Our Land, Our Infrastructure, Our Country—a Lot of Loose Talk

Many Americans talk about “our country,” “our public lands,” and “our infrastructure.” Such terminology is inaccurate and misleading. Genuine de facto ownership entails control of the property and the benefits it generates. No one owns the country, though the thousands of governmental entities make and enforce claims to various parts and aspects of it. Local, state, and federal government bureaucracies own the so-called public lands and the infrastructure. In view of the incentives and constraints of these governmental entities, it is only to be expected that the properties will be misused and in many cases damaged or destroyed. After all,

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