Freedom-loving Americans suffered a major defeat today, and they face another blow to liberty next week. In Kelo vs. New London, the Supreme Court voted that local governments can seize private property for private uses, so long as it serves the “public benefit.” The ruling legitimizes the already common practice of coercively redistributing private propery to maximize tax revenues. (Which are ultimately the only standard of the “public good” local governments recognize.)
According to the majority ruling of Justice John Paul, “economic development” qualifies as “public use.” Is there anything that qualifies as “private use?” Clearly not, since even the private production and consumption of marijuana can be regulated under the commerce clause, according to the June 6 ruling of Gonzales vs. Raich.
After repudiating property rights, our politicians voted for censorship today, when the House passed a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. The vote is scarier than ever because it stands a good chance of passing the Senate next week, opening the way for ratification by the states. The consequences of the ban are much more serious than a ban on the single incident of flag burning recorded last year. Senator Orrin Hatch thinks that “acts of flag desecration are offensive conduct [that] we ought to ban in the interest of protecting the greatest symbol of our country.”
Senator Hatch is a fundamentalist Mormon. What “offensive conduct” will he vote to ban next?
(Not that it will do any good, but complaining to my congressmen made me feel a bit better.)
(Crossposted to the Egosphere)