A Shocking Reminder That We Must Defend Our Liberty
Things are moving fast.
If all goes well, we’ll soon have a piece of paper in our hands. It’ll say we’re the latest owners of a 160-year-old farmhouse and the hills and fields that surround it.
With a simple entry down at the county’s records office, the property will go from one owner to the next.
It’s an easy and long-standing process. Some may say it’s the sign of a healthy system of checks and balances. It’s the result of a court system that protects its people.
But we say not so fast.
There’s little more than a signature and the trust of our neighbor to ensure what is ours stays ours. It’s why we’ve never been so naïve to think we actually own any of our property.
That’d be silly.
We could lose our farm in all sorts of ways.
We could blow off the property tax… we could lose it to eminent domain… the land could be rezoned… or we could give it up to a government that simply wants to punish us.
That last one has hardly made the news… and yet it’s an idea that’s becoming brutal reality across the planet.
The free market cringed when then-President Obama infamously said, “You didn’t build that.” But right now in South Africa, political leaders are saying, “You don’t own that.”
It’s one of the scariest attacks on Liberty we’ve seen in a long time.
And don’t think it couldn’t happen here.
Robinhood Land Management
If you haven’t heard, South Africa is suffering from a dangerous wave of populism.
A big chunk of the nation’s poor want to change the country’s constitution. They want to change it to allow the government to take land from its citizens… without paying a penny for it.
“It has become pertinently clear that our people want the Constitution to be more explicit about expropriation of land without compensation as demonstrated in the public hearings,” the country’s president said earlier this month.
The problem – at least according to so many South African citizens – is that white citizens represent less than 10% of the overall population and yet own the vast majority of the land.
In a country still stricken by the painful effects of apartheid, a strong majority believe the whites obtained the land through oppression and therefore want to take the land and redistribute it to the black population.
Big Promise… Big Problem
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa campaigned on the idea of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. And now that he’s in power, he’s making good on his promises… despite any constitutional obstacles.
According to word we got yesterday from overseas, he isn’t waiting around for the law to change.
He’s already started to seize land.
The government is preparing to take two game farms from white farmers in the country’s northern province of Limpopo.
The process started out with the best of intentions. Landowners received this letter in the mail:
Notice is hereby given that a terrain inspection will be held on the farms on April 5, 2018, at 10 a.m., in order to conduct an audit of the assets and a handover of the farm’s keys to the state.
The inspection took place, and both sides came to the table with a fair figure in mind.
In one case, the landowner wanted about $21 million.
The government offered less than $2 million. (Reporting is sparse, but we believe the parcel is roughly 1,300 acres.)
With no middle ground in sight, the government did what governments can do.
It took the land.
It scratched out the name at the top of the deed and put in its own. Done deal. Simple and easy.
A system built on trust… just broke.
“People who are privileged,” said the chairman of the ruling political party, “never give away privilege as a matter of a gift.”
Rumor has it that he and his team have a list of some 200 farms they want to seize… It’s a “gift” to the folks who put the party in power. But chances are this land grab will turn out just like so many others… with a country in a dire economic crisis.
Needless to say, farm prices are plunging, and foreign investment in the country has all but dried up. If the country continues down its current path, South Africa will be the next Zimbabwe – with unemployment over 90% and inflation that’s out of control.
That’s Not Yours
Our point here isn’t to delve into the topic of race, politics or even economics.
No. Our point is to remain vigilant defenders of Liberty.
What’s happening in South Africa is merely the latest example of a government that got drunk on the sweet-tasting nectar of populism.
We hope it never comes to this in the States. But we know it will. We’re already seeing signs of it with increasingly louder calls for “free” health care, “free” college and government-mandated minimum incomes.
It’s only a matter of who gets the votes… and when.
But we also know the Manward community has grown beyond our wildest dreams. Every week we get letters from readers all across the globe… including those in South Africa.
What’s happening there – and in so many other parts of the world – must serve as a reminder that as governments expand, our Liberty must shrink.
It’s a hearty reminder that what’s ours is not really ours. It must be defended.
Nowhere is that idea more true than when it comes to our land – an asset that is ours only because a piece of paper says so.
No doubt it’ll be a topic on our mind early next month, when we slide that check across the table and get out our pen.
We’ll put our name atop a fresh deed. We pray it has the family’s name on it for a long, long time.