As assault on your Property Rights is an assault on YOU

By Dave Core

“Owing to control of the property acquired through aggression, the aggressor will probably have enhanced capability to perpetrate even more aggressive violence.” ~Stephen W. Carson

Last week I told you that I have been reflecting on how I have looked at expropriation and property rights over the decades since I joined the pipeline landowners’ movement.

It is always worthwhile to reassess your fundamental values.

How do I feel about the way government and industry have related to farmers, ranchers and other pipeline landowners?

I recently read a paper by Stephen W. Carson in regards to how disrespect of Property Rights led to the millions of people (estimated to be 262 million) who died of democide in the 20th Century.

Germany, Russia and China spring to mind as only a few obvious examples.

Democide is the worst crime any State can commit — the murder of the People over whom it has power.

Carson’s thesis connects democide to property rights violations, stating “aggressions against external property are problematic in several ways.”

Two of the items he focused on spoke directly to me.

“First, such aggressions constitute a violent attack on a person through an attack on the things a person owns.

“When they are ‘legal,’ then the property owner’s resistance to them will result in official violence directly against his person. This point deserves emphasis because political attacks on private-property rights have been widely glorified as idealistic and socially minded for more than a hundred years. Much as rape needs to be viewed primarily as a violent act rather than as a sex act, so aggression against property needs to be viewed primarily as a violent act rather than a manifestation of idealism.”

Second, “a successful expropriation empowers the aggressor. Owing to control of the property acquired through aggression, the aggressor will probably have enhanced capability to perpetrate even more aggressive violence.”

In the case of expropriation for pipeline projects, the violence is not just the damage to your land and business.

It is also a psychological assault.

An assault which unfortunately defeats too many landowners.

Which is understandable.

What the Majority Wants

Because any demand by government is ultimately backed by the implicit threat that a gun can be drawn on you.

Some think democracy is the answer.

And perhaps it can be to a certain extent.

But what happens if the “majority” wants a particular project — whether a pipeline a road or a bridge — no matter the cost?

Liberal democracy has always implied that individuals still have certain protected rights.

But as we have seen through various “mandates” purported to be pandemic protections in recent years, and as we have seen throughout the history of energy pipelines, the individual is almost never properly defended.

This is where CAEPLA comes in.

“Legalized” Crime

The pipeline landowners movement has always been an effort to combine the best aspects of liberal democracy, an unwavering belief in property rights, and trust in our neighbours. 

CAEPLA is an imperfect solution to real problems in an imperfect world.

We ultimately depend on you, the pipeline landowner, to support our efforts, exercise your democratic, individual and property rights, and to be there for your neighbours.

In the end, CAEPLA counsels vigilance.

And to answer the question I asked at the opening of this essay…


I have not changed my views on expropriation. 

What I, and the founders of the pipeline landowners movement before me understood, instinctively, is that expropriation is wrong.

It is a crime.

A “legalized” crime committed by government on behalf of Special Interests.

If anything, my education on the subject, from both experience in the field and from great books, has resulted in greater confidence in my original views.

My hope is that pipeline landowners can come to their own clear-eyed, confident view on expropriation, and spread the word.

Because we need a confident belief in our property rights now more than ever.


Dave Core is the founder of CAEPLA.  He grew up on a farm with pipelines.  That, and his early experience helping other pipeline landowners resist expropriation turned Dave into a student and promoter of property rights.  Dave has worked in politics, as a poultry farmer, and owned a trucking business.  Today he is CAEPLA's Director of Special Projects, and principal at Dave Core & Associates, a consulting firm focused on helping landowners of all kinds solve problems with government, regulators, and corporations. 

Pipeline Observer


Landowner-driven, CAEPLA advocates on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and other rural landowners to promote safety and environmental protection through respect for your property rights.