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What should be done about Native Americans?

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Obviously there should't be different sets of laws for men of different races. But what should be done about Indian Reservations? Should the laws recognizing them be repealed altogether? Should Objectivists support their existence in the context of the status quo since they provide some refuge from state and federal government?

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Repealed.  Everything land included divided equally and given to all who live there.  Each individual can live as they see fit under state and federal law.  Disband or form a municipality or a private association.  Insofar as the laws of the land are wrong applying them differently to different people for the wrong reasons and with continual negative outcome is even worse. 

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7 hours ago, happiness said:

Obviously there should't be different sets of laws for men of different races. But what should be done about Indian Reservations? Should the laws recognizing them be repealed altogether? Should Objectivists support their existence in the context of the status quo since they provide some refuge from state and federal government?

Reservations don't provide refuge from federal law, only state and local laws. They're a separate jurisdiction from the states...but they have similar forms of government (mixed governments, part capitalist part socialist, same as every other jurisdiction in the US).

So for any practical purposes, they only really provide refuge from taxation (hence the casinos). They're not different from regular local jurisdictions in any significant way.

58 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Repealed.  Everything land included divided equally and given to all who live there. 

Reservations aren't socialist communes. They have private property rights. People who live under the jurisdiction of a reservation already own/rent the land they live on, same as people who live under state or city jurisdictions. Are you suggesting privately owned land should be confiscated, and re-distributed evenly?

And sure, there is also public land within reservations. Lots of it. Some under the control of the local government, most under the control of the federal government, just like the public land the feds own outside reservations. I'm all for privatizing public lands, but "dividing it equally to all who live there"? Would you follow the same principle with land outside reservations? People who live in the countryside (especially in the western US) would suddenly become millionaires, while people who live in cities would get almost nothing.

Wouldn't it make more sense to sell public lands on the open market, and use the money to pay off debts and then finance the legitimate functions of the government?

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25 minutes ago, Nicky said:

People who live under the jurisdiction of a reservation already own/rent the land they live on, same as people who live under state or city jurisdictions.

Guess I misunderstand the existing systems.  All I would say then is divide what ever is not already privately owned.  The end result being everything is privately owned.

As for government owning land generally I am against it. Unowned land I would guess could lead to chaos but I'm not against it either.  Persons could then gain title by going out and doing enough to stake a claim.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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As I understand it, property rights are limited on reservations, because they're viewed as belonging to the tribe. To the extend that is true, it should be phased out, giving residents (and possibly non-resident tribe members) full-fledged rights in property and ending the concept of collective ownership. (I'm not implying that the whole reservation should be broken up into private parcels.)

Hernando de Soto makes a strong case for formal property rights as the basic need for economic development. This article from The Atlantic argues the same. In some villages in Africa, the land is owned by the whole village and it is quite a mess trying to get new development. One has to gather various chiefs and get some consensus, or -- even more likely -- the main chief treats the village as his domain, doling out favors with most of the benefit coming to him. 

A lot of problems on poor Native American reservations are behavioral, so they won't change in a hurry; but, its important to make it easier for outliers to change their behavior... others will follow in time.

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2 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

As I understand it, property rights are limited on reservations

As far as I know, reservation laws on the vast majority of reservations are very similar to regular local laws.

The problem is that federal law prevents non tribe members from owning land on the reservation. So while you can transfer ownership, you can only transfer it within the confines of small tribes (the biggest are the Navajo, at 300,000, but after that it's 20,000 or less), you can't transfer it to outsiders.

Which has all kinds of consequences:

1. property values are low

2. real estate can't be used as collateral in loans or mortgages (since the bank can't own it).

3. reservations can't attract investment the way other jurisdictions can (there are lots of countries that restrict land ownership by foreigners, and they end up having the same problem).

So young tribe members wishing to build a life, who have trouble raising the money to buy a home (or start a business) react in two different ways: they either decide to depend on local government for help, or they leave the reservation. It's easy to guess which type of person does which, and what the effect is on the overall prosperity levels on reservations.

This problem could be solved without any intrusive measures, land confiscations, or any further interference with the sovereignty of reservation governments. There's no need to cause any protests, or any violent reaction, by mandating anything.

All that's needed is to remove the race restriction on the federal level. Leave the decision up to the reservation's government. If they want to open up to the world, and invite non-natives to buy land and join their community, fine. If they don't, that's fine as well. Let them be racist. It's their loss, and, eventually, their population would leave, and that would be that.

Edited by Nicky

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"Privatizing" NA land won't work. The trouble is that the NA's consider themselves separate countries and want to avoid living under US law as much as possible. Nor would complete separation be practical either, as many tribes own land outside of their reservations, creating a complicated mish-mash of tribal and private land, and separation would cause all kinds of problems.

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On 4/30/2017 at 1:26 AM, happiness said:

Obviously there should't be different sets of laws for men of different races. But what should be done about Indian Reservations? Should the laws recognizing them be repealed altogether? Should Objectivists support their existence in the context of the status quo since they provide some refuge from state and federal government?

The laws of China are not the same as the laws of the US, therefore laws for different races already exist. 

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31 minutes ago, Tom Rennick said:

The laws of China are not the same as the laws of the US, therefore laws for different races already exist. 

That's not a race, though. That's a government of many kinds of people.

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On 4/30/2017 at 0:26 PM, happiness said:

...Should Objectivists support their existence in the context of the status quo since they provide some refuge from state and federal government?

How about we shrug? How about leaving it all, and build something new according to our values?

Sure, it might have some value to support or not support Native Americans. But if we want to make our values of rational individualism real in this world, I would argue that building a community in an special economic zone is much more practical.

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