A recent illustration of this process appeared in the "StarNewsOnline.com" a local newspaper out of Wilmington, North Carolina. So I thought that I had better jump on this story as it also complements my beliefs that those who believe in so-called intellectual property are claiming property rights that they don't possess.
The Star News writes in the article "Ocean Isle Beach homeowners, officials battle over native landscape" that:
So here we have the neighbors and the local municipality asserting that they have a "right" to "force" a property owner to do things on their property to protect the property values of others.
Beauty, it's said, is in the eye of the beholder. And for Doug and Jane Oakley, their house in Ocean Isle Beach surrounded by thick and lush native vegetation is a beautiful sight.
“This is the glue that holds this island together,” said Jane Oakley as she pointed out the yaupon, wax myrtle and cedars amid the green canopy in her backyard. “Mother nature isn't wrong.”
But some of their neighbors, along with officials in this Brunswick County beach town, have a different opinion.
They see the trees and shrubs, many covered in thickets of thorny vines, that surround the house at 9 Isle Plaza as an eyesore and a haven for rodents and snakes.
The town has now taken the couple to court in an effort to get their property cleaned up
The house, built in 1964, also looks out of place and a bit dilapidated when compared with the newer and larger beach homes that line the quiet street.
The Oakleys think that might be the real reason they're under pressure to clean up their lot.
On the nature of property from the Libertarian point of view, S. Balasubramanian wrote that one of the most basic principles of Objectivism is that no man may claim the right to initiate force against another. (An Objectivist Recants on IP). I am not an Objectivist (in fact I consider it to be a bankrupt philosophy), nevertheless there is an important fundamental take-away from this Libertarian concept. One does not have a right to "force" another on their property to protect your so-called property interests.
Unfortunately, neighbors (as the Oakley story points out) seem to believe today that they can tell you what to do on your property based on the fact that it affects their property values. The Oakley case regretfully is not unique, when we lived in California the local papers would occasionally have articles on how trees on private property and public parks, blocking coastal views, would be mysteriously cut down.
In terms of so-called intellectual property, those who have "sold" you the content believe, like the Oakley neighbors, that they maintain an entitlement to reach out and tell you how you can use your property. S. Balasubramanian phrased concept this better with the following question: "How do you reconcile the facts that recognising and enforcing IP essentially gives some people a right to the physical property of others?"
The situation that the Oakley's are in is really quite similar to what is happening with so-called intellectual property. The figurative "neighbors" assert that they have an unjustified right to "force" you to protect their property even if it places a needless burden on you. It is time to recognize that "neighbors" do not have a right to "force" you to protect their property rights (which in some cases is fictitious anyway).