We have no real property rights.
Think about it.
That house you live in, the car you drive, the small (or not so small) acreage of land that has been passed down through your family or that you scrimped and saved to acquire, whatever money you manage to keep in your bank account after the government and its cronies have taken their first and second and third cut…none of it is safe from the government’s greedy grasp.
At no point do you ever have any real ownership in anything other than the clothes on your back.
Everything else can be seized by the government under one pretext or another (civil asset forfeiture, unpaid taxes, eminent domain, public interest, etc.).
The American Dream has been reduced to a lease arrangement in which we are granted the privilege of endlessly paying out the nose for assets that are only ours so long as it suits the government’s purposes.
And when it doesn’t suit the government’s purposes? Watch out.
This is not a government that respects the rights of its citizenry. Rather, this is a government that sells its citizens to the highest bidder and speaks to them in a language of force.
Under such a fascist regime, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which declares that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” has become yet another broken shield, incapable of rendering any protection against corporate greed while allowing the government to justify all manner of “takings” in the name of the public good.
As journalist Eric Williamson notes, “From controversial projects such as President Donald Trump’s border wall and the gas pipelines, to more mundane works such as road expansion, just about any project deemed in the public interest can mean taking your property is fair game.”
When it comes right down to it, the right to property is the first—and last—right, and the most inherent.
Mind you, the term “property” is much more fundamental and personal than just with land ownership. It refers to a kind of sovereignty over one’s life and possessions. At its core, the American dream is about gaining sovereignty over one’s life and property. Without this sovereignty—this unshakeable guarantee of ownership and dominion, even over one’s own life—there can be no true liberty or freedom.
If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government.
This is what a world without true property rights looks like, where the lines between private and public property have been so blurred that private property is reduced to little more than something the government can use to control, manipulate and harass you to suit its own purposes, and you the homeowner and citizen have been reduced to little more than a tenant in bondage to an inflexible landlord.
In other words, we’re slaves.
If you have no choice, no voice, and no real options when it comes to the government’s claims on your property, you’re not free.
You’re not free if the government can seize your home and your car (which you’ve bought and paid for) over nonpayment of taxes.
You’re not free if government agents can freeze and seize your bank accounts and other valuables if they merely “suspect” wrongdoing.
And you’re certainly not free if the IRS gets the first cut of your salary to pay for government programs over which you have no say.
After all, a government that doesn’t respect the rights of its citizens will have even less regard for their property, be it land, money or personhood.
So where does that leave us?
Battling for our lives, liberties and property.