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STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Are We Still in a Feudal System of Property?
By Joe Jarvis - March 04, 2017

Do you own property? How does it feel to have a piece of land that is yours, that no one can take from you?

Unless of course, you don’t pay your yearly rent, or rather property tax, to the town.

And then of course the government could always just take your land for “public use” providing “just compensation,” a price which will be decided by the government.

Oh and the government could also steal your land for private use, because they decided “public use” can include tax revenue gained from the land.

And if you are suspected, not convicted, of a crime, governments in many states can take your land through civil asset forfeiture.

Do you have water on your land? Even a drainage ditch means the EPA really owns it.

Private property means sovereignty for the individual; something the power elites cannot stomach.

Government Can Take Your Land

You are probably familiar with Kelo v. New London, the 2005 Supreme Court case in which a woman’s dream home was stolen from her using eminent domain, authorized by the Fifth Amendment. Her property was handed over to the private corporation Pfizer. Since the corporation pays higher taxes, that was considered public “use” of the land.

Basically the bigger the business, the more land they can steal, authorized by the federal government.

Some states, like Indiana, strengthened laws to prevent this from happening.

But if there is one thing government is good at, it is being creative in their oppression.

Charlestown Indiana is trying a new tactic: fine private property until the owners can hardly afford to live there. Then, waive those fines if they sell their property to a developer.

The fines are issued for things like tall weeds in the yard, torn window screens, and chipping paint. The fines are usually $50 per day after assessment, and the residents usually won’t receive them immediately. So when the city issues three fines, and notifies the homeowners five days later, the homeowner owes $750 in fines immediately, increasing by $150 per day, unless they sell their home to the developer.

Did I mention this is a low income neighborhood filled with retirees?

Feudalism Reorganized

Bottom up approaches mean freedom; individuals control their property, which they organize into larger voluntary groups controlled by those individuals. But feudalism was the opposite. The King owned all the land, and awarded some to the Lords, who likewise reigned over the serfs.

Originally America was supposed to resemble the former, where individuals had the most power over town governments. Local officials then controlled state government, which controlled federal government. Now it is the opposite, where the feds issue orders to the states, and the states control the towns.

And each government really controls all the land in their territory, and graciously allows us peasants to rent it from them, unless and until they decide to take it back.

The big question many have is, if the government cannot steal private property for actual public use, then how would we get projects like roads done? This is just like the Kings used to provide roads, and the Lords protection. We need them, right?

But in a non-feudal system, our “superiors” would have to offer actual just compensation. How can the government consider something just compensation if the owner of the property gets no say in that? The government somehow comes up with a market value, but that is not necessarily the same as the value to the homeowner.

Real just compensation is whatever the homeowner will accept. At some point, Kelo would have sold her property, she just hadn’t been offered enough money yet. If Pfizer really wanted it that bad, they could have offered her $1 million for a $300,000 house. If she still said no, up the price until she says yes! How bad does Pfizer want her land?

Would highways have been way more expensive to initially build? Probably. But why are highways immune from economics? Maybe they weren’t worth the price, which includes the oppression and precedent of kicking people out of their homes for the greater good!

Maybe some better form of transportation would have been born out of free market economics. Instead it is taken for granted that highways and roads are a good thing. Yet we are still burning fossil fuels to get places, and allowing the economic waste of individual car ownership.

We are now stuck in an outdated transportation system; just one of many bad result from not having ownership over “our own” land.

Marx Would Be Proud

Private property doesn’t really exist in America, seeing as local, state, and federal authorities can tell you what you can and cannot do with it, as well as charge you money for occupying it.

These authorities can also use various methods to take the land from you altogether. Even if they give you what they decide is “just compensation” it still means the land is not owned by you, because you have no say in whether or not to sell the land, nor in the price.

Hopefully we can work towards a private property system where individuals actually own their land. And then, they would have actual control, like sovereign nations, over their land, and over how they interact with their neighbors.

Do you think we can (or should) get their in our lifetimes? Comment what you think.

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  • Doc

    The issue about who is to build roads if not the government is a really ignorant one.

    In Sweden, a very leftist place, the majority of the kilometers of roads in the country are privately built and run by the local community. Every year even more kilometers of roads and bridges are built privately for snowmobiles. No tax, no force, just people getting together.

    People used to work where they lived, even in the same house. So why do most of us have to travel and commute every day?

    Politically motivated zoning laws? Taxes making smaller scale production unaffordable? Centralization of political power to certain places? Corporations growing large due to their legal status?

    I’d say it’s mostly due to politics. I believe the best way to get rid of the problems on the roads is to stop forcing people onto them.

    Why debate who is to provide for roads, tunnels and bridges nobody really would want under normal circumstances? That is just playing into the hands of our overlords.

  • georgesilver

    “Hopefully we can work towards a private property system where individuals actually own their land.”
    Not a chance. Might always wins. When you buy property you are only purchasing the sole right to use it.
    The “right” to own property is a double edged sword. You could have a situation where one person owns every piece of land or property. With this thinking and the Mises Institute that would seem to be fine.

    • Doc

      I’m with you. There are other ways to deal with land property, but some people seem to be very closed minded.

      For example, in the Nordic countries there is the old everyman’s right and freedom to roam etc, but it comes with responsibilities as well. These aren’t desktop fantasies, but ancient ways of handling land property in a civilized and inclusive way.

  • ED.F

    Totally agree,WE Americans own no land!
    The idea of land ownership is just another confidence farce to keep the masses happy and brainwashed so we do not start revolt,,,as is money!!
    The Bundy story in the western U.S. is a perfect example in which the people’s took up arms to fight the Fed.,that was a very interesting event of which the MSM totally misreported as usual.
    In my neck of the land,(Long Island) if I want to cut down a dying tree I need to file for a permit,even though this tree is becoming hazardous.Then the town wants me to get an inspector who wants to charge me $100 to tell me my tree is dying after I already told them that in the first place.its pathetic.
    But when the town wants to cut trees ,which they do(30-40) trees at a clip, on town roads which have been deemed new commercial routes of which have public homes bordering these roads, where the trees provide much shade and noise buffering,also astetic beauty,to people’s properties, these trees are hacked down without A peep of information from the OFFICIALS..I can say the people’s including me were infuriated over this event.
    Of course we had no say in the matter,tough crap!!
    So my question is, who in the town office has FRIENDS who work in the tree dept.
    This is just one simple explanation of GOVT. OLIGARCHY which will most likely stay the same.They know the public is too busy working,trying to live comfortably due to some of the HIGHEST TAXES in the country,too put up a battle.
    And believe me,I do not live in a mansion,but I do love my country and will live the rest of my life here,but Our govt. is out of control.This is why Trump won!
    Can he change things?,,I think, not much.Time will tell ,,if I ever vote again..

    • john cummins

      FakeOwnership

  • ICFubar

    No one today ‘owns’ their land upon which their house sits. The land under your name, when all claims such as mortgages and liens etcetera are extinguished, is registered as ‘in fee simple’, which means it can be expropriated or seized for non payment of taxes. To actually own the land your property would have to registered as ‘in fee simple absolute’ which is no longer extended to the common person. All this formalizing of title comes down to us from feudal times when the ruling monarch would give land to nobles for services rendered. often in the ‘absolute’ form.

  • LawrenceNeal

    Are We Still in a Feudal System of Property? We are still in a feudal system of rule, by the .001% Elite, the 400 families that own almost everything in the US, including the Wall Street scam, the Federal Reserve Counterfeiting scam, the Too-Big-To-Fail Bankster scam, and the so-called ‘government’ scam. Democracy is an illusion used to mollify the masses. Parties, candidates, campaigns, and elections are an illusion used to distract and divide the masses. Regardless of who ‘wins’, the true power rests with the Elite, who proceed, above and beyond elections. Politicians are owned and are merely front men. The Elite are our defacto feudal Lords.

    • Landhoa

      Hasn’t anyone ever heard of Allodial title? Everyone needs to know what it is. It is still on the books. check it out. http://www.teamlaw.org

    • john cummins

      Thanks for getting the percentage right, for once. I get so sick of hearing about the 1%, thanks for correcting things.

  • You’re right, of course. And besides that simply “owning” a home is not that, it is even more of an insult when one has a home with an “association” to whom one pays a membership fee. That amounts to a rental payment, in my view, and not much better than buying a mobile home and paying space rent. Things don’t work in the interest of a free people when they are sold on such ideas as the American Dream (corrupted), as well as the idea that our very lives and maintenance of same come from the medical system. Those things are connected inasmuch as those who have health insurance can lose their homes to the medical system that they are pretend-insured against. The truth about these things is apparent, but clouded by marketing done by those who reap the fruits of the system.

  • Kim Chul Soo

    This article is right on the mark and one of my pet peeves. Of course you are right concerning America but is this nightmare true for the entire rest of the world?

  • thefinancedude

    the external worlds are a mirrored product of the collective internal States of its participants…

    until “Man” achieves mastery over the individual, internal State – we are bound to the collective, external State of confusion…

  • James Richard

    The property taxes also benefit developers by dumping the burden of infrastructure on property owners. They do not have to bear the burden of new schools, roads, services,etc. The already existing property owners are left holding the bag.

  • LawrenceNeal
  • Djangosdad

    In today’s world, with the level of infrastructure, schools, police and firefighting that people have decided they want in their towns and cities (most of that is approved by levies), property taxes are the way our society has decided to pay for it. It could be done through an income tax, sales tax, poll tax or any number of other taxes but property taxes are the way it is done. Sure, you can lose your property if you don’t pay taxes for three years but you can also lose your property if you don’t pay income taxes, get divorced, lose a lawsuit, fail to pay the mortgage, etc. Simply not carrying enough liability insurance could lead to losing your property in the event of a serious accident occurring on the property that is your fault. If not foreclosing on one’s property for lack of paying taxes, what other method would be more fair? Do we just let certain people not pay their property taxes, with no consequences? Does the very fact that we can lose our property through any number of faults of our own mean that we don’t really own the property?
    Eminent domain is usually very fair to property owners in that they most always get paid more than the property is worth. Everyone has observed situations where large blocks of usually decrepit old houses sit undeveloped and unchanged for decades. That is because it takes tremendous effort for a developer or city to purchase all of these lots in order to redevelop them into a higher and better use. All it takes is one or two homeowners to hold out and nothing gets done. Or worse, you end up with developments surrounding and engulfing a few small homes that would not sell. This is in no ones best interests. Kelo was not a bad decision because it allows economic development, even when done by private developers, to be considered in the public interest and therefore subject to possible eminent domain. I would rather have eminent domain for private economic development than for bike lanes, parks, that always cost more than the benefit received. Far worse than ED are all of the regulatory takings (wetlands, setbacks, critical areas, etc.) for which usually there is NO compensation from the government.
    England, I am told, places a much higher property tax on buildings that are in bad repair. This encourages upgrades and conversions to higher and better uses.

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