Life, liberty and property
Barbara Tutor takes, in her letter to the editor, a radical view of “essential liberty” by defining it narrowly as “fundamental human dignity, as respect given to others and received from others that instills community relationships built upon trust.” “Trust” does not come to mind from Ms. Tutor’s advocacy of the government’s proposed zoning abuse of existing property owners and future abuse of impact fees. For example, her “rural land-use zoning” would restrict Morgan County farmers to operate in poverty on poor land in the bottom three percent of U.S. agriculture production.
Ms. Tutor finds that essential liberty is defined by the well-being of ecosystems and not the financial well-being of communities. Respect for certain snakes and tree frogs, as indicated in the Comprehensive Plan, is far more important than respecting other’s truly essential liberties, such as being left alone and earning a decent living. Certainly, making a living in this county is difficult enough without further discouragements and adverse regulations — as our double digit unemployment indicates.
Before the Revolutionary War, the political philosophy “life, liberty and property.” Our founders believed that citizens’ property was so basic to life that they proclaimed the importance of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Fortunately, the importance of property did find its way in to the Fifth Amendment Taking Clause. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court, in six of seven cases, has dismissed the importance of private property finding that communities’ governments can indeed abuse property rights. Quite contrary to other forms of theft, the high court ruled in Lucas that the government is only liable if it takes all of the property rights. Instead of American ideals, we get excessive, intrusive government and higher taxes.
We must ask, “how can this abuse of landowners be compatible with liberals’ feelings of moral superiority?” Simple, They do not believe that you are the only owner of your land. The community is too. You, they believe, are a mere caretaker. They do not acknowledge your efforts to buy, to care for the land, the taxes you have paid, or your heirs. So, they claim their “right” of control of your property and expect landowners to sacrifice for “their community.”
Liberal belief in “their community” runs so deep that it cannot recognize any of the ills wrought by more mature zoning: still more government intrusion, greater corruption, higher living costs, and higher and higher taxes.
Eric K. Pritchard