Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Protecting Toads To Keep Private Land Private

NPR -- "A small environmental miracle has occurred in Beatty, Nev., a former mining town that sits on the eastern edge of Death Valley between Jackass Flats and Sober Up Gulch. The people of Beatty have helped revive the Amargosa toad, a warty, speckled, palm-sized creature that's unique to the area and, just a few years ago, seemed headed for extinction. But this is not your typical story of environmental action — the toad owes its comeback to an unlikely coalition that includes ranchers, miners, off-road racers, opponents of big government and the local brothel.

"What you're seeing tonight are the results of active land management, active habitat management," says rancher David Spicer. He has run miles of underground pipe around his property to create breeding pools and wet habitat for the toads. Spicer grew up with the toads and wants to preserve them, he says. But here's the surprising thing: Another reason, and perhaps the major reason Spicer has gone to such lengths is because he really, really does not like the Endangered Species Act.

"Nobody trusts the government anymore," Spicer says. "Nobody wants to work with the government. The government always wants to take something from you." So Spicer got worried more than a decade ago when some scientists declared that there were only a few dozen Amargosa toads left. Soon after that, when a group petitioned the federal government to add the toad to the endangered species list, Spicer came up with a plan.

Spicer feared the government would try to protect the toads by telling him he couldn't raise cattle or ride off-road vehicles on his own property. So he helped start a group called STORM-OV, which stands for Saving Toads thru Off-Road Racing, Mining and Ranching in Oasis Valley.

It's a quirky kind of environmentalism. But it seems to be working. This year's toad counts show that their numbers remain in the thousands. And earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the latest petition to place the Amargosa toad on the endangered species list."

73 Comments:

At 11/10/2010 9:24 AM, Blogger cluemeister said...

What are the odds somebody in the Federal Government will issue a cease and desist order against this man?

 
At 11/10/2010 9:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

When I was in Africa I noticed that the private game reserves seemed to be teeming with wildlife while the public parks were suffering from much lower populations. The best way to save lions, elephants and rhinos is to allow them to be hunted and their hides, tusks, and horns to be sold to consumers.

 
At 11/10/2010 9:47 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Here is a guy who is spending considerable sums and energy to prevent incursion against his other ativities by the government.

This should not be his cross to bear alone, but there is not much market for toad skins or toad tusks. Everyone who thinks it important to preserve these toads should be paying part of the cost.

In somw other countries, farmers and landowners get paid for such environmental services.

 
At 11/10/2010 9:49 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Alternatively, if the government does incurse against his other activities in favor of the toads, he should be paid a fair price for the loss of value he absorbs.

My guess is it is a lot cheaper to pay him to raise toads.

 
At 11/10/2010 10:41 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

According to The Beatty News a big threat to the toad was the depletion of groundwater in the area. Solar projects have been using water for cooling but have switched to a dry method. Thus, the ancient aquifers should continue to provide water for the toads to thrive, along with the efforts of the local citizenry.

BTW, the denial of Endangered Species Status for the toad was not the lead story that day -- a dog that should have been leashed, fenced or put inside was the "above the fold" article!

 
At 11/10/2010 11:01 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Government owns us. We are best off if we anticipate what they want and act accordingly.

 
At 11/10/2010 11:27 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/10/2010 11:52 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

This should not be his cross to bear alone, but there is not much market for toad skins or toad tusks. Everyone who thinks it important to preserve these toads should be paying part of the cost.

But that is not how the American legal system works. The government places restrictions without any compensation so some ranchers have decided to spend some money as insurance against government incursion.

My guess is it is a lot cheaper to pay him to raise toads.

If only things were that simple. I once talked to an oil company executive who wanted to spend money to establish more breeding grounds for birds to offset the very few that were killed off in tailings ponds but the government wanted none of that because it wanted show trials and fines when the odd duck was found dead due to operational activities. That same government was subsidizing wind turbines that were killing thousands of birds per year, many of the endangered.

 
At 11/10/2010 12:02 PM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

Sounds like a smart guy to me...

 
At 11/10/2010 1:07 PM, OpenID brinker223 said...

This is a great idea, in fact I sent the author my ex-wife's name so he could put her on the list...

 
At 11/10/2010 1:31 PM, Blogger Sean said...

It's good to see things like this. :)

 
At 11/10/2010 2:58 PM, OpenID American Delight said...

Exactly. And Barnum & Bailey have done a better job at increasing the elephant population through its circus breeding program than all the years, regulations, and redtape associated with the Endangered Species Act has accomplished.

 
At 11/10/2010 4:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"It's good to see things like this. :)"

Yes, it's especially good to see that the top story in Beatty that week was a dog running loose. Thanks for the link, Buddy, It sounds like a good place to live

And then there's this - "Don't Blame Us" - from the latest (Nov 5) edition of the weekly Beatty News:


"FYI

Nye County voted Reid out by 18%. He won by getting the CASINO Money in Vegas and Reno
"

 
At 11/10/2010 5:33 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Ron H and others, the Dec. 25th 2009 edition of the Beatty News had very different Christmas poem.

Yes, Beatty and the surrounding area look like a nice place to live.

 
At 11/10/2010 5:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Ron H and others, the Dec. 25th 2009 edition of the Beatty News had very different Christmas poem."

Thanks, Buddy, that's a great poem. It would be hard to disagree with that sentiment no matter how one feels about any particular war.

 
At 11/10/2010 6:42 PM, Blogger Jason said...

So does this mean that the endangered species act is a success? Or does this mean that government is evil?

So a law is passed that gives government the ability to effectively seize property from you. The people react by...complying through extraordinary effort to avoid the primary issue at the root of law rather than suffer penalities.

Somehow I am not encouraged by this story.

 
At 11/10/2010 11:27 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

No, it is not good to see things like this.

The Guy is probably wise to be proactive in buying insurance to protect himself from uncompensated government actions.

But it is wrong for government (us) to put him in that position. We have created a new value for his property, which we claim for ourselves, without paying for them.

Buddy raises a good point in that regard. The new value in toad habitat on his property may very well be a result of other externalities (which we benefit from).

Gangs is correct. The legal system has lost all concept of the property rights it is supposed to protect. I happen to believe that those with power and dominion have an obligation to protect the helpless, whether we are talking about people or toads.

We, therefore have an equal obligation to the toads and the owner of the land. If we expropriated his land, or the use if it, in favor of the toads, then toad protection is a public use which must be paid for.

Environmentalists hate that idea because they know they cannot pay for all they want. What they don't realize is that paying for what you want is how you make the best choices.

But the value of those choices is unknowable, they say. Toad excrement may contain a cancer cure.

Maybe. But every time you pay or don't pay, you do just that- put a price on the unknown.

If Vance and Tom are correct, we are in a sad state of affairs. It makes no sense to pay $1000 per bird for protection in one case, to demand payment of $10,000 per bird in one, when we know we can save birds for $1 per bird some other way.

Same goes for the costs of preventing human death and morbidity.

I don't believe we know the true facts about bird mortality vs the benefits of wind energy and fossil energy. But Ganges point is well taken: whatever we decide the value of bird protection per BTU is, it should be the same regardless of the source of the BTU. Likewise if we can save a duck cheaply one way, why do it expensively another way? The argument that they are priceless does not cut it, even if you believe we have an obligation to ducks.

 
At 11/10/2010 11:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/11/2010 9:27 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

sorry, my spelll checker converted Vange to Gangs.

 
At 11/11/2010 11:47 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But it is wrong for government (us) to put him in that position. We have created a new value for his property, which we claim for ourselves, without paying for them.

Welcome to the social democratic system. Property rights are ignored and theft by the state is legal.

We, therefore have an equal obligation to the toads and the owner of the land. If we expropriated his land, or the use if it, in favor of the toads, then toad protection is a public use which must be paid for.

This is why the state gets away with theft. People like you, who are well meaning put the rights of the toads on equal footing with those of the individual. But toads have no rights. If environmentalists want to save them then they need to pony up and pay for the efforts to do so just as hunters and private game reserves do when they ensure that what they hunt is allowed to breed in sufficient number to keep the populations healthy.

 
At 11/11/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"But toads have no rights. If environmentalists want to save them then they need to pony up and pay for the efforts to do so just as hunters and private game reserves do when they ensure that what they hunt is allowed to breed in sufficient number to keep the populations healthy."

And as in this story, a group of private citizens, anticipating government theft, improved conditions for the toads, not only to preserve them, but to prevent a ruling of "endangerment" that would have resulted in the government theft of private property.

 
At 11/11/2010 1:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Property rights are ignored and theft by the state is legal.

Some property rights are being ignored. The proerty rights the state wants are proetected as precious. And it is not so much the state as it is your own neighbors, agitating the state (all government) to protect their property at the expense of yours. I agree that toads and bunnies and even people need to be protected: those things all have value which acrrue to me (and everyone else) in dollars and cents.

I disagree on how the benefits are claimed and the costs are allocated.

==================================

I didn;t say toads have rights. I said we have an equal obligation to the toads and the owner of the land. Given that we elect to protect the toads, we have to protect the owner equally.

This isn't about toad rights it is about human rights and equal and opposing human obligations.

Passenger pigeions and heath hens were hunted to extinction and we are all poorer beccause of it. Our grandfathers extinguished whatever property rights and values might have come from having those birds today.

As a matter of protecting property rights and value, we have an obligation to prevent that kind of mistake from happening again. But it values nothing to protect one property right at the expense of another. Particularly when one property right is newly discovered. Just because gold is suddenly discovered on someone elses land, does not make it free for the taking.

 
At 11/11/2010 1:44 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

People like you, who are well meaning put the rights of the toads on equal footing with those of the individual.

================================

You misunderstand me completely. Only individuals (humans or human organizations) own property and have the ability to make fair trades.

We can holler about envirowhackos and socialism and make a lot of enemies which gains us nothing. Or we can argue for fair trades, which even envirowhackos understand.

Envirowhackos misunderstand property rights to mean only rights associated with land.

Colnservatives thing every regulation comes only with a cost and no benefit.

I argue that they are both wrong. A regulation confers certain benefits that have a value, and that represents property.

In a level market (not the same as a free one) the cost of a regulation won't exceed its value, so what we need is more kinds of proerty rights, (protected by more kinds of regulation) and more markets to trade them on to keep the costs in check.

For example, some people oppose residential building. Under the present system they can oppose and prevent building at almost no cost to themselves. And yet by preventing building they claim (and get) substantial real benefits that they ought to be willing (and be required) to pay for.

 
At 11/11/2010 1:55 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

State gets away with theft because we let it. In fact we often lobby for just that.

Game reserves have an income stream because they provide a service and a value that is sufficient that (some) people will pony up to partake.

Toad preserves don't have that income stream, but that does not mean we don't have an obligation or a need to protect the toads, same as game.

We support private game reserves (open to the public) out of the income a a few that are willing to pay to hunt. The owners give up other uses willingly, in exchange for profit.

And there is profit involved. But a Toad reserve is going to be a nonprofit.

That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be paid for. Nor does it mean it should be paid for by a few (as the game reserves are) but unwillingly, just because their property happened to be under the toads.

 
At 11/11/2010 4:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I don't believe we know the true facts about bird mortality vs the benefits of wind energy and fossil energy. But Ganges point is well taken: whatever we decidhe the value of bird protection per BTU is, it should be the same regardless of the source of the BTU. Likewise if we can save a duck cheaply one way, why do it expensively another way? The argument that they are priceless does not cut it, even if you believe we have an obligation to ducks.

I have no problem with the courts establishing a dollar figure for each duck the oil or wind companies kill as a fine as long as they pay those companies the same price for each new duck that they raise. The same would be true for eagles and other birds that are killed by wind turbines.

 
At 11/11/2010 5:06 PM, Blogger Sean said...

VangeIV,

I have no problem with the courts establishing a dollar figure for each duck the oil or wind companies kill as a fine as long as they pay those companies the same price for each new duck that they raise.
I would agree, but I'm surprised that you would find it acceptable for the government to collect fines on these things.

 
At 11/11/2010 6:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra, first of all, please reactivate your spell-checker. Your comments are, at best confusing, disjointed, and full of non sequiturs and grammatical errors that make reading them difficult. The additional hurdle of misspelled words makes it nearly impossible.

You have blamed the checker for providing incorrect words, but that's just lame. Everyone knows that you are the master, and spell checker is the servant. You needn't accept any word that's offered. You be the decider, and don't allow, for example, the word Gangs to be used where you intended Vange.

Now to actual content:

You seem to use the word "we" quite often, as in "we have an equal obligation...", "we are all poorer...", "we elect to protect the toads, we have to protect the owner equally."

Just who are you including in this "we"? Do you mean all of mankind, all Americans, all right-thinking individuals, or is it only you and that mouse in your pocket? You might consider that you can only really speak for yourself, and perhaps a group of people who you know for sure agree with you. Don't include me, or anyone you don't know.

"Given that we elect to protect the toads, we have to protect the owner equally."

That is not a given, as 'we' haven't elected to protect the toads. You might want to reread the story. A group of private citizens elected to improve Toadland conditions in a way that encourages higher toad populations. With a higher toad population, US Fish & Wildlife denied requests, from the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, for an endangerment ruling, thus preventing interference in the rightful use of this property by its owner. Uses that include ranching, mining, and off-road vehicle racing. The toads are not now protected, and they continue to exist only because a private group likes them.

If the two busybody groups asking for an endangerment ruling were honest, they would have ponied up their own money to help save the toads, rather than ask government to use force to deny property owners the use of their own land. This is especially true in light of the fact that the real cause of toad peril was the overuse of groundwater by nearby solar energy projects that caused Toadland to become drier, and had nothing to do with land use by private owners.

And, if you feel strongly that people who want something should spend their own money, you will find a "donate" button at the link above so that you too can help.

 
At 11/11/2010 6:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Sean,

"I would agree, but I'm surprised that you would find it acceptable for the government to collect fines on these things."

Courts are OK. We need them to resolve disputes and enforce contracts. It could be a private court system.

 
At 11/11/2010 6:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra, first of all, please reactivate your spell-checker. Your comments are, at best confusing, disjointed, and full of non sequiturs and grammatical errors that make reading them difficult. The additional hurdle of misspelled words makes it nearly impossible.

You have blamed the checker for providing incorrect words, but that's just lame. Everyone knows that you are the master, and spell checker is the servant. You needn't accept any word that's offered. You be the decider, and don't allow, for example, the word Gangs to be used where you intended Vange.

Now to actual content:

You seem to use the word "we" quite often, as in "we have an equal obligation...", "we are all poorer...", "we elect to protect the toads, we have to protect the owner equally."

Just who are you including in this "we"? Do you mean all of mankind, all Americans, all right-thinking individuals, or is it only you and that mouse in your pocket? You might consider that you can only really speak for yourself, and perhaps a group of people who you know for sure agree with you. Don't include me, or anyone you don't know.

 
At 11/11/2010 6:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Given that we elect to protect the toads, we have to protect the owner equally."

That is not a given, as 'we' haven't elected to protect the toads. You might want to reread the story. A group of private citizens elected to improve Toadland conditions in a way that encourages higher toad populations. With a higher toad population, US Fish & Wildlife denied requests, from the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, for an endangerment ruling, thus preventing interference in the rightful use of this property by its owner. Uses that include ranching, mining, and off-road vehicle racing. The toads are not now protected, and they continue to exist only because a private group likes them.

If the two busybody groups asking for an endangerment ruling were honest, they would have ponied up their own money to help save the toads, rather than ask government to use force to deny property owners the use of their own land. This is especially true in light of the fact that the real cause of toad peril was the overuse of groundwater by nearby solar energy projects that caused Toadland to become drier, and had nothing to do with land use by private owners.

And, if you feel strongly that people who want something should spend their own money, you will find a "donate" button at the link above so that you too can help.

 
At 11/11/2010 7:45 PM, Blogger Sean said...

Ron H.,

Courts are OK. We need them to resolve disputes and enforce contracts. It could be a private court system.
Did I miss something? I didn't see the private contract here? Whose toads are being protected?

 
At 11/11/2010 10:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Sean,

Sorry I wasn't clear. I was referring to VangelV's bird killing & replacing comment.

He said 'court', and you said 'government', then I just jumped right in.

VangelV was responding to Hydra, whose worldview includes lots & lots of government, so he may have been reluctant to reply from an anarchist's position for fear of losing all connection.

I can only guess - perhaps VangelV will respond to your comment so it will be clear. :-)

The toad story didn't mention courts or private contracts. The toads may be protecting themselves. Some on this thread would provide them equal rights with property owners.

 
At 11/11/2010 10:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


Some property rights are being ignored. The proerty rights the state wants are proetected as precious. And it is not so much the state as it is your own neighbors, agitating the state (all government) to protect their property at the expense of yours.


Actually, it isn't your neighbours at all because they understand that if you lose your rights they will lose theirs. Nobody who lives and farms the area would agree that the government should tell them what to do with their property so that toads can be saved. That push is coming from elsewhere.

I agree that toads and bunnies and even people need to be protected: those things all have value which acrrue to me (and everyone else) in dollars and cents.

You are free to raise bunnies and toads on your own property or pay others to raise them because you attach value to them. That does not give you the right to force others to raise toads or bunnies on their property.

I disagree on how the benefits are claimed and the costs are allocated.

That is easy. You set a price for bunnies or toads. If I kill one I have to pay you the cash. But if like the price and raise them than you have to pay me for each one I produce. That is how markets should work.

I didn;t say toads have rights. I said we have an equal obligation to the toads and the owner of the land. Given that we elect to protect the toads, we have to protect the owner equally.

But we have already established that animals do not have the same rights. You eat chicken without ever considering the right of that chicken to live its life for anything other than satisfying your need to eat. And as I said, the solution is easy. You set the price and the owner of the land will be able to decide if he is a buyer or seller. If he kills a toad he pays you your price but if he raises toads you have to pay him that same price.

For the record, I would be the first to argue that animals have rights as soon as those animals draft a document that demands that those rights should be recognized.

 
At 11/11/2010 10:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

This isn't about toad rights it is about human rights and equal and opposing human obligations.

Opposing obligations? What does that mean? Liberty means that we do not place positive obligations on others. Rights are negative, (get off my lawn), rather than positive (give me some money.)

Passenger pigeions and heath hens were hunted to extinction and we are all poorer beccause of it.

But that is the point. We killed them because we did not value them.

Our grandfathers extinguished whatever property rights and values might have come from having those birds today.

No they did not because it was not your property that they took. You need to slow down and think a bit more clearly.

As a matter of protecting property rights and value, we have an obligation to prevent that kind of mistake from happening again.

That is easy. If you want to raise toads go right ahead. Hunters make sure that they have lots of ducks to hunt by investing in habitat formation and maintenance for those ducks. Game reserves make sure that they can stay in business by ensuring that they have good breeding programs that replace animals that are killed by hunters who pay for the privilege. Pigs and cows are not going extinct not because we don't kill them but because we value them for the meat that they provide.

But it values nothing to protect one property right at the expense of another.

Another what? Your property can't be yours if it belongs to another. If I want something from that property than I should pay you for it, not argue that I have rights that allow me to suppress yours.

Particularly when one property right is newly discovered.

Again you are confused.

Just because gold is suddenly discovered on someone elses land, does not make it free for the taking.

It does to the person who owns the land and nobody else.

 
At 11/11/2010 10:52 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We can holler about envirowhackos and socialism and make a lot of enemies which gains us nothing. Or we can argue for fair trades, which even envirowhackos understand.

What fair trades? And who determines what is fair? As soon as you accept the argument that you have no rights to a property you have lost the game because the 'envirowhackos" will use the courts to interfere with that property without the need for compensation.

I argue that they are both wrong. A regulation confers certain benefits that have a value, and that represents property.

Nonsense. A regulation usually limits rights and meddles with voluntary transactions. As such, it has no value above that established by your rights in the first place.

In a level market (not the same as a free one) the cost of a regulation won't exceed its value, so what we need is more kinds of proerty rights, (protected by more kinds of regulation) and more markets to trade them on to keep the costs in check.

More kinds of property rights? On which planet do you live? You either have property rights or you don't. It is not a matter of 'kind.'

 
At 11/11/2010 11:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

State gets away with theft because we let it. In fact we often lobby for just that.

This is not all that complicated. If your neighbours lobby to steal my home you should not be able to take it away from me even if there are more of you. The same is true of government. It should not be permitted to do what individuals are not permitted to do.

Game reserves have an income stream because they provide a service and a value that is sufficient that (some) people will pony up to partake.

Correct. People value the game and are willing to pay to have it around so that they can hunt it.

Toad preserves don't have that income stream, but that does not mean we don't have an obligation or a need to protect the toads, same as game.

But you don't have the right to tell others to protect the toads. You are always free to pay to protect them yourself by buying property for that purpose or paying others for the service a fee that they will accept.

We support private game reserves (open to the public) out of the income a a few that are willing to pay to hunt. The owners give up other uses willingly, in exchange for profit.

You are confused. The users support the reserve with the fees that they pay the owners. There is no altruism involved because both sides get what they prefer. Hunters prefer to kill elephants more than they prefer to keep the $20K that they pay for the privilege and the owners prefer the money to the elephant. Everyone wins, including the elephants because hunting means that they will survive as a species and even grow in numbers.

And there is profit involved. But a Toad reserve is going to be a nonprofit.

Go and raise the funding for the nonprofit reserve if that is what you wish. I am pointing out that you don't have the right to force others to do so.

That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be paid for. Nor does it mean it should be paid for by a few (as the game reserves are) but unwillingly, just because their property happened to be under the toads.

As I said, feel free to make an offer to the rancher because you love toads and want to see them preserved in that location. You still have no right to force the rancher to look after the toads or to accept a price that he thinks is too low.

 
At 11/11/2010 11:04 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I would agree, but I'm surprised that you would find it acceptable for the government to collect fines on these things.

Actually I oppose that but I am willing to forget my opposition as long as there is symmetry. For each toad killed the government gets money from the farmer. But for each new toad produced by the farmer the government pays the same price to the farmer. Under certain circumstances I would be willing to consider going into the toad ranching business.

 
At 11/11/2010 11:10 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangelV was responding to Hydra, whose worldview includes lots & lots of government, so he may have been reluctant to reply from an anarchist's position for fear of losing all connection.

Actually, I wanted to introduce the idea of symmetry. The federal court decides that the government can collect $1 million a bird for 15 ducks killed in a tailings pond. I bite my tongue as I say 'fine.' But the court's ruling is only legitimate if the government is willing to pay that same company the same $1 million per bird for each bird that it raises and releases into the wild.

 
At 11/13/2010 1:52 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Vance: "I have no problem with the courts..."

I like that. It is essentially the same argument I am making. If environmentalists understood that they society was going to have to pay the same price for new ducks as they require society to pay for dead ones, the price would equilibrate pretty fast.

I'll be sure to use that, with credit given.

Why involve the courts? I think there are ways to involve direct markets for such things.

 
At 11/13/2010 2:00 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Sorry about the spell checker. My Droid sometimes replaces words wrongly, and the voice activation isn't perfect either. I'm partially disableda so typing isnt perfect either. Please try to bear with me and follow the ideas rather than the words literally. Generally you can omit every fourth word entirely and still get the gist.

 
At 11/13/2010 2:32 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I might be the master of this thing but I have not mastered it yet. I would do better if it didn't give me so much help. No doubt there is a conspiracy behind it.

It refuses to spell Vange. It comes out as Vance or bangers or Ganges, even if I spell it correctly, it changes after I have gone to the next word.

Anyway.

I accept your comment about my use of we .

You left out the inferred I.

As in I believe we have an obligation...

I don't see anything socialistic in that, and I am free to voice my beliefs. You are free to debunk them.

I believe I cannot prevent destruction of the passenger pigeons by myself.

Ownership of the pigeons is unclear, so the best I can do is assume that you are entitled to some and so am I, equally.

Therefore we - you and I each have entitlements and we each have obligations.

Out of the hundreds of millions of pigeons, statistically, you own a couple and I own a couple. Collectively, we own the pigeons. Otherwise each of us (we) have no right to take one.

All the passenger pigeons are gone now, so someone must have taken mine.


I might have sold it to him had he asked, but the price would have gone near infinity as the supply went to zero.

As I said, the property rights for passenger pigeons were unclear, and so now we have none.

We can do better than that.

 
At 11/13/2010 2:44 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

You are picking nits on whether we have elected to protect the toads.

We have enacted laws which put in place a procedure to place animals on the protected list. Those laws do not adequately and equally protect the landowner and the toad. Or those who wish to put the toad on the list.

The evidence of a problem is that a few people had to work proactively and spend money to prevent a greater loss which could be occasioned by the toad nuggets at little or no cost.

What part of assymetric is it that you don't understand.?

 
At 11/13/2010 2:48 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Toad nuggets was toad hugger when I spelled it. Hugger(s) wont stick at all and gets translated to highers.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:08 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

If the busybody groups were honest......

----;

I agree. Therefore we need laws that incentivise these crooks to be honest.

The toads were not protected by private citizens because they like toads. It was the lesser cost of two evils. A cost occasioned by the busybodies at no cost or little cost to themselves.


But as soon as you make this us ( we) against them you have to invoke that we word.

I'm willing to concede the busybodies are experts in their field. They worry about toads and study toads and I don't.

But the Guy who owns the land is an expert at owning and keeping land. I believe they have equal and opposite rights, relative to the values they are trying to protect.

The toads will be worth a lot more when only a few are left.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:21 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Whose toads are being protected?


------

Exactly we have inexact property rights and we need MORE regulation to record and define those rights so that they can be protected.

Concede the envirosocialist claim that we all own the toads. Ok, then I have the right to sell my share of the toads to a toad butcher, if I can find one. The envirosocialists equally have the right to buy my toad, and then keeping an extra toad alive is their problem. Then they may have to buy my land so they will have enough toad habitat.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:27 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I agree with Vance about symmetry.

Now, how do we achieve it?

It is only sarcastically symmetrical to say " buy the ranch if you want to protect the toads.

 
At 11/13/2010 8:25 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Why involve the courts? I think there are ways to involve direct markets for such things.

Let me be clear. As an anarchist I believe that courts should be private and not run by the government. It is not moral or practical to give governments monopoly over the legal system if we are to be free.

That said, I was simply making the case that if there were symmetry and reciprocity even the corrupt government courts would do. Let them set the price for a duck and force the government to accept that price when producers of ducks raise new ones just as the oil companies are forced to accept the price when they kill one.

 
At 11/13/2010 8:53 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

As in I believe we have an obligation..

I don't see anything socialistic in that, and I am free to voice my beliefs. You are free to debunk them.


Obligation is an interesting word that may be giving you a problem. While I have little time to say anything meaningful (the kids have tennis and their English and math classes). When people talk about obligations they normally are referencing what they owe their parents, families, church, clubs, neighbours. But even when we discuss those obligations it is clear that they are voluntary and have no legal backing to enforce them. When you talk about obligations you are talking about the use of force to ensure that people comply with contracts that they never entered into. I did not sign any social contract that obliges me to do things for the government that I do not want to do and neither did anyone else. That means that there is no moral or ethical excuse that governments can use to force us to pay for things that we do not want to fund or to behave in ways that we may not want to behave. If you look at the Bill of Rights you will see that all of the rights are negative, 'get off my lawn' type, not positive, 'gimme stuff' type.

Positive rights mean that individuals have no liberty because they are obligated to serve others. The last time I looked slavery was considered immoral so your belief cannot be justified.

 
At 11/13/2010 9:04 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I believe I cannot prevent destruction of the passenger pigeons by myself.

Ownership of the pigeons is unclear, so the best I can do is assume that you are entitled to some and so am I, equally.


You have recognized the tragedy of the commons where lack of ownership is incentive for people to take as quickly as they can before resources are used up. But that does not happen in a world where property rights allow owners to maximize the value of their property by managing it properly. This is why many species are no longer in danger of going extinct. Private game reserves have recognized the value of animals that can be hunted by those that are willing to pay for the privilege and ensure that they have healthy populations that can be exploited on an ongoing basis. We eat many more cows and pigs each year than nature can produce but I do not worry about extinction of cows and pigs. Do you?

 
At 11/13/2010 2:30 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I think every right is balanced by an obligation to observe that right equally for others.

There is a difference between considering goods as common and considering them fungible.

I don't know which passenger pigeons were "mine" but I know someone took more than he should have. He ignored an obligation and now we have migratory bird laws.

Commercial game reserves only work for some species.

In this case the toads probably needed to be protected, but that should not happen at the sole expense of the landowner.. Otherwise he is the slave.

 
At 11/13/2010 2:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Just because you are too stupid or obstinate to recognize an obligation does not mean you don't have one. Neither of us has signed a contract not to steal from the other but we both know it is wrong.

You are only claiming the right to be a free rider where rights are concerned. If you then grant everyone else equally the same rights as yourself, then we are all free riders and no one has rights.

If you claim even one right, it is mitigated by the obligation to protect that right equally for others.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:09 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

No they did not because it was not your property they took.

--------------

You need to read more carefully. All I said was that our grandfathers extinguished whatever property rights and values that might have come from having those birds today.

We don't have the birds today and so whatever we might have gained we now cannot.

If they are not my birds then they were not theirs either, and they had no right to take them.

If the birds are owned proportionately and fungibly, then they have the right to take some but not all. They can buy more birds from someone else who has rights, and then take more birds. Conservationists can refuse to sell their birds and thus raise the price. But now they bear the costs of conservation by foregoing their bird income.

That still wont protect the birds if everyone decides to sell, so maybe government has a bird tax sufficient to guarantee breeding stock.

It is only if the birds are not owned or owned in common that there is a problem.

We are in violent agreement. I don't own or didn't own the birds or my share of the birds, but I should have. Property rights would have prevented that problem.

Therefore, we need more and better kinds of property rights, and more and better government to define, record, and protect them. Meaning that every property right provides equally the obligation to protect the same right for others.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:29 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

We killed them because we did not value them? That's ridiculous. We killed them because we valued them on our plate. We just had the price wrong.

We had the price wrong because there was no ownership.

We may kill off the toads because they have no value. That we know of.

Anyone who wants to donate is free to do so. But I'm not so sure that anyone who does not want to contribute is free not to. The toads are part of the environment we all live in. If you are free not to support my environment then I'm free not to support yours. I can blow smoke in your face.

I don't think the argument that you did not sign any social contract is valid, unless you are truly advocating anarchy, which means no ownership, no property rights and no markets.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

We have courts to settle disputes. The reason we have so many disputes is that we haven't enough courts and they are too expensive.

We turn to weapons as a cheaper and more accessible and faster alternative.

 
At 11/13/2010 3:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If you are an anarchist why support any kind of court?

With private courts both sides would have to agree which court to use. If they disagree on that, there is no resolution.

 
At 11/13/2010 9:57 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Therefore we - you and I each have entitlements and we each have obligations.?

That is called slavery. When you are obliged to do something for someone else you are little more than a slave.

Out of the hundreds of millions of pigeons, statistically, you own a couple and I own a couple. Collectively, we own the pigeons. Otherwise each of us (we) have no right to take one.

All the passenger pigeons are gone now, so someone must have taken mine.


But we do not own what is in the commons. In the commons anyone can take whatever s/he wishes because all resources are for the taking. Property requires homesteading.

I might have sold it to him had he asked, but the price would have gone near infinity as the supply went to zero.

This is not true. Nobody would be willing to pay a very high price for a particular pigeon when there are many other types around that are much cheaper. If the price were really very high they never would have been hunted to extinction.

As I said, the property rights for passenger pigeons were unclear, and so now we have none.

Property rights are very clear. It is your application of them that is faulty.

 
At 11/13/2010 10:03 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

We have enacted laws which put in place a procedure to place animals on the protected list. Those laws do not adequately and equally protect the landowner and the toad. Or those who wish to put the toad on the list.

Many of those laws actually cause ranchers and farmers to wipe out rare species from their property. If you found a rare flower on your land you would destroy it quickly before some busybody wiped you out by limiting what you could do with that property. That is exactly what happens when the state meddles with rights of individuals.

The evidence of a problem is that a few people had to work proactively and spend money to prevent a greater loss which could be occasioned by the toad nuggets at little or no cost.

The greater loss for them is their property, not the toads. Like I said, if the greens loved toads so much they would buy land on which they would breed them and kept them around for all those people in the future that would enjoy seeing that species of toad rather than the other species that they would have access to.

I know that I get very upset when I go walking on someone rancher's private property and don't see the type of toad that I did not know existed. Don't you?

 
At 11/13/2010 10:03 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra,

I have followed with great interest the conversation you and VangelV have been having on this thread, and I am saddened to see the insulting and disrespectful tone you are now taking.

If I'm not mistaken, VangelV seems to have taken an interest in your enlightenment, and has spent time to explain some basic facts of life to you in simple language, while exhibiting great patience.

I was encouraged for a time that he might have forced a tiny crack in that shell of ignorance you carry with you, when he introduced the simple concept of symmetry, because you seemed to understand it. But based on your latest comments, I've seen no additional lights turning on since then.

I'm concerned that if you continue with your cocky and disrespectful manner, that he will lose patience, and decide he's wasting his time with you, and begin ignoring you as do most others on this blog.

Consider carefully, as you have nothing to gain, and much to lose by continuing on your present course.

 
At 11/13/2010 10:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I agree. Therefore we need laws that incentivise these crooks to be honest.

No. All you need to to is to repeal the laws that force other people to do things that they do not wish to with their properties. As I wrote above, the busybodies are already free to buy their own land and raise their own toads.

I'm willing to concede the busybodies are experts in their field. They worry about toads and study toads and I don't.

You are very naive. The busybodies are empty suits who keep telling us of massive extinction waves caused by modernity but can't find the evidence of species that have actually gone extinct. Biodiversity is going up, not down.

But the Guy who owns the land is an expert at owning and keeping land. I believe they have equal and opposite rights, relative to the values they are trying to protect.

No. The guy who owns the land has rights that the busybodies do not have. It is his land. End of story.

 
At 11/13/2010 10:10 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The toads will be worth a lot more when only a few are left.

No. There are some species that are unique to a specific tree in a specific area of the jungle. They are far more rare than these toads but have no value at all because people do not know about them or want them. As I wrote above, we do not worry about pigs going extinct even though we eat them in numbers that nature could never produce because they have real value so there is incentive to breed them. If the toads were actually marketable because they had value you would not worry about their extinction any more than you worry about pigs or cows going extinct.

An education in economics and logic would really be helpful.

 
At 11/14/2010 12:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The busybodies are empty suits who keep telling us of massive extinction waves caused by modernity but can't find the evidence of species that have actually gone extinct."

It's easy to tell you've encountered such nonsense when you read something about the "modern extinction rate" being orders of magnitude higher than the "normal extinction rate" as if anyone could actually quantify such things, or even have the slightest clue about them.

 
At 11/15/2010 8:23 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I think every right is balanced by an obligation to observe that right equally for others.

Rights are negative. I have to respect your right to property and get off your lawn just as you have to respect my right to property and get off my lawn. But I do not own your lawn and you do not own mine.

There is a difference between considering goods as common and considering them fungible.

You are confused. Goods in the common are not owned by anyone whether they are fungible or not.

I don't know which passenger pigeons were "mine" but I know someone took more than he should have. He ignored an obligation and now we have migratory bird laws.

But that is the point. They were never yours just as apples growing in the wild are not yours. To own something you have to have title or posses it.

Commercial game reserves only work for some species.

Correct. The species have to have enough value that they justify the expense. If the toads have no value then they will not be protected by commercial operations.

In this case the toads probably needed to be protected, but that should not happen at the sole expense of the landowner.. Otherwise he is the slave.

If they 'need' to be protected people should be free to protect them without imposing conditions on others. There is nothing special about one property so the green busybodies can easily buy up similar property, purchase the toads from those that have them and set up breeding grounds if that is what they want. But that is not their primary goal and never has been. Their goal is to control the use of private property, not save toads.

 
At 11/15/2010 7:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If they 'need' to be protected people should be free to protect them without imposing conditions on others.

Isn't that what I said? We have an obligation or need to protect the toads and do it without damaging the landowner.

I think your argument is that only those people who feel the need should protect the toads and leave you out of it, since you don't see the need. That makes you a free rider, not a free individual.

You believe that only species with commercial value should be protected, but we may not know the commercial value at this time. Other people should not have to pay the price for your callous disregard, unless you are willing to accept equal damage from their callous disregard.

================================

But that is the point. They were never yours just as apples growing in the wild are not yours. To own something you have to have title or posses it.

Precisely the point I was making. We need more laws and more government to make and protect such (new) property rights, in order to protect (us) from having those rights expropriated or treated as common rights by the conservation cult.

They are my birds as much as anybody's so we should parcel them out and have a market. That way the birds will be protected.

You would get toad rights, if you don't think they are worth protecting you can sell your rights and get out.

 
At 11/15/2010 7:43 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I have to respect your right to property and get off your lawn just as you have to respect my right to property and get off my lawn.

=============================

You have to respect my toads and I have to respect yours, we just don't record toad ownership.

 
At 11/15/2010 7:45 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"Goods in the common are not owned by anyone whether they are fungible or not."


That is the problem I suggest we fix. Otherwise the conservation cult will claim more and more common goods, in such a way that private goods lose their value.

 
At 11/15/2010 7:48 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

If the toads have no value then they will not be protected by commercial operations.

That would be a market failure. lobsters and musels once had no commmercial value. so even though toads won't be protected by commercial operations they might be protected by government operations with more foresight and different interests than commercial ops.

 
At 11/15/2010 7:51 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"But that is not their primary goal and never has been. Their goal is to control the use of private property, not save toads."


Bingo.

That is why we need property rights in toads that are enforced the same as property rights in land. That way the conservation cult cannot be confused about their goals.

 
At 11/15/2010 11:11 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Isn't that what I said? We have an obligation or need to protect the toads and do it without damaging the landowner.

Read what you wrote above. We have NO OBLIGATION to do anything.

I think your argument is that only those people who feel the need should protect the toads and leave you out of it, since you don't see the need. That makes you a free rider, not a free individual.

I have no need for those toads so I am not a free rider. If I want one I will get one for myself.

If you value the toads you are free to finance your own reserve with your own money.

You believe that only species with commercial value should be protected, but we may not know the commercial value at this time. Other people should not have to pay the price for your callous disregard, unless you are willing to accept equal damage from their callous disregard.

No, I think that I should help to preserve species that are of value to me regardless of what their commercial value is. Other people are free to pay for the preservation of whatever species they value.

Precisely the point I was making. We need more laws and more government to make and protect such (new) property rights, in order to protect (us) from having those rights expropriated or treated as common rights by the conservation cult.

Your ignorance is astounding. You either have rights to a property or you don't. If nobody does we do not need government because it is usually the government that keeps property out of the hands of individuals.

 
At 11/15/2010 11:12 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I have to respect your right to property and get off your lawn just as you have to respect my right to property and get off my lawn.

=============================

You have to respect my toads and I have to respect yours, we just don't record toad ownership.


Sure we do. If they are on my property they are mine. If they are on yours they are yours.

 
At 11/15/2010 11:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

That is the problem I suggest we fix. Otherwise the conservation cult will claim more and more common goods, in such a way that private goods lose their value.

It is easy to 'fix' the problem. Allow private individuals to buy the commons. Respect their property rights and let people pay for their preferences.

 
At 11/16/2010 7:39 AM, Blogger VangelV said...


That is why we need property rights in toads that are enforced the same as property rights in land. That way the conservation cult cannot be confused about their goals


You are confused. You already have the right to any toads on your own property and I have the right to any toads on my property. And the toads have no rights until they can ask for them by themselves.

 
At 11/16/2010 1:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 11/16/2010 2:08 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You would get toad rights, if you don't think they are worth protecting you can sell your rights and get out.""

But I am already out. I have no toad rights, and I don't need to sell them, as I've never had them in the first place. So, what are you talking about?

"That would be a market failure""

No. You don't know what a market is. A market is people voluntarily trading what they have for something they want more, so that both parties are better off. If I don't value toads, I certainly won't offer to trade something I have for them. You would be more correct if you said "There is no market in toads."

You certainly shouldn't suggest that I be forced to trade something for toads that I don't value.

If YOU value toads, YOU trade something for them.

I think what you may value is not so much the toads, as the fact that they exist, and you would like that condition to continue.

It's not necessary that toads be hunted or killed or eaten or their body parts sold to raise money for their preservation. You, and others who value toads might be willing to pay admission to a toad preserve where you could thrill to seeing them in their natural environment.

Think whale watching.

You are still using that word WE too much. I think for you, "we" means "everyone", and you just can't speak for everyone. Try writing comments without ever using the word WE. Instead, where you must use something inclusive, say:

"Those of us who believe________(fill in the blank).

If you honestly value toads, tell me this: Have you donated money to the group that is actively preserving the toads? You may recall that I gave you a link to their website, and they do have a 'donate' button. If you haven't, then you are not being honest when you say "We have an obligation...", and what you really mean is "Others have an obligation...". Think about it.

 

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