Property rights are civil rights are human rights


Many misguided people, particularly those who have spent too much time in university classrooms, think that economic rights are for the rich and powerful. The opposite is true: in the absence of a legal system that safeguards private property, the rich can always protect their interests by hiring muscle and buying influence. (That's how organized crime was born.)

Jews and Christians agree that private property is divinely sanctioned, which is why God explicitly forbade theft in the Seventh Commandment. But the right to property is a natural right, and thus accessible to anyone with a functioning intellect. Ancient civilizations, East and West, prohibited thievery and often prescribed death as a punishment. Indeed, besides preserving the lives of its members, a mark of a functioning society is the ability to keep one man's hands off another man's goods.

The United States was founded on the ideal of private property. Our forefathers were so incensed with practice of housing British soldiers in private homes that they outlawed it in the Bill of Rights. They affirmed this fundamental right by only allowing a citizen's property to be taken under two circumstances: if he was convicted of a crime, or if the public good demanded it.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court, without asking the people's permission, has authorized multi-billion-dollar corporations to steal people's houses, as long as the corporation can pay more taxes to the city government. You'd roll your eyes if a screenwriter came up with a plot that involved a major drug company commissioning a city council to destroy people's homes in order to build an office park, but that's pretty much what's going to happen in New London, Conn. Here are some of the little people whose homes are going to be demolished:

Petitioner Wilhelmina Dery, for example, lives in a house on Walbach Street that has been in her family for over 100 years. She was born in the house in 1918; her husband, petitioner Charles Dery, moved into the house when they married in 1946. Their son lives next door with his family in the house he received as a wedding gift, and joins his parents in this suit....
Big corporations are essential to modern life, as they are the best instruments for doing big things like creating new medicines, building airplanes, or running communications networks. But they're also made up of sinful human beings who can commit evils, and they should be restrained by the law appropriately.

This ruling represents a failure of justice at all levels of government. Theft is theft, whether it is performed by a burglar in the dead of night, or by a city council's decree, duly ratified by our unelected judicial tyrants.


This riles me. I live in LA and during the 1950's the Brooklyn Dodgers came to our town. They needed a place to build a stadium and they chose Chavez Ravine where a very poor Hispanic community lived, own property and business. They took it away and gave market value, which was depressed because it was a poor community. I remember the question where did those poor people go? Meaning their lifestyle was not lifted up but only the City and investors made money. If they had been able to keep their property a small parcel would be worth 1-2 million dolllars.

This is going to be another ruling that comes back to haunt the folks who support it. And hopefully there's some recourse in a future court ruling.

Preach it, Brother Eric, preach it.

(Or should that be Father Eric. Congrats, but why are you wasting your time blogging, new dad, etc.)

How about a new baby post, Eric?

It's an infamy. This ruling gives an excuse for a hostile or corrupt local government to target anyone's property in the name of "development" and building up the tax base.

I live only a couple of miles from the mom grew up in one of the was a sad day today.

This is one of those 5-4 decisions that almost everyone agrees was wrongly decided. It is Justice being wilfully blind to a common form of corruption in local government. I'm writing my state legislator to ask him to sponsor a bill to reach the opposite result under my state constitution.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric Johnson published on June 24, 2005 1:37 PM.

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