Many people think it rather extreme to say, as I do, that governments owning parks is a bad idea. It was one of many bad ideas from so-called “Progressives” back when that was a new, hot idea. But there are many good reasons why governments owning parks is a bad idea.
Progressives did and do worry, or so they say, that if governments didn’t own parks, we ordinary peons would never be able to enjoy nature. Rather, they say, the rich and the powerful would control all the good places, and they would selfishly keep them for themselves, or charge us outrageous prices to visit the wonder-filled places.
So we have many grand parks owned by the national government, and many owned by state governments. There is this fiction propagated by agents of governments that parks belong to us all, collectively, in some way. I’ve always wondered why, if this is the case, I can’t sell my part. But leave that for now.
This most recent government shutdown has caused the progressive statists to reveal their hand in this matter, and it is not a pretty picture. Suddenly, the trails, sights, and statues are closed. We can’t go near them, we can’t view them. But clearly, looking at something, or walking down a trail, does not incur any immediate cost. Even supporters of progressive statism seem willing to admit that this is being done for political purposes, just to make “the public” uncomfortable and upset with political opponents of the current administration.
You might like to think that this is just an example of bad government. But it is much more than that. It is a public illustration of why governments should do as little as possible. Governments don’t need to own parks. We have unfortunately become accustomed to that arrangement, but that does not make it a good idea.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather some rich, greedy guy owning a place I would like to visit, simply because his greed will cause him to want to charge people to us his place. If he is greedy, he won’t charge exorbitantly or people won’t take him up on the deal. But you won’t have to worry about him letting you in. Pay your $s if and when you want to visit, and everyone will be happy.
On the other hand, as we now clearly see, when governments own parks they can and will hold those parks hostage for political purposes. Even though you have already paid for the park via taxes to government, you can’t use it because the President is angry with the House of Representatives. Nice, isn’t it?
So if you even entertained the thought that things like parks, libraries, museums, and such are good things for governments to own and control, maybe the current display of capriciousness and idiocy by our glorious government will help you rethink your view.