Private Property in America–that glittering illusion

by Al Benson Jr.

Once upon a time in this country Americans had the right to own their own property, free from government interference at just about any level. A man’s home was, truly, his castle, and in it he and his papers and possessions were secure.

Supposedly, on paper, we still have that right, but in light of history and recent events it has become nothing more than a glittering illusion–sort of like cotton candy–you go to take a big bite and there’s really nothing there.

In the old John Wayne movie “The Alamo” John Wayne had a great bit of dialogue in which he said something like: “Republic, I like the sound of the word. It means a man can live free, come or go, buy or sell…however he chooses.” That was a great sentiment–back in 1836, but it won’t hold water today. Oh, on paper this country is still a republic, but in reality, we have since the time of the War of Northern Aggression, become a centralized, collectivist democracy. The Founders, for all their problems, viewed democracy as one of the worst possible forms of government. They felt it eventually leads to dictatorship. Looking at where we are today, who can honestly doubt that assessment? All the politicians today rant about out “democracy” and yet the more democracy we have the less freedom we seem to have, and no one seems to pick up on this.

The War of Northern Aggression set the tone for the government’s regard for private property and if that property just happened to belong to Southerners then it was fair game for the socialist thugs in many of Lincoln’s armies. “Steal what you want and destroy the rest” was the order of the day,  during the War and in the socialist charade called “reconstruction” that followed it. The concept has now been widened to include all private property, both North and South, just as “reconstruction” has now been expanded to cover the whole country.

If you are still naive enough to think “your” property belongs to you, try not paying your property taxes (your yearly rent) to the government and you will find out who really owns your property. Your John Hancock might be on the deed and you might even have a receipt from the bank saying your note is all paid up, but in the final analysis, all that is meaningless. He who can take it is the real owner, not you.

For decades after the War the facade of private property was maintained, so most folks wouldn’t catch onto the game, and it pretty much worked, thanks to the mis-education of a dutiful public (government) school system that taught its captive audiences much about nothing.

However, the Supreme Court, those nine blind judges and judgettes, have now figured out that we have come far enough down the road to serfdom that they can now remove the velvet glove, stick the mailed fist in our faces and show us the real name of the game, and there just isn’t much we can do about it anymore. And they could be right. Americans in all areas of the country have been allowed just enough material comforts, bass boats, and beer, to keep them mostly obese and happy–and they just might not give a rip anymore, as long as its not their house or bass boat that’s being threatened–yet.

A few years ago we finally had the glittering illusion of property rights shattered. The death knell came, in, of all places, New London, Connecticut, which just proves that “reconstruction” is alive and well in the North as it has been in the South for decades. The Supreme Court ruled that the city has the right to seize people’s homes to make way for a business complex for “public use.”

According to an article at the time in “The Washington Post”: “The city had argued that the project served a public use within the means of the Taking Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase the tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy,” Isn’t that convenient? Anytime a town or city decides it can get more out of your property by removing you and your neighbors and putting up a business complex there, then you and your neighbors are gone in a New York minute. The bulldozer operators eagerly await the opportunity to knock down your house, whether you desire to move or not, because, you see, what you want doesn’t really matter to the city. If your property is a usable commodity to them you will be removed, one way or the other. End of argument! Maybe we begin to have some idea of how the Indians felt, and maybe what goes around comes around.

If I recall correctly, the Tenth Commandment says something about covetousness, about not coveting your neighbor’s house, (and by implication, his land) or his servants, nor his livestock, nor anything that is his. Of course everyone know that doesn’t apply to cities or towns, right? Isn’t government above all that? Well, no, actually they are not. The Commandment applies to governments as well as to individuals and the government that steals will be judged every bit as much as the individual that steals.

That Commandment was written, as part of God’s Law, for a society that was supposed to value private property. That would, automatically, seem to exclude us anymore.

Welcome to “the land of the freeloader and the home of (thanks to public education) the brain dead.”

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