Anybody Want to Buy Alaska?

The Washington Post Sunday Outlook section led with a “Modest Proposal”-like piece suggesting we sell Alaska back to the Russians, or maybe to the Chinese or Arabs, to defray our debt. (I commented on it at the Corner.) If it were a straight, Jonathan Swift style tongue-in-cheek, it wouldn’t be worthy of notice, but something in it caught my attention.

The author genuinely seems to equate transferring one of the 50 states to a foreign country with auctioning off some of the ridiculous amount of land owned by the federal government. That kind of land sale would be a good idea — it would raise funds and at the same time shrink Washington’s footprint.

Now, there are complications, of course — national parks and military bases (at least those bases we actually need) won’t go on the auction block. And selling a lot of land at one time would depress the price, yielding less revenue. But a steady, sustained project of selling off public lands, as the feds routinely did in centuries past to raise funds, has much to recommend it.

But the fact that a mainstream liberal reporter would unselfconsciously equate the transfer of sovereign territory with the sale of excess federal government property to private buyers — “selling off the national furniture” is how he puts it — is revealing. It suggests a worldview where the government rightly owns everything, and any diminution of the size of the state is a loss, a tragedy.

No wonder we’re in such trouble.

  1. EJHill

    Yeah but notice he only wants to sell off the red states. Lets start by giving Rhode Island to the Palestinians.

  2. Mark Eggleston

    The excess land that we have is not being utilized properly.  Any excess land sold to other nations would more than likely be used for their natural resources.  Whether it is drilling restrictions in ANWR, logging restrictions in Oregon, or desert in Arizona, there are far better options for what we can do to maximize the utilization of those scarce natural resources than just being empty space on a map.  

  3. Jim  Ixtian

    What liberals fail to acknowledge is that now matter how much they want to sell off federally owned assets(or states in this case) it will never compensate for the ravenous appetite of government. Sell as many states as you want it will not solve the fact that Americans have voted themselves a lifestyle they cannot afford. It is much more than a spending problem, it is a moral problem-at least with the 51% who voted for Obama and his ilk.

    Here’s the better question; Can we buy our freedom from the Federal Govt to set up independent states and city-states?

  4. HeartofAmerica

    If we are nominating states to sell…how about California? Where do I sign  the petition?

  5. Nick Stuart

    My contention for some time has been that the oil in ANWR will be exploited, probably by the Chinese. We will be levered into a position where we have to let them have it because of our debt.

  6. civil westman

    Would that the state (and its media minions) believed it owned only the real estate. It clearly also believes it owns an unlimited amount of the fruits of the labors of the waning productive among us. Why it even owns, a priori, – through public debt – an ever increasing share of the lives of ‘the children,’ even as it performs a magnificent pantomime of concern over child victims of an evil individual, for the purpose of gutting the Second Amendment. That amendment must be erased, as it represents a clear and present danger to humble fealty of us vassals.

    We are indeed in trouble, probably terminal trouble. I keep thinking of H.G. Wells’ Eloi and Morlocks for some reason.

  7. Tom Lindholtz

    Selling Alaska to the Chinese is the only way that there will ever be utilization of the state’s oil and other resources.  To the US is’s just a bunch of frozen dirt in huge piles.  To anybody else, it’s a veritable gold mine.

  8. Great Goldwater

    How about letting Texas purchase its independence?

  9. AR
    HeartofAmerica: If we are nominating states to sell…how about California? Where do I sign  the petition? · 2 hours ago

    Hmm… it’s not California I’d like to sell.  I consider it one of the best states in terms of all its natural beauty and resources.  I’d like to reclaim it.  But your comment did make me think I would like to sell a good portion of its residents… maybe to the Chinese as slaves??  I mean, they seem to have no problem turning over most their wages to government… so same gig, different boss.  And we could use the proceeds to defray debt.

  10. Pseudodionysius

    I can see Boris and Natasha from my house.

  11. Fred Cole

    Without having read the thing, can someone give to me in one sentence what the point of selling Alaska is?

  12. Jim  Ixtian
    Fred Cole: Without having read the thing, can someone give to me in one sentence what the point of selling Alaska is?

    To raise money to feed the insatiable government beast.

    Pay attention Freddy, you have a lot to unlearn.

  13. Ross C

    This is just framing the issue of selling public land in a way that would win the debate before it starts.

    I suspect this person did not trot out the massive amount of land as a percentage of the total that is owned by the federal government in Alaska and other western states. 

    It is not like they are doing anything with it.  From time to time they dole out 99 year leases for rich people wanting to build vacation homes, but what is the point.

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