Socialism by a landslide

May 18, 2002

By Henry Lamb

If put to a vote, Americans would likely reject socialism by a substantial

Those same Americans, however, are voting by a substantial majority to allow
governments to acquire more and more land and to tighten the
controls on the private lands that remain.

Socialism, classically defined, is "government ownership and/or control
of the sources of production." Land is the source of all production. A
vote for acquiring more private land by government, or tightening
government's control of the remaining private land, is a vote for socialism
in America.

Of course, it's not called socialism; it's called "protecting the
environment." But it doesn't matter what it is called; the result is the
elimination of private property and the transfer of the sources of
production to government control. The result is socialism.

Governments already own 900 million acres - 40 percent or more -- of the
total land area of the United States. Nearly 200 million acres are
designated as "wilderness," off-limits to humans. More than 50 bills have
been introduced in Congress to expand the wilderness area, and another 50
bills are now being considered to authorize more land acquisition by

States, too, are authorizing land acquisition to "protect" open space,
watersheds, shorelines and the environment in general. Not one of the
bills is labeled "The Transition to Socialism Act." Nevertheless, each of
these bills has the effect of destroying the foundation of freedom in
America and effecting the transition to socialism.

Every time private property is acquired by government, tax revenue from that
land stops. This forces an increase in the taxes paid by the
remaining private property owners. Even worse, the free market is further

The United Nations believes that government control of all land use is
"indispensable." Environmental organizations have convinced the public,
Congress and the administration, that the planet is on the brink of
biological collapse, and that the only way to ensure a planet for
posterity is to stop logging, mining, ranching, driving, boating,
snowmobiling, barbecuing, eating meat and sweets, and to restore the land to
pre-Columbian wilderness and force humans to live in low-rise,
high-density, managed "sustainable communities."

This is a socialist agenda. No, thank you -- very much!

Instead of plotting to acquire more private property, Congress and state
legislatures should be working to divest their massive land inventories.
Get government land into private hands -- as much as possible, as quickly as
possible. Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution specifies the kinds
of assets the government may own; all governments should adhere to this

Government cannot adequately manage the land it owns now. Divestiture could
provide a windfall of revenue to build schools, reduce debt or simply refresh
the Social Security Trust Fund. Private landowners would happily pay
reasonable property taxes. And private owners would undoubtedly "protect"
their property far better than the government has protected "public" assets.

The Nature Conservancy and other "conservancy" organizations should be
required to pay full taxes on their land holdings. Governments should be
prohibited from providing them with grants to acquire private property.
Without their government subsidies, their appetite for land acquisitions
would likely diminish.

Land - in private ownership -- is the foundation of freedom in America.
Ownership means the freedom to use the land that is owned. Government control
of private land -- to "protect" so-called "endangered" species of weeds and
bugs -- is a feel-good mask that hides the sinister effect of transforming
America into a socialist nation.

Socialists have tried throughout the century to establish federal control
of land use. This idea has been rejected in the past. Americans have been
blinded by the "protect the environment" ruse, and for a generation, have
allowed socialism -- government land acquisition and control -- to guide
public policy.

Many, if not most, Americans believe it is perfectly correct for
government to own land and to prohibit use of the land to keep it in its
pristine condition. Few who hold this belief will declare just how much
land is the correct percentage for government to own. Every candidate for
public office should be asked to publicly declare just how much land they
think the government should own. Voters should make their decisions

The rate at which private property is being either acquired by
government, or placed under government control, is nothing less than a
landslide -- a landslide to socialism.

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