The Instigator
LB628
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
surfride
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Private Property is not recognized by the United States Government.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/31/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,029 times Debate No: 9345
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (3)

 

LB628

Pro

First, when I say private property, I am dealing specifically with land ownership. I request that whoever is Con debate along those lines.

Now let us examine what it means to recognize private property. Recognition of private property requires sovereignty. Why? Because if sovereignty is not recognized, then the state could interfere with the property as it saw fit, because it did not recognize that property as being independent of the state. The only way property can be independent of the state is if it has sovereignty, as the only thing a state has no legal jurisdiction over is another state. If the property is not considered to be independent of the state, then it is hardly private, is it?

So, we have established that recognition of the owners sovereignty with regard to the property in question is necessary for recognition of private property. Now let us proceed to how the United States government fails to recognize the sovereignty of the owner.

1: Eminent Domain. Eminent domain is defined as the ability of the state to seize property with due monetary compensation, but without the owners consent(1). If the state has the ability to seize land without consent of the "owner" then the owner is not being recognized as sovereign over that land. If she was sovereign, then consent would be required, or else sovereignty would be violated. Because the state has the ability to seize land without consent, it does not recognize private property.

2: Property tax. Property tax requires that the "owner" of the property being taxed pay a certain percentage of the worth of that property to the state(2). In essence, it is rent. The "owner" must pay the state for the privilege of living on their land. If the "owner" truly had ownership of the land in question, they would not be required to pay rent on it. Therefore, because the state imposes property tax on the "owner" of that property, they do not recognize ownership.

3: Search Warrants. A search warrant is a court order which allows a law enforcement group to search persons or land for evidence of illegal activity(3). In other words, the state retains the right to enter your property, with or without your permission, at any time it desires, and is authorized to use force if you fail to comply. Such a thing is incompatible with sovereignty, because it denies the "owner" the ability to control who does and does not enter "their" property. Search warrants, by not requiring the permission of the "owner", violate the sovereignty of that "owner", and therefore, denies recognition of private property.

I welcome whoever chooses to accept this debate.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2)http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
surfride

Con

It's been a while since I've debated here, so I'll have to see if my skills haven't gone rusty on me. . .
So, in this debate you contend that essentially the U.S. government does not recognize private property as sovereign because it places property taxes, it has power of eminent domain, and it can issue search warrants. However, I'm going with what I think is a more basic flaw in your position.

Private- 1.belonging to some particular person: private property.
2.pertaining to or affecting a particular person or a small group of persons; individual; personal: for your private satisfaction.
3.confined to or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential: a private meeting.
4.personal and not publicly expressed: one's private feelings.
5.not holding public office or employment: private citizens.
6.not of an official or public character: private life.
7.removed from or out of public view or knowledge; secret: private papers.
8.not open or accessible to the general public: a private beach.
9.undertaken individually or personally: private research.
10.without the presence of others; alone.
11.solitary; secluded.
12.preferring privacy; retiring: a very private person.
13.intimate; most personal: private behavior.
14.of, having, or receiving special hospital facilities, privileges, and services, esp. a room of one's own and liberal visiting hours: a private room; a private patient.
15.of lowest military rank.
16.of, pertaining to, or coming from nongovernmental sources: private funding.

Sovereignty- supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community.
http://dictionary.reference.com...
http://dictionary.reference.com...
Sovereignty =/= Private.

Private property does not by definition have to be sovereign; I think the best definition would be "not open to the general public".
If private property were sovereign, that would essentially give the owner the right to do whatever he/she wanted on it, which obviously cannot be permitted in the interests of the safety of the public. How would the government arrest those who break the law then flee to the safety of their private property and claim that their sovereignty cannot be violated? It would essentially be anarchy. If we try to extend your logic in defining private property as sovereign to people, it fails. Does the government of the US not recognize the right to free speech just because death threats are illegal? Does it not recognize the right to bear arms because bazookas are illegal? Of course not! There are always exceptions, because in order for a state to function, the safety and security of the many must sometimes be put before the interests of the few. My and my family's rights to life and liberty trump your right to own an M1 Abrams tank. Does this mean that you are not a private individual? In that same vein, are you not a private citizen because you pay income taxes?

My argument boils down to this: There is no need for sovereignty to have privacy. The mere ability to restrict the general public from trespass upon your land constitutes its being private, and since that right is recognized by the government of the united states, the U.S. government therefore recognizes private property.

But what of your 3 examples?
1. Eminent domain: once again, this boils down to the needs of the masses over the rights of the few. If 20 million people need a road built where your house stands, their needs outweigh your need, and since you are provided with monetary compensation, it cannot be said that your ownership claim upon the land was not recognized. The claim was recognized but was exchanged for equivalent value.

2. Property taxes- Property taxes are for one not levied by the federal government, so that's one strike. But in addition, property taxes are not simply charges for you to live on your land. They are essentially charging you for the services provided to you as a landowner, such as safe roads in winter, police and fire services, EMS, and property inspections to ensure that your house is not a danger to those around it.

3. Search Warrants: Once again, it all comes down to the interests of the many over your right to do whatever you want.

My case in a nutshell: sovereignty=/=privacy, privacy is maintained except when your actions violate someone else's privacy, therefore the US. govt recognizes private property.
Debate Round No. 1
LB628

Pro

I would first like to thank surfride for accepting this debate, as the last person who accepted failed to post.

First, the definitions. The definitions my opponent provides are useful, but unnecessary, because they do not address my point that sovereignty is necessary for true private property.

His primary response to this is just below the definitions, where he states,

"If private property were sovereign, that would essentially give the owner the right to do whatever he/she wanted on it, which obviously cannot be permitted in the interests of the safety of the public. How would the government arrest those who break the law then flee to the safety of their private property and claim that their sovereignty cannot be violated? It would essentially be anarchy. If we try to extend your logic in defining private property as sovereign to people, it fails."

Unfortunately, this argument has a serious flaw. My opponent seems to be assuming that what is useful or good is what is true. This is, however, not the case. However useful or necessary it may be for the government to not recognize private property has no bearing on whether or not it does recognize private property.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

He later paraphrases his argument as
"There is no need for sovereignty to have privacy. The mere ability to restrict the general public from trespass upon your land constitutes its being private, and since that right is recognized by the government of the united states, the U.S. government therefore recognizes private property.".

However, here I must contest his conception of property. One of the concepts inherent to that of property is that of ownership, according to the Princeton Wordnet. Likewise according to the Princeton Wordnet, ownership is defined as "possession: the act of having and controlling property" (1). Note the second part, controlling property. If what is crucial to the state of possession is the control of property, then we can clearly determine whether or not the "owner" of land has control of property.

Just as clearly, we can determine that they do not. At the point where the state has the ability to take away that property, without consent, then the "owner" no longer has control of property, they are merely temporary controllers, who retain control only until the state decides to exercise its power. Their control exists at the whim of the state, and is therefore not control at all. If the state is the one with final control over property, does the state recognize private property? Of course not.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now to his responses to my three examples.

1: Once again the utility of a thing=/= the truth of a thing. Simply because it is beneficial for eminent domain to exist does not mean private property is recognized. Saying that the claim is recognized because a monetary exchange occurred is ridiculous. Because the transaction is forced upon the "owner" of the property, they clearly do not have control over that property, and, as I outlined above, clearly lack ownership.

2: And yet, if I were to build a house, on my own land, in an area where there are no roads, and where there are no houses, police stations, or fire stations for miles, I would still be charged property tax. The tax exists independent of those services being provided.

3: Once again utility=/=truth.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To summarize. Control over property is necessary for property to exist. Because private control of property exists at the whims of the state, it is not true control, and therefore, it is not private property. Therefore, the state does not recognize private property.

I provide three examples of how the state retains control of all property in the United States, and have refuted arguments against those examples.
surfride

Con

My opponent has offered an interesting position on private property. If I may paraphrase, the heart of it is that since the U.S. government has the option to if necessary invade and/or buy your property from you, that means that you are merely a temporary owner. I believe that this argument is flawed as well.
In the final summary, my opponent states
"Control over property is necessary for property to exist. Because private control of property exists at the whims of the state, it is not true control, and therefore, it is not private property. Therefore, the state does not recognize private property."
Even using the definition of possession as the act of having and controlling property, there is a large hole in your argument. The U.S. government first of all cannot simply come in and invade or seize your property without probable cause or reasonable need. First let's address probable cause. If your house is subjected to a search warrant, it means that you have either done something or are accused of doing something that would endanger the lives and property of others. Let's say you have a rocket launcher in your home. The government is recognizing that you have control of your property, but your control over your property does not extend to having items that could harm others. In other words, until your actions infringe or have the extreme potential to infringe upon the private property of others, you have control over your property. Does this mean you have no control? No. As a property owner in the U.S., you are expected to adhere to the rules laid out by the U.S. Government, and should you break them, your rights may be temporarily or permanently forfeit. A good analogy would be purchasing a car outright. To drive it, it must be registered, and if you rack up too many DUI's, it can be confiscated, but since it was your failure to follow the rules that led to your loss of control, it cannot be said that until it was confiscated you did not have control over it.

The Eminent Domain Clause is a bit trickier, but I still believe that I am correct in my original statement. However, I will provide further basis for my claim. So again you have a house that this time let's say is where a police station is going to go. In order for the government to recognize and protect the vast majority of properties in the area, it needs somewhere to go, and so it begins the legal process to obtain your property. You have the option of fighting it in court, where you could be successful, or acquiescing and taking the money. Either way however, your refusal to sell endangers the lives and properties of those who would be protected by the police station. Directly or indirectly your actions always infringe to a degree on the private properties of others, which leads to the state invading or taking your property.

In essence: Private property is private, but its ownership does have restrictions just like everything in life. Should you violate those restrictions (which also violates the rights of others to having their private property) your claim can be forfeit.

Now I'll address the argument about what I'll call the "survivor house". First of all, I don't believe this is a realistic scenario; how many houses are there with absolutely no connection to roads, police, etc. However, if you were in fact so far out that none of these things existed, you could certainly argue that the town's jurisdiction over you did not apply and you would not have to pay the taxes. But let's just say they tried to tax you anyway. How would they go about doing it? They'd have no way to serve court notices on you, unless they hiked or helicoptered in, and if you simply stashed all of your goods and money at your house, there'd be very little that they could do. However, I would reiterate that this is not, in my opinion, a realistic scenario, although if you can provide a source with an example I could perhaps revise my position.

I believe I have successfully rebutted your arguments; I await the next round with anticipation. . .
Debate Round No. 2
LB628

Pro

First, to address what seems to be the primary point of contention. What defines control over property? In the last round he states "The U.S. government first of all cannot simply come in and invade or seize your property without probable cause or reasonable need.".

While this is true, it does not refute my argument, for two very simple reasons. First, the government defines what probable cause or reasonable need is. Therefore, those concepts are no restriction at all on its power, because the government is the ultimate arbiter of when those apply.
Second, this admits the fact that the government has the power to take property, at its whim. Irregardless of whether or not is chooses to restrict its own actions, the fact remains that it has this power legally. When that is true, restrictions it places on itself are irrelevant, because it still reserves the right to violate private property.

Now to address the specific restrictions.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Last round my opponent said "First let's address probable cause. If your house is subjected to a search warrant, it means that you have either done something or are accused of doing something that would endanger the lives and property of others. Let's say you have a rocket launcher in your home. The government is recognizing that you have control of your property, but your control over your property does not extend to having items that could harm others. In other words, until your actions infringe or have the extreme potential to infringe upon the private property of others, you have control over your property. Does this mean you have no control? No. As a property owner in the U.S., you are expected to adhere to the rules laid out by the U.S. Government, and should you break them, your rights may be temporarily or permanently forfeit. A good analogy would be purchasing a car outright. To drive it, it must be registered, and if you rack up too many DUI's, it can be confiscated, but since it was your failure to follow the rules that led to your loss of control, it cannot be said that until it was confiscated you did not have control over it.

This argument is an inherent contradiction. My opponent states that government recognizes your control of your property, but also that that control does not extend to having items which could harm others. If the government actually recognized your control of your property, they would not have the power to affect things which occur on your property. So at the point where they can restrict those things, the owner does not have true control of the property, because if he misbehaves, it will be confiscated. Once again we see that the government is the true controller of the property, because they have the ability to enforce their will upon that property.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
In the last round my opponent stated "The Eminent Domain Clause is a bit trickier, but I still believe that I am correct in my original statement. However, I will provide further basis for my claim. So again you have a house that this time let's say is where a police station is going to go. In order for the government to recognize and protect the vast majority of properties in the area, it needs somewhere to go, and so it begins the legal process to obtain your property. You have the option of fighting it in court, where you could be successful, or acquiescing and taking the money. Either way however, your refusal to sell endangers the lives and properties of those who would be protected by the police station. Directly or indirectly your actions always infringe to a degree on the private properties of others, which leads to the state invading or taking your property."

This argument assumes several things. First, it assumes that your land is the only possible place that a police station could be placed, and that there are no other properties anywhere near your land which are for sale, or where the owner would be willing to sell. Second, it assumes that without a police station, the neighborhood will be destroyed by crime. Thirdly, it assumes that, because you have refused to help others (using a very loose definition of the word help) that you are somehow responsible when someone else decides to violate their property rights.

Until these assumptions are justified, then the actions of the land owner do not infringe on others property rights, and the state is therefore not justified in removing the owners property rights. The fact that it can do so without that justification means that it is the government which has true control over the property, as explicated above.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Finally my opponent stated "Now I'll address the argument about what I'll call the "survivor house". First of all, I don't believe this is a realistic scenario; how many houses are there with absolutely no connection to roads, police, etc. However, if you were in fact so far out that none of these things existed, you could certainly argue that the town's jurisdiction over you did not apply and you would not have to pay the taxes. But let's just say they tried to tax you anyway. How would they go about doing it? They'd have no way to serve court notices on you, unless they hiked or helicoptered in, and if you simply stashed all of your goods and money at your house, there'd be very little that they could do. However, I would reiterate that this is not, in my opinion, a realistic scenario, although if you can provide a source with an example I could perhaps revise my position."

The "survivor house" is not intended to be a realistic scenario. What it demonstrates is that property tax is independent of services provided by the government, because property tax is demanded regardless of whether or not those services are provided.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I have thus demonstrated logically what must occur in order for private property to be recognized and how the United States government fails to recognize private property, in three different instances. I have refuted all of my opponents arguments, and eagerly await his reply.
surfride

Con

surfride forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
LB628

Pro

Seeing as my opponent forfeited the last round, simply extend my arguments from that round, where I show very specifically how the state does not recognize private property because it is the state who always retains effective control over property.

Please discount any new arguments (except responses) that my opponent may make in his next response, as I would be unable to respond to those arguments.

Because I have provided three clear examples of how Private Property is not recognized by the United States Government, and have answered all of my opponents responses to them, I strongly urge a Pro vote.

That said, I would like to thank surfride for accepting this debate. It was quite fun, and I am glad to have gotten a clearly quite intelligent opponent.
surfride

Con

surfride forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Sorry, you're right, Con loses the conduct point.
Posted by LB628 7 years ago
LB628
I did not forfeit. Do you mean con?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
If private property were not recognized, the government couldn't tax it, etc. Con is correct that recognition does not equate with absolute control. Pro loses conduct for forfeiting.
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
Metz
The resolution is asking whether it is recognized... and I am merely pointing out that it is recognized, whether the right is absolute is a different debate
Posted by LB628 7 years ago
LB628
@Metz.
Simply because it is in the Constitution does not make it true. With regard to taxation, property tax is paid repeatedly, every year. So, you are paying rent to the government, for land you ostensibly bought, and to someone who does not in fact own the land. So why are you paying rent?
Posted by Metz 7 years ago
Metz
Um.... Okay.... Have you read the constitution? They actually wrote into it that you cant be denied life, liberty or property without due process. Meaning that the right to it recognized. Also Just Compensation and property taxes are equivalent to buying something at a store in a sense. you pay and you get back. And just because something is taxed doesn't mean its not property. Repeatedly property is recognized is U.S Constitution & Laws
Posted by LB628 7 years ago
LB628
@Alto: It was glossed over yes, but that is because whether or not recognition of private property is a good thing is a different debate. As for the social contract, under the most commonly cited contract, Locke's, private property is something the government is built in order to protect. What I am questioning is whether or not it can do that.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
Brian brings up a superb point that was kind of glossed over. Essentially, there would be no recourse for criminality at the point where sovereignty *could* be declared in the way that you mean. Like, it doesn't matter if 95% of people waive some of that sovereignty...it only takes the really nasty ones to choose not to. Besides, no property is unadulteratedly private b/c we live under the blanket of a social contract. In order for the government to work for us, some access is required. The line can and should be drawn on that access, but not to the point where it becomes impossible for the government to do its job.
Posted by LB628 7 years ago
LB628
@tBoone: Who creates property controls is what our input decides, not what those property controls are. And when I say say state, I simply mean the government, and those in power, not the term "State" as it is used with reference to the U.S.

@Jurist:Compensation, when consent is not required, is irrelevant. The person still has no control over what happens to the property.

@Mr_Smith: If they so choose. Now, whether or not they would choose to exercise their sovereign rights is another matter.
Posted by tBoonePickens 7 years ago
tBoonePickens
"...declared independence, which was freedom from excessive economic and property controls, which were created without our input."
Yes, but economic & property controls are created with our input; we could vote people in/out depending upon property tax views. Also, property taxes are levied by local governments & not the state.

However, I do agree with you that it is a grossly unfair and vastly unregulated tax that needs reform. In the US, NJ and NY are by far the worst. In 2007, the top 25 property taxes (i.e. property tax vs income) NJ has spots 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25 (that's 16 out of 25); NY has spots 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 24 (6 out of 25); NH has spots 19, 22; and IL spot 17. I live in one of the top 10 spots.

(http://www.forbes.com...)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by surfride 7 years ago
surfride
LB628surfrideTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
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Vote Placed by LB628 7 years ago
LB628
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