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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • While not generally a fan of Mises, I rather agree with the professor's central tenet that rent control is theft. However, he does himself no favors by actually saying "theft". When trying to be persuasive, calling people thieves -- particularly when they don't realize they are -- does nothing to win them over. I've met far too many Libertarians who don't seem to have the basic social skills to understand that they are doing themselves no favors. They merits of an argument can be useless when the other

    • While not generally a fan of Mises, I rather agree with the professor's central tenet that rent control is theft. However, he does himself no favors by actually saying "theft".
      It's a loaded word. Strictly speaking, it is true, depending on context and definitions. In criminal law terms, it is not true, as it is only theft if the gov't says it is theft according to the law. In economic terms, it probably is theft. But the word is loaded and unuseful.

      A better thing to say is that the property owner, by virtue of owning the property, has the right to charge whatever he wishes. And the government by enforcing rent control therefore takes away some of his property rights. Laws regarding properties, about pests, utilities, safety, health, notice before eviction, etc. are all theft of proprerty rights in a similar way.

      The question is whether that "theft" of property rights is justified.

      This quote from the piece is just odd to me:

      Rent control would be theft only if landlords had a right to a specific amount of rental income.
      No, rent control would only NOT be "theft" in the economic / property rights sense if the landlord did NOT have the right to charge whatever he wished. He does have that right, as it is his property. But in some areas, the government, mostly through the people, have decided the government has the right -- even obligation -- to limit that right. I do not agree. But that is the debate.

      The question is not theft or not-theft. It is about rights, and when it is justified to take those rights away. Most strong Libertarians say it is only allowed when your right would harm someone else without their consent, which means I can use asbestos in my building, as long as you know about it. Most of the rest of us think that is a bit too far. But rent control is a far less clear area, in finding where government has a right to step in and take away property rights.
      • It's a loaded word. Strictly speaking, it is true, depending on context and definitions. In criminal law terms, it is not true, as it is only theft if the gov't says it is theft according to the law. In economic terms, it probably is theft. But the word is loaded and unuseful.

        I agree it's loaded and often particularly unuseful. It has been useful for me in religious discussions, however, as I attempt to persuade people who share my religious convictions that supporting such actions means they are supporting theft and therefore engaging in something they believe to be a sin.

        But that's not generally useful in intra-geek discussions. :)

        The question is whether that "theft" of property rights is justified.

        Since the ends never justify the means, then if you prove something is theft or infringement of rights, then I'd have to say the answer to t

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers