Eminent Domained…

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Fascism is fundamentally about economics – not racism. It is when Big Business “partners” with Big Government (it’s no accident we hear that word routinely now) to steal money rather than earn it through the free exchange of goods and services.

Examples include Elon Musk and his Tesla electric car operation – which depends entirely on mandates and subsidies – but also GM and the mainline car companies, who are just as guilty of “partnering” with the government as Tesla to mulct the citizenry for their benefit, even if their product (unlike Musk’s) is fundamentally sound and could sell on the basis of free exchange.

The bailouts circa 2008 are the obvious example.

Rather than take their lumps GM filched our pockets, using the government’s hands in our pockets. Whether the money was “paid back” is irrelevant to the moral issue at hand; a guy who mugs you in street but sends you a check later on has still mugged you – even if he includes an apology note with the check.

Another example of American fascism – and one that’s arguably worse than subsidizing Tesla or bailing out GM – is the use of eminent domain to steal people’s land using government’s guns (and courts, to rubber stamp the theft) for the sake of private gain. 

It is happening here in The Woods, rural Southwest Virginia – home of your Libertarian Car Guy.

A private company demands that private landowners stand aside and watch as the company sends men with chainsaws onto what was their land, to cut down swaths of forest, followed by heavy equipment to install a natural gas pipeline that will deliver no natural gas to anyone in the county or any county in the vicinity of the county.

Instead, the gas will flow far, far away – to be sold for the private profit of the gas company.

When the landowners said objected, the pipeline company called up its “partner” to make them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Armed thugs arrived. The landowners were forced to step aside.

Like taxes (theft of money) eminent domain (theft of land) was initially justified by limiting it.

Property was only to be seized for the “general good” (as defined by those doing the taking). But it usually meant things like right-of-ways for roads, which did at least provide some plausible benefit to the people in the area.

That in no way changes the fact that a crime has been perpetrated under color of law against the former owner of the land.

Taking is taking – just as theft is theft. 

But now the taking is being done without even the flimsiest pretext of some benefit to the local community. If anything, the community is diminished by the land-rape, the ruination of views, the trampling feet (and loud, obnoxious heavy equipment) brought to bear by the pipeline company – which will make hundreds of millions of dollars on their end of the “deal.”

It is halting. Like that scene in Deliverance, when the gun-wielding hillbilly rapist tells Ned Beatty: “If we want your money we’ll take your money.”

How is this meaningfully different?

Worse, it’s precedent setting. If this stands – and it appears it will stand – then logically, why shouldn’t private companies be able to take more land – any land, as much land as they like – for other privately profitable purposes?

Can anyone produce a logical reason why not?

One thing always follows another thing. In law especially. Precedent matters. The reason why we can’t take a trip by airplane without submitting to degrading – and completely random, probable cause-free and thus unreasonable searches is because a precedent was set decades prior that the Fourth Amendment’s plain language prohibiting such things can be set aside whenever the government decides it is in the “interests” of the government to do so.

Random, probable cause-free searches on the road set the precedent for random, probable cause-free searches at the airport.

A police state doesn’t come into being overnight.

But it’s here now.

Because we put up with it, rolled over. For saaaaaaafety.

Will we we roll over for this?

Probably. In part, because people are able to speak of the unspeakable by using euphemisms to enable them to politely discuss the despicable.

Like calling theft of people’s money “taxes.”

And like taxes, eminent domain – once permitted at all – inevitably becomes openly monstrous. It is no different than countenancing a little rape.

Or rape only on Sundays once every April.

Remember: People are not being “asked” to sell their land any more than they are “contributing” to Social Security or are the “customers” of the DMV.

Their land is being taken from them.

The fact that the victim of an eminent domain seizure is “compensated” changes nothing. Would anyone countenance rape if the rapist compensated his victim? Gave her an amount he deemed “fair” for the taking by force of her body to satisfy his need?

If that is a moral outrage, why is eminent domain not?

Perhaps someone will explain it to me.

. . .

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  1. Eric,

    Eminent domain was only to be invoked when land were needed for PUBLIC USE, and for no other reason. For example, if a new road, post office, military base, etc. were needed, then the gov’t could take it with JUST COMPENSATION! Public purpose isn’t mentioned in the 5A.

    Where the phrase, “public purpose”, has been used is in instances were one private party (usually a large corporation) wants the land belonging to another private party. It is here where the most egregious eminent domain abuses occur in blatant violation of the COTUS. A couple of notable examples are Kelo v. New London, or the original World Trade Center (aka the Twin Towers) come to mind. Since the WTC is better known, I’ll focus on that.

    Before the WTC came to be, that area of Manhattan was known as Radio Row. There was a plethora of electronics stores in that area; some of the first TVs sold in the US came from stores on Radio Row. If you watch the History Channel’s documentary about the WTC, you can see a couple clips of the old stores.

    The NYC gov’t and NY state gov’t got the bright idea that a world trade center was needed. The Port Authority of NY & NJ was commissioned to do the project. Once built, office space would hopefully be leased to tenants engaged in world trade. There was a minor obstacle to the project: those stores on Radio Row. The store owners fought construction of the WTC, citing the fact that it wasn’t CONSTITUTIONAL use of eminent domain. The PANY&NJ argued that it was for a ‘public purpose’, not a public use. To make a long story short, the Port Authority won, and the store owners lost.

    Kelo is more typical of the modern eminent domain abuse. A corporation wanted to build a nice corporate complex in New London, CT. The people whose properties this corporation wanted to buy balked; they liked their houses, TYVM, and they didn’t want to move. The corporation got its partner, the gov’t, involved, and, in concert with the gov’t, invoked eminent domain. The property owners fought, taking the case all the way to the SCOTUS. They lost, and the rest is history.

    It was this case that spurred states to pass laws curtailing eminent domain abuse like this. The sad thing is that, thanks to the Urban Renewal of the 1950s and the WTC abusing eminent domain, the door was opened to this sort, and it opened the door to eminent domain abuse. It didn’t abate until the late 00s when states, finally getting heat from angry citizens, finally passed laws to curtail eminent domain abuse.

    In the case of pipelines, it’s less clear than cases like Kelo would be. Gas pipelines are often built under the auspices of the local gas company, or a consortium of gas companies that will use gas from the pipeline. Gas companies are public utilities, so they’re neither gov’t or private entities. If the gas were going to be used by people living near the pipeline, I’d have no problem with eminent domain being used, since this is a public use, much like a new road or post office would be. However, if it’s under the auspices of a private transportation company, then eminent domain wouldn’t apply, since there’s no public use and/or benefit taking place as a result of said pipeline.

    In closing, I think that the 5A in the COTUS is clear: eminent domain is only to be invoked for a PUBLIC USE, and then only with JUST COMPENSATION for the property owner. That’s it! In the case of public utilities like gas or electric companies, they should only be able to use eminent domain when the people will benefit from the gas or electricity transported via the pipeline or powerline being constructed. If one private party wants the land of another private party (e.g. to put in a corporate complex in where houses now stand, a la Kelo), then eminent domain simply doesn’t apply. Why? Because there’s NO public use involved; there’s no public benefit. Ergo, if the property owners don’t wish to sell, then the private party seeking to buy their land is SOL. At least that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to be…

    Those are my thoughts on eminent domain…

    • Clover,

      Whether the “founders” put eminent domain or any other thing in the Constitution is irrelevant as regards the question of the rightness or wrongness of the thing. Libertarians aren’t worshippers of the Constitution as some kind of infallible holy writ.

      • “Eminent Domain” isn’t specifically authorized in the US Constitution. The Constitution merely REQUIRES the Federal Government to give just compensation for any ‘Taking’…that a Government might have to do so, especially in time of war, is self-evident. The idea, of course, was that Uncle Sam couldn’t just grab whatever He wanted for whatever reason, which, of course, hasn’t worked out in reality, just as, like Lord Vader, NOW “He is the Master…”.

        I can cite as an example the case of a prescient Ohio farmer and junkyard operator (as farm prices fell in the 1920s and 1930s, this man turned over some of his land into a junkyard and operating a ‘junk’ business, now he’d be a ‘recycler’). Seeing a trend, namely by 1936 of an emerging German Luftwaffe and the response of other powers to counter it, including our own Army Air Corps and the Navy, he reasoned that aluminum might become a hot commodity. That Alcoa, thanks to new sources of electric power in the Tennessee Valley Authority not too far away, had recently opened up large aluminum smelting facilities there (coincidence…what do YOU think?) also caught his attention. So this man, over the course of several years, put every spare nickel into buying scrap aluminum and hauling it to his junkyard. By the time of Pearl Harbor, he had an impressive stockpile, some 3,000 tons, as I believe the tale goes. This got the notice of the War Production Board, which wanted that aluminum for aircraft production. He was offered a rather measly rate (the Government’s counter was that they were offering to truck it themselves) and he refused..after several months of furtive negotiations, the Army showed up at his property, with hundreds of soldiers, dozers and other heavy equipment, and a fleet of trucks, with a Federal District Court order to seize the aluminum on the basis of it being a “wartime exigency”. This man objected, and was promptly jailed by Federal marshals for ‘obstruction’, and a lien placed on his property. The matter went through the Federal court system for many years, and by the time it was all settled, after his legal fees, this farmer and junkyard operator ended up with even less than what he’d originally been offered, and was ostracized as a “war profiteer” and “unpatriotic”. Even 75 years ago, no ‘good deed’ or reasonable foresight went unpunished.

    • Nope. We the People did by ignoring it, as Thomas Jefferson knew we would at ratification:
      “The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.”
      Those down under have done something similar with the Constitution they never wrote, like the British that they are still a member of the “Commonwealth” of. Got knife control?

  2. Eric, it’s similar to how taxation causes more government services to be inflicted upon us without our consent. Always without the consent of the governed. Or should I say, the permission granted by the subjects.

    I would encourage everyone here to see the just-released film, “Little Pink House,” about the case of Paulette Kelo of New Britain, CT. This was a monument to the stupidity of the “Supreme” Court’s monumentally idiotic decision in 2001 that expanded the definition of Eminent Domain to include the taking of private property for private use. This case demonstrated to me that there is no qualification of being able to read and comprehend the English language that would prevent a person from being able to be a Supreme Court justice. It showed that any fool can advance to such a position within a corrupted government. It also showed that Barney Fife had a higher IQ than at least five members of the Supreme Court. Notwithstanding that Barney Fife was a fictional character.

    • Travis,
      Human beings have always gotten more of anything that they tolerate from the tyrants that they let rule them.
      It includes taxation. It isn’t caused by it.

  3. http://www.roanoke.com/opinion/commentary/rasoul-pipelines-the-local-injustice-of-our-generation/article_229e691b-780d-5cbb-aea2-cac964f008de.html

    Some people are packing up and leaving.. Please tell me nobody told them about the free ballerass pool they could be getting.. Just doesn’t make sense, I don’t know about you guys but I couldn’t sleep at night knowing there’s somebody out there who would pass up such a windfall of inground aquatic leisure, so pure and honest and for the greater good esp on those warm summer days.. Ma’am wait, please, you’re walking away from the water slide of your life! Muh pool!

  4. The saddest part is that more is usually spent in legal fees on an eminent domain lawsuit than it would have cost to fairly compensate the previous owner of the property in question, which is what the founders clearly, by their own writings, had in mind.

    • There’s another part to the gas pipeline story that should be mentioned: Gas pipelines are an investment with a guaranteed rate of return; somewhere between 8% and 12%. That knocks the socks off of any other investment. Of course, the only reason there is such a good return is that the profits in the energy business are so high. Investment fund managers love pipelines.

      If cars got 100 mpg, the pipeline business would collapse, along with the demand for oil. That’s why we are getting electric cars, with a mystery mpg. This is an attempt by the energy conglomerates to “earn” profits in another sector.

      And then there is Russia. If the price of oil seriously declined, countries like the Soviet Union, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia would go bust. So in effect, consumers are being forced to subsidize the Mob, third world hellholes, and big government.

      • Are you saying that the 85% efficiency of electric transmission provides a lower profit margin than physically shipping crude oil by any method?

        • Bill, that’s a complicated question.

          First of all, cars can easily get 100 mpg. Keep in mind that the heat energy used by an internal combustion engine is currently being wasted. Just last week, Volkswagen got in trouble for trying to offer a steam-diesel option. (which probably gave the car a 80 mpg rating). The German government shut them down. All the “green” technologies that you see today; wind mills, solar panels, bio-fuel, etc. are a fraud. They are all designed to provide the illusion that there are no cheap sources of renewable energy. But that’s not true.

          I won’t bore you with stories about perpetual motion, but at the very least I can tell you about an Israeli development: the dry geothermal well: it works great. http://www.geotec.co.il/?categoryId=23233 And then of course you have Stirling heat engines, etc.

          So it’s not a question of the efficiency of electrical transmission. It’s a question of how much carbon is being released into the atmosphere in order to sustain the illusion that coal or oil fired electrical-generation is even necessary. It’s not. Carbon Trading is just another illusion perpetrated by big government and the Mob.

          If VW were permitted to sell 80 mpg steam diesels, then the premise for carbon trading would disappear. If Israel were permitted to build dry geothermal power plants all over the world, then another premise for carbon trading would be gone. The point being that our criminal government is part of the Mob. They are only in it for the tax money.

          One thing is for sure: we have to reduce our carbon output. We can do it in a way that benefits people, or in a way that cheats people. That’s the choice.
          As far as I’m concerned, Americans will never get a fair shake as long as our existing government is in place.

          • We don’t have to reduce our carbon output. (I certainly will not lift a finger to reduce mine.) Despite the hysterical claims of the climate change/global warming mafia, CO2 is not a pollutant.

              • Hi Cin,


                Carbon dioxide “emissions” is the latest pretext serving the purpose of diminishing our lives. This is key. It’s alway us – the average people – who are to be controlled/taxed/denied things. Never the elites who peddle whatever the latest lie is.

                “Green” is nothing less than our era’s red. Or brown, for that matter. It’s fundamentally about authoritarian collectivism.

                The “environment” is merely the pretext.

                • Now that conservatives are reds and liberals blue, one could be excused for thinking that there is any real difference between them.
                  What is non-authoritarian collectivism like?

                  • Hi Bill,

                    Locally, in my neck, there are some authentic hippies. They live a communal, collectivist life – but it’s not authoritarian. Individual hippies are free to come and go as they like.

                    • Eric,
                      I have never seen a commune that wasn’t collectivist. Most of those who leave communes do so because of non-support of themselves.
                      There’s an old saying that I used to hear in libertarian circles, organizing libertarians is like herding cats.

          • The best way for human beings to reduce their carbon output is to seal plastic bags over their heads. Then their lifeless bodies will serve as perfect carbon sinks as long as they are not allowed to rot and release carbon.

          • Hi Ron,

            I agree with you that carbon trading schemes are a con. They will do nothing to “help the planet”. But, they will make the richest and most powerful people on earth richer and more powerful, and the poor of the earth will pay for most of it.

            However, Jason is correct, we do not need to reduce our carbon output. Climate change hysteria is to the left what Islamic terrorism hysteria is to the right. Both are mostly manufactured fears, containing a small kernel of truth, the actual risks of which are wildly exaggerated in order to justify whatever asinine policies desired by the elite. We can be sure that these policies will not solve the supposed problem but will further enrich and empower those elites pushing for the policies, which is the real purpose of them in the first place.

            Human beings have been “de-carbonizing” energy for centuries. This process will continue naturally and can only be impeded by political efforts to determine, in advance, which source of energy is best.

            Kind Regards,

  5. This country was founded by the Adams family business. Their business was shipping. They had possibly 30 or more ships smuggling goods into the colonies and these were extremely profitable even running away from British navy ships of the time.
    The pretty words of Thomas Jefferson and the thirteen colonies were just that. Money talks and everything revolves around that money. The Adams family eventually provided us with two Presidents.
    Ben Franklin was a beloved pervert. He was rumored to have had children by 18 women and their fathers were looking for him when he took a post as Ambassador. That post led him into the dens of sin of the corrupt European royalty. Which then provided us help with our revolutionary war from France.
    Unwittingly they provided a place of freedom from the intense parasitic nature of the European royalty.
    The problem with all of this is we as a country tried to limit the aristocratic bureaus that reined supreme in the wealth of Royalty of Europe.
    This little history lesson is there but seldom taught in our schools.
    Land has been stolen historically every since. Starting with the nomadic indians and eventually from the thieves that stole it as they moved further and further west.
    This latest theft follows the same pattern as powerful interests over ride the constitutional rights of our citizens in a court of law.
    If truth were known even the claims in a court of law are often a real stretch. So much so that a judge ruled for the defense in the Bundy case not based on right or wrong but the conduct of the people involved lying in a court of law with a Prosecution misbehaving and lying openly.
    Follow the money. That is where the real theft occurs.
    As stated by the people in the Godfather fictional series, he owned a lot of judges, lawyers, and even congress people. That fiction possibly reflected reality.
    The problem being they were attached to a past where violent reactions were historically correct.
    The real kings of thieves are completely legal.
    They are in our Congress, our lawyers, our judges, our bankers, and the list goes on and on. Because this country has the best thieves in the world.
    And that is why they can steal your land. And mine if they so choose . . .
    The current puppet ruler of thieves and a real pro at it is probably in the white house.
    The person before him was a master thief. Anyone doubt that take a real good look at insurance rates over the last 10 years and Obamacare.
    All of which is controlled by law.
    The fictional person in the “godfather” series was really an amateur. These people are pros.
    The entire world is made up of thieves legal or otherwise.
    The current bunch are nothing really special. But they have done their homework and they are legal.

    • John Hancock organized the Boston Tea Party to dispose of tea that the British were dumping on the colonial market at a lower price than his smuggled tea cost.

  6. Yes, eminent domain is taking even though money changes hands, but it’s not exactly new and the whole point is about the greater good. How did I-81 or the other roads get built?
    The country is covered with pipelines and they are all at some point just transit pipelines and there’s no guiding light that says any pipeline that doesn’t serve your locality isn’t legit. Pipelines that serve you by delivery gasoline transit somewhere. Pick your battles.

      • It would seem that a car guy, if he was being genuine, would understand that having fuel distribution network has massive intrinsic benefits to travelers, commerce, foriegn investment, etc. Do you not have a car? Travel plans? A job? 401k? All of these things are served by the pipeline. For the privilege of having them the gas company is offering fair market value for the use of the land under your land that you had no plans to use for anything else. Yes I see how this violates some libertarian principle, but that libertarian world only exists in your mind. It doesn’t exist out here in the real one and never will. Regrettable as that is it’s the reality we all live in. Will you choose to live in it or be a perpetual victim of crimes that only exist in your mind, where there are no actual damages. The same pipeline passed about 200 yards from my property last summer. It runs for miles alongside a nearby road. It is completely invisible, and everywhere where things were disturbed while laying the pipe, everything has been restored and maintained much better than it was before. And a lot of neighbors got nice bonuses that boosted the local economy. One guy put in a huge new pool. Sorry but I can’t convict here. I just don’t see the crime. I don’t like the term either, but there is a greater good here. And trust me all the guys working on that pipe are normal guys like you and me. One guy’s daughter goes to preschool with mine. They’re just regular salt-of-the-earth guys happy to have steady work. You’d see them all unemployed because of something Walter Block told you from his desk chair in academia? Get real man.

        • Dutch,

          You produce one non sequitur after another to avoid dealing with the theft of property that is the issue here. Whether I own a car (etc.) has no bearing on that question. Nor does “steady work” (or some other good/benefit as you/some other person define them) justify stealing.

          Am I justified in mugging you if I am mugged first? Does my “need” for “steady work” entitle you to make me pay for it? Do I owe you a living? You, me?

          “Greater good.”

          The most murderous two words ever strung together.

            • Hi Bill,

              I try to be polite… as long as I can stand to be!

              The two posters defending the pipeline are no doubt Republicans. I have crossed swords with their type before and expect to again. The thing about them that interests me is how unconscious they are as regards their acceptance of the same ends-justify-the-means rationalizations as the “leftists” and “liberals” they object to.

              Apparently, it all comes down to whose “greater good” we’re talking about!

              • eric, I recall about 20 years ago a rural couple had their property “taken” by eminent domain. The pipeline destroyed their stock tank and ruined the area near their house with NO compensation or even anyone telling them there were in the “proposed path”.

                They failed to see the “greater good” as did I when I came home to find my grass patch looking like WWl had taken place and my new driveway badly damaged…plus damage to the fence.

                The next time, a friend notified me. I went to the front with my old side by side loaded with 00(had a lot more effective guns that held enough ammo to eliminate 3 crews that size), got out of the pickup and asked where they were going. Nobody seemed to have an answer. After while, Jefe arrived with proposal in hand. I was still just pissed. Don’t know why those gates weren’t locked, they were made to be but I hadn’t installed locks, my bad. And the other two famous/infamous words “best intentions” on my part come to mind. They are locked now….and damned if they didn’t steal some watermelons anyway.

              • Eric,
                I have always found that the most difficult thing about libertarianism to explain to one who isn’t one is the fact that we are not on the left-right political spectrum. If I can get them to take the late Marshall Fritz’s World’s Smallest Political Quiz, they come to an immediate understanding of libertarianism’s position on the Diamond Chart. Getting them to take the quiz, which endangers their usually firm conviction that they know what they don’t, is the hardest part.
                My favorite Mark Twain quotation is “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” It is spot on here.

          • What pray tell are you being “made” to pay for. Are you not aware that gas and oil companies are private companies? Do you not have any retirement, pension,401k or anything else. If you do you’ve already profited off of this exact thing you’re complaining about. So has most everyone else here whether they know it or not. So first and foremost there’s that Mr Sterling Integrity.Clover

            Second of all I’m no Republican and if this kind of accusation is the best ‘argument’ you have (besides the equally stupid one about you personally paying for the pipeline and it’s workers) I’ll refrain from having a battle of wits with an unarmed person.

            Are YOU, Eric Peters, paying for anything or having your own land taken without compensation? If not, then this entire argument is not on your behalf but clearly for “the greater good” isn’t it? Ok. Done yet?Clover

            How does a gas line being put INTO the ground constitute stealing? In your mugging example are you putting my wallet BACK INTO MY POCKET at gunpoint? It’s a really dumb analogy. As is the idea that nobody should ever care about collective circumstances. It’s Libertarianism taken to beyond the absurd. And that’s coming from a guy who linked here from LRC. When your neighbors get a windfall for land they weren’t using it helps everyone. When everyone has jobs and wealth it helps everyone. When everyone has gas for their homes and cars it helps everyone. AND it’s not in any way Collectivism. Just the free market helping everyone the same way. That, and not your mancrush on Walter Block, should be the reason you became a libertarian in the first place. But you’d rather argue about some definition written on parchment 300 years ago. Great. And maybe you’re right. But what bearing does that have on present reality. Are the big talkers on this board going to overthrow the government and institute this libertopia. Of course not. You’re too busy imagining and researching things that make you victim and smarty pants at the same time. If you don’t care about the many benefits this pipeline has and will continue to bring many many people, then tell me why I should give a rats piss about your petty whiny complaints? Based on centuries old principles that have no bearing on today’s reality? You don’t even have to be ‘polite’. Just give me any reason why I, a libertarian, should care about you or the COLLECTIVE problems you feel this creates for people in your area. Clover
            From a libertarian perspective since you’re so clearly incapable of anything else. We both know there is no answer. But here you are crying to anyone who will commiserate. So very Bolshevik of you. Why don’t you go blow up the pipeline if you feel so strongly about it?

            I’ll be at the neighbors new pool. Oh the horror.

            • Mark Twain might have had you in mind when he opined, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
              As I said before, you probably have never taken the World’s Smallest Political Quiz because you think you understand the libertarian position when you don’t.
              LRC is more about Austrian economics than it is libertarianism.
              The quiz is all about the correction of personal cranial rectalitis: http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/

            • Dutch, “Just the free market helping everyone the same way.”

              No, it is not “free market”. It is the very definition of fascism.

              You may not be a republican but from your arguments I do not see a difference in philosophy.

            • Dutch,

              Is your argument that I ought not to object to the theft of these peoples’ property because it’s not my property that’s being stolen?

              And yes, Dutch – it is being stolen via use/control. When someone else controls your property, it is no longer your property. It belongs to those who control it.

              Do you see?

              The company is cutting trees down that the owners do not want cut down. Installing a pipeline in their ground, where it may well leak. And even if it doesn’t that’s entirely beside the point. How about if I turn your yard into a very well maintained grave yard?

              The landowners must accept (or else) strangers coming on what was once their land, whenever the strangers feel like it. Thus ruining their privacy and peace of mind. What would you say if I decided to – very nicely, without leaving any trash – camp out in your backyard whenever it suited me? I’ll “compensate” you… an amount I decide is “fair”… how about it, Dutch?

              You seem unable to grok a simple, principled argument. “Greater good” is not a moral argument. It is an ends (your ends) justifies-the-means attempt to rationalize abusing other people, their persons and property – for your benefit.

              And if what you and others regard as “good” justifies the use of violence to obtain it, what possible basis can you have for objecting when that violence is turned on you?

              This is why I mentioned Republicans (and Democrats). Both are fundamentally the same in that they agree it’s okey-dokey to literally murder people provided the murder (and theft) serves the “greater good” – as they define it.

              Finally: Whether I have a 401k is an irrelevance (and for the record, I don’t).

            • Dutch, the obvious difference between your “greater good” and Eric’s “greater good” is that your “greater good” requires putting a gun to peoples’ heads to force them to do things they as individuals do not want to do while Eric’s “greater good” does not.

        • Dutch, your “greater good” argument can explain away any totalitarian government’s actions.

          E.g. denying people their basic human rights like the Natural Law Right of self defense can be “justified” because it is for the “greater good”. Unlimited etc.

        • Hi Dutch,

          “… the gas company is offering fair market value for the use of the land under your land that you had no plans to use for anything else.”

          No, they’re not. The gas company sought and received voluntary easements from about 85% of the landowners. For those people, your description is correct. However, for the others, the gas company is using the threat of force to compel them to accept a deal that they do not want. There can be no such thing as “fair market value” in a coerced exchange. It should be obvious that the main point of eminent domain laws is to get around having to pay “fair market value.” If there becomes a special demand for a particular piece of property, the value of that land has increased due to the special demand. Terms like “just compensation” and “fair market value” are used in eminent domain cases to minimize or deny this basic economic reality, and to vilify “hold-outs” as selfish.

          The article was not opposed to the pipeline, but to the means of acquiring access to the land necessary for the pipeline.

          “If you don’t care about the many benefits this pipeline has and will continue to bring many many people, then tell me why I should give a rats piss about your petty whiny complaints?”

          Why do you assume that Eric objects to the pipeline and the benefits it may produce for some people? He didn’t say anything like that. Why do you seem to assume that the pipeline would not exist absent the use of eminent domain? As was noted before by Bill, maybe the gas company could have simply offered enough money to the “hold-outs” to get the easements they desire. Why is the ire always directed at the “hold-outs” and critics of eminent domain rather than the companies and governments too “selfish” to offer satisfactory compensation?

          “Just give me any reason why I, a libertarian, should care about you or the COLLECTIVE problems you feel this creates for people in your area.”

          Your justification of employing eminent domain in this case has no logical limit. You consider yourself to be a libertarian, so I assume that there are some examples of eminent domain takings that you find troubling. Do you think what happened to Suzette Kelo just? How can a forced transfer be consistent with “just the free market helping everyone the same way.” Eminent domain abuse is a real problem. Without a principled criticism of the practice, abuse will get worse. Of course, the practice will continue and nobody here believes that complaining about it will usher in some libertarian Utopia. Nevertheless, pointing out that the use of eminent domain (for any reason) amounts to legal theft, and is inconsistent with the supposed values of a liberal (classical sense) society is important because the only thing that actually checks government power is the cultural attitude toward it.

          Eric did not ask you to care about him or his problems. He asks that we care about principles. If even libertarians dismiss such concerns as merely “petty whiny complaints”, it is unlikely that a culture that respects freedom will survive. Perhaps that is a reason you should care.

          Kind Regards,

          • Jeremy,

            The DAPL pipeline went through a few hundred yards from my acreage and I wished I had land the oil company wanted for the line. They took the highest price paid per acre in my county for the previous year and that is what they paid per acre that the line went through. The price?, $21,000 per acre.

            I’m pretty sure my neighbor made about $250,000, and my wife’s cousin received $240,000. My father in law said no way and the company changed the route to avoid his farmland. I don’t think there was anyone local to me that refused and had eminent domain thrown at them, but we are talking about farmland as far as the eye can see and the farmers can still work the land and it looks the same now as it did before.

            That being said, I would be greatly against a pipeline if it went through as in Eric’s case and destroyed the trees and landscape. That’s the reason I am so against the wind farms they are putting up in my area that destroy the natural beauty of the countryside.

            • That’s correct, Guerrero it all depends on which pipeline company we’re talking about and the locality of it; some states are easier than others to use eminent domain in.

              • Build it like the one running past my acreage.

                I don’t know what you mean by “Eventually”, the line is in the ground and won’t have to come out, it can stay there when they run out of oil to pump to Illinois.

      • Ah, yes “the greater good”. The refuge of just about every tyrant that has graced the planet.

        Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.; they were all working for “the greater good” — can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, don’tcha know. The people here voicing their support for armed theft of private property for whatever they believe is “the greater good” are just following in the footsteps of a grand tradition. The Fuhrer would be proud.

    • Those poor poor Big Corporations have to pay the landowners actual valuation of the land vs the strong arm of the state setting the price for them. Won’t someone shed a tear for private property being a bully to corporations…

    • Maybe there’s hope in sight. A couple years ago a pipeline was forced through some land near Ft. Worth. The owners sued the company and won a big settlement in the millions….even though it was “commercial” property and not in demand.

      This last round in the patch saw land owners get a lot of money for ROW and they got a lot of “new” cropland, much better than the land on either side and planted in wheat or whatever ground cover they wanted. I can see a person with a great deal of trees not wanting them cut down and they deserve a fair price for it and the right to refuse any price.

      I once turned down any price for a pipeline so they went around me. I’ll admit I was lucky in that they could go around me without incurring a lot of cost. I had a pipeline dug up on my land and they destroyed a lot of ground I had to replace out of pocket even though they paid a nominal sum but I was still out a lot of labor, equipment costs and fuel not to mention time I didn’t have.

      For the most part here in Tx. land owners have been getting a great deal on ROW’s. Of course I’m sure when you can avoid getting near someone’s lake or house or other thing it’s much easier to accommodate them. In almost all the pipeline areas the wind turbine companies pay a big fee for every unit on your land and won’t even try to put one closer to your house or whatever you don’t want one near. Of course the amount they pay makes them seem a lot less inviting. You also get free access roads across property only accessible by horse beforehand.

      The “new” cropland enhances the price they get for hunting since it can be planted in whatever crop you want and creates new grazing for cattle and goats also.

      Now the people that have been getting fucked in the ass badly have been done so by govt. for that new highway to Mexico. Eminent domain has rolled over them like they were nothing, exactly what the govt. thinks of them.

      • A drive through any rural part of Texas, or any other state, would demonstrate that any road can always go around anyone’s property.

        • Ever notice that when an area is developed, carved into smaller plots, no effort is made to align roads? Roads that likely aren’t aligned because of some 19th century property lines. Despite all this government power they can’t even take the opportunity to do that one simple thing that would actually be good for people.

      • In my area they can and will put a wind turbine just over the “Legal” limit of 1,250 feet from your property if your neighbor has the land and says yes. 1,250 feet is very close.

  7. We are in the world of “Government as Business”.

    Here is their business model:
    Originate a project which is funded by debt.
    Borrow money at usury from banks, by bonds or from private equity.
    Secure loan with tax base and fees.
    Disperse funds to and spent by selected contractors.
    Collect repayments to lender at gun point, interest kept but principle written off upon failure.
    Fund compliant elected officials via campaign contributions.
    Repeat process.

    Henry Clay from Hanover County, Virginia taught this business model to Abraham Lincoln, known as the American System: Tax-Spend-Collect Votes.
    This is pure Fascism as discussed in this article. We are fed a diet of hate towards all things Confederate, but this dwarfs anything the South tried to do. It was also a core cause for the effort to resume our sovereignty.

    • Yeah because the oil companies are so deep in debt. Sorry to explode your theory but it’s ridiculous. And I’ll bet any money if you have a 401k it is invested in this pipeline and you will take the returns. Your conspiracy theory was debunked in the first sentence by reality. Better run back to Walter Block for another inane argument.

      Who made who? Zoning, regulations, environment impacts, etc. Do you think the gas companies imposed these upon themselves? Seroiusly! Or are they just trying to navigate a unnecessarily complex business environment while remaining profitable and employing tens of thousands of people happy to have the work? And bring you heat and fuel. Yes it’s tricky, sleazy and overly complicated. Blame the bureaucrats if you’re mad. They created all the things these companies are forced to deal with in an effort to bring you quality of life in return for profits. And I thought that latter part was what libertarianism was all about. Why do you conflate it with the former then blame the business who is just as much a victim as you? And who seems to be doing more for you than you? Quite a distortion of libertarian principles just to fashion yourself the victim isn’t it?

      And to the know nothing’s saying that the pipeline isn’t bringing local jobs, that is a complete and verifiable like. I know many of the guys who worked on the line when it came through our area. Lots of them live locally and we’re happy to have the work. Our neighbor built a pool with the proceeds from the use of his land. The pool company expanded their business with that money. This is the free market at work, at the local level, just like you wanted. Stop spinning ridiculous tales just to indulge your own perceived victimhood.

      People always say they trust the mainstream news until they are on it and see how the truth is distorted. Not seeing anything different here. I know the firsthand facts and none of .the hypotheticals here are close.

      • Dutch, “…in an effort to bring you quality of life in return for profits. And I thought that latter part was what libertarianism was all about. ”

        Libertarians do support increasing the quality of life and profits but only under free market efforts not fascist efforts. Big difference.

        • Hi Skunk,

          It baffles me that this Dutch character considers himself a Libertarian. He defends – advocates – using force to achieve “greater goods” (as defined by himself). Which makes him as Libertarian as the “straight” guy who enjoys men more than women!

          • Eric,
            There are a number of people who consider themselves to be libertarians because they agree with those who claim they are one, such as Gary Johnson.
            I saw a steady stream of them through the Colorado Libertarian Party office after the Republicans who had been run off from their party by the neo-cons took over the LP.
            Political positioning has nothing to do with sexual preference. Some of the most staunchly libertarian people I have known were homosexuals, but they seldom called themselves libertarian.
            Dr. Ron Paul and Ayn Rand were both considered to be libertarians, even as they denied the accusations.

      • Takes one to know one, know nothing! Your area is not most areas, apparently. Oh boy, a pool! Oh, happy day! Pools are so much more fun and valuable to a property than the right to control your own land or drinking water, which, can judging by your comments, yours was clearly contaminated in the process. Thank goodness for those jobs though, bless this free market that permits us to take it from behind to have a pool! Maybe next time we will finally get a trampoline and even build that tree house we always wanted, ahh wait.. gave away the trees. Shit. Nevermind, just Clover dance away those bad thoughts. Swimming pool!!!

  8. We don’t have many rights towards our own children either. Fail to put them in a government approved holding pen, or have them be seen with even a slight bruise (no matter what the cause) and they stand a good chance of getting sucked into the foster care system.

    • It is always easy to eliminate the demand that ones children attend school by making sure that they are educated far in excess of whatever grade they’d be placed in, which would insure that they would be disruptive in said grade and subject to expulsion.
      Dr. Ron Paul’s homeschool curriculum would allow any child of average intelligence to accomplish such a goal.

  9. MarkinBC is 100% correct.

    You own nothing, knave.

    All of us merely squat on the King’s Land at his pleasure alone.

    And if somebody comes along that will pay a higher rate, you are out.

    • Morning, AF!

      Of course. You’re both absolutely right. Having to pay property tax on land amounts to the same thing as rent. Is rent. The only difference being you – the “owner” – have a bit more latitude to alter the property. You can usually paint the interior whatever color you like without having to get permission, for example. But – in many areas – the “owner” may not paint the exterior without prior permission. Or plant/remove a bush, etc.

      In almost every place, the “owner” may not (legally) add on to “his” house or erect a permanent structure without prior permission (and usually, paying a fee).

      We own nothing beyond the clothes on our backs as these are the only items of property we are completely free to use as we see fit and which – once having been paid for – we are not required to continue paying for, indefinitely.

          • You don’t actually buy software (you can’t copy or alter or resell it) you purchase a user licence of their intellectual property. Now they have elected to change what was a one-time fee into an ongoing one.

      • “We always cut square corners with the Government, because the Government is the sovereign” Lee Atwood President and CEO of North American Rockwell.
        The most powerful military force in the region is by definition the Sovereign. and for us, that spells U.S. Government. Eminent Domain is not theft, because you own nothing. You are not the sovereign.

      • Unless of course, you are part of a HOA, which is an exercise of contract rights that few read the contract for before they sign it.

      • Right you are Eric. My county went full Agenda 21 about 10 years ago and now I need a permit for something as simple as putting a post in the ground on the acreage. They zoned the whole county where before I could do just about anything I wanted on “My” property.

      • Indeed Eric. In feudal times, this tax was called a quitrent. It’s the same nonsense nowadays. The state still does absolutely nothing but collect a check from us once a year to keep their goons at bay. Don’t pay and they kick you off it so they can sell it at auction for less than you paid for it.

        • Hi JRO!

          Proof that the American Revolution wasn’t about liberty but instead about enthroning the colonial merchant class in place of George III and Parliament lies in the fact that even back then, real property was subject to taxation.

          I cannot think of a greater affront to liberty.

          If you can never own land – truly own it, free and clear – then you can never be truly free.

          • Eric,
            Things would have gone better in the last two centuries if they had just reworked the Articles of Confederation, which are completely unknown to millennials.
            I will never own land unless the Great Correction (as I call it) happens while I’m still alive, when I’ll buy a small house for pennies on the dollar.

  10. “A hot political issue in my area is all the natural gas companies coming to the area but not hiring the local labor market.”

    Right, the clovers who blindly support these pipelines looove to talk as though it will make all of these new jobs, both in its creation and once up and running, but in reality they contract out the construction work to out-of-state companies and will bring in their own people. Even then, the discussion shouldn’t be making it to the point where they’re talking jobs as a means to validate it.. because even if a pipeline would be there to serve the locals, there’s no justification for encroaching on people’s property and putting the environment and residents at unnecessary risk for the benefit of these natural gas companies and their pals in the State. I’m afraid rolling over is all that anyone but the Sierra Club is willing to do about this stuff anymore.

    • For the most part laborers move with the pipeline. I can see not hiring locals since they won’t be moving on. I know a great many people who work pipelines including myself. Even being a skilled operator you need to go where the pipeline goes. Pipeline and other companies are always in need of people who will simply show up and work and a skilled person is often hired for a particular area. When that job is finished they can always quit or go to the next job.

      Right now the resurgence we’re seeing in drilling is employing people but mostly those with a skill and the pay ain’t like the last go-round either.

  11. Eminent domain was used by a city near me to build a casino, several shopping centers, and several luxury car dealerships. All of that city’s “progress” revolves around stealing peoples’ land and giving developers special tax breaks. This, along with support for the police/warfare state, is why I despise mainstream conservatism.

    Annexation is another thing that makes me steam. Citizens don’t have a say in that, either. I bought in a rural area for a reason – to be left alone. The city that annexed my area is eventually going to force us to hook up to their poisoned water system. They may not force us to hook up, but they will probably end up sending us a bill even though we refuse to us that service. The powers that be really don’t want us to have our own water supply. Fucking dirtbags.

    I live in a place that is 100% Republican-controlled, and this is what they do to their citizens. They truly are fascists.

    • I feel your pain. I live in the middle of nowhere (sort of) in the northern tier. Perfect. Except a gigantic solar plant will be put up within spitting distance of our lone house, and rumor has it that high-tension power lines from a future wind turbine farm to the NW will run its line near our few acres. It was unthinkable when we bought this place that this neck of the woods be covered with government-subsidized industries, but there it is. Damn it.

      • Morning Ross,

        Damn. I’m very sorry to hear about this; I can imagine how annoying/depressing it must be. The whole point of moving to the Woods is ruined by such things.

        I feel I am on borrowed time in my neck of the Woods as well.

      • Ross, that sucks. I can imagine how you feel. I know a guy who bought several acres quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Probably he wasn’t thinking how close his house would be to the property line. Now he has a huge wind turbine close to his house. Another old friend got a transmission line up close and personal. He had land he could have lived on and avoided it…..if he’d had a time machine. You won’t see any of this stuff close to a house when there’s large acreage.

        Our only saving grace is just happenstance in that we’re not in a good area for turbines nor the lines from them.

    • Oh, you bet they will force you to pay, if not hook up. I live in a fairly rural part of the county (SW Florida) that was annexed by the nearby city. City requires that every house must be on city water/sewer, so even though I have a perfectly good septic and well, I am being forced to connect to their systems. Cost? 19,000 dollars to the city, plus another 4 to 5 grand for a plumber to hook up my house. If I don’t pay? The bastards will put a lien on my house and eventually take it from me. Looking to sell it and move on, but all the realtors tell me I’ll have to knock the price down by 25 grand so the buyers can cover these costs. No way out of it, but hey, it’s for the greater good, right?

    • If the water isn’t metered, you could install a small hydroelectric generator on it and save that much from your electric bill.

      • No, it’s metered, and from other folks I’ve spoken with, the monthly bills are pretty high, anywhere from 100 to 150 dollars a month. Wife and I are both retired, living on SS and some 401k savings. That water bill is definitely going to impact our monthly budget, and then my 401k will be even smaller, cuz I don’t know where else I’m gonna come up with 25 grand. Actually it’ll be more like 30 grand, since I’ll have to pay federal tax on my withdrawal. Im so fuckin sick of this country, I’m glad I’m old and gonna die soon!

        • You might find that your water bill will max out at some amount, and be less than your electric bill, which never does unless you have an industrial account.
          In either case, if your 401k is challenged now, it will be useless after the next large correction of the market.
          I was having no problem living on my SS of $952 a month when they gave a “cost of living” adjustment of 2%. Now I have $19 more dollars to save every month. You’d be better off as a snowbird, without all of the utility bills that you have now. I’ve been off all the grids for almost 34 years.

          • We’re pretty much the same Bill, no car payment, no mortgage, etc. I do ok on our current income/budget, I just hate the idea that the city can force me to fork over 25 grand and then another 100 a month for something that I don’t need or want. I don’t think I can afford to be a snowbird going back and forth. Probably just going to sell the house, at whatever price. My son has a big 5 bedroom place in Virginia and wants us to come live with him and the grandkids, so I’m thinking that’s the way to go. Wife has terminal cancer, I’ve had 2 heart attacks and a stroke, I guess my best bet is to just go and spend whatever time we have left with family. I’m just very saddened with what has happened to this country that I used to love. Wish I could wake up the younger generation, but they just think I’m a lunatic for spouting off about freedom, liberty, the NAP and all that crazy stuff!

            • I will never stop loving what the country started out as.
              I will never begin to forgive those who have, largely through their own ignorance, caused it to become an open sewer.
              Now would be good time to sell the house, with the lack of listables driving real estate values through the roof. It would likewise be a good time to cash out the 401k before the inevitable correction occurs. I would recommend rolling the majority of the proceeds of both into PMs, which will become a wild ride after Goldman Sachs and their merry band of accomplices walk away from the steaming heap of what was the market. Your son would probably be more welcoming than anyone else, and his inheritance would be untraceable.

  12. A hot political issue in my area is all the natural gas companies coming to the area but not hiring the local labor market. They bring in people from their states out west. More out of state plates than in-state in some areas. Their large equipment further destroys the infrastructure. But I’m sure some businesses like gas stations and restaurants are benefiting. Since people own the mineral rights they gladly give up their property for the permanent cash flow. But for just a pipeline you probably won’t get any. It got me thinking about the free market vs protectionism argument again. It is interesting how this system works.

  13. Hi Eric,

    Eminent domain is immoral and indefensible even as it was originally understood. But, at least it was mostly accepted that the power could be used only for a “public use”. The thing created by the taking of property must be open to the public and serve no specific private interest (roads, parks, etc…). The first major modern attack on that restriction came in 1981 when the despicable Coleman Young seized a portion of Poletown to make room for a GM assembly plant. In 1984, the US supreme court declared, “where the exercise of the eminent domain power is rationally related to a conceivable public purpose, a compensated taking is not prohibited by the Public Use Clause.” It should be clear that “a conceivable public purpose” provides no meaningful limit on the takings power of the government. Condemning poor neighborhoods to make room for “nicer” folks, whose more valuable houses increases tax revenue provides a public purpose (this has been done). In fact, anything that a politician asserts may increase tax revenue now legally satisfies the public use clause (nicer shopping areas, promoting tourism, “jobs”, etc…). In 2005, the supreme court used the “public purpose” scam to justify the theft of Susette Kelo’s home, forever eliminating any legal limit to the larcenous cravings of politicians.

    Of course, even with the “public use” restriction, there can be no “just compensation” in any forced transfer. The mere fact that some entity desires one’s property alters the market value of that property. However, property rights are meaningless if the owner cannot legally reject any offer for any reason. When Trump (a yuuge fan of eminent domain) wanted Vera Coking’s property to make room for a parking lot, he almost certainly could have offered her some amount that would have satisfied her. Instead, unwilling to buy the property legitimately, he conspired with government authorities to steal it. Surprisingly Coking, with help from the Institute for Justice, prevailed against the orange thief.

    “Will we we roll over for this?” We already have. In fact, those who object to the theft of their property are routinely vilified as selfish profiteers, while those unwilling to legitimately buy the property are often lauded as visionaries and crusaders for progress and the public good. As you note, “despicable euphemisms” are necessary to maintain this Orwellian inversion of reality.

    Kind Regards,

  14. Eric, you first mistake was thinking it is YOUR land. Second mistake was thinking you OWN anything.

    You don’t own diddly squat.

    You are permitted to be the highest bidder to pay the tax on a thing(including the dirt upon which you dwell). If GovCo decides it’s better for someone else to dwell, squat or whatever on that dirt you’re out.

    Here’s an example of why and how you don’t own property. If you rent an apartment and don’t pay the rent for, say, three months what happens? The person that you are to pay comes along, usually with armed GovCo employees, and throws you out in the street. He then allows someone else to dwell there and pay said rent. If you don’t pay your property taxes what happens? Armed GovCo employees show up and throw you in the street. GovCo then allows someone else to dwell there and pay said rent…err…property tax.

    Here’s where it became official that you don’t possess anything with the permission of GovCo:


    • Hi Mark,

      Most people don’t know (I didn’t until recently) that Pfizer wasn’t even planning to use the property in Suzette’s neighborhood. The proposal was to use property across the river. The government had already granted them free land (well, for $1.00), a promise to upgrade the sewage plant so it didn’t smell, a promise to buy the adjacent salvage yard, clean it up, and give it to Pfizer and a promise to renovate an old fort and turn it into a tourist attraction if Pfizer would come to town. But, this wasn’t enough for Pfizer. They also demanded that the “unsightly” neighborhood across the river be condemned and that a grand development, including a luxury hotel and research facilities, be built in its’ place. The government agreed. That is why the neighborhood was condemned. This talk by Jeff Benedict, author of “Little Pink House”, is remarkable and infuriating. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHZPD2pQUew

      His talk starts at the 13:30 mark. It is well worth watching until the end of the Q & A. Note, this talk was given before Pfizer left New London entirely.


      • As with all “corporate incentives” that are tossed around by GovCo it boils down to one thing, paying someone to be your friend. My Mom told me that if I had to give Billy Davis a nickle for him to be my friend he wasn’t much of a friend. There’s also a term for paying someone to like you…I think it’s call “prostitution”.

        Corporate whores and GovCo johns…a winning combination.

    • There is veritable army of sequential squatters in most cities that stay in each rented space for at least the 3 months that it takes to evict them. They just move to the next place just ahead of the sheriff deputy with the eviction notice.
      My 34 years of vandwelling experience has demonstrated that it is easier to move every day than to be evicted, ever. That, and it allows me to stay where it is comfortable without climate control most of the time.


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