Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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Supreme Court Follies

I can't imagine that any right-thinking person supports the recent Supreme Court decision to allow confiscation of the private property for non-public ends. This decision just lends itself to so many potential abuses that it boggles the mind. I've heard a few people claim that it's good because it will allow the government to deal with blight. Who defines blight? Is blight a high-crime low-income area? Maybe. Is blight an area where maybe people don't keep the lawns so green or the yards so clean? Maybe. Is blight an area with a lot of black people? Is blight an area with a lot of non-Christians? What about a town where there's a slim Republican majority and a kind of scuzzy trailer park where many Democrats live? Is it okay to bulldoze that to make way for a Tractor Supply store?

Private property is one of the cornerstones of our society. Now I'm not as fundamentalist about it as someone like iconoclast I don't consider taxes equivalent to the holocaust, nor do I think the estate tax is particularly odious. On the other hand people's homes are sacrosanct to them. It's the place you can go to say whatever you want, think whatever you want, love whoever you want, etc... without judgment or danger. Now we're saying that isn't the case. It's bad enough that people will be displaced from their homes for the advantage of private business interests. We already a way to displace people for private interests, it was called real estate transactions or "Throw enough money at them" and it worked pretty well. But now they need another, for the cancer patient who thinks that living out his last days in the home he's been in for 50 years is worth more than any amount of money, or the young mother who wants her child to grow up with a view of the ocean. Got to get them out of the way. That's bad enough. But we all know that it won't just be about business development, the power of eminent domain is one of the most easily abusable rights. It will be used on that block with a lot of homosexuals where the townspeople would rather have a strip mall, or that area where the Jews congregate. It will be used to give political contributors cushy development deals in prime real estate spots when they don't want to spend the money to actually buy up the property, and to get rid of that guy who keeps suing the city over its sign ordinances.

At some point we, as a society, are going to have to realize that we can't leave it up to the government to make decisions about what constitutes blight or progress and continue to call ourselves free. When a man in black can take your house because he doesn't like the way you keep the porch and would rather have a Wal*Mart there, you aren't free. Not really.

There's a world of difference between confiscating part of someone's income to save the life of his neighbor and taking his house so that neighbor can have a convenient spot to buy plasma TVs nearby. If you can't see the difference I invite you to look a little harder.
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