Transforming American society
By Henry Lamb
web posted July 7, 2003
The Pilgrim family in Alaska is not the only instance of
the federal government forcing people off their land.
Donald Scott was awakened in the middle of the night, by
someone breaking through his front door. He grabbed his gun
and started down the stairs, when he was shot dead by federal
agents. Bob Learzaf was taking a bath,
when the feds stormed through his front door. They handcuffed
him, put him in leg-irons, and hauled him to jail.
The "crime" all these people have in common, is the ownership of
land, coveted by the federal government. For every victim whose
story reaches the national media, there are thousands of other
victims who are harassed, coerced, or regulated to the point that
they have neither the funds, nor the will to fight.
In the examples above, the landowners were "inholders," which
means that their land is surrounded by so-called "public land." In
each instance, the land was privately owned before the Park was
designated. The Clinton-Gore administration undertook an
intensive program to rid the world of these pesky inholders, and
consolidate all the land into the hands of the federal government.
The federal land grab is not limited to inholders. Ranchers are
being systematically removed from federal lands throughout the
west. Entire communities that arose to support logging in the
Northwest, are vanishing. In Florida, an entire community in
Collier County is facing eviction, caused by impossible flood
insurance fees dictated by FEMA. This is only the latest in a
series of regulatory maneuvers to force the people out of an area
the federal government wants to return to its "natural wilderness"
We are witnessing the "wrenching transformation" of society that
Al Gore said would be necessary to save the planet. The planet
can only be saved, according to Mr. Gore and his crowd, if the
government controls the use of all resources. Resources are the
product of land, and therefore, control of land use results in the
control of all resources.
The government, prodded by environmental organizations, has
been extremely creative in developing excuses to control land
use. The wetlands policy, and the attendant environmental
propaganda, turned mosquito-infested mud-puddles, and snake-
infested swamps, into precious
aquifer-recharge areas that could not be altered, without penalty,
by private landowners.
The Endangered Species Act has now allowed the listing of
more than a thousand obscure weeds and bugs that must have
hundreds of thousands of acres designated as "critical habitat"
that cannot be altered, without penalty, by private landowners.
Viewsheds, Heritage areas, wilderness, corridors, buffer zones,
archeological sites, and a maze of other designations now
prohibit the use of private property from one end of the country
to the other. Land use control does not stop at the city limits.
In the past, urban dwellers have paid little attention to the "rural
cleansing" that has been taking place across the countryside.
With the emergence of "sustainable communities," land use in
urban areas is also increasingly controlled by government.
Behind the mask of "economic development areas," government
has discovered that it can condemn, and take private property
from one individual, and sell it, at a profit, to another individual
who wants to use it for a purpose that promises more tax
Other urbanites are discovering that state-required local
planning, controls the use of their private property. Land held for
years in hopes that development would appreciate the value into
a retirement nest-egg, can be devalued instantly by a line on a
zoning map, drawn by an uncaring bureaucrat, to conform with a
vision hatched by a "sustainable community" consultant.
A free society cannot exist where government controls the use of
land and its resources. Nevertheless, governments, pushed by
environmental extremist organizations, continue to buy private
property at an unprecedented rate, and to issue new regulations
to control the land they cannot yet afford.
People in rural areas have been fighting for years. Their screams
of protest have been drowned out by the steady stream of
propaganda about the wisdom of "protecting" the land for future
Things are changing. City dwellers are now beginning to feel the
effects of too much government control, and they are organizing
to resist it. They are discovering their country cousins, and
joining forces to strengthen the groundswell of respect and
appreciation of the principles on which this nation was founded.
Chief among those principles is sacredness of private property.
Politicians who continue to ignore the individual's right to own,
and control the use of his own property, paint a target on their
back. A rapidly growing, enlightened, determined electorate is
looking for those targets, and every opportunity to remove them.
Bob Learzaf, Donald Scott, the Pilgrims, and countless others,
have already paid the price of government greed. Its time for an
enraged electorate to turn the tables on land-hungry bureaucrats
and politicians, and transform them into victims – of
Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental
Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty
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