Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How HOAs Help Show You Don't Need Consent in Government

I posted the following comment at Cafe Hayek (slightly edited):

Since the time I read Machinery of Freedom on Professor Boudreaux’s recommendation, I've thought two things: 1. It was be great to have a government/society that did not coerce anyone, but derived its authority from the consent of all its constituents, and 2. there is no way to do this.

Mr. Hinkle tries to use his HOA example to draw a distinction between a government of consent (HOA) and government, which rules without its constituent’s consent. The example is not persuasive, mostly because this case he uses as a jumping point is some kind of anomaly. Owners do not sign a contract to abide by the CC&Rs when they purchase into a HOA; They are bound to the terms of the CC&Rs regardless of whether they assent. You could argue that when a purchaser buys the property that they know is subject to CC&Rs they assent to them. But there is no ability to negotiate the terms of the contract; the purchaser must take or leave the CC&Rs, just as an immigrant must take-or-leave the laws of the country he immigrates to. And what if a person is born to a family living in an HOA and later inherits the property? The person is still subject to the regulations in the CC&Rs. That situation seem no different to me than being bound to the laws of the country you were born in without ever having consented to those laws.

You could say, if HOA's/CC&Rs aren't consent to, then we don't need them! We'll just let property owners opt in and opt out of private law system created and enforced by private companies (the Protection agencies from the Machinery of Freedom.) But HOAs solve property right problems, and their CC&Rs must "run with the land" to do so. If I want to buy property in a neighborhood where people mow their lawns and cannot paint their houses bright pink, these obligations must run with the land. While current owners may agree to those terms, I have no assurance that subsequent owners will likewise comply unless the contract, like CC&Rs, bind future owners, too.

I agree with Professor Kling that HOAs are better than government, because they are generally small, and easier to escape if they get too oppressive. However, on the question of consent, I see no principled distinction between an HOA and government. Both bind all who fall within their territory, regardless of consent.
I made another comment at the Kling link.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30 Days. . .

To hone my FIFA Skills before Fred arrives.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Aerials Up

Here are two videos from a band Leigh and I saw in Glasgow. She knew the lead singer growing up and the base player is also from her town. They've already played T in the Park, and opened for Snow Patrol.

This is their first single, which you can legally download for free here:

Superglue is their next single (fyi, I think this recording could benefit from some better mixing, and maybe a little tuning):

And this Infatuation Isn’t Even Sober and Mature!

And this Infatuation Isn’t Even Sober and Mature!: "Question for Mr. Cohen: if government officials and the courts are free to choose which words of the Constitution to “adhere to” and which to ignore, what meaning does the Constitution really possess?� And why did the Founding Fathers struggle so hard during the long, hot summer of 1787 over the precise wording of the Constitution?� Why didn’t they – to ensure that they would win the respect of future generations of Very Smart Persons – simply draft a document that reads “Government may do whatever it judges to be best for The People” and leave it at that?"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chistopher Columbus

Does anyone want to try to rectify this with this?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

American Idol

American Idol - Simon Cowell = 0

Thursday, September 9, 2010

WikiAnswers - What is the difference between a lake and loch in Scotland

A slightly different answer:

WikiAnswers - What is the difference between a lake and loch in Scotland: "My understanding is that the Lake of Menteith is the only 'lake' amongst over 3000 lochs. It was originally a swamp and was described as such at the time of the building of Inchmahome Priory on the island. The Gaelic word used was leagh meaning swampy place and this was corrupted to lake. So yes there is no difference !"

The difference between a Lake and a Loch?

The difference between a Lake and a Loch? in The AnswerBank: Environment: "Nothing to do with water in or out flow. Both lakes and lochs can have one or both. Loch is simply a word of gaelic derivation and describes a body of water in the same way the english word lake does. Lake of Menteith is supposedly an accident in naming due to confusion with the word laigh meaning low ground"

We were up by the Lake of Menteith yesterday.

Blair Understands Rational Ignorance

The Volokh Conspiracy � Tony Blair on Political Ignorance:
The single hardest thing for a practising politician to understand is that most people, most of the time, don’t give politics a first thought all day long. Or if they do, it is with a sigh...., before going back to worrying about the kids, the parents, the mortgage, the boss, their friends, their weight, their health, sex and rock ‘n’roll.....

For most normal people, politics is a distant, occasionally irritating fog. Failure to comprehend this is a fatal flaw in most politicians.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Open-Shirt French Philosophers

This post is dedicate to Brett for saving all his old emails, and, more importantly, not switching email accounts in the last 4 years.

I can't remember exactly how all this happened, but at lunch yesterday, one of my coworkers started talking about French philosopher that he emulates when it comes to shirts. To his surprise, I instantly knew he was talking about Bernard Henri-Levy.

How did I know? Maybe it's because I'm only familiar with one living French philosopher. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because this co-worker has recently decided that he need not wear undershirts or fasten the top four buttons on his dress shirts. Consequently, his look is now a mix of hippy, libertine-swinger, and, most importantly--creepy old French guy. And when I think of creepy French guys, I immediately think of this article where Monsieur Levy deeply meditates on the philosophic implications of showing some chest:

I wake up at 5.30am. I have no problem getting out of bed. The first thing I need is a cup of tea, usually lapsang souchong. I dress as lightly as possible. I often wear a shirt open down to under my chest, but not out of vanity. The truth is, I find clothes suffocating. I want to live as much as possible in the open air, in the sun. I’ve never worn a tie in my life. That caused problems a couple of times: once at the Elysée Palace when I was invited to a lunch with the then president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and once at the Vatican at a private audience with Pope John Paul II. I put my foot down both times. The Vatican let me not wear one on the spurious grounds I suffered from a serious handicap.

James Lileks wrote a parody I love, which I could not have found without Brett:
I awake, as is my preference. My waking had, as usual, the pleasant quality of surfacing from one world to another, with the gradual abandonment of one state for another, a trading of realms whose various attributes have merits in eternal opposition. In the sleeping state, one might be conversing with Descartes on an iceberg, while walruses provide hors d’oeuvres on the points of their tusks; in the real, physical state, one finds one has wet the bed again. But to wake is to be born, one thinks, and a certain amount of fluid is present in either case.
It's especially impressive considering the original material already reads like a parody.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Really, Really Hard Math Problem

Forty-five minutes is pretty long for a video about math, but I found this fascinating:

Update: I originally saw this on Cafe Hayek. He found it through this blog. Of course, the movie isn't about math, not really. It's about trying for the impossible and achieving it. It's also about human tragedy.

From Marginal Revolution:

Here is one of my all time favorite documentaries, the 45 minute Fermat's Last Theorem made by Simon Singh and John Lynch for the BBC in 1996. I've watched it many times and every time I am moved by unforgettable moments.

The plainspoken Goro Shimura talking of his friend Yutaka Taniyama, "he was not a very careful person as a mathematician, he made a lot of mistakes but he made mistakes in a good direction." "I tried to imitate him," he says sadly, "but I found out that it is very difficult to make good mistakes." Shimura continues to be troubled by his friend's suicide in 1958.