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walling people into their own property

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No, it does not reference that. What is to be done about the encirclement problem in property law (easement) is a deduction that comes way later than the concept of a right. A right is a normati

Yeah I mean, as far as I can see, the only "bluster" was coming from you in your personal problem with Grames. Your debating strikes me as filled with emotional screeds against imagined superiority in

No, it's not. (There's another thread about this on here. I'll try to find it for you.) Here it is.

Btw, I'm getting the impression that certain people here have always lived in cities, and have never farmed, mined, etc. It sounds as if they've never had a direct productive connection to the land which is actually capable of providing their living needs, but have always looked at it as nothing but a space on which they can set up a desk and do some paperwork. Am I correct?

J

Well speaking of city dwellers, in Objectiland, could building owners sell portions of their property?

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Property ownership is, by definition, the right to exclude others from it. All private property ownership, regardless of whether one's property is surrounding another's or not, is the act of "confining" everyone else from one's property and to their own.

Yes, we can all agree that property ownership legitimately prohibits trespassing, but only to the extent that trespassing doesn't sanction confinement, i.e. you have the liberty to deny access to your property so long as your property doesn't deny access to mine. A right to self sustaining action doesn't subsume others right to self sustaining action, except in legitimate defense your life. Walling in your neighbor isn't legitimate unless he's initiated some action that threatens your life... get it?

What you are failing or purposefully omitting is that any definition of a right to property presumes some kind of buffer zone for egress, either by government, or by tacit consent among neighbors. The moment I (or any combination of my neighbors) surround a particular property, confining the occupants of their rightfully owned property against their will, and preempting any action on their part to intentionally trespass, I (and my cohorts) have become the aggressor and lose whatever justification I have to legitimate defensive action.

Btw, I'm getting the impression that certain people here have always lived in cities, and have never farmed, mined, etc. It sounds as if they've never had a direct productive connection to the land which is actually capable of providing their living needs, but have always looked at it as nothing but a space on which they can set up a desk and do some paperwork. Am I correct?

Perhaps, but I doubt your argument would be better received on the frontier :glare:

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Does this "right to egress" involve being able to go simply wherever one chooses at any time? Obviously it cannot. But then, what would it entail, specifically, and on what (philosophical) grounds?
When village commons began to be converted to owned property in England, specific easements were added to deeds. For instance someone might get property in a huge piece of land that people routinely crossed to go from one village to another. When this was formalized as a property deed, the deed might come with an easement saying something along the lines that the owner would provide one opening on his norther edge, and one gate on his southern edge, both large enough for a man and a bullock to pass through, that he would leave a path from one gate to the other. Also, the law created responsibilities for people using the path. For instance, if the farmer put a gate across the opening, people using it had the legal responsibility to shut it behind them. Of course, they also had to stick to the path, not take his fruit, or trample his crop, and so on.
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When village commons began to be converted to owned property in England, specific easements were added to deeds. For instance someone might get property in a huge piece of land that people routinely crossed to go from one village to another. When this was formalized as a property deed, the deed might come with an easement saying something along the lines that the owner would provide one opening on his norther edge, and one gate on his southern edge, both large enough for a man and a bullock to pass through, that he would leave a path from one gate to the other. Also, the law created responsibilities for people using the path. For instance, if the farmer put a gate across the opening, people using it had the legal responsibility to shut it behind them. Of course, they also had to stick to the path, not take his fruit, or trample his crop, and so on.

Yes but that is just an instance of common sense in medieval times. How is that an example of mans interaction with the nature of reality(traversing topography) in a societal context? ;)

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When village commons began to be converted to owned property in England, specific easements were added to deeds. For instance someone might get property in a huge piece of land that people routinely crossed to go from one village to another. When this was formalized as a property deed, the deed might come with an easement saying something along the lines that the owner would provide one opening on his norther edge, and one gate on his southern edge, both large enough for a man and a bullock to pass through, that he would leave a path from one gate to the other. Also, the law created responsibilities for people using the path. For instance, if the farmer put a gate across the opening, people using it had the legal responsibility to shut it behind them. Of course, they also had to stick to the path, not take his fruit, or trample his crop, and so on.

Okay. Let's say that this falls under what I meant when I said the following:

Whether specific easements are, or are not, ultimately justified by previously established routes of travel...

So let's say that there is a path between two villages -- a path of regular travel across traditionally common/unowned land -- and thus we require the new (individual) owner of this land to allow this travel to continue along this path, as a part of his deed, as you've suggested. Let's have at least temporary agreement that this is appropriate. Does this make the case for (or is it an instance of) a general "right to egress," that I believe has been under discussion through this thread?

For instance, suppose that after our example, a third village is created. There are no traditional/historical pathways from Village One to Village Three, though the most likely route would run through our property holder's land. Is there now legal justification to require our property holder to create new gates, and a new path, so that Village Three is equally as accessible? Or is that left to the discretion of our property holder (including perhaps the construction of a wall, as to discourage any kind of trespass)?

Edited by DonAthos
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... suppose ..., a third village is created. There are no traditional/historical pathways from Village One to Village Three, though the most likely route would run through our property holder's land.
In general, no. Whoever built village three is obviously getting there somehow, so -- in general -- I don't see how they can claim any right to a short-cut in this context. Edited by softwareNerd
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In general, no. Whoever built village three is obviously getting there someone, so -- in general -- I don't see how they can claim any right to a short-cut in this context.

*edit* I agree. So much of this "problem" seems to downplay the fact that some route of travel exists prior to being blocked by the sale of a piece of property, otherwise how did the "trapped man" get to and from his property prior to the sale of the blocking property? The existence of egress being intentionally removed by sale seems more relevant to me, and very much like an act of aggression in the context of removing egress from the "trapped man" that existed when he purchased his property.

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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I also have a problem translating "No Trespassing" into a duty to remain confined to your own property. It reduces a right to property to being entirely dependent on receiving permissions from you neighbors to have access to it. Is there any part of this exercise that makes sense in the context of a right to self sustaining actions that depend on getting permission to act?? I hardly consider leaving my home to be trespassing in the community around me, or the world at large...

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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I also have a problem translating "No Trespassing" into a duty to remain confined to your own property. It reduces a right to property to being entirely dependent on receiving permissions from you neighbors to have access to it.
Yes, it would make little sense to say one has property that one cannot reach or cannot leave at will.
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From a random page on the internet: William....

William the Conqueror and his successors, claimed ownership of all the land in England, and everyone else held their land either directly or indirectly from the King.[iv] The King then entered into agreements with his most important lords (at first, those who commanded the most troops), whereby they were given certain lands to rule in exchange for services to the Crown. These agreements were called tenures. The lords were tenants in chief, and the services they rendered were usually military. The tenants in chief would then enter into similar agreements with others, who would do the same on down the line. This process was called subinfeudation, and it resulted in a pyramidal structure of land holding. Anyone below the King who granted lands to others in exchange for services was a mesne lord (intermediate lord), and the one in actual possession of the land was a tenant in demesne or vassal. The vassal was said to be seised of the fief; seisin being the possessory use of land. Seisin was created by feoffment with livery of seisin, a ceremony that took place on the land, in which the lord formally handed over use symbolically with a clod of earth.

I don't know that ancient land laws are the best place to look for direction.

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I think post #131 speaks to the heart of this matter -- or at least poses the right question.

People keep speaking of some right of "egress" from one's property. But if all property is private, then every instance of "egress" from one's property must simultaneously be access to someone else's property.

If Joe's parcel of land were surrounded by 10 different properties with 10 different owners, would the "right to egress" we're discussing involve Joe being able to cross all 10 properties? At any point he wishes? And to what end? To reach the border of those properties immediately bounding Joe's? And if those property holders wished to deny Joe access to their lands, what then? Does this "right to egress" involve being able to go simply wherever one chooses at any time? Obviously it cannot. But then, what would it entail, specifically, and on what (philosophical) grounds?

How about specifically in #126 and on those grounds? Those are definitely not ad hoc or only arising from the scenario of hostile encirclement.

Whether specific easements are, or are not, ultimately justified by previously established routes of travel (which may answer some of the issues raised here, but perhaps not others), or can be simulated by contractual arrangement (which are not easements as we're discussing; just a function of contract as any other), I am not satisfied that easements are justified en masse by any so-called right of egress...

Right, but there is no such thing as any right justified "en masse" in such a way. There is no absolute and context-free "right to movement," there is only the right your body and the occupy unowned or contractually allowed space. There's no right to "have an ice cream cone" en masse, as it were, only to make judicious use of my body and external property in such a manner as to make an ice cream cone from previously unowned resources, or to exchange for one. In the same way, either previously established use (homesteading) movement, or contractual exchange can allow me to move on a specific piece of land. Such a starting point as this can fully support easement rights and would not resemble anything like the strange scenarios cooked up in various responses.
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In general, no. Whoever built village three is obviously getting there somehow, so -- in general -- I don't see how they can claim any right to a short-cut in this context.

Well, hang on. The "short-cut" we'd agreed upon previously had its basis in a preexisting travel route through this previously unclaimed land. But your response here seems to appeal to a different justification altogether -- that "people can reach Village Three 'somehow', so no easement is needed through my land."

These are two separate things. Are you offering a justification of certain, select easements because villages had already established travel routes through previously common areas? Or is it based upon a "need" that villagers in Village One supposedly have to get to Village Two (or Village Three), regardless of whether there was every any trade route between them?

Yes, it would make little sense to say one has property that one cannot reach or cannot leave at will.

My issue is that this seems to ignore the issue of whether "reaching or leaving one's property at will" makes use of other people's property in the process, and whether the owners of that property have any say in how their property is used, or have the right to deny it altogether.

While I may not have the right to say that you cannot leave your own property at will, I think I should be able to say that you may not enter my property. If you find that this amounts to practically the same thing in a given situation, then so be it, but that's where we find our difference of opinion. I cannot tell you that you may not buy food, but I should be able to refuse to sell or give my food to you (if I do not have this right of refusal, then in what sense is it "my food" to begin with?). I cannot tell you that you may not be loved, but I do not have to love you. I can't tell you that you can't leave your land, but I don't have to grant you access to my land.

You may well need food and travel and even love for your health and your happiness, but I do not see that your need obliges me to put myself, or my property, at your service.

How about specifically in #126 and on those grounds? Those are definitely not ad hoc or only arising from the scenario of hostile encirclement.

1. A can have a prescriptive easement (A had long-standing, continuous passage through B before the surrounding person owned B.)

2. A can have a contractual right to pass through B (B is contractually bound to furnish A passage whether he wants to or not.)

Yes -- I agree that these grounds can be proper for specific easements, but they are not the only arguments that have been advanced in this thread, and they are not the arguments to which I am addressing myself. I believe that a case has been made for a need-based "right to egress," which operates beyond the bounds you've established above of "prescriptive easement" (i.e. a preexisting, long-standing passage) or that which has been established directly through voluntary contract. If you think I'm wrong on this point, let me know, and we can review the relevant posts... but it might be a bit of a project, so I don't want to do it unless it's clear that we disagree.

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These are two separate things.
yes, they are: pre-existing usage, versus homesteading-laws. When property rights are being recognized in law for some specific area (as in the early law in Britain or in homesteading law) it is perfectly legitimate for the concrete specification of those rights to take accounts of usage. I have not read up much about homesteading laws, but I imagine they have details like restrictions on the total size of land a person can take. There could be rules about two farmers not letting their claims completely adjoin each other, but having to leave (say) a 50 meter between their claims. There could be rules that say that for any land larger than a certain size, certain easements must be provided over that land. When a river is involved, I imagine there might be rules about how much river-front a person can claim. Perhaps more frequent access-points to the river would be built in to the original deeds. If water comes from a single oasis, there might be details about access to such a place.

You question how one can use "need" as a basis for such things. Well, I would not use the term "need", but as Rand would put it: "Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival." (Essay "Man's Rights")

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yes, they are: pre-existing usage, versus homesteading-laws. When property rights are being recognized in law for some specific area (as in the early law in Britain or in homesteading law) it is perfectly legitimate for the concrete specification of those rights to take accounts of usage. I have not read up much about homesteading laws, but I imagine they have details like restrictions on the total size of land a person can take. There could be rules about two farmers not letting their claims completely adjoin each other, but having to leave (say) a 50 meter between their claims. There could be rules that say that for any land larger than a certain size, certain easements must be provided over that land. When a river is involved, I imagine there might be rules about how much river-front a person can claim. Perhaps more frequent access-points to the river would be built in to the original deeds. If water comes from a single oasis, there might be details about access to such a place.

You question how one can use "need" as a basis for such things. Well, I would not use the term "need", but as Rand would put it: "Rights are conditions of existence required by man's nature for his proper survival." (Essay "Man's Rights")

So, the reason why I was willing to agree -- at least temporarily for the sake of our discussion (it will take much longer for these ideas to become settled for me, most likely) -- with the "path from Village One to Village Two" example, on the basis of a preexisting route, was because it seems to me that there does exist something like a property right in the use of such a path. If a build a house atop a hill, and walk down the hill to the lake to fish, though the hill may not be "entirely" mine, I would certainly take exception to anyone laying claim to the rest of the hill and barring my access to the lake. It would seem that I do have "ownership" of the hill at least for the purpose of walking down it to the lake, as I have done (and specifically, and importantly, before anyone else came with other claims to the hill).

Whether this also provides some sort of justification for a public system of roads or not -- as Jonathan has mentioned -- I'm unsure. But I do see sense in the general idea.

But to me, this doesn't necessarily expand into agreement on an entire body of "homesteading-laws," nor signify that I think that there must be similar justification for each of them. The kinds of restrictions that you mention... they seem to me to be similar to what I think of when I think of "regulation." For could I not make a similar case for, say, restrictions on the construction and use of factories? Instead of "certain easements" which "must be provided over land larger than a certain size," "built in to the original deeds," couldn't I speak of similar "easements" pertaining to use of that same land for a factory or similar?

Edited by DonAthos
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The concept of land rights without easement regulations by a governing body makes more sense if you think in terms of property lanes and prohibiting loitering, instead of property lines and prohibiting trespassing. A concept of rights to land that require purchasing every step you take off of your land makes no sense at all. Anyway, I'm glad to see this discussion has recently improved.

I'm off for a vacation now, so I'll check back in a week or so. Hope all have an enjoyable Thanksgiving :)

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Yes -- I agree that these grounds can be proper for specific easements, but they are not the only arguments that have been advanced in this thread, and they are not the arguments to which I am addressing myself. I believe that a case has been made for a need-based "right to egress," which operates beyond the bounds you've established above of "prescriptive easement" (i.e. a preexisting, long-standing passage) or that which has been established directly through voluntary contract. If you think I'm wrong on this point, let me know, and we can review the relevant posts... but it might be a bit of a project, so I don't want to do it unless it's clear that we disagree.

Well I'm not sure if that's actually what was advocated (the need based argument) since it wasn't really expounded on. I think perhaps it was something more like this: Again picturing two concentric circles A and B, A being the donuthole, B being the surrounder. Now also picture C as another circle beyond B (either unowned, or owned by someone who allows A on it.) Since one cannot legitimately use one’s own property to interfere with the liberty and property of others, and since B totally surrounds A, then B has no right to prevent travel from A to C.

Now, I'm not entirely convinced that this is justified, but I'm open to the possibility that one might not have a right to prevent another from homesteading unowned land. I think that if someone fenced in a large portion of land and claimed it on those grounds alone (i.e. did nothing to the land), then his claim is illegitimate, as it amounts to trying to prevent others from homesteading of the truly unowned land inside. So does shifting A from being the unowned land to C being owned by one party, does it change the obligation of B’s owner to allow access from C to A? Then why not A to C?

But regardless, then I agree with you that any need-based claim amounts to merely a verbal claim made out of thin air, and that any claim which goes beyond original appropriation and contractual exchange is illegitimate.

But also, as far as I saw it, there was also a side claiming that all easements were necessarily subjective, need-based claims and unjustifiable on the principle of liberty. I hope to have shown that wrong, and then I also assert that my argument would be the functional equivalent to everyone (or mostly everyone) always having an inherent right to get off their property, seeing as how everyone (or mostly everyone) has established prior existing egress during the time when government owned the surrounding public property. But I would also agree that in a free market society, those purchasing would have to take responsibility to ensure one's access title, and that this is something that differs from the current system; just that 9 times out of 10, there would necessarily already be an easement clause in the property title.

Edited by 2046
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See my point about speciouness and this entire line of reasoning

I didn't really understand your point about speciousness earlier. If you mean that you think hostile lencirclement is really an outlandish objection and could never really happen, then I agree. I put it in the same category of "what if private road owners charged a million dollars to access the roads" or "what if someone built a giant umberalla that blocked out everyone's sunlight," etc. But on the level of theory, it is still interesting to conisder these cases, even if they are specious. People, such as perhaps the OP, think they are really good knock-down arguments that libertarians and objectivists have never heard before and have no responses to.
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Well I'm not sure if that's actually what was advocated (the need based argument) since it wasn't really expounded on. I think perhaps it was something more like this: Again picturing two concentric circles A and B, A being the donuthole, B being the surrounder. Now also picture C as another circle beyond B (either unowned, or owned by someone who allows A on it.) Since one cannot legitimately use one’s own property to interfere with the liberty and property of others, and since B totally surrounds A, then B has no right to prevent travel from A to C.

And as phrased, I don't see that I can agree with that conclusion.

I do not recognize that A has any right to make use of B's property for any purpose, save for those specific "easements" that we've discussed and agreed upon -- in the first case, where A has a preexisting property right in travel to C, based not simply on his need/desire to travel or on any general claim of "liberty," but on a specific history of use when B was unowned. Or on the basis of a specific ("contractual") agreement.

Now, I'm not entirely convinced that this is justified, but I'm open to the possibility that one might not have a right to prevent another from homesteading unowned land.

The way that this keeps being phrased "prevent another from homesteading unowned land" and "prevent travel from A to C" -- I find objectionable.

I agree that no one has the right to prevent another from homesteading unowned land or to prevent travel, generally -- but the issue is whether any other person has claim on my property as the means to achieve their ends, whether to travel to unowned land for the purpose of homesteading it or any other.

If you're A and I'm B -- again -- I don't think I have any right to say that you cannot go to C. But I believe I absolutely have the right to say that you may not make use of B... to go to C, D, E, Q, or anywhere else.

I think that if someone fenced in a large portion of land and claimed it on those grounds alone (i.e. did nothing to the land), then his claim is illegitimate...

Agreed.

I also assert that my argument would be the functional equivalent to everyone (or mostly everyone) always having an inherent right to get off their property...

This is as may be. But it might not yet answer the spirit of the "objection" under consideration.

Suppose that a person has an easement to travel from A across B to C. This doesn't necessarily mean that he will be welcome in C. It doesn't necessarily mean that he will have similar access across C to D or anywhere else. It doesn't necessarily mean that he will be free to go wherever his "need" takes him. A person may still wind up "walled in" if we place the walls beyond the edge of his just easements -- by the common consent of mutual surrounding property owners.

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I think most of the disagreement comes from not fully appreciating and keeping the context. "In a societal context..." implies quite alot. Property exists in many species , and as I mentioned before isn't there a sense of differing applications of the concept of ownership to differing species of property?

Consider ownership of land is generally understood to mean a right to use that land as property, and similarly ownership of an orange is understood to mean the same thing, the right to use and or dispose of the fruit. Obviously two different species of property, the use value of the orange is limited and finite, the utitlity of the land can in some sense be described as infinite, using my land does not reduce my land. I am here not considering the utitlity of land as it applies to activites such as mining that literally involve losing some 'pieces' of the property and there making the utility of land as resource more finite. Mining or drilling on real estate I believe leads to yet another species of property the resultant ore or oil or what have you. I don't think it coincidence that even pre Oism, land has been legally described in two- dimensional formats. They represent areas on the globe not actual three dimensional slivers of the planet. I can take my orange and eat it anywhere, not so my backyard. It does however mean that if I eat my orange it no longer exists(as an orange). The fact that ownership of land does not actually remove that part of the earth from the rest of the earth, which is why without being able to describe the philosophic justification technically, my reaction to the idea of the barring of egress(and only the case of no other alternatives) just seems almost intutitionally wrong.

Edited by tadmjones
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As I've stated in similar posts, I do believe that cities can be constructed where all road, utilities, etc. are privately owned -- it's just that such cities would look nothing like current American cities. The problem at hand is how would we go about converting existing cities that were surveyed and parceled using Public Ways to assure movement with out trespassing between private properties. It needs to be pointed out too, that currently, roads are typically built on top of sanitary, water, storm, power and tele-communication lines. Not only would you need to consider physical access to a given property, when converting a city (or surveying a new city) but you would also have to account for how utilities would reach properties. Could someone be compelled to have buried a utility line across their property to access another property down the line? Once such a utility easement is created, it severely restrict the further development of a property. As a rule, you do not build over utility lines.

Also, where buildings have 100% lot coverage (such as typical of downtown's) you have to account for stormwater disposal. You cannot divert stormwater onto your neighbor's property (without his consent). Currently, stormwater from roofs are discharged into city stormwater lines buried under roads (or at grade culverts, etc,) and are discharged down stream on to Public Ways.

I think a more feasible solution would be to reconsider restructuring the current Municipal Corporation to a type of voluntary, private corporation in which you have some form of actual ownership. In reality, maintaining roads and utilities is not that expensive, and their existence contributes greatly to the quality of you life, your property value and the economic vitality of your city. They are a good investments.

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