â€œGovernment,â€ as Barney Frank and other progressives are fond of saying, â€œis just another word for things we choose to do together.â€ Like rob people blind. Sometimes the together-doing is highway robbery in the most literal sense â€" as when police departments seize cash from motorists who are never even charged with a crime. The euphemism for that is civil asset forfeiture, and itâ€™s gotten so out of hand even hang-â€™em-high, law-and-order conservatives say it needs to stop.
But sometimes, writes A. Barton Hinkle, the robbery is committed not on the highways but for the sake of them â€" especially here in Virginia. Just ask James and Janet Ramsey, who live near Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. Five years ago, the Virginia Department of Transportation took a chunk of their property through a controversial process known as quick take.