The government has no business owning (or administering) all of this land. I am willing to concede federal courthouses and even the national parks to the feds, (even though some of the parks were created as a result of brutal land grabs. Shenandoah National Park which I look out at as I write this is an example.) but why is practically all of the far West run by the Federal Government?
Here’s another thing I’ll concede. The feds get a few hundred God forsaken square miles in the northern Nevada desert to do nuclear testing and to dump nuclear fuel. Beyond that? People should own this land.
I can remember as a kid driving into the navy base with my mother to get groceries at the commissary and thinking to myself how weird it was that the government OWNED all the property around the base. It’s probably pretty necessary in the event an F-18 decided to drop out of the sky after takeoff – and that does happen – but all that acreage was just the government’s? I guess I was just born skeptical on this point.
Regardless, there is no reason why all the land represented in the above map should be administered by the government. In a free country this seems to me a bit odd. Mineral rights leasing is a great source of revenue for the BLM, federal government at large, and state governments though. So we can feel good about that though.
And by the way, one of the arguments for the government continuing to administer this land is that private owners would come in and rape it. That only the big shots would get the good stuff. Well, the big shots get all the good stuff already working through the BLM.
Again, I say give the land back to the people who first owned it, before the federal government declared that it was theirs. In some cases this would be homesteaders of European stock. In other cases it would be people of Native American lineage. The Black Hills of South Dakota for instance are still claimed as the homeland of the Sioux Indians.
Some arrangement following this spirit seems the only fair solution to me. It’s certainly more fair than the government having a near monopoly over mineral rights in all of the Rocky Mountains.
* Image from EconomicPolicyJournal.com
For more from Nick Sorrentino, visit www.againstcronycapitalism.org
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