The issue of property rights came up in the Flowery Branch annexation at Gaines Ferry and McEver Roads.

Property rights are a hot button talking point for the radical right, like those Conservations who claim not to be Republicans. But who are Republicans on election day.

An example or two examples would be Lutz and Fetterman. Ask them if they are Republican, they would say “I’m a Conservative.” However, check the ballot on Election Day and if they absolutely must disclose a party affliation, it will be, Republican. Like all Republicans they play word games with ‘property rights.’ So what are the general understanding of these rights and what are the word games in Georgia politics?

In general, natural man had no rights to real property, land. Property like food, clothing, shelter, Yes, natural man had an expectation that others would respect this type of property. But a right to real property didn’t exist because such a claim had no objective proof.

To understand that, natural man did not live under the rule of law or the protections of government. Without a social contract, the rule of law, and government protection, natural man could use whatever land they could hold and protect from all other claims. Usually through violence.  Natural man could put up a fence. Another man could tear it down. Natural man could build a house. Another man could take it, usually under that ‘possession is 9/10ths of the law’ theory we still hear on playgrounds.

Outside of children on playgrounds, we are no longer existing solely in nature. We have the social contract, rules of law, and the protection of governments.

So what are the protections given to land ownership by government. Let’s name a few restrictions on real property ownership supported by law.

We’ve all heard of easements. An easement is the ‘right’ to use another’s land. Deed restrictions are limits on how all future owners may use the land enforced usually by a ‘land use body.’ It doesn’t have to be a government. And thanks to Homeowners Associations and developers, we have restrictive covenants that keep the little pink flamingos out of the front yard. And maybe limit Christian displays at Christmas.

The government has a right to taxation of land, a right  to take land with fair compensation (eminent domain), a right to land under police powers, and that funny thing called escheat, covering abandoned property. The government under escheat gets all abandoned property. Back on the playground there’s that thing about ‘first come, first serve’ and ‘Finders Keepers.’ Those don’t work on children and playgrounds. And they shouldn’t work any better than ‘might makes right.’ The might make right theory is part of the Republican playground but has nothing to do with a ‘land ownership right.’

Yeah, after a simple review, there is no absolute right to do whatever ya want on your land. Never has been.

But, Republicans hit that talking point, including Flowery Branch Council member, Craig Lutz. On February 4th, Lutz blogged that some people would like the government to prevent a landowner from exercising their land use rights. Specifically preventing the building of a trucking terminal or chicken processing plant at Gaines Ferry and McEver!

Lutz goes on to say that if you don’t like the possibility of a chicken rendering plant next door to your home, you’re ‘free’ to buy the land. “The government won’t force you to build’ a trash dump or rendering plant on your land.

While he might talk as if there is an absolute right to property, he will collect commercial property taxes from your land if you buy the land at Gaines Ferry and McEver. That might not force you to build a commercial venture, but coercion is still a use of force.