2021-02-11 ownership

Talk about today's strip, or anything about the comic in general. You can also talk about any of the characters... but don't expect a response. They're FICTIONAL, you guys... sheesh. :)
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τ > π
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2021-02-11 ownership

Post by τ > π » Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:02 pm

Your house: Never owned. Only rights: To use. Without interference. (Mostly.)

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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by auntmousie » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:39 am

Speaking as a lawyer: The concept of "ownership" is always only a bundle of rights. Generally speaking, full-on ownership involves:
1) The right to possess;
2) The right to use;
3) The right to include or exclude others from use;
4) The right to sell.

If you have all fourof those, you have ownership.

I own my house in fee simple. Admittedly, I have a mortgage, but that doesn't interfere with any of the above rights unless I fail to make my payments. The bank cannot kick me out, nor tell me how many cats I can have, or how late I can stay up, or who I can or can't invite over. I can even sell my house, as long as I pay off my loan with the proceeds.

My property line extends to the middle of the street, so I have an easement implied by prior use (and in the public interest) for the last ten feet or so. But I have a fence, and when people cross my fence, I can tell them to fuck off. I have walls, and when people cross my walls without my permission (or, say, a warrant), I'm entitled to shoot them.

I own my house more truly than I own my car.
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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by Deacon » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:02 pm

In Texas there is no privately owned property. It all belongs to the state, and you can buy and sell some of the rights to use it, but the land itself is leased to you at a continually increasing rate set by local bureaucrats in the form of property tax. It doesn’t matter how little or how much you make or even what your property is actually worth. They set a value they think you could get for your property if you were to sell it, and then they charge you a percentage as though you had sold it. And they raise it again next year and charge it again, and so on forever. So guess what happens when poor people who over the course of a couple generations have finally paid off their house only find rich people buying properties next to them? Even with caps in place, their bills increase, compounding-interest-style, at 10% year over year. Or literally unlimited increases if you didn’t file the paperwork correctly to put in place the cap. You don’t pay, and the government revokes your lease, seizes the property, and sells it off to wealthy people.

Ugh.

I realize that wasn’t the joke in the comic, or at least I assume it was lamenting the idea of renting vs buying. But still.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by auntmousie » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:01 pm

If your position is that the government's ability to tax your property defeats the concept of ownership, I respectfully disagree.
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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by nosystemd » Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:15 am

auntmousie wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:01 pm If your position is that the government's ability to tax your property defeats the concept of ownership, I respectfully disagree.
If you can have something you already purchased taken away for not continuing to "buy it" from someone, it may not defeat the concept of "ownership" but it certainly puts stress on it.

The problem with your lawyerthink, and Please do not take it personally because it is not intended to single you out (on the contrary, this is a lawyer thing) is that if something is defined as X it is presumed to be X-- i.e. to determine ownership one must only define it (i.e. by contract) and check if it fits the definition.

There's a lot of crazy things that come that way. Lawyers are just berserker philosophers.

Rather someone has a point (IMO) that the concept of ownership is stressed when you can't keep what you "own" just because you're out of protection money. And missing that point is as simple as leaning on a definition (just a little too easy to come by in the legal world) where you can "own" what you can't keep.

There are all kinds of ways in which you can dispute this idea, for example if I buy something and take it home, but I pay for it installments, is it mine yet?

Some concepts of property say "of course" but the argument that it's not "really yours" until you've made all the payments is far from nonsense. And with taxes, the payments never stop...

The point isn't for either of you to come to an agreement, only that it's easy to dismiss an argument when you can always rest on a (or draft your own) legal definition of the idea.

Not that you did personally, but that's basically what happened. We decided to define property via various contracts, some of which have terms that a person might find laughable at when they think about the implications. Or am I wrong, and are *all* contractual stipulations reasonable and never somewhat of a farce?

(To be fair, those aren't the only two real choices. I present them as such, but only rhetorically.)

A shorter way to say this is that one of you is questioning authority, and the other only need lean on it to make their point; in the legal world that's not only fair, but to be expected-- outside the legal world, it's a fallacy. It's "fair" for some value of fairness, but IMO it's two people playing different word games by different rules. They could both have valid points, but not necessarily in the same context.

I'm not necessarily trying to refute either point, because I can't. So I'm introducing a third point, which I hope at least touches on both contexts instead of depending entirely on a third.

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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by Mav » Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:59 am

I wasn't expecting this, but Deacon bitching about property taxes left me physically aroused.
#newfetish
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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by auntmousie » Sun Mar 14, 2021 8:00 pm

nosystemd wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:15 am There's a lot of crazy things that come that way. Lawyers are just berserker philosophers.
This is my new favorite description of my job, thank you!
nosystemd wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:15 am Rather someone has a point (IMO) that the concept of ownership is stressed when you can't keep what you "own" just because you're out of protection money. And missing that point is as simple as leaning on a definition (just a little too easy to come by in the legal world) where you can "own" what you can't keep.
From a large enough perspective, it follows that we don't own anything.

Let's say I accept the notion that I don't own my home because I have to make payments on it, both to the bank and to the government. It follows that I don't actually own anything that's part of the home.

I have lots of stuff that isn't so much part of my home, as stored there. My furniture. My dishes. My books. Do I own them? I've made all the payments, that's for sure, but I don't keep them with me at all times. I can't. There's too much. So I leave them at home, but if I lose the home, I would be forced to sell most of them. If I became unexpectedly homeless, I might be able to keep and defend a shopping-cart full of random stuff from what used to be my home, but even that could be taken away from me if I stay in one place too long.

To be fair, the OP does have a point - under common law, the sovereign owns the land, and what any individual acquires is title in fee simple - which isn't permanent ownership. I have fee simple over my house and land. I can sell it, maintain it, exclude others from it. If I die intestate it will pass to my heirs under the law - but if I have none, it reverts to its prior owner (the state).

Still, I "own" my home in a much more visceral sense than I ever "owned" my apartment. And if the litmus of ownership is whether a thing can be taken away from me, then I own my home in a much more genuine sense than I own my dishes, or my furniture, or my books - all of which could be stolen with relative ease, by removal from my house, and few of which I would be able to prove were mine and not just comparable examples of the same product.
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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by τ > π » Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:29 pm

I hate tax. Property tax: In a free world? Insurance: If many persons each own it? i.e: Have legitimate ownership rights: Insurer will buy your ownership. Protection, against multiple owners.

Are you a just berserk philosopher?

Can a sovereign's things be taken away from them?

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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by auntmousie » Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:11 am

I'm not JUST a berserk philosopher. I'm also my cats' mom.
When all is said and done, more is generally said than is done.
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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by nosystemd » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:14 am

auntmousie wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 8:00 pm And if the litmus of ownership is whether a thing can be taken away from me, then I own my home in a much more genuine sense than I own my dishes, or my furniture, or my books - all of which could be stolen with relative ease, by removal from my house, and few of which I would be able to prove were mine and not just comparable examples of the same product.
You're moving the bar now. I think you've done more to make the OP's point than I did.

I mean, I defended (and will likely continue to defend) the merits of your perspective-- as being useful to interpreting law itself. Fish gonna swim, and birds gonna fly, lawyers do law and others try. But the OP's point was that they don't own anything, which you're practically arguing that they would be right if we ceded a simple enough point--

And you're switching things up by saying "well if this is just about being able to take it away, it could also be stolen"-- that's a good one, really, but it's definitely separate from what I said or meant.

My goal wasn't to win this argument, it was to get you to see the OP's point. This isn't a victory lap, it's intended as clarification. But as I said, in a courtroom (or even settling out of court) you're going to win because you're arguing from written law in the first place. And the OP's point is philosophical, but probably closer to "The state steals by default" than "It's only yours if nobody can sneak it out of your hands".

We can employ a magical system of interdimensional strings that seem to defy the universe and "return" objects back to the rightful owner when thieves aren't looking, and we could still argue that someone could be tricked into turning it off and swindled into "giving" them away to the thief of trickster.

So by that too, it's not really theirs. But before we can do that, I think we have to miss (or misinterpret) the point that was made in the first place. My goal was to get it to not be missed. But I think we were close enough for a moment there, personally I'm satisfied with that.
auntmousie wrote: Tue Mar 16, 2021 6:11 am I'm not JUST a berserk philosopher. I'm also my cats' mom.

It's good to have a fallback. One of my favourite people on earth and personal heroes incidentally, teaches constitutional law at Harvard. I'm not huge on constitutional law myself, (and I don't care much for Harvard either) but I'm a very big fan of Article I Section 8. Specifically the part pertaining to copyright, because of the limitations it places which giant corporations have done a very good job of weaselling out of-- making them into cultural cartels.

I'm a geek, not a lawyer. But a modicum of self-defence from giant corporations is something everybody ought to learn.

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Re: 2021-02-11 ownership

Post by raptor9k » Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:22 pm

I think the main difference between state repossession and theft/abandonment would be that it's completely ok and legal when the state is the thief.

The best part about property taxes in my mind is the fact you're required to pay them or they steal your property (or let someone else steal your property if that person decides to pay them), but the government itself isn't entirely REQUIRED to provide you, specifically, any service in return. It's a theoretical benefit to all who live in the area, but many people who live out of town or on the edge of a county border, will rarely/never see a benefit from their money. The fire dept. is strictly volunteer and mostly unfunded. The law enforcement effort is understaffed. If you actually need them you're probably on your own, but they'll be along in an hour or 2. If you work in or shop in the town that's physically closer but outside your resident county, you likely don't drive on the roads your money paid to maintain. If you call them and ask them to pave the road to your house or provide you with some service such as broadband internet, they'll just laugh at you.

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