Canning the Sardines
by Francois Tremblay (e-mail: FTremblay@liberator.net) [December 1st, 2000]
There's a peculiar idea that socialists like to use, which is "public good". That is, that one of the roles of government is to act somehow in everyone's interest, despite the desires of some people.
Aside from the obvious altruistic fallacy, it's an odd belief because terms like "good" and "evil" cannot be public -- ethical standards are objective but their application is dependent on individual context and circumstances. There is no such thing as "public good", and stabbing people in the back in order to make one person happy is certainly not "good" by any stretch of the imagination.
Yet the concept of social programs, and social laws, are based on this principle. By taking away the property or capacity to action of most people, they strive to make a vocal, important minority happy. That doesn't make the sacrifice of people's freedom and livelihood any less evil.
“Eminent domain can be used by government to seize property with compensation for politically advantageous reasons, like schools, parks, roads, fire and police stations, redevelopment, and more.”
It seems to me to be especially offending, however, when we attack the delicate mechanism of the free market economy. Being a delicate, dynamic equilibrium state, the free market's components are fragile and respond to certain needs of customers in a proactive way. That is why trying to regulate or take away some of its areas have a destructive effect on the people's trust in the economy. It's even more hurtful when an element of this market was built by immigrants, thirsty for the American dream, and about to be destroyed by a power-mad, publicly-driven education system, in the name of "eminent domain".
Despite his numerous faults, ARI writer Larry Salzman defined "eminent domain" very well, as "the government’s ability to lawfully seize property -- to tyrannize politically weak individuals". Eminent domain can be used by government to seize property with compensation for politically advantageous reasons, like schools, parks, roads, fire and police stations, redevelopment, and more. Seizing property to build a corporation would be scandalous in our anti-business mentality: however, seizing property for schools or roads is considered acceptable because, hey, who could be against these things? After all, business owners and employees are considered to be less than nothing -- they are pariahs and exploiters, never mind that they exist because they fill a societal need.
The particular scandal that inspires a discussion of this subject is the planned demolition of commerce, especially one restaurant named Sardines, near a state medical school in Forth Worth. The public school called University of North Texas Health Science Center has decided to have Sardines demolished in order to build "an aesthetically pleasing" driveway for their parking garage. What manner of nonsense is this? Building a driveway with no explicit use except esthetics is sufficient reason to take away a person's property nowadays? How low have we gone. The Fort Worth City Council also plans to use one million dollars of taxpayer money to finance this silliness.
The restaurant's web site is www.itsanice.com. Consult www.itsanice.com/help.html to find out how you can help Sardines survive and, by extension, help all of us fight the government's grip over our lives.
The Criterion: New Eminent Domain Assaults: Taking Private Property for Political Elite Google Directory: Society: Issues: Property Rights: Eminent Domain
Read more articles by Francois Tremblay.
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