The attacks on our industry are largely transparent

The environment, animal welfare, food safety, trade, etc. – and are easy enough to ascertain. We know of these and we know where our opponents are coming from.

The attack on private property, however, is harder to gauge and may ultimately be more important than all these others combined. The tactics being used to erode, and ultimately remove, private-property rights, are far more insidious and incremental than those being used in other areas.

The reason for this sneakiness is actually comforting. Private-property rights are something most people inherently still support. Thus the attacks on them have to be far more subtle.

At the same time, I would argue that the erosion of private-property rights is fundamental to achieving some of these activists’ other goals.

If one can control food production (agriculture), health care (medicine), energy, the financial system and education, one has gained nearly complete control of the country. But, the impediments to taking control of all these areas are freedom and free markets, both of which have private property rights as their cornerstone. It’s not surprising then, that private-property rights are currently under a full-out assault by those who wish to change the basic direction of our country.

Private-property rights is a widely supported principle; after all, most everyone believes they should be able to control and enjoy the rewards of the fruit of their labors. In actuality, however, there are very few organizations designed to safeguard these rights.

It was widely assumed that the courts would protect this fundamental precept, but we’ve seen eminent domain being rewritten to the point that government can today take any property with compensation. Plus, the government has the added benefit of determining what fair compensation is, instead of letting the marketplace arbitrate it.

We’ve seen government regulation grow, intervention in the marketplace explode, and individual choice and liberty supplanted by the concept of the "greater public good." We’ve seen legal – and what we thought were binding - protections being removed by the government. An example is the elimination of secured creditors rights when the government took over the majority stake in several American auto companies. The list goes on.

No, private-property rights are no longer protected by the government, but bestowed by it out of its great benevolence. The danger of this is obvious. What we’re seeing is the government taking the right to regulate and restrict all gun ownership, with the promise that they won't use that power.

History teaches us that power gained ultimately leads to power exercised. The time to fight for the maintenance of freedom is before those freedoms are totally lost. It’s far more difficult to reacquire them than to safeguard them.