One of the biggest issues in the country right now is property rights. The definition of public vs. private property has been so misconstrued that it is almost to the point of disgust. Recently we all saw the event that had risen between the Bundy family and the federal government. Being a libertarian I have learned that the federal government never truly wants you to own the money an individual works for, the property an individual owns, and even an individual’s body. Many people think that I am a fanatic when I say things like this but how can that be? So when I think of a problem in this country I think property rights and how they not only affect individuals but also how this issue can be solved.
I feel first I have to define what personal property is because even our local governments infringe on our constitutional rights. Personal property is anything that an individual owns which can be a vehicle, a building or piece of land, any item which the individual has purchased, but most importantly an individual’s body. The problem is that the government feels constantly like they have to protect people and enforce laws based on the common good and the idea that individuals don’t know what is best for themselves. Another government is known for that and it is a form of government that we have been at war with, that government would be the communist Soviet Union. So if I were to make a list of things that infringe on individual’s rights it would have to start with public smoking bans that are in fact privately owned buildings, not allowing businesses to discriminate if they wish, building a pond in their land, making suicide illegal, and prohibiting people from using drugs.
Often people hear me talk about this and they think so I want to encourage businesses to allow smoking which harms others? My answer to this is no I don’t want people to be exposed to second hand smoke if they don’t want to be, but isn’t that what the market is for? If anyone truly does not want to smell cigarettes while they eat then why would they go to a building that allows it? Why would they go to a building that says “whites only” if they agree that racial discrimination is wrong? The mere notion that I have control over someone else’s life and property is morally wrong to me. Government often crosses the line in my eyes when it comes to the belief that just because people congregate there it is public property.
So now when I think of public property I think of anything that my taxes go to pay for. Of course government doesn’t see it that way, they see it as their property. Police officers, national parks, FAFSA, food stamps, disability payments, and even roads are a part of public property because we the people pay for those things. So what that means to me is that every individual who pays taxes should have the right to say how much our politician’s make, how much money we put into a certain program, and even how we get the funds for these things. Many people now believe that taxes are too high even Obamacare is technically a tax but how did it get this way? We kept allowing people to distribute the nation’s money how they saw fit and in that notion we have destroyed our currency, made social security bankrupt by allowing it to be part of the general fund, and made our unemployment rate sky rocket. This is all a cause of government intervention and the first step to fixing a problem is admitting it even though the solution is much simpler.
My solution to fixing the government whether it is local, state, or federal is reverting back to the constitution. How I apply this to all of my examples of the infringement of our rights is by simply taking my rights and asking myself if I am infringing on another individual’s rights. If I owned a bar and wanted to allow smoking cigarettes in the establishment I would ask myself if this infringes on anyone’s rights involuntarily. Am I forcing people to come into this bar? Obviously not they come to relax and have a good time of their own free will. If I were to open a laundromat that said only a certain race could come to the establishment is that forcing any form of violence on others? No it isn’t and if the majority of people don’t believe I am right I am still granted this because of the first amendment, my business will suffer and obviously I will have to retract my sign. Do I have the right to do drugs? Well it is my body and as long as I am not hurting anyone else I feel like it is a fourth amendment right. Can I own a firearm that is fully automatic or even an explosive device? Yes I can, the second amendment didn’t say everyone must have a 1776 musket it stated that the people’s right to have the ability fight back against tyranny is a must to keep the government in check. The constitution was written to maintain the people’s power over government not the government’s power over the people.
Yet still there are those that disagree with the notion that we are a free people and that we won our independence from a tyrannical government long ago. The argument shifts blame on those property owners that wish to continue allowing smoking in their bars or those who wish to do drugs. Often times I here that the sole reason for drugs being illegal is that they need to keep the children safe, when in reality it funds another side of the economy. If drugs were legalized tomorrow there would be less judges, lawyers, rehabs, and prisons than there are now. The same goes for allowing smoking inside of bars. If smoking were allowed in bars there would be less police officers and more traffic in the bar scene. I am approached with this argument several times a week by coworkers on the greater good and how we need to protect the masses and my rebuttal always is the same, people were given free will for a reason. The basis of our constitution is that an individual can do what they want as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. The government in these cases are just trying to legislate morality like they do with cigarettes and alcohol.
In closing there are many solutions to fixing our current state of affairs but none remains more prevalent than our most sacred text as American citizens, the constitution. This document has governed our land since its creation and it should still be a reference for every law passed and every program funded. There are still many challenges ahead of this country and I truly hope that we restore ourselves as a free and independent country in the future. Many places in this country even have and are trying to discredit this document and even change it to fit their needs. We often find that when a document or sacred text is changed to fit someone else’s agenda that tragic things happen. My advice to those that read this paper and see that what I am asking for is not just a change in government but a chance for my fellow Americans to be truly free of the chains that have been brought on us.