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Property rights- body, stuff, and real estate

Whenever someone of MamaLiberty's caliber disagrees with me, as she does with my previous column on personal property "bubbles", I know it is time to stop, re-evaluate, and give the subject some deep thought and careful examination.  This is one of those times.

Do your property rights exist if you don't exist?  No.  What are "property rights"?  Having property rights means that if you own something, you have the right to use that thing in any way you wish, as long as by doing so you do not initiate force and thereby violate another person's rights to "life, liberty, and property".  As a point of clarification: Governments never respect any property rights but their own, which ironically don't really exist since there is no individual who holds the rights over the property that government claims, along with the fact that government possesses nothing which it did not steal.  Stolen property does not belong to the thief.  Just to be clear: Government has no property rights

There are three types of property rights that I can see.  There are property rights over your body, which for the purposes of this discussion I will call "bodily property rights" (otherwise known as "self-ownership").  There are property rights over the stuff you own, such as your cars, guns, boots, knick-knacks, appliances, and skull collection.  I'll call this your "stuff rights" (as opposed to "right stuff").  Then, there are property rights over your real estate- property such as your land, home, or business location, which I'll call your "real estate rights". 

Take your living body out of the equation and the other two types of property rights vanish (along with all your other rights) except that they may transfer to someone else.  This means that your existence brings into being your "bodily property rights".  Your rights to own, use, and destroy your stuff and your real estate derive from your existence. 

If one thing (such as a right) brings forth another thing, then the fundamental thing outranks that which derives from it.  That means that your "bodily property rights", from which your "stuff rights" and your "real estate rights" come, must necessarily come before any other property rights if we are to be consistent.  After all, you can't have a hangnail if you have no hands or feet; nor any broken bones if you have no bones.

Now, what about a property owner's "real estate rights" trumping a customer/employee/visitor's bodily property rights?  If you invite someone, can you really demand they leave their bodily property rights behind?  Is that even a real invitation?  Is such a demand valid?  Does such a demand violate a person's rights by initiating a kind of force?  Do you own the space between their skin and their clothing when they enter your property so that you can dictate what resides there?  Does the ownership of that space change as a person travels from place to place throughout the day? 

When you really consider that concept, the absurdity becomes apparent.  That doesn't mean that the absurd implications are wrong, but it should at least cause you to question the idea more thoroughly.  I know I have no claim on your "bubble" of bodily personal property no matter what I might prefer, nor upon anything that may be there as long as it doesn't make an appearance on my property.  Be warned that others may disagree and lay claim upon your body, your clothing, and the space that exists between the two.  That doesn't mean they are right.

I think that the position that "real estate rights" trump the "bodily property rights" and the "stuff rights" of anyone invited to enter the real estate comes from a real desire to be nice and respectful of the real estate's owner.  That is fine.  It is not always the wisest thing to exercise every right you possess at every moment.  I do think it is putting the cart before the horse, though.  Perhaps people are afraid of the reaction the general public might have if this realization were to become common.

Coming soon: MamaLiberty thinks the issue comes down to "contracts".  She may be right.  I will look at the idea of "contracts" which require you to give up your basic human rights in a subsequent column.


  • MamaLiberty 5 years ago

    Yes, it would seem silly to us - as self owners - for anyone to "invite" us to enter their property, and then demand that we relinquish our tool for self defense (or anything else). As I said before, in a truly free society that sort of invitation would probably be unthinkable.

    The thing that seems to be avoided or ignored in this discussion so often is the fact that we have a CHOICE - to accept that invitation or not, to enter or not. And the choice to enter requires that we agree with the conditions, if any, set out in the invitation! If we do agree, in order to enter, and then violate that agreement deliberately, we become oath/contract breakers.

    I keep hearing that avoidance from folks who insist that they don't really have any choice, but that is only true with "public property" which is a whole other subject. Nobody is forced to take a job or shop in a certain store, etc. Not doing so may be very costly, inconvenient and annoying, but the choice remains.

  • MamaLiberty 5 years ago

    The most troubling aspect of this discussion is the idea some have embraced that we, as self owners, could even want the coercive state (such as AZ) to force private property owners to accept those they wish to exclude - regardless of the reason.

    The whole fabric of forced and insane government regulations and requirements are recognized by libertarians as invasions of their sovereignty and property rights. They are all aggression by government against individuals.

    But all of a sudden we have found ONE instance where government coercion is good and consistent with individual sovereignty? I don't think so! :)

  • Kent McManigal- Albuquerque Libertarian Examiner 5 years ago

    My reply will be in my next column.