Operation Gratitude Care Package Weekend!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A SERIOUS LIBERTARIAN QUIZ...

...serious answers appreciated, but honestly, not expected.

Larry Libertarian owns a farm, Liberty Acres, that he runs alongside the scenic Liberty River in Liberty County.  It's his property and he grows what he wants on it.

Lennie and Louie Libertarian buy the lot upriver.  It's their property to do with what they want so they open a factory, LenLou's Liberty Lawn Furniture, making practical, affordable plastic furniture.

But PCB's from Lennie and Louie's factory are being dumped into the Liberty River and contaminating Larry's cropland.

Larry complains to Lennie and Louie but they say they can do what that want on their property and don't see why they should be put to the expense of cleaning up the PCB's.  Since Liberty County of course has no EPA there is no agency Larry can complain to.

There IS a civil court in Libertyville, the Liberty County seat, so Larry takes his complaint there.  But LenLou's Liberty Lawn Furniture employs over half the working household heads in Liberty County, and Larry loses on a split jury.

In a libertarian context, what recourse does Larry have in this situation?

14 comments:

robot said...

Interesting question, Richard. I've had a few beers, so I'll bite. - Appeal to the higher court, or move.

The scenario you paint, while unfortunately realistic, is a poor example of libertarian thought. A corrupt township is a corrupt township, no matter what political affiliation. Everyone, even libertarians or democrats must still agree to abide by at least some restrictions on what is released into the public domain otherwise the rule of law is null and void. I am not for the wanton degradation or bespoilment of another persons resources or property. IMO, this case is clearly one which should and would be appealed. - Now, what am I missing? :)

richard mcenroe said...

Let me clarify my question: In a libertarian society, what appeal does Larry HAVE if the personal and property rights of the individual are paramount. Is Roarke allowed to blow up his building only if the boom doesn't bother his neighbors?

While I realize a purely libertarian society is no more possible than a purely socialist or purely democratic one, what level of constraint upon the individual, and what means of imposing that constraint, would be tolerated?

robot said...

One does not have the right to destroy someone's property, even if it is downstream from your libertarian factory. The only recompense should come through he courts. Absent the courts, you have vigilante justice, which is not justice at all. Natural law does not grant one permission to destroy the property of another. If I'm misunderstanding Libertarianism, I wish someone would let me know, because this argument seems like chasing one's tail.

robot said...

Side comment: "what level of constraint upon the individual, and what means of imposing that constraint, would be tolerated?"

If we don't right the direction our ship of state is heading, I think we are about to find out the hard way.

richard mcenroe said...

MNRobot -- I agree you don't have the right, but what is your recourse when 50%+1 of your neighboring libertarians disagree?

What is the libertarian resolution for a corrupt judge or a jury of libertarians that put their self-interest over that of the plaintiff or defendant?

robot said...

Then I would say those libertarians are not as libertarian as they espouse and it's time to relocate to friendlier, healthier surroundings. That, or run for office. :)

robot said...

Or, you could start a feud. Those are ALWAYS fun.

lin said...

Government should protect the weak from the strong. Most streams drain into larger bodies of water. The government agency that should address this is the one that has jurisdiction over everyone who is directly affected. Allowing PCB pollutants to drain into the Mississippi River could cause widespread harm to everyone who uses it for drinking water, irrigation, transportation, and recreation. The issue here seems more national than local. Carcinogens do not recognize state lines. This argument is akin to debating whether local zoning laws regulate the manufacture of chemical weapons.

Anonymous said...

Larry could refile the civil case with a request for a change of venue based on bias. Or he pursue a case based on what Lin stated.

Larry would have to burn his Libertarian card though.

Deborah Leigh

richard mcenroe said...

Lin this is what I'm saying. Every resolution of this very common real world problem seems to require a retreat from libertarian principles.

theCL said...

Well, to start with, nothing about libertarianism implies things like "simple easy solution" and/or "do whatever the hell you like." Life is complicated, and there's no such thing as the right to infringe on another. That said ...

To get to the bottom of this, we first have to answer the question: "Who owns the river?"

Is the river simply next to Larry's property, or does it cross it, making him part owner of the river?

Since we're in a libertarian world, Larry is the rightful owner. Obviously then, brothers Lennie and Louie in no way have the right to poison Larry's property. So, just as we do now, Larry would take the brothers to court.

Regarding the stacked, corrupt court ... In a libertarian world, Larry would take his case to a competing court system. In fact, most people would. Seriously, who would trust their case to a system known to be corrupt?

If Larry still loses his case he could repeal, and he may still end up a loser. But then we have to look at the specific case and decide if his property really was being poisoned. Could he actually prove it? Was his evidence simply circumstantial? Blah, blah, blah ...

Of course this is a very brief and condensed explanation, but it'll do considering our format. Natural Rights applies to everything. In other words, there's never a circumstance that requires "a retreat from libertarian principles."

RightKlik said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUDV0YII6lk

RightKlik said...

(a libertarian society might actually have an EPA)

richard mcenroe said...

BTW, thank you all for the courtesy of your responses.

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