Episode 7 - Violence, Rights, and Front Yard Gardens


Florida recently announced that they are GIVING Floridians the RIGHT to plant gardens in their front yards. But, is that really how rights work?

My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Today we are talking about front yard gardens.

I was reading the news a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a bizarre headline. It read, "FL Senate gives right to grow veggies in the front yard a green thumbs up." As I read it, I really wanted to be happy. I love when people grow their own food. In general, I love the thought of keeping everything that we need as close to home as possible rather than relying on government-controlled international trade routes for our daily needs. Being able to provide our own food, water, shelter, electricity, waste removal, etc. for ourselves is a huge step in the right direction. But, this article was not about that. This article was about the Florida Senate supposedly "giving" Floridians the "right" to grow vegetables in their front yard.

The reporting that I have heard on this story has been very positive, as if we should cheer and thank the Florida state government for being so generous. But, I just don't see it that way. What was stopping people from planting gardens in their front yards previously? Were they physically unable to plant gardens in their front yard before? When their brains sent signals to their hands to plants seeds in the ground, did their hands refuse? No, of course not! The thing standing between people and their front yard gardens was the government, in this case local governments.

Even though people already owned their homes and already had the capacity to plant gardens in their front yards, they were threatened with violence for doing so. One couple in Miami Shores faced fines of $50/day until they destroyed their front yard vegetable garden.

The reality is that the Florida Senate didn't give the people of Florida a new right. They didn't enable them to do something that they couldn't do before. By passing this bill, they were basically saying that they would no longer commit violence against people who planted front yard gardens. But, that doesn't make a very good headline, does it?

Rights, by definition, cannot be given or taken. A right is something inherent to you. I have the right to my body because it is mine. Nobody else can send signals from my brain to control my body. The only way that someone could override my right over my body is with violence. Same goes for the rest of my property. Because I invested my own life to receive my property, it is mine. I own it and what I do with that property is my right. The only way to force me to not do with my property what I want to do with it is to use violence against me.

Governments cannot give rights. They can only use violence to block you from exercising those rights. Any time you see an article about a government giving people rights, it means one of two things. First, it might be talking about a privilege. Governments grant privileges to their citizens, but those aren't rights, even though they are often called that. Second, it would mean that the government is saying that it will no longer use violence against people for exercising some right that they already had, like in this story about Florida.

I am not going to thank the government for graciously deciding to not hurt me for exercising my right to my own life and property. If someone beats you up and then stops, do you thank them for being so gracious to you? That would be crazy, and it is no different with government.

My life is mine to live and your life is yours to live. We each have the right to decide what we do and don't do with our lives and property. Government may or may not use violence against us for exercising those rights, but as agorists hopefully we can find ways around them.

This is TechnoAgorist, episode 7.