Friday, January 6, 2017

National Park Service is Not ‘For the People’

In its print edition, the New Jersey Star-Ledger published a guest column by Jeff Tittel, the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. In the article, Tittel commemorated the creation of the National Park Service, now 100 years old.

Now, I see nothing wrong with parks. Plenty of people value and use them. They can be life-enhancing. I do, however, see plenty wrong morally with government involvement in parks and land conservation. More fundamentally, there is something evil about the premises used to rationalize and promote institutions like the National Park system. Anyone who doesn’t evade the power of principles to extend well beyond any one concrete issue will see the danger in the premises used by Tittel to promote the NPS.

Tittel starts his article off with dishonesty. He writes:

National Parks are a uniquely American ideal that the land is owned by the people and for the people. Unlike in other countries, where lands are off limits because of the government or kings, our lands are held in trust by the government for all of us.

I left these comments:

This is completely dishonest.

“The people,” in this context, is a disconnected abstraction that disregards actual existing human beings. What about the people who are forced to finance these monuments against their will, through their taxes? They are not “the people.” What about the people whose property rights are violated in the creation and maintenance of these parks? They are not “the people.”

Say what you want about national parks. But support them or not, let’s at least be honest. The National Park Service is a rights-disregarding government institution that takes over, owns, and operates lands for the benefit of some people at the expense of other people. The people don't own the parks. The government does. Only privately owned land is truly “owned by the people and for the people”—the actual living, breathing individual human beings whose right to use their land as they see fit for their own benefit is protected, so long as their use doesn’t violate the rights of others to use their property as they see fit.

Collectivist obfuscations like “the people” as used here has always been the disingenuous gimmick of every statist who aims to run roughshod over individual human beings and their rights. These statists don’t care about people. They care about imposing their values on everyone else, with government as their hired gun. Beneath the glowing praise of the National Park Service lies injustice. Injustice perpetrated by a government against its own people in the name of “the people” is not a “uniquely American ideal.” It is the opposite.

Related Reading:

Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice—Craig Biddle

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