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JW
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NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Sep 11th, 2014 at 10:21pm
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So let's say a guy has a spread of land, maybe 20 acres.  It is hilly because he lives at the foot of the mountains.  He has a stream that runs across the land.

He decides to build a dam on his stream to make a lake, where he can boat on it, and fish.  So he does so.

In doing so, he impacts the people downstream.  Since he lives in an area with little rainfall, and because there is some seepage from his artificial lake, his downstream neighbor no longer has a stream across his land.  Since his lake contains 13 million gallons of water, it puts his downstream neighbor in danger if his dam should collapse.  Maybe the downstream neighbor now must buy flood insurance because of the increased danger from the dam.

Has he aggressed against his downstream neighbor?  Is there an appropriate punishment for this aggression?

The shire reeve has come along, and asked the man to get an inspection of his dam, and to file a permit for use of the water flowing into his land, noting that the people had previously voted that flowing water in creeks and streams is a commons of the shire. The man refuses to comply.  The man is fined.  Then the man complies by draining his lake, but not by getting a permit or allowing an inspection.

After a time, the man fills the lake again.  The Reeve brings him to judgement again.  This process is repeated two more  times. The fourth time, the reeve brings the man before a jury of his peers.  They find him guilty of willful aggression and authorize a punishment.

The man is sentenced to 30 days in jail.  Is this appropriate?  He also cost the shire a lot of money to prosecute him repeatedly.  Should he be fined the cost of the court?  How about paying back the jury members' time?

Or is it the case that all his actions were on his own land.  So he has a right to all the water that flows into his land? 
  
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Jeff
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #1 - Sep 12th, 2014 at 7:41am
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JW wrote on Sep 11th, 2014 at 10:21pm:
So let's say a guy has a spread of land, maybe 20 acres.  It is hilly because he lives at the foot of the mountains.  He has a stream that runs across the land.

He decides to build a dam on his stream to make a lake, where he can boat on it, and fish.  So he does so.

In doing so, he impacts the people downstream.  Since he lives in an area with little rainfall, and because there is some seepage from his artificial lake, his downstream neighbor no longer has a stream across his land.  Since his lake contains 13 million gallons of water, it puts his downstream neighbor in danger if his dam should collapse.  Maybe the downstream neighbor now must buy flood insurance because of the increased danger from the dam.

Has he aggressed against his downstream neighbor?  Is there an appropriate punishment for this aggression?

The shire reeve has come along, and asked the man to get an inspection of his dam, and to file a permit for use of the water flowing into his land, noting that the people had previously voted that flowing water in creeks and streams is a commons of the shire. The man refuses to comply.  The man is fined.  Then the man complies by draining his lake, but not by getting a permit or allowing an inspection.

After a time, the man fills the lake again.  The Reeve brings him to judgement again.  This process is repeated two more  times. The fourth time, the reeve brings the man before a jury of his peers.  They find him guilty of willful aggression and authorize a punishment.

The man is sentenced to 30 days in jail.  Is this appropriate?  He also cost the shire a lot of money to prosecute him repeatedly.  Should he be fined the cost of the court?  How about paying back the jury members' time?

Or is it the case that all his actions were on his own land.  So he has a right to all the water that flows into his land? 

As I keep telling you, the Common Law has dealt with such issues for centuries. They adjudicated all such disputes in the U.S., at least up until the Supreme Court decided that our land and water could be protected better by government than by individual owners.
  

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Alan Jones
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #2 - Sep 12th, 2014 at 9:57am
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JW wrote on Sep 11th, 2014 at 10:21pm:
So let's say a guy has a spread of land, maybe 20 acres.  It is hilly because he lives at the foot of the mountains.  He has a stream that runs across the land.

He decides to build a dam on his stream to make a lake, where he can boat on it, and fish.  So he does so.

In doing so, he impacts the people downstream.  Since he lives in an area with little rainfall, and because there is some seepage from his artificial lake, his downstream neighbor no longer has a stream across his land.  Since his lake contains 13 million gallons of water, it puts his downstream neighbor in danger if his dam should collapse.  Maybe the downstream neighbor now must buy flood insurance because of the increased danger from the dam.

Has he aggressed against his downstream neighbor?  Is there an appropriate punishment for this aggression?

The shire reeve has come along, and asked the man to get an inspection of his dam, and to file a permit for use of the water flowing into his land, noting that the people had previously voted that flowing water in creeks and streams is a commons of the shire. The man refuses to comply.  The man is fined.  Then the man complies by draining his lake, but not by getting a permit or allowing an inspection.

After a time, the man fills the lake again.  The Reeve brings him to judgement again.  This process is repeated two more  times. The fourth time, the reeve brings the man before a jury of his peers.  They find him guilty of willful aggression and authorize a punishment.

The man is sentenced to 30 days in jail.  Is this appropriate?  He also cost the shire a lot of money to prosecute him repeatedly.  Should he be fined the cost of the court?  How about paying back the jury members' time?

Or is it the case that all his actions were on his own land.  So he has a right to all the water that flows into his land? 

I'd call for a drone attack on the shire reeve.

If you want a serious response, try coming up with a realistic scenario. Without shire reeves sending someone to a jury of his peers because his neighbor had to buy flood insurance after the shire voted to require permits for such things.

And maybe your scenario could even be relevant to some stated position actually espoused by libertarians.
  
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #3 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 1:11pm
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Alan Jones wrote on Sep 12th, 2014 at 9:57am:
If you want a serious response, try coming up with a realistic scenario. 


Ok. Let's try this:

So let's say a guy has a spread of land, maybe 20 acres.  It is hilly because he lives at the foot of the mountains.  He has a stream that runs across the land.

He decides to build a dam on his stream to make a lake, where he can boat on it, and fish.  So he does so.

In doing so, he impacts the people downstream.  Since he lives in an area with little rainfall, and because there is some seepage from his artificial lake, his downstream neighbor no longer has a stream across his land.  Since his lake contains 13 million gallons of water, it puts his downstream neighbor in danger if his dam should collapse.  Maybe the downstream neighbor now must buy flood insurance because of the increased danger from the dam.

Hes neighbor downstream used to have a nice stream through his property.  Now he doesn't.  So his land has lost value.

So the downstream neighbor goes to his upstream neighbor and says "You have aggressed against me by taking away the water that flowed through my land, decreasing it's value.  You have endangered my family by your irresponsible construction of an earthen dam with 13 million gallons of water behind it. You have cost me money because now I must buy flood insurance." 

The downstream neighbor then shoots his upstream neighbor dead, opens the dam and returns to his home.

Is that how NAP works?
  
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #4 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 3:45pm
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JW wrote on Sep 13th, 2014 at 1:11pm:
He decides to build a dam on his stream to make a lake, where he can boat on it, and fish.  So he does so.

In doing so, he impacts the people downstream. 

The people downstream who believe they have suffered harm file a suit in court and let our system of common law justice decide. That's in our country the way it's supposed to be.
In fact, an EPA swat team will show up in the middle of the night with flash bangs and machine guns (wearing all black, with black masks hiding their identities), and haul the guy off to prison. Then the Army Corps of Engineers will be tasked with removing the dam, which removal will cost 20 times what it cost to build the dam. The man's children will be taken away, because an Eco-terrorist like their father couldn't be a fit parent. Our taxes will go up, and so will our debt.
  

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Alan Jones
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #5 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 3:49pm
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JW wrote on Sep 13th, 2014 at 1:11pm:
Ok. Let's try this:

So let's say a guy has a spread of land, maybe 20 acres.  It is hilly because he lives at the foot of the mountains.  He has a stream that runs across the land.

He decides to build a dam on his stream to make a lake, where he can boat on it, and fish.  So he does so.

In doing so, he impacts the people downstream.  Since he lives in an area with little rainfall, and because there is some seepage from his artificial lake, his downstream neighbor no longer has a stream across his land.  Since his lake contains 13 million gallons of water, it puts his downstream neighbor in danger if his dam should collapse.  Maybe the downstream neighbor now must buy flood insurance because of the increased danger from the dam.

Hes neighbor downstream used to have a nice stream through his property.  Now he doesn't.  So his land has lost value.

So the downstream neighbor goes to his upstream neighbor and says "You have aggressed against me by taking away the water that flowed through my land, decreasing it's value.  You have endangered my family by your irresponsible construction of an earthen dam with 13 million gallons of water behind it. You have cost me money because now I must buy flood insurance." 

The downstream neighbor then shoots his upstream neighbor dead, opens the dam and returns to his home.

Is that how NAP works?

No. The defensive force used to prevent aggression should be "as gentle as possible" or "the minimum necessary" depending on which libertarian you ask.

As far as someone trying to claim ownership of rainfall, streams, etc, the Lockean proviso would apply, which says basically that anyone may appropriate whatever land and natural resources they can use, as long as "enough and as good" is left for others. Clearly not met by the guy in your example.
  
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #6 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 3:54pm
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Alan Jones wrote on Sep 13th, 2014 at 3:49pm:
No. The defensive force used to prevent aggression should be "as gentle as possible" or "the minimum necessary" depending on which libertarian you ask.

As far as someone trying to claim ownership of rainfall, streams, etc, the Lockean proviso would apply, which says basically that anyone may appropriate whatever land and natural resources they can use, as long as "enough and as good" is left for others. Clearly not met by the guy in your example.

People actually did this a lot before our national government claimed to own almost all the above ground water in the U.S.
If they filled their dams slowly, and built them strong enough, nobody had any problems. Perhaps knowing they could be sued made them considerate, or maybe they just were. Sometimes they provided a flood control service.
  

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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #7 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 4:03pm
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JW wrote on Sep 13th, 2014 at 1:11pm:
The downstream neighbor then shoots his upstream neighbor dead, opens the dam and returns to his home.

Is that how NAP works?


No.

For NAP to work in your scenario, the end of the story would go more like:

The Upstream Neighbor replies "Gee, you're absolutely right!  I hadn't considered that. Here's what I'll do. I'll hire a construction company to build a proper dam made of reinforced concrete which complies with building codes. It will have a spillway which will restore the water flow to your property. And you no longer need flood insurance."

The men shake hands and bid each other a good day.

THIS is how NAP works.


  
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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #8 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 4:15pm
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The NAP is not to be taken as a religious commandment, but a commonsense principle that we all follow every day. The whole point of libertarianism is that we don't know enough to dictate how other people live. Questions about how the NAP is specifically applied in certain situations misses the concept.

Edit: Also, watch this vid on the river thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcPRmh5AIrI
  

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Re: NAP, Judgement and Appropriate punishment
Reply #9 - Sep 13th, 2014 at 4:15pm
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Jeff wrote on Sep 13th, 2014 at 3:54pm:
People actually did this a lot before our national government claimed to own almost all the above ground water in the U.S.
If they filled their dams slowly, and built them strong enough, nobody had any problems. Perhaps knowing they could be sued made them considerate, or maybe they just were. Sometimes they provided a flood control service.

I actually had this scenario with my neighbor several years ago. He wanted to reroute a small seasonal stream (only had water flowing when it rained) away from his yard (and mine), and I told him it was fine by me. I basically got my property improved for free, except for buying a couple loads of dirt to fill in the ditch.
  
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