26 Sep 2012

NFL Referee Lockout and Private Law

Economics, private law, Rothbard 71 Comments

This is a message I just sent to an email List, which I thought some of you might enjoy too:

Just a thought for those of you who teach and discuss private law with your students: It seems to me that the NFL lock-out is a great opportunity to talk about private legal systems and how laws really can be “objective,” and that there is definite skill in applying a known legal framework. In other words, if it’s obvious to NFL fans that the old refs applied the rules better than the new ones, it would be equally obvious which judges were better at applying the commonly-recognized legal principles in an anarcho-capitalist world.

Of course, you will get a wiseguy saying, “And the rich capitalists keep the bad judges in place so they can make more money, just like in your wacko world!” Then you thank the wiseguy for his thoughtful comment, and explain why the mechanisms Rothbard described would actually allow for more competition blah blah blah…

71 Responses to “NFL Referee Lockout and Private Law”

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    Of course, with private competitive schools, 6th graders will have a working understanding of all common law causes of action just like first year law students today and will be skilled contract drafters by 12th grade. They will know a good judge from a bad judge.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      BTW Roddis I trust you’re not stranded in Africa? Some of us got an odd email from your account…

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Change your password Roddis!

        I recommend something nobody would guess, like “PaulKrugmanIsAnActualEconomist”, or “StatistsAreIntellectuallyHonest”.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      But Roddis, that would result in a more educated, independent, and resistant to authority new generations of the population. That would be a threat to the state. We can’t have that.

      It’s better that those who don’t want to be competed against economically, call for and use state violence to ensure that children are “properly” educated in “safe”, “civilized”, “public” schools.

      Oh, and don’t forget to play the role of stooge, and fear monger about the “fact” that if the state doesn’t educate the population, they won’t get “educated” and revert to barbarism, and, especially, the most important thing of all, the primary mission, is to do the exact thing that Bastiat said socialists tend to do, which is, whenever anyone objects to the state “educating” the populace, accuse them of being against education. Make them out to be uncivilized brutes who are driven by mad ideology. If they ever point to examples throught world history of private education, then accuse them of only wanting rich people to be educated, you know, like how only wealthy people could originally afford a car back in the early 1900s, and how that remains true to this day, and if only the state nationalized all car companies, then everyone could afford a car.

      You will be cheered as a hero by both leftists and rightists, because both will see an opportunity to use state power to “educate” the population in their own way.

      Come on, don’t you want such accolades?

  2. Gene Callahan says:

    “In other words, if it’s obvious to NFL fans that the old refs applied the rules better than the new ones…”

    Except this “obvious” fact turns out to be largely wrong: the WSJ or NY Times did a significant study of this, and the new refs hardly called the game differently than did the old ones.

    So it turns out people aren’t that good at detecting good judges after all. But I’m sure somehow THAT is also a good argument for ancap!

    • Richie says:

      So it turns out people aren’t that good at detecting good judges after all. But I’m sure somehow THAT is also a good argument for ancap!

      So it turns out people aren’t that good at detecting good [politicians] after all. But I’m sure somehow THAT is also a good argument for [democracy]!

      • Gene Callahan says:

        Democracy? Was someone here arguing about democracy?

    • Jason B says:

      Gene, do you have a link to that article?

      Just watching most of the televised games this year, looking at the penalty counts, it seems as if the games are actually called tighter than with the original refs. This has given way to a larger number of phantom calls than I’ve seen in the past, or just very marginal penalties, especially on a lot of the defensive backs. Of the football blogs I read I’d say that fans understand calls are going to be missed, regardless of the reffing, but they certainly do not like when their teams are penalized when there isn’t a penalty. Combine this with game mismanagement, lack of overall decisiveness, and some of the egregious calls made, then it is certainly understandable why fans would want the original refs back.

      “So it turns out people aren’t that good at detecting good judges after all.”
      The NFL has used these refs for years, are you saying both the fans and the NFL owners/execs are both incorrectly judging their refs?

      • Bob Murphy says:

        The NFL has used these refs for years, are you saying both the fans and the NFL owners/execs are both incorrectly judging their refs?

        Yes, that’s what Gene is implying at least, but only because it weakens my argument for anarcho-capitalism. If it went the other way, he would say something else, so don’t worry about Gene’s view of the NFL.

        • Major_Freedom says:


        • Gene Callahan says:

          No, Bob, I think the NFL no doubt has the best refs. The question is, are the second best refs as bad as the fans think they are?

          • Dan says:

            Have you watched the games? I’ve seen bad calls plenty of times, and I expect that to happen, but I’ve never seen the officiating as bad as its been in these first few games. You had the 49ers game where the ref game him two challenges after the team was already out of timeouts, then he admitted after the game that he didn’t know that was against the rules.

            It’s not like these guys are just missing some calls, here and there. They don’t know all the rules, they call a game deciding touchdown, even though it was an interception, the Colts get an extra down vs the Vikings, they let a play happen after the clock ran out for the quarter, and on and on.

            I’ve been watching the NFL my entire life and I’ve seen more blunders by the officials in three weeks than I can remember seeing during multiple seasons. So, yes, it is as bad as all the fans, announcers, coaches, players, and owners have been claiming it is.

            • Bob Murphy says:

              Wow I didn’t realize it was that bad. (I don’t have a TV.) What’s the deal, are these guys from college and the rules are different?

              • Robert Fellner says:

                Some of these guys were fired from the Lingerie Football League for incompetence.

                The rest are junior level college and below. That is, they are not even qualified to ref the premier college level games.

                To come to the conclusion of this study (and Gene) you have to both (a) avoid watching the games themselves, and (b) avoid listening/reading to the sports media’s coverage of it.

                Or in other words, ignore reality.


              • Dan says:

                As far as I know, they are from all over, but I never really looked into where they got them.

                But I thought before the season started that the regular refs were going to be crushed in the negotiations. I figured, how bad can the replacement officials possibly be? Even after the first week I was still thinking the replacements would be fine, but the last two weeks were brutal. I don’t get worked up over sports anymore, but I was watching that 49ers game in disbelief. After they let them challenge a play with no timeouts I figured somebody would step in and tell these guys that it was against the rules. Then they did it again.

                The only call I can think of as bad as some of these I’ve seen in the first three weeks was years ago when Jerome Bettis called tails on a coin flip before overtime, and the official said he called heads. Of course, it ended up landing tails and it cost Pittsburg the game.

                So, yeah, blunders happen, but it tends to be once in a blue moon, and not multiple times each week.

              • Jason B says:

                The first third of Dan’s reply is pretty much my feelings on the subject as a whole. I was initially a replacement ref apologist. I honestly saw nothing that was more egregious than anything I’ve seen from the original refs. They called the games tight, but fair. The second week came around and it was not very good. It became clear pretty quickly that they were unable to manage NFL games. There were numerous times where I’d see a ref make a phantom call, and then the very next play he’d go apologize to the player the phantom call applied to. I became more sorry for the refs than anything once I realized they were in a situation that was just too big for them.

                I watched tonight’s game in Baltimore with the original refs. It was officiated about as well as an NFL game can be. I would even declare it sort of a beacon of officiating in all honesty.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      So it turns out people aren’t that good at detecting good judges after all.

      You mean like trusting a NY Times study versus what the former players and professional analysts on ESPN say? Versus the guys pointing out that having two refs simultaneously call a touchdown and an interception is not something that usually happens? That the bookies are having to adjust the spreads because of the highest-scoring games in season history thus far (I think that’s right) due, they think, to the refs being afraid to anger home crowds and another factor which I forget at the moment?

      • Jason B says:

        You’re right on the scoring Bob, but most of that, at least as far as I’ve seen, isn’t necessarily due to the refs being intimidated, although according to some players intimidation is a factor in some of their calls, I don’t think it plays that much in scoring increases. The league scoring average has been trending upwards over the last several seasons, and the factors that bare greater influence on scoring would most likely be the rules changes that were implemented for protecting receivers and QBs, not to mention college quarterbacks are running more pro-style offenses, and spread offenses, so you have a pool of rookie QBs coming into the league better suited to run an NFL style offense right out of the gate, and this year I think there are 5 NFL rookie QBs starting, which is a league high.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Jason B, the story I heard (meaning on NPR, not in the bar talking to Casey Mulligan) was that the bookies are definitely raising the over/under thresholds, but it wasn’t as incontrovertible why. They listed a bunch of factors, one of which was that the refs are more willing to call pass interference (I think?) and so this favors throwing teams. So the bookies in particular are adjusting up the total points for a game with passing teams, and there was also an issue with the home team and refs being afraid to call against them. But I can’t remember exactly how that worked out. (And of course it’s not that the ref consciously makes a bad call, just that it’s hard to disappoint 20,000 screaming fans when it’s iffy.)

          • Jason B says:

            I haven’t necessarily seen more interference calls, because most of the calls I’ve seen actually have been a case of interference. It’s that I’m seeing these calls be overwhelmingly pro defensive pass interference. I’ve seen plenty of offensive pass interference being called by the refs as defensive pass interference. My assumption is that the league is skewing the refs in that direction, or the refs are just worse than I think they are, which certainly could be the case.

            What I’m definitely seeing much more of is illegal contact. I mean, it’s almost ridiculous how much they are calling that, ever since Aaron Rodgers came out and complained about it after they played the 49ers.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Oh you asked me to change one of your comments but I don’t know what you mean…

      • Matt Tanous says:

        Bob, there is a more fundamental issue at stake. How on Earth can one do a study comparing two UNIQUE EVENTS? The vagaries of human action preclude it – or as Mises would put it, there are no constants here. How does one quantify “refereeing”? The determination of a “good call” is entirely subjective! It’s like trying to quantify what makes a “good chair” or “good picture on a TV”.

        There are some basic principles, but whether they are applied properly is determined by the consumer. Ancap judges would need to be perceived as fair, because otherwise only one side would agree to use them, but there is no way to quantify “fairness” and say that one judge is ruling “like another”, in contradiction to perception. There is only another perception.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          The determination of a “good call” is entirely subjective!

          So if a referee calls pass interference on a player who isn’t even on the field, their judgment would be as equally valid as a referee who calls unnecessary roughness on a player who kicked an opposing player in the nuts 5 seconds after the whistle?

          Good and bad calls are not subjective, if there are non-subjective rules.

          • Matt Tanous says:

            I didn’t say they were equally valid. That doesn’t change the subjectivity of such a call. If there was no subjectivity, then there would be no disagreement about the calls – pass interference calls would have everyone in the stands going “yeah, he shouldn’t have done that” and so forth.

            The non-subjective rule is subjectively determined to apply by the ref, and that decision is then subjectively evaluated as good or bad application by the fans and commentators.

            The point you demonstrate is not that calls are objectively good or bad, but that calls on people that aren’t even playing make no sense. In the same manner, it is a subjective determination what vehicle is best to get to your work – but if you said it was a hamster carcass, people would just look at you funny.

            • Matt Tanous says:

              I should clarify that it is not complete subjectivity, either. But for any rule, there is a gray area where it is unclear whether it is being properly applied to the situation. The rule is not subjective, but the exact perception of what occurred – the interpreted observation – is subjective.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                “The point you demonstrate is not that calls are objectively good or bad, but that calls on people that aren’t even playing make no sense.”

                Work with me Tanous, you can’t see the point I am making?

                Fine, put the player on the field. He’s on the field, but 10 yards away from the player he supposedly interfered with. he’s called for pass interference.

                I don’t think you get what the actual meaning of subjectivity is. When you say that “I didn’t say they were equally valid” you are denying subjectivity.

              • Matt Tanous says:

                “I don’t think you get what the actual meaning of subjectivity is. When you say that “I didn’t say they were equally valid” you are denying subjectivity.”

                I don’t think it is wholly subjective, but there is a point where perspective can cause differences in interpretation.

                For instance, witness testimony is invariably imperfect. Despite describing what objectively happened, people will have differences in their recounting of it. Their interpretation and limited perspective is applied to the objective events, and the resulting recount is not entirely accurate.

                Maybe you don’t want to call that subjectivity. My understanding was that subjectivity referred to the subject and his or her perspective, in addition to feelings, beliefs, and desires. So the facts behind the call (actually ANY observations) are objective facts filtered through a subjective perspective.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                So if I gather you right, you don’t think the determination of a “good call” is entirely subjective?

      • Gene Callahan says:

        Bob, there is huge bias against “scabs.” The only way to resolve whether that bias is justified is to do some research. Evidence of such bias: the “real” refs have disputed calls all the time! It has only been newsworthy because it was the “scabs” who had this problem.

        • Dan says:

          Total nonsense. In addition to some of the problems I mentioned above we also have games taking longer because of the horrible officiating. We’ve seen 8 games last longer than 3 hours 30 minutes vs 4 games that did between 2008-2011. You have no idea what you are talking about.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          OK Gene I agree people generally hate “scabs” and so the media etc. would have an incentive to exaggerate how the rich greedy owners are ruining football. But what made me take this seriously was the bookie spread thing (which is of course based on something real, though perhaps not the refs) and the call that was so controversial that people actually thought the NFL might reverse it the next day.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Keep digging that hole…

        • Robert Fellner says:

          “The only way to resolve whether that bias is justified is to do some research.”

          The market has produced tremendously more valuable research than the quack study that ignores qualitative factors and exclusively focuses on quantitative ones. Bad science isn’t just wrong, its dangerous.

          Some of the examples of the market produced research are Hall of Fame players, now serving as commentators/analysts, who have never in their career uttered a direct criticism of the NFL, hanging their hand in shame and vocalizing their “embarrassment” for the sport.

          Some of the specific referee failures that led to such announcements were a series of non-calls in helmet to helmet collisions against QBs. One of which knocked the QB’s helmet off and literally caused a piece of his ear to be ripped off.

          There was a rule passed a few years ago making helmet to helmet hits a personal foul, as the league became aware of how horrifically dangerous such plays are. The example of the helmet and ear flying off, yet no call, in addition to the cumulative effect of all around atrocious referring, was the impetus for some of the harshest criticism from the previously most reserved NFL alumni and media figures.

          The study you give so much undeserved authority to doesn’t even attempt to address the issue of quality, and does nothing more than compare the # of the various types of penalties that were called. The above anecdote is forcibly excluded from such a study. Yet, arguably, is an example of the most important types of calls we expect competent refs to make.

          For a guy who wrote Economics for Real People, to overlook all this obvious quality vs quantitative stuff, is just mind-blowing to me. Especially given that you have no apparent knowledge or familiarity with the game itself. You’d think you’d have some reservations before coming to the conclusion that virtually everyone is totally off-base, because of 1 horrifically inadequate study.

          • Bob Murphy says:

            Guys, it’s hard for me to be objective since I know him, plus there’s the whole Benedict Arnold thing, but I think you might be bashing Gene a little too much on this thread. In the other ones when he calls someone a twit or something, I don’t step in, but I think you guys are initiating aggression (or escalating it at least) on this thread.

            • Robert Fellner says:

              I apologize for that. It looks like my last paragraph is the culprit and could certainly be deleted.

              I still really hate that study though…

            • Jason B says:

              Hopefully I’ve treated Gene better in this thread than Robert has, but I must reply to Gene on this one. There is no possible way, even for a second, that Gene could have paid attention to the NFL this year and also made that above reply.

              After the first week of games, on the most popular of mainstream NFL forums, fans were declaring the replacement refs to actually be superior to the original refs! I, to a certain degree, also agreed with this sentiment. It became apparent, during multiple games, in week two that these initial sentiments were illusory. By the conclusion of week two’s MNF game any positive sentiments the replacement refs had forged during the first week was abandoned. Week three further solidified the abandonment.

              This being said, about the only argument I could make that Gene might agree with is that the tolerance the replacement officials receive from the fanbase is much less than that of the original refs. But of course there is good reason for that, because the original refs are perceived as legitimate officials of the game due to their longstanding tenure.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      I’ve watched virtually every Detroit Lions football game since the 1959 season. These substitute refs are awful.

      On Sunday against Tennessee, the Lions completed a pass during their miracle two touchdowns drives in the final 18 seconds, except that our guy caught the ball at the 6, turned around, had the ball stripped (clearly a drive-ending fumble) and it was called incomplete. The drive lives on.

      Then in overtime, the refs wrongly spotted the ball 12 yards too far after a penalty, resulting in a Tennessee field goal.

      Plus, the outrageous call of a touchdown for the Seahawks Monday.

      The people know what they saw and they saw really bad refs. And owning your own house isn’t “coercion”.

      The replacement officials aren’t merely botching judgment calls; they seem only vaguely aware of some rules. They make astonishing mistakes, such as spotting the ball incorrectly after a penalty, resulting in 12 free yards on the Titans’ overtime field-goal drive against the Lions.

      From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120926/OPINION03/209260328#ixzz27gCqvCFA

    • Major_Freedom says:

      If they “hardly” called the game differently, then they called the game differently.

      That is sufficient for showing people are a good detector of judges. They correctly judged the replacements as inferior.

      Ancap FTW.

      • Gene Callahan says:

        No, people have judged their game calling as wildly inferior. If it is only a bit inferior (which I readily admit it is), then that shows people are biased in this judgment.

        • Robert Fellner says:

          Given they have produced what is being called the worst call in NFL history by a majority of pundits, commentators, experts, players, and fans, in only 3 games, suggests their performance is significantly inferior.

          The example of sportsbooks REFUNDING losing bets because of how atrocious that call was, further reinforces how dramatic and atypical such terrible referring is in the NFL.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Correctly identifying inferior officiating as inferior officiating, does not prove any bias or lack of bias, and even if it did, it would be a correct judgment anyway.

          You just committed the fallacy fallacy, which is asserting that if you perceive a fallacy in an argument, it is necessarily wrong, when it in reality that are not necessarily wrong.

        • Jason B says:

          “No, people have judged their game calling as wildly inferior.”

          There is a reason people have judged it that way, because it is wildly inferior. To the point where the the commissioner himself, over what is basically a three day span, completely ended a labor lockout. He essentially expedited a negotiation that no professional analyst or NFL blogger thought was even humanly possible. Seriously, people thought that if he ended the lockout Wednesday, the soonest we’d see the officials is Sunday, or probably week 5. Instead we got them tonight. I’d make the case that he thought the officiating was ludicrously inferior.

    • Robert Fellner says:

      I know Gene is just a troll but I thought this was an interesting anecdote:

      LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas casino took an unusual step Wednesday and offered refunds to gamblers who lost money when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers on a controversial touchdown at the end of Monday night’s game.

      Just like what happens under the old refs!

      I feel like there has to be a pretense of knowledge type point in here about the “significant studies” that make otherwise intelligent people like Gene convince themselves the reality they see before them is all a lie…

      • Gene Callahan says:

        A troll? Robert, do you realize that Bob and i are good friends, who have sincerely engaged each other in intellectual debate for a dozen years now? That I was at his wedding? That he has stayed at my home in the past, and may do so again soon?

        Ask Bob if he thinks I am “just a troll,” ok?

        • Robert Fellner says:

          I was using the word troll in the internet forum way meaning you frequently make less than substantive arguments and comments just for the sake of riling up the hornet’s nest, so to speak.

          I most certainly can be completely wrong about that, but that has been my impression.

          That’s cool to hear about how close friends you guys are, Bob seems like a really great guy.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Just to be clear, Gene and I were never engaged, and he attended my wedding but was not the other party.

        • Joseph Fetz says:

          Hey, I thought that you were the “anti-troll”, Gene. What happened?

          • JFF says:

            Do as he says, not as he does, kind of like Selgin.

  3. Blackadder says:

    I’m not sure if this is the study Gene was referring to, but all it says is that the new refs threw about as many flags per game as the old refs. Doesn’t say anything about the relative accuracy of the calls.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      Picky picky picky.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Damn it BA, you’re weakening Callahan’s profound intellectual analysis on why anarcho-capitalists cannot use the NFL as an example of people judging good and bad judges…who are people. You see, judges, who are people, cannot be judged as good or bad by…people, and so people need to be judged via a monopoly of judges who are…people.

      I once asked Callahan to send me his worldview written on a T-shirt. Know what I got in the mail?

      “…People are bad so we need a government made up of people are bad so we need a government made of people are bad so we need a government made up of…”

      written in a circle.

      • Jason B says:

        “…People are bad so we need a government made up of people are bad so we need a government made of people are bad so we need a government made up of…”

        That’s like applied Keynesian Circular-Flow Analysis for the construction of the State judiciary.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          …Production -> Consumption -> Production -> Consumption -> Production -> Consumption…

          Pick a link in the chain, preferably one that starts with C, and you’ll get the Keynesian worldview in a nutshell.

        • Gene Callahan says:

          But MF was just lying about this, you know. He never asked me that, and i never said that.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            I trusted that something so silly will be rather easily judged as a joke. Guess it’s unfunny day in the Callahan residence.

          • Jason B says:

            It’s cool Gene. I never believed that mail correspondence actually occurred, I was just indulging MF.

    • Gene Callahan says:

      Yes, I think that is the same study. I read it in one of my dailies, either the WSJ or the NYT, and couldn’t remember which. The study shows the replacements are a bit worse than the regulars: of course they are! Markets generally work pretty well. But, for instance, it shows their home team bias is LESS than that of replacement refs. And that the fans’ judgment that they are far worse is biased by their antipathy towards scabs.

      • Robert Fellner says:

        It’s not just the fans. The players have literally been risking getting fined tens of thousands of dollars for tweeting profanities and attacking the NFL for allowing such low-skilled refs destroy the games. This is atypical.

        The coaches have been so outraged they have physically grabbed some refs resulting in fines for these actions. While this is not unheard of, the frequency of events like this in just 3 games is several orders of magnitude higher than normal.

        The commentators, former players, writers, and experts have been almost uniformly railing against the quality of these refs.

        You need to stop selectively framing the argument in a way that benefits your position and address the actual merits of the claim that these refs are substantially inferior. Arguably the strongest part of that claim is the diverse group of individuals who have come together in an overwhelming consensus that these refs are substantially inferior.

        One important factor this study overlooks is the quality of the calls being made. As is par for the course, aggregates can be misleading to the point of being counter-productive. Merely adding up the # of penalties called is about as useful as tallying the # of convictions vs acquittals.

        Some people might care if the new judges were disproportionately handing out the death penalty for littering, for instance, and find little comfort in the fact that the total number of convictions has remained roughly constant.

  4. Dean T. Sandin says:

    I’m on board with AnCap, but I don’t see this as being a good example. It seems like the League, who presumably has complete control over the referees without much individual team input, is analogous to the government controlling the justic system for the collective good of everyone. Someone unfavorable to anarchism would claim that if the teams had to hire the refs, maybe by agreement between the two teams for each game, something would go wrong.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Controlling one’s own property such that others are to abide by the rules of your property, is not lack of anarcho-capitalism. The “capitalism” part implies private ownership of the means of production.

      What you’re talking about is left-anarchism, socialist-anarchism, or, what invariably happens when all property is denied: socialism.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t really understand how that is a response to what I said. I was criticizing the ANALOGY between NFL refereeing and a private judicial system. In a private judicial system, there wouldn’t be an ostensibly impartial governing body (the League) hiring the judges (referees), there would be plaintiffs and defendants (football teams) agreeing to settle their dispute in front of freelance judges who are successful because the market thinks they are good at judging. My point was that someone who didn’t already agree with Bob wouldn’t see this situation as analogous to a private judiciary, and so the present situation doesn’t BY ANALOGY have to support the ancap conclusion at all.

  5. Tel says:

    In a way, all law can be seen as property disputes.

    Consider the recent “Innocence of Muslims” controversy where various Islamic groups are trying to get blasphemy laws introduced into Western countries. In effect you have an organization (a church) claiming to own the property of their product (the Prophet, etc) and thus prevent anyone devaluing their property by saying bad things about it.

    Generally, the Western nations don’t offer this particular type of property right. If I happen to think that Pepsi tastes too sweet, I’m allowed to say that, and other people are allowed to agree or disagree. Pepsico owns the right to make and sell their product, but not the right to control who talks about their product.

    Every property right comes down to one person excluding another person from use of something. If we accept that everyone owns their own body (and I think that’s a natural enough place to start) then rape is theft of utility. The rapist may argue as much right to this utility as anyone else, but our accepted property law says, “No! You are excluded from arbitrary use of other people’s property”. Of course, where necessary some force will be involved in order to make very sure this division remains clear and distinct.

    Similarly, ownership of land implies someone is excluded from that land, and if they don’t like it then once again some use of force is the only way to maintain that property right.

    Exactly what you want to call “coercion” is pretty much a personal viewpoint, depending on what you want to consider is reasonable in terms of property ownership. People will always disagree on this, and almost universally they think they own more property than the other people around them think they should own. So we need a process to settle that.

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