Re: terrorism, what it is and what should never be

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (SmigrodzkiR@MSX.UPMC.EDU)
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 14:37:32 MST

 Greg Burch <> wrote:

(my quoted text)

> I do not believe that ancient claims to

>land should be acknowledged in any way -

>the only claim to land is one gained by

>growing up there or by being accepted by

>the land's current owners. If you leave your

>land (under duress or on your own accord),

>your children who are born somewhere else have

>no claim to that land anymore.


This can't be right, Rafal. I come to your home with a gun and tell you
that I have decided that I like your house and the land upon which it sits.
I've decided that you must leave, so that I can have it. I back up my
argument with the gun in my hand. Wisely or unwisely, you leave, and I take
possession of your house.

Let us assume that you had good title to your land and house, for which you
paid money. Now, let us assume that you have children after leaving your
house at gunpoint, and then you die. You are saying that your children have
NO claim to the property you were forced to vacate, simply because I or my
descendants continue to believe that my forced expropriation was somehow

This result is not the law in any civilized society, and thus the children
of, for instance, people from whom the Nazis stole works of art are able to
recover them from, for instance, museums that now hold them.

The law governing the simple case I describe is much more difficult to apply
when those who make competing claims have some basis other than mere force
upon which to base those claims, and when claims are based on truly ancient
sources or, worse yet, religious sources. But principles other than simple
possession MUST be applied to resolutions of such conflicts, or security in
one's life and property is truly impossible.

### I believe that Steve Davies offered a very good explanation and defense
of the view I presented, so let me just add a few points:

Property rights (and all other rights) are always defined within and limited
by the framework of an enforcing organization. Either you have a gun
yourself or else you have men with guns working for you. If not, your (and
your children's) property claims are meaningless, and will be disregarded by
whoever feels like it. As I mentioned in another post, might does not make
right, but rights cannot exist without might.

The analogy between a single person illegally evicting me from my home and
an ethnic group forcibly removing their rivals from a land is not very
close. My individual property rights are usually defined within the context
of a state, or another territorial organization, and as long as the state is
operating correctly, my claims to my home are secure. A nation's claim to
land has been and still is de facto defined by their willingness and ability
to defend the land against aggression. Only very recently did the
international community start to play a more active role in the protection
of nations from external attacks.

If an ethnic group is capable of maintaining possession of violently
acquired land long enough for the next generation of children to grow up
there, then these children should acquire a right to live in that land -
otherwise you would be punishing children for the transgressions of their
fathers. Exacting a price from the next generation would be against the
Extropian principle of self-direction and individual responsibility. The
result of such an approach would be an endless chain of violence, bloody
vendetta, and perhaps using ancient claims merely as a pretext for attack.
The "living memory" rule or other limitations on property right must be
applied, no matter how horrible are the grievances of the dispossessed or
how intuitively just their claims appear. Only growing up in a land or being
granted citizenship by the actual and lawful owners should be a legitimate
basis for a claim of ownership. Having parents who lost a war shouldn't.
Violent acquisition of land must be reversed and punished quickly (10-15
years) or never.

Of course, if it is at all possible, actual perpetrators of ethnic violence,
but not their offspring, should be brought to justice and punished
regardless of the amount of time passed since their crimes, as long as
incontrovertible evidence against them exists (as is the case with genocide
and crimes against humanity in many legislatures).


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