Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights
No document promising an intellectually honest public discussion can begin without exposing what can only be described as the elitist attitude and thinking of the politically powerful urban wealthy. In the 1700's and 1800's, the rich and powerful urbanites portrayed Native Americans as simple minded children who needed to be guided and educated by adults. And, since children could not own property, their claims of land ownership were somehow not as legitimate as a European’s claim to that same property. In reality, Native Americans had thousands of years of wisdom, knowledge and stewardship experience. The politically correct "truth" of that time simply was an excuse that allowed the dishonest and greedy in power to more easily steal the land. Often when compensation and food was promised, it simply disappeared into the hands of dishonest agents and bureaucrats.
In an eerily similar situation, we now have urban politicians and bureaucrats who dictate the uses of private rural land and speak of "educating" rural property owners. Bureaucrats openly promote regulations that simply take 65 percent of rural parcels. Fees collected for mitigation disappear into bureaucracies to be used to gather more fees. Permission must be asked and fees paid before legitimate use of private property is "allowed.".
Certainly, society faces a long list of environmental concerns; pollution of the deep ocean, over-fishing, loss of estuaries and saltwater mudflats, loss of floodplains, sediment control and water management. However, in an honest discussion we must be clear who has benefited from the destruction of the environment. Our urban neighbors must accept responsibility for the vast majority of environmental damage. Whether we look at impervious surface area, air pollution or discharge of chemicals and effluent the simple truth is that the urban areas have consistently generated the majority of the damage. It is often stated that the urban areas are permanently damaged and cannot be recovered, thus the responsibility of mitigating the damage rests with the rural landowners. That argument fails to recognize that the benefits associated with the environmental damage continue to flow in a steady stream of cash rents and taxes to the urban landowners, governments and public employees.
In an incredibly cynical move, local politicians and governmental agencies are not only refusing to accept their role in the current situation, but have been deliberately shifting the cost of environmental mitigation to a small number of rural property owners. Those property owners are effectively being punished with restrictions and fines for preserving their land, topsoil and habitat. At the same time, urban development and governments continue to be rewarded for so completely destroying the environmental value of their land. The Growth Management Act forces densities on urban parcels to drastically increase, bringing increased revenue to both the owners and their erstwhile governments, while rural properties are stripped of much of their long-term potential. In what is the single largest transfer of wealth in state history, state and local government have taken much of the wealth of rural property owners and replaced it with the burden of mitigating for the environmental damage of their urban neighbors.
Environmental policy and regulation in a fair and rational world must:
Politics is the art of stopping people from minding their own business. —Paul Valery
"Nothing is ours which another may deprive us of." —Thomas Jefferson
Copyright 2009 Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights