Commentary Forum 6/7/11

Thank Goodness for Property Rights

By Mark Luedtke

Mark Luedtke

America was founded on property rights. The first colonists at Jamestown were ordered to practice communism and they starved to death in droves as a result. To save the colony, the governor gave each colonist a tract of land and allowed them to keep and trade whatever they produced, and the colony subsequently thrived. The same thing happened in Plymouth. For the next several hundred years, a legal system that largely protected property rights and enforced contracts enabled the American people to create the greatest country ever known. Government schools don’t teach that.

Fast forward to today where property rights have suffered unrelenting attack for a century, and as a result the US economy is spiraling deeper into depression and our country is on the verge of collapse. The attack on property rights through taxes and regulations by Ohio’s government has perennially depressed what used to be the most productive state in the union. Innovation in Dayton has been reduced from inventing the airplane and other grand projects to organizing zombie walks after the lawyers and bankers drive back to the suburbs at 5 p.m. Thanks to the ever-growing burden of taxes and regulations, our property rights are in ruins and our economy with them.

But every now and then, we still get an opportunity to celebrate the tattered remnants of our property rights. Before China Arnold was even sentenced, PETA had contacted local billboard owners about putting up an ad that equated cooking food to killing a baby in a microwave. The ad would have featured a mother and baby pig, and pork chops, so the connection might not be obvious, but according to WKEF ABC22 news, “PETA says they are trying to draw a direct comparison to Arnold, who was recently convicted of burning her 28-day-old baby to death in her microwave.”

Fortunately for all of us, the billboards are privately owned and the owners refused to run the ads. Good for them. Anybody who would try to capitalize on the grotesque murder of a baby to push any political position is seriously twisted.

PETA’s position is extreme. PETA isn’t happy advocating veganism. They want to use violence to force veganism on all of us. One of their tactics is throwing blood on their targets. They think killing a baby is morally equivalent to killing an animal for food. These people are dangerously twisted. In another time and place, that ad would have just been tasteless and somebody might have run it. But specifically linking it to the murder of China Arnold’s baby shows that PETA members hate their fellow men, at least those who eat meat.

PETA’s position is not even internally consistent. If animals and people are the same, and animals eat each other, then it’s OK for people to eat animals. If men are above animals, then it’s also OK for people to eat animals. The human species evolved to thrive on meat. If individuals don’t want to eat animals, that’s their prerogative, but that’s not good enough for PETA.

Now imagine if government owned the billboards. It couldn’t turn down such an ad because of the First Amendment. Even if government controlled them through regulation, not outright ownership, PETA would dump some money in a politician’s re-election campaign and that politician would coerce the nominal owner to run the ad. If government controlled the billboards, government would have given PETA access to promote its violent agenda. But because private owners controlled the billboards and they are motivated by profit to provide a quality service to the community, we don’t have to suffer that horrific ad.

This is a good reminder that a society ordered by property rights and contract is a peaceful, healthy, cooperative society. It encourages and rewards good behavior. A society controlled by government is divided, chaotic and violent. It encourages and rewards bad behavior.

It’s unfortunate that some black advocacy organizations have tried to capitalize on this by turning it into a racial issue. The PETA ad has nothing to do with race. PETA is an equal opportunity hater.

It’s sad that government domination of our society has empowered hate groups like PETA and their comrades in the environmental movement. In a free society, people who hate their fellow humans would have a hard time finding an outlet for their message. But in America all they have to do is fund politicians, then politicians steal money from us and funnel our tax dollars back to them, empowering and enriching both while impoverishing the rest of us.

This pro-animal, anti-human mentality is also the product of government. Government schools brainwash children with idealized images of cats and bunnies snuggling together as symbols of multiculturalism. Government TV brainwashes Americans with images of selfish, private individuals who murder each other constantly but are eventually brought to justice by benevolent, government CSI agents. These images are the antithesis of reality, but not in the minds of many. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which showed animals in the harsh light of reality and Hill Street Blues, which heroically showed pervasive police and political corruption, are no longer allowed.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at

Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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