Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cleansing of the West

Cleansing of the West
The Attrition of Multiple Use
The expansion of Constitutional Incapacity

By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            Life, Liberty, and Property was the vision that Thomas Jefferson had. He was overruled and the peculiar phrasing of Pursuit of Happiness was inserted.

Jefferson then demonstrated a very distinctive Jeffersonian characteristic. He was embittered when his words were deemed inadequate and altered after he was charged with capturing the context of debate. He preferred his original inclination with its adherence to natural law. When he didn’t prevail, his rebuttal became skewed to silence and … grudges.

            The majority of other phrasing was left intact and unchanged. In his mind, that substantiated his aptitude to convey the concepts of the debates into specific language. King George, of course, was the villain and he was time and again referenced in the words Jefferson used to craft the Declaration of our Independence.

            Jefferson’s insistence on the use of Property versus Pursuit of Happiness remains hugely important. How on earth can Pursuit of Happiness even be defined?

 To those who understand the tyrannical force governments can become, the matter of Property must be recognized as the sole source of collateral for the American citizen. The two are not mutually exclusive. They are the miracle that sets the American model apart, but, whereas the American citizen was the centerpiece, Property was the shield. It was the armor that protected the gift of sovereignty. Without Property, the American citizen quickly loses his vested standing, and, without the sovereign American citizen, King George emerges to control … everything.

            Multiple Use Management as the proxy for private property

            The mere definition of multiple use management should remind us that Jefferson’s genius has legs.

Multiple use was created in the vacuum of Jefferson’s preference for private land ownership. It is government speak for the conditional commitment of managing federal lands for productive enterprises. In particular, it elevated the importance of mining, logging, livestock enterprises, and fluid mineral extraction alongside leisure and recreational uses. It became synonymous with the nebulous classification of highest and best uses of lands.

From a historical standpoint, though, it was the federal mechanism to placate western representatives and hold them in check from revolting over the federal retention of lands. Those leaders believed in the Jeffersonian insistence in transferring title of public lands to the American citizenry.

Government had reneged big time and that trend continues. It owns 40% of the lands of the United States, it controls at least 15% of the remaining, and displays no hesitation in acquiring yet more. Regardless of explanation, that represents a boat load of the actual constitutional allowances under the Property Clause, and sections 2, 16, 32, and 36 of each Township of several western states whose populous was deemed too ignorant to support the education of their uncouth youth.

How can those two polar extremes exist under original intent?

Multiple use was concocted as the proxy to jump start and fuel local economies of the West where federal dominion limited the benefits of private property. Its creation was purported to reduce reliance on government in reducing debt and stimulating local wellbeing. It was intended to help create products, pay taxes and bills, and provide jobs.

But, now, it, too, is disappearing. There is logic that suggests its rate of decline is more rapid than that of endangered species. Casting aside the 173,790,000 acres of lands the federal government holds in trust for the purpose of Indian and military reservations, the federal agencies control 640,000,000 acres directly (in addition to the effective control of the noted private lands that exist in checkerboard holdings arrayed within those lands). The assumption would be that the majority of those lands exist as multiple use as promulgated by extensive federal legislation at least since the Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916.

Multiple use management, however, now constitutes less than 42% of that federal land designations (along with a shrinking portion of state lands management).

In work done in 2013 by Joanne Spivack of the New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance, it was discovered there are now more federal acres designated as Wilderness, National Park Service non-wilderness, and USFWS wildlife refuges (collectively, the big three) than exist under multiple use management. In fact, those legislative designations alone are greater by 3,100,000 acres than multiple use managed lands.

To add impact, there is also another 98,480,000 acres of national recreation areas, inventoried roadless areas, wilderness study areas, and 30,200,000 million acres of special protective designations where multiple use is a restricted use rather than a purpose of the designations. That represents 153,875 square miles of protections with full or partial diminishment of productive and job creating activities. That is an area equating to the contiguous states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and 39% of Pennsylvania.

If the big three were added to that land mass, it would require an area the size of the foregoing (including all of Pennsylvania) in addition to the states of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to accommodate the federal footprint.

Where’s the leadership?

Can any reasonable elected leader anywhere deny the impact to the economy if an area equating to the Northeast and the entire eastern seaboard is retired from productive endeavors? Could a single leader today or any day stand on his perch and advocate the expansion of such a travesty when national debt is $17 trillion, unemployment remains at some contrived, dishonest reporting level, and 11 States are managing the trend toward supporting more welfare recipients than gainfully employed citizens?

This is a debacle!

Yet, leaders like Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Raul Grijalva, Ben Ray Lujan, Mark Udall, and 400 more like them advocate, faithfully approve funding, and campaign for sopping up more private property and saving the last, great places that once existed as multiple use.

Remember their Oaths

Every one of these leaders swears an oath of office upon being elected.

In one form or another, that oath captures the following:

I ____________, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States (and the Constitution of the State on the part of the state representatives) and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of which I am about to enter, to the best of my ability, so help me God.”

The time has past that we must realize the pledges rendered in the mere repetitive recapitulation of these words has long been verbalized hypocrisy. There is no constitutional basis for the actions of leaders who willfully and purposely follow their party line in perpetuating and exacerbating this assault on the American citizen. What is most tyrannical is the corrupting nature of robbing that citizen with the very armor that protects him and his United States from leadership that not only fails to read the legislation they pass, but fails to read and defend the Constitution of which they bear false witness.

Indeed, Jefferson was right. He not only perceived the mirrored protection of the cornerstone, he revealed its genius. Americans, vested in private property, will not only defend their system, they will protect it from those whose actions harm them or it.

In its place, Pursuit of Happiness has remained and prevailed.

Again, how can that be defined? The truth is it wasn’t founded in natural law and remains a meaningless jumble of words. It is transient, it conveys nothing substantive to the sovereignty of the American citizen, and it offers no defense against those who harm the system. Those individuals now populate leadership halls in abundance.

Whether or not that can be fixed remains unanswered, but … Jefferson had a solution for that, too.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Excluding tribal and military reservations, federal ownership of lands equates to the entire country east of the Mississippi. When the reservations are added, they would in addition consume Texas, Hawaii, and all of the U.S. island territories.”

Notice what Wilmeth has beautifully written: Our rights are individual rights, and property is the shield individuals have to protect those rights.   Here are some of my favorite quotes, with some even addressing that pursuit of happiness phrase:

Property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the central institution of a free society ~ David Friedman

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. ~ Samuel Adams

All power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. ~ James Madison

Every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property. ~ John Locke

Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would. ~ John Adams

The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections. ~ Justice Robert H. Jackson

 The makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness... They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men. ~ Justice Louis D. Brandeis

As long as the law may be diverted from its true purpose -- that it may violate property instead of protecting it -- then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting to gain access to the legislature as well as fighting within it. ~ Frederick Bastiat

The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property. ~ Karl Marx



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