Saturday, January 21, 2012

Eminent Domain, Unjust Power

We are matching spark and flame
Caught in endless repetition
Life for life we'll be the same
I must leave before you burn me
--The Fixx

Eminent domain is power claimed by government to take real estate from owners. The argument is that the land has a 'public benefit' that is greater than the benefit realized by the individual owner.

In the last decade, eminent domain power has been expanded by court cases such as Kelo v. City of New London (2005), where the Supreme Court ruled that homeowners can have their property taken from them by local government and transferred to a private entity deemed to be a jobs creator and tax generator.

Eminent domain in no way can be construed as a just power of government. Just power is power possessed by individuals and delegated in whole or in part to government. Police power is a just power, for example. People have the right to protect themselves, so they can delegate this power to government.

However, people do not have the right to condemn their neighbor's property, no matter how good the intentions. Lacking the power to expropriate property themselves, people cannot delegate the power to government.

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...

The state, unlike market participants, does not make its transactions through voluntary persuasion and bargaining, but through violence and the threat of violence. Certainly in the case of Eminent Domain — which means "supreme lordship" — we see that the victims of seized assets have never consented, otherwise a pure exchange could take place that requires no police power.
~Anthony Gregory