Delay of Property Essay
I find that I write the way I walk. There is a place that I walk in: a great high desert landscape, over 100 square miles of juniper and cactus. A single gravel dirt road loops through it. A number of car tracks, 2 parallel dirt ruts, run off in various directions and animal trails wander between the places that, for their own reasons, they choose to go. But all around are vast spaces, like the trackless ocean, that are the place itself. Only there in the cactus meadows, rocky outcrops, dry washes and cliff faces is the place itself.
When I first walked there, many years ago, I followed the roads, car tracks and animal trails, but quickly began to venture out into the in-between spaces – soon realizing the arbitrary irrelevance of the established paths, established ways; that there was no understanding, or appreciation, of the place from the roads.
When walking in the great everywhere I could go anywhere, the roads and tracks were but arbitrary crossings, more about human uses than the place itself. By wandering across the trackless everywhere I began to know and understand; and also began to understand the roads and tracks as well. I won’t trouble you with marvelous finds and experiences from beyond the dust-eating loop road, but they are now the place for me, not the clumsy repetitions of the same path through a changing world.
Many times I would be lost and yet was less lost in the vast spaces than someone on the road who knew where they are going – I may not have known where I was, but I could find my way to everywhere. The people on the road knew exactly where they were, but could find their way to almost nowhere.
I have been writing about property and ownership; beginning on the main roads of Locke, Hume and Marx, and then to the 2 rut tracks of Mises, Butler Shaffer, Richard Wilkinson and others. While walking in the vast spaces in the high desert wildlands I realized that just like understanding this landscape, I was beginning to wander into the untracked spaces of my studies, that there was much more to be experienced and discovered than could be seen from the roads.
I had hoped to have the next essay in the property series posted by now, but it will be a bit longer. There are some vast spaces to wander in yet before it makes sense to return to the main and possibly arbitrary roads.