17A012 America's Owner by Jim Davies, 3/21/2017    


As those who haunt it are aware, the social media are alive with viewpoints about immigration by Muslims, and the new President's attempt to stop it for a while. Much of it is just expression of prejudices one way or another, but I was pleased recently to find on the PBS News Hour board a comment which showed a measure of thought:-

"Free trade means that anyone can walk into your shop and buy your goods and you theirs, without mutual penalties. That's good. Whereas an open door allowing anyone to walk into your house, is not so good. The two are not the same."

Nice analogy, and for sure it holds, where the property (I'd say the store, as well as the home) is actually owned. Among many other things it follows that if the store is a bakery, the owner can accept or reject customers at will, regardless of his religious views if any; and that is contrary to what [now] V-P Pence thinks.

The trouble with the quoted analogy is that only an owner can properly control the gate or door to a property, and the FedGov's title to "America" is very far from clear. In the coming zero government society every square meter will be owned by a real person or contractual group of persons such as a company, so the ambiguity will not arise; some will say to outsiders that trespassers will be shot, while others will welcome them eagerly as new customers. The notion that there is one single entity and one entrance door will just not apply.

For the present, though, who does own "America"?

Ownership of unclaimed land comes from "mixing one's labor" with it, and making the claim; that's John Locke's proposal, and nobody has improved on it in three centuries except that recently Butler Shaffer suggested that in a free society that process will be subject to the market. He means that if an outrageous claim were made, the market would shun the claimant, declining to trade with him.

So, start by checking on the title to the house where you live. We might imagine you are the owner... but you're not. It's not just that to retain the right to come and go as you please you have to pay an annual tribute to the Town or State, there is wording in that title that makes it clear that it, the State, is the actual owner of the land you thought you bought. How so?

The Town is chartered by the State, and if the former fails to keep the laws set by the latter, that charter will be lost. The State, meanwhile, has a comparable relationship with the Feds, and that is where things get really complicated.

Each of the original States was once a Colony, chartered by a King. His Majesty never mixed his labor with the unclaimed land he coveted in the land North of the Mexican Gulf; he just signed some bits of paper and declared he did, and chartered some of his subjects to go and enforce the claim, enjoying certain goodies as a reward. Their claims to "own" New England, Virginia et al were all subject to that charter; they were British colonies, owned and ruled by the British monarch and his government and representative Governors; or so it was declared by that sweep of his quill.

Then came 1776, and 1781, and 1783, and King George III gave up those claims. Did the ex-colonies then belong to the 13 respective governments individually, or collectively? After the Constitution had been ratified, did the States own the Feds, or the Feds own the States? - my understanding is that the Feds existed and exist solely as a creature of the several States, which can abolish the FedGov even today, should they convene and so decide. Yet when 7 States tried to depart the Union in 1861, they were forcibly prevented; and today "states' rights" are honored more in the breach than the observance.

Whichever claim is stronger, those by individual State Governments and the central government all derive ultimately from the title claim made by the British monarch and subsequently surrendered; and that title claim is completely bogus. Therefore, the claims acquired by the American entities are also bogus. Who, then, owns "America"?

The natives, perhaps, who lived here before Columbus set foot on the sea shore? - no, because while they did indeed "mix their labor" with the land they did not even make a claim to ownership, they were nomadic. They assumed it belonged to everyone and no-one, that anyone could use it. Theirs is the "tragedy of the commons", writ large.

Even worse yet: such claims as now exist do so exclusively on the basis of force. Not only was there never a mixing of land and labor by those who make the claims, they all got control at gunpoint; whether the original colonists on the King's behalf against the natives, or by the rebels against the Brits, or by the present States against you, if you claim that, having actually worked your land, you are the rightful owner. Force means theft; and yet, as there was no previous owner from whom America was stolen, against whom was the theft committed?

Not only did the King have no valid title on this side of the Atlantic, he had none on the other side either. He was the successor to William, Duke of Normandy, who took it by force from a large number of peasant landowners who were working it; they are the nearest I can think of to genuine owners of the Old Country. Since all governments operate by force and force is not a valid basis for title, it follows that no government owns any country; hence that the emerging freedom revolution can and will be global.

Back though to America; when government has imploded for want of employees, who will own the land? It will be a key question for the market society to work out, but my guess is that all real people holding a title will simply delete that part of its wording that refers to the then nonexistent government and declare that they do. At long last, you'll own your home!

That will leave about four million square kilometers of land now falsely claimed by the Feds and States, for which there is not even the pretense of ownership by real people; much of it wilderness. I reckon Locke's idea will apply and be used. Stake the claim and work it. It will be a major business opportunity for millions of freshly-liberated landowners.

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