The Reagan Speech Preservation Society

Where is the Line?

Modified: Tuesday, 20 July 2021 21:58 by admin - Categorized as: Podcasts
The following is a collection of the materials used in creating the twentieth episode of the Citizen Reagan podcast (pending permission from the Reagan Foundation) about the Reagan's Radio Commentaries.





Welcome to the Citizen Reagan Podcast. I've got my friend Mike with me again, so this is going to be a minimalistic— minimally scripted conversation about one of the Reagan Radio Commentaries. Today, discussion pertains to environmentalism and government efforts to promote it using land planning. Let's see where the conversation goes after we play what Reagan said for you:

How do we preserve the beauty of nature in our constitutional right to private ownership of land? I'll be right back. A majority of us are somewhere in an environmental middle between those who'd pave over everything in the name of progress and those who wouldn't let us build a house unless it looked like a bird's nest.

People are ecology too, and most of us are looking for answers that will preserve nature to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the need to have places where we can work and live.

The federal government pushes nationwide land planning, which is the greatest threat in two hundred years to our traditional right to own property. Congress debates a bill which, if passed, would destroy the right of counties and towns to have local zoning ordinances and all of this is done in the name of environmentalism.

But what happens to freedom? what happens to your right to purchase or homestead a piece of land and make it bear fruit, if an agency in Washington can tell you exactly what you can or can't do with your land, including telling you there's nothing you can do but pay the taxes and let it lay idle.

California has a well-intentioned coastline protection law that's resulted in economic disruption and hardship to a great many citizens, some of whom just wanted to build a beach house for themselves. There's talk now of similar programs for the mountains, the deserts and virtually every other area of our state.

Those of us who are neither anti-ecology nor environmental extremists seek an answer. How do we protect our constitutional right to own a piece of this earth, at the same time we ensure open space and natural beauty for generations not yet born?

Well is it over simplification to suggest we don't need restrictive laws on government land planning but simply the law of supply and demand operating in the free market?

Let those who want to live at the beach or in the mountains or desert by buying sites in the open market from willing sellers. The vast majority of us through choice or necessity will continue to live in cities, towns and suburbs; however we want to know that when and if the desire strikes us, there are beaches, mountains and deserts where we can go for an hour, a day or an extended vacation. We don't want to feel that someday private ownership of these beauty spots and natural wonders will shut us out. Well our answer also lies in the open market. We the people can, collectively, through our government, do exactly what we can do as individuals. We can estimate what we need for our present and future use and then through government buy it. Now, right now, we the people through government own more than a third of all the land of the United States. In some of our more scenic states government ownership is as much as ninety percent of the total state. In California, government owns forty percent of the total coastline. Now much of this publicly owned land is already in the form of parks and vast areas or national forest land. If more is needed we should do collectively exactly what we do individually, go buy it. What we must not do is give to ourselves collectively in the name of government rights we don't possess.

As individuals we can have all the open space and recreational land we need. We don't have the right to tell someone who owns a beach lot that he can't build on it because we like the view as we drive by on the highway. If the view is that important to us, we should buy it.

This is Ronald Reagan.

Thanks for listening.

So, I do have a little bit of script because I've got history and stuff. Reagan talks about the ownership of the California coastline and that forty percent of it is government-owned. I don't— I'm not exactly sure if this is still the case, it was in 1999. That's what I was able to find. In 2000 President Clinton used his authority under the 1904 Antiquities Act to create the California Coastal National Monument it protects inlets or islets— sorry islets, reefs, and rock— I can't read my own stuff that I typed— protects islets, reefs, and rock outcroppings along the entire coast. The monument was expanded twice by President Obama.

In reading the 1974 edition of the Incredible Bread Machine for a future podcast— or could be a whole new show, there's so much there to share, I found a five-page spread about the California Coastal Commission. It was created by popular vote in 1972 with, as they put it, "almost unlimited dictatorial powers" unquote. In fact, I would not be surprised if that was the book that at least, partially response— that was at least partially responsible for Reagan mentioning the California coast in this broadcast. A snippet from a Reason Magazine article talks about preventing high rises from being built on private land because it would obscure the ocean from the highway.

Mike, have you got any thoughts on either what I said or what Reagan talked about in his— uh— in the broadcast?

Sure, yeah, well, um you know I think uh well I'll start by saying I think my favorite line of that, um broadcast was, "People are ecology too." I— I certainly I also—

I also have that in my notes—

Yeah, yeah, I really like that, um, you know, I— I think uh, well— I'll say Reagan asks uh, is this oversimplification to uh suggest that uh, you know, the law supply and demand um, operating the free market can can work here. I think it is oversimplification. I think, uh, certainly that, um, there are reasons, uh, that we, uh, need to, uh, have restrictions on— on those types of things, um, but uh, you know, overall I— I think um, that uh, you know, he's on the right path there and— and track. I think this certainly can relate to today I don't think there's that much that's different today than there was then, uh, around this issue. Um, yeah I think it's sort of the— the basic, uh— uh, does the government have additional, uh, responsibilities and rights over an individual which— which he mentions, um, and I think there are occasions where that has to happen, um, if you're, uh, you know, he talks a lot about beaches and things of that but I mean if you're building a school and they have to buy 10 houses and, uh, you know, one person just says that they want you know 200 million dollars to sell their house there's got to be some restriction there and and some some place. You may, disagree, Roy so don't feel afraid.

I'm not gonna disagree. For public works I mean there that's in the Constitution, eminent domain is in the Constitution for— for— for— public works like highways, schools, like you mentioned. Um...

And it was based on law from, yeah, before the United States, it was— it was English Common Law, you know,

Yeah, they based a lot of the Constitution, very much, uh is based on uh, English common law, Magna Carta, uh Blackstone, if I remember correctly, uh plus their own experiences of course in, you know, in colonial America, of course. But where is that— but where is the line? I think that is that— that's the key— the key thing? and that and it's— it's— it's— not just environmental there's— there's the— there's the tax thing. Oh well, it's beneficial to government if we take your house to bulldoze the whole block and we'll put up— we're going to sell it to somebody else that's going to build a shopping mall and that mall is going to make— have significantly higher tax revenue for us than than your all your houses on the block combined. And I don't want to give up— give too much away about maybe where we live but we saw this.

We did, yes, we did.

Um, we saw a neighborhood that was planned to be bulldozed, there was a handful of families that stood their ground and refused to give up and the— the— I don't know I remember the mayor I don't remember so much about the city council at the time and how they felt about it. but the mayor just went ballistic about making sure well all these properties are blighted and we have to— we have to, uh take them and it'll— it's better for the community, it's better for all of us if we do this, but these people stood pat. it eventually got put on the ballot in our city and it was defeated.

And that was moved to where I live now. Uh no you know I— I certainly uh have problems with— with buying those giving them to private industry I certainly have, uh, concerns about that, um I don't think that's you know necessarily where Reagan was going [Crosstalk] no no no. but— but— but— that is part of this discussion. Um, where that line is because I actually that's— that's exactly what I was going to say. Where is that line, because this isn't cut and dry, you know, some of these these these podcasts they're pretty, you know, I think most people will agree with them, that these are— these are discussions where it's just moving that line. Um, if you— you know, what where the the rights are for— for the government to do different things and you know a lot of the states determine that um it's— it's not a national you know just current blotch you know it's not the same um in different states. I read a lot about North Carolina and the restrictions they have on what you can do with eminent domain, um where other places don't have that, and it's— it's a little bit surprising some of the more conservative states actually have uh, firmer, uh, eminent domain laws. Um, so, it certainly does, uh change, but I think, um you know, in— in Reagan's context about you know the the beaches and— and the— the the ecology, um and those nature natural areas you know I think most of us uh will agree that um if you have a uh ocean lot and uh you know you— you paid for this and uh the the government— the people want to buy that that that's it can be you know it should be more free market. um if it's an urgent hey we have to build a fire house here because this is that location where it is most beneficial for the community because if we build it a mile away they won't be able to reach this part of town, I think most of us can agree that that is a proper use of that or school or whatever. But in your scenario where you're just buying this so that you can turn it into something else and the reason being we'll get more tax revenue, I think a lot of us disagree with that completely.


One other thing that I'll just say is I— I— am, uh, certainly not so thrilled with, uh using the Antiquities Act to, um, you know, re-categorize all this coastline in California and I'm sure elsewhere, um, in the monuments and so that's been done a lot over the last 15, 20 years I guess back to Clinton and I think that if that is something that we want to give government control over, we should make a law specifically for that, and um not kind of reuse these old laws from 100 years ago to, uh, to do that so, I— I think Reagan probably would have had something to say about that.

Probably, probably, um, like you I also really liked that line, "People are ecology too." Um and not many people I— I wonder how many people actually think— think about that and I mean there are— there are those people— there's environmentalists specifically— but they they view us as almost like a virus or a plague upon the Earth, and but every— every— uh, every living thing has some kind of impact on— on— on its environment so, I mean, I don't know, we're just a little different because we figured out ways to do it— I don't know— in a more artificial manner, but who's to say as— as George Carlin says in his famous stand-up routine about environmentalism maybe this was the plan— the earth just wanted plastic for itself, we're gonna die off and there will be a new paradigm, the Earth plus plastic. That's— it came out of the earth. I mean. it's just oil— it just reconfigured oil. So, um, the other thing that, um, I wanted to touch on in— in regards to this uh— this broadcast is what Reagan talked about towards the end about, um, the government not really having— government really should only have the powers that we as individuals should have. Now I you could extend this— this conversation out. quite a bit. I'll try to keep it limited to— to this but, I mean, I could go into more into the Constitution about, you know, why we have, you know, why— when— it ties into why we formed a country in the first place. Why why we're not why we weren't 13 individual countries on the North American continent, rather than you know those states coming together and forming one nation. You and I your I'll just give one really quick example. I own a gun, I know you've gone shooting with me, I don't know if you've ever—

I do not.

Okay. but I have a gun for personal defense. If you had a gun, I would imagine it would be for personal defense, as well. If an invading if— if somebody— if some other country decided to invade us we have a very disorganized— if it's just a bunch of individuals or if we're— or maybe even if we're 50 individual states, picking us off would be a whole lot easier than having one country with one organized military. That's what when— when— they talk about "provide for the common defense" that's because that common defense was, well, if you're gonna— if— if— France wants to pick a fight with— with Georgia all the rest of us are gonna be in on it so you're you pick on one of us you pick on all of us, and that's, I mean, in this respect, I have the right, uh are talking about this, I have the right to buy something, you have the right to buy something. I can't— I can't come over and just— come over to your house and just appropriate a desk chair or— or— something that I need. But government could come into your bank account and say, well you know what Roy's not doing as good we we need to we need to take some more money out of your paycheck to give to Roy. because he's not doing so good. I can't— I can't come into your house to do it—

Is that the Britney Spears reference Roy?—

No, I have no—, honestly, I have no— truely I have no idea what you're—

I understand. For the 5 of you who know what that means.

You know, I think, um, certainly um yeah, I underlined that same passage too, about the, uh, they can we collectively through our government do exactly what we can do as individuals. I— I think though, to counter that, a lot of government's roles, these days, is to do the things we can't do, like build a bridge or build a road. Where we don't want Jeff Bezos owning the Brooklyn Bridge. um the kind of thing, you know, because people can't get over to New York if— if all the bridges are private, you know, so I think. Um well, then again, to counter my point, there is that you still have to pay a tax to get across.

Yeah, yeah.

So maybe not the best exam— but I think we understand, you know, I mean the— the you know fire houses used to be a fire insurance back in— in a revolutionary war period. So I think there's— there's a lot that we do collectively better and we have to—

There are certain things—

and defense is one example by defense yeah a lot of other.

But, you know, um, I was actually just listening to it when we were driving here— he— Reagan in a different broadcast talks about a— I don't know don't want to call it a think tank really— but it was— it was a couple guys that were researching and putting out newspaper articles and pamphlets and such and documents about privatizing those services that a lot of us get publicly, um, he talks about Scottsdale, Arizona. Did you know that Scottsdale, Arizona had a private fire department up until—

a couple years ago? Yeah I did know—

I thought it was in the Aughts, yes yeah okay oh fancy it's like 2005, 2006. But it could have been just a couple years.

I remember when they still had it hearing uh about that but some

Private garbage, private ambu— well we got private ambulances around here, don't we?

Uh no, not to take you to the hospital, but other places do. Atlanta does. Private ambulance is to go between places but—

Maybe that's what I'm thinking the the— the— the— the— the— D— I don't— am I giving too much away— the Donald Martens—?

Yeah those those are to take you from nursing home to an appointment sure but I mean the point— I think we all understand, the point is that there are areas that you can certainly privatize and, um, have useful. but the— the parts that you can't, right, like, um, I mean, I don't think we want our water to, you know, like, well I— I guess we do gas and other things but— but certainly there are—

There's— there's public elements to that there's there's uh— uh— uh— power generation is one thing where you've got a private company— but they're— they're heavily controlled and they're heavily subsidized.

Because we all rely on a single entity—

By the government yes. Again, I keep coming back to more broadcasts because he just talked about so many different things. He talks about unions. Reagan, I mean, historically we can look back and say, yes Reagan didn't like public unions he ended up firing a whole bunch of air traffic controllers, but years before that, he talked about public unions and he talks about how, well you— you can't go— go to somebody else to take care of your sewer treatment— sewer— that's kind of the city— this you can't have an alternate sewer system you— you just it doesn't work— you wouldn't work— it wouldn't be feasible. So when the su— when sewer workers in San Francisco went on strike all of the sew— raw sewage just gets dumped into San Francisco Bay that was— that was one of the examples he cited that's where they really shouldn't have that freedom. I mean they've got a lot of perks to being— there's a lot of perks to being a public servant as opposed to a private, uh— uh, employee of a company and when you when you strike against the government as a public employee you're striking against the all the people, which isn't a very nice thing to do, I guess.

But— but the uh— but uh— you know to that point, well that's getting off track a little,

Yeah, I know. I'm sorry. We do that. We do that.

But um— but uh, you know, When, uh, conservatives go, oh, we need to cut the government spending, they don't go— we go— we're going to cut the people's spending. I mean, but which is the same thing, you know—

But very seldom do conservative —do republicans or conservatives— or anybody really unless they're trying to say the other side wants to do this very rarely do they say we're going to cut all the the policemen and the firemen and the teachers, I mean, The Democrats will say if we cut a budget those are the first things that are going to go. And the republican— you know, republicans will say no it's not, and the republicans would say well— we'll cut the— well, for um, what's the flip side, what would be a good flip side for that, cutting defense. Maybe we can't cut defense, well I'm sure there's ways we can. I will freely admit I think there's ways we could cut defense spending.

Uh yeah so getting back to uh apology... Um you know, I— I think, um, that you know, the way Reagan starts it is— is— really is the key, and that's that line you were talking about, of uh, of where that line is, because he says you know you can't just bulldoze down everything in the name of progress. um and— and I think that, you know, that the whole thing I mentioned earlier about the oversimplification of just having the supply and demand, it sort of does open that up a little bit. Um, I'll give you one other example about the eminent domain is that it— with the government, um you know, we're all voting or our city council is going to talk about building the new school, or whatever, it might be, down the road for you know two years before it happened and uh if— if we didn't have that capability what I feel might happen is that um companies will come in, buy options on that land, and say, "Hey, Roy I'm going to give you $50,000 for the right to buy your house for the next five years, because they think there's a possibility that's going to happen" and then they will hold out with their money instead of those individuals like you were talking about in— in— in your city. So uh if there isn't that threat that there is some alternative that certainly could open up and and start to be something that, I don't think happens much now, but I think could happen um because that's what they do you know Walmart is thinking about opening up uh in in whatever city and they buy the option for that land well in advance and they don't tell anybody you know like you know they they have that Disney did that too. right oh yeah he bought all the swamp unknown but now with the government and so when you're private you can do that and you don't have to tell everyone what your plans are but when you're the government's trying to open up a new facility or a new street or whatever it might be everyone knows what you're going to do, you know, and I think that could certainly impact their ability to do.

Even if you are private, I mean, I know Disney— had Disney to get all that land in Florida for Walt Disney he had to have dozens of companies shell comp— dummy companies that were buying up the land under other— other names, because the moment people knew he was dumping money into Florida they were buying up the land, like you were talking about, buying up the land so that they could, you know, oh well, yeah we'll sell it to you we're gonna we want uh you know 100,000 instead of the 50 that it was worth originally.

So now imagine, yeah, so now imagine you are, you know, trying to build, you know, a library or whatever it might be, you have to budget out what that is to get the voters to prove it. How do you do that if there's no cap on what that land will cost? You know, so there's a lot of a— lot of uh things that can result in— if we just you know like all of a sudden ditch the— the plan of eminent domain and we go into a supply and demand kind of scenario, specifically because it's the government buying stuff. Yeah. Well that covers it doesn't?

I think so. I think so. For this and other podcasts, you can visit uh— any number of places my— I have the podcast available through Google through iTunes through I heart radio, uh boy uh, whatever the heck Deezer is, and— and— and and Amazon Music there's— there's— all over the place, even though nobody's really listening to it, um.

I listen to it.

Thank you, Mike.

Google podcast, it's a great way to do it.

Um, you can also visit my wiki I don't think I mentioned it this go around you can get all of the past episodes, plus, uh, I provide hyperlinks for research that I've done and transcripts of my— what I say— and the Reagan broadcast that it goes with it. I will— we'll see you in another week— I guess.

Thanks for inviting me Roy. It was a lot of fun.

No problem.


Other Sources

Federal Lands Planning Program

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