Thursday, March 17, 2005


Eminent Domain, Again

If you have read my blog for any amount of time you know I have an interest in "eminent Domain" and specifically Kelo v. New London. While checking Kirby's Reports, I see that Ephraim Kirby has a report added from The Progress Report titled Eminent Domain and Government Giveaways by Wyn Achenbaum. It is a very reasonable and well written report arguing:
Our land, particularly the best-located land, is a common asset on which we are all dependent. Allowing individuals or corporations to occupy it without compensating the rest of us (the public) for its value is the underlying problem...
What Achenbaum is saying, in my words, is if through progress or fluke the land you live on becomes valuable, more valuable than its present use, say as your home, it is not only a problem, but an argument for the use of eminent domain.To such government officials, the fact that an individual earns a piece of property and wants to use and enjoy it, is of no importance--all that matters is "the public."
But as philosopher Ayn Rand observed, "there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals . . . .the idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others." In the context of the Kelo case, the idea that "the public interest" trumps private property rights simply means that the desires of some individuals for property they did not earn and cannot get from others voluntarily trump the rights of those who did earn it and do not want to sell it. Why are their rights trumped? Because some gang with political pull doesn't happen to like how these individuals are using their property.

From Capitalism Magazine

Individual rights protect man's freedom -- freedom from the coercion of others -- to pursue his life and happiness in the only way he can, by following reason. Initiating force against another, by its vary nature, is anti-reason and therefore anti-life. This is what our mainstream intellectuals and politicians obscure, evade and oppose when they advocate the violation of individual rights.

When a collectivist claims that individual rights must be subordinated to the "public good," his concept of "public" is divorced from individuals, and his concept of "good" is divorced from reason, freedom and justice. His claim amounts to: The needs or desires of some necessitate the enslavement and destruction of others.
If we do not keep defining, in a different way each time, the values of freedom and personal property rights, I feel we will lose them. There seems to be a constant and consistent effort to erode or chip away at these concepts.

Mover Mike

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