Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Kim du Toit has this John Adams quote up:
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.
Frankly I don't think that property is held any less sacred than the laws of God these days. Neither are really revered. It reminds me of the definition of the unjust judge from Luke 18:
In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'
It is probably unfair to say that modern judges are making decisions based purely on the persistance of lawyers, but it is probably fair to say that they don't really consider the arguments of God or the rights of men.

For the record I really don't have a problem with eminent domain in the abstract. Where I grew up, we would drive by acre upon acre of weed farms on the way to church every week. They had been that way for as long as I can remember, unused and underdeveloped. Finally as suburbia slowly encroached upon them, the local governments started eminent domaining portions away for use as schools or municipal utilities. Water towers sprang up on the corners of lots. I assume that the owners were paid a fair price for their unused dirt farms. With the current housing boom, most of those that didn't fall to eminent domain are becoming new subdivisions under the guidance of developers trying to cash in.

My problem is that the Kelo decision is not about this sort of eminent domain. The Kelo decision was about seizing the homes of a bunch of working class people in order to pave them over and put up a Walmart. It is not unprecedented. Remember the World Trade Center? Did you know that it was built on the site an electronics mercantile district in lower Manhattan? It was seized by eminent domain too, although under the guise of a pseudo-government agency. They fought in court and lost as well.

There is a silver lining with Kelo though. A lot of people on both sides of the political aisle are pissed about it. And the liberal judges are on the wrong side of the case. If anything it may get more conservative judges put on the Supreme Court and that would be a good thing.

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