Re: Kelo, Federalism, and Private Property

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Bill, I agree with your remarks completely. I did not mean in my article to imply that I defended Kelo‘s holding or reasoning. You are right about its ruling being problematic. I only stated that the Court should have refused to overturn the New London taking (which is what the Court did, though for the wrong reasons), and I did criticize its terrible reasoning. As I wrote,

My own view is that although the Court’s reasoning was flawed, the right result was reached, namely: the Court did not overturn New London’s condemnation action or the decisions of Connecticut State courts that upheld this action.

And I too deplore the fact that the Court’s construction of what “public use” means has now been imposed on all the States. As I wrote,

[T]he only reason that a “bad” decision from the Supremes can instantly propagate and become the standard followed nationwide is that the Supremes have arrogated to themselves this position. Those libertarians who whine about the Supreme Court’s rationale and reasoning are generally in favor of the system that permitted the Supreme Court to be in the position of making this bad decision and foisting it on the country.

Note that most libertarians who are hysterical about Kelo are not upset that Court foisted a standard on all 50 states. Rather, they wanted the court to foist a standard–the right one–on all 50 states. They wanted the Court to overturn the New London taking, which means they wanted the Court to have the authority to decide state issues like this in the first place, even though (or regardless of the fact that) the Constitution does not authorize this.

Libertarians want the Court to have the power to set such national standards; then whine when the Court makes the wrong one. Well Boo Hoo. They want the Court to ignore constitutional limits in order to seize jurisdiction (or they don’t really give a damn what the Constitutional really says)–and then they complain when the Court acts in a lawless way. Amazing. Breathtaking. Libertarians are acting more and more like Marxians, who have a naive, unrealistic view of human nature. “Just get the right people on the Court.” “If only the Court would have interpreted the 14th Amendment in a libertarian way.” Yeah right. What planet are they living on?

I never tire of quoting this great Mises quote:


No socialist author ever gave a thought to the possibility that the abstract entity which he wants to vest with unlimited power—whether it is called humanity, society, nation, state, or government—could act in a way of which he himself disapproves.

Ring a bell, libertarians?

8:17 pm on July 10, 2005
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