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Author Topic: Free State LandOwner Registry  (Read 43677 times)

AlexLibman

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Free State LandOwner Registry
« on: October 08, 2009, 01:54:11 am »

I don't know if this has been proposed in the past -- I'd be shocked if it wasn't -- and I'm probably not the best person to propose such an idea since I haven't moved to New Hampshire yet (and I have my doubts on whether I ever will), but here it goes:

Whenever I think about the long-term viability of the Free State Project, what interests me the most isn't how many people are moving, but what fraction of land do they own in hot-spot libertarian towns, and whether there can eventually be sizable enclaves of land in New Hampshire where all owners are libertarians.  By the latter I simply mean individuals that agree with FSP's statement of intent -- "the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property" -- regardless of whether they are a FSP member, a NH native, or a billionaire investing in NH real-estate from abroad.  ;)

Wouldn't it be nice if you could zoom into the map of New Hampshire (on Google Earth, for example) and see red outlines around the properties of fellow libertarians?  Having access to this data would naturally encourage more libertarians to buy more land, and to buy it in greater proximity to each-other!  There are a lot of libertarians who wouldn't move to New Hampshire (at least not yet), and wouldn't even donate money for a political cause, but would be willing to allocate large sums of money into a business venture in NH that, in addition to returning profits, also promises to eventually improve the business environment where this venture takes place.  I most certainly would be willing to pay more for food and other products from libertarian-owned farms and other businesses that own land in New Hampshire!  If we eventually succeed in buying up enough adjacent land, an iron grip on local politics and even municipal secession could become a real possibility!

I think something like this could change the perceived psychology of the project, from political / civil disobedience activism (which would not suffer in any way because of this) to capitalism and entrepreneurship.  When I think about my future after I move to New Hampshire based on its current culture, I imagine it being an endeavor of self-sacrifice that, given my temperament, will probably involve a lot of protesting, sitting in prison, and losing the shirt off my back for tax resistance.  If there is an organized land-buying effort, however, it would then make more sense for me to keep myself out of prison and focus my energies on making money instead, which would make FSP a far more attractive endeavor.  Furthermore, since NH is already pretty libertarian and since libertarians tend to be disproportionately likely to own businesses and be able to afford large tracts of land, the numbers of how many square miles of land we control might eventually look a lot more impressive than simply the head-count of the people who've moved.

Needless to say, providing the geographic boundary coordinates and any other details of any or all land that you own would be completely optional.  In fact, this could be done as a project that is completely separate from Free State Project Inc, though some cooperation with them for referring new members would certainly be beneficial.


This idea also relates to an Anarcho-Capitalist concept that some FSP members would find interesting: polycentric authentication of property rights.  Like it or not, there's just no such thing as a natural "right to privacy" when it comes to finding out who owns a given piece of land - how can you prove that you've owned it first if someone else tries to "homestead" it, or how do you know who to hold responsible when a given piece of land emits pollution that affects adjacent property owners?

In a government-free society this would be done through an "open source" registry of information about various land claims: when this piece of land was first claimed to be homesteaded, what evidence exists that the criteria for homesteading is met, when the ownership of a piece of land was transferred, etc - as well as any challenges / requests for clarification to the above claims.  There can be multiple competing registries for this purpose, but that would be sort of like having two copies of Wikipedia - any copy can synchronize with the others, but any discrepancies would need to be resolved through arbitration.  Registries like this can contain a lot of additional data, like the owner's rules for accessing said property, road tolls, etc.  The same concept can theoretically also be applied to things like underground tunneling / flyover altitude rights, ownership of segments of the sea, free-roaming animals (based on a biometric checksum), vehicles, and even objects in space, but smaller objects don't require such registries since they can be presumed to belong to the owner of the land where they are kept.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 02:16:08 am by Alex Libman »
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K. Darien Freeheart

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 02:19:44 am »

I disagree.

Part of government's "power" is their tight bonds to geography. We need to change minds: of apartment dwellers, of home owners, of farm owners and farm hands.

You can't map that on Google, and if you can, I'm afraid...
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Terror Australis

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2009, 02:41:55 am »

If you pay rates or property tax you actually  dont own anything.The state can come in anytime it likes with eminent domain and take your property,if the fsp ever becomes big enough to threaten the status quo.
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AlexLibman

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2009, 02:52:05 am »

Part of government's "power" is their tight bonds to geography.

Can you please clarify what you mean by that?   ???

Keeping track of who owns what is an essential function for any civilized society, and, as I've explained in the last two paragraphs, the government's monopoly on this function needs to be replaced (or for now at least complemented) by a decentralized equivalent.  If the government were to disappear tomorrow, this property registry could then be an authoritative source of land records, based on the fact that its participants mutually agreed to recognize the property claims therein or to challenge them through open arbitration.  But that's looking too far into the speculative future, the primary purpose of this registry is to help coordinate proximity.

The libertarians who choose to list their land in this registry will of course be free to change their mind or to sell their land to someone of contrary philosophy at any time, though I guess some of the additional data we could track is an optional pledge not to sell this land unless all buyers agree with FSP's statement of intent as well.  (I'm not a property lawyer so I can't really discuss the details of this scenario, I'm just here to run the general idea up the flag pole and see if anyone else salutes it.)


We need to change minds: of apartment dwellers, of home owners, of farm owners and farm hands.

I agree with that, but "changing minds" and buying up land are not mutually exclusive.  As I've said in paragraph 4 above, this effort would give FSP another way in which it can succeed -- municipal secession -- and that possibility will only attract more people to the project.


You can't map that on Google, and if you can, I'm afraid...

I just brought that program up as an example, because that's what people tend to be most familiar with.  The data itself is just a set of geographic coordinate points that geometrically define the polygons of property lines.  There are many programs that can crunch the numbers and highlight those areas on a map, some of which are open source.


If you pay rates or property tax you actually  dont own anything.

Well, what I'm proposing is a step toward fighting that.  If enough people buy up enough adjacent land, that will be the ideal place to experiment with Anarcho-Capitalist ideas like private roads, private defense agencies, private parks, private schools, and so on.  As those institutions prove to be successful, a positive feedback cycle will be created: more libertarians moving in, gaining more political power, and voting the city's "public" services out of existence.  Urban secession is another possibility, where a part of a town can split off from the rest of the town to form a new one, and possibly forming its own county, state, or even nation!


The state can come in anytime it likes with eminent domain and take your property, if the fsp ever becomes big enough to threaten the status quo.

That defeatist attitude can be applied to all forms of resistance - the question is what form of resistance is more effective.  The government can sometimes be forced to make concessions in order keep the mainstream public opinion on its side.  Most people don't care when tax resisters or other civil disobedience activists are thrown into prison, but using "eminent domain" to influence local politics would be more difficult for them to justify.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 04:13:38 pm by Alex Libman »
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2009, 03:24:24 am »

A section of a municipality can secede and form another. But because municipalities in NH are corporations, they can't form a new county. Nor does the US Constitution allow for the formation of another State within the territorial claims of the present ones.

As for a new nation; its falls to the same problems as a State or nation would have.
If you pay rates or property tax you actually  dont own anything.The state can come in anytime it likes with eminent domain and take your property,if the fsp ever becomes big enough to threaten the status quo.
Actually not an issue.
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AlexLibman

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2009, 03:46:58 am »

Thanks for the info, [John].  I didn't take much time to RTFM the legality of any of this yet - just floating ideas...

One thing that could make secession possible is working within the political system.  If the libertarian candidates start getting more votes than is the difference between the two socialist parties (aka the "spoiler effect"), mainstream politicians might actually start have to pandering to libertarians...  At least in theory...   ::)

(EDIT: name modified per below.)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 12:03:32 pm by Alex Libman »
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2009, 10:11:50 am »

You can just call me John. I use my full name because three other gentlemen within the area have roughly the same name.
Since internet forums are so public, I wouldn't want them maybe negatively affected in some way by something I might put out there.

The idea isn't terrible. Just that because the political system is based on residential voting, the actual percentage of land area within a political unit owned doesn't really equate into the amount of individual freedom.

Simply because a designed outcome can't come from such a project does not make it worthless. It may find several other uses simply through the networking and connectivity of various components.

One of the things I note having to be in Concord so much, is that everyone wants their freedom... the other guy's freedom, not so much.
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AlexLibman

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2009, 01:13:09 pm »

The idea isn't terrible. Just that because the political system is based on residential voting, the actual percentage of land area within a political unit owned doesn't really equate into the amount of individual freedom.

I agree that the democratic political system tries to equalize political power to "one person, one vote", at least in theory, but land ownership does play an important part.

First of all, it changes our moral argument for more local self-rule or even secession from trying to hijack a town through entryism alone, as was the case with the Free Town Project (FTP), to an argument about property rights, splitting towns, and local town rights.  The problem with attempts like FTP is that the original inhabitants of a town who don't want to join the new movement (I jokingly refer to them as "palestinians") see themselves as now being victimized through the democratic process - "poetic justice" or not, it does create resentment and a strong backlash.  With land-based secession, on the other hand, far fewer "palestinians" are "victimized", and we then get the moral high-ground by arguing about natural law, the rationality of property rights, self-government, and the consent of the governed.  Over several decades, a town might naturally evolve to have a libertarian side and a statist side, and then the two simply split.  (This is easier to visualize when you think about them really tiny villages up north.)  They get their way by keeping government institutions on their land, and we get our way on our land by getting rid of them.

Secondly, money is power, and the libertarians tend to be more entrepreneurial than the statists (an advantage we lose if we find ourselves in jail for tax resistance).  By focusing on land ownership, FSP can evolve into a decentralized mesh of loosely-knit "not just for profit" business ventures that take hold wherever they take hold and grow organically from there.  Free Staters and their local supporters would be far more likely to rent housing from a property owner who is also a friend of the FSP, thus giving him a competitive advantage over the competing local rental properties that are owned by statists.  An FSP-friendly farm will find that other FSP-friendly individuals and businesses would go the extra mile and even pay an extra dollar to get products from them, and avoid products from statist farms like some Hindus avoid beef.  The last statist holdouts in an otherwise libertarian area would face non-violent ostracism and be strongly encouraged to sell.  As decades pass, the FSP-friendly businesses will be able to expand, while the statist ones contract and/or move away from the FSP dominated areas, thus creating a "positive feedback cycle" of growth for a pro-FSP local economy, which would also spend some fraction of its money on political lobbying, FSP membership recruitment, and other ideological goals.

Finally, being seen as successful entrepreneurs rather than pot-head kids or tax-resisting "Ruby Ridge" nuts will improve our PR and attract more people to the movement, both in terms of new movers and more existing NH residents converting to our cause, which for many business owners would then be in their financial interest as well.


Simply because a designed outcome can't come from such a project does not make it worthless. It may find several other uses simply through the networking and connectivity of various components.

I agree that municipal secession is a long-term goal (but never say never), however there are some benefits from Free Staters owning adjacent land that would almost be immediate: economic feasibility of experiments with private roads, private protection agencies, and so on.  That would put those NH towns into history books as being the first to break the ice for those ideas.


One of the things I note having to be in Concord so much, is that everyone wants their freedom... the other guy's freedom, not so much.

Yeah, that's why we need to be clear about our principles.  FSP's "Statement of Intent" is a good start.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2009, 03:50:39 am by Alex Libman »
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rossby

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2009, 01:54:47 pm »

Wouldn't it be nice if you could zoom into the map of New Hampshire (on Google Earth, for example) and see red outlines around the properties of fellow libertarians?  Having access to this data would naturally encourage more libertarians to buy more land, and to buy it in greater proximity to each-other!

I don't... see... the connection between the two.

But hell, if people want it, not much you can do [to stop] it :)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2009, 02:03:06 pm by B.D. Ross »
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2009, 03:30:26 am »

I see a connection from the 'market activism' perspective.
I've even seen some of it in what others have suggested. Of course this is the first that I've seen a defined collective not based on combined purchase of a single piece of property, nor inherently limited to the scope of a single municipal division.

Alex is just ignoring the imaginary lines that determine the political division at the municipal level.
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rossby

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2009, 08:37:14 am »

I see a connection from the 'market activism' perspective.

I meant from having the system to encouraging more land purchasers.
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AlexLibman

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2009, 03:14:21 pm »

I posted a locked "redirect thread" to this thread on various FSP-related forums (FTL, NH Liberty, NH Underground, Free Keene) summarizing the idea and asking people to come here to comment, and someone who was too lazy to get an account on this forum has PM'ed me this reply:

Quote
I would have said that this sounds like a good idea, but I wouldn't subscribe to it because I don't want people to know where I live without personally knowing them.

Long term Anarcho-Capitalist theories aside, the main purpose of this project would be to keep track of how acceptance of FSP's political ideas maps out in terms of land ownership.  In fact, this idea was inspired by a map of Palestine before it became Israel, showing what patches of land were owned by Jewish settlers, by Palestinians, and by the British.  For that purpose, what matters is geography and political affiliation, so there's no reason why people shouldn't be allowed to opt out of listing their personal information, just like it's now possible to register a domain name without putting your private info in the WHOIS record.  It could still bring some unwanted attention while there are only ~1000 FSP'ers, but that effect will fade away as more and more people move, and more and more existing Newhampshiremen get on board as well.  Every part of this project would be 100% voluntary.


I meant from having the system to encouraging more land purchasers.

It would create another benchmark by which FSP's success is measured, and change the psychology of the game for some people - it would encourage them to focus on entrepreneurialism and land-buying instead of counterproductive emotional helplessness that comes from thinking about following in the footsteps of Ed Brown...

Most people would not consider investing their life savings in land unless they knew they'd be surrounded by neighbors who share their political views, would support their contribution to the local agricultural economy, be willing to do business in gold, be interested in seceding from the town and getting rid of property taxes someday, and so on.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2009, 03:19:19 pm by Alex Libman »
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rossby

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2009, 03:20:33 pm »

I meant from having the system to encouraging more land purchasers.

It would create another benchmark by which FSP's success is measured, and change the psychology of the game for some people - it would encourage them to focus on entrepreneurialism and land-buying instead of counterproductive emotional helplessness that comes from thinking about following in the footsteps of Ed Brown...

Most people would not consider investing their life savings in land unless they knew they'd be surrounded by neighbors who share their political views, would support their contribution to the local agricultural economy, be willing to do business in gold, be interested in seceding from the town and getting rid of property taxes someday, and so on.

As far as the FSP is concerned, standard line goes here: the FSP is an effort to move 20,000... blah blah blah.

But I see what you're saying now. Not a bad idea if some people'll use it for that purpose. However, some people go through an awful lot of effort to make sure it's hard to find out who owns their property. So, I guess, keep that in mind if you're going to run with it. :)
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AlexLibman

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2009, 03:24:10 pm »

As far as the FSP is concerned, standard line goes here: the FSP is an effort to move 20,000... blah blah blah.

We need to differentiate between Free State Project INC and the broader decentralized Free State Project movement.  ;)

« Last Edit: October 10, 2009, 03:26:19 pm by Alex Libman »
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Free State LandOwner Registry
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2009, 03:26:36 pm »

So give it a different name.
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