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Property Rights Form Foundation of Freedom

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Pierrot le Fou, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Pierrot le Fou

    Pierrot le Fou IncGamers Member

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    Property Rights Form Foundation of Freedom

    Duped and Guspacho may disregard. It's time for me to post a worthwhile article from Fox News...

    Property Rights Form Foundation of Freedom

    Thursday, March 25, 2004
    By Radley Balko

    "A man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.†— James Madison on Property, (1792).

    A few months ago, I wrote a column in this space on efforts by anti-tobacco zealots to ban smoking in all public spaces, including privately-owned businesses. I was floored at how much negative e-mail I received in response to that column. The common theme among these negative responses was that non-smokers shouldn’t be subjected to the secondhand health effects caused by smokers. One guy wrote to say that he really enjoyed jazz and blues clubs, and didn’t see why he should have to suck in cigarette smoke in order to enjoy the music he loves.

    Well, here’s why:

    Someone put up a good deal of his own money to open that blues club. That, or he risked his reputation and financial status to take out a loan. Someone took great care to set the atmosphere of that club. Someone did all the appropriate paperwork, applied for all of the appropriate licenses, and took care to hire bartenders, a wait staff, and managers. Someone worries about that blues club’s financial success. Someone assumes the risks and liabilities that come with operating a business, particularly one that serves alcohol.

    The author of that e-mail who enjoys this blues club took none of those risks. He put up none of his own money. He has no stake in that club’s success or failure, save for the fact that if it fails, he’ll need to find another blues club. So why should he be able to insist, with the help of government, that the guy who risked everything serve him on his terms?

    Somewhere between today and the time of Madison, Americans have lost sight of the importance of property rights (search) — the ownership a man has of his body, his hands, and the product of his labor. As Madison wrote above, it is the right from which all other rights and freedoms are derived. Once a government and its people stop respecting and enforcing a man’s right to do what he pleases with what he owns and creates, all the other rights and freedoms we cherish fall into peril.

    The smoking ban debate is merely symptomatic of a larger problem, of course. Whether it's the controversy over job outsourcing or draconian environmental regulations — disrespect for private property continues across all spheres of the public policy debate. In fact, as income tax day approaches, we are reminded of the most egregious trampling of property rights: the passage of the 16th Amendment (search), which gave government permission to siphon its take of the product of American labor.

    A more recent development in the assault on property rights is the abuse of eminent domain, the process by which government can seize land for the “public good.†The problem is that governments — local, state, and national — have an overly broad interpretation of what makes a “public good.†Often, it means taking land from ordinary people for a pittance, then handing it over to corporations and developers who can offer the state or city more tax revenue. In New Jersey, to cite one example, Atlantic City officials interpreted “public good†to mean that the city could seize the home of an elderly woman so Donald Trump could build a garage for his limousines.

    The erosion of property rights ought to concern all of us because, as our founding fathers knew, our right to just about everything else is dependent on our right to our person, our labor and what we produce. It’s easy to get outraged when government favors snail darters and endangered butterflies over jobs and homeowners. It’s easy to jump on the property rights bandwagon when cities seize old ladies’ houses to make room for the new Nissan plant. But we need to be consistent. We can’t say that it’s wrong for the EPA to tell a farmer what he can and can’t do with his land, but that it’s OK for the same agency to force restaurants to go smoke free. We can’t say it’s wrong for the Department of Labor to tell a business owner he must comply with needlessly expensive OSHA (search) regulations, but it’s okay for the same agency to tell him he must hire needlessly expensive domestic labor when cheaper foreign labor is available.

    There’s either an absolute right to personal property or there isn’t. If Americans value any of their freedoms, they ought to guard this one with extra vigilance, even in times when it’s personally inconvenient to do so. ​

    Source: Fox News
     
  2. Suicidal Zebra

    Suicidal Zebra IncGamers Member

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    Cue another debate on what constitutes 'public good' and 'private good'. ;)

    Anyway, I think to some extent I can agree with the main thrust of the article, the diminishing that is occuring in the rights to personal property (though I am talking more from the UK than US perspective). However, I just want to comment on the banning within public places.

    Personally, I am very much anti-smoking, as anyone can gather from one of the previous anti-smoking threads. However, I define 'public places' a little differently it seems. I see public places as 'places owned by the public' in one form or another. For example schools, police stations, hospitals (in the UK) etc. I feel that in those areas smoking must be at least restricted.

    However, I don't think the same way about other 'public places', such as pubs, clubs etc, for two reasons.

    1) As you already said these areas are privately owned, no matter that they are under public license. Such legislation can easily affect business, and that is not something I want to do. I will however support any business that makes it policy for them to ban or restrict smoking on their property.

    2) Such areas are not a 'required place to visit'. In that, I mean that to perform your daily tasks necessary in life you do not need to visit those places. Thus, a choice to attend or not to attend does exist and can be acted upon.


    Now, getting back to the overarching issue, as I say this has been over a great deal of time and erosion in private property rights, which has been a shame to say the least. In my view, something needs to be done to redress the balance, whilst still provide a certain amount of minimum rights to employees and other users of said properties.

    The line has to be drawn somewhere, though i'll be blown if I know exactly where to draw it.

    Good article PLF :thumbsup:
     
  3. Pierrot le Fou

    Pierrot le Fou IncGamers Member

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    I'll do another piece on smoking this weekend possibly. Should be a bunch of fun.

    I agree about public places (read: publicly owned property). I don't think a ban is absolutely necessary, as they could make smoker's enclosures or whatever, but I definitely don't think that one can say that a smoking ban is somehow an evil thing in a courthouse or whatever so long as it stops at the walls of the building.

    The problem with an article like this is that I don't think that it'll really be more than a read, agree, move on piece. Ah well, as long as folks read it.
     
  4. Freet

    Freet IncGamers Member

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    Read what? ;)
     
  5. maccool

    maccool IncGamers Member

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    How about read, disagree, and move on? I did that.
     
  6. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    Just a side note for ya ;)

    I see that you brought up James Madison ... one of our founding fathers. Being the owner of a large tobacco plantation in Virginia with over 100 slaves, I'm sure that Madison would have been very concerned about his "property rights".

    Don't ya luv history?
     
  7. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy IncGamers Member

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    On the other hand, lawmakers (legislature) and judges are elected positions. As such, they represent the majority. Since this is a democracy, the public could always boot them out of office if their views are out of alignment. So what you see in regards to anti-smoking statutes derive from what the majority of the people want. Otherwise lawmakers and judges would have been replaced with more mainstream folks.

    Moreover, property rights lessens when the property is put out to the public. How can one claim absolute right when one invites the public in? The Fox article. hehe. Nice conclusionary statements with a couple of facts, absent reasoning. Typical Fox analysis.
     
  8. maccool

    maccool IncGamers Member

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    It's an op-ed piece. Reasoning and facts are not a requirement.
     
  9. Steve_Kow

    Steve_Kow Banned

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    Because the public can decline to attend? If the majority of Jazz club patrons want a smoke free environment (then the majority wouldn't be smoking, but anyway) they should speak to the owner and threaten to find another club that would suit them better.
     
  10. Technetium

    Technetium IncGamers Member

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    I agree with the gist of the article. And I look forward to your smoking thread, assuming it is about the debate over the smoking ban.
     
  11. eddy

    eddy Banned

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    I actually felt that same way about the smoking ban, I agree i hate having to breath in second hand smoke from other patrons at an establishment. Again though i realized that I choose to go to that place which means i understood before hand that people in the restaurant or what ever might smoke. I also agree that by banning smoking from an establishment should be the decision of the owners as it is their building. If there was truly such a demand for non-smoking restaurants and such, the Owner's of said restaurants or w/e would have the ability to decide if they wished to go non-smoking or smoking based on complaints or such. This is just as bad as the mayor of Ottawa passing a bylaw banning fans from wearing toronto maple leaf jerseys at Ottawa home games.
     
  12. IDupedInMyPants

    IDupedInMyPants Banned

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    I'm not seeing the causal link here other than some guy wanting there to be a problem and wanting it to be a slippery slope.

    On a side note, the invisible hand economics you champion seems to frequently confuse the concepts of labor and ownership, which is actually pretty communist of you.
     
  13. LunarSolaris

    LunarSolaris IncGamers Member

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    I had a very good thought out response formulated in my head by the time I finished reading that article PLF (thanks for sharing it, btw), but as I got to the responses, I found that SZ responded almost verbatim what I wanted to say.

    So... my retort to it is... "what he said".
     
  14. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy IncGamers Member

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    Good point Steve.

    However, whether non-smokers leave or complained fails to make the Jazz club's privacy equal to that of one's home. Because the club is an area less private than that of a home, the owners can't claim that he has absolute power over his domain. So who does he have to share that power with? The public. So by majority rule, the public is entitled to the smoke-free air.
     
  15. eddy

    eddy Banned

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    How is majority rule determined? If it is determined in the sense that everyone gets one vote, and the overall total off votes indicate the wish for a non-smoking environment, then yes they should receive it. How ever what right allows the public to have an equal say into the establishment. Assuming the only contribution they make is the purchase of a service while there, they have done nothing but willingly choose to enter and purchase said service.

    Also how can the owner not control the area? If he so wishes he may have patrons banned from it, which to me, combined with the maintenance of the facility, complete control. He makes all business decisions, has the business in his name, and is ultimately responsable for most things. So how has he lost his power?

    Again i noticed something else, how is a private area determined. One's home is private, yet you say that the establsihment is in an area less private then say one's home. If one were to live across the street, what seperates the two? What if the owner were to have an appartment above, behind, or below his business, how does one determine what areas are private and which are not?

    Note i realize you can by things other then services just for simplicity. . .
     
  16. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy IncGamers Member

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    The majority view is determined by the voting booth. But even if viewed as a patron willingly using the establishment, this still fails to give the owner absolute rights. For example, he can't walk around naked, have sex, etc. He is subject to zoning statutes, whereas he is not under those rules in his own private area.

    The owner power lessens when his rights over the business diminishes to a level lower than that of his home.

    A private area is your living area. Piece of cake... The moment you step out, you are no longer in your private area. If the owner lives above the restaurant, then his living area upstairs is his living area. And even if the owner of a business is managing his own rental, his living area is still defined, ie. his personal apartment.
     
  17. Gigas

    Gigas IncGamers Member

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    Well, as we all know, the majority are idiots.

    Put up a sign or something, "This is a smoking establishment." If those bitches don't want to inhale smoke, they don't have to come in. Go somewhere else and not smoke, buddy. We don't want your kind here. We're about smooth jazz and the crisp, refreshing taste of cancer-sticks. Not that other thing that involves not having cancer.

    And what the hell is up with those damned TRUTH commercials? God, I hate those! I wish they would have one of those being taped around here, so I could take that orange dot and beat those annoying sons of bitches to death with it. Yeah, of COURSE you got cancer from light cigarettes, you old hag! THERE'S A WARNING RIGHT ON THE ****ING PACKAGE!


    I'm done venting, now.
     
  18. eddy

    eddy Banned

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    Well then couldn't the whole problem be solved by the owner making his establishment a privately owned and operated business?
     
  19. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy IncGamers Member

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    May I suggest a cigarette? The nicotine will help relax you.
     
  20. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy IncGamers Member

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    It may appear so at first. However, the law defines your private area soley as the home that you live in. Outside that home, including any private business space is a non-dwelling and hence more susceptible to the law. Businesses are subject to zoning restrictions.

    The only grey area is the area between your front door and the fence surrounding your property. But back to the subject, the reason that your business is sucepitble to anti-smoke statute is that it is a business. And all business are under zoning regulations regardless of what you call it.

    ok, gotta go, gotta read on if the Lakers won last night.
     

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