The Uncompromised Case for Capitalism
Ayn Rand Institute®
August 15, 2012 by Don Watkins
I appreciate Don’s comments, but are not any “laws” or rules set by the government arbitrary? What constitutes a violation of rights? David Friedman has some interesting arguments involving property rights and laser beams that boils down to the fact that absolute property rights and what constitutes interference are impossible to perfectly isolate.
His analysis is really confused. A property right does not mean that other people can have no effect on your property. And if Friedman thinks that the difference between seeing a light on in your neighbor’s window and your neighbor shining a powerful laser through yours is “arbitrary,” well, then I can only say I’m glad he’s not my neighbor.
Again though, in the theoretical Objectivist society, how is an individual capable of making the distinction between what constitutes damage, and what is “harmless” or merely an annoyance? Harm and damage, physical and otherwise, are subjective valuations for each person i.e. I might think the light damages my door in the long run, which may be true, but in the short term, you make think it is just an annoyance for me. How is a judge, arbitrating over litigation, to make the judgement? Should we assume that the rational person would not make such litigation?
An individual who thinks he has a legitimate case is free to bring a civil lawsuit. He ought to first try to find a lawyer willing to represent him on a contingency basis because that will give him an idea of whether his complaint has any merit. If he cannot find a lawyer on that basis, he should come to realize that he doesn’t have a winnable argument. Of course, he could be willing to pay the lawyer upfront or conduct the case as a self-represented litigant, but I think the “contingency” question would provide him with the objective answers he needs to hear.
In the course of searching for legal representation he may be fortunate to learn what kind of objective evidence he needs to show that he or his property have suffered damages and that he has made efforts to mitigate the situation, such as trying to speak with the neighbor first.
Harm and damage begin as subjective phenomena but to be actionable they must be objectively quantifiable. Producing objective evidence of damage sustained is the only way an individual can expect to succeed in a court case. If he cannot produce evidence to support his claims, he will find himself having to pay not only his own court costs, but those of the party/parties whom he was found to have wrongfully sued.
I know all this because I have been working with Civil Judges for over 12 years.
“That” really didn’t occur.
“That is why the Founding Fathers were very wise when they separated church and state.”
Read “Liberty and Tyranny,” by Mark Levin. It has footnotes!
Investigate founding principles, bill of rights originate in Christian beliefs,Milton Fiedmon, Bastiat,Sowell, Walter E.Williams.