Permission to Move in a Free Society


I’ve heard some friends argue that one of the drawbacks to a free society is that everything is private so you would need permission to leave your property.  They value the playgrounds, parks, and roads that we have today.  In theory, no one can tell you to leave those places to they serve as valuable asset to the community.  Many people have grown up playing baseball, football, and tag on the playground and they have fond memories of those days.  They want the same for their children and think that wouldn’t be there without government “providing” it.

The first question I ask is, “Who would build or buy a house they couldn’t leave without explicit permission?”  The answer, of course, is that no one would.  I’m sure we would have road companies who want people to use their roads.  Maybe there would be a monthly subscription, maybe you could buy miles like we buy cell phone minutes, or maybe the road companies would make all their money from the main thoroughfares and allow access to the small side streets.  We really don’t know how the market would handle roads and it would likely be different depending on the wants and needs of the people who live in the area.

Playgrounds and parks should be obvious in a free society.  I think they would be similar to the ones we have today.  Almost every time I drive through a new housing development I see a private playground.  When I see clients in the city, these skyscrapers have courtyards where I can eat my lunch.  No one kicks me out, even though I’m not a tenant of the building.  It’s almost like the builders want to attract families to move to their development and people to occupy their office space!

As for having to ask permission to proceed onto private property every 20-30 yards on your way to the grocery store, implicit consent is real.  No one give you explicit permission to enter a shopping mall.  When you go to a restaurant and order your food, most people don’t finish their order with, “And I’ll be paying for this.” However, you implicitly agreed to pay for it by sitting down and ordering.  Most of us have a walkway and a doorbell out front of our house inviting people to walk up to your door to ring the bell.  There is no need for a sign out front to say “The following people are allowed on for the following reasons…”So while its true that any property owner can put a “no trespassing” sign on their property, and the owner of a shopping mall can kick you out for any reason, explicit permission is not needed to enter.

I think it is highly likely that implicit consent would exist in a free society.  We all highly value getting from point A to point B without too much hassle.