Collectivism vs. Individualism - where to draw the line?
Libertarians are generally going to default on the side of the individual in matters of property. If someone owns property, the philosophy goes that
it is thiers to do with as they choose. While many differnt threads could arise out of this concept, I'd like to focus on the abuse of 'eminent
Eminent Domain is a principle used by the government, local or federal, to seize private property from someone because it is necessary for the
'collective good.' In the past, it has been used for land acquisition for the purpose of roads and highways.
There is a growing trend in this country, however, that the principle can be applied to seize property and resell it to a developer for the purpose of
'revitalizing' an area. Libertarians generally oppose eminent domain, as it infringes upon an individual's private property rights. Roads are one
thing, but the trend of government stealing property from one individual and selling it to a developer is a scary one. Politicians wanting to
increase their community's tax base are too easily seduced.
Neil Boortz has been complaining about this trend for a while now, and recently brought national attention to a situation in Florida where the
Republican Party was trying to pass a law that would allow the government to seize property and sell it to developers.
I discovered there's actually an online community of 'eminent domain professionals'. That's right - an actual discussion forum dedicated to
taking your property away.
I've seen this evil at work in my own back yard. Recently, two small middle-class African American communities in my area were deemed 'blighted'
and replaced with strip malls under eminent domain. Both included a Wal-Mart. Gotta love collectivism - it certainly increased the tax base.
The Libertarians are the only party that I've heard stand up for individual property rights (happy to be wrong here, btw. Any dems/reps wish to
weigh in?). I agree with Boortz that if the Libertarians pushed this as their primary issue, rather than the tired old war-on-drugs stuff, they could
gain more national appeal.
[edit on 8/9/2004 by HoonieSkoba]