At the heart of a free and prosperous society is the principle of private property ownership. Without private property, the centralization and corrupting influence of power grows, as the freedom of the individual dissipates. Democratic socialism is a great example of the dissolution of private property, under which, the demands of the majority override those of the individual. The majority claims they have a “right” to the goods and services (property) of individuals and businesses. They then use the government as a vehicle of force to conscript property and take it.
It is much more liberating and moral to contract with others freely and compensate one another, making agreements mutually. It is better to earn one’s own keep, be responsible for personal decisions, and be respectful of each other’s personal property. The tenet of private property follows the principles of natural law, establishing boundaries so one party cannot harm or take from another.
When property is owned by the state, it is referred to as public property. Public property serves important purposes in today’s society; however, it can also be used to serve the interests of the powerful. When property is federalized and concentrated into the hands of the powerful, the individual ambitions of the people become stifled. When property is federalized and used for monopolistic purposes, individuals are herded and turned into serfs who must do as they are told. When property is concentrated into the control of powerful central planners, they decide what they think is best for everyone.
Today, an overwhelming amount of property in the Western United States is now owned and mismanaged by the federal government of the U.S., and is being used for international and secretive purposes (e.g. United Nations global sustainability programs, and large scale mining operations). According to statistics from TaxFoundation.org, the federal government now owns more than half of the land in the states of Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Idaho. The federal government owns over a third of the land in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and California. This is not good use of public property. This is power unchecked – a federal government accountable to no one.
Federal government finding new ways to take over property
Federal government bureaucracies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are being used as armies to intimidate and bully private property owners into complying with their demands. The EPA created the term, “Waters of the United States” to declare any rainwater that sinks into the ground as being connected to “navigable waters.” In this way, the EPA can dictate what individuals do with their private property, by declaring someone’s property a wetland, owned and overseen by the EPA. Private property owners are bullied into paying fines or giving up their property to the federal government through this tactic.
The BLM uses the same tactics to bully ranchers into paying grazing fees when their cattle roam freely and feed on the wild grasses of adjacent BLM land. This is what spurred the protests at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. The armed BLM came to confiscate Bundy’s cattle, but backed down when the Bundys and other patriots defended their personal property.
When the Hammond family of Oregon attempted to save their cattle’s winter feed by starting back fires on their property, the flames inadvertently moved onto adjoining BLM land. Dwight and Steven Hammond now await a five year federal prison sentence because the BLM accused them of destroying federal property. These cases show that the power of the BLM is ridiculously out of control, unreasonable and dangerous. This case is the reason why there was a protest at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. The protesters had every right to assemble peaceably, defend themselves, and speak their mind about government abuses, but the FBI arrived on the scene in paramilitary fashion, unjustly executing rancher Lavoy Finicum, arresting the peaceful assembly of ranchers, and even detaining a member of the press, Pete Santilli.
An even greater BLM land grab is in the making
U.S. Congressman Rob Bishop recently sent out a press release about 14 pages he uncovered from a Department of Interior (DOI) internal memo which details the Obama Administration’s plot to bypass Congress, and make it easier to confiscate and federalize land into the jurisdiction of the BLM.
The DOI memo reveals that a large BLM land grab is in the making. The pages reveal the need for an executive order which would bypass legislative hurdles by using an “Antiquities Act” to appropriate “cultural land” to be confiscated and managed by the BLM. The executive order would seek to target the “acute” problem of private land ownership that is adjacent to land already governed by the BLM. The targeted land includes 412,675 acres.
“In order to expand this network of treasured lands to include the diversity of landscapes currently managed by the BLM,” it states. The DOI memo also reveals, “The BLM recommends that any major funding increases be phased in over a five-year period to allow the BLM time to build capacity in order to accomplish the increased work-load.”
The war on private property ownership will continue in the West, as the BLM plans to take more and more land. The cries will grow louder to return public lands to the states, as individuals are forced to defend their private property against the federal government.