Since the dawn of civilization, land ownership and its use have consumed human thought and driven our politics. In an important political year like 2012, the topic of land ownership is equally vital.
Land is visceral. There is something in us that wants to be in the outdoors, amidst the elements, doing whatever it is that we want to do. Men want to see if the wildness in them can overcome the wildness of wilderness. This testing of our mettle is essential to understanding and appreciating freedom. Once we have a taste of success in overcoming challenges in nature, our spirits are not easily subdued by Emily Post, office hours, congested streets, or politicians.
Land is patriotic. The first two paragraphs in the preamble to the Realtors Code of Ethics impress upon all who read it that Realtors (and real estate agents) have a high calling to help the public make the highest and best use of our most necessary and precious resource: land. “Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.” “Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and patriotic duty to which Realtors should dedicate themselves…”
This patriotic duty is not hyperbole. I believe that when people talk to land agents about rural land, in one sense we are discussing the core of our country. Our nation drew guidance from principles laid out in England’s Magna Carta of 1215. But our nation took the privileges and protections of land ownership that in England were only given to nobility, and extended those rights to all free men on her soils.
The Declaration of Independence enumerates a few of the unalienable rights endowed by our Creator: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. To exercise those rights one needs a place to carry them out. That is where land comes in. In America the free exercise of all our rights, “The American Dream”, is tied to the private ownership of land.
At the present time, many people in our nation are looking at land for a different reason, and they feel walls closing in around our unalienable rights. I personally believe the 2012 election is as essential to maintaining our individual freedoms as those early Continental Congresses were.
Americans are frightened. For weeks I have been having conversations with landowners and business owners that are nervous about the state of our nation. They are not overly concerned about the fluctuations in the stock market or the slow growth of our GDP. The people that I am talking to are concerned about what is going to happen when our country falls apart. These fears are heightened by events such as the recent news that the Department of Homeland Security has placed an order for 1.2 billion rounds of ammunition without giving much explanation.
I know rational, well-respected professionals that are making preparations that seem drastic in many circles, but may be life-saving measures if our country experiences upheaval. I spoke to a local contractor last week that told me a friend of mine constructed a 100 yard escape tunnel from his home. This same contractor also fabricated a metal shutter to place in a second story window to offer protection should the owner need an elevated point of defense.
In the past week I have spoken to dozens of people from many walks of life, from a bus driver in San Francisco to a CPA in Atlanta. These people, not bound by race or religion, all seem to feel that there is something ominous on the horizon and that they need to be preparing for it. They are looking for a place to go, a way to feed themselves, and a method of defense. The details vary a little, but the plot is the same for everyone I have this discussion with.
Personally I am in the process of doing due diligence on a 35 acre homestead for this same reason. I want to get out of town and have a more self-sustained lifestyle. Based on many of the articles I have read combined with my personal preferences, here are a few things I am looking for in my “end of days” getaway or self-sustained property.
- Water – I want a property that affords several means of acquiring water. I am only considering properties that have a stream or spring, a well, and a pond site. I do not want to have to rely on a public supply and would like to have several different sources in case there is an issue with one.
- Arable land – I need some amount of open, tillable acreage suitable for growing crops and planting fruit trees. An acre of land can suffice in some instances for a small family. But I’m from Alabama, which like Texans, believes that bigger is better.
- Away from people – If civilization comes apart at the seams, and people forget civility, then I want to be a comfortable distance from the insanity. People are generally going to do what is easy, and if they have to walk 20 miles down a country road to ransack your house and then carry your goods off, they probably won’t do it: at least initially. I would like to be 15-20 miles from a small town and 60 miles or more from a large city. That way you don’t get a large exodus of people to your front door.
I have other criteria I am using to vet potential properties, but these are my big 3. In addition I am a real estate agent, so I think in terms of my ability to resale the property one day when everything resets. Who knows, we may avert an economic tragedy yet. But I want to be as prepared as possible for all contingencies.
In 2012, I believe wise Americans will turn out and vote for the candidate that promotes and protects personal freedom. In my estimation it also seems like a good idea to prepare for the worst: meaning you need a place to go with your loved ones, a way to feed them, and the means to defend it all.
Land has and always will be essential to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
I would welcome readers to share experiences or opinions about this topic.
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