Neighborhood Auto Shops Can Make a Lot of Money

An article titled, “California ends single-family zoning” was shared at r/Libertarian 6 months ago, to which I responded, “Great now end all zoning.” The following short conversation ensued.


nullsignature: I think something could be said about not putting explosive fertilizer plants next to schools or nursing homes

Skyler: Because that would totally be a popular thing to do.

Jeepers__Reapers: Maybe not fertilizer plants, but definitely other heavy industrial uses. I wouldn’t want an automotive repair shop next to my single family home, and I’m glad that zoning laws protect my property.

Skyler: There’re a few of those in my neighborhood and people give them a ton of business.

Jeepers__Reapers: I’m sure. But I wouldn’t want one right against my property line. Most rational folks who care about their property value and comfort would likely agree.

Skyler: I have some neighbors I’d prefer not. Guess we can’t all get what we want.

Jeepers__Reapers: Great, but let’s stay on the topic. Would you be okay with an automotive repair shop right on your property line? Loud noises throughout the day, toxic fumes, derelict vehicles scattered next to your home.

You’d be okay with that?

Skyler: Depends on a lot of other factors, but it’s within the realm of possibility, yes. Really though, what gives me the right to stop it if it’s not threatening me?

Jeepers__Reapers: Oh it would greatly threaten your property. If an automotive repair shop was built right next to your single family house with zero setback, good luck selling that thing for more than you paid for it.

Not to mention the impact to your soil and air quality from those noxious fumes and chemicals. And with no zoning laws regulating stormwater runoff, all of those chemicals may end up on your front lawn.

Skyler: If they damage me or my property, I sue them. They would still have legal liability for damages, like any other neighbor. Affecting my resale value is not an act of aggression because I don’t own the value of my house.

Jeepers__Reapers: Sue them for what, exactly? The rain taking toxic chemicals onto your lawn?

Under what legal theory are you suing them? Remember, in this utopia, we’ve also abolished environmental laws.

Skyler: But we haven’t abolished laws against aggression. Polluting your property is aggression. See Rothbard: https://mises.org/library/law-property-rights-and-air-pollution and https://mises.org/library/libertarian-manifesto-pollution

Jeepers__Reapers: They aren’t polluting your property intentionally though, the rain did it. We’ve abolished storm water runoff zoning regulations.

Also who the heck is funding these courts for litigation?

Skyler: It’s negligence, and likely they’re insured if they don’t want to lose their assets to an unfavorable judgment.

Who’s funding? Lots and lots of theories on that. Here’s an ancap bibliography: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2001/12/hans-hermann-hoppe/anarcho-capitalism-2/


And that’s where it ended. It’s safe to assume he’s been consuming anarcho-capitalist theory for the past 6 months, isn’t it? Isn’t it?!

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.

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Alex Knight
Alex Knight
5 months ago

My late grandfather operated an auto-body shop on a residential streetcorner for 50 years, and it’s still there and doing more business than ever. And I remember that place as being pretty wild in the 70s and early 80s. Never any complaints.