Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Boundary Law and Common Sense

Years ago, when I first began to learn about the legal aspects of surveying law and boundary law, my mentor in the Profession taught me one simple concept - one which I teach to my students every year. This precept - or way of understanding - is stated as this:

You only own what you are willing to defend.

In otherwords, in terms of property law, if you are not willing to stop your neighbor from using your land as if it were his, then it really isn't yours - you have voluntarily given up your rights to claim it as your exclusive property. Yes, there is A LOT more detail and nuance to the process than that, but it still all boils down to that one concept.

It has occured to me that the same concept can be applied in a macro sense to the ongoing immigration debate, whcih is stirring up anew because of the new reasonable an justified law in Arizona. If you are not willing to defend the integrity of your countries borders, you don't really get to claim it as yours any more! It seems that the STATE of Arizona has suddenly discovered the gonadal fortitude to do for itself what the Federal Govenment has refused to do - defend its borders. Good for them!!!!

And this doesn't have a damn thing to do with humanitarian concerns, or love of your neighbor. And this is not racist in any way, either. It's just simple good sense and prudence. If you won't defend it, it ain't yours. That rule applies to every piece of property on earth, be it material, intellectual, or anything else. And nothing in this applies to the concept that you may voluntarily decide to let someone have your property. But there is a fundamental difference from, say, letting a down-and-out friend live in your spare bedroom and leaving the doors of your house open with a "help yourself" sign in the frontyard. Or between writing a check to the Rescue Mission and having a wino steal your checkbook and help himself to your bank account.


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