if your neighbors dumped garbage on your lawn, you would expect them to clean it up. If they didn't do so when asked, you'd call the local law enforcement. When your neighbor finally did restore your lawn, you'd expect them to compensate you for whatever additional costs were incurred in the enforcement of your claim. Obviously, the expense and hassle of cleaning up your lawn far outweighs the benefits that your neighbors might get from dumping garbage on your lawn in the first place. Thus, if they knew that you were likely to seek restitution, your neighbors would not pollute your property.
Environmental restoration is costly and difficult. Restitution therefore becomes an incredibly onerous punishment and the most effective deterrent known. . . .
In Britain, individuals have property rights in the rivers that run through their land. If someone upstream pollutes the water and harms the fish, the downstream owners don't have to wait for a bureaucratic commission to study the issue. Instead, they immediately sue the polluters to protect their valuable property and claim restitution for damages. As a result, would-be polluters are effectively deterred from damaging the environment.
Waterways that don't have a private protector fare much worse. A citizen's action group recently contacted me because they were concerned about businesses dumping toxic chemicals into the neighboring Ohio River. Because the government claims stewardship of this waterway, individuals have no ownership rights on which to base a suit. They must wait until bureaucrats decide to take action. If the businesses contribute to the campaign chests of powerful politicians, nothing may ever happen, even if local authorities are truly protective of the environment.
The miner had free speech, but what happened after he spoke could give him serious trouble. Many companies employed the firm Baldwin and Felts to provide mine guards. These guards dispensed retribution against “rabblerousers” and “outside agitators” who came in talking about unions. One town even featured a Gatling gun mounted upon the front porch of a company official’s home. Companies figured that they could increase their control by importing miners from a variety of areas such as Russia, southern Italy, and Austria-Hungary. They came from countries with oppressive systems; also living in a strange country with different customs and languages increased their isolation. In fairness, company towns ran the spectrum from benevolently paternalistic societies to absolutely dictatorial rule. Increasingly the system turned its aims towards preventing unions from organizing the region.Such situations are often tolerated or ignored by libertarians who seemingly have very little sympathy for the problems of the working person, and great tolerance for deviant behavior by property owners.
The United Mine Workers of America felt compelled to unionize Appalachia after the turn of the century. The Central Competitive Field companies agreed to unionize if the unions could force Appalachian mines to pay their employees the same wages as those in the CCF. The union would lose its credibility if it failed to compel the organization of the Appalachian fields. Before World War I, the northern and central part of the state succumbed to the tide of unionization. These areas lay relatively close to population centers such as Charleston and Morgantown which also contained press outlets and the state government. Also, the B&O railroad in the north and the Kanawha River flowing through the coalfield east of the state capital rendered arguments about transportation and access meaningless. Severe violence occurred at Paint Creek, twenty miles east of Charleston, in 1913 as companies tried to force the union out of an area. They failed and the union remained in place. This left a rump of non union counties in the southwestern coalfields: the most isolated part of the state, known for sporadic violence and lawlessness ever since the Civil War. . . .
Coal companies called upon powerful allies to help maintain control. In addition to the Baldwin-Felts agents, coal companies also enjoyed the benevolent cooperation of county sheriffs and their departments. Logan County Sheriff Don Chaffin could call upon a force of nearly 500, mostly paid for from coal company treasuries. Vigilantes from the middle classes took up arms and joined small detachments of state police and National Guardsmen.