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May 28, 2014

In Your Opinion: State is not the same as a person

Andrew Stammel’s May 3, 2014, letter to the editor is a great example of a stereotypical response from a statist. 

Stammel’s statement that Cliven Bundy “illegally squatted on federal lands and threatened violence when asked to leave” is a gross and distorted interpretation of the event. The Bundy family has been raising and herding cattle on the Nevada ranch since the late nineteenth century and were merely defending this tradition from federal thugs who initiated force. 

The federal government is not a person. Therefore it cannot own land. Individual humans own land by mixing their labor and their self with the land. Righteous ownership of property can only take three forms, and what Stammel is advocating is not a logical nor reasonable understanding of property rights. You can settle wild unowned or abandoned property, you can purchase property from someone else or you can inherit it from someone else either through family lineage or contract. That is it. 

This idea that Stammel advocates where fictions such as the “state” have rights to property is absurd because you can only define the state as a collection of individuals who hold a illegitimate monopoly on the initiation of violence in society; That’s what the state is. 

To attempt to justify the crimes committed in the name of the state with euphemisms such as “eminent domain,” and claiming the constitution as a virtuous document, is to expose your Stockholm syndrome dependency on the state. I am irresponsible to encourage individuals to defend their property rights? But it’s not irresponsible for you, Mr. Stammel to encourage individuals to join an organization that is factually responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people? That is the U.S. military. Who is really advocating for violence here Mr. Stammel?

Dan Rorick


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