Ignore the news and get back to individual, unalienable rights

Craig Hall, Publisher
Craig Hall, Publisher

I can barely take the ever-shortening news cycle in this country. I mean, how long ago was it for these stories that no longer matter? The Las Vegas shooting; Hollywood raping and pillaging; Hillary’s lies and losses; or pick any story you’d like for its 15 minutes of infamy, except, of course, Trump and Russians everywhere. Now that story — with no toll on the people — has legs.

My thoughts on this got to the point where I posted this on Facebook, with sadly little notice compared to when I repost some partisan story that all too many are ready to burn out keyboards and enter keys to support their partisan, political, opinions:

“Unless we get back to the constitutional absolute of each individual doing as they please with their private property, we’re doomed in the long run. Taking away this right is what underlies every government action in controlling our lives.”

As I write this column, I’ve received just one response, a quote from Ayn Rand: “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

While this is indeed an eternal truth, it got me thinking. Because at its most basic level, the founding of this country is based on one thing: property rights. Now that might sound odd, but back when the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written, the idea of private property was indeed odd. Especially to those who held power, made every decision on it and owned it. Kinda sound like today’s government? There’s a reason for that. For more, let’s look at what’s in the news:

The Utah monuments issue. This is either the result of a federal government land grab using and abusing the Antiquities Act or the payoff for big energy in reducing the land issue.

Tax cuts. These are either only for the rich and well connected or they hurt the poor and middle class.

The cake case before the Supreme Court. Some think this is the civil rights battle of the century while others say bake for who you choose.

While all these arguments hold some value related to one’s opinion of the issues, that’s about all they hold when they come to individual, unalienable rights. Oh, and they all have to do with property. 

In Utah, all President Donald Trump did was move the monument borders back to where they were in 2015. And while there’s good reason to protect monuments, the federal government was already doing a horrible job of not protecting them when they were smaller. There was also very little, if any, energy development destroying the areas environmentalists are so worried about. So perhaps the answer is to give the property back to the state of Utah, have the feds do their jobs in protecting actual monuments and get folks together to do energy exploration on a local, sensible level with local oversight.

On the tax cuts, I’ll never understand how people can have so little knowledge outside of partisan talking points. Of course the “rich” are getting a tax break. After all, who do tax cuts benefit? Those who actually PAY taxes. And like it or not, Chucky and Nan-nan, the people you have labeled “rich” pay the vast majority of them. And yes, I’m always in favor keeping more of my own money, as we all should be. Sadly, the bottom 49 plus percent of this country pay no taxes — in fact, we pay some of them to not pay taxes — so how much of a break, if any, can they possibly get?

As for the cake wars, both sides will get this wrong as religion has taken over the argument on the bakery’s side while the anti-hate crowd owns the other. Neither of these understand the real issue at hand, and that’s as individuals we’re free to associate with anyone we choose and do with our property as we choose. This goes for where you buy or sell anything, let alone cakes. This goes for atheist bakers as well.

So it’s all about property. The Utah issue is real land property. The tax issue is asset property. And the cake issue is all about intellectual property, with a little ownership property mixed in. And all of this leads me back to the point of my Facebook post. We’re guaranteed the right to do with each of these properties as we see fit as long as we don’t violate the same rights of others.

That’s where civil law comes in, which in a lot of cases is the greatest threat to freedom we face as a country. Utah has the right to do as it pleases with its land, as do the counties, cities and citizens inside its borders. As individuals, we have the right to keep all we earn and create. As a business owner or individual, we have the right to do commerce and associate as we see fit. Civil law takes these rights away.

And, no, none of this keeps us from the results of our actions. But we must defend our right to the actions. Everything the government does with its civil law machinations regarding these issues is unconstitutional and about control.

Keeping — or now, taking back — what is unalienably ours should be the story. Maybe that’s why the Trump story has legs?