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MisterSwig

A Misapplication of Property Rights

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In the April 1964 edition of The Objectivist Newsletter, Ayn Rand published an article called "The Property Status of Airwaves." In it she argues against the idea that radio waves should be public property, and I tend to agree with that basic conclusion. As far as I can tell, the radio waves themselves rightfully belong to the owner of the station broadcasting those waves. Rand, however, makes an important mistake in her argument for that conclusion. She doesn't acknowledge how radio broadcasters infringe on the rights of other property owners.

Rand writes:

Quote

[Broadcasting frequencies or waves] are produced by human action and do not exist without it. What exists in nature is only the potential and the medium through which those waves must travel. (That medium is not air; in legal discussions it is often referred to by the mythical term of "ether"--to indicate some element in space, at present unidentified.) Without the broadcasting station which generates the waves, that "ether"--on our present level of knowledge--is of no practical use or value to anyone.

Rand does appear to recognize an important objection to her position: that radio broadcasts use the spaces owned by others. But she doesn't admit that it's a possible violation of rights.

Consider that the broadcast station sends out radio waves in all directions. Those waves then travel through the private spaces of every landowner within the range of the broadcast. (A property owner owns the space above his land, sometimes hundreds of feet above it, in the case of skyscrapers.) So Rand is perhaps pre-empting this "unpermitted use" rebuttal by claiming that the medium, or ether, being used on other people's property is "of no practical use or value" to them without the radio station. She therefore denies the property owner's full right to this unidentified medium in his space--on the grounds that he isn't using it. But of course he is using it. He's living in it. The owner should therefore have the right to live in his unidentified medium without being subjected to a constant invasion of radio waves. The broadcast is a potential infringement not only of his land-space rights, but also of his rights as an individual person being constantly penetrated by another's radio waves. Even if such radiation exposure is ultimately proven to be harmless, doesn't the owner of the space have the right to control its use?

Rand's error can be seen even more clearly in the example she gives comparing a radio broadcast to a piano concert. She says:

Quote

There is no essential difference between a broadcast and a concert: the former merely transmits sounds over a longer distance and requires more complex technical equipment. No one would venture to claim that a pianist may own his fingers and his piano, but the space inside the concert hall--through which the sound waves he produces travel--is "public property" and, therefore, he has no right to give a concert without a license from the government.

First of all, Rand already told us the essential difference between a broadcast and a concert: the type of waves are different. Radio waves don't use the air, sound waves do. But notice the other obvious problem with her analogy: a radio station's broadcast is not contained within the walls of a rented hall or building. To be more accurate, Rand should have considered an open-air venue surrounded by residences, in which case she might have seen the comparable problem of a performer's sound waves intruding on the neighbors' private spaces. In such instances, like with the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, this problem is addressed by local government setting noise curfews and sometimes even regulating objectionable content. (The neighbors of the Greek, for example, once made quite a stink over Snoop Dogg's vulgar rap vocals reaching their children's eardrums.)

Failing to appreciate this potential rights violation of sending waves into someone else's private space, Rand instead focuses on attacking the government's position that radio frequencies should be public property; and, in doing so, she unfortunately resorts to denying the existence of public property altogether. She doesn't see how socialists have stolen the concept and repurposed it for violating private property rights. So instead of reclaiming the idea and stripping it of the rights-violating conflation, she entirely forfeits the concept to her enemies. She misidentifies it as a "collectivist fiction," when in reality it's a collectivist conceptual theft. The idea of "public property" depends on the concept of "private property," since the "public" simply refers to private individuals in a social-political group context. Therefore, property claimed by a public group, such as the residents of a city, should not include a violation of private property rights, such as the use of government force to acquire land or property through eminent domain or nationalization. If such rights-violating force is used, then the acquisition is in fact stolen property. Often times a battle will then ensue between the rightful owner and the thief, i.e., the government. And to disguise the theft, the government will slap the "public property" label on whatever they stole.

I believe Rand sensed a problem with her argument in this particular article on radio waves. Before republishing it three years later in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, she deleted the section about the "ether/medium" and how it's of no use to anyone but broadcasters. Also, in a couple different lines, she replaced the words "medium" and "ether" with the words "space" and "air" respectively. I think this is strange, given her recognition that radio waves don't use the air, but some "unidentified element in space." Contrary to her "public property is fiction" view, it seems like she actually relies upon the concept to justify a broadcaster's right to use other people's spaces. Unless the medium/space used by radio waves is considered public property, why shouldn't the broadcast be a violation of other people's right to their own spaces?

Yet, having explicitly abandoned the concept "public property," Rand has little choice but to utilize fallacious rhetoric to defend her position, in this case colorful ad hominems.

Quote

...by what inconceivable standard can it be claimed that the broadcasting airways are the property of some illiterate share-cropper who will never be able to grasp the concept of electronics, or of some hillbilly whose engineering capacity is not quite sufficient to cope with a corn-liquor still--and that broadcasting, the product of an incalculable amount of scientific genius, is to be ruled by the will of such owners?

I suppose an illiterate share-cropper and a whiskey-brewing hillbilly were the best examples of the public that Rand could imagine. In any case, do their rights depend on their particular abilities to understand radio waves? Would Rand have reversed her position if every member of the public perfectly understood broadcasting?

The fact is that when people form a community or society (in our case a city like Los Angeles), these people must agree to share some things which come along with the nature of a properly functioning city. And we have learned, through trial and error, that these things can include publicly claimed lands and spaces. We agree, for example, to use certain lands for public roads. And we accept that certain spaces should be used for public airways. We don't claim that the cars on the roadways are also public property, and we don't claim that the broadcasts on the airways are public property. But we do claim that, since these things use shared lands and spaces, then we the public, the individual residents of the city, have the jointly held right to regulate that usage in a reasonable and democratic fashion. There really is no better way to do it, if we want to have efficient access to physical places across the land, and easy access to information sent through the spaces.

Edited by MisterSwig

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7 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Rand does appear to recognize an important objection to her position: that radio broadcasts use the spaces owned by others. But she doesn't admit that it's a possible violation of rights.

Just pointing out that this, as literally taken, makes no sense. To say radio broadcasts use something already owned by someone else would be the entire question. Of course she wouldn't say something she disagrees with is a violation of rights.

7 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

. She therefore denies the property owner's full right to this unidentified medium in his space--on the grounds that he isn't using it. But of course he is using it. He's living in it.

The unidentified space is the EM spectrum. If he were using it, then he'd own it. That's the entire point. And if he owned it, someone's broadcast on that wavelength would interfere with his use, and he could take the interfering broadcaster to court. And this is precisely what historically happened until 1927. The civil courts were working out a system of homesteading in the radio spectrum. See Coase 1959. 

"He's living in it" is quite frankly a dumb argument. He's living on his land. That wavelength is not his land. Land and radio waves are two different resources. He's not using that specific wavelength. He can point to no specific use of it he is making. He is not producing any value with it. He can point to no harm being done to him by another's original appropriation of it. If he could bring to the court some way he was being harmed or some use out of it he is being prevented, he would have a case. Presumably, ipso facto, he does not. If we're just assuming it's his, then we're playing the question begging game again. 

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18 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But of course he is using it. He's living in it.

I guess the idea that capitalists own the means of production bothers you. You're basically arguing that when someone claims to own something they are not in direct control of (renting out property, owning the machinery of the factory and reaping the profits, owning the empty unused acres of land) it's illegitimate. After all, they aren't living in it.

 

Edited by Eiuol

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Yeah man, plus all of reality should be communist because we're living in the visible light spectrum. It's passing through us! Blind people are the real capitalists, man. **Bong hit** 

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I find MisterSwig’s arguments persuasive.  He can defend his position but I would reply ...

2046,

The electromagnetic spectrum is a range of frequencies, like a series of inches is  a range of lengths.  Both are abstractions and neither takes up any space at all.  Rand is not only talking about frequencies but their use, that is sending electromagntic waves (at whatever frequency) through the air / ether.   That radiation is what passes through people's property, not an abstract frequency which is just a number.

So “He's living in it" is quite frankly a dumb argument.” is quite frankly wrong.

Eiuol,

You claim that MS argues that  “when someone claims to own something they are not in direct control of ... it's illegitimate. After all, they aren't living in it.”   Their ownership claim is illegitimate.  They don't own your property.

2046 is sarcastic:

"... all of reality should be communist because we're living in the visible light spectrum. It's passing through us! Blind people are the real capitalists ..."

Whoever this mocks it isn't MisterSwig.  If someone shines an intense light or laser through your airspace or bright lights through your windows at night you might have reason to complain.

 

 

 

Edited by Dupin

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40 minutes ago, Dupin said:

I find MisterSwig’s arguments persuasive.  He can defend his position but I would reply ...

Thanks, Dupin. I agree with your responses entirely. I'm currently chewing on a possible objection to my position that hasn't been mentioned. Namely, that the establishment of public property is not required to allow for radio broadcasts in a city. Rather, each property would simply have an easement for radio waves. The space would remain privately owned, but broadcasters would be granted limited use rights, similar to utility companies having an easement to work on their lines or meters. I'm interested in your, or anyone else's, opinion of that idea, before I give my own.

Edited by MisterSwig

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53 minutes ago, Dupin said:

Their ownership claim is illegitimate. 

The argument given would suggest that capitalists have illegitimate claims. "Living in it" (actively and directly making use of) was used as a standard to make legitimate claims. So I gave very clear examples where people are "living in it" but don't own it. That's what rent is.

Edited by Eiuol

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18 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

So I gave very clear examples where people are "living in it" but don't own it. That's what rent is.

The owner of the rental property has contractually granted his tenants permission to use the property. There is no such contract between the broadcaster and everyone in the city. Pointing out that people live in the same space used by the broadcaster's radio waves isn't offering a standard for property claims. It's refuting Rand's position that people aren't using the space--that it's of no value to them.

Edited by MisterSwig

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The private property portion of the radio wave should be the frequency it is broadcasted on within a specified range of transmission. If all radio stations broadcasted on the same radio frequency in a particular region, the receiver units would be unable to differentiate and select the source transmitter. (technical forgiveness requested for terminology use.)

Similar to staking claim to land, staking claim to the frequency is secured by developing it for the particular use intended with protections offered thereafter for the individual's developed property rights.

Radio and television signals were there to be discovered. By harnessing them, arguably they are amplified beyond naturally occurring signals. Allegations of harm for such signals to be passing through the atmosphere should be demonstrably substantiated however before given merit.

With the government, the question centers around if it has permission by its charter to sell/rent/tax via a license to use the frequency for which the government did not discover/create/harness, etc.

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1 hour ago, Dupin said:

The electromagnetic spectrum is a range of frequencies, like a series of inches is  a range of lengths.  Both are abstractions and neither takes up any space at all.  Rand is not only talking about frequencies but their use, that is sending electromagntic waves (at whatever frequency) through the air / ether.   That radiation is what passes through people's property, not an abstract frequency which is just a number.

Frequencies and wavelengths aren't abstractions. That's just silly. I literally don't know why or how or what you think this proves here. Do you, a person just sitting there, own those radio waves? No. Do you own those wavelengths on the EM spectrum? No. Why do you? How can someone who did not conceive of or produce or take any actions whatsoever own something that someone else took productive actions towards?

The misapplication is this: In a production theory of property, like Rand's, there can be no pre-existing claims to that which the person isn't even aware of. It literally didn't even exist qua value for that person. He's precisely not "living in it," ie., not making use of it or suffering interference thereof to his life. Property is production for life-furthering. He didn't take any productive acts and wasn't even aware of the existence of something, it's not property for him. The relationship people have towards possession or ownership is one of production.

A human being only has property rights to things that are the result of his productive efforts. He is using his body. He is using his land. He is using a lot of things. He is not using the radio waves passing through it, unless he first took some productive action and created them. Then he, the radio broadcaster, privately owns them. At no point does public ownership, which is a fictional term, enter the picture.

1 hour ago, Dupin said:

Whoever this mocks it isn't MisterSwig.  If someone shines an intense light or laser through your airspace or bright lights through your windows at night you might have reason to complain.

Umm, how you think this helps your point, is beyond me. Yes. If you shine a bright light or laser at your neighbor, you're violating his rights. How you reason from that to "if you send radio waves through your neighbor you're violating his rights" is a non sequitur. And it's a basic non sequitur that any of the legal literature on radio waves addresses. Are radio waves bright lights? No, their wavelength is too long to be visible (that's kind of the whole point.)

This kind of error in reasoning destroys all property rights. Specs of dust constantly fly from my property into my neighbors'. Am I violating their rights? Why is that not violating their rights, while heaping a cloud of dust would be? There are no intrinsic metaphysical borders that are carved at the joints for property. This is the fallacy of intrinsicism. If my emission of a given wavelength would ever in any scenario interfere with your enjoyment of your life or goods in some way, then we have a case, which in nuisance law largely depends on who was there first.

Edited by 2046

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2046,

1000 kHz, that is, one million cycles per second, is a number, a particular measurement of frequency.  “1000 KHz” can no more perform physical work than “5 inches can.”   However an electromagnetic wave of 1000 kHz of such and such wattage can carry energy from one place to another and also information, like an iron bar 5 inches long, 2 inches wide can make a good window sash.  An attribute versus a concrete having that attribute.

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Suppose you live on a farm in the boondocks.  A man, a rather mean man, manages to buy up parcels of land that together form a ring around your farm.  Then he starts charging you a toll to cross over to and from your farm.  

A more realistic example would be that the man buys up a long strip of property tangent to yours so you either pay the toll or go many miles out of your way going around the strip.

In either case though, you have a common law right to access your property more or less directly, and to actualize that right you apply to the local government for what is called an easement, which entitles you to cross over the mean guy’s property at designated points even though you don’t own them.

The easement is based on the fact that you simply must have access your property.

The radio broadcaster is like the farm owner, he wants to send his electromagnetic waves to people far away who want to receive them, yet  various people’s ethereal property is in the way, like the mean man’s ring or strip was.  So the broadcaster ought to be given an automatic easement for his radiation to cross over everyone’s property.

The analogy is pretty good but has a weak spot.  In the farm case access is absolutely essential to the farm’s value to its owner, and furthermore the land of the farm is “just there,” always has been and always will be.  In the broadcaster’s case too, the ability to broadcast is essential to the station’s value.  However the broadcast station is an ephemeral affair, something artificially constructed.  It could just as well have not been constructed, or having been constructed can be taken down again.  A broadcast station doesn’t have the same level of existence as land does.  

It may not be a slam dunk, but if the radio waves are undetectable without an appropriate radio receiver and otherwise harmless, I think the automatic easement, where the ether is viewed as public property, is the solution.  As MisterSwig says:

“... when people form a community or society ... [they] must agree to share some things which come along with the nature of a properly functioning city. And we have learned, through trial and error, that these things can include publicly claimed lands and spaces.”

Not to mention the ether.

If I understand MisterSwig’s discussion of Rand’s article, she dimly recognized that radio broadcasting presents a property rights problem.  At first she just ignored it and attacked the idea of public property without recognizing that there is a valid, property rights based version.  Then she ended up implicitly using the valid version without recognizing it – to our detriment when it comes to the problem of immigration.

It seems to me that an automatic, universal, easement for broadcasting radio waves requires public ownership of the ether.  I haven't thought about it much though.

 

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33 minutes ago, Dupin said:

A broadcast station doesn’t have the same level of existence as land does.  

Umm no. This is just literally dumb. Yes a broadcast station and land both, if they exist, exist. You may try to argue for some "levels of existence" doctrine, maybe like the metaphysics of Plotinus or John Scotus Eriugena. If this is what you wish to stake your argument on I shall leave you to enjoy your opinion as someone not fit to be reasoned with. 

35 minutes ago, Dupin said:

It may not be a slam dunk, but if the radio waves are undetectable without an appropriate radio receiver and otherwise harmless, I think the automatic easement, where the ether is viewed as public property, is the solution

This is also incoherent. So like, yes the broadcaster, if he homesteaded that wavelength to broadcast on, he owns that emission. If Mr Swig builds his house and wants to complain that he's being "penetrated" with the radio emission (call it the Chuck McGill thesis) the common law will regard him as having "come to the nuisance." It's kind of like an easement, yes. This is kind of the whole point of the Rand essay. However, at no point, does something called "the public" own the radio emission, or the air, or anything at all. That is a little non sequitur that you let into your argument. It just does not follow.

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After describing the relevant difference between a radio broadcast station and a plot of land I tried to sum it up with

“A broadcast station doesn’t have the same level of existence as land does.”

Admittedly the idea of “levels of existence” won’t bear close inspection but it’s good enough for poetry.

2016 isn’t content to call it dumb, it is “literally dumb,” and yours truly is “someone not fit to be reasoned with,” LOL.  How 2046 can pour it on.

Addressing myself to others than 2046, if my poetic phrase offends just consider my description of the difference and leave it at that.  The point is that it’s a significant qualitative difference relevant to the analogy I had made and I think MisterSwig was making.

In any case I set that difference aside and wrote that

“... if the radio waves are undetectable without an appropriate radio receiver and otherwise harmless, I think the automatic easement, where the ether is viewed as public property, is the solution.”

That is, the solution to justifying radio stations.  Then I quoted MisterSwig who I thought said it rather well.  2016 finds this incoherent.  He explains (I interpolate some unstated assumptions) that if a broadcaster homesteads a wavelength when no one owns property between him and his listeners, he owns that wavelength.  If someone then:

“... builds his house [in between] and ... complain that he's being ‘penetrated’ with the radio emission ... the common law will regard him as having ‘come to the nuisance.’ [That is, it’s his own fault, the radio waves were there first.] It's kind of like an easement, yes. This is kind of the whole point of the Rand essay. However, at no point, does something called ‘the public’ own the radio emission, or the air, or anything at all.”

The situation 2046 posits is so rare that I doubt it ever happened and ever will happen.  In the real world many people and their property already surround a new radio station.  It’s a legal maxim that law shouldn’t be based on “hard cases.”

 

Edited by Dupin

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1 hour ago, Dupin said:

In the real world many people and their property already surround a new radio station.

Yeah, so sure, it could happen that the situation is reversed and the radio station comes along second. In that case I question whether there is actually an easement. Why? Because the radio broadcaster isn't using the other non-broadcaster's property for some specified purpose. He isn't using it at all. So rather than being granted an easement, I think the "McGill complaint" would just simply be dismissed for lack of any liability for harm or damage. The broadcaster just isn't infringing on the non-broadcaster. The Swigian McGill complainer just might as well be enjoining the entire human race as everyone and everything emits radiation. All the time. There's no easement here, the claim is just wrong. And dumb.

But sure, whatever, call it an easement for now. I guess the main point here is, at no point does "therefore the ether is viewed as public property" follow from that. Nor at any point does "radio frequencies should be public property" follow.

Edited by 2046

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What 2946 calls the reversed situation – first people then station – always happens.  Broadcast station investors aren’t, to use a favorite word of 2046’s, dumb.  They don’t build and operate stations in no man’s land and wait for the day when lots of people have moved to the area to make money.

Rand worried about the radio wave infringement question so it probably isn’t absurd for us to worry about it too.

What other justification could there be for a universal or automatic easement for radio waves other than that the ether is owned in common by everyone and the government parcels out frequencies in their name.  In practice that‘s what is done, so we’re just arguing about nomenclature.

In another thread MisterSwig makes the case for a valid concept of public property, a public property based on private property that uncorrupted by Leftism.  It applies to very few property types:  the ether, land not privately owned, high airplane space.  Maybe there are other types but I can’t think of any.

In this thread MisterSwig asks why Rand didn’t realize we need this idea of true public property.  One conjecture, and of course we can only conjecture, is that she felt stuck with the Leftist interpretation of the phrase.  She ended up using the idea in the particular case of the ether, but would not call it public property.

We need to realize that we own the public property – streets, parks, government buildings and so forth – because it gives us the right to restrict immigration as if we were restricting who can enter our homes.  This is our country, something lots of Objectivists don’t understand.

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7 hours ago, Dupin said:

What other justification could there be for a universal or automatic easement for radio waves other than that the ether is owned in common by everyone and the government parcels out frequencies in their name

Of course this disease happened by witchcraft, what other justification could there be?

7 hours ago, Dupin said:

We need to realize that we own the public property – streets, parks, government buildings and so forth – because it gives us the right to restrict immigration 

Well there you go, folks. The appeal to ignorance and non sequiturs get cashed out in terms of special pleading for the real motivation: gotta keep them foreigners outta here. At first it was the usual arguments: they'll vote wrong, they'll have the wrong culture, they might be murderers. Now we have "because we need communism in the air." 

There's only one spectrum this argument is on, and with that, you get to go in the ignore list for low IQ. Have a great day.

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Again, Dupin is perfectly understanding and explaining my position so far.

11 hours ago, Dupin said:

Admittedly the idea of “levels of existence” won’t bear close inspection but it’s good enough for poetry.

This strikes me as the distinction between the metaphysical and the man-made, which is something Rand recognized and is highly relevant to property rights. The plot of land itself is the metaphysically given, the radio station is the man-made. The space is the metaphysically given, the waves the man-made. It's possible to consider something metaphysically given as public property, to the extent necessary for the proper functioning of a city, because nobody created the land itself. However, the man-made things (including worked earth) that occupy those public lands and spaces should remain private property, unless they were produced or purchased (without violating rights) by and for the public.

13 hours ago, Dupin said:

The easement is based on the fact that you simply must have access your property.

Yes, you absolutely require reasonable access to your property. But going deeper than that, to the epistemological level, we have the concept of a town or city--or just a farming community. The farmer who unreasonably restricts or denies his neighbor access to their adjacent farm cannot be said to respect the concept of a town, whose purpose is to benefit and protect a like-minded group of civilized settlers. We are no longer primitive nomads following the herd from place to place. The mean farmer is acting like a savage, not a civilian. He doesn't respect the idea of a town, and so he doesn't deserve the rights or privileges of being a member of it. This would be the rationale for either exiling him from the community, or converting a portion of his land to public property against his will. In essence, he has no claim on the land, because he is a savage who rejects the concept of a town. He is, in fact, an enemy of the town. Of course, we would need objective facts and laws regarding this problem, to ensure that the public's whim does not determine what "a properly functioning city" means. The mean farmer still has rights as a human being. He could have his day in court.

Regarding eminent domain, I think the problem with the 5th Amendment is that it doesn't connect the taking of private property to the proper functioning of a city, state, nation. Rather, the connection is simply to "public use," which is not an adequately objective and reasonable purpose. Hence, we see this power being used properly at times, and improperly at other times, depending on the particular situation and the reasoning of the takers.

Edited by MisterSwig

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

He doesn't respect the idea of a town, and so he doesn't deserve the rights or privileges of being a member of it. This would be the rationale for either exiling him from the community, or converting a portion of his land to public property against his will.

... Are you trying to say that the protagonist in Anthem was actually the bad guy? 

On 9/17/2019 at 4:44 PM, MisterSwig said:

The owner should therefore have the right to live in his unidentified medium without being subjected to a constant invasion of radio waves.

You see, your mistake begins here. You are trying to claim that someone can own something even if they have no idea that they own it, even if they have no idea how to make value from it. You are already disagreeing with Rand on what property even is. "Living in it" is not enough for something to be property. Value has to be created from it. If living in it was enough, then guess what, capitalists are exploiting laborers. Not to mention that nothing is being invaded anyway because the person is not at all prevented or denied from acting (except, of course, acting with regard to the radio waves in question).

I'm not going to even get into the rest of it because it is all based on bad reasoning.

1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

The plot of land itself is the metaphysically given

No, a plot of land is man-made. A piece of land doesn't become a plot of land until and unless someone makes use of it. Even then, you're saying that anything that isn't private property is public property... Non sequitur.

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53 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

No, a plot of land is man-made. A piece of land doesn't become a plot of land until and unless someone makes use of it.

Indeed. This is probably the main reason for the misapplication. For us, property is not taken from a common stock. Property is produced. From the point of view of a production theory of property, there can be no metaphysically given forms of property. If an activity transforms some aspect of nature into property (production), there can be no forms of property, resources, wealth until such an action accomplishes the result.

Picking an apple from a tree should not be judged in terms of apples taken from the community-of-owned-apples but in terms of the action which transformed the tree into property. We are already off to a wrong start, and begging the entire question at hand, if we ask whether property is taken from a metaphysically given stock that is already communistically owned. Property, wealth, resources, are not metaphysically given. Land, EM waves, air, water, space etc. as the technological unit are not beings given in rerum natura, ie., existing out there in the world independently and apart from human cognition and effort. All property, wealth, and resources are essentially related to intellectual and physical efforts of individual human beings.

Edited by 2046

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

Are you trying to say that the protagonist in Anthem was actually the bad guy? 

Why would I say that? Prometheus wanted to start a better city, based on egoism and individualism. With Gaea and his children he planned to build a mountain fortress and attract followers to his cause of liberating the enslaved cities around the world. He was a city-builder and people-liberator, not an enemy of such concepts.

 

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

You see, your mistake begins here. You are trying to claim that someone can own something even if they have no idea that they own it, even if they have no idea how to make value from it.

Which is it: they don't own it because they don't know that they own it, or because they don't know how to make value from it?

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

"Living in it" is not enough for something to be property. Value has to be created from it.

Are you saying that a human living in his space is not making a value from the space in which he lives? If that's the case, then neither is sending radio waves through space making value from it. These would merely be two things passing through space. They wouldn't require it to exist and function.

Edited by MisterSwig

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26 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Why would I say that?

Because he didn't respect the idea of a town, and they could exile him because they weren't satisfied with who he was. That it is justified to exile someone because they hold different values as individuals.

26 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Which is it

You are claiming that someone can own something, and at the same time not know they own that something. I'm saying that this is incoherent. If you don't know that you own something, then you don't actually own it. You are also claiming that someone could own something even if they don't know how to make use of it. This is also incoherent.

26 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Are you saying that a human living in his space is not making a value from the space in which he lives?

Correct. Simply living is not creating value. You do something, like creating a transmission that broadcasts a radio show.

Edited by Eiuol

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

No, a plot of land is man-made.

Not unless you plant something on it, like a crop of corn. Otherwise it's only a parcel. There's nothing man-made on it. All you've done is survey and measure it. Is that enough to claim some land as your own? 

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6 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

You are claiming that someone own something, and at the same time that they don't know they own something.

What exactly is this "something" to which you refer? I have not made such a claim. The resident owns his space, not the radio waves. He obviously knows that he owns the space, even if he has no clue about the waves. 

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Right, no clue about the waves. You can't possibly own what you can't or don't know how to make use out of. 

Edited by Eiuol

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