Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Farewell Statist Powerline

Powerline's John Hinderaker's Second Thoughts on Kelo reveals him as an oppressive statist. My ellipsis.

MANY CRITICS of the Kelo decision have said that it authorizes seizing the property of one person merely to give it to another. Apart from any misunderstanding (sic) of Pfizer's role, this can only be because, once the NLDC acquires title to the Fort Trumbull property, it will be conveyed to a developer, Boston's Corcoran Jennison, to carry out the project. Some hostility to the Kelo decision seems to be based on the belief that Corcoran Jennison may (sic) profit from its work--an odd concern, one might have thought, to be expressed by conservatives.

In Hinderaker's view, Conservatives believe that taking people's property for private gain is OK because profit is OK. Marx would be proud of this mis-characterization of conservatism.

His statist mindset is confirmed by this.

Suppose a large company whose headquarters are located in an urban area needs more space--say, a whole city block. Lacking powers of eminent domain, it has only two choices. It can negotiate with each landowner on the block and try to buy all of the individual parcels. This, however, is often difficult or impossible; once it becomes known that the company is buying land for its corporate headquarters, any individual landowner can block the project by refusing to sell. Occasionally such "holdouts" are motivated by sentimental attachments, but usually they simply want to extort an unreasonable sum from the corporate buyer. (It is interesting that in her Kelo dissent, Justice O'Connor stressed that: "Petitioners are not hold-outs; they do not seek increased compensation. . . ." Yet the majority opinion notes that "[t]en of the parcels [at issue] are occupied by the owner or a family member; the other five are held as investment properties." If petitioners had won their case, the value of those investment properties would have skyrocketed.)

Hinderaker doesn't understand free societies. He thinks that if you own land which becomes valuable, you have no right to that extra value. He thinks that making a speculative killing is wrong. He thinks that trying to get the best deal is from a corporate buyer is extortion. He thinks that a "large company" should be able to take the property of private citizens.

Based on this disgraceful piece, Powerline is off the DU blogroll.