Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings were both idiotic and mealymouthed.
Typical was Joe Biden (D.-Del.) gesticulating with a copy of Richard
Epstein's book Takings, and demanding to know if Thomas agreed
with the evil tome.
leads "a fervent area of scholarship," said Biden, "that basically
says, 'Hey, look, we, the modern-day court have not taken enough
time to protect people's property, the property rights of corporations,
the property rights of individuals, the property rights of businesses.'"
American with 45 % of his income taken by governments and with
his economic life regulated to a Mussolinian extent knows just
how absurd that view is.
thinks the Fifth Amendment means what it says: that "private property"
shall not "be taken for public use without just compensation." This
dangerous idea, says Biden, would undermine government's ability
"to have zoning laws.... pollution laws.... laws protecting the
property once may have been conceived as a barrier to government
power," writes Epstein, "but today that barrier is easily overcome,
almost for the asking." Nevertheless, the "public use" criterion
ought to stop "the entire array of government transfer payments
in its tracks."
Congress does identify a genuine police-power or public-use justification
for a taking, says Epstein, compensation must be provided. That
proviso makes much of government self-defeating. For every dollar
in property taken, a dollar must be paid in compensation.
as written, the Fifth Amendment would level Leviathan. Epstein mentions
welfare, social security, unemployment benefits, and anti-trust
laws. It would also apply to inflation (a hidden tax), environmental
policy (a war on economic progress), and civil rights (a war on
rights we hear championed in Washington: to welfare, to a job, to
loiter, to immigrate, to health care are pernicious nonsense
because they trample on the will of property owners.
property is the real human right, and the foundation of all freedom.
If a church can't own its building, there can be no freedom of religion.
If a newspaper can't own its press or newsprint, there can be no
freedom of the press. If there is no private land, there can be
no freedom of speech.
like Biden do a rhetorical snake dance to avoid admitting that the
lack of property rights doomed communism. They refuse to face the
fact that the welfare state must fad for similar reasons.
property rights, there can be no economic calculation. The result
must be chaos. Yet, in the capital of the land of the free no one
is supposed to mention property, especially if he's nominated for
the Supreme Court.
issue of private property used to divide the world along the Berlin
Wall. But no more. Citizens of the ex-USSR want private property.
Eastern Europeans struggle to undo the damage of collectivized property.
of these peoples look to America for guidance. Instead of hailing
private property, Biden and friends treat it like a balanced budget not to be mentioned in polite company.
private property gives us the incentive to work and save for our
families. It makes market prices possible, so we can tell the difference
between profit and loss. It makes contracts possible, so that we
don't battle our neighbors over who owns what. It is the foundation
of peaceful human relations.
Aristotle said, "the abolition of private property will mean that
no man will be seen to be liberal and no man will ever do any act
of liberality; for it is in the use of articles of property that
liberality is practiced."
John Locke, in the just society "the supreme power cannot take away
from any man any part of his property without his own consent."
Our Founding Fathers agreed, with James Madison calling the protection
of private property "the first object of government."
Thomas repudiated the liberals' suspicion that he might agree with
the Founding Fathers. Instead he moaned about a childhood outhouse
and an insult to his grandfather. Worse, he acted as if such sob
stories qualified him for the Supreme Court.
sob story: they do, for the idea of merit is hated on Capitol Hill.
Having a first-class mind is a disqualification, as Robert Bork
of defending property, Thomas hailed "equality" as the "central
tenet" of America.
unfortunate principle fueled the French and Bolshevik revolutions,
but not the American. As Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton made dear,
inequality is central to our free society.
an American Right now largely run by Truman-Humphrey Democrats posing
as conservatives, only one man pointed out the non-existence of
the judicial emperor's robes. Writing presciently last summer for
the October Chronicles, Dr. Samuel Francis showed that when
equality is the guiding principle, as it is to Thomas, the result
must be interest-group serfdom.
matters little that Thomas once claimed not to believe in group
rights. He believes in a sort of individual rights the right
to compel economic transactions, for example that is incompatible
with private property.
the administration's commitment to equality is shown not only in
the Thomas appointment, but in the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which
would further welfarize business payrolls, and the Americans With
Disabilities Act, which forces businesses to hire and cosset the
literally crazy. Are we all to become one big Senate?