Biggest pest: Government-owned property
(My Clovis News Journal column for the week.)
Clovis' Park Land Prairie Dog Poison Pellet Program shows some of the flaws with "public" property, and with the sad state of property rights in general.
Some people, me included, really appreciate prairie dogs for their historical significance to the region, and for their vital niche in the ecosystem. Wildlife of any sort is a valuable addition to the area.
Others want them eradicated. Nearby landowners are claiming damage from prairie dogs that wander- or emigrate- from Ned Houk Park onto their property. They want the city government, which claims the park, to pay for killing all the prairie dogs in the park so that no more will wander where they are not wanted. Sadly, no government ever truly pays for anything- that falls to all those who are "taxed", whether they consent to that use of their money or not.
I understand the economic damage that prairie dogs and other wildlife can cause to property owners, and I would never demand anyone "put up with it" on their own property. But don't expect others to bear the burden that is yours.
If all property were privately owned, and private property rights were actually respected, this entire situation would be less of a problem. Land owners who want prairie dogs could have them. Those who want to kill any on their property could do so, however they saw fit, as long as they didn't violate their neighbor's property rights. They could shoot them, poison them, or send tunnel-roaming killbots after them. As long as their bullets, poison, or killbots didn't affect anyone else's property no one would have any say in the matter.
Deals could be worked out between land owners for who is responsible for keeping prairie dogs where they are welcome, and away from where they are not. Any damage migrants cause to a neighbor's property could be dealt with through agreement, arbitration, or insurance.
There would be no issue of forcing people to pay to kill a species they like, nor any issue of forcing people to host animals they consider to be pests.
With "public" property you always have a conflict in how that property is used and administered. You always end up with people being forced to pay for things that disgust them. When there is no individual owner who is responsible, the buck gets passed and suboptimal decisions get made and forced upon everyone. Someone always ends up very unhappy.
This is the way it always works any time socialism is embraced. "Public" property is a cornerstone, if not the foundation, of socialism.
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