The level of encroachment of government into our lives correlates very closely to the amount of freedom a person enjoys. It should come as no surprise that the more the government dictates every aspect of a person’s life, the less freedom that person has. Dating as far back as early English Common Law, it has been recognized and well established that without respect for property rights there can be no freedom. Alarmingly, over the last year, state and federal governments have massively expanded the scope of intrusion into our lives and all but abolished the last vestiges of property “rights.” As a result, the number of examples of egregious violations of rights has been piling up. Three cases in particular highlight the utter destruction of property rights.
West Virginia’s Supreme Court has now made DUI a crime on your own private property. That’s right; West Virginia now can charge you with DUI while mowing your yard on your lawn tractor with a beer. Traffic “laws,” which really are regulations are already a problem legally because they punish a person even if no actual crime has been committed, but at least historically were exclusively targeted to public areas. The idea that a highway regulation can now be applied to one’s own private property is an absurd overreach. Even worse, this just doesn’t apply to automobiles. One can be charged for operating a device such as a lawn tractor or ATV that aren’t even registered vehicles requiring a license to operate. At the most basic level, the government now says that it has the right to tell a person whether they can operate their own equipment on their own property. Even if a person somehow gets injured from their own voluntary reckless actions, this is what you have health insurance for, not laws and police. https://www.thenewspaper.com/news/50/5086.asp. A copy of the ruling is available in a 70k PDF file at the source link below. Source: Reed v. Beckett (West Virginia Supreme Court, 10/26/2016)
States like Oregon, Utah, and Colorado have been making headlines for their various bans on the collection of rainwater. The absurdity of a government claiming ownership of the rain is hard to overstate. Further, the notion that the government can dictate how rainwater and runoff is used on a person’s property is the epitome of overreach. The recent case of Oregon imprisoning a man for building ponds falsely labeled reservoirs without permits is just the latest example. The truth is that the man was legally growing marijuana, which the state didn’t like so decided to harass him with overzealous enforcement of regulations. This is nothing more than state sponsored terrorism. Further, the government’s notion that collecting rainwater somehow deprives others of water is completely unsubstantiated. In fact, in places like Colorado with similar draconian laws, studies have proven allowing land owners to collect rainwater actually reduced water usage for a net savings of water resources. Nonetheless, don’t think for a second that common sense and the facts will be allowed to get in the government’s way of exerting total control over its subjects. After all, this has never been about protecting people or resources. This is about total control and absolute power. http://www.oregon.gov/owrd/Pages/law/index.aspx
Michigan managed to also make the top three list by ticketing a man for warming his vehicle up in his driveway. Yes, in the frigid winters of Michigan, one cannot warm up a car. Instead, you must sit and suffer in your vehicle in subzero temperatures. Apparently, Michigan thinks that it has the right to tell you whether or not you can start and run a car on your own property and the moronic police chief really thinks this is a great program. http://www.abc-7.com/story/34226197/michigan-man-ticketed-for-warming-up-his-car-in-driveway
The government’s argument is this is to prevent theft, which is baseless and insufficient to justify this type of intrusion onto private property. The homeowner is more than capable of watching his vehicle and providing his own forms of security like locking the car and keeping another key. Coincidentally, this is exactly what many police officers due to prevent their batteries from running down while running radios, but cops are getting ticketed for this “reckless behavior.” It is not the government’s responsibility to ticket you for not locking your doors. If your property is stolen, it is your loss and the government doesn’t need to make this more painful. The idea that a property owner can be punished because the government claims your property could potentially be stolen is outrageous and establishes a legal precedent that has no end. Thankfully, this story has gone viral and Michigan is getting some much needed unfriendly attention. I particularly like the article by Simon Black of Sovereign Man that did a great job of destroying the government’s argument that this is about preventing auto theft. Read it at: https://www.sovereignman.com/trends/land-of-the-free-michigan-man-issued-parking-ticket-in-his-own-driveway-20664/
What we are witnessing is the destruction of any last freedoms Americans enjoy and it has to be opposed. These egregious laws must be repealed and replaced with protections for property owners. There is a very dangerous precedent being set by allowing laws to be enacted and enforced that dictate what you can and can’t do in the privacy of your own property that harms no one, but perhaps you. In short, the government can often get away with passing highly restrictive laws and regulations that dictate nearly every aspect of public activity, but historically, private property has always been the sanctuary for freedom. When the government begins to think there is no difference between private and public property, freedom is destroyed. Get smart now on how incredibly important maintaining ironclad legal protections of property rights are to a free republic. You can start with the many offers from Hillsdale College http://www.constitution.hillsdale.edu/outreach/free-market-forum/archives/2008/history-of-property-rights.
If citizens don’t wake up and start pushing back and demanding the government get off their property and respect their rights as property owners, the loss of rights will be permanent. This erosion of rights has been a slow and insidious erosion that has occurred largely unopposed to date. I believe this has been in part due to record low home ownership and the loss of family farms across our country. Today’s generation has been raised in the urban police states and don’t know true freedom or what they are missing and losing. Without private property rights, the government has total rights. Fortunately, this fight is at the local and state level where you actually can still organize and influence the situation. I recommend you start now with your local and state elected officials.
By Guiles Hendrik,
January 12, 2017