Government Property Is Sacred. Your Property? Not So Much.
In light of the government’s response to the January 6 storming of the Capitol, anyone with a sense of political sanity can no longer argue that the war on terror is separate from American domestic affairs.
US imperialism came full circle on January 20, 2021, when Washington, DC, was subject to military occupation during Joe Biden’s inaugural address in order to secure the Capitol from alleged domestic extremist threats. When the right-wing violence that DC talking heads were squawking about never came to pass, their focus shifted toward trying to deradicalize right-leaning individuals who hold heretical views that collide with the managerial regime’s gospel.
Former CIA director John Brennan was among the most vocal of the national security analysts who started listing off all sorts of problematic groups that potentially pose a threat to the dystopian political order crystallizing before our very eyes. The very act of a mob entering the holiest of the holy sites was enough to make the entire American political establishment have a mental breakdown.
The message the ruling class sent to those who protested against it on its own turf was quite clear: tread your muddy boots on our cathedral and you will be met with a firm response from the state.
So far, there have been over 380 people charged for participating in the January 6 incident. Rest assured, the politicians who are still shaken from January 6 are thirsting for more people to persecute. Words like coup, insurrection, riot, sedition, and treason were tossed around liberally to describe the January 6ers’ actions. Only a regime insecure of its legitimacy would throw a hysterical fit over the Capitol storming that looked more like a live-action role-play than a rebellion that threatened the sovereignty of the DC occupational regime.
Pace the gatekeepers of political opinion, launching a coup requires strong organizational capacity. Rag-tag groups of disgruntled, working-class Americans, disenchanted soccer moms, and extremely online Trump supporters aren’t going to be pulling off a coup against the most powerful government in human history. The only venues the January 6 demonstrators were capable of taking over were online chat rooms.
Government Property Is Sacred. Your Property? Not So Much.
The double standards the legacy media is using to rationalize its ongoing crusade against the specter of extremism are farcical, to say the least. Over the course of a year when small business owners had their livelihoods destroyed by arbitrary lockdowns and widespread rioting, the ruling class tipped their glasses to the rioters and scoffed at those who had to put up with last summer’s mayhem. These same media mouthpieces would likely be cheering on color revolutions and lively protests in the Middle East and post-Soviet countries as the maximal expression of democracy. But when a rowdy group of Trump supporters took it upon themselves to stand up to their overlords, that was simply a bridge too far.
Any attempt to try to point out the inconsistency of the media’s hyperventilation with regard to the January 6 incident was met with instant pushback. On Morning Joe, TV host Joe Scarborough did not pull any punches:
I know there are idiots on other cable news channels that will say, “Well, this mom-and-pop store that was vandalized during the summer riots and that’s just as bad as the United States Capitol being vandalized.”
He then had some colorful language for those who hazarded to question the prevailing narrative:
No jackass it’s not. It’s the center of American democracy. No, jackass…. I’m not going to confuse a taco stand with the United States Capitol.
Only a detached member of the ruling class whose livelihood is sustained by some of America’s most powerful corporations can have the gall to downplay the trials and tribulations untold numbers of small business owners had to endure during last summer’s mayhem. Scarborough and his coterie would have us believe that paying respect to the hallowed institutions of mass democracy is the highest virtue while trying to defend the fundamental property rights of the common man is the province of buffoons and country bumpkins.
Private Property Is Critical for Civilization
For the adherents of the present political order, symbols of the state have a religious aura. Private property, on the other hand, is a sacrificial animal to be slaughtered as an offering to the state, though the whole conversation would likely change if the property of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, Big Tech, or politically connected corporations were defiled. The media would instantly become situational capitalists and vigorously defend the sanctity of their fellow peers’ property.
Heck, they might just throw some radical free market defenses here and there. But this is out of pure self-interest, not because political leaders and their corporate patrons hold private property in high esteem at a holistic level. As for the rest of the rubes in Middle America, they must put up with whatever political violence befalls them and their property. Simply raising their voices in opposition will have the legacy media branding them as “reactionary,” “racist,” or “bigoted.”
On the other hand, Ludwig von Mises championed private property not just for the sake of sloganeering but to impart to others the necessity property rights as a means of fostering social harmony. As he observed in Omnipotent Government, “If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.”
Mises’s vision for a social order predicated on respect for property rights has not disappeared from the intellectual consciousness. Successors of the Misesian tradition such as Hans-Hermann Hoppe have continued making the case for the respect of private property as a civilizing force. Unlike the public sector worshippers, Hoppe understood the bigger picture of why private property, not public property, should be treated as sacred. In fact, he views the modern-day state as one of the principal drivers of the erosion of property rights throughout the West.
As Hoppe argued in Democracy, The God That Failed,
the more the state has increased its expenditures on social security and public safety, the more our private property rights have been eroded, the more our property has been expropriated, confiscated, destroyed, or depreciated, and the more we have been deprived of the very foundation of all protection: economic independence, financial strength, and personal wealth.
As a consequence of being accustomed to having mandarins in distant government agencies lord over them, Americans have gradually come to disrespect or at least take for granted the concept of property rights. Hence their relative indifference toward the wanton destruction of the property of many small business owners’ establishments during last summer’s riots and toward the devastation government-promoted lockdowns inflicted on these small business operations.
The sign of a healthy society is one where private property is respected, and not just the private property of social media whales or parasitic defense contractors, but that of everyday business owners. By the same token, a society with a modicum of sanity would laud acts of self-defense against criminals who wish to harm the property and persons of lawful individuals.
Many of the shibboleths that Americans have been so inured to accept are now imploding. Millions of Americans took it upon themselves to buy firearms at record levels during a time when police services could not be relied on to uphold their end of the proverbial social contract. Moreover, a number of Americans responded by forming community defense groups to protect their neighborhoods when police were standing down left and right as cities nationwide burned.
Even the idea of privatized policing is starting to gain traction in certain parts of America. Occasionally, moments of crisis force people to rethink many political premises they’ve stubbornly held. There’s something to be said about how operating outside of one’s comfort zone can compel one to look at things differently.
All things considered, the past year should all but dispel the notion that America is “exceptional.” It’s a country with a myriad of problems that have dotted empires in decay throughout world history—a corrupt ruling class, an overstretched military presence, an unstable monetary system, and declining public order.
Reassuring ourselves of empty bromides that it “can’t happen here” because America is exceptional is a pathetic cope that ignores the iron laws of politics and economics, which the US is not exempt from. The only thing exceptional is the level of befuddlement that many experts will find themselves in once the US inevitably careens into the abyss of social and economic decadence if the country’s leaders don’t get their act together.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. This article appeared at the Mises Wire at: https://mises.org/wire/government-property-sacred-your-property-not-so-much