I'm overseas and on the run, but since there was a request for input from
"old timers", I'll take a quick crack at it . . .
In a message dated 11/1/00 4:32:01 PM Central Standard Time,
> Suppose Person A wants to open up a bar, and applies for a liquor license.
> Persons B, consisting of the resident/owners of a nearby condominium
> are annoyed by this for the standard reasons - increased noise, increased
> traffic, violent drunks wandering around, and decreased property values.
> Suppose that Persons B sign a petition to deny a liquor license to Person
> thus annoying Person A and any investors thereof. Do you agree or disagree
> with the following statements?
> (A) Signing a petition to deny a liquor license is an improper use of
> government mechanisms, constituting the initiation of force.
I don't see the government action in the petition, per se. The petition
itself is just a form of speech, and an orderly one at that . . . As for the
PETITION scaring off investors, if a real estate developer's backers learn
the community doesn't support the development, then that seems like valuable
information to the investors.
> (B) Signing the petition may be a minor initiation of force, but that's a
> justified response to the bar's proposed initiation of noise (or the other
> negative effects).
To the extent the petition is seen as a petition for the GOVERNMENT to ACT,
it can be seen as a minor initiation of force, or simply initiation of legal
process within the legal structure available. I'd have to know more about
the due process available to the bar owner, the extent to which the gvt
action is governed by explicit law, etc.
> (C) The city government deciding the issue is the nearest available
> approximation to the dispute resolution mechanisms that would exist in a
> libertarian society - for example, distributed ownership of "noise rights".
I think Brian is right that this is the best choice, again depending on the
factors discussed in connection w/the previous point.
> (D) This is a straightforward conflict of interest between the bar
> and the condo owners, and invoking libertarian ethics is needlessly
> complicating the issue.
I don't understand this -- it just doesn't parse for me. All disputes in
society involve a "conflict of interest" and that's what all of the various
mechanisms of social control, libertarian or otherwise, are about.
"Libertarian ethics" are very much implicated in this dispute, if I
understand your meaning. And then the question becomes one of doing the best
job one has of implementing one's ethics with the social structure available.
Thus, petitioning the government (especially as constrained by explicit,
fair law) is far more "libertarian" than, say, firebombing the property to
express the "conflict of interest".
Greg Burch <GBurch1@aol.com>----<email@example.com>
Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide
http://users.aol.com/gburch1 -or- http://members.aol.com/gburch1
ICQ # 61112550
"We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
-- Desmond Morris
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