Sunday, November 28, 2010

Drug smugglers prove Walter Block right about the "blockade" argument against private roads

On Thanksgiving Day, a kaleidescope of US federal agencies announced that they had
found a sophisticated tunnel used to smuggle drugs between Mexico and San Diego, the second such discovery in the region in less than a month.
The half-mile passage runs from a residence in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego's Otay Mesa area, the San Diego Tunnel Task Force said in a statement...
The secret passageway ran the length of six football fields and had lighting, ventilation and a rail system to send loads of illegal drugs from Mexico into California.
Walter Block has effectively refuted the various arguments advanced against road privatization in his numerous writings (see here, courtesy of the Mises Institute).  One argument posited is that one or more land owners could effectively blockade the owner of a piece of land from getting acces to a road.  Block anticipated this argument in his 1979 article, "Free Market Transportation: Denationalizing the Roads," Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 3, no. 2 (Summer) 218:
[I]n the rare case of a holdout who possesses an absolutely essential plot, it is always possible to build a bridge over this land or to tunnel underneath.  Ownership of land does not consist of property rights up to the sky or down to the core of the earth...
As distasteful as their trade may be to most people, the drug smugglers have effectively proven Block right.

* * *

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release had a laughable comment in connection with the bust:
“This discovery again shows the cartels' growing desperation in the face of beefed up border security and the costly extremes these organizations are trying in an effort to avoid detection,” said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego.
Growing desperation, Special Agent Unzueta?  No, just rational economic decision making.

[Photo: US ICE]

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