Last night, in a delirium caused by insufficient sleep during a whirlwind spring-training junket with my son, I flipped on PBS.  Ordinarily I would classify this decision as lunacy had it been taken by me in a more sober state.  It was a local show, the kind where local self-proclaimed experts (SPEs) expound on local topics and spew mediocre local opinions flavored with local anecdotes and carried along by mostly incoherent, grammatically incorrect sentences.  If I recall, there was a Wildlife and Nature SPE, another Environment/Smart Growth SPE of some ilk I can’t remember, and former Republican state senator Laird Noh (from my district, as it happens).  The topic was, generically, the “Future of Idaho” or some such.

Here now is proclaimed the Brilliant Opinions Expounded by the three SPEs:

SPE #1:  Idaho is being “changed” because, you know, people move here a lot but don’t really move here to “be here” and appreciate what Idaho has to offer.

SPE #2:  Energy is really going to be the big problem because, you know, we just can’t rely on those “big dams” anymore and the government is going to have to really take a more active role.

SPE #3 (simultaneously reading from and bemoaning an excerpt from a real estate magazine):  “600-acre ranch in spectacular central Idaho, views and wildlife abound, sparkling trout stream running through property, bordered on three sides by public lands, six million dollars [verbal stress on ‘six’]”

The common thread in all three beliefs is the condescending odium directed at individual liberty.  Apparently there should be some universal test to see if you appreciate Idaho with sufficient verve to move here.  And of course – this goes without saying – it is just plain wrong for such beautiful property to be offered freely for sale, let alone at a price only the rich can afford.  Instead, we should… what?  Force the property to be sliced into trailer-size pieces everyone can afford?  Confiscate it and turn it into public land?  Oh, and after private property rights have been suspended, we’d all be better off if the government simply took over the power industry; those private concerns have just too much profit motive.

These are reasonable people, and all three beliefs are entirely mainstream.  They form part of a growing collective conscious regarding private property that is communistic at its core.  This worldview denigrates private ownership of resources and at its most degenerate denies the validity of private ownership of property at all, which its adherents are apt to call “the land.”

Our nation’s founders believed, and it remains true today, that economic liberty must, without compromise, be solidly rooted in private property.  Without that bedrock, the entire edifice of freedom will collapse.

Unwittingly, our three SPEs accurately articulated the basics of Marxian doctrine.  No PBS viewer, however, was able to detect it since it looked like everything else on that channel.  SPE #3 should know better.  Instead of sniffing his way through real estate clippings on third-rate PBS shows, he might use his political influence to advance, rather than denigrate, liberty.

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