To own a slice of the earth from its center to the heavens is precisely how private property rights work in the United States.
The concept that ordinary people can do that is as foreign to other traditions as elements of Sharia Law are to Westerners. In some Eastern languages, there aren’t even words to describe a deed or the idea of being a property owner.
Private property ownership is at the center of the constitutionally protected and God-given inalienable rights that we all enjoy as Americans.
Without private property ownership, the few rule the land. Fortunately, America is unique in many ways and an important one is the opportunity to buy a slice of the earth and make it yours.
As Puget Sound-area real estate prices escalate, the ability to exercise private property rights becomes more and more out of reach. The effects on the middle class of rising prices and the lost link between ownership of a home or condo and liberty is a problem. Liberty can be a fickle feeling. But ownership of real estate is a very tangible place for people to feel it and once they do, they tend to want to protect it and defend it.
Concerns are growing that a split culture, especially among younger Americans, is emerging where rural and semi-suburban residents who can afford a home will feel the experience of liberty through property ownership that their urbanite counterparts may never quite feel or understand.
At its core, though, is the idea that ownership of real estate is a form of security and a means to pursue happiness at the gut level. It’s deep in Western culture and one of the main features of America that draws immigrants to us and defines for many their love of country.
What our society looks like as young adults, who today present the lowest homeownership levels in generations, come of age and how they will understand and feel liberty in their lives is the question.
Tom Hoban is CEO of The Coast Group of Companies. Contact him at 425-339-3638, or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.coastmgt.com. Twitter: @Tom_P_Hoban.