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?
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.