Saturday, May 7, 2016

Keeping and Tending the Garden

I tell people just about all I need is a library, a dog, and a garden - probably one with an enclosed wall.

In the story of the Garden of Eden, Adam (which means "Man") is told to "tend and keep" the Garden. The word "keep" (shamar) also means "guard."

This one sentence tells humanity how to treat the world: we are to keep and tend it – guard it – as if it is a garden. There are a few simple rules that can be deduced from that sentence.

The first is that we are to turn the world into a garden. The second is that a garden is private property; it is something that is owned by a person. Since all people are enjoined to treat their property as a garden, then they should legally prohibited from polluting someone else’s garden. Those two things – private property and the enforcement of property rights – would plunge pollution to the bare minimum. Since "Adam" means "Man" and not "State," we can deduce Man is to own everything, and the State, nothing.

This millennia-old sentence about people "keeping and tending" the Garden, and not the State, would not have lasted all these years unless there is universal truth to it. History has shown that when the State owns property, it’s really owned by a large group of people, always distant from the property, always at odds with each other, each trying to use political force to coerce others into doing what they want, no matter how asinine and illogical it is. Then we end up with the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. Possibly even worse, those who believe in the State are almost always leftists, who believe humans are a blight on the Earth and shouldn’t touch it. This is impossible, unless the human race was to disappear from the Earth, which is something the more crazed of leftists want.

A perfect example of this not-knowing were the forest fires out west several years ago.. They were caused by logging companies not being allowed to clear out decades of underbrush, since liberal environmentalists thought this cleaning – which in reality is tending and keeping the garden – would damage the environment. Since the companies couldn’t do this cleaning, nature took the course it always does: it burned everything up, including the animals that couldn’t escape.

If those forests had been privately owned, they would have been kept and tended much better. Private property always gets better care than property owned by the State. If people don’t take care of it, they can’t make a profit from it, and have to sell it to others with more sense. The free market, coupled with private property and legally enforced property rights, puts property into the most competent hands.

This stand in opposition to "democracy" and the State, which invariably puts the worst and most poorly educated people into office. Then they look puzzled and scratch their heads when their ill-advised policies cause entire forests to burn down.

Another problem with all property not being privately owned is what is called "the tragedy of the commons." This is what has happened with the oceans. Since no one owns them, everyone tries to exploit them. It’s the attitude, "If I don’t get my share first, then someone else will beat me to it, and I will get nothing." This is just human nature, and all the laws in the world will not change it.

A lot of pollution in the U.S. was originally caused by the fact that courts did not enforce property rights. People did sue companies for fouling their property, and were told by the courts, "Sorry, but this company is creating jobs, and those jobs are more important than your property being damaged." Had the courts originally enforced property rights, pollution would have been a fraction of what it turned into. Even though this sentence isn’t in the Bible, it should be: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

There are, obviously, different kinds of gardens. Some are more tame, some are more wild. I am originally from Illinois, which is quite correctly called "The Prairie State." I’ve been all over it and most of it is as flat as the top of Frankenstein’s head. About the only good thing I can say about it is that it’s not as bad as Kansas.

Because of this flatness, most of Illinois has been turned into farmland. It’s been turned into a tame garden. On the other hand, Kansas turns into eastern Colorado, and eastern Colorado turns into the Rockies. And the Rockies are a wild garden. There is not much Man can do with these kinds of wild gardens. And people need both tame and wild gardens. It’d be a boring country if all of it looked like Illinois. It’d be unlivable if all it looked like the Rockies.

What we have today is a mishmash of conflicting laws. And to paraphrase Theodore Sturgeon’s most famous saying, 90% of them are nonsense, which means we can just throw them out. They’re not helping, only hindering. We’d all be better off if people – and the law – just paid attention to that one little sentence about Gardens.

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