How would one handle a noise complaint in an anarchic system?

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How would one handle a noise complaint in an anarchic system?

  • Zain D

    The more I read about the concept of anarchy the more I am attracted to its tenants of voluntarism and non-aggression. That being said, some people are just dicks, and the heavy hand of the state can be very useful in dealing with such individuals.

    Let’s say a new neighbour moves next door. He buys the property outright and is free to do with it (and on it) as he chooses. Let’s say he chooses to play his music ridiculously loudly at all hours of the night. His music is keeping my kids up and proving to be a nuisance all around. I’ve tried reasoning with him but nothing will dissuade him from blaring his music as loudly as he wants on his property.

    Currently, I can call the cops and the problem will be solved (one way or another).

    What recourse would I have against this “noise pollution” in an anarchic society?

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  • Jorge Trucco

    I say you can buy noise pollution insurance, and when your neighbor starts playing ridiculous loudly music, you go and call your insurance company and you get reimbursed accordingly. Now your company (on your behalf) goes after your neighbor; they may use a reputable arbitration agency where to present the case. Now the arbitration agency has two options: a- your neighbor has violated your rights; b- your neighbor has not violated your rights.
    If the case is a- then the arbitration agency will ask your neighbor to pay corresponding reparations to your insurance company (you’ve been reimbursed already). If your neighbor does not fulfill the sentence, then the insurance company can call a defense agency to go get your neighbor (he’ll be treated like a thief that has stolen something, until he pays the reparations in full).
    In the case that the arbitration agency concludes that your neighbor has not violated your rights, then the insurance company may have to bite the bullet or appeal to a second instance arbitration agency.
    I think insurance companies will be playing a key roll in a free market society.

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      Jorge Trucco

      The other key factor is reputation, or the loss of it, which leads to economic ostracism. Which means commercial death.

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    Mike Reid

    Good points, both Daves ( @dscotese, @daveburns )

    I find that I have this desire to find the single right solution to all hypothetical problems in a stateless society, to try out the idea. But the truth is that humans are just not capable of perfection, and any social system will inevitably have ambiguities and injustices.

    I think increasing liberty will take us further toward peace and prosperity. But I don’t know exactly what the end point would look like (and indeed, since history doesn’t stop, there really is no end point).

    I have no experience with HOAs, but @rogerribuck ‘s point that they would be more useful in a freer society is relevant here. HOAs seem like the obvious vehicle for allowing neighborhoods of likeminded folk to form.

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    Michael Bunch

    Home owner associations and housing contracts would probably address this. It’s also possible that some combination of private law enforcement and escalating things by using a sound system to fight back.

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    Mike Vroman

    Thanks, Dave.

    “The best answer to this question is unavailable in our world because it is infested with the cannibalistic parasite called “government” that prevents solutions. So… it’s really too early to tell.”

    I would go further, though, and say that this world is “infested” with people who would rather call upon government to solve their problems, rather than solve them peacefully on their own. This is where we find the real solution: Convert so many people to the ideals of liberty that those who still want to call on a government become an insignificant minority, sometime in the future.

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    Youliy Ninov

    Under the standard anarchistic assumptions  there is no proper, regular, easy way to handle the above problem. One needs rules which are valid/accepted withing the borders of this living area. So, if these rules were broken one could sue, call the police, etc. In short one needs  valid laws. The last does not mean that one needs a state.

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      Dave Scotese

      Youliy, you claim “One needs rules … So … one could sue, call the police, etc.”

      I respectfully (but vehemently) disagree.  Vehemence with respect, yes!  We are capable of such complex emotions.  My vehemence is not toward you, but toward that system which led you to infer that remedies (lawsuits, armed guards which you call police) are unavailable until rules are broken.

      If you sign up with a firm that needs rules to be broken before they come to your aid, then I suggest you make sure that firm has established the rules you care about.  I would prefer an open ended security provider on whom I could call for any reason, and I would be copacetic with paying them a small fee just to hear me complain (if they really required it), and a larger fee to do something about it.

      Lawsuits in which the defendant is not accused of breaking any kind of rule are called “torts” I think – meaning that whatever the victim suffered ought to be turned around (“tor[t]sion” = turning) to make that victim whole.  No laws or rules need be established for this.  It is merely a claim from the victim that s/he has been unjustly damaged or harmed and that the defendant should make recompense of some sort.  Bill Thornton of 1215.org explained (in a recorded lecture I got off his site) that a court is a forum for the public to view a contest – in the legal case, a contest of facts – and judge who is deserving and who is not.  There is no intrinsic tie to authority (or its rules) in the proceedings of a court.  Lysander Spooner’s Essay on the Trial by Jury also highlights the fact that twelve random (respectable) adults are basically all you need so resolve conflicts.

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    Dave Scotese

    I just re-read this thread and found something to add:

    “I’ve tried reasoning with him but nothing will dissuade him from blaring his music as loudly as he wants on his property.

    Currently, I can call the cops and the problem will be solved (one way or another).”

    If you’re really having this problem, I wanted to point out that the ability to rely on state violence is a severe detriment to your efforts to reason with the noisy neighbor.  Our reliance on state violence weakens our motivation in a very obvious way, and also makes use stupid and uncreative.  If you adopt the anarchist’s principle of disavowing the state, then you cure yourself of these ills, and the new-found intelligence, creativity, and motivation will help.

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    Leanne Baker

    Honestly, in the example you mention, I would guess the solution — at least the first attempts at a solution — would be the same as they are now.  No different than if the loud music comes from your own house — a child or spouse likes loud music, and you don’t — you will probably start by talking to them, and trying to work it out.  But my experience is that there are times when the other person will not cooperate, no matter what.  Several years ago I rented some office space in an old house, where all of the other tenants were lawyers who had been there a long time.  I am not a smoker, and in any case, California has very strict no-smoking laws.  It turns out that two of the lawyers were smokers and smoked in their offices, and the smoke went straight upstairs where my office was.  In our occasional meetings, they agreed not to smoke when I was there, but one of them finally said she just couldn’t help it.  I ended up moving, happily, because I am not the type of person who would call the police, or even the landlord, and the aggravation of moving, to me, was less than the aggravation (and the stress) of raising the issue to a higher level.  Not being a person who wants to live where there is an HOA, I am more inclined to live and let live.

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    Jorge Trucco

    Through insurance companies, arbitration agencies, rating agencies, defense agencies, total private property (nothing is public), reputation, social boycott, commercial ostracism.

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