Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Friday, June 24, 2005

More Kelo Reaction

More reaction summarized here.

Get informed.

One of our newest federal judges to emerge from the filibuster compromise had this to say in a former case:

Americans are a diverse group of hard-working, confident, and creative people molded into a nation not by common ethnic identity, cultural legacy, or history; rather, Americans have been united by a dream—a dream of freedom, a vision of how free people might live. The dream has a history. The idea that property ownership is the essential prerequisite of liberty has long been “a fundamental tenet of Anglo-American constitutional thought.” (Ely, The Guardian of Every Other Right (1998) p. 43.) “Indeed, the framers saw property ownership as a buffer protecting individuals from government coercion. Arbitrary redistribution of property destroyed liberty, and thus the framers hoped to restrain attacks on property rights.” (Ibid.) “Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist” (6 The Works of John Adams, Discourses on Davila (1851 ed.) p. 280), because property and liberty are, upon examination, one and the same thing.

Private property is in essence a cluster of rights inuring to the benefit of the owner, freely exchangeable in accordance with the terms of private agreements, and recognized and protected by common consent. In the case of real property, this cluster of rights includes the right to exclude persons from certain physical space. In the case of intellectual property, it may include the right to employ a valuable method or process to the exclusion of others. In other words, private property represents zones of individual sovereignty—regions of autonomy within which we make our own choices.

Sounds right to me. Only, the Kelo decision is one more nail into the coffin of that founding idea in favor of centralized government control of property rights.

Finally, a must read counterpoint from a very learned professor of Constitutional Law who casts some doubts on the anti-Kelo hysteria.


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