Washington Post, Washington, DC, United States
Glad to meet you.
I’m interested in the public lands in the west, and would like to ask you some questions on that first. The United States government owns a vast amount of land in the west. Some of this land is within your domain here on the ranch. What do you think of the policies of the United States government with regard to land management?
The philosophy of democracy is totally against the idea of governments owning anything: land, schools, libraries, universities. That idea – that the government should own everything, that no individual should be the owner – is basically communist. It is a very subtle psychology to destroy the individual: if an individual’s ownership is taken away he becomes a beggar.
At least in America, the government should not own any land. That is part of a democratic approach. There should be no kind of nationalization on any level. All nationalization is communist. Every individual should be free in every possible way from government rule, government domination. The universities should not be owned, the schools, the colleges should not be owned. The government has no business interfering in people’s lives, their development, their intelligence. Each university should have its own individuality; each school should have its own individuality.
In a democracy the question of ownership does not arise; individuals should be the owners of everything that exists. The government is simply a functioning body. It is not the master, it is the servant of the people. It should see that everything is going well – that no individual is being exploited in any way, that no individual is being enslaved, that no individual is being interfered with.
The function of the government in a democracy is to protect the individual – his freedom, his ownership, his possibilities of growth – and to help him. The government should not become a partner, a competitor, in business, in land, in factories, in anything. The government is just a functional body like the post office. Now, should the post office start owning land and factories? Or the board that runs airplanes or railway lines? The government should not own anything, because that ownership makes the politician too powerful.