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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Property Rights Make No Sense?

This is an excerpt from a discussion I had today with someone touting fair redistribution as the proper way to have property.  Their initial argument was that property rights make no sense, but then throughout the discussion they stuck to their guns that once it was redistributed to you it was yours to keep and no one could (or should) steal it.

I'll give 10 reasons why Property Rights make much more sense than life without them (Communism/Collectivism/Socialism)

1) You cannot distribute resources without first taking it from someone that already had it. There aren't enough free resources floating around in the world to meet the "fair" distribution theory - millions will be forced to give up their resources for others.

2) Property rights are not fiction, they are observed in nature. If you were a bear and you wandered into another bears territory and tried to take up residence you wouldl have a fight on your hands. Same is true for all predatory species and even Beta fish. It does not take much logic to understand why this is. a) You have a right to your life thus b) you have a right to your body and thus c) you have a right to obtain and own things that you need to sustain your life and d) you have a right to work on achieving more than you need through contracts and fair bartering.

3) Rationing has never led to a wealthy country or wealthy community, except for the ruler. Equal distribution cannot either. It will consume more resources and require the elimination of privacy to attempt to ensure equal distribution than it ever will to simply live free and work for what you want.

4) Communism is a beautiful idea on paper, however when attempted in reality it encourages sloth at the common levels as there is no incentive to produce more as all you do is end up owing more to the common pool as a result. Got a great idea that will result in a new product - great! Now the equal distribution factories have to churn out one of each for every person in the society. Also communism must be overseen and unfortunately those in power are only human and they will fall to greed and corruption.

5) Communism (collective society - same thing) pushed on an entire society will require force and the elimination of any who oppose the idea for it to begin. Then it requires socialism with a strong government that has the right to take and redistribute things "equally". The idea is that in the end everyone will have the same items at all times and eventually the government could be dismantled and all will live happily and receiving their share of everything that is produced by the society.

6) Without natural reward there is no reason for a society to produce more than exactly what it needs and rarely enough to survive. This has been proven time and again in history, however people love to ignore history and instead think capitalism is what needs to be attacked.

7) You cannot trade off your unwanted items in a collective society as then suddenly someone would have an excess and this would have to be corrected by the government through confiscation and redistribution.

 Capitalism is what produced the richest nation in the history of the world that had the lowest poverty level of all time. Face it very few of America's "poor" suffer from lack of basic needs, but rather from their inability to own everything they want. Capitalism did not exist before the US. Feudalism and Dictatorships were all that existed - the people were the property of the sovereign. Only in the US were most of its citizens a sovereign with full rights to themselves at their birth.

9) The difference between Liberty (right to one's self) and "collective society" is that one does not utilize force in its execution. Voluntary communes can exist in a Liberty based society, however it would be impossible for Liberty to exist in a collective/commune based society.

10) In a forced "ism" society you will still see a type of capitalism - the black market. The government will put people caught using it in cages and state it is for the good of society, however is it really good for society? Why can't people trade? Why can't people attempt to make a profit? Why should they be punished for success?

11) The idea of a collective society is that all should be equal. In a free society we all start out equal (with minimal things and many of the same opportunities) and are allowed to acquire what we work for. In a collective society you are equally given things but are a slave who cannot decide what to do with their things.

The bottom line is you do not have more rights to my life than I do and therefore I do not have to concede to your use of force to make me share what I do not desire to share with others. To do so is morally bankrupt, aggressive, and evil. To cloak it as "sharing" and not theft is to support the concept that the ends justify the means and that being human means you owe everyone else a debt for your being alive.


Interesting, but not unexpected response:  Paraphrase of their argument:
Rights of property and self ownership do not exist.  Magic does not bestow rights on us.  Defend as you may someone bigger can take what you have.  Society is why your stuff is not taken away. Society created the plan we live under and society can change it and it will still be valid.  If living collectively sustains a species or society then it would be moral and necessary.

My response:

Interesting argument - force is necessary for sustaining a species?   Protecting it from attack, yes, but using it on itself to obtain goals?  A just society will band together to defend each other using force.  How can it be argued that a society that will band together and use force to take from people what they have justly acquired is acceptable?

If I had been given a choice to voluntarily join society to ensure my right to ownership was defended and then that society stole from me in the name of collectivism I cannot imagine anyone defending that society. But since I had no choice but to support a society it is okay?

A voluntary society where I could subscribe for the services I wanted - mutual protection for instance - and pay X amount for it would be amazing.  Instead I am in a society where I have put my life on the line and pay X times 1000 or more  to support things I find repugnant or that go against my beliefs.  The last thing I do is agree with the current or even the past laid plans of society.  Any time society uses force other than in defense of the individual it is at the expense of those it was created to protect.

Your argument is almost compelling except that now I am trading one bully for a bigger bully "society" and I am expected to believe that ownership is a privilege bestowed on me by a "protective" society.

It is called a right because it is essential to survival of the individual which in turn ensures survival of the society.  Without a right to ownership we cannot achieve more than serfdom or obtain a sense of security.  Just because a right can be infringed on does not  negate the fact that it is a right.  A just society works toward the one goal of protecting the rights of those who chose to join it.

Right now we do not have true ownership and it is a major reason why our society is broken and grasping at anything that sounds like a good deal.

I know people have a right to the enjoyment of their vices, such as smoking.  However, without their own private property they would not have an area to exercise their right since smoking is an infringement on other's right to fresh air.  Without property why plant a crop that could be redistributed tomorrow at no benefit to yourself?

Moreover, without rights then society would not need to exist for if ownership is not a right then theft is fine and no one should defend you, not even yourself.

My stuff is not taken because I defend myself and I have friends and neighbors that I will defend and who will defend me, not because of society or government.  The government has never helped me after I was robbed as a matter of fact, other than one mailbox and a wallet, the government is the only entity that has ever stolen from me.

Collectivism is a fallacy as many ideas would have to be overlooked while ensuring everyone had equal access to each thing made and people would never live equally as there would always be a wait for new things and food as with any society those in favor would still have more and those second rate people would wait until it became available - whether it be food, medicine, transportation, shelter, or toys.

Again, attempts at living collectively have proven to create extreme poverty.  Why would America suddenly be able to get right what so many other cultures have failed miserably at?

To clarify a bit, there is no such thing as society. There are leaders who wield power "granted" by those who do not resist or choose to ignore the problems.  Active resistors are discredited, put in cages, or killed. The lack of active resistance is what empowers those in charge and without being checked the leaders will naturally do more and more horrible things until the people who granted them power punish them and cast them out. The current functioning of a social group is not de facto justification nor is it granted validity just because it is.

-=-=- Another reply
paraphrase: You mentioned rights are for survival, but survival does not need more than minimum.  Capitalism leads to people with more and people with less than needed.  Fair market favors the majority.  It has flaws.

My response:

It sure does have flaws, but it doesn't support the use of force to achieve its goals.  True capitalism is simply people working together without coercion to achieve goals and typically where both parties benefit.

However I believe you have made my argument for me in capitalism the majority is not poor.  In collectivism the majority is poor.  In capitalism I can support charities to help my fellow people who need a boost to live.  I've helped build houses for people and I've donated much to charities I believe are effective.

I believe that the failure of churches and other organizations who desire to help those in need are in large part due to the broken idea that that government should do it and we should be taxed whatever it takes to make it happen.  "I gave at the office" is exactly what that is about.

 I guess there is perhaps a disagreement on the definition of "rights".  There are a few I appreciate:
1) That which is morally correct, just, or honorable
2)  In accordance with fact, reason, or truth
3) In a just or proper manner; justly

My argument is also that they are unalienable - they cannot be sold or bartered away for political expediency.  To do so would destroy the civilization that was designed by the people who realized these rights were to ensure survival and foster growth of wealth unlike the world had ever known before.

Moreover life, liberty, and property are natural rights: any right that exists by virtue of natural law.  Natural law is something that has been pushed under the rug and hidden from the common person in this day and age.  Natural law is a principle or body of laws considered as derived from nature, right reason, or religion and as ethically binding in human society.  These rights are the result of study of human nature, discovered by reason, and not by revelation.

When natural rights are ignored or actively refused bad things come to pass.  It happens where collectivism is attempted and it happened throughout history when people were denied these simple rights.  It isn't a theory or a concept, it is simply scientific study of what people do when denied these things.  The magna carta was the first major result of this study and nothing has changed in human nature over the 800 years since it was written.

Survival of man does require more than necessary - it requires that we be given a chance to seek out happiness.  Sadly, most of us have tons of things and have found not only are we not happy as a result of it we are more burdened than we were with little.  Collection of things is not the only path to happiness.  How do we distribute traveling allotments equally, fuel equally, or recreational equipment equally?  It is up to the individual and not society to pursue what makes them happy.  Collectivism is only able to hinder that goal and thus will suppress all of man natural rights.