"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." -John Adams

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Can I live it? Part 1 “Angry Joe”

One thing people tend to do, and I often do the same, is think of the world in the ought to be, and we imagine how things should be or could be, or just how we want it to be. When we talk through these things, whether it's economics, private property societies, (or voluntaryist society), we often project what we see as the perfect, without asking if we could live such a thing. I have read many writings on economics where after reading I think to myself, "well, this person has never actually ran a business", or, "this person has never actually had to deal with employees".

Some thing may sound great, but if it's not livable in your everyday life, then it's crap, worthless.

One of these things is something I have come across on Target Liberty, a site I read daily. I like the format and the author is someone I respect whose ideas make me think.

Except for one thing.

In his explanation of a Private Property Society, he says that in a true society such as this, that for there to be true justice, then everyone makes his own rules for his property. Of this I agree. If I invite someone over to my home, I may tell them, there is no smoking in my house, or stay out of my fridge unless you ask, or even something arbitrary, such as, if you come into this house, you have to stand on your head the whole time you are here, and if you don't, I will punch you in the face. While the last example is stupid, it's still livable if I instruct my guests to the rules before hand. I may never get any guests, but that doesn't matter.

The Target Liberty's author says that in his view, a property owner's rule over his property go beyond this. The following is an example that he uses, although I don't think he calls the subject, "Angry Joe".

Angry Joe has signs up all around his property: if you trespass, you will be shot. No excuses. He goes on to say that, even if a 5 year old boy wonders onto his property in some misadventure, Angry Joe can certainly kill the boy and is justified in doing so.

One of the justifications for this, is that even in the world we live in today, we stay away from the "bad" sections in town, and we don't let our children go to those places either. That's true, and it sounds great.

A real Private Property Society. Every man is king and tyrant of his own domain.

But can you live it?

Exactly how long will Angry Joe live, after he has shot the first born son of a young father who's whole life revolves around this boy? The father, in what I think would be righteous wrath, would destroy Angry Joe and everything he owns. Angry Joe would cease to exist. The Private Property Society would break down as sure as it was created, because humans cannot live this way.
If some things are always right, then some things are always wrong.

A lot of intellectuals can blather away on the perfect society and tell of the harshest of terms for that society, until they look into the eyes of their own child. They could not live it.

When you hear someone tell you that everything is relative, and nothing is absolute, then ask what's to keep you from taking a gun and blowing their head off?

No human with his head on even partly straight, can live this. And a community, or society, is itself just individual actors. If the single actor cannot live it, then the society most certainly cannot either.


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  2. At a minimum Angry Joe would have to be able to live completely isolated -- as in no trade with his neighbors, no traveling on roads which the neighbors own, etc. Maybe Angry Joe is so angry he could do this for a time, but it seems unlikely. It is unlikely that any private law society court would uphold his action as being defensible.

    Usually for something like being shot there is the requirement for ill intent on the part of the one being shot which would have to be demonstrated by overcoming a significant obstacle, or immediate dire threat to someone. I could shoot someone who had no ill intent but was doing something potentially fatal to me if they were out of their mind on drugs or alcohol for instance. No ill intent required.

    Private law would tend to discourage such things as "death for crossing a property line" because such a business wouldn't get many people voluntarily cooperating with it.

    Libertarianism isn't about atomism.