Glibertarianism of the Rand Paul variety is neither common sense nor common law. Crooks and Liars posts his answer to a question about the practice of mountaintop removal in coal mining:
I think whoever owns the property can do with the property as they wish, and if the coal company buys it from a private property owner and they want to do it, fine. The other thing I think is that I think coal gets a bad name, because I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it’s been flattened out. As I came over here from Harlan, you’ve got quite a few hills. I donâ€™t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there.
And some people like having the flat land. Some of it apparently has become quite valuable when it’s become flattened. And I think they do a good job at reclaiming the land, and you know, adding back in topsoil, bringing in help. So the bottom line is, it’s not just me pandering to coal. It’s me believing in private property.
If they bought the property, they own the property, they can do with that property, as long as they don’t pollute someone else’s property. And I don’t think they want to. If they dump something in the river that goes to the next property, your local judges here will stop them. But I don’t think they’re doing that. I think what they’re doing is what they can do with property they own, and doesn’t appear to me to be something the federal government should be getting involved with.
In other words, to Rand Paul, “ownership” of land is just like “ownership” of chattel. If I buy a bottle of old brandy and want to use it for starter fluid on my barbeque, that may be stupid but it’s none of anyone else’s business. So, Paul reasons (to use the word somewhat loosely), why isn’t the same if I buy a 100-million-year-old mountain? It’s mine, and that means I’m free to trash it.
Well, actually, no.
At common law, landholding involves the right to use a piece of land, but not to commit “waste” on it: that is, not to treat it in a way that permanently reduces its value. [This turns out to be a mis-statement of the law of waste. The relevant common-law category is “nuisance.”]
What’s astounding is the way that the right wing manages to say such appalling nonsense in tones that suggest it’s just traditional common sense. It’s not. It’s bad, bad craziness.