Thursday, March 2, 2017

Get Off (on) My Lawn

A paraphrased version of one of the best lines from Gran Torino.  I could easily write twenty posts using various Clint Eastwood one-liners for titles – or at least some paraphrased version of same.  I suspect I have done so once or twice before, but I really don’t recall.

I hope most of you recognize that I will sometimes use extreme examples to make a point – a point that might take a shock to be made…at least for some members of the audience.  Some get it; some don’t.

You have been warned.  For those with delicate eyes, read no further.


From the peanut gallery they chant: “NAP, NAP, NAP.  All we need is the NAP.  Anyone who respects the NAP is fine by me.”  Suggest anything more than the NAP and you have introduced communism under Stalin and Mao combined. 

So, call me Mao Tse-Uncle Joe.

Because I have the audacity to suggest that it takes something more than the NAP to make community; because I dare suggest that applying the thinnest definition of the NAP as the only condition for a peaceful society is ludicrous; because it is clear that it takes something more than the NAP to maintain a society that comes close to resembling the NAP.

Next thing you know, I will induce the starvation of six million Ukrainians by stealing their crops and selling these overseas in exchange for military hardware while I am taking a great leap forward or something.

There are dozens of examples I could offer of behaviors not in violation of the NAP that are certain to bring about calls for extreme violations of the NAP.  Children can wish this fact away, but not those who wish to think more than they write.

The NAP allows me to do pretty much anything I want to do on my property, as long as my action does not initiate aggression against another.  For example, I can fire my Dragunov on my property, as long as I am not aiming at the head of my neighbor while he is watering his fatsia polycarpa while standing on his property. 

An extreme example, I know.  But hopefully you get the point.

So, what does this have to getting off on my lawn? 

I live in a neighborhood of single family homes.  Many of these homes are occupied by families with children of all ages.  They play in the street, they run back and forth to each other’s house; in other words, the children are out a lot.

Most of these families go to church on Sunday; the Harrisons three doors down host a Bible-study every Wednesday evening.  And the Friday night neighborhood pot-lucks are to die for.

No problem for me – they stay off my lawn.  It is a beautiful front lawn.

You know, I like inviting friends over.  Some of these friends are rather…how can I say this delicately…promiscuous.  They are also rather uninhibited.  Mmmm…they are also exhibitionists.  I think that about covers it.  Or, maybe, un-covers it is more accurate.

Let’s just say that they enjoy my front lawn.  They describe it as “plush…soft on the skin.”  Please don’t make me describe this in more explicit terms.  Some readers have delicate…eyes.

Have I or my friends violated the NAP?  I do not see it.

But my, oh, my…what will the neighbors say?  More important and to the point: what will the neighbors do?

Is it possible that they will take action that violates the NAP?

Is it possible that they will demand that someone does something about the…mmm…activities on my lawn?

It is highly likely that they will, don’t you think?  This isn’t a trick question.  Just use some common sense and apply it to your understanding of human nature within such a setting.


Needless to say, the Harrisons no longer host that Wednesday evening Bible study.  And I am no longer invited to the neighborhood pot-luck.

Oh, yeah…my point…. The NAP isn’t enough if one’s objective is a relatively peaceful society – one that generally respects the NAP.

Culture.  It is social. 

Humans.  They are social, too.


  1. You mean, dot dot dot, lawn sex wasn't covered in the neighborhood covenants?!? What a sloppy contract.

    1. Did I write anything about that three-letter word?

      I don't understand how you got this impression.


    2. Whoops. Have I inferred too far?

      Speaking of impressions, your yard must now have a few, eh? Could be worse. As a perverted golfer, I'd have taken divots.

  2. What if I invite them to have sex in my lawn? Haha. I wouldn't really do that.

  3. I seem to recall stating something about Common Law being important for a libertarian society, and that excessive force in defending property rights being a violation of said (e.g. shooting someone for setting foot on your lawn.

    Did that not register, or were you just not interested..?

    1. Dave, I do not understand your point, nor your example. If you are expecting a reply or comment, perhaps you can clarify this.

  4. "Because I have the audacity to suggest that it takes something more than the NAP to make community."

    This is hardly news. Rothbard addressed the point succinctly many years ago, as quoted in :

    "The fact is that libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life."

    Is there ANYONE who thinks the NAP is all that's necessary for a thriving society? Or is this a straw man?

    1. JdL, I am well aware of this.

      This may come as a surprise to you, but not everyone has already read and internalized Rothbard, and many of those who have read him disagree with some or many of his conclusions.

      If libertarian writers stopped addressing every point Rothbard already made, there would be close to no libertarian writers today.

      Anyway, to my knowledge, Rothbard never used such a frisky example to make this point. But, as you are an expert on his work, maybe you can provide a link.

    2. Where did I imply I'm an expert on Rothbard's work? Very sorry if I offended you, but WTF??

    3. JdL, when your most relevant comment is asking if my entire post is based on a strawman, don't be surprised if I bite.

      I have feedback regularly here along the lines I am addressing in this post, and I read posts at many libertarian sites on this topic. No strawman.

  5. I want to party with Bionic Mosquito!

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks. I felt out-of-the-loop there, for a minute. I like your writing.

  8. Where does the word culture comes from? That's right: cult. You know what that means, don't you?

    Cult, specifically the Cult of Christ, informs the Westerner's view of rights, which in turn lays the foundation to the NAP. Suggest as much to a Randroid, though, and you raise the hackles on his neck.

    "You believe in God?" he asks.

    "Yes, I believe in God."

    "Which God?" This is the coup de grace.

    "Why do you hate God?" What else can I say? He wins!

    "Rights," the Randroid solemnly intones, "are logical constructs governing the behavior of moral agents that accord with the nature of their existence." Nothing faith-based in that statement!

    "Do you believe in Rights?" the Randroid asks.

    "Whose version of Rights?" I ask.

    "What are you talking about?"

    "I'm making a statement of fact. There are competing versions."

    "Rights are objective, rational, discoverable."

    "I agree. Whose version of 'objective, rational, discoverable'?"

    "You're a mystic." The Randroid parries.

    "Meaning what? I believe in God?"

    "Yes. Theism is irrational. It poisons your thinking."

    "Atheists have competing versions of Rights."

    "They can't all be right."

    "I didn't say they could."

    "Why do you hate Rights?"

    1. "Whose version of Rights?" I ask.

      The million dollar question, and it can't be wished or intellectualized or rationalized away.

  9. NAP assumes an impossible level of trust existing among neighbors.

    1. You must have terrible neighbors. Not a single neighbor of mine has ever robbed, beaten or shot me.

      Most activities in our lives are committed both voluntarily and peacefully. By far, the biggest aggressor in my life is the government.

      Between taxes, regulation, and searches - both physical and electronic - I have thus far been the victim of aggression by the state by a factor of 1,000,000 when compared to aggression by my neighbors.

  10. BM. Got any pics? No pics, it did not happen. Got to judge if naked couple violates NAP. Body Looks Matter.

    1. Are you tryin' to entrap me with some online p*rn? Not me, buddy.