Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ohio Senate: Restrict Use of Eminent Domain

Hurray!

According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article , the Ohio State Senate is coming around to curbing one of the most atrocious government powers, eminent domain, which is a relic of the ancient "Divine Right of Kings" ideology, which presupposes that political authorities have the final say over all property in existence.

I agree with Dr. Sam Staley, when he says.

Should a simple majority vote determine whether you should enjoy the privileges of free speech, the right to vote, or practice religion? The idea would repulse most Americans. Our Constitution enshrines these rights as core values in our American democracy.

Yet, a similar question about core principles is unfolding in a Hamilton County courtroom as the city of Norwood defends its right to forcibly take the property of some of its residents and give it to another private party. The city thinks a private developer has a better plan - he wants to build
condominiums, offices and a few stores in place of the older, quaint homes owned by more than 70 homeowners and businesses. About 10 percent of the property owners don't want to sell. So the city is forcing them to.

This summary may seem simplistic, but it captures the essence of how eminent domain is used in America's cities. Governments no longer have to show their projects will serve a public use, or that the primary benefit will be to the public, not another private person or business. All it takes is the city council mustering a majority vote to decide whose plan is better. Homeownership becomes a privilege granted by the local government. (Emphasis added - LJ)

This is the essence of socialism, my friends. When "majority rule" takes precedence over individual rights, then the very concept of individual liberty and human rights becomes illusory. If a "majority" of people in a community can be allowed to say, "tear down my neighbors house" at any given moment, then how can we say we are free? Or rather, how can we even say we are secure???

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