The history of and basis of real estate law is fundamental to any democracy or republic and is typically the demarcation between socialist, communist governments and democracies. These socialist/communist governments are typically despotic and abrogate the individuals ability to own real estate and use it for their good pleasure. A communist government denies the right to own land, a socialist government encumbers your rights to the land; the end result is the same viz. government control of the land! As with most of our laws in the United States, they derive their origin from the English Common Law which in turn derives its origins from the bible. America; however, is uniquely a Judeo-Christian body of law that emphasizes the dignity of mankind and his or her god-given rights to liberty, freedom (to do good), the pursuit of happiness, and most importantly the right to own land free of overly restrictive government regulations that reach beyond the public good. This right to own real estate is distinctly American and at the outset of this nation was in the vanguard of the revolution.
Real estate theory begins with “God owns the world” and then we have an interest as stewards of His land. These interests are conceived of as a “bundle or rights”; the greatest being fee simple absolute. From there we have various forms of estates down to lease-hold estates which are indeed a form of ownership because they convey a bundle of rights or uses of real estate.
This private ownership of real estate and personal property is distinctly American and is what patriots have shed countless pints of blood to preserve. The ability to own land is a distinguishing feature between the Constitution and the Communist Manifesto. The right to own land and use it freely versus the over-encumbrances of governments and restrictions is one of the great demarcations between capitalism and socialism; many of us “Baby-boomers” would view the restrictions of land use today in America as socialistic.
Two perspicuous points that separate a free society from a dictatorship or despotic government is the right to own land and personal property. The Communist Manifesto specifically points out that nobody shall have the right to own personal property or inherit any wealth whatsoever. This is 180 degrees from the tenants of the US Constitution which guarantees man the ability to own land and pass it down to whomever he wishes. If you will ponder the issues of the “death tax” you will see why opponents of this tax are so fervently against it. This tax is right out of the Marxist play book. Again our founding fathers established this country to break free from what was a despot government which disallowed the private ownership of land or at least the ability to freely use it as the citizen saw fit.
Unfortunately we have been drifting back in this direction for the past 40 years with zoning laws, building codes. Did you know that the ostensible “separation of church and state” was to protect the church from the state? Any Realtor will tell you this from their knowledge of zoning laws. Yes churches are not subject to zoning laws for the sole purpose of precluding the state from having control over such decisions as when and where a church may be built. The local governments have done an end-run around this one have been quite successful in regulating the churches through building codes.
The ability to own land and use it as you please is being stripped away from us in an incremental fashion and bit by bit the government tells us what we can or cannot do with our property. I would dare say that if we compared free enterprise and capitalism of today with that of the 1960’s we would step back and see that we are a socialist nation. It is a troubling statement from Marx “Socialism is a temporary from of government and stepping stone towards communism”. This is why the European nations are floundering because they have tried to keep their socialist governments in a holding pattern thinking that it is a nice hybrid of communism of capitalism. Why would anyone want “soft communism”? How long can socialism or “soft-communism” sustain economic growth, ingenuity and invention when the rewards for such hard work and effort amount to 8 weeks of vacation, $9 for a liter of gasoline, little tiny apartments or homes, and medical care which leaves a population with teeth so horrible nobody smiles anymore? When is the last time you saw a jolly or joyful European? Forensic dentists can determine if someone is an American by observing a simple root canal in their mouth. Dentistry is beyond a luxury in socialist nations and we have friends in Canada that have waited up to 12 months for MRI’s.
Do you see the foreign investment pouring into Arizona to buy land? Yes off shore money is coming in to Arizona by the bushel. Arizona and the southwest is getting to be the last bastion of free enterprise as it relates to land ownership. Take away a man’s land and you have nothing. You have a mediocre society that has no motivation to progress. Adam Smith best said “greed fuels progress” Smith meant that as man uses his god-given gifts to better his life, he will pull society along with him. Think about it: when is the last time a poor person gave you a job? This is the trickle down effect that the liberals hate so much.