You might think you own…
But you don’t in the mind of liberals, Democrats, the Supreme Court or the federal government.
The original concept of the United States under the Founders was that it would be a group of states mostly populated by yeoman farmers along with small scale business owners and service providers plus a handful of religious communities living pretty much their own lifestyles. Each man would be his own master, like a little lord. Most, if not all, adult males would own their own property or aspire to. Property owners had the exclusive right to vote in some places. It was kind of a “having skin in the game” approach.
In that construct, the individual is powerful. The individual has primacy. Government serves the individual and is devolved to the state or county level while minimalized at the federal level and when individual and government come into conflict, the individual should win out. The approach is to err on the side of the individual. In fact, local government would be made up of those individuals, rather than a faction of professional bureaucrats and politicians. That was the theory, anyway.
That was the theory, I should say. Of course no battle plan survives its first encounter with the enemy — just ask the farmers of western Pennsylvania, c. 1791.
Individual power has been eroding for centuries. One might start with the Whiskey Rebellion. It certainly took a turn for the worst with the Civil War. It’s been noted that it was there that the United “States” became the “United States,” that the agglomeration became the unitary; the needs and desires of the federal government overrode the powers of the individual states.
After a few post-Civil War decades, with some starts and stops with Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson restarted the centralizing machinery. Once Franklin Roosevelt was installed, the die was set.
We are no longer masters of our world. We are viewed as serving the government. We provide its room and board. We are subject to its interests. When the individual comes into conflict with the government, the government wins. The government has to win.
An irresistible government increases its power daily, hourly, all at the expense of individual liberty.
Land owners are no longer able to determine what they want to do with their land. Dozens of agencies (and third-party activists conducting lawfare) claw at the land owner, overseeing everything he does. Examining every detail: determining what can and can’t be built, grown, tended to, stored, modified, etc.; thwarting attempts to improve it, make it profitable. You don’t own your land. You might pay taxes on it but it is controlled by someone else. You can’t will it to someone without being relieved of a portion of it. In reality you’re really just a tenant. And you best behave or you could be forced to give up that land.
Businessmen find themselves filling out numerous forms at all levels of government; subject to diktats, licenses and inspections from all levels of government near and far concerning employees, finances, operation, practices, performance, materials, services and products. Erring even once can produce devastating, even fatal penalties though most of the encumbrances are niggling; rather of the parasite tick living off the host variety. But a hundred ticks can bring down even the strongest animal.
And government-empowered third-party activists find businesses to be a fruitful feeding ground.
This is not new. Thomas Jefferson wrote of King George III in the Declaration of Independence: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”
It’s as true today as it was in 1776. Seemingly most everything in the Declaration of Independence is applicable in these times. Have we come full circle?
We are, in essence, now just fleeting passengers on the ship called United States. We occupy a room or two and when we pass away, someone else will occupy that space. We don’t own it, can’t will it to our children or chosen ones without the ship’s crew’s approval. Our ability to decorate it or make it ours is severely curtailed by the ship’s crew and even some of the louder, bossier, better organized passengers. We do not decide, they decide.
Or perhaps we occupy a location on a bench in the galley called United States. We galley slaves row our oar and as long as we row the government tolerates us and provides us with some food or “benefits.” Disrupt that routine and the eye of authority opens onto you. It does not blink and does not think twice about punishing you. You are its subject. Submit or be tossed overboard.
That we might own our own boat and go our own way, supporting ourselves and our family and friends without the big government ship or its crew is inconceivable to the galley master. “Why it would be chaos! Think of all those ships polluting the ocean, getting in the way, what would be the point? Think of all those galley slaves who don’t have a boat of their own — it just wouldn’t be fair. If not everyone can have a boat then no one can have a boat. And the boats must be equal, as well. No one can have a better boat, that wouldn’t be fair either.”
When King Barry famously said “You didn’t build that” he could have also said, “You don’t own that.” (For a little fun go to the Wiki page for ‘You didn’t build that’ and read all the sophistries trying to argue that Obama didn’t say what he, the greatest communicator evuh!, clearly said.)