Private Property? What Private Property?

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Recently by Eric Peters: Don't Be Afraid…

Robert Biel, 57, of Brevard County, Florida, is going to spend the next year in prison. He must have done something pretty bad, right? Beat someone up, maybe? Steal a car?

Er… shoplift a six pack?

No, something far worse – in the eyes of our protectors in government:

He kept a bunch of old cars in his yard.

His yard. Not someone else’s. His – you know, the land he gets to pay endless rent to the government for as a condition of the perpetuation of the fiction that he’s the owner. Except of course, he’s not – and this business about sending him to the clink for a year proves it.

Biel stores old cars on his land, picking parts to earn money. The county commissars will not have it. First came the harassing letters. Then came the harassing fines. Next came the harassing men with guns – who took Biel to jail for “noncompliance.” He was released, but only on condition that he “clean up” his (cough) yard. When he failed to do so, he was sentenced to a year at Hotel Graybar for “violating probation.” A felony. (See here for the full new story.)

“It’s my stuff on my own property,” Biel argued.

Well, he’s just been educated about who is the real owner of “his” (cough) property.

What Biel enjoyed the privilege of paying annual rent to the government for is squatter’s rights. He – and you, and I – may occupy a house or use a piece of property under certain conditions – conditions subject to being changed at whim of the landlord, the true owner, the government. We have every right to object – so long as we ultimately comply. If the government says you may not keep an old car – or just a car that’s not currently registered – on (cough) your property, then you’d better comply, or else. The “or else” being an escalator of coercion that begins with the little love notes received by Biel, followed in time by men in costumes with guns who will make sure you do comply, even if it means killing you to make it so. Which is what will happen if you have the audacity to resist – to actually defend (cough) your property.

It’s important to note that no one – not even the government – accused Biel of actually harming anyone. You know, of having committed a crime. Well, at least not a crime in the old sense of the term, when “crime” necessarily entailed “victim.” Biel victimized no one. In fact, he helped people – by finding and selling car parts DIY mechanics needed to keep their cars running. But of course, you must have government permission to do that – and of course, pay the necessary tribute.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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