Copyright: Public Domain / Used With Permission

Stealing Franco’s Palace just isn’t the way to celebrate the return of freedom and liberty to Spain. Given that, you know, property rights are one of the very foundation stones of the concepts of freedom and liberty. But this is what is being suggested by certain of the Iberian cousins. In an almost macabre replay of those arguments of the Spanish Civil War itself.

We’d note that neither side actually won that war in 1939. Sure, we can say that the Nationalists conquered the country and held power for some decades, but the real winners were in the 1970s, when liberty and freedom once again emerged. Both sides in 1936 would have been capable of what is suggested here which is not an advertisement for what is being suggested:

The Pazo de Meirás, which was built in the late 19th century, was bought by public subscription and handed to Franco in 1938 as a gift from the people of A Coruña.

When he died in 1975, it passed to his daughter, Carmen, who became the 1st Duchess of Franco. Following her death last December, her heirs decided to sell the manor. A high-end estate agent is advertising it as a unique property with a price tag to match.

The local authority is fighting the move, over which it says it should have been consulted because the pazo is a registered site of cultural interest. Sada council wants to halt the sale and look into how the property could be returned to public ownership.

Two committees will meet this week to decide the next steps and provide legal and historical arguments in support of the initiative. “We want to speed up the work of both commissions to find how we can do things and to launch legal proceedings to get the sale contract annulled,” said Sada’s urban planning councillor, Francisco Montouto.

He said the house and grounds belonged to the Galician people and ought to be returned to them “at zero cost”.

The Nationalists would have – and often did – quite happily stolen the property of ideological enemies without compensation. The Republicans would have – and quite often did – quite happily stolen the property of ideological enemies without compensation. They were two wings of the wrong political ideal, the idea that the State is more important than the person or even the people. Which is exactly what is happening here.

That’s private property, legitimately acquired even if by someone deeply hated. Thus it is indeed private property and not something for politics or politicians to confiscate.

The solution is therefore obvious. If S. Montouto wants a memorial to the victims then that’s just fine, why not? We’d argue there should be one to the victims both of and in POUM and so on as well but that’s just an argument, not a fact. S. Montouto therefore needs to raise the money to buy that private property to make the memorial. If people won’t pay for it then the people not paying don’t think the memorial worth the sum. This is true even of taxpayers – if S. Montouto doesn’t think that his own tax base will happily cough up for it, perhaps risking his position at the next electoral choice they’ve got, then that too is evidence they don’t think it is worth the price.

You want it, you buy it, not steal it.

BTW, yes, we do walk the walk not just talk. We and ours, when we wanted a statue of Adam Smith, went out and bought one.

The Adam Smith Statue was funded entirely by private donations.

Because that’s how liberty, freedom and civilisation work. You know, the things which, finally, won the Spanish Civil War.