TJ Roberts | United States
It seems that everyone has an opinion about the infamous January 19 incident in which a Covington Catholic High School student stood and smirked as a Native American by the name of Nathan Phillips banged a drum in his face. The outrage from the Leftist mobs led to a media firestorm. The media rushed to cover the story, and the truth paid dearly as a result. Now, the media continues to look dishonest. Several children have experienced humiliation and violent threats.
This was all due to a one-minute clip of a 2-hour video at the Lincoln Memorial. As Vinny Marshall of LIFE and Think Liberty points out, the video completely pardons the kids, but the mob will not stop, for we must punish smirking! Seriously, read this article. Watch the entire video. The kids did nothing wrong.
This is part of the problem of the commons. When property is public, what is acceptable and unacceptable becomes subjective. The fact that the media plays such a huge role in framing public opinion is absurd, and the smirking Covington Catholic student truly felt the wrath of the mob. If smirking offends you so much, however, you have every right to forbid it on your property. Or if you respect the smirking student, you have every right to welcome him on yours.
Privatize the Lincoln Memorial (and the entire National Mall)
If the Lincoln Memorial was private property, this situation would be much simpler. Whether the smirking student or Nathan Phillips was in the right would be determined by the owner of the memorial. When the state seizes land and opens it for use for everyone, then conflict becomes inevitable. In this instance, Nathan Phillips’ freedom of expression came into conflict with the smirking student’s freedom of expression. With the overly-sensitive social media mobs looking for any reason to demonize anyone to the right of Elizabeth Warren, a disaster was sure to happen.
The solution, of course, is to allow for the private ownership of public spaces such as the Lincoln Memorial, the rest of the National Mall, and any other government property. If the owner wants to allow both groups on their land, that is their choice. If they want to pick sides, that is also their call. Private property would have made it abundantly clear if the smirking student was in the right and may have stopped the situation from happening entirely. The owner could have kicked the black Israelis (who actually instigated the situation through their hateful rhetoric) of the property. The owner could have removed Nathan Phillips and his group. They also could have removed the smirking Covington Catholic students. It is the choice of the owner.
Smirking: A Non-Crime that Only Property Rights Can Fix
Smirking is not a crime. Be thankful it isn’t. You have the right to form your own personality. This is something that is uniquely good about a society that values the individual. The mobs that are calling for violence against children who stood their ground against racist and homophobic jeers from an extremist group are deplorable. Even if the kids could have handled the situation better, private property could have handled it better. There is no reason the government should hold as much land as it does. This situation shows the problems society may face when the commons have no owner.
One way of privatizing land would be to grant federal land to Native American tribes. It is their land, after all. By this, I mean total sovereignty for the tribes how to take ownership of the land. There ought to be no state or federal interference in their affairs. The tribes ought to have full control of what occurs on that land because it truly is their land. Perhaps this may help ease the suffering that Native Americans have felt as a result of colonialism. As an added bonus, the federal government will become less powerful.
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