Morning Links

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

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72 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  JS | 

    DarkEFang “And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my rights of life, liberty and property. “

    I don’t think that property values is worthy oreven close to being compared to life, liberty or property itself.

  2. #2 |  Aresen | 

    pam | September 15th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    garden story:

    it’s not about the food, it’s about the fine. Government for profit.

    Not sure about that. I think the paperwork would cost more than the $5000 fine.

    I think it has more to do with petty bureaucratic power-tripping.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a competitor lurking in the background pushing this thing.

  3. #3 |  Mattocracy | 

    Why is there all this talk of a commercial operation on two acres of land? How many corporate farms are running on a measly two acres? Um…somewhere right around 0 I suspect. Becuase no commercial operation is going to waste it’s time on such piddly amount of land.

    So please don’t refer to this garden a commerical operation because it is far from it.

    I doubt that the pesticides or fertilizer is harming the lawns of his neighbors. And that’s if he’s even using any. If that was the case, then they’d probably say so in the article instead defending him. Let’s just try to keep this whole thing in perspective here.

  4. #4 |  Brandon | 

    “Again, I’m not referring to the article, in which the neighbors obviously had no problem with the person’s gardening/farming activities. My comments are in reference to the bigger discussion in the comments section. And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my freedom of life, liberty and property. These kinds of situations can be handled in two ways:

    1. We can elect an arbiter of land disputes (the zoning board) that can determine whether or not a person’s land use causes injury to his neighbors.

    2. Or we can settle these disputes by hiring gunslingers to shoot at each others property until one of us leaves town.

    While the second option is more fun to watch on Saturday afternoons, an honest-to-goodness actual legitimate purpose of local government is to settle disputes between neighbors non-violently.”

    False dichotomy, DEF. There’s also the “government stays the hell out of it unless there is a specific complaint” option. Allowing government to have control over other peoples’ property to the extent that zoning laws do inevitably leads to creep and escalation, to the point where innocent people are harassed and prosecuted by unaccountable bureaucrats for something he’s been doing peacefully and without incident for 15 years. The people participating in the discussion here (and the victim in this case) are reasonable entities; Government is not.

  5. #5 |  ClassAction | 

    #45

    There’s a big difference between “property” and your “property value.” Your property is what legitimately belongs to you. Your property value is what other people are willing to pay for what legitimately belongs to you. You have a right to the former, but you don’t have a right to the latter, because you don’t have a right to force people to value your property in a certain way.

    You also confuse the legitimate ENDS of a “night watchman state” with what MEANS are appropriate to such a state. It’s true, if you believe in Nozickian limited government, that one of the few legitimate purposes of government is to settle disputes among neighbors. What’s NOT true, however, is that a legitimate METHOD of settling disputes is just to allow one group of landowners to coerce another into using their property in a certain way. That’s just, you know, majoritarian democracy. Even a totalitarian country can have as a legitimate goal “settling disputes among neighbors” – it’s just that the means they use to achieve that are illegitimate.

  6. #6 |  JS | 

    ClassAction “There’s a big difference between “property” and your “property value.” Your property is what legitimately belongs to you. Your property value is what other people are willing to pay for what legitimately belongs to you. You have a right to the former, but you don’t have a right to the latter, because you don’t have a right to force people to value your property in a certain way.”

    Well put! I was gonna say, you have a right to do what you want with your property (in this case the gardener/farmer) but you do not have a right to force others to do things that will preserve or increase the value of your property. And yet, this is what most of our city and county governments act like almost all the time! This basic principle, if understood, would have prevented so many abuses and so much petty tyranny from local governments.

  7. #7 |  Mark Z. | 

    ClassAction: So local government A says “Here is a regulation that should cover the more common cases of land use, with the goal of letting everyone know what to expect. If you don’t think your case is covered, you can apply for a variance.”

    Local government B says “Build whatever you want wherever you want, and then if someone obstructs your use of your property* with noise or traffic or toxic chemicals, you can sue them, and then we’ll arbitrarily decide if you have to move your million-dollar elementary school or they have to tear down their million-dollar paper mill.”

    Why is B legitimate, and not A? They offer the same degree of freedom; the difference is that A tells you up front where the limits are, while B makes you wait until the harm actually occurs, and then decides whose freedom to restrict.

    * This, not market value, is the real issue. You don’t have an obligation to maintain your neighbor’s property’s resale value. But you also don’t have the right to make him breathe your industrial fumes. The change in property value is how we quantify the harm done to the present owner of the property.

  8. #8 |  Highway | 

    #47 | DarkEFang | September 15th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Oops – there’s a typo above. The sentence should read:

    “And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my rights of life, liberty and property. “

    I wonder if you note the irony that you’re actually advocating the ending of the other person’s right of property in the name of your own right of property. So you’re saying that your right to your property trumps the other guy’s right to his property.

    Might want to rethink that a bit.

  9. #9 |  Ace_of_Spades | 

    County Sues Farmer, Cites Too Many Crops

    Reminds me of this story out of Coralville, IA. Some of the comments are interesting, and contradict the city’s assertion that her business has changed since grandfathered. Other comments support the “follow the rules like everybody else” line of thought. Welcome to the Union of Soviet Socialist States.

    Coralville Flower Seller Faces Shutdown Order

    http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Coralville-Flower-Seller-Faces-Shutdown-Order–98101619.html

  10. #10 |  MDGuy | 

    Mark Z.: The big difference between your two scenarios that I see is that government A places immediate and definite limits on freedom before-the-fact in an attempt to deal with the potential for disputes between landowners. Yes, in any society disputes between landowners are an inevitability in the general sense; but the chance of conflict between any two given individuals is far from certain (I’d go so far as to say unlikely in the majority of cases). So what you have with gov’t A is a certain restriction on freedom for everyone merely because of the future possibility of conflict between some landowners somewhere, at some time.

    In a way “perennial” proponents (not an accusation at you Mark Z.) of more regulation remind me of my professors at college during one particularly difficult semester: each one would assign a few hundred pages of reading, always explaining to us that they found it a perfectly reasonable amount to get through…except that they never really took into account that our other professors were all assigning “perfectly reasonable” amounts of reading as well. The end result was that it was virtually impossible to get all your reading done between classes. In a college setting I think that “impossible-situation” was a valuable lesson in priorities and multi-tasking; when the stakes are heavy fines or possible jail-time it’s different. Proposed regulation is always sold as “perfectly reasonable” without taking into account the massive pile of regulation already on the books and the massive pile still to come and the resulting fact that it’s virtually impossible to comply with it all. It ends up being an arbitrary game of which ones are going to be enforced and whose going to get caught.

  11. #11 |  DarkEFang | 

    #54 Brandon –

    “False dichotomy, DEF. There’s also the “government stays the hell out of it unless there is a specific complaint” option. Allowing government to have control over other peoples’ property to the extent that zoning laws do inevitably leads to creep and escalation, to the point where innocent people are harassed and prosecuted by unaccountable bureaucrats for something he’s been doing peacefully and without incident for 15 years. The people participating in the discussion here (and the victim in this case) are reasonable entities; Government is not.”

    I’d agree that zoning boards shouldn’t act without a specific complaint. And I’d guarantee that in the case of the farmer above, there was a complaint. SamK suspects that it was a jealous competitor with pull on the zoning board. I think it could be related to the anti-immigration frenzy being stirred up in Atlanta. Obviously, this zoning board’s harassment is well beyond their legitimate purview.

    #55 Class Action –

    “…What’s NOT true, however, is that a legitimate METHOD of settling disputes is just to allow one group of landowners to coerce another into using their property in a certain way. That’s just, you know, majoritarian democracy… “

    #58 Highway –

    “I wonder if you note the irony that you’re actually advocating the ending of the other person’s right of property in the name of your own right of property. So you’re saying that your right to your property trumps the other guy’s right to his property.

    Might want to rethink that a bit.”

    I’m not saying that a group of landowners should be able to mandate exactly how an individual must use their land. And I’m certainly not for any of that homeowner’s association BS like banning pickup trucks from the driveway or fining people for having grass half an inch too tall. What I do expect is basic protection of my own property. If my neighbors are polluting my property with motor oil, fecal matter or toxic gas, you’re damned right my rights trump theirs.

  12. #12 |  random guy | 

    To expand upon MDGuy’s point, even saying screw it to local and state laws is anyone in this country really aware of the shear volume of federal laws on the books? I’ve seen estimates totaling over 40,000 and its always estimates because the totality of the law has become so much greater than its parts that it is literally impossible for a person to determine whether or not a given act is technically illegal.

    There are hundreds of agencies with contradictory priorities, poor or nonexistent inter-departmental communication, and it appears that even the people tasked with enforcement are incapable of keeping the laws straight.

    Add to that State and Local laws, and for those few poor unfortunate souls, the petty tyrannies of HOAs, and you reach a point where compliance with the law is, at best, an approximation and never a certainty.

    Im not much of a fan of Rand’s, but one point she made was that the only claim a legitimate government can have over a person is when that person has committed a crime. The shortcut to tyranny then is to make so many laws of such a vague nature that government then has a ‘legitimate’ claim on anyone.

    Right now Im living in a home that doesn’t pass building codes. I own a car that doesn’t meet state and federal requirements. And on any given day I probably violate a half a dozen statutes regarding traffic and tax laws. This sounds terrible to the literal minded, but the reality is that everyone does the exact same thing, no one suffers any harm mind you, but we are all criminals according to the letter of the law. The degree to which we suffer for these ‘crimes’ is purely at the discretion of the agents enforcing them.

    Some argue that such discretion is necessary, that it allows the law enforcers to ignore minor violations and focus on the serious threats. I personally believe that if a criminal act is determined by discretion, then the definition of crime becomes meaningless. A law that can’t or shouldn’t be enforced 100% of the time is a bad law.

  13. #13 |  JS | 

    Also DarkEFang, Perhaps I’m wrong because I’m not experienced in any of this as I’m not a property owner or anything but I don’t see how having a neighbor with a couple of acres unused versus a couple of acres being productive would affect my property values anyway. It’s not a hog farm and I see no reason why it would cause you to lose property value.

  14. #14 |  JS | 

    random guy “Im not much of a fan of Rand’s, but one point she made was that the only claim a legitimate government can have over a person is when that person has committed a crime. The shortcut to tyranny then is to make so many laws of such a vague nature that government then has a ‘legitimate’ claim on anyone.”

    Exactly why America is a nascent police state!

  15. #15 |  OBTC | 

    Ace_of_Spades:

    “Kessler said the shutdown order was prompted by a Coralville police complaint about a truck delivering flowers to Edwards that was blocking a lane of traffic.”

    Suprise, suprise.

  16. #16 |  Stephen | 

    OT: this one is interesting because the cops actually face criminal charges.

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/crime/Officers-in-Dallas-beating-to-face-criminal-charges-102991464.html

  17. #17 |  damaged justice | 

    “…you’re damned right my rights trump theirs”

    No, they do not, because there is no such thing as the right to violate someone else’s rights.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Exactly why America is a nascent police state!

    Nascent?

  19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Zoning is certainly a hot button (because of all the nuclear-waste dumping and the Nazi problem) for even freedom-inclined individuals. I know everyone can use Google, but here are two good articles on the topic:
    One from Mises.com: http://mises.org/daily/4264

    A little better one from the Libertarians: http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2009/06/29/how-zoning-rules-would-work-in-a-free-society/

  20. #20 |  SamK | 

    Justice, the point is that rights have limits. This is where other’s rights begin. Standing up for your own rights do not violate another’s, it points out their mistaken belief in the absolute nature of their right to do whatever they wish.

    Rights trumping other rights is not violation of those rights, it’s putting them in the proper perspective. The extreme example of this is the right to not be murdered trumps the right to murder. I’m stopping there, don’t want this to devolve into another forty page discussion about what “right” actually means. An it harm none, do what ye will.

  21. #21 |  DarkEFang | 

    #63 JS –

    “Perhaps I’m wrong because I’m not experienced in any of this as I’m not a property owner or anything but I don’t see how having a neighbor with a couple of acres unused versus a couple of acres being productive would affect my property values anyway. It’s not a hog farm and I see no reason why it would cause you to lose property value.”

    When I talk about defending my rights, what I’m mostly interested in is preventing a catastrophic loss of value, i.e., a loss of around half or more of value. Fluctuations of 10% or 20% can happen regardless of any influence your neighbor might have on property values.

  22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    A valid concern, Fang. Is government controlled zoning the only solution?

    Isn’t your neighbor also concerned about loss of property value? Won’t that factor into how he uses HIS property?