It's humor, but there's a biting irony. Do
you see it?
An estate owner to a trespasser: "Get off my property!"
Trespasser: "Where did you get it?"
Owner: "From my father."- Advertisement -
Trespasser: "Where did he get it?"
"From his father."
"Where did he get it?"- Advertisement -
"From his father."
"Where did he get it?"
"He fought for it!"
Trespasser: "Well then, I'll fight you for it."
~ anonymous, (a viral internet humor item.)
Much of the news we exchange opinions about here
on OpEdNews.com pivots on our unexamined assumptions about ownership.
You think you own your home? Try putting up a new cell tower in your
yard; or stop paying on your mortgage; or neglect a few tax
payments; or lose a personal injury suit. You own only what your
community agrees to support your ownership of. Your ownership is more
of a stewardship with benefits.
How about the water in the stream that flows
through your town? Can the town up stream dump their raw sewage in it?
How about the air you breathe? Can you neighbor burn his used tires
upwind of you?
Silly questions. Of course there are limits on
individual ownership. We have laws about all that stuff and we enforce
those laws with the full might of the government. But scale up your
thinking to a national level. What rights do the various sovereign
states that the Colorado River flows through have to the water? What
rights do the companies that own mountains in West Virginia have to
tear off the top, extract coal, and allow the rain to leach toxins into
rivers and streams? What rights do power companies have to draw in
fresh air and exhaust carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds?
These questions are being fought over as I write
this. We have collective rights, most but not all of which are
protected by our present laws. Universal access to clean water and
healthy air are obvious justice issues, but not absolutely protected by
national or international laws. We collectively "own" our world's air and water and
no individual should have a superior right to our collective right.
Some would say that this notion is socialist or communist. But our
capitalist society is struggling right now to resolve these matters. Scarcity is eroding the property rights we take for granted.