In light of the recent government intrusion upon free-enterprise in the form of business permits, I thought it would be a good idea to hit upon the loss of American private property rights. Where oh where has the American dream gone? The lemonade stand was not on private property, but the business being conducted was private and the only wrongdoing attributed to these children was not having a government permit to run a business (They may also have been cited for obstructing traffic according to the most recent update here). Funny how lemonade stands never get cited for violation of any child labor laws.
Permits and other fees tend to be constructed as a source of revenue generation for local governments. Most are not necessary and throw up red tape where none should be. The idea of private property and individual rights are lost when we agree to allow our governments the ability to require so many immoral, cumbersome and expensive permits. Gone is the day of true private property ownership. We are slaves to the will of the State and all land is government owned. Americans are in denial over this. We are no longer a free people when we cannot conduct private business and live upon our private property without government intervention.
There is an episode the Parks and Recreation that highlights this problem quite well. Ron Swanson, a Libertarian, government hating head of the Parks and Recreation department (He sees it as his duty to prevent the government from spending as little of taxpayer money as he can.), has an obviously non-code workshop at his home that he wants to renovate his own way. While not needing a permit he still needs permission (which is what a permit is anyway) from a local government to do what Ron deems as ‘improvements’ to his own property and structure. The building code inspector comes by and does not sign off on the improvements Ron wants until the workshop is renovated to the city code’s standards. The violations are obvious to the viewer and even Ron himself but the workshop is Ron’s and he’ll be damned if someone is going to tell him what to do on his own property, even if his property is dangerous and may kill him. Ron feels he is free the endanger himself if he so pleases. The city code was most likely beneficial to Ron but it prohibited him from doing what he wanted to his own property and it imposed fines if the code was not met within a time period.
The city code may be beneficial to follow but punishment should only befall the private property owner if his negligence causes damage, injury, or death to other property or individuals. It is not the states’ business to get involved in a private property owner’s foolishness no matter how obvious and destructive his actions can be to himself. Punishment for ‘potential’ danger is as bad as ‘thought crime’. Punishment is a negative sanction enacted upon a negative action actually taking place.
The Bible illustrates this principle in Exodus 21:33-35:
If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his. If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead ox. Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.
The man is not fined for his pit having the potential to cause an ox or a donkey to fall into it but only when his negligence comes to fruition in the actual act of an ox or donkey falling into his uncovered pit and getting harmed. The owner of the uncovered pit shall pay restitution. Notice though, restitution is only paid actual damage. If no harm is befallen the animal there is no requirement for restitution.
This same principle needs to be applied today only when we apply this principle and get rid of property taxes will there be such a thing as private property in the United States.