Beware the “Libertarians”

 

johnson-weldIf there was ever a year for a frustrated conservatarian to consider voting for the Libertarian Party ticket, 2016 would seem to be a godsend: Trump and Clinton are … well, no need to rehash this … and the Libertarians have nominated not one but two former Republican governors. But as Ilya Shapiro writes on Cato at Liberty, the theory of the Johnson-Weld ticket and its reality diverge greatly, and not in a way that pays any compliments to the latter:

[In this recent] ReasonTV interview … Weld praises Justice Stephen Breyer and Judge Merrick Garland, who are the jurists most deferential to the government on everything, whether environmental regulation or civil liberties. Later in the same interview, he similarly compliments Republican senators like Mark Kirk and Susan Collins, who are among the least libertarian of the GOP caucus in terms of the size and scope of government and its imposition on the private sector and civil society.

What’s painful about this is that it’s not as if there weren’t other alternatives available to them. There’s no shortage of libertarian-friendly judges whom they might have cited, including Justice Clarence Thomas. And why on earth would this list include Collins and Kirk but not Reps. Justin Amash and Thomas Massie, or Senator Rand Paul?

It actually gets worse from there. As has been noted elsewhere, Johnson not only opposes RFRA legislation — which, I should note, I do as well — but also the conscience claims that such legislation intends to protect:

[In a Washington Examiner interview, Johnson] calls religious freedom “a black hole” and endorses a federal role in preventing “discrimination” in all its guises. More specifically, he’s okay with fining a wedding photographer for not working a gay wedding – a case from New Mexico where Cato and every libertarian I know supported the photographer – and forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraceptives (where again Cato and libertarians supported religious liberty).

It takes a lot of effort to be this wrong and — as Shapiro says — it puts Johnson almost uniquely off-the-reservation; the only comparable statement I can think of is Trump’s endorsement of Kelo.

When @salvatorepadula and I did our podcast last year, we lamented the way “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” has become the standard shorthand description of libertarianism — a lament Shapiro apparently shares — as if drug legalization, same-sex marriage, and balanced budgets were the key takeaways from reading Hayek, von Mises, and Friedman.

If Johnson and Weld want to earn votes from disaffected conservatives of a classically-liberal bent, they could hardly be doing a worse job of it. At least, so far, we’ve been spared further stripteases.

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  1. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Bryan G. Stephens: Community rights stem from the collective right of individuals to live with like minded individuals and form communities to their liking. Such as having a community with no strip clubs in it. I think this, at the most, can extend to the level of a County. For instance, I find dry counties perfectly reasonable, as there are plenty of wet counties out there.

    Yeah.  I want to say that I reject this notion as authoritarian.

    If individuals want to voluntarily agree among themselves to abide by certain rules, that’s different from the “community” (usually meaning a small group of busybodies deciding for everyone else) using coercive force to impose those rules on everyone else.  If everyone in the “community” agreed to the rules, there would be no reason to use coercion to enforce them.

    • #61
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Fred Cole:

    Bryan G. Stephens: Community rights stem from the collective right of individuals to live with like minded individuals and form communities to their liking. Such as having a community with no strip clubs in it. I think this, at the most, can extend to the level of a County. For instance, I find dry counties perfectly reasonable, as there are plenty of wet counties out there.

    Yeah. I want to say that I reject this notion as authoritarian.

    If individuals want to voluntarily agree among themselves to abide by certain rules, that’s different from the “community” (usually meaning a small group of busybodies deciding for everyone else) using coercive force to impose those rules on everyone else. If everyone in the “community” agreed to the rules, there would be no reason to use coercion to enforce them.

    Your system gives one person the right to move in and build a strip club in his house. Basically, all it takes is one person to force his change on the nature of the community. Maybe he wants to set up a Meth Lab next door. Or just stay up all night playing loud music. Or open a garage. Or establish a dump yard. Or just park 20 rotting cars on his lawn. Or have chickens.

    See, one person can make the lives of those around him miserable. You call that “Liberty”. I call that an intrusion onto someone’s Pursuit of Happiness.

    • #62
  3. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Cato Rand:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Schwaibold:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Well that is its own Thread. When I say community rights though, I don’t me the Federal Gov’ment. That is what Johnson is calling for, I think we can all agree that is a bridge too far.

    What DO you mean by “community rights?” That sounds like an oxymoron to me.

    Community rights stem from the collective right of individuals to live with like minded individuals and form communities to their liking. Such as having a community with no strip clubs in it. I think this, at the most, can extend to the level of a County. For instance, I find dry counties perfectly reasonable, as there are plenty of wet counties out there.

    Perhaps it’s a quibble, but “right” doesn’t seem the right word for this.  Local democracy certainly has a place, but to talk about this as “community rights” seems to make a mash out of the notion of “rights.” The holders and the persons against whom they are held are diffuse and always changing, and the content of the “rights” themselves will change over time as the desires of the community change.  I just think there are clearer and more transparent ways to talk about this phenomena than with the language of “rights.”

    • #63
  4. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Cato Rand:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Cato Rand:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Schwaibold:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Well that is its own Thread. When I say community rights though, I don’t me the Federal Gov’ment. That is what Johnson is calling for, I think we can all agree that is a bridge too far.

    What DO you mean by “community rights?” That sounds like an oxymoron to me.

    Community rights stem from the collective right of individuals to live with like minded individuals and form communities to their liking. Such as having a community with no strip clubs in it. I think this, at the most, can extend to the level of a County. For instance, I find dry counties perfectly reasonable, as there are plenty of wet counties out there.

    Perhaps it’s a quibble, but “right” doesn’t seem the right word for this. Local democracy certainly has a place, but to talk about this as “community rights” seems to make a mash out of the notion of “rights.” The holders and the persons against whom they are held are diffuse and always changing, and the content of the “rights” themselves will change over time as the desires of the community change. I just think there are clearer and more transparent ways to talk about this phenomena than with the language of “rights.”

    Individuals form associations. Those associations therefor have rights extended to them by the individuals. This has limits. However, people to not lose their right to speak because they speak together. I do think that the rules of a community may change, but it is the fundamental right for that community to decide on its rules. It is a being, in and of itself.

    But make is totally personal: I have a right to agree with those with whom I associate in rules we lay down. Just because the house next to me sells, does not mean I should be beholden to one antisocial troublemaker.

    I don’t want a strip club next to me. It is a reasonable use of democratic government that if most of the population does not want strip clubs next to homes, that one malcontent cannot build a strip club next to a home or a school.

    • #64
  5. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    Bryan G. Stephens:Your system gives one person the right to move in and build a strip club in his house. Basically, all it takes is one person to force his change on the nature of the community.

    Yeah.  Do we need to rehash this?  We’ve been through it so many times.  But he we go, once again.

    First, you’re misusing the word “force.” If I open a business, I’m not “forcing” anything on anyone.  You are the one advocating force, in that these government restrictions that you cherish are literally backed up by men with guns.

    Second, it doesn’t need to be a strip club.  It’s far more likely to be a grocery store or a pizza place, or something else for which there is much more call than for strip clubs.  (And personally, I don’t understand why strip clubs even exist in 2016.)

    Third, if you’re really that terrified of strip clubs, there’s ways to prevent what you’re concerned about through private contracts instead of resorting to government.

    Fourth, if you study the issue, you’ll find out that when your authoritarian theory is put into practice, it ends up being what I said: a small group of busybodies forcing (with actually force, not whatever you think “force” is) their will on everyone else.  At a minimum, its obnoxious.  But in the worst cases its used to protect entrenched interests, or to oppress individuals belonging to minority groups.

    • #65
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Fred Cole:

    Bryan G. Stephens:Your system gives one person the right to move in and build a strip club in his house. Basically, all it takes is one person to force his change on the nature of the community.

    Yeah. Do we need to rehash this? We’ve been through it so many times. But he we go, once again.

    First, you’re misusing the word “force.” If I open a business, I’m not “forcing” anything on anyone. You are the one advocating force, in that these government restrictions that you cherish are literally backed up by men with guns.

    Second, it doesn’t need to be a strip club. It’s far more likely to be a grocery store or a pizza place, or something else for which there is much more call than for strip clubs. (And personally, I don’t understand why strip clubs even exist in 2016.)

    Third, if you’re really that terrified of strip clubs, there’s ways to prevent what you’re concerned about through private contracts instead of resorting to government.

    Fourth, if you study the issue, you’ll find out that when your authoritarian theory is put into practice, it ends up being what I said: a small group of busybodies forcing (with actually force, not whatever you think “force” is) their will on everyone else. At a minimum, its obnoxious. But in the worst cases its used to protect entrenched interests, or to oppress individuals belonging to minority groups.

    You want to give one person the power to deny me my freedom of association, and call that “authoritarian”.

    I see it as a clash of rights, you don’t see that my rights are hurt at all.

    You are OK with public sex acts at any time, as long as they are on private property and area allowed, or in the public square, where they cannot be disallowed. You are OK with someone opening a Methlab next to me.

    As much as you see me as authoritarian, I see you that way, want to force me to live next to people I don’t want to live next too.

    Yeah, we have been all though it. You and I define Pursuit of Happiness differently.

    Good thing for me, the almost every person in America is on my side.

    • #66
  7. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Cato Rand:

    Individuals form associations. Those associations therefor have rights extended to them by the individuals. This has limits. However, people to not lose their right to speak because they speak together. I do think that the rules of a community may change, but it is the fundamental right for that community to decide on its rules. It is a being, in and of itself.

    But make is totally personal: I have a right to agree with those with whom I associate in rules we lay down. Just because the house next to me sells, does not mean I should be beholden to one antisocial troublemaker.

    I don’t want a strip club next to me. It is a reasonable use of democratic government that if most of the population does not want strip clubs next to homes, that one malcontent cannot build a strip club next to a home or a school.

    Right there, in the highlighted portion, you seem to make the jump from voluntary association to involuntary coercion without even seeming to know you’re doing it.

    Which is an entirely different point than my previous one.  To wit — even if I buy your argument about democratic government — and I do, within limits — I don’t think the coercive power that a democratic government may — even with justice — exercise can properly be spoken of in terms of its “rights.”  It has delegated powers at most.

    • #67
  8. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Bryan G. Stephens:You want to give one person the power to deny me my freedom of association, and call that “authoritarian”.

    I see it as a clash of rights, you don’t see that my rights are hurt at all.

    You are OK with public sex acts at any time, as long as they are on private property and area allowed, or in the public square, where they cannot be disallowed. You are OK with someone opening a Methlab next to me.

    As much as you see me as authoritarian, I see you that way, want to force me to live next to people I don’t want to live next too.

    But you can move.  Or buy out your neighbor.  You need to re-read Coase.

    • #68
  9. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    • #69
  10. Far North Professor Member
    Far North Professor
    @FarNorthProfessor

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: Weld praises Justice Stephen Breyer and Judge Merrick Garland, who are the jurists most deferential to the government on everything

    Tom Meyer: Just to be clear, the question encompassed both world wars, which is just a painfully awful way to ask a question. Unfortunately, Johnson’s answer was also painfully awful.

    On the first issue, Weld’s opinions on Supreme Court nominees are every bit as relevant as Mike Pence’s and Tim Kaine’s; i.e., I couldn’t care less.

    With respect to the question on World Wars, I think he was just trying to get out of the question without saying something that would either alienate Libertarian voters or be held against him in the general election.  Johnson is clearly not quick on his feet, and for someone like that it is whacky, off-the-wall questions that are the hardest to answer.

    Johnson is not an idiot, he knows that his only path to success is to pick off voters nearly equally from disaffected Sanders voters and NeverTrump conservatives.  There’s no way to do that without a little smoke and mirrors.  Weld is the farthest left guy the Libertarians could stomach, and he was put on the ticket to make it appear “safe” for young Bernie voters.

    Personally, by far my main issue is the National Debt, and Johnson is the only candidate who thinks it is even worth mentioning.

    • #70
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Cato Rand:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Cato Rand:

    Individuals form associations. Those associations therefor have rights extended to them by the individuals. This has limits. However, people to not lose their right to speak because they speak together. I do think that the rules of a community may change, but it is the fundamental right for that community to decide on its rules. It is a being, in and of itself.

    But make is totally personal: I have a right to agree with those with whom I associate in rules we lay down. Just because the house next to me sells, does not mean I should be beholden to one antisocial troublemaker.

    I don’t want a strip club next to me. It is a reasonable use of democratic government that if most of the population does not want strip clubs next to homes, that one malcontent cannot build a strip club next to a home or a school.

    Right there, in the highlighted portion, you seem to make the jump from voluntary association to involuntary coercion without even seeming to know you’re doing it.

    Which is an entirely different point than my previous one. To wit — even if I buy your argument about democratic government — and I do, within limits — I don’t think the coercive power that a democratic government may — even with justice — exercise can properly be spoken of in terms of its “rights.” It has delegated powers at most.

    There is always some degree of involuntary coercion when large groups of people live together, whether it is codified in law or not.

    As far as moving, that seems to be the cry of the libertarian., “move”.

    It is funny, I have used house next to me, which, in theory might be covered by private contracts of how the land is used. I thought that libertarians were all for that sort of thing. Appears that you are not.

    So where we are is this: I can move, or I can be rich enough that I own all the land and build my community as I see fit, private land owner.

    Is it any wonder people look at libertarianism askance?

    • #71
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    • #72
  13. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Bryan G. Stephens:It is funny, I have used house next to me, which, in theory might be covered by private contracts of how the land is used. I thought that libertarians were all for that sort of thing. Appears that you are not.

    I have no idea what this paragraph means.  Are there words missing?

    And where and when did I reject the use of private contracts?  Did you just make up that accusation?

    • #73
  14. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Cato Rand:

    But you can move. Or buy out your neighbor. You need to re-read Coase.

    Does it not occur to you how heartless this sounds? “A strip club has bullied its way into your community, and if you don’t like it it’s your obligation to relocate.”

    Why should Bryan have to leave the home he’s potentially lived in for years because some newcomer refuses to play by the rules?

    • #74
  15. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    The fact that it has patronage in the community means that the community isn’t as united against the existence of Strip Clubs as you thought. You betray the fact that this is about you and your property – well in that case it’s a problem for you to solve. Not use the levers of government power to get your way.

    Lets put this another way – what if your neighbor decides he doesn’t like the style of your house. He feels that it isn’t in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it “harms” him. So he agitates in the municipal government and gets a law passed outlawing your style home – now you must remodel your home to fit this law. Is that just?

    • #75
  16. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Umbra Fractus:

    Cato Rand:

    But you can move. Or buy out your neighbor. You need to re-read Coase.

    Does it not occur to you how heartless this sounds? “A strip club has bullied its way into your community, and if you don’t like it it’s your obligation to relocate.”

    Why should Bryan have to leave the home he’s potentially lived in for years because some newcomer refuses to play by the rules?

    There are non-coercive ways to prevent the undesirable business from moving there in the first place.

    Let’s take the obverse fact pattern – what if the community decides that the best place for the new Strip Club is next to Bryan’s house?

    • #76
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    The fact that it has patronage in the community means that the community isn’t as united against the existence of Strip Clubs as you thought. You betray the fact that this is about you and your property – well in that case it’s a problem for you to solve. Not use the levers of government power to get your way.

    Lets put this another way – what if your neighbor decides he doesn’t like the style of your house. He feels that it isn’t in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it “harms” him. So he agitates in the municipal government and gets a law passed outlawing your style home – now you must remodel your home to fit this law. Is that just?

    No. In fact, that is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about: One person moves in, and forces the community to change to his wishes.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    • #77
  18. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    The fact that it has patronage in the community means that the community isn’t as united against the existence of Strip Clubs as you thought. You betray the fact that this is about you and your property – well in that case it’s a problem for you to solve. Not use the levers of government power to get your way.

    Lets put this another way – what if your neighbor decides he doesn’t like the style of your house. He feels that it isn’t in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it “harms” him. So he agitates in the municipal government and gets a law passed outlawing your style home – now you must remodel your home to fit this law. Is that just?

    No. In fact, that is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about: One person moves in, and forces the community to change to his wishes.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    I’m confused. Your neighbor getting the community to vote in favor of outlawing your style of house is proving your point how? The community has spoken. It has rights. Apparently.

    • #78
  19. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    The fact that it has patronage in the community means that the community isn’t as united against the existence of Strip Clubs as you thought. You betray the fact that this is about you and your property – well in that case it’s a problem for you to solve. Not use the levers of government power to get your way.

    Lets put this another way – what if your neighbor decides he doesn’t like the style of your house. He feels that it isn’t in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it “harms” him. So he agitates in the municipal government and gets a law passed outlawing your style home – now you must remodel your home to fit this law. Is that just?

    No. In fact, that is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about: One person moves in, and forces the community to change to his wishes.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    I’m confused. Your neighbor getting the community to vote in favor of outlawing your style of house is proving your point how? The community has spoken. It has rights. Apparently.

    If my home is so suddenly out of step with the community, which implies I did something new, like installed a chicken farm, then *I* am being the one agitating guy.

    • #79
  20. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    The fact that it has patronage in the community means that the community isn’t as united against the existence of Strip Clubs as you thought. You betray the fact that this is about you and your property – well in that case it’s a problem for you to solve. Not use the levers of government power to get your way.

    Lets put this another way – what if your neighbor decides he doesn’t like the style of your house. He feels that it isn’t in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it “harms” him. So he agitates in the municipal government and gets a law passed outlawing your style home – now you must remodel your home to fit this law. Is that just?

    No. In fact, that is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about: One person moves in, and forces the community to change to his wishes.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    I’m confused. Your neighbor getting the community to vote in favor of outlawing your style of house is proving your point how? The community has spoken. It has rights. Apparently.

    If my home is so suddenly out of step with the community, which implies I did something new, like installed a chicken farm, then *I* am being the one agitating guy.

    Nope, the community just suddenly decided that it doesn’t like your home. For whatever petty reason they choose. This is not an unheard of occurrence.

    • #80
  21. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Umbra Fractus:

    Cato Rand:

    But you can move. Or buy out your neighbor. You need to re-read Coase.

    Does it not occur to you how heartless this sounds? “A strip club has bullied its way into your community, and if you don’t like it it’s your obligation to relocate.”

    Why should Bryan have to leave the home he’s potentially lived in for years because some newcomer refuses to play by the rules?

    Sounds like somebody’s gonna bully somebody here.  It’s just a question of who’s doing it to who?  As a fan of property rights, my presumption tends to be that the guy who owns the property gets the benefit of the doubt, and the guy who’s trying to tell the guy who owns the property what he can do with it doesn’t.

    That presumption, by the way, isn’t irrebuttable in my mind.  I’m not that inflexible a libertarian.  But something more than “aw, come on!” is necessary to rebut it, and I will always put a thumb on the scale for the property owner.

    • #81
  22. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    One of the variables that’s gone unmentioned on this thread so far as I can tell is the question of timing — who was there first?

    I am somehow more sympathetic to Brian if a strip club moves next to him in his quiet residential neighborhood than I am if he buys a house in the red light district an then decides that the neighbors aren’t sufficiently wholesome for his children.

    I think we might find less heat and more common ground if we articulated our assumptions about this variable in the hypotheticals we pose.

    • #82
  23. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Cato Rand:I am somehow more sympathetic to Brian if a strip club moves next to him in his quiet residential neighborhood than I am if he buys a house in the red light district an then decides that the neighbors aren’t sufficiently wholesome for his children.

    I think Bryan made it clear that he’s talking about the former situation. In the latter he’d be the invader.

    • #83
  24. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Umbra Fractus:

    Cato Rand:I am somehow more sympathetic to Brian if a strip club moves next to him in his quiet residential neighborhood than I am if he buys a house in the red light district an then decides that the neighbors aren’t sufficiently wholesome for his children.

    I think Bryan made it clear that he’s talking about the former situation. In the latter he’d be the invader.

    Either he didn’t make it clear or I missed it.  And I think some of the subsequent comments made clear that people were bringing different assumptions about the sequence of events to the table.

    • #84
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Jamie Lockett:Bryan,

    Do you realize that if a community dislikes certain businesses enough the lack of revenue will force them to move or shut down? If they do have enough business to remain open it means that your community isn’t as averse to those businesses as you suggest.

    I don’t want the strip club next to my house. Just because it can survive does not mean I want to live next to it.

    As long a you and others demand people have a right to use their property however they want, regardless of the impact it has on their neighbors, then we will disagree.

    Fundamentally, disagree, because we define harm differently. I think you are far, far too narrow in how you define it.

    The fact that it has patronage in the community means that the community isn’t as united against the existence of Strip Clubs as you thought. You betray the fact that this is about you and your property – well in that case it’s a problem for you to solve. Not use the levers of government power to get your way.

    Lets put this another way – what if your neighbor decides he doesn’t like the style of your house. He feels that it isn’t in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it “harms” him. So he agitates in the municipal government and gets a law passed outlawing your style home – now you must remodel your home to fit this law. Is that just?

    No. In fact, that is exactly the sort of thing I am talking about: One person moves in, and forces the community to change to his wishes.

    Thanks for proving my point.

    I’m confused. Your neighbor getting the community to vote in favor of outlawing your style of house is proving your point how? The community has spoken. It has rights. Apparently.

    If my home is so suddenly out of step with the community, which implies I did something new, like installed a chicken farm, then *I* am being the one agitating guy.

    Nope, the community just suddenly decided that it doesn’t like your home. For whatever petty reason they choose. This is not an unheard of occurrence.

    Nor is trying to put a club into a residential setting.

    But, your premise is in conflict with mine. If my home looks like everyone else’s because of the community standards we are already living by, it seems unlikely that enough people would have it in for my home to want it to change. I would already have to be out of the norm.

    What are you really making the argument for here, is the right to be different. I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with someone being disruptive. However, because libertarians struggle with grey areas, they don’t like laws that act against disruption. The argument made always boils down to “Where will it end?”

    Just because a law can be misused, does not make it a bad law. Any law can be misused to limit liberty, even a law against Murder. Any power the state has can be abused. That, in and of itself, is not reason not to have laws.

    • #85
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Cato Rand:

    Umbra Fractus:

    Cato Rand:

    But you can move. Or buy out your neighbor. You need to re-read Coase.

    Does it not occur to you how heartless this sounds? “A strip club has bullied its way into your community, and if you don’t like it it’s your obligation to relocate.”

    Why should Bryan have to leave the home he’s potentially lived in for years because some newcomer refuses to play by the rules?

    Sounds like somebody’s gonna bully somebody here. It’s just a question of who’s doing it to who? As a fan of property rights, my presumption tends to be that the guy who owns the property gets the benefit of the doubt, and the guy who’s trying to tell the guy who owns the property what he can do with it doesn’t.

    That presumption, by the way, isn’t irrebuttable in my mind. I’m not that inflexible a libertarian. But something more than “aw, come on!” is necessary to rebut it, and I will always put a thumb on the scale for the property owner.

    What one person does with his property can change the actual $ value of the property next to it. Does that trigger “aw, come on!”, or do you have room to acknowledge that as “harm”? If you cannot acknowledge that it would harm my way of life if the house next to me became a strip club we have no ground to talk on. If you can, then we can move forward.

    • #86
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Cato Rand:One of the variables that’s gone unmentioned on this thread so far as I can tell is the question of timing — who was there first.

    I am somehow more sympathetic to Brian if a strip club moves next to him in his quiet residential neighborhood than I am if he buys a house in the red light district an then decides that the neighbors aren’t sufficiently wholesome for his children.

    I think we might find less heat and more common ground if we articulated our assumptions about this variable in the hypotheticals we pose.

    If I buy the house in a red light district, I have no right to demand that community changes.

    • #87
  28. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    because libertarians struggle with grey areas,

    Could you make an effort to put up one comment that doesn’t contain a schoolyard taunt?  Just to see what it feels like?

    • #88
  29. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    Cato Rand:

    Sounds like somebody’s gonna bully somebody here. It’s just a question of who’s doing it to who? As a fan of property rights, my presumption tends to be that the guy who owns the property gets the benefit of the doubt, and the guy who’s trying to tell the guy who owns the property what he can do with it doesn’t.

    That presumption, by the way, isn’t irrebuttable in my mind. I’m not that inflexible a libertarian. But something more than “aw, come on!” is necessary to rebut it, and I will always put a thumb on the scale for the property owner.

    What one person does with his property can change the actual $ value of the property next to it. Does that trigger “aw, come on!”, or do you have room to acknowledge that as “harm”? If you cannot acknowledge that it would harm my way of life if the house next to me became a strip club we have no ground to talk on. If you can, then we can move forward.

    Whether or not we have “ground” to talk, your snide and self-satisfied presumptuousness has convinced me that the better course is to simply stop talking to you.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

    • #89
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Cato Rand:

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    because libertarians struggle with grey areas,

    Could you make an effort to put up one comment that doesn’t contain a schoolyard taunt? Just to see what it feels like?

    The post above this one does not appear to have any taunts.

    • #90
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