just by virtue of being born in the US, don’t you think that is worth protecting?”
I feel tremendous admiration and gratitude to all the entrepreneurs who risk their personal wealth to produce goods and services they hope I will VOLUNTARILY buy.
These are the people we should revere. These are the people to whom we should build monuments, not the power hungry politicians and bureaucrats who are too stupid, lazy, and cowardly to provide us with things we want. They cannot serve society, so they seek to rule it. Entrepreneurs build civilization. They are the ones who need protection, primarily from their government.
> “You use the services of the country, therefore, you have to pay your share.”
1- There are many that don’t use, which I’m also required to pay for.
2- I’d hardly categorize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bank bailouts, the nationalization of General Motors, the TSA’s pornographic body scanners, the NSA’s eavesdropping on my telephone calls, the Guatemalan Syphilis Experiment, and the BULLSHIT speeding ticket I got as “services.”
3- I’d absolutely *love* to stop using ALL public “services” in exchange for keeping all the money which people VOLUNTARILY give me for my work.
But regardless, I’m glad you at least used the words “have to.” You acknowledge then that government-provided services are coercive.
Violence will be used against me if I attempt to do without the benefit of infecting unsuspecting Guatemalans with Syphilis, for example. Initially, my refusal to pay for this public “service” will only inspire increasingly menacing letters from the tax collector, but ongoing refusal to pay will be met with physical violence, including lethal force should I attempt to defend my property. (btw, I pay all my taxes — out of fear.)
Please acknowledge the violence.
It can be justified only if you believe that a peaceful system of voluntary exchanges cannot provide education, security, food for the hungry, housing the poor, transportation, culture, etc.
Then you are faced with a dilemma: Should we leave the poor to their fate or should we violently separate people from their wealth? Should remain ignorant about the advanced stages of Syphilis or should we use the threat of violence to force people to pay for government experiments?
Of course, I believe there is overwhelming evidence that all these things are better provided in a free market (all the ones which are worth doing that is, and none of the ones which aren’t) . Therefore, the dilemma you might feel between violent taxation and some societal need doesn’t even exist.
Because your statist approach is the violent approach, I think the burden of proof lies with you; you must to demonstrate the government’s superiority to the free market. Nevertheless, I’ll make the case that the free market is the better provider, just because it’s so easy to do:
> 1) Security.
If you search for “mall cop tasers” on youtube, you don’t find anything (I didn’t), because privately hired security, unlike security hired by the greedy, lazy, cowardly, power-hungry sociopaths in government is accountable.
You might also be interested in the not-so-wild west where private security flourished, and the murder rate was lower than that of most modern-day U.S. cities:
Also, gun town USA — where crime nearly vanished, and not a single person has been murdered in the 25 years since a renegade mayor required every household to purchase a gun:
(I’m philosophically against the requirement, because it’s coercive, but I think this demonstrates the ability of people to protect themselves peacefully.)
> 2) Transportation
The railroad was build on private initiative in pursuit of private profits. It worked great until government strangled it with regulation, then killed it by FORCING everyone to subsidize an interstate highway system.
The obvious failure of the free market then precipitated the nationalization of Amtrak, a government monopoly, which, if I remember correctly, has lost 32 billion dollars to date.
Despite the best efforts of the statist ideologues, Indiana, Chicago and California are considering selling roads to entrepreneurs who are willing to risk their private wealth in the providing of transportation services.
> 3) need a structured state government to implement changes
Like a hole in the head.
Local governments have either outlawed or required people to kiss the ring of governance, beg permission and pay a hefty licensing fee for the following privileges:
-arranging flowers in Louisiana
-selling coffins in Louisiana, even for monks
-interior designing in DC or Florida
-showing tourists around in Boston
-labeling GMO-free foods “GMO-free”
-selling raw milk
-running lemonade stands in Portland ($120 health department fee)
-selling pumpkins and Christmas trees into Lake Elmo MN
-delivering your neighbors garbage to the dump in San Francisco
-putting signs in your store windows in Dallas
-eyebrow threading in Texas
-training Yoga instructors in Virginia
You risk the violence of government for committing these “crimes.”
4) civil services
How about the fact that poverty in the US fell by 1% a year from 1950 until 1968 when the government’s “war on poverty” began? Since the government’s “war on poverty,” the poverty rate stagnated and remained so despite a quadrupling of the government’s anti-poverty budget.
Consider this next time you hear someone say the free market punishes the poor.
5) (I’ll cover education, though you didn’t list it.)
As I said, I believe the burden of proof lies with the advocates of violence. I challenge you to find any evidence that public education has been anything but a pathetic, disastrous failure despite a tripling of the federal education budget, and a doubling of the number bureaucrats per student:
There’s also the fact that before America’s first public schools appeared in Massachusetts, there was near 100% literacy.
I think all the evidence of the superiority of the free market in providing services generally provided by government is irrefutable. You may find ways spin, question and undermine it, but instead of doing that, can you find evidence that the government approach is superior? Can you find any evidence whatsoever to justify the coercive funding of public “services”?
A corresondence with a friend about to begin studying libertarianism:
You’re asking all the right questions about government’s role and environmentalism. I’m happy to share my perspective.
W.r.t. Global Warming, I’m personally skeptical. I think it’s going to go the way of many other government endorsed “scientific consensuses” of the previous century, like eugenics (50,000 American citizens were FORCIBLY sterilized), the consensus that black people’s brains were anatomically inferior, the coming ice age of the 1970s, the imminent over-population problem of the 1980s, and of course the fact that peak oil has been predicted since Standard Oil struck black gold in Texas.
Whenever there is a “scientific consensus” about a threat to humanity whose solution calls for the use of massive government power, be skeptical.
So, I’ll limit this discussion to pollution, conservation and water.
Pollution and conservation are best handled by private property. If you own woods and want to chop them down, no problem. If you, however pollute the ground water which contaminates your neighbor’s property, then there is a role for the justice system.
This is a philosophically different approach from the arbitrary regulations set by government.
* In this lecture, Stephen Kinsella mentions how California’s environmental law requires all gas companies to purchase a specific gadget, which, by the way, is patented by a politically connected California company. This means more expensive gas for everyone. Government controls are rife with corruption. Contrast this with the private-property approach — So long as you’re not polluting your neighbor, who cares what technology you use?
* Government controls also take an all-or-nothing approach. Either entrepreneurs are completely forbidden for turning vast stretches of resources into goods that you and I want, or the government leases the resources with far too few restrictions to a mining/logging/drilling company whose only goal is to extract as much as possible, as fast as possible.
Imagine if you and I owned a stretch of woods. Imagine all the innovations which we’d create negotiating with loggers, meeting their needs, but also maintaining the land for future use. Politicians don’t have this foresight. Perhaps we would make money from hikers, campers, hunters.
Another characteristic of government controls is that no matter how much lobbying happens, the government remains just a few pen strokes away from swinging from one extreme to the other.
The vast resources spent lobbying government about control of government-owned resources would be better spend, buying, owning and managing natural resources. Sadly, it’s illegal for people to buy / own very much land. Realize, also, that the environmental lobbies are extremely well-funded and powerful, and could realistically buy vast amounts of land for the purpose of conservation.
The method of privatization, of course, is an important and difficult issue, but in general, I think private property is a much better scheme for environmentalism than government regulation.
Have confidence that every human desire is a business opportunity, including the desire to preserve/enjoy nature. Maybe our privately owned woods can out-compete other privately owned woods for the business of hikers by preserving endangered species. What a great blurb this might be on our billboards. Private ownership creates a market-incentive to protect endangered species. This is in stark contrast with the government approach of punishment. If you do happen to own a little bit of woods and the government finds some endangered animal on it, you’re fucked, and the way people deal with this is to shoot, shovel and shut-up.
Water. I just read a great little book called “water for sale” which studies privatization of water distribution. (I’d be more interested in the more radically libertarian idea of private ownership of water, but this doesn’t really exist anywhere.) In any case, the short little books addresses all the common objections — how can we force the poor to pay for water???
It makes an exhaustive and brilliant case for privatization of water distribution. There are many places in the world where, after privatization, poor neighborhoods received potable water for the first time ever. It’s a great success story, which it’s critics have a hard time denying.
Expect a whole lot of socialist propaganda in your courses.
These issues are similar to food freedom issues, in that the socialists and I usually agree on the problem, but have exact opposite solutions.
For example, you can try to reduce the amount of Ecoli in beef by having the government do more — stricter laws, stricter enforcement, stricter regulation — that is the socialists’ solution.
Or you can reduce the amount of Ecoli in beef by having the government do less — end the MASSIVE subsidies of corn. Corn-fed cows have 3x the amount of ecoli as grass-fed. The latter is only done because government subsidy makes it economical.
Here‘s a review I wrote of a documentary about Monsanto.