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Property rights loss invites anarchy
By Tom DeWeese
While Americans focus on the prospect of war with Iraq, one to liberate
the citizens of that nation from a terrible dictator, other Americans
are organizing to protect essential Constitutional rights that are being
eroded and destroyed.
For nearly 227 years America has prospered because this nation has operated under a rule of law that was designed to protect the individual's right to pursue his own life in the way he chooses. To work, to play, to invest, to own property and to use it in the way that best suits his or her needs. Yet, today, we are witnessing corrupt courts that toss aside election laws, that take over whole school systems and then demand taxes be imposed to implement their rulings, a function of legislatures and local communities.
The Founding Fathers, particularly James Madison, took those ideas of
limited government to heart and put them in the Fifth Amendment of the
Constitution. It limits government taking of private property, saying
no American shall "be deprived of life, liberty or property without
due process; nor shall private property be taken for public use without
just compensation." This is a guarantee to Americans that they are
safe and free to pursue their own lives without interference from government.
It says it is the government's job to protect those liberties. Without
that guarantee there can be no society. Chaos and tyranny would replace
order and prosperity.
The question must be asked; do we still have those freedoms or is our pride in America now based mostly on propaganda and memories from another era? The answer is that today, an army of bureaucrats care nothing about those rights and the politicians, the ones who seek our votes every few years, don't care either. They keep passing laws to give the bureaucrats the power to run roughshod over our rights.
Their only true concern is that you are verbally appeased until Election Day while they wink at the radical environmentalists who slip money in their pockets. Step by step, American liberty is disappearing. Americans are being ruled, regulated, restricted, licensed, registered, directed, checked, inspected, measured, numbered, counted, rated, stamped, censured, authorized, admonished, refused, prevented, drilled, indoctrinated, monopolized, extorted, robbed, hoaxed, fined, harassed, disarmed, dishonored, fleeced, exploited, assessed, and taxed to the point of suffocation and desperation.
We lost the wisdom of the need for individuals to have the right to own and control private property. The fact is no other rights can exist without property rights. How can you have free speech if you aren't allowed to control your own property? Step by step, property rights are being eliminated in America and that means we are eliminating freedom.
Too many people in America have accepted the idea that they have the right to tell other people what to do with their private lives and their private property. And they believe there is nothing wrong with using the power of government to enforce those ideas. They have become the Sustainable Development lynch mob.
Ask yourself these questions. Do you support zoning laws? Do you support land-development plans and restrictions? Do you support restrictions on where businesses can be placed? Do you support how waterways are used? Do you support historic preservation? Do you support restrictions on building designs to create uniformity? Do you support community growth management? Are you an active member of a homeowners association?
In every case, you are licensing the government to infringe on someone else's property rights. And what happens if a bigger mob doesn't like what you are doing with your land? Once the precedent has been established the monster is out of the bag. There is no turning back.
If and when Sustainable Development is implemented and imposed, every one of these things are to be controlled by decisions made for you by government bureaucrats, members of private, non-government organizations in partnership with private businesses and elected representatives, working together in specially organized councils with names like sustainability councils, stakeholder councils.
John Adams said, "The moment the idea is admitted into society that
property is not as sacred as the laws of God and there is not a force
of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."
We seem to have one property right left. The right to keep paying taxes and the mortgage payments as we live by the permission of the government. We have been losing our freedoms because we have lost the knowledge of why this nation was founded.
Tom DeWeese is the president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots
activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia. The Center maintains
an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org.
(c) Tom DeWeese, 2002
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