"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Thursday, September 30, 2004
  Cannibals at the Gates
USA Today is reporting an alarming story. Apparently several states are pushing for the power to confiscate private property and redistribute in a way that generates more revenue for the government. In English, they want to steal peoples houses because they can make more money from them if they're converted into businesses.
The Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will decide whether cities can seize a person's property and transfer it to private developers whose projects could boost an ailing local economy.

The appeal from seven property owners in New London, Conn., who are trying to keep their homes in the face of an economic revitalization effort along the Thames River, was one of eight cases the court added for the annual term that begins Monday. The justices have 49 cases scheduled for arguments and will add about 30 more as the term unfolds over the next nine months.

The New London dispute touches on a controversial issue that has been simmering in several states, as local governments have sought new sources of tax revenue. Traditionally, governments have used their eminent-domain powers to condemn - and then improve - blighted areas. But governments increasingly have sought to take property that is not in a slum, but that nonetheless could be used in a private redevelopment plan.

This is collectivism without all the varnish. The government is asking, in perfectly logical fashion, "If it's ok for us to steal land that people abandoned and fix it up to benefit society, is it ok to steal the property of a few people in order to benefit many more?"

According to the same article:
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that New London had a valid public use to justify eminent domain, based on the thousands of jobs and significant revenue that officials project would be generated by the redevelopment on a 90-acre parcel. New London's plan would include a waterfront hotel and conference center, office space and 80 residential properties. It is intended to take advantage of a decision by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to build a research facility nearby.

When I first heard of this article, I immediately thought of Ayn Rand's great hero in Atlas Shrugged, Hank Rearden. Faced with his own immolation at the hands of a corrupted society, Rearden delivers a passionate defense of his right to exist:
I could say to you that you do not serve the public good-that nobody's good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices-that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction. I could say to you that will and can achieve nothing but universal devastation-as any looter must, when he runs out of victims. I could say it, but I won't. It is not your particular policy that I challenge, but your moral premise. If it were true that men could achieve their good by means of turning some men into sacrificial animals, and I were asked to immolate myself for the sake of creatures who wanted to survive at the price of my blood, if I were asked to serve the interests of society apart from, above and against my own-I would refuse, I would reject it as the most contemptible evil, I would fight it with ever power I possess, I would fight the whole of mankind, if one minute were all I could last before I were murdered, I would fight in the full confidence of the justice of my battle and of a living being's right to exist. Let there be no misunderstanding about me. If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 1:09 AM


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