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Government Police on Privately-Owned Roads

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Andrew Grathwohl
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I'm also interested in how objective limits for tolls can be established.

The same way as prices for anything, for example doughnuts. Take into account costs and the effect of price on the volume of demand. Have sales promotions, loyalty programs, electronic toll paying and pre-paying with discounts, special lanes for truck traffic or high speed passenger cars, and whatever else works.

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Please correct me in the event I am wrong.

Just to let you know, I was merely stating how objective limits could be established, not that they necessarily would be by all road owners. I'm not fully on board that this whole roadway thing would work out quite as optimistically as others think but perhaps it could.

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The business model of paying for use by miles driven is coming anyway, they might as well be more efficiently administered as a business.

Mn/DOT to test driver's 'mileage tax'

The state of Oregon completed a similar study in November 2007. Iowa, Nevada and Texas are currently researching mileage-based user fees.

Mn/DOT says that if a mileage-based user fee were implemented, motorists would pay a fee based on how many miles they driver, rather than how much gas a vehicle uses, which is how Minnesota's gas tax is currently designed.

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Actually that is what is called passive-aggressive behavior. So-called non-violent protests such as sit-ins are in fact initiations of force even while being non-violent. Violence is what is required to evict such people, hence the police involvement to keep matters under control.

Violence would be required to stop someone from speeding on your road if they didn't want to stop speeding on your road. And if there's no real downside to speeding on your road, then people are going to speed on your road. Why voluntarily stop if stopping is only going to result in negative consequences?

You wrote that police wouldn't be involved in non-crimes; you defined crimes as having an element of violence; you defined violence as force that is "swift, intense, rough, and/or accompanied by fury." You then wrote that it's okay for the police to evict people who evince no signs of violence, i.e. it is okay for the police to get involved in situations where there is no violence, and therefore no crime.

If some non-violent actions are initiations of force, why is speeding not an initiation of force, if it is indeed non-violent? If some non-violent actions require police intervention, then why does speeding not require police intervention, if it is indeed non-violent? If the police can get involved in situations where no violence is present, then why bring up the distinction between crime and non-crime in the first place?

Yes, but the rest of the scenario is unlike a home invader. The speeder is not blocking the road or otherwise being disruptive.

The very fact that a speed limit is set makes travelling over that speed disruptive. A speed limit is set to provide order to traffic. Speeds over that limit are, by definition, out of order - disruptive. Reverse it - suppose I set a minimum speed on my road, would not travelling slower than that speed be disruptive?

1) Because the speeder is already in the process of leaving.

2) Because your road is a public thoroughfare with less expectation of privacy and complete control than your dwelling.

3) A speeder is not disrupting the usual usage of your property or business as a passive-aggressive sitter-in does.

1) That's conjecture. If I own I70, and you hop on my highway in NC with plans to drive to CO, you're not going to be off my property for a very long time. Furthermore, this suggests someone just walking through your house (or your park, or your building) is not committing a crime.

2) My road is not a public thoroughfare - it is private land. We've already established that posting a sign is a barrier to entry, or at least notification enough that you are not to enter my property without my permission.

3) See above.

Rationalbiker invokes the engineering behind highway design. Also note that this kind of objection you have just raised is exactly the same as the objection that using age 18 as the age of adulthood is arbitrary. It is not arbitrary to pick a number within a reasonable range of numbers.

I disagree. It's no less arbitrary than saying we'll arrest people for stealing cars, but won't arrest them for stealing candy bars because losing less than $20 is a reasonable amount of money to lose.

I understand the physics argument for setting a speed, but presumably the road owner would take this into account when setting the speed. It would not be rational for him to set a speed of 100 on a tight curve when travelling at that speed would only result in accidents. The road owner would set a maximum speed at which that curve could be safely taken. He wouldn't set the speed assuming everyone would factor in some arbitrary amount over that speed that they could travel at. Since it's a maximum speed, going over that speed by any amount would be objectively, and demonstrably, bad.

The only reason I brought up violence was to distinguish incidents that require immediate police intervention from those that can be deferred to a civil suit or a district attorney.../... The only way to resolve the passive-aggressive unwelcome occupier problem is with violence, hence the police intervention. If there is a disruption of a business or a private dwelling involved then there is also an urgency to get the problem solved quickly, another justification for police to intervene rather than just wait out the unwelcome presence.

A speeder is immediately and continuously disrupting the use of my property for as long as he stays on my property, just as if he were standing in my home or business and refusing to leave. If it is a crime, or requires police intervention to stop the behaviour of a home/business invader, then it requires police intervention to stop the behaviour of a speeder.

I do not believe you are arguing in good faith and do not understand that initiating force does not require violence.

I pulled this out because, frankly, it bums me out. I don't know what would give you this impression. I've read every one of your arguments, I've addressed every one of them to the best of my ability, and I've tried to stick to the principles involved. What makes you believe I am not arguing in good faith?

She was illustrating the difference between procedural and substantive law by using an analogy. You are overburdening the analogy by assuming that it means any more than that, for example that police ought to be enforcing traffic regulations under full laissez-faire capitalism.

But she specifically states the police ought to enforce traffic regulations:

The police power to... control traffic is a procedural, not a substantive, power. A traffic policeman enforces rules of how to drive...

If she wasn't writing in the context of laissez-faire capitalism, if she wasn't writing in the context of an objective reality, then that would be very unusual to the way she typically writes.

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There can be many reasons that make setting a specific amount not arbitrary. e.g. the grade of the road, the width, the amount of traffic, pedestrian traffic, the turn radius, etc. etc. Reasonable safe speeds CAN be determined for particular roads using science when it comes to particular things like friction and force. The other factors are REASONABLE estimations based on the volume of traffic. This CAN make a given amount not arbitrary.

I would add to your response that there is a big difference between "imprecise" and "arbitrary".

Something being inexact does not automatically make it arbitrary.

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Violence would be required to stop someone from speeding on your road if they didn't want to stop speeding on your road.

Why stop them? Just charge extra based on your published schedule of fines. (Perhaps it is printed on the back of the toll ticket?) Why the obsession with controlling people by force?

You wrote that police wouldn't be involved in non-crimes; you defined crimes as having an element of violence; you defined violence as force that is "swift, intense, rough, and/or accompanied by fury." You then wrote that it's okay for the police to evict people who evince no signs of violence, i.e. it is okay for the police to get involved in situations where there is no violence, and therefore no crime.

Wrong. The property owner would be within his rights to be violent, which is the justification for calling the police. Pacifism is no part of Objectivism, and there is no need to wait for the intruder to draw first blood.

If some non-violent actions are initiations of force, why is speeding not an initiation of force, if it is indeed non-violent? If some non-violent actions require police intervention, then why does speeding not require police intervention, if it is indeed non-violent? If the police can get involved in situations where no violence is present, then why bring up the distinction between crime and non-crime in the first place?

A violation of a contract can be an initiation of force. The point you won't admit to is that not every initiation of force is violent or even a crime. Speeding can be both an initiation of force and not a crime by being a dispute within civil law.

The very fact that a speed limit is set makes travelling over that speed disruptive. A speed limit is set to provide order to traffic. Speeds over that limit are, by definition, out of order - disruptive. Reverse it - suppose I set a minimum speed on my road, would not travelling slower than that speed be disruptive?
Going too fast is not equivalent to going too slow because slowness blocks other traffic.

1) That's conjecture. If I own I70, and you hop on my highway in NC with plans to drive to CO, you're not going to be off my property for a very long time. Furthermore, this suggests someone just walking through your house (or your park, or your building) is not committing a crime.

2) My road is not a public thoroughfare - it is private land. We've already established that posting a sign is a barrier to entry, or at least notification enough that you are not to enter my property without my permission.

3) See above.

The thread can now segue into a digression on easements in property law. Yes, I can sometimes use your property without your permission.

I disagree. It's no less arbitrary than saying we'll arrest people for stealing cars, but won't arrest them for stealing candy bars because losing less than $20 is a reasonable amount of money to lose.

Even criminal law distinguishes between "large" and "small" crimes, which is why there are felonies and misdemeanors. There is not even $1 worth of tangible loss inflicted by a speeder, which is why it should not be a crime at all.

I pulled this out because, frankly, it bums me out. I don't know what would give you this impression. I've read every one of your arguments, I've addressed every one of them to the best of my ability, and I've tried to stick to the principles involved. What makes you believe I am not arguing in good faith?

I assumed you knew what an initiation of force was, perhaps mistakenly. So, what is an initiation of force? I challenge you to dig up everything you can find on the initiation of force and establish that it is equivalent to violence.

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Even criminal law distinguishes between "large" and "small" crimes, which is why there are felonies and misdemeanors. There is not even $1 worth of tangible loss inflicted by a speeder, which is why it should not be a crime at all.

Sorry, I have to nitpick a fine point with you on this.

In the free market you make your goods and services as attractive as possible so that people will freely pay to use them.

The reason for setting speed limits is safety (or perception of safety as the case may be).

If a roadway is known to be unable to enforce its terms of use then it will be perceived as less safe.

Which could hurt revenues, causing tangible harm.

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