Rights, Privileges & Responsibilities


Individuals have inherent God given rights. (If you’re an atheist you might say rights as a result of ones humanity or reason or some other explanation but the logical set of rights is similar.) These rights are most commonly expressed as ‘life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness.’ The ‘pursuit of happiness’ is a euphemism for ‘private property’ as at the time of our Declaration of Independence some people were immorally and without justification but ‘legally’ allowed to be owned by other people. As slavery was not to be incorporated into the Declaration of Independence the substitution made sense then — not now. John Locke had it right even earlier as ‘life, liberty & property.’ My summary is that individuals have the God given and government protected right to life, liberty, private property and privacy to the extent that one’s privacy cannot be violated in ways that could jeopardize those rights.

The ‘Right to Life’ is the right to not be killed, kidnapped, enslaved, etc. The question of our day is ‘When does that right begin?’ Conception is the only logical, defensible and specific point.

The ‘Right to Liberty’ is the right to do whatever does not violate another’s rights. Examples: The right to believe anything. The right to say anything. The right to own anything you can acquire from an owner without force or fraud. The rights to travel, association, etc. The challenge of the day is travel. This is why I am not offended (as many of my libertarian and anarchist friends are) by government roads. I’m fully accepting that roads predated government and that privately owned roads can exist with some advantages over government roads. However, the ‘right’ to travel is important but fragile and thus justifies (to me) a smidgen of government. Setting aside unpractical theoretical arguments for the moment, what is the proper form of government roads? For now the existing infrastructure works for the most part but we need modifications to recover the rights of travel and privacy. If travel is a ‘right’ as I contend that it is then licenses, tags, permits, tolls, cameras, license plate readers, revenue based policing, etc. must be curtailed. No right is absolute as rights can properly be revoked as punishment for those who violate the rights of others. Highways do not need to be completely anything goes zones but should not have routine stops, speed traps, etc.

The ‘Right to Property’ allows for the private ownership of most real and personal property. Possibly even intellectual property but that is beyond the scope of this article. As a ‘right’ this ownership cannot be taxed. No real estate property taxes. No auto ad valorem taxes. No boat taxes, etc.

The ‘Right to Privacy’ allows individuals protection from spying that would create a foundation for the violation of their other rights. For example: Any right an individual chooses to exercise may not be documented by government. IE. Government may not keep records on a person’s speech, religion, ownership of firearms, etc.
Privileges are similar to ‘rights’ except they exist as delegated transfers from the owner of the ‘right’ being transferred. Example: Pedro owns his house and some food. He invites Natasha over for dinner. She has the privilege of visiting in Pedro’s house and eating his food.


Each person is limited to using his own property, public property and property he has the owners permission to use. That’s all! AKA: Don’t injure, kill or take what’s not yours. Ie. NO STEALING. BTW, There’s a great book by that name, ‘Know Stealing’ by Shane Coley.

Price Gouging?

Price Gouging?

When fear mongers and pandering politicians (pardon my redundancy) call market pricing “price gouging” they are attempting to manipulate the vulnerable into submission.

Raising prices in times of short term shortages caused by disruptive events is the most compassionate path possible! Keeping prices below the equilibrium price free markets automatically provide guarantees inappropriate allocation and shortages and pain. And sometimes death.

Example 1:
Bottled gallons of water sell for $1 each. A tornado/fire/earthquake/bomb/etc. destroys the municipal water supply.

With government price controls:  Without the raising of prices above $1, the supply is quickly purchased by the first few individuals to get to the stores. Those few have enough water to drink, bathe, flush toilets, wash the dog, etc. The masses drink what they happen to have — water, juice, milk, soup, etc. but start dehydrating within a few days. Some drink contaminated water and get sick. Some die. Compassionate individuals act alone and through charities to get water to the area ASAP but some time is required. Government also acts to take from one group (taxpayers) and give to another (victims) but there is a time required there too.

Without government price controls:  The store owner acting on either greed or compassion (it doesn’t matter) raises the price to $5 per gallon of water. People don’t wash their dogs. They don’t stockpile so excessively. They buy what they need and leave some for others in need. The stores continue to adjust their prices in order to maintain some supply for those individuals (both charities and victims) who have the greatest needs to meet. There is now more time available to restore production before people die in mass.

Example 2:
Motel rooms are $100/night. A disaster forces evacuations and a shortage ensues.

With government price controls: All the rooms are quickly rented and filled at only slightly above average occupancy rates per room. Many more sleep outside, in cars, under bridges, etc.

Without government price controls:  Rooms rent for $500/night. Extended families and even strangers combine resources to put large numbers of people into the rooms. Crowded but with heat, air, water, toilets, etc. Fewer are unable to get shelter. Compassionate individuals will be better able to allocate resources to those most in need as well. This is because they will be able to outbid the selfish in some cases. That is illegal with price fixing. People will find inside room for expectant mothers and the like.


Artificially low prices in times of emergency cause shortages and pain.

Economics 401: Cows & the Economy


You have 2 cows.

The State takes one cow and gives it to your neighbor.


You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and gives you some milk.


You have 2 cows.

The State leaves you nominal ownership of the cows and doesn’t let you milk them.


You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and shoots you.


You have 2 cows.

The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.


You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.


You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.

No balance sheet provided with the release.

The public then buys your bull.


You have two giraffes.

The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.


You have two cows.

You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.

Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.


You have two cows.

You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you

want three cows.


You have two cows.

You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.

You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.


You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.

You decide to have lunch.


You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.

You charge the owners for storing them.


You have two cows.

You have 300 people milking them.

You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.

You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.


You have two cows.

You worship them.


You have two cows.

Both are mad.


Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.

You tell them that you have none.

No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.

You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.


You have two cows.

Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

Scroll to Top