Editor, Index-Tribune:

Regarding the ongoing Drakes Bay oyster farm controversy: The federal government owns the land, but only one bureaucrat, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, made the decision about how that land will be used and disposed of in this particular case.

And he made an arbitrary decision to make the land go back to the wild and he alone exercised that to the great detriment and loss of a business owner and everyone associated with it.

If we all own the land collectively, let’s all 317 million of us have a vote on how the land shall be used and disposed of, then the myth of collective government ownership might have some actual merit.

And I don’t know how you can place any value on contracts without reference to the underlying principles of rights of individuals as free agents and their rights of free trade to make those contracts as equals. This discussion illustrates my main criticism of Jefferson in his writing of the Declaration of Independence, the idea that rights are self-evident.

They are not. They are indeed complicated abstractions that need to be relearned by a fair majority of today.

Phineas Worthington