Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Friday, February 25, 2005

This Land Was Your Land, But Now It's My Land...

Eminent Domain has become way too eminent. It's also now exercising way too much domain. The various layers of government in The United States are taking possession of entirely too much land that should be in the hands of private individuals. It has to be stopped somewhere.

Unrestrained eminent domain harms both citizens and the government in two vital ways. It obviously harms citizens whose land is taken. That's immediate and in the victim's face. The person once had land and now to paraphrase an old Jethro Tull Song "Farm On The Freeway," they just have a check and broken down pickup truck.

They say they gave me compensation...
That's not what I'm chasing. I was a rich man before yesterday.
And what do I want with a million dollars and a pickup truck? - Off of Crest Of A Knave.

The problem here also runs far deeper, for the individual in question. A number of our rights as citizens have far less power when we do not own the land we sleep on. Try aguing the 5th Amendment over a search of your property, if the government owns the land you live on. It's not a daunting task for a government agency to ask an allied government agency for a search warrant. A ban on religion in the public square is far worse when the public square is almost every parcel of land within the dominion. (Nevada, for example.)

Another problem occurs when the state owns all of this land, has to service it, and discovers there isn't any revenue coming in off their land taxes because they already own just about everything in site. Or, the people that own private property, within the domain of a government entity, are not wealthy enough to support that government in the style which it has become accustomed to.

This touched off a Supreme Court case over land siezures in New London, CT. Here, the municipal government of New London tried to buy up low income housing for the purpose of moving in rich corporation that would pay more taxes. It was throwing it's citizens out into the street to improve the municipal tax rate. Let's hope they can fight City Hall. Here's a discussion of the legal technicalities involved.

It was against this backdrop that Ohio Libertarian Chairman, Robert Butler, took to a lectern to decry the avaricious leviathon our rulership had become. He first described the justifications used by municipal governments in eminent domain land grabs.

"Butler said that the government's first step in exercising eminent domain is having property condemned or declared "blighted." Property that does not meet certain criteria laid down by local government can receive this designation.

He said homes in Lakewood were declared blighted for having only one bathroom or having an unpaved driveway. "Its scary to think about," Butler said. "

He also described how these governments were defrauding the Public Good clause of these eminent domain laws.

"The way the government improves the neighborhood is by taking your house away and giving it to someone else," Butler said.

The Chairman of The Ohio University Libertarians decried this as problematic for two reasons.

Corbett argued that there are "no incentives for (private corporations) to use the land responsibly" once they have been given a "free tab by the government."

In other words, eminent domain is an ever-flowing font of contractor waste, fraud, and abuse on the taxpayer bar tab. Mr. Corbett further elaborated.

The fight against eminent-domain abuses, Corbett continued, has elements of class struggle. "It's poor people that are going to lose their homes," he said. "There's definitely class components in the argument."

So not only does The People's money get wasted, but it gets wasted in a process that empowers the government to totally screw the most destitute and defenseless people in society. Does it really surprise anyone that The Sheriff of Nottingham was a public official and that Robin of Loxley gave to the poor as a member of the private sector until he could marry and claim his inheritance?

This Libertarian Party leader is out in the sticks speaking to college students and is the only person fighting the good fight on this. Where are GOP Congressmen and Senators who came to power as signators to The Contract With America.

He's trying to accomplish what the party now in power promised us in order to get elected. It's time for the GOP to return to its base on this issue and fight for the individual rights of our people. The Rockefeller Republican model of a more efficient welfare state is not a free America. It's time for Tom DeLay, Lindsay Graham and several other powerful and more economically Libertarian members of the GOP caucus to start pounding this issue.

Update I: Boi From Troy Demonstrates that West Hollywood is not immune from municipal interdiction of property rights.

Update II: C-Pol covers the New London, CT land grab.

Update III: The Blog Of The Mind, enjoyable, but not related to my blog in any way, has also taken up this issue on behalf of the oppressed in New London, CT.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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