Preserving our True Heritage


Historic preservationists like to tell us that they simply want to preserve our heritage. If this is true, then why is the emphasis on bricks and mortar rather than ideas? If they really want to preserve our heritage, then why do they want to save old buildings at the cost of freedom?

Unlike most nations, America was founded on an idea—the moral right of each individual to his own life, his own life liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness. This is our heritage. And this is what preservationists attack.

Preservation ordinances impose restrictions on what a property owner may do. These restrictions may include the paint colors he can use, the architectural features of the house, and even the materials that can be used. He cannot use his property as he chooses, but only as government authorities permit.

The right to property means the right to own, use, keep, and dispose of material values. It means the freedom to control that which you own, to do with your property as you choose. “Ownership” without control is a contradiction; it means that you are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep (and taxes), but the use is dictated by others.

The Founding Fathers did not risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor so that future generations could dictate how their neighbors use their property. Our Founders fought for the freedom of each individual to use his property as he chooses (as long as he does not violate the mutual rights of others). They did not found this great nation so that their ancestors could marvel at old buildings. They founded America so that their ancestors could bask in the glorious sunshine of freedom.

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