Mike Adams

The neighbors seemed to appreciate my landscaping efforts. A couple of them stopped by to thank me for motivating them to get to work improving their lawns. I'm not sure why they were thanking me. I wasn't doing it for them. But I'm afraid I'm getting ahead of myself.

When Mark came over, we discovered a problem with a small creek that runs along the line separating my property from my neighbor's. We followed the creek, which dumps into the intercostal waterway about 300 yards from my house. We discovered that some creek obstruction on a contiguous property was causing draining problems on my property. So we solved the problem by planting a grove of four Cyprus trees along the property line. Those trees suck water faster than deficit spending sucks the life out of the economy.

Shortly after planting the trees, I got a call from a neighbor who wished to thank me. It seems that my new row of Cyprus trees was placed perfectly in order to block the line of vision between his back porch and a neighbor's yard that was filled with unused equipment - including four empty boats. He said that my decision to plant those trees would greatly enhance the value of his home and his ease in selling it. Of course, I wasn't doing it for him. Now, I'm not so far ahead of myself.

My decision to start this spring's round of home improvements began with a realization that I needed to give my house a facelift in case I decided to sell it in the near future. I was not motivated by my desire to improve my neighbor's asking price. I was motivated by my desire to improve my asking price. I also realized that my structural rot problems had to be fixed before I closed a sale some time in the future. I could choose between a) having my friend fix it for a reasonable price, or b) operating on the terms of the buyer at a later date.

In other words, all of my decisions were motivated by self-interest. And each of them had a positive effect on other people. But none of the improvements would have been made had I not been personally invested in the outcome. The implications for our current assault on individual ownership and property rights are difficult to miss.

Of course, socialism is a cancer that rots deep inside of structures long before its occupants take notice. The longer we wait to treat it, the more everyone loses in the end.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.