Okay, this is just too big not to blog about. I was browsing slashdot and found this discussion with a link to this article. There is a follow up on CNN now here.
Here is a brief synopsis. This is not a technology article, but it is exteremely important. There was an incident in New London, CT (not so very far away from where I used to live) where the city officials decided to use the power of eminent domain (the constitutional ability of the government to seize a piece of property for “public use” while providing the property holder with just compensation) in order to take over a parcel of land. Now if this land was to be used to build a highway or a school, then there would be little complaint and most likely very few people would have heard about it. However, this time, the city was taking over the land to turn it over to a commercial enterprise!
The appeal made it all the way up to the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) and they backed the city and the commercial enterprise!!! There are no further courts to appeal this ruling to. There is no way left to overturn this ruling except by a stand from we the people.
Needless to say, this has caused a lot of upset across the country. It is now a set precedent that a city can seize any private property under the grounds of eminent domain and turn it over to another private party that they believe will make better use of it for the “public good”; the good being anything from paying more taxes, to whatever else they decide it should be.
This opens the doors for many, many kinds of abuse. It is already obvious that this ruling is going to be exploited. The second CNN article I linked to at the top of this article is telling businesses to use the power of eminent domain as a “last resort”. THEY ARE TELLING LARGE BUSINESSES THAT IT IS OKAY FOR THEM TO USE GOVERNMENT POWER TO KICK OUT PRIVATE CITIZENS!! Luring small-town governments to use this power is easy: bribery is still alive and well in the world.
Another way to abuse this power is for the removal of dissenters. City council members now have the ability to essentially remove anybody who will vote them out next election by turning their property over to any private enterprise that wants in and will back them. And anyone naive to think that this won’t happen doesn’t deserve the title of American citizen. Government has been corrupt and bought for ages. They now have just given themselves more power to control the people.
My biggest fear right now is that the American people have become so complacent that they will just roll over and let this happen. Thankfully I have not heard any private citizens backing this ruling yet (although it is obvious from the media that large enterprises are ecstatic about it). If people still want the freedom they have believed themselves to be living with, then they are going to have to fight for it. It may not be a war of violence yet, although from what I have seen many people are calling for violent reactions to this, but if it ends up that violence is the only way to remove corrupt leaders from power, then I hope that the Fourth Amendment is alive and well. The right to own and bear arms was written for events just such as this. If the government becomes too powerful and controlling, the people will need them to force them to give up their power.
Viva la Revolucion, and let the “In Soviet America” jokes ensue!