Rick Moran, December 11, 2009
It has been called the best guarantor of American liberty and it is now under massive assault by liberal regulatory agencies and legislative manuever.
Quinn Hillyer, senior editorial writer for the Washington Times , writes of the attack on property rights encompassing six separate venues. The EPA is targeting “all interstate and intrastate waters of the United States,” for regulation rather than the more general “navigable waters” that is the standard now. This could mean unconscionable interference in property rights if you happen to have a small stream or pond on your property. And, of course, the EPA has just declared CO2 a pollutant. While they claim this ruling will only cover “large” corporations like power companies, the potential is there for much worse damage to your property.
Some other examples:
The third assault on property rights occurred earlier this year, when the Obama administration shredded the key property right of contracts as part of its takeover of General Motors Corp. By unilaterally stripping the ownership protections of preferred stakeholders while bumping union pension funds up to a 55 percent ownership stake, the administration wiped out property/contract rights the way tanks flattened Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989.
The fourth bad omen occurred Nov. 24, when New York state’s highest court ruled the state could use eminent domain to seize large numbers of homes and businesses in Brooklyn to make room for a new arena for New Jersey Nets basketball. As in the Kelo case, this seizure of private land for other private development, rather than for explicitly public use, is an affront to ideals of a limited government that protects private property.
The last two potential outrages involve Florida court cases. The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to hear the first case, called 480.00 Acres of Land and Gilbert A. Fornatora vs. United States. But as the Cato Institute nicely sums up the basic issue in a friend-of-the-court brief, “The federal government pressured local authorities to enact significantly more onerous land-use regulations in anticipation of taking the property as part of an expansion of a national park…”
Finally, SCOTUS recently heard oral arguments on Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection that takes away homeowner’s rights to beachfront property.
Much of the left hates private property because they believe the government should have the right to use any property “for the good of the many.” Private property is so 18th century, you know. It is an outmoded concept and those who wish to possess it are selfish cretins.
As private property rights are eroded in this manner, our liberties become more endangered than ever. The fact that this is being accomplished by judicial fiat or stealth regulations is not the problem. It is a mindset held by government that property rights are negotiable or worse, that they don’t exist.
The future looks bleak indeed if this is the case.