Although we say in America that a free person owns property, that’s not really the truth. Ownership is an exclusive but limited permission to conduct activities, control or use that property, provided the owner meets the legal responsibilities attached to that property (its use, maintenance, treatment, disposal, etc.) of that property. Failure to meet or stay within those legal requirements can lead to fines, forfeiture or imprisonment. That general rule of ownership applies to all property; land, things, animals, and, formerly slaves.
Effectively, ownership is a contract with legal requirements, it is not a right. The only right or control that we have to property is what is protected under search and seizure granted by the Constitution, or permitted by the local legal authorities (federal, state, county, municipal, community, and other authorities such as the FCC, OHSA, DNR, etc.) which is always subject to change or interpretation. Somewhere in there is where one’s right to pursue happiness comes in. Both those in favor of and opposed to the commercial/residential development of the Hillmoor property have the right under the pursuit of happiness (money or other) to address the government to change or not change the law. If just compensation not only applied to government confiscation of property but also applied both ways to the change in value of land due to zoning changes, then perhaps those requesting a zoning change would think twice about requesting a zoning change, if the fee for that zoning change was the increase in value of that land that the zoning change made.
What can be owned, to what level and under what conditions, applies to everything, land, animals, and people? Yes, even people. One’s first response may be “no”, but parents have that control over and responsibility for their children and people under contracts like baseball, football, hockey, and soccer players are bought, sold and traded like property. Even being hired and paid to do work for another, one has relinquished certain rights and authority over one’s actions for compensation. The difference between freedom and slavery is founded upon who has the right to make the decision. If you have the right you are free. If you do not, then you are not free. Within a society, you have no rights except those granted by that society and its laws. That is why the law of the land (the constitution and its interpretation) is so important. They restrict the authority of the federal, state and local authorities.
But the Constitution does not guarantee or grant the individual any rights to ownership or use of land. That is up to the governmental authorities, and that includes federal, state, county, municipality, township and even the community subdivision. We have the right to pursue happiness, which gives us the right to try and change the law but not to violate it. We have the right to consume and take in certain things and the right to exclude others. The United States provides a limited right of all owners to the exclusion of other people’s right to control, use, consume, destroy or to hide, share an object, animal, person, thought and to exclude all others from that control or use.
Possessive pronouns are the cause of all wars.
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