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Author Topic: We're being way too negative  (Read 20994 times)

penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2004, 12:05:42 pm »

So if I come into a town which has a covenant -- which is based on unanimity -- that says no dogs in city limits, and I decide to have a dog -- thereby breaking the unanimity -- does that not nullify the covenant?
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Karl

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2004, 12:36:48 pm »

So if I come into a town which has a covenant -- which is based on unanimity -- that says no dogs in city limits, and I decide to have a dog -- thereby breaking the unanimity -- does that not nullify the covenant?

Of course not.  You agreed to it before, now you broke the contract.  The private property association ("town" if you will) would have the right to prosecute you.  If you want a dog, you'll have to move to a neighborhood that permits dogs.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2004, 12:43:05 pm by Karl Beisel »
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penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2004, 01:03:41 pm »

Oh, I get it.  So I just wouldn't come to that town in the first place.
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penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2004, 01:18:54 pm »

So theoretically, if all property were private property, then dogs could be banned in the whole state.  So there could be areas where anything was allowed, other areas where only white people or only gay men or only people with double-jointed thumbs might be allowed.  I'm not saying I'm against it, it's just a new concept to me.  What I still don't get is why covenants are better than laws.  I understand the unanimity thing, but the fact is my friend does want a dog; the condo management company doesn't allow him to have one.  I'm just not understanding why he's more free under privately imposed rules than government imposed laws.  Sure, he could move someplace that has no anti-dog ordinance (which is only true in theory, by the way, in practice he's stuck where he is), but how is that different from saying if you don't like the laws in one town you can move to a town whose laws you do like?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2004, 02:15:54 pm by penguinsscareme »
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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #64 on: March 23, 2004, 02:10:01 pm »

So theoretically, if all property were private property, then dogs could be banned in the whole state.

Theoretically, yes, but I don't know of a single HOA (other than condos) that disallow dogs (although there probably is a handful of them).  Even so, a lot of people love their dogs, so even if the number of anti-dog neighborhoods somehow increased dramatically, dog lovers could found their own communities.

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So there could be areas where anything was allowed, other areas where only white people or only gay men or only people with double-jointed thumbs might be allowed.

Yes.  That's freedom of association, or disassociation, as it may be.  We don't have to like their choices, of course, and we can rightfully call them the racist biggots they are.  But haul them off to jail at the point of gun we cannot morally do.

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What I still don't get is why covenants are better than laws.

They're similar, with a key difference.  Covenants tend to be (but not always) explicitly consented to.  When you buy a house in "Dog Haters Estates", the covenant you sign says "no dogs" and you can decide whether or not you like it.  Of course, the covenants could change after you buy the property (you would be aportioned a vote in the matter, as a member of the community).

There are other advantages.  The typical HOA is rarely more than 1,000 members (voters), which makes for a more responsive common management.  New HOAs can constantly form and innovate.  In HOAs, only property owners (who pay dues) have a say on land-use issues.  HOAs can hire and fire employees as they please.  They are geographically limited to a small, urbanized area, created with a particular vision.  Most do not grant themselves "eminent domain" like powers.

Contrast this with, say, Manchester, one of 234 public towns in New Hampshire that is (mostly) fixed forever.  Population of 108,000 people.  All adults vote on land-use and other economic issues, even if they own none of the affected property, even if they share the property with family members.  Manchester can't hire and fire as they see fit because they are held to onerous public hiring standards.  Manchester is large by comparison (33 square miles), contains an urban core, and a semi-rural fringe.  Zoning crudely partitions everything, urban and rural.  They can take your property through eminent domain.

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I understand the unanimity thing, but the fact is my friend does want a dog; the condo management company doesn't allow him to have one.  I'm just not understanding why he's more free under privately imposed rules than government opposed laws.

He can do one of two things -- move, or convince the condo to change its rule.  Most condo boards are desperate for people who want to be board members, especially if it is a smaller condo.  He's more free, because he can move and find a place that allows dogs, or create such a place himself.  Should not those who founded the condo be free to restrict dogs?  Maybe a bunch of people who are allergic to dogs decided to create the condo years ago so they don't get sick all the time.  Its important to consider their freedom as well.

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Sure, he could move someplace that has no anti-dog ordinance (which is only true in theory, by the way, in practice he's stuck where he is), but how is that different from saying if you don't like the laws in one town you can move to a town whose laws you do like?

When you live near lots of other people, you gotta deal with them.  Its a pain sometimes, yes.  He can try to change things or get out of the condo.  You say he's "stuck" but, as they say, beggars can't be choosers.

Hope this helps. :)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2004, 02:15:22 pm by Karl Beisel »
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penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #65 on: March 23, 2004, 02:37:52 pm »

Thanks, Karl, that does help.
I don't really think it's a perfect solution, but then I don't believe much in perfection.  It's better than what we have now, I'll grant you that.  Your illustration about Manchester really helped me understand.
So that's why the Founders originally only wanted to grant voting rights to landowners, is that right?  So the only people voting would be people who actually had a vested interest and had to live with the results?

Honestly, it sounds a little too much like a repackaging of the current system for my comfort.  Instead of laws we have covenants, instead of taxes we pay dues.  Eh.  I guess what it comes down to is that there's no way for people to prevent other people from being jerks to each other.
On the one hand, government can outlaw racial discrimination, but only by the initiation of force, and even then they do a crappy job, at best hacking at the branches and never striking the root.
On the other hand, total privatization says forget it, let people be jerks to each other, as long as it's on their own private property.

The more I think about stuff like this, the more determined I become that the only viable answer is decentralization.  Private power can be abused just as readily as government power.
I'm not sure, but it seems like there was one or two generations in America, after the ratification of the Constitution but before the industrial revolution, where --except for the slaves -- it was pretty good.  The government was small, companies were small (most of them), and most people just pretty much got to do whatever they wanted as long as they minded their own business.
I wish I understood that better.
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Karl

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #66 on: March 23, 2004, 03:16:32 pm »

Many libertarians equate decentralized, local governance to liberty.  I'm increasingly of that view.  A free society isn't a society without rules; rather, it is one based a framework of clearly deliniated property rights, and the right to choose among multiple competing options.  The more options, the better.

There was a brief but interesting discussion about the ideal city size in the thread How many people should a city or town ward have?.  According to the numbers Terry 1956 posted, the average neighborhood association has 200 people.  This is the number that the free market selected.  A pretty good number for effective local governance, I think.
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atr

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #67 on: March 23, 2004, 03:26:38 pm »

I'm just not understanding why he's more free under privately imposed rules than government imposed laws.

One major difference is that the market affects private rules much differently than it affects government laws. Although permanent covenants (or deed restrictions) are a big turn off to me, I have to recognize that they're an important part of property rights.

Covenents require the consent of the landowner(s), and laws do not. The no pets rule imposed by your friend's landlord is analogous to a no smoking rule in a hotel. A hotel owner can forbid smoking throughout the hotel, and even require a buyer of the hotel to continue imposing this ban as a condition of sale. Certainly imposing such a condition on the purchaser of the hotel will affect its selling price (negatively), just as a no smoking rule affects demand for room rentals.

Usually, though perhaps not always, markets create more libertarian environments than do laws. A good example of this is the infamous discrimination policy imposed on buses in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Bus companies, like other businesses, have a strong financial incentive not to engage in "irrational" discrimination, which limits their customer base. Rosa Parks wasn't arrested for violating a rule imposed by the bus company, it was because she disobeyed city and state laws requiring bus segregation.

Similarly, to the extent that your friend would have preferred to live in a condo that allows dogs, he was willing to pay less for the condo in which he now lives. Certainly if I am ever negotiating over the imposition of an oppressive covenent like a no pets rule, I will fight it. Just as I would want to decide for myself what rules to impose on my own property, I wouldn't expect to be able to impose my own set of rules on other people's property.
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penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #68 on: March 23, 2004, 07:33:34 pm »

See, that's what makes me nervous.  It's not like he's renting.  He owns his own home; I don't like that someone can tell someone else what to do in their own home, I don't care if that person is government or private.
My friend doesn't smoke, but he says he pays the same for his home insurance as a smoker would, the logic being that a smoker runs a higher risk of having a housefire, and even though he doesn't smoke, the insurance company assumes his neighbors smoke, condos having common walls, thus the risk.
So I understand the insurance company's point of view, but the upshot is that my friend is being charged for a service he isn't getting, but because the company is strong and the individual is weak, the interests of the company get put ahead of the interests of the individual.

I guess it just goes back to decentralization being the only way to protect the rights of the individual.
That and maybe consumer groups, although I'm less amped about that.
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Karl

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #69 on: March 23, 2004, 08:40:31 pm »

See, that's what makes me nervous.  It's not like he's renting.  He owns his own home; I don't like that someone can tell someone else what to do in their own home, I don't care if that person is government or private.

I doubt they do care what he does in his own home.  They're more concerned with the problems that pets can cause to their own units and the common elements -- and there are real problems.  Dogs often bark and howl, sometimes in the middle of the night; fuzzy animals attract flees that can travel between units; pet-born allergens and odors can often travel between units; irresponsible pet owners often leave dog poop in the yards (especially in winter, with snow, they love to cover up the poop with snow, and come springtime, the whole dang yard is a pile of poop).

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My friend doesn't smoke, but he says he pays the same for his home insurance as a smoker would, the logic being that a smoker runs a higher risk of having a housefire, and even though he doesn't smoke, the insurance company assumes his neighbors smoke, condos having common walls, thus the risk.

Sounds like he needs to look for a new insurance company.

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That and maybe consumer groups, although I'm less amped about that.

He should have known about the restrictions in his condo, without needing the services of a consumer group.  It was all in black-and-white in the documents he signed at settlement.
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penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #70 on: March 23, 2004, 09:50:27 pm »

All good points.  I guess I just can't see myself ever voluntarily living on someone else's say-so.
Of course, I was in the military, so go figure.
In fairness to my friend, he likes his life the way it is.  He doesn't worry about mowing the grass or plowing the driveway or painting the house or re-roofing.  That's all taken care of for him, and he's only trading away a little bit of his liberty for all that convenience.
Gawd, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
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atr

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2004, 06:43:53 am »

See, that's what makes me nervous.  It's not like he's renting.  He owns his own home; I don't like that someone can tell someone else what to do in their own home, I don't care if that person is government or private.

I don't like it, either. But, your friend agreed to this restraint on his condo when he purchased it, and presumably was able to factor the restraint into the purchase price. If I am a landowner some day, I would like the ability to pass on restrictions to future owners of the property if I so choose, e.g. no buildings over three stories high. Imposing such a restriction might inhibit my ability to sell the place, and I'm don't really like the idea of permanent restrictions in general, but my property rights (and rights to free association) include the right to contract with the buyer in any way I choose (with the buyer's voluntary consent, of course). When the seller and buyer agree to a restriction, it hasn't harmed anyone.
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atr

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #72 on: March 24, 2004, 06:46:20 am »

All good points.  I guess I just can't see myself ever voluntarily living on someone else's say-so.

I feel the same way. However, I currently rent a condo that doesn't allow me to have pets. All things considered, this was the place I chose to live. It's not perfect, but I'm happy living here. All things considered, there wasn't another option that I thought was better.
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penguinsscareme

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #73 on: March 24, 2004, 09:06:19 am »

When you live near lots of other people, you gotta deal with them.  Its a pain sometimes, yes.  He can try to change things or get out of the condo.  You say he's "stuck" but, as they say, beggars can't be choosers.

I guess that pretty much says it all.  You live near other people, you compromise or you move on.  Which I think kind of sucks, but oh well, that's the way it is, that's the way it's always going to be.
To kind of tie it back to the original intent of the thread, I think the beggars can't be choosers principle kind of applies to us as porcupines moving to a new state.  The fact is we're doing quite well if the majority of the natives are open to a majority of our ideas.
We've got a pretty good climate to work with if we stick with like minded people when we can and compromise with unlike-minded people when we have to.
ATR, I believe it was you who in another thread basically said I was dishonoring my SOI because I wouldn't come down in favor of legalizing public orgies.
To put it another way, what I'm saying is that the condo complex just isn't going to let us have a dog, and they're not likely to anytime soon.  But the fact is it's still the best option on the table.  And rather than insist that they ought to allow dogs to the point where we're just coming across as petulant, let's just take what we can get for now and be mostly happy.
To use yet another metaphor, we've got a good solid foundation in common.  Okay, we disagree on how to finish out the trim details, but I still think we can build a pretty solid structure.
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atr

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Re:We're being way too negative
« Reply #74 on: March 24, 2004, 09:56:48 am »

ATR, I believe it was you who in another thread basically said I was dishonoring my SOI because I wouldn't come down in favor of legalizing public orgies.
To put it another way, what I'm saying is that the condo complex just isn't going to let us have a dog, and they're not likely to anytime soon.  But the fact is it's still the best option on the table.  And rather than insist that they ought to allow dogs to the point where we're just coming across as petulant, let's just take what we can get for now and be mostly happy.

The distinction is that the condo is private property. As long as public property exists, it's hard to imagine the government letting people use it with no restrictions. (E.g. roads are public property, yet it would be unreasonable to expect the government to allow people to pitch tents in the middle of highways.) However, since the rules enforced on public property are not based on voluntary consent, government regulations should be minimized in pursuit of a government that does no more than protect life, liberty, and property (at least according to the SOI). In other words, regulations on private property are an exercise of property rights (and freedom of association), whereas regulations on public property are impositions on liberty.
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