(group) What are the property-rights claims that are in conflict in each of the cases described below? How would you prefer that they be resolved (assuming that you are an impartial observer)?
- Owners of motorcycles want to remove their mufflers to obtain more efficient engine performance, but the law limits the noise that any motorcycle may emit.
The two rights in conflict are the right of motorcyclists to run their property how they see fit (which many want to do more
efficiently) and the right of neighbors to the quiet enjoyment of their homes. I'd resolve it the way it's already been resolved, but leaving the law on the books and letting the courts ajudicate questions of individual bikers noise levels should complaints arise.
- A group wants to prohibit billboards along rural highways, but farmers claim they have a right to erect any kind of sign they want on their own property.
The rights in conflict are those of the farmers and those who wish to enjoy idyllic scenery. While I'm not too sympathetic to the drivers themselves, other local property owners may see their property values go down in their neighbors erect multitudes of signs. As I am generally against flat prohibitions on forms of speech, I could not support prohibiting billboards. Perhaps a limit on the characteristics which would significantly lower adjacent property values (such as limiting the number per mile of highway). (I'm not completely an impartial person in this regard. I've allowed large political signs on my property in Idaho, to the consternation of some local right-wingers.)
- A Missouri state legislator introduces a bill making it a crime to blow your nose in a loud or offensive manner in a restaurant.
It's the right to sneeze vs. the right to not hear sneezes. While I am all for banning sneezing onto someone else's food, I'd heartily laugh at and reject any property right to be free of loud sneezes. Still, I'd hardly endorse any property right to sneeze either. Probably the best way to ajudicate the condlict is for the sneezer and the offended person to duel at 10 paces.
- A Connecticut state legislator proposes a bill that would ban the throwing of rice at weddings on the grounds that uncooked rice is unhealthful for birds.
The right of wedding participants to enjoy themselves conflicts with the right of locals to enjoy live birds landing in their bird feeders. While I'm generally against harming birds, banning the practice would do little to help local birds. People should have better things to do than argue over such piddly things. Ban it and then send offenders to Judge Judy who will yell at everyone involved for wasting her time.
- Restaurant owners want to exclude people whose dress doesn't satisfy certain standards. (Should this be legal?)
Rights to use ones property as one sees fit conflicts with the right to wear whatever one wants upon their person. I'd side with the owners.
- People who never bathe want to use city buses. People who never brush or comb their hair want to sit and stroll in public parks. (Should the unwashed be barred from the buses? The unkempt from the parks?)
In this case, the property right is the same. It's the right of a person to the enjoyment of the public transportation or public parks for which they've paid with their quarters and/or taxes. It's just that both can't enjoy it at the same time. I say to those who want smell-free buses that they should wait for the next bus.
And finally, what a bunch of petty whiners the whole lot of these folks are.