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Celebrating the father of our freedoms: The freedom to own real estate

Kicking this back to the top. Happy Independence Day! — GSS

 
This is me in today’s Arizona Republic (permanent link):

Celebrating the father of our freedoms: The freedom to own real estate

By the time you read this, Independence Day will have passed, but I thought I’d give you one more reason to celebrate our freedoms: Real estate.

We call our culture Judeo-Christian, but we owe our laws and political institutions to the Greeks and the Romans. The Greek Hoplites, in particular, are the model upon which Western Civilization is based: Individual family farmers, freeholders in the land they farmed, who owned their own weapons of warfare and who banded together as a virtually unconquerable infantry when their lands were attacked.

What accounts for the independence of the Greeks? Was it their unprecedented military tactics? Was it their superior weaponry? Or was it the savage dedication of free men fighting for their own land?

The Hoplites fought against ragtag slave armies, engaging in combat only out of fear of the lash, never losing sight of the chance to dessert. But the Greeks fought to retain the rights they had wrested from despots, rights ordinary people, until then, had never known.

We derive many more treasures from the Romans, among them the story of Cincinnatus, the retired general called back to battle and given dictatorial power because the situation was so dire. Instead of abusing that power, Cincinnatus won the war, set down his arms and picked his plow where he had left it.

We honor the citizen-soldier in the conduct of George Washington, who could have declared himself king of America, but who instead, like Cincinnatus, surrendered his power and went back to his farm.

Politicians will tell us that we owe our freedoms to representative government. This is twice false. The interest we share in government is the land we each own individually, like the Hoplites. Moreover, representative government without free ownership of the land is tyranny in camouflage.

Americans are free because we have the uncontested right to buy, use, enjoy, rent, let and sell the land we live on. If you have any fire-crackers left over, you might light one for the freedom that is father to all the others: The freedom to own real estate.

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