It was a hot afternoon when Jakeem walked out of his house. He stepped into the yard and ambled around the corner when he spotted Harriet, his neighbor, pouring concrete across the boundary line of their yards.
“Excuse me,” said Jakeem. “This is my yard.”
“What?” Harriet straightened, wiping her brow with the back of her arm.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “I need the extra room.”
“But this is my property.”
“That is not the point,” Jakeem said. “This is my yard. I paid for it.”
Harriet frowned. “Aren’t you being just a little selfish, here? You only have one car over there and yet have enough room for three cars! I have room for one and can barely fit another. You can accommodate me.”
“I don’t want to accommodate you. This is my yard. Clean up your concrete and put the grass back.”
“Hey, buddy, I need the room!” Harriet stammered. “How dare you say I can’t build a wider driveway? I have more cars than you! I need the room!”
“Then buy another house,” Jakeem pointed. “This is my yard. You have no right to build in it.”
“I can’t afford another house!” she frowned.
“But you can afford a second car?”
“My son needs a car! And we can’t park it on the street. It’s unfair. I’m going to continue with my project.”
“Listen,” Jakeem grabbed the mixer handle and shut off the machine to her protest. “This is no different than the folks across the street. Jake had paved his entire neighbor’s front yard into a parking lot for his small business.
Harriet gasped. “What? How DARE you compare me to them!? I’m only asking for five inches! They took the whole yard!?”
Jakeem pointed. “But I already gave you five inches last year and 10 inches earlier this year. I’m not giving you any more room in my yard.”
“But that’s not fair! I need more room! The fifteen inches you gave me isn’t enough!”
“It was fifteen more than you already had, and I was being generous! You can’t keep taking!”
“But I already had fifteen! It’s only five more! How can you be so selfish? Give me more room!”
“It’s the same thing as that!” Jakeem pointed across the street again.
“It is not!” Harriet screetched. “I didn’t take your whole yard!”
“You’re taking it in pieces,” Jakeem retorted. “And each time you take a little bit, you use it as justification for a little bit more. You can say it’s not the same thing, but whether you steal five inches or fifty feet of my yard, yard I paid for, yard you did NOT pay for, it’s stealing! Encroachment! And it’s wrong.”
“How can it be wrong if I need it?” Harriet stammered.
“You didn’t need it until you created a need to justify it. Your son didn’t need a car, you bought him a car knowing you only had room for one vehicle. You created an emotionally charged situation by which to justify theft, as if by fabricating a need you didn’t actually have, you could then generate the moral circumstances by which theft became acceptable. That’s like digging a well in my yard, jumping into it, and then suing me for having an open hole and not marking it clearly.”
“I’m done letting you encroach on what I worked hard to earn. You cannot make up reasons to take what I possess and then create emotional attachments to those reasons for me to accommodate you. Start carpooling, buy him a bicycle or a bus ticket, or even better, move somewhere that you can have a smaller house and a bigger driveway, but stop pouring cement into my yard and saying it’s the moral thing to do when you have no need to do it, only want of convenience.”
“But it’s only a little bit!”
“And it will be a little bit more, tomorrow! And a little bit more, after that! The low impact today doesn’t mean the collected impact over time won’t equal what they did over there! I’m ending this here. That’s like stealing a bag of popcorn one piece at a time until it’s all gone and then saying it wasn’t the same thing as taking the entire bag from me, or even worse, saying I had the opportunity to stop you at each stop. You’re going to blame your theft on my generosity. I’m done. I won’t make you break up what I’ve let you pour already, but I’m done letting you go any further than you’ve gone.”
“But it’s incomplete!” Harriet roared.
“GOOD!” Jakeem returned. “I didn’t want you stealing from my yard in the first place! You think completing your project also somehow justifies the theft? You’re going to find every angle to say you need to take from me, and unless I’m standing here in my yard at all hours, you think it’s alright, because I haven’t tried to stop you. I’m stopping you now.”
“OOOGGHh!” Harriet threw down her trowel. “I’m calling the police. They will side with me. Your generosity is now going to be your downfall. You’ve already given me so much, and the law says that if you don’t stop me within a period of time, I’m allowed to stay. And since I’ve put so much effort into this project, I expect you to let me finish!”
“And what if your project wasn’t five inches more, but fifty feet more!?”
“Maybe it will be,” Harriet’s eyes narrowed. “You self righteous, self serving bastard. I hate people like you, all about your property and earning and rights, ignoring the needs of other people. I have a need to grow, too, you know!”
“Then why did you buy a house only big enough for you, your husband and your son? Now you’ve got two little girls and your son has a car of his own.”
“It’s all we needed!”
“So you bought a house looking only at what you needed ten years ago, and I bought a house ten years ago thinking about what I’ll need in twenty. Who’s really at fault here? I took the time to estimate my marriage and hopefully having a child or two, raise them here, and then retire. You were short-sighted, looking only at today. You should have prepared.”
“That’s not fair! How was I supposed to know? I didn’t know what I needed ten years ago!”
“Are you saying that your lack of preparation will force my accommodation?”
“Listen, we’re all in this togeth-”
“Shut your mouth,” Jakeem cut her off. “Don’t you dare say such a vile moral weapon against me, as if tying us together through some arbitrary and assumed form of community somehow moralizes my property as yours, my effort as yours, my planning as yours. I planned for what I would need, I didn’t plan for you. I managed my income, my time and my family and projected through intelligent research using the same public education and internet you have access to. Everything I did, you were perfectly capable of doing. You don’t get to take part of the A I earned in this test to raise your D. You failed, Harriet. You failed to plan, failed to manage, failed to think.
“You will no longer share the consequences of your failure with me. I won’t take it anymore. I will now injunct you for building on my property without my permission, paying for it, and without a permit. You’ve put my property in danger because of failing to plan, failing to follow the same rules you would threaten me with. If this isn’t cleaned up in the next two days, you’ll be hearing from my lawyer.”
“And before you get self righteous, remember that this life isn’t fair in result, only fair in our beginning. You’re not one of those unfortunate souls born with a mental defect. You’re a perfectly intelligent woman who made bad decisions. You’re not allowed to use the poor and destitute to justify using the rules to make up for your own failure to use the same quality of brain as I have.
“Now get off my property.”
Sound far fetched? Sound like you may never face this kind of situation? What if I said you already have? This same argument plays out every day between those who have earned their own success using their own natural freedom and those who fail to use those same minds and education and then want their consequences paid for by the former. “A” works hard at school, works smart at their job, puts away for medical emergencies and retirement, and at the end of his days, he has what he needs. “B” slacks at school, blows time at work, pays insurance companies without asking how those insurance companies actually make costs higher for everyone, and then demands that A make up for B’s mistakes.
This extends to every encroachment on our freedom. Statists have very slowly worked to take the freedom of the people bit by bit, but the moment you compare them to the Soviets, National Socialists or the Fascists, they stammer that they’re nothing like them. That their encroachments on your freedom is based on need, and that they’re only taking a little bit. But the same people who justify taking your freedom have fabricated those needs IN ORDER TO accomplish the theft.
They fabricate these needs by saying that what they WANT is actually a NEED, and that because THEY need it, everyone else, must, too. And if it’s good for everyone, then everyone must contribute so that the poor and destitute can have what they need. In reality, it’s nothing more than a complicated way of saying: If you don’t give me what I want, you hate poor people, and are evil. I am thus justified in taking from you what I want.
In the early days of our country, every man and woman was raised with the distinct understanding that their success rested solely on their determination to learn from books and craftsmen and apply that knowledge to their future. Because there was no question as to who was responsible for their success, they started early and carved a better life for themselves by intelligent effort and effective management of what was otherwise limited resources. For all the land we think was available to the early Americans, it was not always so free, given native settlement, lack of tools to farm, lack of ability to get to the free land, and capital to get by the first year prior to crops. Life is full of limited resources. Our ability to create growth out of limited resources — not merely steal resources from other people — is what creates success.
Theft never lasts for the thief, and he or she must constantly find new ways to steal in order to maintain the life that theft provides. All politicians have become are intelligent thieves, constantly finding ways the government (which by definition CANNOT produce anything of actual value) can continue to appear as a productive entity, all the while taking from actual productive parties such as private industry and entrepreneurial citizens.
Take a long moment and think about all the “justifications” out there for taking people’s freedoms, and realize that for every freedom taken, there is one less resource productive people can take and create growth out of. As rich as America seems today, our rate of growth has drastically nose-dived since the government began interfering in the private industry.