Friday, June 24, 2005

What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine

By this point, unless you live in a cave, you’ve no doubt heard about the Kelo v. New London SCOTUS decision, which all but defines the concept of Property Rights out of existence. Rants on this topic are ubiquitous, so rather than re-plow this particular field, I’ll defer to Eric, who offered a well reasoned assessment of the case in question. Additionally, Eric has posted a roundup of reactions to Kelo that gives one an inkling of the widespread outrage that is reverberating throughout the blogdom.

Courtesy of Nealz Nuze, I would highly recommend a blog, one that is dedicated to the issue of state theft, called Eminent Domain Watch. Here’s a bit from EDW:
Justice Stevens, who delivered the opinion of the Court, suggested that the ball was in the court of the state legislatures as to defining what property could be taken for public use: “We emphasize that nothing in our opinion precludes any State form placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power. Indeed many States already impose ‘public use requirements’ that are stricter than the federal baseline.”
Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, I think Justice Stevens has a point, to some degree. The Fifth Amendment states, in part, the following: …nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The concept of ‘eminent domain’ is not new and has been used at various times, for this purpose or that, justifiably or not. Furthermore, the language of the 5th is rather vague and somewhat broad in its implications, to say the very least. In light of this, State and local officials ought to be the ones catching hell right now, because they are actually accountable to their constituents, whereas the ‘gang of nine’ is virtually untouchable. There’s an old saying in the South, about politicians (or judges) that are safe in their respective seat of power, which states that: “in order for him to be removed from office, he’d have to be caught in bed with a dead girl…or a live boy”.

One last thought that I think is worthy of consideration, for my anarchist and statist friends alike. What is at the heart of this issue is “might makes right”. In this case, it’s the state that has asserted its supposed authority to tread upon the individual’s right to property…with bulldozers no less. But we must not lose sight of the fact that the ‘bad actors’ in this case are mere men and women, not gods and goddesses. The point being that there has always been, as there will always be, a subset of society that will elevate self aggrandizement far above the inherent rights of others. Therefore, a clearly articulated and equally applied rule of law is the most efficient safeguard for individual liberty, other than the use of violence in the interest of self defense, which is applicable in any social construct.

Update: Eric posted another Kelo Roundup, so go ‘read all about it’.