Sunday, January 08, 2006

Why Libertarian?

Because Libertarians are consistent with their application of principles.

This truth sometimes earns condescending sneers along the lines that Libertarians are incapable of, or unwilling to, compromise.

That condescension is a safe jesture when it comes from a distance, but consider when the application of principles directly affects you. Consider again the case of the NK Hurst Company.

Ask the Hursts, or any other property owner, if the idea of the right to their property is something that should be the object of a compromise of principle. That compromise results in the theft of their property, and an unfair, laughable compensation.

Two Republican lawmakers, Senator Jeff Drozda of Westfield, and Dave Wolkins of Winona Lake, had their letter published by the Indianapolis Star this morning. Together, they cite the impending theft of the Hurst property as the case-in-point for why eminent domain must be curbed in our state.

I agree with Drozda and Wolkins 100%. However, their stand illustrates the inconsistency in the application of principles within other political parties, and in this case, the Republicans. After all, the Stadium Authority that is poised to steal the Hursts' land is comprised mainly of Republicans, including Hamilton County office holders Meredith Carter (Hamilton County Councilor) and State Senator Luke Kenley.

Drozda and Wolkins are working hard to complete legislation that will curtail the use of eminent domain for commercial purposes, with a hearing at the Statehouse tomorrow morning. That does the Hursts little good, as the Stadium Authority would be exempt from any changes in the law because the motion was filed in 2005. It would have been better for the Hursts if Drozda and Wolkins were on the Stadium Authority instead of Carter and Kenley. Alas.

And that's the problem with Republicans. The talk is in the right place, but the action can be lethal. From one Republican to another, you really have no idea whether a principle such as the right to property will be defended or abandoned- until the moment of truth.

So: Why Libertarian? Because you can count on Libertarians not to compromise on principle. If Libertarians comprised the majority on the Stadium Authority, the eminent domain filing would never have happened. The issue would still be at the appropriate place for compromise- in the negotiations.

Libertarians on the Stadium Authority would have been looking for a way to redesign the project in such a way that a loyal Indianapolis company could have stayed put. Is it necessary to have so much area-devouring surface parking? Couldn't a less area-consuming multi-level garage, like the one at Canseco Fieldhouse, have been designed instead? That's the place for compromise.


Debbie said...

Is Kenley a voting member of the authority? If I understand it right, the stadium authority is part of the executive branch of government and so Kenley was ineligible to serve and was made some sort of "special adviser." (I found that information here:

I think that's all interesting, but my main point is that as I understand it, politically oriented Libertarian's main principle is for a small government, one that only protects the natural rights of its citizens, correct?

So what does it say about principle if libertarians did serve on the Stadium Authority, which is a government entity whose sole purpose is to oversee the spending of coerced funds for the stadium and convention center?

Is compromising on how best to spend coerced funds really showing any particular libertarian principle?

Would a compromise to the Hurst company, in the form of
"just compensation" or only taking an "acceptable" part of their land, be showing any particular libertarian principle against the government having the right to even take the land in any manner, or for any price in the first place?

Wouldn't the Hurst company only be compromising because they essentially are forced to by a government entity? And if libertarians were serving on that entity, then wouldn't they be part of the problem?

I'm glad no libertarian is serving on that board.

Rex Bell said...

Would we be better off if the Stadium Authority wasn't pushing for a forced taking of private property? I would have to say yes.

Of course the whole stadium project should have been funded with private investments, but that is something that would require electing a majority of libertarian thinking legislators.

Libertarians on the Stadium Authority could offer some much needed damage control until that is accomplished.

Mike Kole said...

Until Libertarians can win and occupy legislative seats so as to prevent the formation of a Stadium Authority, the absolute best thing we could do is to get onto it, so as to make it the least offensive as possible. As Rex says, damage control.

I am reminded of Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead" who worked on Peter Keating's awful architectural drawings- not to justify them, but to make them less dishonest. Same thing. Also why Libertarians should get on the Board of Zoning Appeals and other bodies.

GadFlier said...

One can be dogmatic, isolationist, and insist that one never, ever, ever serve in a "corrupt" government. One can certainly do that. This amounts to saying that one wishes for a political "party" to never be anything more than a mere discussion club, never actually having any officeholders as members, never actually making any changes.

There comes a point whereing dogmatism and totalitarianism simply are not good for a democratic republic.