The Ownerless Society

With all of the home foreclosures happening now, and houses lying dormant while the banks decide what to do with their properties, one group has figured out how to make lemonade from stolen lemons.

In the Boston Globe, Tamara Lush tells us about Max Rameau of Miami, who, much like a realtor, has a waiting list of clients and shows homes with gusto, touting their amenities like air conditioning or tile floors. The difference is, according the the article, that he is dirty, drives a beater car, and breaks into the homes to "show" them.

You see, Rameau is an activist "executing a bailout plan of his own" by helping homeless families illegally live in foreclosed homes. "'We're matching homeless people with people-less homes,' he said with a grin."

With a group called Take Back the Land, Rameau is leading an organized effort to help homeless people squat in houses that have been foreclosed upon. He claims that people are squatting all over the country, so why not do it with "direction" instead of "desperation?" Implicit is that Rameau is the one defining this "direction."

"Everyone deserves a home," he says, which means that a house is a right, which means he must see himself as a sort of modern, grungy Robin Hood, "liberating" the homes from the banks who rightfully own the houses, and giving them to whomever he feels like.

He claims that without his help, many houses would be targets for looters and drug dealers, so the banks should be happy with what he is doing. While other cities and banks are working with the homeless to stay in empty houses as a security measure -- i.e. by voluntary contract between property owner and temporary "employee" -- Rameau makes no mention of this option.

One can only conclude that whether the banks are happy with his group's actions is not of concern. The one homeless family mentioned in the article came "home" one evening to find the locks changed and all the plastic bags of clothes gone. That's a pretty clear indication that the property owner did not want them there. The answer? Break in again with Rameau's help.

True to his altruist's savior complex, Rameau is unconcerned with the law, or getting arrested. "There's a real need here, and there's a disconnect between the need and the law," he was quoted as saying. {bold added}

He is right that there is a disconnect, but it is between his thuggish ideas and reality. He blithely ignores the property rights of the banks, seeing a home as a right and the house itself as some sort of natural resource that can't be owned by anyone. Instead, the need of the homeless mother constitutes a claim on the house, and rights of the property owner are irrelevant. Instead of the recent idea of the Ownership Society, people like Rameau desire the Ownerless Society.

Presumably, if the families he gives the stolen goods to get jobs and make their lives better, he'd feel justified in taking the house back because they didn't need it anymore. Like all men of his ilk, he appoints himself the arbiter of whose need is deserving of other people's property.

It's important to note here that this man's actions are simply a concrete representation, so blatant as to be almost a caricature, of the essence of the welfare state. He is Barney Frank's bailout; he is Ted Kennedy's health care dream; he is the tax collector and the town zoning board; he is every man who thinks that the only person who has no right to dispose of property is the one who earned it, and that need becomes a moral claim to it; he is, in his dirty, cut-off sweatpants, holding a broken lock in one hand and the business cards of lawyers in the other, the poster boy for socialism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since Rameau has no regard for the property rights of others, he is a blatant criminal who has chosen to wage war against those who rightfully own those houses. He has initiated the use of force and deserves to be dealt with by a painful use of retaliatory force. One can only wish him and his squatters dead, until some owner of one of the houses he breaks into makes them so with a spray of well-aimed bullets; or, at least, takes a tire iron to their knees and skulls and renders them totally incapacitated and likely to die soon, as a warning to other like-minded socialist thugs and squatters !