Is "Property" a Deep Peme?

Freespeak (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 18:13:37 -0700

[Note: Earlier parts of the peme debate --
including the "peme rules" -- can be found
at: '#TL075: Pemes = Political Memes' --
and '#TL076: The Twilight of the Phobocrats' --
which are periodically updated.]

At 04:46 PM 3/18/98 -0500, "Stephen J. Arthur"
<> wrote:
>Is "Property" a Deep Peme?
>Does putting a "word" in quotations change
>the meaning?
It sometimes changes the meaning the author
wishes to convey. In the context of the
peme debate, it often indicates that the
author questions, challenges, or rejects
the validity of the word. For example,
*so-called "constitution"* and *falsely-called
"government"* indicate that the author regards
"constitution" and "government" as bogus words.

>Will the anarcho-capitalists ever realize
>that "property" only has meaning within the
>context of "society"?
>Will they ever manage to build that boat?
[See <>.]
>If so, will its inherently unequal economic
>principles cause freedom to capsize?

>Will the extropians succeed in cloning Ayn
>Rand? Will she write a fictional account
>of the freedom ship called "Neptune Drowned"?

Before I formulated the Peme Conflict Principle,
I would have said the word "property" is probably
not a deep peme. Now I say it probably is. It's
a dividing concept many people polarize themselves
around, particularly at the ideological extremes.
Peme Rule 4: "Pemes shall divide humans into
opposing and conflicting political and economic
factions -- such as "conservative"/"liberal,"
"capitalist"/"socialist," and "statist"/"anarchist"
-- who shall endlessly argue, fight, and even kill...
in the name of pemes."

On some lists there have been long and sometimes
acrimonious arguments over "property" -- with no
useful resolution that I know of.

A useful question might be: If "property" were a
deep peme in people's brains, what would it make
them say?

At 09:29 AM 3/21/98 -0600, (sheldon waxman) wrote:
>There is no such thing as "society." There is
>only the individual and community.
>"Only independent contractors are truly free;
>workers-employees are slaves. Law is force.
>Laws are the enemy of Freedom. Freedom requires
>the individual to be sovereign." - SRW
>"Tyranny is the absence of Freedom" - Thomas Paine
><> -- R.J.Tavel

At 09:14 AM 3/21/98 -0800, Harry Pollard <> wrote:
>I use community.
>Often people cooperating together freely in community
>need to come to a conclusion about something that
>affects all of them.
>Then, I see nothing wrong in voting to a decision.
>(I assume that they are contracted to such a procedure.
>However, some caveats. A simple majority will get lots
>of things done, but with large numbers dissenting from
>the decision - not good.
>A consensus is by far the best - but in any group there
>are bloody minded people who are 'agin it' no matter
>how desirable a positive decision might be. So somewhere
>between 50% and 100% is reasonable. The higher the
>necessary number, the fewer the decisions that are made
>- but with most people agreeing with the verdict.
>So, perhaps 90% or 95% might be good - which will have
>the effect of framing the question that needs a vote
>in a way that is mostly acceptable - except to the
>bloody minded.
>One of the advantages of Georgist economics is that
>cities (communities) will be compact and built a few
>miles apart (or many!).
>They might choose different economies and political
>systems, perhaps from pure anarchism to pure socialism.
>Their competition will show which systems are working
>better - and will pressure some to adopt the ways of
>So we'll find the practical voting percentage in a
>In a free society, a major goal - perhaps THE major
>goal - is increasing cooperation. To enhance the
>effects of cooperation, some rules and laws may be
>necessary to lubricate the times when we rub up
>against each other.
>And so it goes...

At 10:16 PM 11/17/97 -0800, Tim Starr <> wrote:
>"Mike O'Mara" <> wrote:
>>On Mon, 17 Nov 1997, "Rob Bass" <> wrote:
>>>From: Mike O'Mara <>:
>>>>...[M]ost of the prominent classical libertarians
>>>>have agreed with John Locke: that no person has any
>>>>more right to claim land than any other - therefore,
>>>>each individual has an inalienable right to land, or
>>>>equivalent compensation...
>>>That was not Locke's position. You need to read some
>>>more Locke. It's true that he's not a contemporary
>>>libertarian, but he wasn't a Georgist either.
>>In Locke's *Second Treatise of Government*, Chapter 5,
>>he said that an individual has a right to claim land,
>>but *only* with the proviso that "there be enough and
>>as good left in common for others" (Section 27).
>That STILL doesn't mean "that no person has any more
>right to claim land than any other," contrary to your
>claim above.
>>If you mean to say that Locke did not always follow
>>through consistently with his own principle, that
>>is true. But his principle itself, if applied
>>consistently, leads directly to the conclusion of
>>Thomas Paine and Henry George: each individual has
an inalienable right to land, or equivalent compensation.
>The labor theory of value also leads to the conclusion
>that workers have the right to all the fruits of their
>labor, thus entitling them to seize the means of production
>from the capitalists, if consistently applied. So what?
>Locke made a mistake. His Proviso is wrong. It wasn't
>his only mistake, either. He got a lot of things right,
>but not that. Many other smart, well-meaning people
>made the same mistake.
>The only difference between Socialism & Georgism is
>which factor of production they focus on. Socialism
>promises to free us from the oppression of private
>ownership of capital by collectivizing it, while
>Georgism promises to free us from the oppression
>of private land ownership by collectivizing it.

>From John Pugsley's Journal, Private Conversations
with the Money Masters:
>...It's internationally agreed that all types of
>plunder, mayhem or murder are acceptable for a
>government, as long as it limits its predations
>to its own citizens.
>Let me see if I can explain this bizarre game in
>plain talk.
>People cordon off a piece of land and arbitrarily
>announce that it is henceforth a "sovereign nation."
>Ruffians and schemers soon grab the posts of
>government, and by the power they vest in themselves
>set about plundering the individuals who live there.
>This has been going on for thousands of years, until
>today the entire earth (other than a portion of the
>oceans) is divided among different gangs, who wear
>pinstripe suits, and run their plunder under the
>flag of governments.
>Over time these bandits have learned that it's in
>their own best interests to ignore what the other
>gangs are doing within the other borders. It's
>internationally agreed that all types of plunder,
>mayhem or murder are acceptable, as long as the
>other governments limit their predations to their
>own citizens. Each agrees not to try to enforce
>its own laws in the territory of another gang.

The "Scarcity" Meta-Meme

During most of our evolutionary past, our ancestors
experienced scarcity of the wherewithal to survive.
In nature, scarcity seems to be the rule. Many of
our ancestors starved to death.

I suspect that practically every human has a very
deep and very strong "scarcity instinct." It's
as if we view the world through "scarcity glasses."
Wherever we look, we see "scarcity."

I call "scarcity" a meta-meme because it tends to be
so pervasive -- we tend to see *everything* as "scarce."
It's a toxic meta-meme.

Historically, the best fighters for and defenders of
resources ("property") tended to be the best survivors.
So it's highly likely that most of us have a very
strong and very deep "instinct" to fight for and over
"property." It also tends to be pervasive -- we tend
to see the world as pieces of "property" to fight for
or over.

Fighting for/over "property" is likewise a toxic

These two meta-memes probably combine with the
"property" meme to form a deep peme best called

We need to clear it from our minds.

Frederick Mann

"The [one] who knows what freedom is will find a way to be free."
-- Robert LeFevre
"We are free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
-- William Faulkner
"The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-- Steve Biko
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