Tom DeWeese: Why Property Rights Matter Prosperity – Stability – Freedom
by Tom DeWeese
There is an all out assault taking place in nearly every community against private property ownership. It’s being perpetrated at every level of government and funded by taxpayer grants. Yet few property owners raise objections, mainly because today most don’t have the basic understanding of the right of property ownership and its vital place in preserving our nation’s prosperity, economic stability and foundation of freedom.
Most Americans tend to think of private property simply as a home — the place where the family resides, store their belongings and find shelter and safety from the elements. It’s where you live. It’s yours because you pay the mortgage and the taxes. That’s about the extent of thought given to property ownership in today’s America.
There was a time when property ownership was considered to be much more. Property, and the ability to own and control it, was life itself. The great economist, John Locke, whose writings and ideas had major influence on the nation’s founders, believed that “life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure.”
Locke advocated that if property rights protection did not exist then the incentive for an industrious person to develop and improve property would be destroyed; depriving that person of the fruits of his labor; that marauding bands would confiscate by force the goods produced by others; and that mankind would be impelled to remain on a bare subsistence level of hand to mouth survival from fear that the accumulation of anything of value would invite attack.
Homeownership, and the equity it creates, has been the main source of wealth for millions of Americans. It’s the reason the United States was able to build incredible wealth and rise above much older nations. Sixty percent of American businesses were created by homeowners using the equity from their homes. Where private property is disallowed teeming and unrelenting poverty is the result.
Locke’s fears have become reality today through the innocent sounding term called “Sustainable Development. Under that banner, the very concept of property rights is being targeted as unrealistic in a drive to reorganize our communities through strict planning regulations.
Proponents define Sustainable Development as: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” According to its advocates, to achieve that goal requires massive amounts of land and natural resources to be permanently locked away from use; which translates to control, not conservation, as many perceive it to mean.
Sustainable Development requires a complete transformation of American society that will affect our system of justice, our economic system, and our ability to make individual life choices such as careers, family size, and the location of our homes.
The best known form of the Sustainable transformation is called Smart Growth. We’re told this policy is necessary to create the community of the future, to guarantee effective planning, and, most importantly, to protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint to combat climate change.
Attending a local public meeting where the community‘s new “visioning” plan is being promoted, citizens will be assured that everything has been prepared by local leaders simply to address unique problems and well-laid plan for the future. However, a little research will show, ironically, that almost every community in every state has a nearly identical plan in process, usually ending with numbers like 2030 or 2050. One can also search the Internet and find such plans as Jamaica 2050 and Dubai 2050. They cover the world and most importantly – they are all the same basic plan no matter where they are, nationally or globally. One thing they all have in common – none of them are LOCAL!… CONTINUE READING ON OUR WEBSITE