Thursday, August 11, 2005

Opponents to Eminent Domain Heard

Yesterday's legislative study committee hearing was a libertarian dream come true. Citizens from all backgrounds- rich, poor; black, white; Democrat, Republican, Libertarian- expressed a common understanding of the slippery slope that is the doctrine of the common good. Legislators listened earnestly. The lead speakers were from the Institute for Justice and the Reason Foundation. Indy Star story.

Dr. Sam Staley spoke for the Reason Foundation. This link is text to his remarks.
Stephen Anderson spoke for the Institute for Justice and the Castle Coalition. CC provides model legislation, much of which I hope becomes law in Indiana.

For my part, I spoke off-the-cuff, abbreviating my prepared comments to focus on two concepts:
  • Your home is your castle
  • Your home is the very American Dream itself
I really loathe zero-sum games, but through the obvious injustice of Kelo v. New London, libertarian principles have at last been clearly illustrated to the average American. The danger of not acting in defense of the individual, but for the so-called "common good" has been laid bare.

Municipalities such as New London have indeed been acting in the interest of what they call the common good, which is to say, a fatter tax roll. If the tax roll is fatter, more people can be better served with those tax dollars. If sacrificing the homes of a few homeowners is what it takes, so be it.

It's all good, until you become the sacrificial lamb. The sacrificial lambs are the handful of individuals who own their properties. They are pitted against the collective whole of the society.

Libertarians defend the individual because we believe no person should be a sacrificial animal. No person. No matter how seemingly powerless or small. Ever.

Let us hope that finally, a good percentage of Americans come to understand that there is no such thing as the common good. More importantly, let us hope that they have come to understand that the individual must be defended in every area of life, but especially in the right of property.

Please continue to communicate with your State Senators and State Reps. Urge them to enact a total ban on the use of eminent domain for commercial purposes. Based on what I observed yesterday, Indiana lawmakers are very receptive. Let us take full advantage. The committee meets again in October, and the more they hear from foes of eminent domain, the better the chances of getting the most restrictive law.

The Libertarian Party needs to track the legislators carefully, and make it a point to run strong candidates against any State Rep or Senator who would vote to permit cities to help steal private property.

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