In a free society, the land is owned by the people, not the government.
Ron Paul clarifies some convention wisdom:
Many people believe that the federal government is needed for national parks and therefore they never ask questions about how much land the federal government owns outside the park system. The truth is that most federally owned land is not part of a national park.
Today federal ownership is more than one third of the land mass of the fifty states. But that's not the only problem for those who believe in private ownership of land. Taxation and regulations are so cumbersome that landowners are essentially renters with no rights to the land.
Among many other examples of government misuse of public land, Ron Paul explains how "the wealthy, and yes, even politicians" purchase remote private estates, then—coincidentally—thousands of surrounding acres are subsequently declared public land, effectively assuring privacy for that estate.
Fees from the people who use the parks would be a fairer way to finance [national] parks than by taxing the 90 or so percent of citizens who never get to enjoy them.
Our biggest current battle is to restrain the eminent domain enthusiasts at all levels of government. The Fifth Amendment was written more to assure that land taken by the government was adequately paid for than it was to give the right to government to confiscate property at will.
He explains the history of the concept of eminent domain, dating back to early Roman law and the Magna Carta, and notes that it was generally well-intentioned.
Recently, though, this device has become an instrument not to serve the "public" but to serve the special interests. [...]
Today's corporations and private businesses ask local governments to condemn land in order to resell it to them. The promise is that the land value will go up, the business will pay more taxes, the municipality will benefit, and the new business will earn more money with its new, preferable location. Sounds like a good deal, except for the individual who was forced to sell the land and lose his or her right of property ownership.
A clear understanding of the right to own private property is crucial in maintaing a free society.
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