They Say Animals Don't Worry


New at Reason: Ron Bailey gives a Bronx Cheer to the Endangered Species Act's 30th anniversary.

NEXT: The Hell You Say!

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  1. Most of the species that existed on this planet are extinct. (I think I read the number to be around 90% once, but I find that species count specious.) The natural chain of events seems to be extinction. So why should we worry when another species heads down that path? So we can play god for a few years?

    Also, playing species protector requires us to pick winners and losers. Would not a cougar eat a black-footed ferret? Shall we stop the cougars? Would a golden eagle eat a kangaroo rat? Every animal my truck deprives of live (and its third dimension) becomes lunch for another animal.

    I think we’re better off watching nature happen, then pretending we can husband wild animals.

  2. There is an amazing piece via the Political Economy Research Center site( about how litigation has now become the way that new species are listed through the ESA, not legislation.

  3. On that note, why is it that we see ourselves as unnatural? IMHO, we are just more sophisticated beavers, building damns and homes wherever we can. We live, some creatures die. It is in our interest to protect some animals. Often this is done by the market- raising cattle for meat, sheep for wool, elephants for eco-tourism, etc.

  4. Manatees: slow, dumb and tasty.
    I’m surprised they’ve lasted THIS long.

  5. One clear factual error: John Dingell is not
    “respected.” He is a moron.


  6. I just assumed “respected” was a typo.

  7. ed,
    You don’t happen to have a manatee recipe you’re willing to share?

  8. yellowd,

    First of all, among the many definitions of the word “natural” is one that means free of human interference . So you’re just arguing semantics to say human activity is not unnatural.

    Secondly, sometimes a difference in degree is enough to qualify a difference, and that’s why most people would categorize human activity differently from a beaver dam. That’s also why our activity has little to do with the processes that effected evolution.

    That said, I would admit that wanting to protect endangered species (as I do) is primarily an aesthetic issue, and environmentaliists should find cooperative rather than coercive means to that end.

  9. The comment in this article:
    “Even that short list isn’t necessarily to the ESA’s credit. It is generally acknowledged that banning DDT, which thinned bird’s eggshells, brought back the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon, and the brown pelican.”

    It may be generally acknowledged, but that does not make it so. I refer you to an article by Dr. J. Gordon Edwards at:
    Go to the section on “Bird eggshell data”.

    I’m a bit surprised that Ronald Bailey would include this sort of misinformation in one of his articles.

  10. well said bailey. Who needs to protect the earth when it’s in the way of free markets? Who cares? Once we fuck this planet up we can always move to a new one, right?

  11. heh, not surprising that Ronald Bailey is saying this type of crap. This is the place he “works” for:

    CEI was founded in March 1984. In 1986, it began its “free market legal program,” which seeks to overturn government regulations that the CEI regards as inappropriate, such as regulations pertaining to drug safety, rent control, and automobile fuel efficiency (see the case study, Fuel efficiency standards and the laws of physics).

    By 1992, CEI’s annual budget had reached $765,000. That year it helped coordinate “Earth Summit Alternatives” to counter the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, generating anti-environmental commentary that appeared on the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, National Review, Washington Times, Detroit News, Investor’s Daily, Inside EPA’s Clean Air Report, CNBC, C-SPAN, CBS Radio and Voice of America. It also published its first book, titled Environmental Politics.

    In 1993, Jonathan Adler, CEI’s director of environmental studies, wrote “Reforming Arizona’s Air Pollution Policy” in conjunction with the Barry Goldwater Institute for Public Policy Research, a small think tank headed by Michael Sanera, a former professor of political science at Northern Arizona University and an adjunct scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation. The following year CEI began working on a book with the Alabama Family Alliance and the Arizona Institute for Public Policy Research (also founded and headed by Sanera). Tentatively titled An Environmental Primer for Parents: How to Talk to Your Children About Environmental Issues, the book was eventually published under the title Facts Not Fear], with Sanera and Jane S. Shaw listed as the authors. It claims that environmental education in the classroom is a politicized effort to indoctrinate kids into becoming activitists. Sanera was also instrumental in gutting a previously strong environmental education mandate in Arizona. He and CEI have become leading forces behind an ongoing, industry-funded campaign to eliminate funding for environmental education throughout the United States.

    In 1995, CEI joined several other think tanks in attacking Our Stolen Future, the book about environmental endocrine disruptors by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski and Peter Myer. Just prior to the book’s release, CEI released two separate studies belittling “the hypothetical risks to human health” discussed in Colborn’s book. On the same day that CEI’s reports came out, Consumer Alert (run by Frances Smith, the wife of CEI founder Fred Smith) issued its own news release labeling the book “a scaremongering tract.”

    In March 1996, CEI’s Michelle Malkin and Michael Fumento published “Rachel’s Folly,” which claims that dioxin is good for you. CEI’s Jonathan Tolman (who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science), published a study that month titled “Nature’s Hormone Factory,” claiming that naturally-occurring chemicals produced by plants and other living organisms are as dangerous as industrial chemicals. In December of that year, CEI submitted comments opposing the EPA’s proposed air quality rule to limit particulate emissions, claiming that “the EPA has failed to consider whether the proposed standard may actually increase mortality due to reductions in disposable income that compliance efforts may produce. … At all times regulation imposes costs that mean less real income to individuals for alternative expenditure. That deprivation of real income itself has adverse health effects, in the form of poorer diet, more heart attacks, more suicides.”

    In 1997, CEI’s Adler lobbied Congress to cut off federal funding for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. In July, it participated in an anti-environmental summit sponsored by the conservative Western States Coalition in Spokane, Washington. Under the theme of “Responsible Legislation Through Education: Solutions That Work,” the conference showcased Michael Sanera’s attacks on environmental education. Ironically, while much of the conference focused on the alleged indoctrination of school children by environmentalists, the event featured a “trade show” of industry-sponsored K-12 curricula and materials.

    CEI was also active in opposing the 1997 international global warming negotiations in Kyoto. CEI staff including Fred Smith, James Sheehan, Jonathan Adler and Marlo Lewis featured prominently in a list of “experts” provided to reporters by the industry-funded Global Climate Coalition. “The campaign against the 1997 Kyoto global warming treaty waged by right-wing think tanks has been another area where corporate America has heavily invested in right-wing policy groups that advance its interest” noted author David Callahan in 1999.”The Competitive Enterprise Institute has been a particularly aggressive advocate of the notion that global warming is a ‘theory not a fact.’ Since 1991, CEI’s budget has grown from less than $1 million to over $ 4 million.” Callahan also noted that although the extent to which conservative think tanks rely on corporate funding support varies widely, CEI and the American Enterprise Institute “have two of the highest levels of corporate support, with both getting roughly 40 percent of their 1996 revenues from corporations.”

    CEI’s flacktivism on global warming continued in 1998, with its executive director, Marlo Lewis, Jr., appearing before the Small Business Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to testify against proposed regulatory action that would have reduced the risk of climate change. “Where per capita energy consumption is high, per capita income is also high; and where per capita energy consumption is low, per capita income is also low. Thus, if we are to rescue mankind from the perils of poverty, we must dramatically increase global energy consumption. We must push down on the accelerator,” Lewis testified. “Inflating ‘Safety First!’ from a mere rule of thumb into a categorical imperative … is a recipe for paralysis and stagnation, perhaps the riskiest condition of all.”

    In October 1998, CEI staff figured prominently in a press advisory sent to reporters by the conservative Media Research Center, offering them as “credible sources” who can show that “many scientists are skeptical of climate change theories,” “a warmer earth may be a prosperous earth,” “global warming policies would harm the US economy,” and “the Kyoto protocol could undermine US national security.” In October 2000, CEI sued the Clinton administration over a National Assessment on Climate Change produced by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. A news release announcing the lawsuit claimed that various procedural rules had been violated during the process of developing the report, labeling it “junk science” and a “$14 million compilation of global warming scare stories.”

    On October 29, 1999, CEI and Consumer Alert submitted comments opposing a proposed rule by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms banning makers of alcoholic beverages from labeling their products with statements about the alleged benefits of “moderate consumption” of alcohol. In March 2001, CEI joined other similar think tanks and experts for hire (including the American Council on Science and Health, Steven J. Milloy, Dennis Avery, Consumer Alert and the National Council on Public Policy Research) in an open letter criticizing Starbucks for its decision to serve milk products only from cows not treated with genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone.”Your action is unfounded, and harms consumers and the environment,” they stated.

    CEI has also worked to cultivate a relationship with John Stossel, the controversial correspondent for ABC-TV’s 20/20 program. When Stossel came under fire in August 2000 for citing nonexistent scientific studies on a 20/20 segment bashing organic foods, CEI set up a “Save John Stossel” website to help him keep his job. Stossel returned the favor the following year by working with Michael Sanera to put together a program titled “Tampering With Nature” that focused on attacking environmental education. In March 2001, a pesticide industry front group known as Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) sent out an action alert memorandum to its members. “Mr. Sanera has been contacted by ABC News,” the memo stated.” A producer for John Stossel is working on a program on environmental education. He needs examples of kids who have been ‘scared green’ by schools teaching doomsday environmentalism in the classroom. … He has some examples, but needs more. Would you send out a notice to your group and ask if they know of some examples. Then contact Mr. Sanera … Let’s try to help Mr. Stossel. He treats industry fairly in his programs.”

    Apparently neither Stossel nor CEI applied similar standards of fairness toward the schoolteachers and students they interviewed. Prior to the program’s air date in July, several California parents of children interviewed by Stossel filed a complaint with ABC, stating that they had been misled about the nature of the program and the types of leading questions their kids would be asked. Seattle teacher John Borowski also being approached by ABC producer Ted Balaker, who attempted to trick him into appearing on camera by claiming that he was making a documentary about Earth Day, while denying that he was working with Stossel and Sanera.

  12. Baily writes, “After all, we don’t simply seize someone’s house so that we can achieve the worthy goal of building a road or an airport; we pay her for it. Similarly, landowners should at least be compensated when restrictions are placed on the use of their property in the name of protecting a wildlife species.”

    Similarly, the arbitrary regulation against murder has devalued my property far below its market value as the headquarters of an Axe Murderer corporation. I’m quite sure all you taxpayers will be willing to compensate me for the losses your regulations have incured.

  13. heh…under baileys logic we should compensate people for allowing cross burnings on their lawns and then get arrested for it in the name of “tolerance”.

  14. Ooh, look! Another Baileyskeptic! Welcome, Cousin!

    What I liked most about this piece was the three-card-monte aspect of that DDT line. Citing the ban on a harmful pesticide as a positive measure that saved several endangered species was great coming from someone who rails against government bans on harmful pesticides.

    The bit about paying private landowners to preserve species sounds like a good idea until you remember that Mr. Bailey regularly speaks out against ag subsidies and government handouts, so presumably this “compensation” would come from Audubon Society bake sales. And unless Mr. Bailey’s undergone a religious conversion in the past month or so and envisions this as government-based bans on development accompanied by this “compensation”, the amount of compensation that would have to be paid out to landowners would have to equal or exceed the profits that would be generated by bulldozing the land and putting tract homes, slag heaps and golf courses on it in order to be an appealing choice for the landowner. Which isn’t going to happen.

    So “science correspondent” Bailey gets to pretend he’s offering policy ideas that would protect wildlife and preserve biodiversity knowing full well that he’s really just lobbying for a return to the 19th century, when bored train passengers leaned out their windows and shot at buffalo and passenger pigeons for the hell of it.

    Open question for Reason’s senior editorial staff: who’s supplementing Mr. Bailey’s income with speaking engagementa and additional writing assignments? Is it possible that he writes as though his pieces are commissioned by logging, mining and agribusiness lobbyists because they are?

  15. joe,

    I never realized murdering someone violated your property rights. “Regulation” against murder is not arbitrary since you violate another’s rights when murdering them.

    Meanwhile, government taking your land, or restricting your use of it, because it finds some obscure species of insect or bird, and not even giving you monetary compensation looks like a severe violation of property rights to me.

  16. Gee whiz gadfly, you mean CEI, a D.C. think tank, is actually pushing public policy? Everyone knows that only those honest and forthright darlings at Greenpeace and the Sierra Club get to have their voices heard in the debate.

    And Joe, this environment thing is a public good, just like a road. If the public wants a preserved environment on someone’s private property, they can damn well put their money where their wants are. There was a case here in Colorado about ten years ago where a farmer’s levee broke, thereby flooding an adjacent field. Sure enough, birds started landing on his former field, and the feds barred him from repairing his levee because the field had become a wetland all of a sudden (at the time, the Code of Federal Regulations was defining a wetland as anything a bird lands on; I’m not sure if that’s been amended). Thus, the folks in Washington had deprived this fellow of a portion of his livelihood at the behest of the public’s desire for more “environment”. Similar tales of silliness are not uncommon. Oh, and good luck with Murder, Inc. — that was a groundbreaking analogy.

  17. hey gadfly,

    so fucking what?

    I can’t claim to have read your entire post, but it looks like a classic ad hominen fallacy to me. Try actually arguing with what Bailey writes, rather than who he works for.

    And as far as the DDT ban — it’s not inconsistent at all to argue that while banning DDT didn’t help humans much (and actually hurt, via malaria), it did help birds. To me, that’s not a good tradeoff, but to the tree-huggers, it apparently is.

  18. “ed,
    You don’t happen to have a manatee recipe you’re willing to share?”

    I’m not Ed, but I was reading the other day that the Taino Indians, from whom we supposedly get the word barbecue, used to enjoy eating manatees. So I would suppose barbacueing them would make for a tasty dish.

  19. happy new years everyone! I will enjoy yet another year of lapping from the fountain of corporate america, whoring myself off to corporations, and distorting and promoting bad science to help my corporate buddies.

  20. If bio-diversity were a major concern, then Europe would have collapsed centuries ago. Not that I advocate the slaughter of animals; indeed, I am a major contributor to such organizations as the the American Nature Conservancy. Having bioligically diverse environments, and wild nature, is more important for reasons of aesthetics and such than economics; yet, the aesthetics can pay significant dividends economically.

  21. They Say Animals Don’t Worry

    Also, they don’t even know…what a joke is.

  22. Joe,

    A) I’m glad I don’t live next to you

    B) If you just paid $300,000 for a lot to build a house, but the governemnt says, “No, there are snail darters on your land – you can build nothing! PS. You still own it, so we’re not going to compensate you,” what would you call that? They just “took” $300K of value from me and I have nothing to show but some snail darters. I guess it was my mistake, just a “regulation,” I guess I’ll just eat the loss (or the snail darters when the EPA’s not looking)

    C) Your counter example about Axe Murdering is just nonsensical. Axe murder is illegal anywhere, public or private. Building a home is not. The one about mercury would run into a wall of tort lawyers who would love to see you eating dented cans of Dinty-Moore beef stew and living in a cardboard box after the trial.

    It’s not “extortion” to not want to be told that you can’t use your own land for its highest and best use which does not infringe on the rights of another *person*, or be paid handsomly not to.

  23. Joe,

    Your example falls apart as long as there’s some legal or civil redress if & when your mercury effects my health.

    That said, there’s still a part of me that thinks that the “natural world” belongs to all of us to a degree since after all, no one made it. That, I think, is the only real justification for social control over natural resources and wildlife regardless of property lines. But I’m still not sure what I think of that argument.

  24. Jimbo et al:

    Joe’s example of dumping mercury on his property is a fine one. If “highest and best use” is the standard being applied, surely his mercury dump, which doubtless would generate revenue and creat jobs, is a higher and better use than a family of four living in a house. Where’s the revenue in that? Just as mining and real estate development are “higher and better” [economic] uses than preserving an undeveloped wetland, surely a for-profit mercury dump is better use for the aquifer your backyard well taps into than some silly drinking water. After all, you can buy potable water for pennies a gallon. It would be foolish for government or the courts to impede Joe’s pursuit of higest-and-best use of his property in the name of a residential well or two.

  25. Corporations provide employment for most Americans, or have you forgotten that tiny tidbit?

    I have heard of many, many instances where eco-activists have stomped in to some issue far removed from their own sphere of life and interfered with some human development that would benefit the lives of thousands, all because the lives of some fish or birds or snails would be disrupted. However, animals still thrive, and adjust to the altered circumstances. If humans destroyed everything in there wake, there would be no animals left; “at the rate we’re going” warn activists, “that moment will soon come!” Well, I don’t believe them. I know we don’t know half as much as we think we do, that theories have taken the place of sound science, and that idealistic hopes have overwhelmed debates over real problems and issues.

    Advocating for human progress and comfort does not mean one is opposed to animal survival. I find ludicrous the notion that a rare snail is of more importance than I am, a living, rational being with the capacity to do much good for mankind. Eco-activists think so much of protecting every species from the “depravities of humans” that they ignore that they, themselves, are humans. Perhaps they will take matters into their own hands and remove themselves from walking the earth? Or perhaps their own lives and lifestyles are far more important to the world’s health than mine or yours or the farmer’s?

    Makes me so angry sometimes.

  26. SMK,

    I think you’re confusing highest and best use of one’s own property (an economic consideration) with some sort of utlilitarian competition for the highest and best use of a neighborhood where families square off against gravel pits for the use of the same exact land. This is not the case.

    In the mercury example, regardless of land use regulations, Joe’s fouling of the water and heavy metal poisoning are tortious, if not criminal. It’s similar to having a junkyard with no fence, or a firing range with no backstop (if that’s the word) – somebody’s going to be harmed and you’re going to lose the case.

    In any event, it’s not a matter of not letting you do what’s best or taking your land, it’s a matter of suing or prosecuting you for actual harm to PEOPLE or PROPERTY (not society or small, stupid birds…unless they’re chickens owned by someone)

  27. Rebecca, you have just articulated why so many people scoff at groups like PETA, ELF, and the like. These people are so full of hatred and self-loathing, that any hope of rational conversation with them is impossible. Far better to just say, “That’s an unusual perspective,” and move on to a different area of the gathering, than to be stuck near one of these fanatics.

  28. Jimbo, the government didn’t “take” anything. Does the government have $300,000 in unmarked bills, or anything else of economic value, that was once yours and now belongs to the public? Of course not.

    Sometimes the government’s actions decrease people’s property values. Sometimes they increase them. Every waterfront property owner in America has seen their land’s value skyrocket as a result of the Clean Water Act and various wetlands protection acts.

    If implementing a regulation that decreases a property’s value is a “taking,” does that mean that the elimination of that regulation (or the promulgation of a new regulation that makes someone’s land more valuable) is a “giving?” To whome should the newly-enriched property owner make out his check? The state? The property owners who can sell their house for more, because the river no longer smells like raw sewage and the fishing spots are better?

  29. Joe,

    I know it’s hard to grasp, but the government isn’t holding any unmarked bills from the coercive transfer of the rights to use the property, you’re right. But that’s beside the point. If the gov’t declares that not a single new building shall be erected in South Dakota, so that it can be just as God intended it, your response would be – “So what? A marina community in San Diego just gained 3% of value by having no pollution” overlooking the fact that all property owners in S. Dakota have just been deprived of their rights without a cent of compensation.

    You’re missing the essential point. Land is worthless, the right to use it (or the air over it, or the minerals under it) is what has value. Taking the right to use land is no different than taking the land itself. If you understand this, than you’ll understand that the government isn’t sitting on piles of unmarked bills, it’s sitting on land rights it hasn’t paid for.

  30. SMK,

    I don’t know if I’ve ever known a libertarian to argue that land use should be decided by some sort of “highest & best” determination (made by who?). Rather, it is determined by whoever rightfully owns the land in question. If your use of your land harms someone else, then your forfeit your right, via legal or civil redress as I stated in my last post.

  31. Yes, Jimbo, the problem is that I have trouble grasping the implications of land use law.

    “Land is worthless, the right to use it (or the air over it, or the minerals under it) is what has value.”

    That’s the attitude that makes is easy to kick an old lady out of her home, and think that handing her a check makes it all ok. She’s got her money, right?

    “Taking the right to use land is no different than taking the land itself.” That’s Renquist’s line, too. He made it up in a case in the 80s, so that he could rule for a wealthy property owner, who wanted to develop housing on fragile barrier islands. But before that, a taking required an actual taking. Funny how “judicial minimalists” never get around to mentioning that one.

    Your rights to profit off of your land are not absolute, but delineated by the law. Earning $2x off of a piece of land instead of earning $x isn’t a right. It’s an interest, to be balanced against other interests. The place where these interests are balanced is the democratically elected legislature.

    Show me where it says in the Constitution “the value of a piece of property shall not be lowered without fair compensation.” I’ll show you where it says “taken for public use.” I’ll also show you hundreds of years of case law showing that taking property has to involve actual taking of property. And I’ll show you cases in which a physical intrusion onto property that didn’t cost the owner a cent was ruled to be a taking. It isn’t the profits that define ownership; it’s the relationship between the owner and the land.

  32. If the government uses its power in such a way to hamstring law-abiding citizens, it is abusing its power. I remember reading the following story in Reader’s Digest within the past 10 years [summarized]:

    “You’ll read about a farmer who had the misfortune of allowing a certain kind of endangered snail to find its way onto his property. Now, not only is the farmer prohibited from developing his own land, the federal government has told him he must spend his own money to ensure the snail’s survival. If EPA officials find remnants of the snails in geese or ducks trapped in the area, for example, the farmer can be fined $5,000 for each ingested snail.”

    It’s from a book review at this website:

    And I’ve read of many other cases where people purchase land or try to start a business, and government regulations drain their finances and tie their hands in regards to what they are able to do with the land. I’m not talking about people who want to dump mercury in their soil – I’m talking about people who want to build homes, develop farms, etc. Worst of all, in the snail case listed above for example, they often *cannot* then sell their land because of the protected species the government has told them about; so they have to nurse this land that they can do nothing with, and can’t resell. They have become prisoners of government regulations – how is that just?

  33. “government taking your land, or restricting your use of it,” are two entirely different things. The Constitution requires compensation for one of them. It does not require compensation for the other. To get around this little hurdle, dishonest actors like Bailey and Renquist pretend “taking” means “regulating.” Which it does not, as hundreds of years of common and black letter law make clear.

    I’ve settled on a new business plan. Instead of murder, I’m going into mercury disposal. And I’m buying the lot next to your house. Unless, of course, I get a little taxpayer baksheesh. Property rights as extortion is a pretty poor excuse for a public policy.

  34. Joe:
    I dont think you understand the idea of owning a piece of land. Ownership means you have the rights to something, that something is yours to do with as you please. The issue, as i see it, is not that the value is being lowered (value isn’t an intrinsic property of the land), but that you are being deprived of your rights to the land. That deprives you of the properties of ownership of the land.

    Your right to profit off your land isn’t absolute, but your right to do what you please with it, unless you violate others rights, is, at least as far as the *federal* gov’t is concerned.

  35. Well, Pio, that’s different line, that the government has no right to interfere with the use of land. Bailey was merely recommending financial payment for such interference – sort of like eminent domain vs. consensual purchase, I guess.

    Rebecca, I’m not defending every aspect of the implementation of the ESA on the merits, by any stretch.

  36. Jimbo, you wrote “Taking the right to use land is no different than taking the land itself. If you understand this, than you’ll understand that the government isn’t sitting on piles of unmarked bills, it’s sitting on land rights it hasn’t paid for.”

    No, it hasn’t taken the ownership rights to the land. If a telecom tower can be built on the land without killing off the snail darters, does the government get to collect the rent? Can the government build on the land without the owner’s permission? Can the government sell the property, or take a mortgage out on it? No, of course not. Because the government doesn’t own the land; the owner does.

    Taking and regulating are not the same thing, both under the law and in normal parlance; this is not a difficult concept. Remember when you were a kid, and you were playing with something you owned in school, and the teacher caught you? She might take it away from you. Or she might tell you to put it away. Different things.

  37. “Well, Pio, that’s different line, that the government has no right to interfere with the use of land. Bailey was merely recommending financial payment for such interference – sort of like eminent domain vs. consensual purchase, I guess.”

    Excuse me, I meant to say “without just compensation”. My mistake.

  38. “That’s the attitude that makes is easy to kick an old lady out of her home, and think that handing her a check makes it all ok. She’s got her money, right?”

    Holy shit, Joe! I’m so pleased that you see things my way now about eminent domain!

    In Joe’s world, you have a right to do anything with your land — as long as The Man says it’s ok. See, you have lots of rights.

    I’d really like to hear what the limits are on “regulation” vs. “taking.” At what point does complete regulation make your ownership of your property meaningless? Joe? Anybody?

  39. Joe is also making a false distinction when he says, “well, the government didn’t take your $300,000 piece of property, because they didn’t wind up with $300,000.”

    Government bureacrats aren’t like normal people. Money is not what they value. What they really want is to tell you what to do with your land. They’d probably like the $300,000 too, but if they can’t get it, they’ve still obtained something of value to them. Destroying wealth is just as good as taking it.

  40. [“government taking your land, or restricting your use of it,” are two entirely different things. The Constitution requires compensation for one of them. It does not require compensation for the other]

    Joe citing the constitution? Are you gonna make this a habit or is this just a one time deal to try and bolster your argument?

  41. Tech Central Station doesn’t publish “book reviews” or “articles”. It publishes “press releases” and “advertorials”.

  42. matt, this is an area of the Constitution with which I have a great deal of familiarity, owing to my education and profession. I don’t really have the level of understanding necessary to analyze free speech or firearms of separation of powers issues at this level of understanding, so I don’t.

    sm, damn straight about TCS. That site is like an infomercial (except for some of their war/foreign policy analysis. Lee Harriss’ ideas are always worth reading, even when he’s completely wrong).

    “Holy shit, Joe! I’m so pleased that you see things my way now about eminent domain!” So you think it’s a legitimate tool that should be used with a light touch, too? Good to hear.

    “Government bureacrats aren’t like normal people. Money is not what they value. What they really want is to tell you what to do with your land. They’d probably like the $300,000 too, but if they can’t get it, they’ve still obtained something of value to them. Destroying wealth is just as good as taking it.” You forgot the part about strangling kittens and knife-raping young virgins. As always, it’s an honor to be subject of conservatives’ Two Minute Hate.

  43. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. — John Adams

    The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. — Friedrich Hayek

    No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. — Mark Twain

    The United States Government, as it currently exists, has no more respect for private property than did the Soviet government under Lenin.

    And… this is ALL OUR OWN FAULT. We (Americans) created this beast of a government in a sophomoric attempt to avoid all of the bad things in life and guarantee all of the good things in life.

    Animals may not worry, but Americans should.

  44. “Taking and regulating are not the same thing, both under the law and in normal parlance; this is not a difficult concept.”

    The conflation of taking and regulating came about when government bureaucrats discovered it was easier (and cheaper) to regulate an owner’s property rights out of existance than to obtain the property honestly by simple purchase or eminent domain. This has led to the abuse of government’s regulatory powers, since regulations cost the government virtually nothing. The court’s treating regulatory elimination of real estate value as a taking imposes some of the real cost of the regulation to the citizen on the government. This development would not have occurred if the government had not seriously overused the regulatory power in lieu of traditional takings.

    “Remember when you were a kid, and you were playing with something you owned in school, and the teacher caught you?”

    This analogy is improper. A regulation effects property rights permanantly, while the teacher has no authority over the child’s use of the object when the child is at home.

    Your ready submission to governmental regulatory whim in this issue is fascinating especially compared to other issues (like the WTO arrests). I think it quite nicely demostrates left wing confusion about the nature of liberty and its sources.

  45. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/20/2004 06:01:58
    Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.

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