Monday, February 13, 2017

My Take On A Private Property Society

By Victor Ward

After reading replies and comments from this post, I was reminded how deeply we have all been brainwashed by the state. It is extremely difficult to think of a Private Property Society without simultaneously thinking about government control/ownership of something.

I am not Robert Wenzel, so I cannot speak for him. But, when I think about a PPS, I think about it without a government: Everything is privately owned and governed by contract law: Agreements between private individuals.

In these instances, sure, there would be some communities that would develop a central magistrate type body.

But, there may be communities that would say: We don't want a central magistrate. We are fine with the victim determining the punishment.

Would these communities become a Lord of the Flies situation? Would any sane person join these communities?

I think that people would join these communities because it's basically how people live today.

For instance, I have never violated my neighbor Craig's private property, and he has never violated mine.

And, if I were to accidentally violate his property, he would say to me, "Um, hey, you violated my private property. I need restitution."

In fact, that is exactly what happened when my wife accidentally hit another neighbor's car. Let's call him Phil. We left a note; he called; he got an estimate; he thought the estimate was too high; he got two more estimates; we paid him money; the car was fixed.

Everything was fine.

A couple of blocks down from us is the former Mayor of the city. I have met her and her husband. We have invited them to church. We have loaned them things. But, I avoid her. My wife, who likes everybody, avoids her. I tell my son to be wary of her because she is a major Socialist. (Granted, my son, who is three, really, really loves everyone, and he has no idea what I am talking about. But, you can never start to early warning about the evils of Socialism.)

The former Mayor likes to take our stuff and make our lives difficult. Her decisions have literally cost us thousands of dollars, and I have good reason to believe that some of her decisions were personal in nature. 

In a PPS where the victim determines the punishment, we would quickly assess the crazies, just like we do today, and we would avoid the crazies, just like we do today.

Let’s return to Phil: Undoubtedly, someone will argue, "Of course there was no problem with you and Phil because, at the end of the day, both you and Phil knew that he could go to a judge (a government official; a central magistrate) and the judge could force you to give him money.

Well, that's true, except Phil only knew about the car damage because we told him. As I said above: We left a note telling Phil who did it and how to reach us. We acted on our own sense of morality and ethics.

I don't think that we are that different from most people. I am willing to bet $1 that most of the people who are reading this would have done exactly what we did.

Likewise, Phil could have stuck it to us in regards to the repairs. He told me that the first mechanic he visited was a friend of his. Phil, if he wanted to be evil and deceitful, could have worked a deal with his buddy and said that there was more damage than there really was.

But, Phil did not do this. He voluntarily got two other estimates. I did not ask Phil to get the other estimates. Truth be told, I was fine with the first estimate. I just wanted to move past the situation and get on with life. The fact that we paid less money is because Phil is a decent, moral, and ethical person.

One more thing to know about my relationship with Phil: I have never met him. I have never been in his home. I left a note telling him that we hit his car and how to reach us, but not because he is my friend, because he is not. He did not get several estimates for me because I am his buddy, because I am not.

We interacted with each other with civility and candor, not because of the force of the government but because of the decency of people.

So, yes, a PPS can exist where victim's choose restitution, and things would be just fine, even for a trespassing kid on a plane.

Victor J. Ward  first came across libertarianism by reading Murray Rothbard's Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy and Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an MBA from Santa Clara University.


  1. I prefer this Victor from California over the David Hanson-one that celebrates every war and the mongers who push them.

  2. It would have been more humorous if Mr. Ward were a Berkeley grad. Beautiful piece of writing nonetheless.

  3. It's always good to hear from Mr. Ward. I also warn my kids about socialist and their ideology.

    Anyway, Mr Ward sounds like a thoughtful and honest person. I wish he lived next to me. If he did, perhaps he would join our neighborhood watch that my nearby fellow property owners have formed to stem the recent tide of theft perpetrated by non-english speaking visitors.

    I have tried to pursue the trespassers myself to request that they stop doing damage to my property and to stop causing distress to my wife and child. Perhaps I will catch up to one some day soon so I can ask them to give me a couple of estimates (2 would be enough) for the damage they have caused.

  4. Nice story from Mr. Ward but a $1 bet doesn't show much confidence in human nature.

    1. Bad actors will always exist, and some people will always try to scheme, but a PPS corrects for that.

      Upstanding people would allow some knowledge of them to be public and available to their neighbors, friends, employer, etc.

      A person who constantly mistreated people would have many people who would refuse to do business with them, and warn others. Such things would be necessary- a "social credit check" where past behavior would be available for people to use judging probable future behavior.

  5. In light of the recent disaster/evacuation for Butte, Sutter and Yuba Counties (Most of my family is under evacuation) in Northern California because of the Oroville Dam, I was hoping you could post some content about how to better handle a structure such as a dam through the free market.
    We have had some really Orwellian commentary, such as the Emergency Spillway suddenly being referred to as the Auxiliary Spillway, and the evacuation numbers constantly being changed downwards.
    I think now is a good time to show that the Gov always covers its own asses, wastes money and when it fails, instead of punishment they are rewarded with funds.
    This is a subject that is in the forefront in Northern California right now. Like a good politician, we cannot let this disaster go to waste.
    Thank you!

    1. "Like a good politician, we cannot let this disaster go to waste. "
      Excellent point.