Excuse Me … And The Backwards Notion of American Courtesy.

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Many of the problems in driving in the USA as well as the larger society is that courtesy is backwards. Instead of not doing something rude, instead of not imposing on others, people go ahead and do it and then expect others to be courteous to them. It causes or contributes to everything from traffic congestion to economic and political problems.

Now some might not understand what I am getting at. I have a simple example from my experiences on a condominium board of managers. I’ve experienced it multiple times. One day someone had their SUV in the parking lot, hood up for access to the battery and they were playing with some sort of toy boat in our pond. I was getting calls about it. So I go out there to find out what’s going on. When I inform the father (kids playing with the boat) that this is private property he tries to say he lives across the street and thought he had access. I always get that story and it’s always BS. I tell him he doesn’t and our insurance doesn’t allow for recreation on the pond and since I know he’s there I can’t just look the other way without risk to the association. I tell him it would be best to “get out of here.” He then says why didn’t I put it more politely and tells me he is in law enforcement. I just look at him. He packs up and leaves.

Now if it were just that once I could understand. But it’s been everyone from teenagers attempting to create a teenage pregnancy on our property to couples having a picnic to kids playing football in the parking lot. Each approach has been the same. I inform them this isn’t a public park. I point them at the no trespassing sign that each and every one of them was either directly in front of or walked past. But it’s the same thing, they don’t feel I am courteous enough to them. The kids playing football asked me why I was being such an “asshole” about it when they had not “hit any cars.” Why should I have been courteous? I had to stop what I was doing, go down there and deal with them. I didn’t ask them to come by. But they want to be treated courteously or argue with me. Now I understand why people just call the cops. But I don’t believe in that and really I don’t want to be responsible for someone getting killed because of it.

By now either most readers are wondering why I am going through these experiences or thinking I am some kind of killjoy. For my point it’s not so much that they were trespassing but what they expected after being caught trespassing. Courtesy. I was supposed to ask them to leave politely or just upon finding out they were “good people” allow them to stay. Not command them to leave. How horrible it was of me to expect them to leave my property.

This is how it works throughout American society. It’s not rude to behave rudely, to impose upon others, it’s rude not show the rude person proper courtesy. That’s why we have people who can’t merge properly. Who pull out into traffic and expect others to compensate for them. It’s never their rude initial act that’s the problem but always how someone else responded or did not respond to it. In the political arena it’s not that some new tax or control was imposed but how someone reacted to it. How they wouldn’t go along or worse how they exposed it for what it really was. They are rude. Not the initial imposition.

Why must we be polite to rude people? Why should we always need to politely ask rude people to stop being rude?

It’s as if some sociopath got a hold of the rules of society and changed them to his benefit. It’s like all the laws about having to “opt out” of this or that. It’s always about asking very meekly and politely for the rude people to stop doing whatever they are doing. Telemarketing? Selling your data? Having a picnic on your lawn? Making out in their car parked in your driveway? Telling you how to live your life? It’s about asking them politely through the proper channels and mechanisms to stop doing what they should have never been doing in the first place.

This brings to mind another example. When I’ve lived in dorm rooms or apartments, when a neighbor was being noisy, playing music loudly in most cases, they would get upset that I would bang something on the wall or bounce a ball off the ceiling. They knew what they were doing. They knew what message I sending them. They were angry at me for not getting dressed, going out into the hall, going to their door, knocking, waiting for them to answer, then asking them politely to stop. They wake me from a sleep at 7 a.m. or whatever and I am supposed to go through hassle to be polite to them? One neighbor even complained to the management company about me not coming to their door to ask them to stop. The letter from the management company had all the particulars correct… but I was rude for not asking politely.

I’ve been told in arguing libertarian viewpoints that I am rude. Why am I rude? Because I don’t properly use socially submissive terms to accept that the Democrat and Republican views are valid. I didn’t first accept their rude ideology of imposition to be legitimate. The initial impositions of Democrats and Republicans is never done politely. It is just done. Democrats and Republicans can even call those with libertarian views all sorts of names, but if the libertarian doesn’t even go there, just confidently expresses himself, he’s rude. It’s baffling to me.

I think my experiences are hardly unique. But I believe that few ask why is it this way and why is it permitted to be this way?

It is in driving that I first noticed things were backwards. Some guy blocking the passing lane? Flash to pass him? No. That’s “rude.” Not that he was blocking, that’s not rude. Flashing to pass, telling him to move over, that’s rude. Honking at someone who doesn’t move on green signal? That’s rude. Not sitting there on a green. On and on and on. Example after example where the rude act is perfectly fine and the other person has to beg for the rude person to stop doing what he’s doing.

I started doing social experiments. Instead of honking or flashing lights I’d do what it took to just go around. Sometimes it was as rude as the initial act. What has happened? Absolutely nothing. Just the other day I was stuck behind someone who wasn’t moving on green turn arrow. So I moved into the straight lane, went around this driver returning to the turn lane and made my turn. Nothing. Technically it was queue jumping, not polite, but it was accepted without a peep.

So I understand how the society works. Be rude, have others ask for it to stop. How did this backwards way of doing things get started? I have no idea other than it has been a longstanding manipulation of people from the time they are children. I can think of nothing else. Perhaps others will put their best ideas forward below. I just know this is the wrong way of doing things. Think about how much better everything would work if it was courteous to just not be rude in the first place? That there was no expectation of courtesy to being asked to stop rude behavior? Or maybe I am just wrong, that using the model of German driving, where being polite in the first place is what is socially reinforced instead of being polite to rude people won’t work better. I think it can only make for a better society and better world, of course then the sociopaths who run things would have a much more difficult time of it.

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  56 comments for “Excuse Me … And The Backwards Notion of American Courtesy.

  1. Tor Munkov
    November 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Courtesy would make a comeback if we reinstitute the duel. Any two gentleman could take their dispute to the nearest fight club franchise, pay the rental fee, and have at it. 3 rounds in a UFC cage, the loser’s debit card is charged $500 which is transferred to the winner. The whole thing is posted to youtube for shaming/bragging purposes.

    Why on Earth are you living in Alcatraz Acres? What kind of Addled Eunuchs make phone calls over some deadbeat Dad and his brat with an RC boat in a pond?

    Maybe there are a few property owners who advocate teenage sex, picnics, and outdoor sports? Is it the Nurse Ratchet stepford wives that demasculizes one to hate life as being a nuisance to the quiet empty sterile doll house vacuum ideal?

    If I had the sunglasses from John Carpenter’s “They Live” I’m starting to worry you’re one of them, and not one of us. There is no Board of Curmudgeons or Pond liability risk coefficient, these are Alien illusory Projections.

    The concept of noisy eludes me. If anything, America is too silenty. Is it really difficult for people to read when others are talking. If I owned a Library, everyone could talk as loud as they want. Babies could cry. Maybe people are confused? Is their inner voice so soft and lispy they can’t hear it, even next to a crowded jetway.

    What is rude? Either you are obstructed by another or you are not. There is no rude.

    I am fortunate to live and work where always, I can just be. Burp, fart, stare at woman’s ass and tits, tell dirty jokes, stereotype, mock, belittle, point out the obvious facts with only assymetrical weasling for emphasis.

    It is a courtesy that I shave, shower, and use a toilet. I remain monogamous and parentally nurturing in return for blanket rejection of alleged woman’s and civil rights straitjackets.

    I hear the mewling cries from Staten Island biddies and am unmoved. I hope you gun molls of the gangster state and your lapdog Staten Island Fairy husbands who are counting on Fema Concentration Camp Counselors all die in a FSA Army swarm of hungry hip-hopping locusts.

    Until there is a man, there will be no manners.

    • BrentP
      November 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I thought private property was private property. Trespassing is wrong under every libertarian branch of thought that I know of. Permitting the public in to do as they please is of the socialist and communist branches of cloverism where there is no such thing as private property.

      Why should the public be permitted in? Nobody says anything about the owners doing such things. The public at large is another story. Is it the size of the property that makes it public? How about I take a nature walk on some of the Rockefeller or Turner lands? Do you think they’ll kick me out? Would you defend me against their desire to kick me off their land? How about area 51? Technically that is public property. Technically speaking.

      And if the line allows use of private outdoor facilities would it allow them to say use the indoor facilities? A bed would be nicer than the lawn with the goose turds in it. After all if the public can use private property how do we draw the line of where they may or may not go?

      If being awakened by loud rap music at 7am isn’t rude, then banging on the wall isn’t either. The idea of nuisance is well covered such that I should not need to go into here.

      Intrusions and obstructions under the backwards system are permitted, it’s objecting to them that isn’t. Why can the government employees do so much to so many? I feel it is in part because it’s rude to object to intrusions. People are socially conditioned to accept aggression into their personal space.

      • Tor Munkov
        November 4, 2012 at 7:40 pm

        I guess I’m befuddled by your sense of trespass. A father and son goose on a pond is a naturalists delight, but not humans, they evoke rage and violation.
        In a Jetson’s world, everyting has a price and is permitted. You could ping the Dad’s cellphone and his next bill would include a $10 charge from your Condo Association.

        A sane living society would have places for outdoor sports and rumspringa youth sexual congress. Like Eric said we are a dying mausoleum full of NIMBY pambys afraid of someone dirtying their lakes or scratching their sod.

        I’m an unconventional value steward with a Mexican theory of property rights. Graffiti is just some free paint that better protects my wall. Children, young adults, and fertile females rank above letters on a metal sign. If they need to defecate on my lawn due to poor forsight, they are welcome to do so.
        If I see vagrants or larcenists, I too would call one of my tenants to GTFO them. Worst case I DIY it, then of course I brandish the long gun while concealing the short gun as a failsafe.

        Americans are cartton Schmeeguls guarding their precious.

      • Tor Munkov
        November 4, 2012 at 8:31 pm

        I guess I’m befuddled by your sense of trespass. A father and son goose on a pond is a naturalists delight, but not humans, they evoke rage and violation.
        In a Jetson’s world, everyting has a price and is permitted. You could ping the Dad’s cellphone and his next bill would include a $10 charge from your Condo Association.

        A sane living society would have places for outdoor sports and rumspringa youth sexual congress. Like Eric said we are a dying mausoleum full of NIMBY pambys afraid of someone dirtying their lakes or scratching their sod.

        I’m an unconventional value steward with a Mexican theory of property rights. Graffiti is just some free paint that better protects my wall. Children, young adults, and fertile females rank above letters on a metal sign. If they need to defecate on my lawn due to poor forsight, they are welcome to do so.
        If I see vagrants or larcenists, I too would call one of my tenants to GTFO them. Worst case I DIY it, then of course I brandish the long gun while concealing the short gun as a failsafe.

        Americans have devolved down to autistic cartton Schmeegulls guarding their precious. Thissss land ith my laaaand. It is my preshussss. Every move you make triggers a corporate duck alarm that cries Aflack!

        Gee I’d like to park my Caddy in the Parking lot and take a bus or taxi home when drinking. Aflack! The neighbor kids can use my vacant lot as a party space for a rental fee. Aflack! The cops wife wants to earn some extra dough with a Craigslist posting for escort services or loritab resale. Aflack! Kids want to sell cookies and lemonade in the front yard. Aflack!

        Chinese rule is 100X more freeing than US of Ameritraz. Commie buzzwords are meaningless and they all know it. Just another adopted ruse to keep away the round-eye and his Beetlejuice concepts of social cooperation. The Yellow man is waxing the White man is waning that is clear.

        The Walking Dead are among us and they have to be fed and have a place of their own to do their zombie stuff. I Am Legend, and even make a small profit keeping the staggering corpses off my streets and far away gnawing on pink slime and watching Jersey Shore in their taconite tinkertoy stupor shacks in District 9.

        Like a neo-Vanderbilt I offer easy credit and no background or documentation check. I have a human moat of quicineras and wool cap coldplay MTVeers who know all too well the Nuremberg realities of the Volk Stadt.

        What is with the resumes and Angie’s lists. A job that needs your wherabouts 8 years ago Tuesday is no job at all.

        There is no non-pathetic way to prove residence. If you need to whip out your driving ID to a security guard in your own subdivision, you have over-secured yourself into servitude.

        Excuse my Ad Homophobe attack jackassery, please. Perhaps my classic liberalism mindset is an unfair altruistic burden to those who prefer a quiet Ron Paul planned pregnancy libertarian lifestyle of a lesser libertarian god.

        • Scott
          November 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

          This would be one of your better pieces Tor. Outstanding, emotive, sincere and above all well thought out. +10

        • BrentP
          November 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

          So if I allowed them to stay and the kid drowned or was attacked by goose or whatever and then they sued the association and the insurance didn’t cover it because they were permitted to be there, what then Tor?

          Furthermore, why should the property be maintained for the public’s enjoyment? The landscaping costs between 10 and 20 grand a year alone. Insurance is another 20 grand a year. Allowing the public free run of the place would greatly increase both. The public leaves their trash everywhere.

          But back to the guy and his kids, personally I let it go until I had no choice but to deal with it. I don’t like it, but once you let some of the random public in, there’s no stopping any of them. This was no neighbor who asked, it was some guy from who knows where who just came in and decided to make himself at home. They all claim to ‘live across the street’ in another complex, but practically none of them do.

          So I don’t see how you draw a parallel between neighbor kids you know and strangers who just wander in expecting free public accommodation.

          Did I forget to mention that there is a park down the street and the town has many public parks, some with ponds? They aren’t far away.

        • November 5, 2012 at 10:59 am


          C’mon now!

          Geese are animals. They cannot read; they cannot be expected to understand the concept, private property/no trespassing.

          Humans can – and ought to be.

          Brent is absolutely right about the entitlement mindset so many people have – and the (related) utter disregard for boundaries. Here I mean not merely the physical sort. I mean ethical/moral boundaries. A person with his head screwed on right doesn’t help himself to “free” food at a store just because it’s there anymore than he would help himself to someone else’s pond (or pier) just because it’s there.

          A normal ten-year-old should know that what’s not his belongs to someone else – and therefore, his use of it is conditional upon permission.

          To just help yourself to other people’s things – things other people worked for/built with their labor/time/money – is barbaric.

          • Tor Munkov
            November 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm

            I suspect you’re right. From age 5 – 14 I cut through two neighboring yards on the way home with no thought of wrong. I avoided their gardens, and wouldn’t have ever thought to touch their stuff.

            But those days are gone. Its all sign sign everywhere a sign or else.

            PERHAPS I might have died or gone kleptomaniacal on them, but I think there’s okay speeding and okay getting from a to b without permission.

            A 10 year old knows the difference between residential and 200 feet clear of reisdential and expensive shit outdoors you should never approach.

            A Condo Commons is a different animal from a Condo residence or business. That was the norm in the 70s anyway, back when I didn’t need to read signs to do a damn thing.

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

            As to my earlier post Tor, cutting through is not what I am discussing. Even property rights is a tangent. What I am discussing is why people who have clearly decided to use what is not theirs expect people to be polite and submissive to them.

            Cutting through… I never bothered with. I would actually wait to see if someone stuck around to use the facilities. For instance one morning I left for work and some high school girls were there, parked by the pond. When I returned in the afternoon they were still there. I told them to leave. They were there for 7 hours provided they arrived mere seconds before I first saw them, which is unlikely.

            Cutting through? Bah. go ahead. Don’t make a mess. Mind goose turds. But the only people who cut through are neighbors. It’s not a short cut for anyone else.

        • methylamine
          November 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm


          As absolutely outstanding as your crazy, erudite, better-than-gonzo-Hunter-Thompson writing is…

          …You are missing the principle of Brent’s argument.

          There are two problems:

          1) These people are violating his (and the other owners’) private property rights. Period. Call them curmudgeonly, call them nannies, call them Stepfords–it’s their property!

          2) Boobus Americanus is idiotically litigious, and Brent’s point is spot-on…in a civilized society, a little harmless infraction (like sailing remote-controlled boats on the pond) without trampling on everyone could be tolerated; Brent could shrug and say “ah well, let them have their fun; they’re not hurting anyone”. But he can’t. Because he’s right–if the dumbfucks hurt themselves, they’ll sue Brent et al.

          The key to understanding Brent’s whole post is simple:

          Collectivism vs Individualism.

          The guy hogging the left lane is a collectivist; he thinks in terms of “public” property. It is YOU who are the interloper, who selfishly wishes to “speed” in the left lane–which “belongs” to us all.

          The individualist, on the other hand, wishes to maximize his own utility/felicity…and recognizes that to do so, he must extend to others the same courtesy he wishes to receive.

          Clovers miss this key point; they see the individualist as selfish, and the collectivist as altruistic.

          But in practice, collectivism destroys civility.

          • Tor Munkov
            November 6, 2012 at 4:23 am

            I’m teeing off on collectivists that aren’t sucessfully introduced by my writing.

            I am thinking of John Carpenter and no one has seen his “They Live” cult classic.

            I take it as given the owner has freedom to act. I served evictions since around age 15 in family rentals.

            I talked to renter nonpayers in a jocular matter of fact voice about how the Sheriff will be coming by to lock them out and supervise our placing of their stuff on the front lawn.

            There is a fortune to be had keeping booboeuoise in mcluxury at rent to own markups. I have made a small fortune at it. Of course, it began with a large fortune amassed by my forebears.

            This well conceived article has inspired a lot of research. It should have elicited positive face. Comments showing you are liked, admired, ratified, related too. A boost of status and selfesteem.

            First clover impunes your driving, and now I exhibit an unrelated face threatening act against something tangential. Like Rodney Dangerfield, you get no respect.

            Like every competent man, you want your actions to be unimpeded by others.

            I am a hightech person who for some reason starts all kinds of stuff Stanley Kowalsky style. Good thing I have Stella. I do abhor boundaries but don’t jump hedges, fences, or even a string and two sticks, especially being a 45 year old with no reason to do so.

            I believe in a Free Shit Individualist, who can develop land via Georgism, but how are you to know its not just a FSA in disguise.

          • December 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

            Dear meth,

            Clovers miss this key point; they see the individualist as selfish, and the collectivist as altruistic. But in practice, collectivism destroys civility.

            Spot on. The pressure to “share and share alike” is one of the worst moral inversions.

            The truth is far better expressed in the adage “Good fences make good neighbors.”

            People need their boundaries. It’s an outward expression of their inner sovereignty. It is nothing to be made light of. It is far from “petty.”

      • Tor Munkov
        November 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

        Easement is not trespass. Below 70dB I can mitigate outside noise with my central air fan, which I do a few times a year to avoid Reggaeton lullabies during special occassions.

        I live with and frequent places with mild to heavy tobacco smoke.Girls that smoke are less cloverish, wilder, and hotter IMHO. I’ve never even tried the habit, and considerit as an easement I grant and not a trespass.

        Like Albert J Nock, I never tell people my full name, place of work, or address. My vehicle papers and ID have a distant rental unit address and are under lock & safe at home or onthe road.

        Much of what I write is out of line and provocative. I enjoy a good nonsequitir at your expense and have tresspassed not cut thru without harm?. Boothe is GPSing the old lady’s stern and aft inlets. Not yet coalescing into the Hendrix Joker Premise Escape Algorithm.

        In Politeness theory, a lot of my writing involves face treatening words. I write to evoke waves ofmelancholy, romanticism, despair, identity questioning,, and anger threshold baiting.

        I admire Howard Stern and wish to write and act more like him, but end up a lot closer to shock comedian Sam Kinison if I’m lucky.

        Whatever Charles Bukowski could be called, that’s where my pigeon hole would be too. I understand and agree with Laissez Faire, Guns, and fences, but mostly I’m Laissez. It’s hard to patrol all along the watchtower when you’re busy have a rip roaring time, occassionally in no shape to be near a weapon.

        What would Rockwell, North. Grigg, Altucher, Casey, Jeff, Ludwig, Ayn do in your shoes. Tphere were more guns but less

        • BrentP
          November 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

          There are no easements. The boarders are well defined with plantings of bushes and tress as well as fences. All the neighboring properties have no trespassing posted. Generally nothing is done if someone is passing through, taking a short cut so long as they live on one of the bordering properties. However I don’t think it would have been looked upon kindly if I had decided to start using the neighbor’s basketball court.

      • Tor Munkov
        November 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

        Easement is not trespass. Below 70dB I can mitigate outside noise with my central air fan, which I do a few times a year to avoid Reggaeton lullabies during special occassions.

        I live with and frequent places with mild to heavy tobacco smoke.Girls that smoke are less cloverish, wilder, and hotter IMHO. I’ve never even tried the habit, and considerit as an easement I grant and not a trespass.

        Like Albert J Nock, I never tell people my full name, place of work, or address. My vehicle papers and ID have a distant rental unit address and are under lock & safe at home or onthe road.

        Much of what I write is out of line and provocative. I enjoy a good nonsequitir at your expense and have tresspassed not cut thru without harm?. Boothe is GPSing the old lady’s stern and aft inlets. Not yet coalescing into the Hendrix Joker Premise Escape Algorithm.

        In Politeness theory, a lot of my writing involves face treatening words. I write to evoke waves ofmelancholy, romanticism, despair, identity questioning,, and anger threshold baiting.

        I admire Howard Stern and wish to write and act more like him, but end up a lot closer to shock comedian Sam Kinison if I’m lucky.

        Whatever Charles Bukowski could be called, that’s where my pigeon hole would be too. I understand and agree with Laissez Faire, Guns, and fences, but mostly I’m Laissez. It’s hard to patrol all along the watchtower when you’re busy have a rip roaring time, occassionally in no shape to be near a weapon.

        What would Rockwell, North. Grigg, Altucher, Casey, Jeff, Ludwig, Ayn do in your shoes. There were more guns but less exlusion in the 70s. How did we go from Cheech and Chong to uptight anti-immigrant militias and zero tolerance.

        I doubt but am unsure there is anywhere within a 10 mile radius of you where anything remotely Agora-like is going down. Public parks are akin to prison exercise yards oftentimes.

        I’m fortunate to know people who allow rinky dink carnivals, and festivals on their, being foreign born they care not a whit about permits and liability. They donate to council members and have lawyers and entity shields so they can have bouncy castles or live performances without hassle.

        I remember BB gun wars in the woods we didn’t know or care who’s woods. I can’t relate to landscaping, a tree or shrub is a simple repeating fractal masterpiece without anyone giving it an 82nd Airborne buzzcut. Monotonous monocots are useless without bipedal or cloven hooves to trod them down.

        Your logic is soundproof. You are squarely in the Disneyland Libertarian Themepark property rights matrix. If the acres of manicured (keep off the) bermuda grass makes you Condozians happy, I bow to your superior spataneity.

        The upsidedown society is a great analogy and I am still pondering where I fit in. Wakimae/knowing your place is of course the better system of advanced cultures, as you allude to. How do Libertarians bring it to life here?

        • November 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

          I try not to be a dick. So, for example, even though I could, I don’t fire up my two-stroke motorcycle with chambered pipes after say six at night or before 9 in the morning. Even though my closest neighbor is hundreds of yards away – I don’t do it (or similarly obnoxious things) because I can appreciate that I would not enjoy such being sent my way and so try to respect the rules of civility toward others. Hopefully – usually – the sentiment is returned in kind.

          Since we have lived here we’ve had exactly one incident. The people across the way – this is at least 300 yards or so – had a teenage kid who suddenly developed a penchant for playing loud, obnoxious cRap music at all hours. Now, even though we are physically pretty far away from these people, the BoomBoomBoom Gnomesayin muffugahs bix nooooood carried over here to the extent that we could feel the vibrations. One can only imagine how loud it was at the source. They had to know this was obnoxious. But they did it – allowed – it anyhow. I put up with it for a few days, hoping it the kid would tire of it and move on to something else. It did not stop.

          One night, around 10 p.m.., I just could not take it anymore. I literally hurled myself out of bed in a fury and went directly outside to my tractor shed. Fired up the diesel – and very loud – tractor. Lit the high beams, drove the thing to edge of our property line and pointed the brights at the asshole neighbor’s bedroom windows. Threw the throttle lever to high, made sure the tank was full – and went back inside. The BixxxxxxNooooood noise shut off within minutes. I went back out, shut down the tractor. Detente ever since.

          I hated having to do this. I do not like being rude – but sometimes, rudeness in return is the only language certain people understand.

          Now, who was right in this case? Should I have just “grinned and born it”? Allowed my peace and quiet – my right to not have to listen to BixxxxxxxxxxNoooooooooooooooooooood literally all night long – to be subsumed to this asshole teenager’s desire to make noise?

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

            I forgot about that story of yours. Perhaps there is some civilization left somewhere.

            When I behave as you did, I end being told how rude it was of me not to go over and ask someone politely to stop. To beg, to ask, to grovel, to submit. It’s as if sociopathic assholes wrote the social rules so they could enjoy the experience.

          • methylamine
            November 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm


            If you read Political Ponerology (highly recommended), you’ll see he describes this very phenomenon.

            Given that 2-6% of the population are born psychopaths, they eventually gravitate to power and recruit more like themselves.

            Then there are the fringe groups, about 20%, who will adopt psychopathic behavior gleefully–but probably suffer psychologically afterward.

            The effect on the rest of society is a coarsening, a loosening of morals, an abherrancy and a dissipation.

            Which is precisely what you’re describing.

          • methylamine
            November 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm

            Damn sorry, forgot to close my italics tag. Again.

      • December 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

        Dear Brent,

        I’m on the same page as you on this issue.

        The presumption should always be in favor of private property.

        “Life, liberty, and property” was the original formulation used in the US Constitution, and still is in many state constitutions, for a very good reason.

  2. dom
    November 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Nice read Brent, but I thought it was a bit rude! lol

  3. Boothe
    November 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Gee whiz Brent, just because you and some other folks get together in a mutually cooperative agreement and buy a piece of property, you think you should enjoy the exclusive use of it? The next we’ll find out is that aren’t all smiles when handing over a major chunk of your paycheck to the FSA. And driving too? You want to drive? Well that’s rude to the environment to begin with. And then you actually expect the other drivers to follow basic etiquette? Maybe you should just walk and if you still have a problem with your fellow Amuricuns’ driving, stay off the sidewalks! (Sarcasm off)

    I know exactly what you mean. Back in the early 80′s I had a place on the James river with a private pier. It was posted and gated, but folks would park at the small public area up the beach, walk down and simply swing around the gate to fish off my pier like they owned it. I’d go out and patiently explain to them that it was a private pier, the insurance didn’t cover them and they’d have to leave…over and over.

    I’d had enough one afternoon. I walked out on my deck and told the two assholes fishing there that they were trespassing, asked if they could read and they responded by flipping me off! So, being a lot more naive back then, I yelled “Fine. I’ll call the sheriff!”, went inside and did so.

    The dispatcher informed me that all the officers were tied up and it would be over an hour befor anyone could come out. I walked back out on the deck with a 12 gauge pump gun and hollered “Hey the cops ain’t coming. How ’bout we feed the crabs!?” and jacked a shell in the chamber. They came off that pier and high tailed it down the beach like their heels were on fire and their asses were catchin’. I’ll bet they thought that was rude. I found it bloody satisfying!

    But it didn’t stop. The late-night-partying, we-own-the-world, spreading-unwed-motherhood crowd stole my lawn furniture and kept me up all hours of the night whooping, hollering, fighting and cranking up the tunes until I finally had to move. By today’s standards I guess they thought they were within their rights and I was the rude one for expecting people (from out of town no less) to respect my rights and my property.

    Tor’s right: dueling may be the answer. Or at least going back to the days when you could point a gun at a trespasser to run them off your property without suffering a felony arrest and you could more or less expect the cops to side with you (yes, years ago where I’m from, that was the norm). People were a lot more polite under conditions of direct negative feedback for acting like jerks. Most people, like flatworms, will only respond instantly to sufficiently unpleasant stimuli. Apply heat to the bottom of the beaker, they swim up. Take the heat away, they swim back down. We now live in an entitlement oriented, litigious, no fault society now, where the consequences of bad behavior are delayed or entirely negated and we’re all expected to keep our heads down, mouths shut and just suck it up when our rights are trampled. Until that changes, bad manners will continue to be the order of the day.

    • Scott
      November 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      I guess I’d feel different about the whole thing if it was at least consistent; somebody trespasses on you and you can take action to prevent it is one way of doing things, the other is to completely ignore trespass and allow just about anyone to do anything. What we have instead is selective enforcement, and that is a big *big* problem because you just don’t know the rules. They’re arbitrary.

      Take Eric’s situation with the RC boater as an example. If I could be certain that nobody could kick me off his land for RC boating, I might just take my kid over on a fine Sunday afternoon and do it myself since I’d seen other people do it and nothing went bad for them.

      What about the obverse? If Eric knows he’s within his rights to run someone off for RC boating on his pond, he takes no crap out of the guy doing it.

      But the problem is you just don’t know what’s OK anymore. The guy could’ve called the local gendarmes and Eric might have been booked for some strange and unknown violation. Maybe he would be charged with assault. God help him if he was carrying when the cops showed up. Or what if it went a different way? What if I went over to boat with my son and found out my boat was somehow different from everyone else’s boat and I had to pay a fine or spend time in jail?

      That’s the problem I think. You just never know because they make up the rules as they go along.

      • Tor Munkov
        November 4, 2012 at 9:18 pm

        They have failed. Their youth are deployed mercenaries and incarcerated loiterers and nonviolent scofflaws on a perp payment plan for life.

        Like the millions of Nazi advanced western peoples, we doomed ourself by permitting their wars on innocent wealthy, family autonomy, and combining your knowledge and the earthly elements to make any products you can to raise yourself out of poverty and dependence in a peaceful manner.

        There is a strike price at which your neighbors swineyard becomes tolerable.TO ABANDON THIS FIRST PRINCIPLE IS TO ABANDON EVERYTHING ELSE, IT SEEMS.

        Capslock demon bastards. Somehow the knowledge intelligentsia has been reduced to an R2D2 subservience. We need to stop helping our underakers bury us. We can be the droids we are looking for. Let golden boy C3PO repack their bearings next time using his diplomatic chops.

        America is a 3 shell monty game and one of the table legs is rickety and about to give way. Cut your losses. Let’s be the Eastern Pacific Rim dynasty of Chinese Wenzhou merchants. Let’s. Be East Korea, their overseas Maqilladora solution. East Hawaii. SOUTH Klondike. South Manitoba. Norte Mexicano Unidos.

        ANYTHING BUT A NATION OF CONVICTS AND NARROWLY ESCAPED CONVICTS. Anything but debtors in a debtors prison farm of debt instruments.
        I don’t need 5 climate changer and 5 1000 year old scripture regurgitator heads to agree with my actions. My shoulders only support my own mind.

        Let’s get Hugo Salinas Price’s silver Libertad coin mint off the ground right here.

        Or the silver Renmibi or golden yen. An energy backed Euro with 1 Gigawatt, 500 Megawatt, and 100 megawatt fixed power denominations. A whole steer hilling or porkbelly peso.

        Our governments are so broken they sold us into Rothschild slavery. Let’s leave that be and build new banking and exchange mechanisms beyond their control with Russian oil magnates and South African Gold miners and the like.

        • Scott
          November 5, 2012 at 12:38 am

          Tor, this one didn’t grab me by the nuts and squeeze the way the last one did. Not saying it’s bad, just that I have personally read some stuff you’ve written that would make Joyce and Pynchon role in their graves.

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 12:39 am

            And Burroughs. Without a doubt Burroughs.

          • methylamine
            November 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

            Hunter Thompson. He’s channeling him at times, with his own psychedelic twist.

            Tor–you must have missed my previous post elsewhere, how do you know Afrikaans?

            I also suspect Tor indulged in either bufotenine, psilocybin, 3,4-methylenedioxy-phenylpropylamine, or lysergic acid diethylamide.

            I missed the first, but the others briefly gave me Tor-like writing powers.

        • Scott
          November 5, 2012 at 1:30 am

          One thing you need to keep in mind Tor; they’ll do OK without us. There’s no need to feel bad. Everything is going to work out.

      • BrentP
        November 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

        I wrote this. Not Eric. And I am very consistent. I don’t understand this idea that if private property is beyond a certain size the public should be allowed in. I doubt any of these people would have been pleased if I decided to use their driveway to work on one of my cars or I decided to have a picnic in their back yard. Yet they feel fine doing it just because the scale is a bit larger.

        If one had called the cops on me that would be amusing. It would be something if the intruder was in the right.

        But this is getting off my intended direction. Why do they have to be asked politely to stop? In all situations. I wouldn’t think of doing what these folks do.

        • Scott
          November 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm

          Sorry Brent, I didn’t see the byline.

          My concern over selective enforcement comes from a recent personal experience. I feel the rules should be enforced uniformly that’s all. These days they aren’t and there may even be something in your CC&R’s to the effect that the failure to enforce generally doesn’t prohibit the HOA from enforcing specifically. This is called a “non-waiver” clause; it gives your association the right to be capricious. Your neighbor can park in front of his garage for years but when you do it you get towed because the board just doesn’t like you.

          I’m not big on collectivism. I think anyone who agrees to buy property subject to arbitrary bullshit like that deserves whatever he gets. I’ve learned my lesson. Perhaps you have too?

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 4:11 am

            Um these are outsiders. They do not own any interest in the property. Nor were they guests of anyone who does. Simply the public at large. I tell them to leave. As I described, when I saw people I asked them to leave or I would make them uncomfortable so they would leave. There haven’t been any exceptions unless you count the times where I really didn’t want to go out and do it so I waited hoping they would leave on their own. Then again with me they were lucky, if anyone else saw them, they would call the cops.

            With regard to unit owners that’s outside the point of this essay, but I’ll let you know I didn’t do enforcement with unit owners unless they were making a mess that I or the employee had to clean up. Otherwise people were expected to behave properly towards each other and it worked.

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 4:18 am

            I think I understand Brent. Maybe I should tell you a story.

            A friend of mine had a problem with his roof, it was leaking. He calls his HOA and lets them know. They send in this guy who decides to take the open door as an opportunity to search for construction defects. He claims to find some.

            My friend doesn’t get his roof fixed but he gets sued by his HOA for alleged construction defects found by the guy who was only there to inspect the roof. No warrants were issued. My friend pays $50,000 in fines, legal fees and construction costs.

            Did people behave properly to each other?

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 4:29 am

            I’m lost here. How are some problem HOAs treating owners badly related to me telling strangers, people from the public at large to leave private property and then those strangers demanding to be treated with absolute politeness even though they knew they were trespassing on private property?

            The last thing I expected was people here other than the resident troll telling me I am wrong for telling outsiders with no ownership interest to leave. Just because some HOA or some other condo association behaves badly doesn’t make me out of place to kick the public off the property nor does it justify their trespass or their demands to be treated with extreme politeness.

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 4:34 am

            The point being that trespass is a highly negotiable term.

            Behaves badly? Well, yes. No Warrant? Yes. Outsider? Yes.

            Kick the “public” off the property? Not a chance.

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 4:54 am

            Let me get this straight, all property is public access or just some? If someone parked their car in your driveway and had a picnic on your lawn you would be okay with that?

            What if they decided to do drug deals or consume their drugs on your property? In light of civil asset forfeiture would you be okay with that too?

            I have a single family house. Do I have to allow the public to use my yard? My driveway? My garage? My living room?

            Where’s the line of private property then?

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 5:55 am

            As it turns out, yes, all private property is public access. We can thank the California Coastal Commission and the Federal EPA for that one :)

            I understand your rage Brent, in fact I share it. But those are the facts of law (not life mind you, *law*)

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 5:58 am

            Are you just trolling?

            This isn’t some beach. or some other nonsense. It’s equal to someone parking in your driveway and using your property for their recreation. Is that ok with you?

        • Scott
          November 5, 2012 at 12:16 am

          BTW, the Rocket-fellers actually do ask politely. I think that might be part of the overall problem.

          There are a bunch of parks either donated or eased to the public that are (or were) owned by that family, one of them is the Grand Teton. They inform you politely but with authority when you crap in the pool :)

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 4:13 am

            I don’t mean land that they have taxpayers pay for the management of. I mean the land they keep for themselves.

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 4:50 am

            Brent, when the Rocket-fellers donate land for a park, they insist on having state paid rangers patrol it; that’s part of the deal.

            ANd I can assure you when the rangers are told to stay away from certain areas for certain amounts of time, they do. The land is private whenever the owners want it to be.

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 5:00 am

            And Brent? I should mention I hold the Rockefellers in the highest possible regard. They’ve managed to beat the system in a way I may never be able to do. They’re *icons* for me.

          • November 5, 2012 at 10:49 am


            I can’t admire people who obtain wealth by abusing people – and then use that wealth to further abuse people.

          • BrentP
            November 5, 2012 at 5:04 am

            Creating the system isn’t beating it.

          • Scott
            November 5, 2012 at 5:19 am

            Well, I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

            I created a system once. It was a good one. I took a lot of crap from people who thought they could have done it better.

            I’m still here. The system is still here. They’re selling hotdogs in Cancun.

            ‘Nough said?

    • Tor Munkov
      November 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Of course he should have full exclusive title and quiet enjoyment of his land.

      In a better world, you also would have your palms greased or get ample kickbacks from whoever benefits from the out of towners. You wouldn’t pay a 3% ad valorem tax in return for nothing. While they get the fish and babes for nothing.

      This insurance covering stuff gimmick has to go. It turns property upside down so the owner or developer is the guarantor of the earth, sea, and falling meteorites in perpetuity.,

      In right side up world the Little Red Hen creates and bakes bread and decides who is to eat it.

      In Upside Down America, its a free for all where others take at will, tell the hen how to make bread without pitching in, and then win a lawsuit because the bread makes their unpaying ass sick because they ate too much.

      I don’t think this can be undone by brute force, but I do think the theiving other animals can be set against one another and do themselves in. The Brits follow Fabius Maximus to good effect.

      It seems even more tragic to devote one’s life to being a potential theif sniper and punisher instead of outsmarting the dumbclucks who are too lazy to feed themselves. I too am barking at a lot of shadows and plastic trees, at least your way is initially satisfying.

      Throw it in the wrong woods, you might get it thrown back in your face by the woodsowners?

      • November 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        In my neck, usually, if people just ask most landowners will be ok with allowing occasional use of their land. Basic common courtesy goes a long way.

        What’s infuriating is the casual disregard – the contempt – displayed by some people for the property of other people.

        And the kicker? The way our system is structured, these interlopers may even sue the landowner for injuries sustained while trespassing on said private property!

        • Boothe
          November 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm

          Quite right Eric: Attractive nuisance laws were originally aimed at people who had a pool, pond or lake (or some other hazard children would be attracted to) and failed to take precautions to secure the area from small children. But with tort law being pushed to the limits of reason, if someone breaks into your home to take your stuff, threatens you and you shoot them twice and the second round is “by accident” you can be held liable (it actually happened). I suspect it is this kind of legal parasitism (among other things) that leads Tinsley to despise Juris Doctors so much. I tend to agree with him.

          We also have the issue of civil forfeiture laws to deal with now as well. Let’s say someone walks through your woods uninvited, plants up a row of Ganja in your clearing unbeknownst to you and Officer 82nd Airborne spots it from his taxpayer funded chopper. Who’s going to go to jail and lose their property? The interloper? Hardly! The landowner will end up caged and deprived of their property. In this scenario the “drug warrior” in the helicopter is trespassing and stealing and the actual victim pays the price.

          “Our” gun-vernment has institutionalized the routine violation of privacy, private property rights and all but dissolved our right to freedom of association (which includes NOT associating with people we don’t want to). As usual, it’s being done for our own good…and for the children. It should come as no surprise to us that certain members of the general populace now follow the example set by our “public servants” in terms of going where they want, whenever they feel like it and taking what they want; after all the gun-vernment does it. Lawlessness: It’s contagious.

    • Tor Munkov
      November 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

      I picture you on the shore as the “World’s Most Interesting Rifleman.”

      ‘I don’t always shoot a warning shot at trespassers, but when I do, I shoot Dos Equis brand ammo – stay vigilant my friends.’

  4. Boothe
    November 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

    BrentP, from what I can tell, based on their posts both Scott and Tor may be socialists in classical liberal attire. Although I don’t want anything to do with deed covenants, HOAs or the like, I firmly defend your right to do so. And once you have done so and agree to abide by certain voluntarily accepted rules and regulations so long as you continue to live at that location, it’s no one else’s business but yours and your co-contractors. The public at large is not a signatory to the agreement nor do they foot the bill for the landscaping, pavement, ponds, buildings or anything else. So under the concept of private property rights as I understand it, they have absolutely no claim to be there nor to use any of your facilities uninvited. If and when they do, I don’t see any obligation to be polite when seeing to their removal from the premises. There was a time when a load of rock salt applied to their asses at 900 feet per second may have been their first and only warning. And the local constabulary would have informed them that if they hadn’t been trespassing, it wouldn’t have happened to them. Rude indeed!

    My yard is not a park and my pier was gated and posted and I get downright shitty about it when people who didn’t pay for the property and improvements thereon piggy-backed on my checking account and my labor because that’s nothing more than stealing. When someone willfully chooses to ignore signs, gates, fences, cables, padlocks, etc., they are doing so at their own peril. As this lack of respect for property rights gets worse, “shoot, shovel and shut up” may well come back into vogue. Just as we’re seeing in the New York storm aftermath debacle, there are plenty of folks that will come right across your lawn, into your home and take your stuff. I’m guessing if that was done to Tor or Scott, neither of them would see it as a service to the public they should meekly provide. What if that same crowd decides that Tor’s or Scott’s wife’s vagina is public property too? Or their rectums are publicly accessible recreational facilities? Would that be okay? After all marriage is just another system of restraint similar to your HOA, therefore subject to being ignored by pillaging rapists, purely in the interests of promoting liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right? And since one’s rectum is part of nature and unless one is defecating, one wouldn’t be using it at the time of being raped, that shouldn’t be a problem for them either, now should it?

    I think it’s hilarious that Mexican “property rights” were brought up in conjunction with graffiti. Yeah? Go to one of those nice resort hotels with the high walls, iron gates and nice men guarding the place with machine guns and get caught spray painting your message on the wall. See what kind of “tolerance” that gets you “South of the border.” In fact try being an “illegal immigrant” and let the cops find you in Mexico. You may live through the beating, but they’ll take anything of value you have. You sure as hell won’t get a driver’s license, free healthcare and registered to vote. Bad choice of countries for a property or civil rights example Tor.

    As far as people defecating on your lawn goes; that’s a public health issue. The reason we don’t generally go around defecating anywhere we “feel the need”, poor prior planning or not, is to prevent the spread of disease. Let’s say someone’s wife or child that didn’t plan properly comes down with hepatitis, defecates in your yard, flies consume the feces and spread the infection to you by regurgitating in your breakfast. Would you feel like your rights had been violated then? Or maybe the defecator was a little more discreet, lifted the cover on your well and dropped their load in your “public” water supply. Out of courtesy of course, so you wouldn’t have to clean up the mess. How does a little cholera or maybe dysentery grab you? Would you draw the line on spreading infectious disease Scott, or would that be a form of trespass you’d just choose to ignore?

    We either have private property rights (which are a tenet of Libertarianism) or we have collectivism. We’ve seen what collectivism does. How about that nice toxic waste lake over in China so GE can build tax payer subsidized windmills? Or better yet; how about the lovely public housing projects in many of our major cities? Community property will never be taken care of like private property is, because “everyone” owns it, therefore no one does. The end users typically couldn’t care less what happens to it. Therefore it must either be policed and protected with force and its upkeep provided with taxpayer money or you have a shanty town and a garbage dump in short order. If that’s where you guys want to live, great, move to Haiti. But if you want to stay here under the few vestiges of Common Law that remain and you decide to camp out in my yard uninvited and use it for a privy, you’d better wear Kevlar.

    • November 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

      I agree with you, Boothe (and Brent).

      Private property is just that. Private. Not yours. Someone else’s. That ought to be respected as a matter of common courtesy as well as moral philosophy. I’ll give an example that country people will be familiar with:

      It is hunting season in my area. If you are not a landowner but wish to hunt on someone else’s land, the protocol is to ask them for permission before you tread on their land. It is considered extremely uncool (leaving aside the legal/moral issues) to go hunting on someone else’s land without having asked first. Even if the land in question is a few hundred acres that “no one seems to be using.” It’s just not done. And if it is done, the person doing it is regarded as an asshole, for all the obvious – and absolutely correct reasons.

      We have a little acreage – and one of the things I enjoy about having this land is that I don’t have to share it with anyone against my will. I pay the taxes. I paid for the land itself. Why the hell should anyone else get to walk through my woods without my permission – or against my expressed wishes?

      Respect for other people’s things is a crucial element of civil society and once it breaks down, society will inevitably break down, too.

    • methylamine
      November 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Boothe, well said, absolutely correct and describes my private property philosophy to a “T”.

      If Tor and Scott would like to permit people to play on their property, that’s their right. Actually Tor says as much; he’s on the “laissez” side.

      But that’s personal preference.

      The principle that is at stake is the absolute right of the property owner to decide–from a full-on, GTFO my property, “git off’n mah lawn ya damn kids” attitude…to a “ach, no problem, let’em swim in the pond Ma ain’t no harm bein’ done.”

      Tor, Scott, if you fall on the latter side–good for you, enjoy.

      But I do hope you recognize that that is a choice–and the interlopers have no right to interlope!

      • Scott
        November 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

        Perhaps I need to clarify my position re: trespassing; I’m against it. I recently escorted a large man who was pissing on my blueberries off the property at gunpoint when he became belligerent. Normally I wouldn’t have given much thought to it it but he backtalked me when I told him it was dear season and I had nearly shot him accidentally, he seemed to think hunting Bambi was wrong and that he was in a park. Some people just need a lesson in manners (and perhaps a larger brain).

        I was complimenting Tor’s presentation, which I thought was rendered in a particularly spectacular form. I don’t need to agree with someone to appreciate art.

  5. IndividualAudienceMember
    December 16, 2012 at 1:29 am

    “courtesy is backwards” hmm, exactly right. They are having a discussion on LRC about privacy right now, I think that phrase fits into the discussion.

    Some People say, “My rights begin at the end of my nose” in reference to being punched in the face.

    On LRC it seems like some People do not think privacy is a right, of sorts. Keyword: some.

    I wonder:

    If a guy gets within an inch of your wife’s nose and yells at her, isn’t that an invasion of privacy, or even of her “personal space” and therefore a trespass and the ZAP does not apply? It’s self-defense of a sorts at that point because courtesy is backwards.

    I like the ZAP, or the NAP as it’s more commonly known as. The ZAP doesn’t seem to square with personal space and the notion of privacy. It seems like it should.

    Anyone have any thoughts about that?

    • Tor Munkov
      December 16, 2012 at 1:51 am

      We live in a society of “snoopery.” Places like Switzerland and many others will look ready to kill you when they hear an American ask “how much do ya make at yer job, or other intrusive bullshit.

      Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Live long and prosper. Avoid “snoopery.”
      Ask not even a new person’s name, or what they do, or where they’re from. Maybe a ‘Sup? and a smile. Don’t be the uberdusch.

    • BrentP
      December 16, 2012 at 2:11 am

      I haven’t been following the back and forth on LRC. I am not sure all encompassing privacy is a right, but I do believe it is an aggression and thus a violation of the NAP to even so much as to open an unlocked door or to enter an email account protected by as little as a password that is as simple as ’123′ to violate someone’s privacy. However looking (not walking) through an open door would be different. If someone puts themselves on display then I don’t find it a violation of the NAP. The using technology to see through walls and such is the same as opening a closed door IMO. In other words even the smallest attempt to keep something private should not be violated just because it can be.

      That’s the best I can do.

    • December 16, 2012 at 9:59 am

      Hi IA,

      Here’s my take: If “a guy gets within an inch of your wife’s nose and yells at her,” he is committing assault. He is threatening her.

      No one has the right to do that.

      Being merely rude is just that – being rude. It’s obnoxious, but not threatening. Therefore, I suppose one has a right to be rude. But should expect to be shunned in return.

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