So...I was going to address this particular theme I was seeing, and then these wondrous intertubes graced me with a comment that seemed to echo about anything worth saying on my end. So I thought I'd share said poster's thoughts here.
One commenter, responding to a cross-post of the original HuffPo article at BHL claims the following:
"Yes, the public has built some bad things, and some unnecessary things, along with the many good and useful and necessary things its has built. All of the things the public has built have influenced the outcomes individuals have achieved, and in some very frequent cases have been causally necessary conditions for the achievement of those outcomes."
And then the voice in my head that must have been parading as another commenter responds:
"Even if you believe that, don't you find it troubling (logically if not morally) that the end result is a situation where one party holds an open-ended claim against another?
Consider a non-state example. There are many businesses who owe their prosperity to Facebook advertising, and they've all paid some mutually agreed sum for that advantage. What if Mark Zuckerberg falls on hard times a decade from now, and shows up at their collective doorstep saying "...this network of information, this means of influencing people, you didn't build that, so it seems only right you should now be asked to pay me more."
Immediately you would see the problem with this reasoning: it has no end. If Zuckerberg somehow manages to beg a few extra dollars from these clients, surely he will come back to beg again. And why shouldn't he keep coming, if they are foolish enough to accept a retroactive adjustment of his price?
Surely you can see how much worse the problem would be if a) the advertisers never had a choice about using Facebook to begin with, and b) if Zuckerberg could simply force people to pay his new and infinitely adjustable price.
So...why is this argument any better when the party making happens to be the state?"
This a thousand times.