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Government Police on Privately-Owned Roads

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Andrew Grathwohl
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The entire premise that "under a fully capitalist society" that there would be no public roads is ridiculous to begin with. I see no difference between the concept of 300,000,000 privately owned roads and the concept of competing governments. In order for commerce to flow freely between states and municipalities, there needs to be a system of publicly maintained roads, and a police force empowered to ensure that traffic flows in a controlled manner, otherwise there would be complete chaos.

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The entire premise that "under a fully capitalist society" that there would be no public roads is ridiculous to begin with. I see no difference between the concept of 300,000,000 privately owned roads and the concept of competing governments. In order for commerce to flow freely between states and municipalities, there needs to be a system of publicly maintained roads, and a police force empowered to ensure that traffic flows in a controlled manner, otherwise there would be complete chaos.

Well that is just a stunning statement Mr. Senior Member.

I think the moderators should probably move this to another thread on "Private Roads" as this thread deals with a very specific question in which a capitalist society is already assumed and so your remarks will only serve to derail the thread.

As to the substance of your remarks: you are wrong on several accounts.

First, you are wrong by definition. Ayn Rand properly described what a "laissez faire capitalist society" is and it is one in which individual rights are respected and all property is privately owned. So once you start talking about "public roads" (by which I presume you mean "publicly owned roads") you aren't talking about capitalism anymore.

Beyond that, do you see a difference between 300,000,000 privately owned houses and the concept of "competing governments? What makes you think that private property somehow invokes "competing governments"? Do the rights of men conflict? How does someone's right to trade with another need to involve violating my right to keep the fruits of my labor? Why do you think that private property leads to chaos? If we need police to ensure that traffic flows in a controlled manner, then do we need the police to hang out at every gas station, grocery and bar?

Since roads are not the only thing we need in order for there to be commerce, then I suppose we also need public farms, public stores, public factories, public schools, public utilities, public boating and public airlines, right? How does what you are proposing differ in principle from Marxism?

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. So it appears as though you are sanctioning JeffS's illogic at the expense of JeffT's principled argument.

Thank you for your consideration.

With that in mind I would suggest that folks only read what I wrote rather than inflating that into something else.

Edited by RationalBiker
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Well that is just a stunning statement Mr. Senior Member.

Okay, first off, don't be a smart ass.

I think the moderators should probably move this to another thread on "Private Roads" as this thread deals with a very specific question in which a capitalist society is already assumed and so your remarks will only serve to derail the thread.

If you go back to the first page, you will see that I am directly addressing the OP. The thread has already gone off on related tangents.

As to the substance of your remarks: you are wrong on several accounts.

Lets examine that, shall we?

First, you are wrong by definition. Ayn Rand properly described what a "laissez faire capitalist society" is and it is one in which individual rights are respected and all property is privately owned. So once you start talking about "public roads" (by which I presume you mean "publicly owned roads") you aren't talking about capitalism anymore.

Property can be privately owned, and there can be public roads. Nothing Rand wrote conflicts in principle with a Constitutional Republic, such as we have. Certain powers are given to government, with the consent of the governed. In order to have an orderly society, there has to be a certain amount of give and take between individuals. We can not function if every property owner builds a small piece of roadway, a 1/4 acre at a time, posting arbitrary speed limits, having differing road surfaces, disputing the presence of law enforcement on "their" road. Under our system of federalism, broad powers are retained by the states, counties and municipalities. People are free to own private property, but are not allowed to impede the free flow of traffic and commerce - which would grind a capitalist society to a screeching halt. Capitalism does not equate with public roads. Capitalism is a system of economics based on the principle of a free market.

Beyond that, do you see a difference between 300,000,000 privately owned houses and the concept of "competing governments? What makes you think that private property somehow invokes "competing governments"? Do the rights of men conflict? How does someone's right to trade with another need to involve violating my right to keep the fruits of my labor? Why do you think that private property leads to chaos? If we need police to ensure that traffic flows in a controlled manner, then do we need the police to hang out at every gas station, grocery and bar?

The concept of competing governments calls to mind the anarchy that your concept of privately owned roads implies. Let us first examine what Rand had to say about competing governments:

A recent variant of anarchistic theory, which is befuddling some of the younger advocates of freedom, is a weird absurdity called “competing governments.” Accepting the basic premise of the modern statists—who see no difference between the functions of government and the functions of industry, between force and production, and who advocate government ownership of business—the proponents of “competing governments” take the other side of the same coin and declare that since competition is so beneficial to business, it should also be applied to government. Instead of a single, monopolistic government, they declare, there should be a number of different governments in the same geographical area, competing for the allegiance of individual citizens, with every citizen free to “shop” and to patronize whatever government he chooses.

Remember that forcible restraint of men is the only service a government has to offer. Ask yourself what a competition in forcible restraint would have to mean.

One cannot call this theory a contradiction in terms, since it is obviously devoid of any understanding of the terms “competition” and “government.” Nor can one call it a floating abstraction, since it is devoid of any contact with or reference to reality and cannot be concretized at all, not even roughly or approximately. One illustration will be sufficient: suppose Mr. Smith, a customer of Government A, suspects that his next-door neighbor, Mr. Jones, a customer of Government B, has robbed him; a squad of Police A proceeds to Mr. Jones’ house and is met at the door by a squad of Police B, who declare that they do not accept the validity of Mr. Smith’s complaint and do not recognize the authority of Government A. What happens then? You take it from there.

“The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 112

From this excerpt, one can see that there is a correlation between the two concepts. A system of completely privately owned roads would be just as anarchistic as competing governments.A public road does in no way impede your ability to engage in trade, and may only tangentially interferes with property rights if the road passes through what once was your private property, neither does it keep you from enjoying the fruits of your labor, unless you plan to plant crops in the strip that is occupied by the road, which is ridiculous on the face of it.. Your assertion that I implied that "private property leads to chaos is a red herring, as I implied no such thing. Parking lots and convenience stores do not require traffic rules, mainly because they are low speed, limited access parking areas. No one in his right mind is going to attempt to drive 70 mph in a 7-11's parking lot. Most people have the common sense to follow the established rules of the road even in a parking lot - yielding, driving on the correct side, etc.

Since roads are not the only thing we need in order for there to be commerce, then I suppose we also need public farms, public stores, public factories, public schools, public utilities, public boating and public airlines, right? How does what you are proposing differ in principle from Marxism?

One does not imply the other. Your attempt at reductio ad absurdum is ill used.

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Okay, first off, don't be a smart ass.

Yes, that was a little smart-alecky of me and I apologize but the point is that I don't understand how someone with so many posts on an Objectivist Forum, at least some of which as I recall were good posts, could not know what is meant by "capitalism", or at least what Ayn Rand meant by it, and its benefits. This view is de rigueur for Objectivists.

If you go back to the first page, you will see that I am directly addressing the OP. The thread has already gone off on related tangents.

You must be thinking of another thread as I don't see any other posts by you. And the thread hasn't been off on this tangent.

Nothing Rand wrote conflicts in principle with a Constitutional Republic, such as we have.

Well I didn't think we were discussing a Constitutional Republic "such as we have", I thought we were talking about Capitalism. In fact you were the one who mentioned "a fully capitalist society" in your last post. Here is what that means:

Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned. -- Ayn Rand CUI pg. 19.

and

When I say “capitalism,” I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. -- Ayn Rand VOS pg. 33.

Everything Rand wrote conflicts in principle with a Contitutional Republic, such as we have.

A Constitutional Republic can definitely be a proper government but the Constitutional Republic such as we have today infringes on our Rights (lawfully), has since its inception and is closer today to socialism than it is to capitalism.

Certain powers are given to government, with the consent of the governed. In order to have an orderly society, there has to be a certain amount of give and take between individuals. [...] Under our system of federalism, broad powers are retained by the states, counties and municipalities.

Properly, the only power ceded to the government is the right to use force in retaliation, government has no other legitimate power. And there is no "give and take" on the issue of Rights, no individual has the right to initiate force against another.

People are free to own private property, but are not allowed to impede the free flow of traffic and commerce

Correct and so this would be taken into account under any system of private roads.

We can not function if every property owner builds a small piece of roadway, a 1/4 acre at a time, posting arbitrary speed limits, having differing road surfaces, disputing the presence of law enforcement on "their" road. [...]

The concept of competing governments calls to mind the anarchy that your concept of privately owned roads implies.

Whose to say that this would be the system? It certainly isn't my conception. There have been private roads in the past and there are some right now and in fact they work quite well. Don't let the free market scare you, socialists have no idea what they are talking about.

There is an assumption implicit in this argument that is mirrored by JeffS's argument, namely: That men who are successful and rational enough to own roads would then become irrational enough to destroy their own business. There is no rational reason why someone would own a road simply to make it difficult for you to travel it and there is no rational justification for believing it would happen.

A system of completely privately owned roads would be just as anarchistic as competing governments.

Except that governments deal in force and private individuals may not. The use of force would be outlawed on private roads.

A public road does in no way impede your ability to engage in trade, and may only tangentially interferes with property rights if the road passes through what once was your private property, [...]

Sounds like you are justifying eminent domain . . . and private roads don't impede your ability to engage in trade either, in fact they facilitate it -- I'm sure that would be one of their purposes.

[...] neither does it keep you from enjoying the fruits of your labor

If you have to tax me to support your public road, then you are robbing me of the fruits of my labor.

A system of completely privately owned roads would be just as anarchistic as competing governments. [...] Your assertion that I implied that "private property leads to chaos is a red herring, as I implied no such thing.

Not only do you imply that "private property leads to chaos", you state it explicitly two sentences before this one as illustrated above. You say that a system of "privately owned roads" (which is private property) "would be [...] anarchistic" (which is chaotic).

Since roads are not the only thing we need in order for there to be commerce, then I suppose we also need public farms, public stores, public factories, public schools, public utilities, public boating and public airlines, right? How does what you are proposing differ in principle from Marxism?

Actually it is perfectly used.

Notice how I said your proposal is no different from Marxism "in principle". In practice there are huge, unmistakable differences between the US and the USSR and those differences are due to the continued recognition and respect of some of our Rights in this country.

But in principle, once you allow "public ownership" of some factors of production, (for whatever reason, be it: to facilitate commerce or because some people need it or because it would be more efficient or because of an oppression of the proletariat) there is no principle stopping the government from running everything, which is the direction we are headed today. Government healthcare, government social security, government schools, land, roads, utilities, government mandated light bulbs, internet service . . .

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There is no rational reason why someone would own a road simply to make it difficult for you to travel it and there is no rational justification for believing it would happen.

Are you denying the possibility that there are successful, rich irrational property owners out there? There does not have to be a rational reason why someone would do that when there are plenty of irrational people out there. I don't have a malevolent universe premise, but in reality I recognize there are QUITE a few irrational property owners out there who would/could in fact make traveling on their property difficult, expensive, inconvenient, etc. etc. You really can't see any possibility of this happening?

Partly I'm playing Devil's Advocate, but I do kind of see Maximus' point.

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Partly I'm playing Devil's Advocate, but I do kind of see Maximus' point.

Wait, which point? That there are irrational people in the world? Or that we should overthrow the principle of private property because of it?

I don't have a malevolent universe premise, but in reality I recognize there are QUITE a few irrational property owners out there who would/could in fact make traveling on their property difficult, expensive, inconvenient, etc. etc.

From reading your replies for years here I am quite certain that you don't have a malevolent view of the universe and though I am less familiar with Maximus I would be willing to bet he doesn't either and that's why I'd like you both to check your premises. I agree there are a few irrational property owners but QUITE a few? I don't think so and it does start to sound malevolent if you think they exist as any significant percentage of the population.

Further, I think the more property one owns, the less likely they are to be irrational. Thinking that a rich person is more likely to be irrational does not comport with reality or logic. In reality I find rich people to be more rational than poor people and this makes sense since rationality leads to the attainment of values while irrationality doesn't.

So someone who owns many roads and highways, who has made a business of making money from providing travelways, would not survive as a businessman very long if he made it hard for people to travel on his roads. That is the context I'm thinking of.

I suppose there are other contexts you and Maximus are thinking of: What about the neighborhood where houses are close together and an individual wants to own just the 20 feet of road directly in front of his house and wants to prevent everyone else in the neighborhood from using that stretch of road? A proper government tasked with figuring out rights of way and other such property rights would be able to figure this out. Certainly one couldn't encircle someone else's house entirely and not let them cross your road as I acknowledge earlier to Maximus.

But no one has a right to a road to their favorite destination. If someone builds a house high in the mountains, they should not be able to demand that the government build them a road to it and charge the rest of us for it.

The point I'm making is that the principle of rights and of private property are good ones, they promote value not its destruction. And there is no reason to think that respecting people's property leads to chaos.

Edited by Marc K.
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I would like to second Marc K.'s point here (maybe that's a first). Private roads do not imply anarchism in any way whatsoever. Having all property be private property does not threaten the continued existence of a civilized society with a prospering economy. There have been private roads before (for example England in the 1600s), or private waterways (New England in the early 1800s). Railroads are another example of a similar industry. All of them were, initially, privately owned. And from experience we know that they had two qualities that resulted:

1) Standardization- Railroads instituted time zones to enable consistent time schedules, and their influence in the economy helped eliminate many of the anomalies in time measurement in cities and towns across the United States.

2) They also tend to work together, allowing other companies to use their own rails in exchange for the opportunity to do the same on their competitors rails. So far from leading to a closing off of travel, they cooperated for mutual benefit and in the process created a continent-spanning economy.

There is a natural pressure in shipping/transportation industries for the creation of industry-wide standards and practices (not enforced by law, but enforced by market pressures), and for cooperation in day-to-day business. I see no reason why this would not continue to be the case for a private road system.

Also, economics (particularly Austrian economics) as well as Objectivist ethics point to the fact that low time-preferences (i.e. thinking and planning long term) and rationality lead to an increase in capital (i.e. wealth) and an increase in the achievement of values. Economics and ethics imply that rational people will end up being wealthier than irrational people, ceteris paribus. So one would expect that the large and wealthy transportation industry executives will generally be rational, and certainly not bent on destroying their companies by acting in a way that restricts trade and makes owning a business on their lines (or traveling them) undesirable.

I find it interesting that an Objectivist would be against making all roads private (probably as the last step in the achievement of the privatization of the various illegitimate services the government currently provides, as it is the one that will be the most thorny problem due to how big a role public roads currently play in our society). As Marc said, it is clearly in direct contradiction to the principle of a "wall of separation" between Economy and State.

Edited by nanite1018
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Or that we should overthrow the principle of private property because of it?

I'm certainly not suggesting we should overthrow the principle of private property. However, I think I'm being objective and realistic in considering that privatized roads can introduce a whole new set of problems like the ones being discussed. Whether it ultimately means things will be better or worse is not something about which I'm willing to engage in considerable speculation. One can certainly uphold the principle of rights while making observations or questioning the results of acting within those rights.

Also, I've never implied nor stated that being rich would make one rational or irrational. Rather, obectively speaking, knowing whether or not someone is rich or poor is no indication as to their rationality without knowing how that wealth has been achieved or preserved.

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In The Ayn Rand Letter Vol 3 No. 2, Ayn Rand talked about speed limits briefly. I will quote the paragraph before (about explicit public billboards) also to give the full context.

Only one aspect of sex is a legitimate field for legislation: the protection of minors and of unconsenting adults. Apart from criminal actions (such as rape), this aspect includes the need to protect people from being confronted with sights they regard as loathsome. (A corollary of the freedom to see and hear, is the freedom not to look or listen.) Legal restraints on certain types of public displays, such as posters or window displays, are proper—but this is an issue of procedure, of
etiquette
, not of morality.

No one has the right to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately owned street). The police power to maintain order among pedestrians or to control traffic is a procedural, not a substantive, power. A traffic policeman enforces rules of
how
to drive (in order to avoid clashes or collisions), but cannot tell you
where
to go. Similarly, the rights of those who seek pornography would not be infringed by rules protecting the rights of those who find pornography offensive—e.g., sexually explicit posters may properly be forbidden in public places; warning signs, such as "For Adults Only," may properly be required of private places which are open to the public. This protects the unconsenting, and has nothing to do with censorship, i.e., with prohibiting thought or speech.

(The highlight on etiquette, how, and where is hers)

So she is a making a distinction here between the government preventing an activity and merely setting a procedure in that area (e.g. speed limit). I think if you hold the full context of what property rights are for, this makes sense. Because they're about your freedom to pursue your rational values not being interfered with, not your freedom to totally utterly control every little aspect of a thing. That is not rational values, that is just obsessive control.

And I think that is where the answer to the OPs original question might come from, the question as to whether the police using your property on the way to a crime scene without your permission is a violation of your rights. Does them doing that prevent you pursuing your rational happiness? If not, are they violating your rights?

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JeffT, while perhaps being wrong on a point or two, is correct in the principles he is advocating while JeffS is wrong. So it appears as though you are sanctioning JeffS's illogic at the expense of JeffT's principled argument.

So Marc K has decreed, and so it must be! Let all who doubt, or seek reasoned and logical debate forthwith be silenced for they know not how to reason to their own conclusions, they must be given the proper message!

Amen.

Really, Marc, that you post such a flagrant attempt at appeal to authority simply solidifies my opinion of you. Well done.

@philosopher

Great post, and it bears repeating for those who would tend to equate argument with, "Well, who said that?"

No one has the right to do whatever he pleases on a public street (nor would he have such a right on a privately owned street). The police power to maintain order among pedestrians or to control traffic is a procedural, not a substantive, power. A traffic policeman enforces rules of how to drive (in order to avoid clashes or collisions), but cannot tell you where to go.
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Really, Marc, that you post such a flagrant attempt at appeal to authority simply solidifies my opinion of you. Well done.

Simply stating that someone is wrong without immediately giving reasons does not amount to an argument from authority. It's simply a statement of one's position. An argument from authority is an attempt to support an argument by appealing to the fact that some authority agrees with it. There is nothing of that sort here. Perhaps you were looking for argument from intimidation, but even that is overreaching, unless you consider someone clearly stating their position an attempt at intimidation.

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So Marc K has decreed, and so it must be! Let all who doubt, or seek reasoned and logical debate forthwith be silenced for they know not how to reason to their own conclusions, they must be given the proper message!

Amen.

Really, Marc, that you post such a flagrant attempt at appeal to authority simply solidifies my opinion of you. Well done.

Just so you know, none of this does much to bolster anyone's opinion of you either. So as you say, well done.

Alternatively, we can stick to supporting our respective positions with arguments instead of posturing.

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Given the context, I do agree that privately owned roads will not result in anarchy. Nor should the concept of "competing governments" be evoked in this thread, especially when it is being discussed Here.

First, I do understand the point being made that given that all roads be privately-owned, does it not follow that an individual may decide to set bizarre or perhaps irrational standards for traffic in his property? Perhaps he orders all traffic to travel backwards, on the opposite side of the road, on wet/rocky terrain, or maybe he intentionally places nails out on his roads, makes his property a trap, etc. I feel as if this is the crux of the counter-argument to privately-owned roads - that it may serve to be impractical.

However, this argument is very ill-seated, because the general premise of ensuring and individual's right to liberty still remains. I think philosopher's quote was absolutely amazing and outlines that objective procedural standards for which traffic rules for private property can and should be made without violation of rights. If one does not abide by these procedural standards, he can be taken to court and punished proportionally. This prevents the gun-loving, crazed and paranoid old man who adores his privacy from destroying the functions of other individuals. Moreover, given that it is indeed a fully laissez-faire capitalist society, it may not generally be in the individual's interest to actually own and provide maintenance for his private road. He is better off selling the rights to his road to a company which will do that for him, under a contract. In fact, this may serve to be very profitable.

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First, I do understand the point being made that given that all roads be privately-owned, does it not follow that an individual may decide to set bizarre or perhaps irrational standards for traffic in his property? Perhaps he orders all traffic to travel backwards, on the opposite side of the road, on wet/rocky terrain, or maybe he intentionally places nails out on his roads, makes his property a trap, etc. I feel as if this is the crux of the counter-argument to privately-owned roads - that it may serve to be impractical.

Such absurdities would be worked out by civil litigation. After all the value of a road is partly or even mostly determined by where it goes and so interoperability can be established by non-cooperation on the part of other roads or towns that feed or accept traffic from the rogue road and its owner. Criminal proceedings will take care of people setting traps.

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Simply stating that someone is wrong without immediately giving reasons does not amount to an argument from authority. It's simply a statement of one's position. An argument from authority is an attempt to support an argument by appealing to the fact that some authority agrees with it. There is nothing of that sort here. Perhaps you were looking for argument from intimidation, but even that is overreaching, unless you consider someone clearly stating their position an attempt at intimidation.

Marc K. specifically states RB's arguments are well reasoned, then proceeds to argue RB's disagreement with JeffT can be seen as agreement with mine. He establishes RB as an authority, then argues that authority could be interpreted to provide validity to my argument. That's appeal to authority of a form.

To rational people, what RB says about JeffT's argument or my argument means nothing to the validity of either. To Marc K. it's worrisome enough to take time out of his day and caution others against making the same error he did. And who are these others? The only reasonable assumption is that Marc believes there are people here who can't think for themselves.

Beside that, it's an easy way for him to do a drive-by without having to provide any evidence of his claims. It's a cheap shot that deserved a response.

Alternatively, we can stick to supporting our respective positions with arguments instead of posturing.

That would be nice, but Marc K. is incapable of doing so. Furthermore, I don't like having people denigrate me without responding. Should I? Is it in my rational self-interests to have a poster bully me ad nauseum without defending myself? I can think of several reasons why it is not.

JeffT and I were having a nice debate until Marc jumped in with his school-yard remarks; a point that seems to be missing here.

Edited by JeffS
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So she is a making a distinction here between the government preventing an activity and merely setting a procedure in that area (e.g. speed limit). I think if you hold the full context of what property rights are for, this makes sense. Because they're about your freedom to pursue your rational values not being interfered with, not your freedom to totally utterly control every little aspect of a thing. That is not rational values, that is just obsessive control.

i don't see how the government setting up restrictions on your use of your property is NOT a violation of your property rights, assuming that your use of your property is not violating someone else's rights. Since no one has a right to traverse the private property of another person, there is no need for the government to set up such restrictions for one's use of one's own property and to do so would be an unwarranted breach of one's property rights. Also, rights not only protect your pursuit of rational values, they protect the pursuit of irrational values as long as those pursuits do not violate the rights of others.

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This talk of the government being able to set up procedural rules for any but the most extreme cases (for example, if I were to want to build a nuke to detonate on my 100 million acres of property just for kicks, as that would be an extremely dangerous situation that would, at best, have to be monitored extremely closely) to be a very slippery slope indeed. If government can tell me what the traffic rules must be on my road, why can't it tell me how I have to keep my financial records? Why can't it tell me what sorts of ads I can and cannot display? Why can't it tell me what the rules must be for me to hire and fire people? Why can't it tell me how to mow my lawn, or how to educate my children, (or run my school, if I am educating many children)? Why does the government get to order me to do some things (that do not violate other people's rights) but now others?

Either property rights are held inviolate (except in very very clearly delimited emergency circumstances, and even then full compensation with interest should be provided after the end of the emergency), or we have no principle upon which to defend and condemn some actions over others except mere utilitarianism or pragmatism. I don't see a difference in kind between the dictation of procedural rules and the seizure of property- only a difference in degree of interference.

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This talk of the government being able to set up procedural rules for any but the most extreme cases (for example, if I were to want to build a nuke to detonate on my 100 million acres of property just for kicks, as that would be an extremely dangerous situation that would, at best, have to be monitored extremely closely) to be a very slippery slope indeed. If government can tell me what the traffic rules must be on my road, why can't it tell me how I have to keep my financial records? Why can't it tell me what sorts of ads I can and cannot display? Why can't it tell me what the rules must be for me to hire and fire people? Why can't it tell me how to mow my lawn, or how to educate my children, (or run my school, if I am educating many children)? Why does the government get to order me to do some things (that do not violate other people's rights) but now others?

Either property rights are held inviolate (except in very very clearly delimited emergency circumstances, and even then full compensation with interest should be provided after the end of the emergency), or we have no principle upon which to defend and condemn some actions over others except mere utilitarianism or pragmatism. I don't see a difference in kind between the dictation of procedural rules and the seizure of property- only a difference in degree of interference.

I agree, and I'm not sure where the line is drawn between being forbidden from detonating a nuke and being required to place a sign on your business. However, in the context of police pulling people over on private roads, certainly there's nothing wrong with the police enforcing an owner's objective rules.

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However, in the context of police pulling people over on private roads, certainly there's nothing wrong with the police enforcing an owner's objective rules.

There is something wrong if the police are providing that service for free.

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He establishes RB as an authority,

I don't see how I could be establishing RationalBiker as an authority on this issue when I was asking him to give his opinion. Obviously I didn't and still don't know his position on the titular question. So, wrong as usual JeffS.

Beside that, it's an easy way for him to do a drive-by without having to provide any evidence of his claims.

[...]

Furthermore, I don't like having people denigrate me without responding.

Let me give you an insight into human nature: when someone argues with you, they think you are wrong. I think you are wrong and the evidence for that claim is my argument in this thread. And if me saying you are wrong denigrates you, then I guess in your eyes we are even since presumably you think I am wrong. I, however, don't take your irrational arguments as denigrating me at all, rather, I think you denigrate yourself.

Alternatively, we can stick to supporting our respective positions with arguments instead of posturing.

Let us be accurate about what actually occurred. I answered and defeated all of your arguments in post #33 and your reply in post #34 was to evade those arguments by crying foul erroneously as you have done here: no answer was ever given, you simply pretended that those arguments didn't exist.

[...] Let all who doubt, or seek reasoned and logical debate forthwith be silenced for they know not how to reason to their own conclusions, [...]

Supposedly you want reasoned, logical debate and yet you are unable to provide it yourself, here are some examples:

- You conflate the functions of a police force with the proper functions of an entire government

- You do not recognize a difference between direct and indirect force

- You do not understand the difference between a crime and a civil wrong

- You advocate for preventive law

- You seem to think that you can set any terms in a contract and that the police must enforce those terms (I will post on this separately)

Beyond those points, being rational requires that you comport yourself a certain way also and engage in honest debate while maintaining your integrity. I asked you earlier in post #33 if you were doing this and you evaded this question also -- and this isn't just some academic question that everyone on the Forum must answer. The reason I asked you this question, in particular, is because you have admittedly engaged in dishonest behavior before, here:

Of course I have. What's the point? That I'm a hypocrite? When have I stated that I live a moral life? I haven't, and I don't. Hypocritical would be claiming that I'm living a moral life while ignoring all the principles upon which morality is based.

You admit to acting immorally and while you deny being a hypocrite it is clear to anyone who reads the thread that that is exactly what you are.

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JeffS is under the impression that one can set any terms in a contract and that the police must enforce those terms, he expresses that here:

Whatever rules I set on my road are part of the contract for the use of that road. I expect the police to prevent anyone from breaking the terms of that contract, or to prevent further contract violations.

This is clearly not true and my rejoinder to his assertion was this:

Wrong, not "whatever". If you set the terms such that if I exceeded your speed limit by 5 mph, then you could take my heart from me -- even if I signed the contract no police or judge would ever enforce it and they have no obligation to.

Contracts, like the law in general, are meant to protect rational actors. So the mafia's "contract" to kill someone is legally unenforceable. Even less absurdly, most courts will not enforce an outrageous interest rate on a loan, it must be considered "reasonable".

I wanted to raise this issue also with an eye toward Ayn Rand's proposed "contract fees" as a way of voluntarily funding a proper government as this issue has been raised before on the Forum. The reason why contract fees would be legitimate and not an infringement of one's right to contract is because you can't pass on the cost of fulfilling the terms of your contract to everyone else in society. One has the right to contract but one doesn't have the right to have everyone else pay for any dispute that arises because one made a poor contract.

This applies to roads also. If you own a highway and set the speed limit at 50 mph and say that you are going to pull over anyone going 52 mph and up and fine them $200 each, you have no right to force the rest of us to pay for the thousands of police and hours in court it is going to take to enforce your contract. You can hire your own security force and pay for it yourself and see how long you stay in business.

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