A very long time ago (as my children would put it) a fellow by the name of Woody Guthrie made a song rather popular. The song was “This Land is Your Land” and started with the following stanza:
This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
While the song provided greater support for socialism than the private ownership of property, it struck a patriotic chord with many people who never got past the simple, catchy melody and the first couple of stanzas.
Whatever else people may think of this country, the concept that it is ours, physically ours, is one which has not yet completely gone away. Nor should it. Despite the legalities of the recent Bundy matter, it served to bring up the question once more of why the US federal government owns so much land. In this particular case, it has been pointed out that the federal government owns 84% of Nevada. To say that this is a controlling interest does not overstate the facts.
If we do indeed have a government of, by and for the people, why has the government become a thing unto itself, rather than a honest reflection of the people who are to constitute it? Why does it hold so much land, supposedly in the public trust, yet not trust the public (that would be you and me) to use the land?
Next time, we’ll look at the numbers–and not just for the United States.