SCOTUS Has Made Us All Sharecroppers
That's basically what they said yesterday in their decision in Kelo. You can live on your land as long as you pay your rent to the government (in the form of property taxes). If you don't pay your rent, they'll kick you out. You can do what you want, as long as you don't violate their zoning and environmental rules. And ou don't actually own the land, no matter what the deed says, because your local government can take it away and give it to someone else who will give them more money (taxes), tossing whatever they deem "fair value" your way.
The mostly negative reaction of the blogosphere can be found all over. The best collection of commentary I've seen can be found here, at Arguing with Signposts. (HT: Instapundit)
What I really fail to get about the Supreme Court is how they can find rights not mentioned anywhere in the text of the Constitution (abortion, sodomy), often going through amazing legalistic gymnastics and contortions to justify them, and yet when it comes to things that are plainly written in the Constitution-freedom of speech (BCFRA) and property rights, they can go through similar contortions to deny the plain meaning of the text.
I'm somewhat lucky-the state constitution of Washington places much stricter limits on eminent domain than connecticut's apparently does, and state courts have limited the meaning of 'public use.'
There should be two responses to the Kelo decision. One should be to render it meaningless by ensuring that state constitutions clearly define public use and limit eminent domain to that. If state legislators are unwilling to do this, it should be done by initiative/proposition/whatever your state calls it.
The other should be to use the big club of a Constitutional Amendment to beat the Supremes about the head and shoulders with the fact that they made a very, very, wrong decision. Amend the Constitution to limit public use to use, not the more expansive 'public benefit'.
Now I just need to add a set of house keys to that Molon Labe graphic.
My Platform Has Apparently Already Been Written
by Barry Goldwater
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
-Barry Goldwater, Conscience of a Conservative
A Manifesto, of Sorts
Another N.Z. Bear community has been launched, this one by The Commissar. He describes it thusly:
Are you looking for secular conservative, or moderate blogs? RINO's, if you will. Are RINO's an endangered species? How can Conservative bloggers who might not want to drink the Party Kool-Aid on every single issue (ESCR, Schiavo, small government, fiscal responsibility, senatorial compromises, free markets/trade, pandering to Creationists, etc.) find each other? Maybe you're just concerned about rhetorical excesses by "our side." Neo-libertarians and 'little l' libertarians welcome too.
The description prompted me to take a look at where I stand on a lot of issues. Now, I most definitely don't consider myself a 'moderate', or anything close to that. The best soundbite description of my political beliefs I can come up with is "small 'l' libertarian with Jacksonian foreign policy views."
Things I believe in that would upset the apple cart of either major party:
* I believe that private property is just that, private. And private business are likewise private (for the purposes of this definition, the term 'private business' applies to any business not owned by the government.) They are most assuredly not 'public accommodations.' Therefore, the owner/proprietor of any private business should be able to discriminate to his heart's content, for any reason he wishes, both in terms of employment-he shouldn't have to hire left-handed redheads if he doesn't want to-and in terms of which potential customers he chooses to serve. If he wants to make all the fat ugly men sit in the back of the restaurant and reserve the window seats for the good looking women, that should be his prerogative as well.
Any government-run business/utility/whatever-i.e. public transit, the DMV, etc-is an agent of the state and does not enjoy these same freedoms. Individuals are allowed to be bigoted assholes; the government has to treat everyone the same.
* I believe that Social Security and Medicare should be ended, not mended. Failing that, any wage-earner should be allowed to opt out of the system, subject to the requirement that the money that would have gone to FICA is invested, in a retirement account for Social Security, a medical savings account for Medicare. Workers would not be allowed to access these accounts until they would be eligible to receive Social Security and/or Medicare benefits.
Of course, allowing people to opt out would cause the almost immediate collapse of the current system, since everyone under the age of, oh, 35 or so with half a brain would immediately bail out.
* I believe that drugs should be legalized and taxed, with the taxes (collected at the state level) used to fund drug rehab centers. Prohibition didn't work the first time, and it isn't working now. Plus, it is even more hugely destructive to our civil rights this time around.
* I believe that the best way to fix our schools is to eliminate the government as a provider of education. This would not necessarily involve cutting government out of the picture entirely; I would propose a system of universal vouchers for all school-age children. In order to encourage price competition, unspent money from each year's voucher could be put in an account for that child to be used for potential future education expenses, up to and including trade school, college, and grad school.
* I believe we need to control our borders, and that we need to deport those persons who are in this country illegally. Once the borders are secured, we can institute a guest worker program, with guest worker visas applied for just like any other visas.
* I believe that there should be minimal regulation on the financing of political campaigns. Citizens of foreign countries, obviously, should be ineligible to give any money, or spend any money, to influence any election at any level. Beyond that, there should be no limits on who can give or spend or how much. The only requirement is that political campaigns must disclose all their donors, as well as the amounts given, and that all electioneering communications should be required to disclose who is behind them.
Beyond that, the best way to get money out of politics is to get politics out of everyone's business.
* I believe that we should be aggressively taking the war to the Islamofascists and any supporters of terrorism around the world. Generally, my foreign policy view is that I'll play nice with you as long as you play nice with me. Fuck with me, and I will crush you and grind you into the dust until you are no longer capable of hurting me.
* And, just generally, I believe in shutting down the parts of the federal government that have no authorization in the Constitution for their existence-things like the Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, and large chunks of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, for starters.
* Finally, I firmly believe that the Constitution should be interpreted according to what it's words, phrases, and sentences meant at the time the document was written as modified by later amendments.
OK, that's it for now. Depending on if/when my wife goes on active duty, I've got the start of my platform for state representative, no earlier than 2018.
...at the new, improved, N.Z. Bear site is the even newer Gun Blogs community, run by Say Uncle!.
Lots of good stuff, so head on over and check it out.
The Strangest Thing
Hearing my dad wish me "Happy Father's Day."
This is actually my second Father's Day since my son was born, but it still seems strange.