This is a repeat of an essay by Jillian Becker, first posted on April 29, 2011.
The rise of enthusiasm for Socialism in America, demonstrated by the great numbers of enthusiasts flocking to hear Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, preaching it, prompts us to post the essay again.
It is human nature to be selfish. If we weren’t selfish we wouldn’t survive. If we didn’t eat when we were hungry, warm ourselves when we were cold, seek cures for our illnesses, defend ourselves (and our children and our life-sustaining property), we’d die out pretty damn quick. Or rather, we would never have come into existence as a species at all.
We are most of us capable of sympathy with others, and we often willingly give away a thing we own to another person. Some are altruistic. A few will even give up their lives to save the lives of others. Nevertheless, we are all naturally and necessarily selfish.
Christianity and Communism require human nature to change. As it can’t, Christianity’s commandments to love our enemies and forgive those who do us harm turn many a person of good will and high aspiration into a hypocrite if not a corpse. Communist theorists have never settled the question of whether human nature must change so that the Revolution can take place, or whether the Revolution must take place in order for human nature to change. Of course it will never change, but there’s no stopping the collectivist dolts arguing about it.
Capitalism works well because it is in tune with our nature. Adam Smith called it “the natural order of liberty”. Everyone selfishly desires to provide for his needs. To pay for what he wants from others – services and goods – he has to provide something that others will pay him for. Millions do it, and the result is prosperity. Capitalism is an abstract machine most beautiful to behold in the wonder of its workings. When individuals have the incentive to achieve, acquire, and enjoy something for themselves, they’ll go to great lengths to afford it. They’ll compete with each other to provide what others want, toil to make it the better product, and set the price of it lower. The best is made available at the least cost. Everyone is both a taker and a giver, and everyone benefits. True, not everyone’s effort always succeeds, but nothing stops anyone from trying again.
Of course capitalism isn’t a remedy for every ill and discontent. But a capitalist society offers the best chance to an individual to make the best of his condition – being alive – which presents him with a tough challenge – to stay alive for a few score years, and make those years as good as his energy, cunning, and adaptability to conditions outside of his control (plus his statistically likely share of luck), can help them to be.
In a capitalist society no one has a fixed place, whether below, in the middle, or on top. A person can rise, sink, or stay. A truly capitalist society is necessarily a free society in which no one is prevented, by some ruler or ruling clique, from bettering his lot, striving, succeeding, or failing.
Capitalism is the enemy of that God of whom all the children in the British Empire used to sing at morning prayers in school assemblies before the Second World War:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small;
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them high and lowly,
He ordered their estate.
The children were being taught to be content with everything as it was, trusting that God the ruler up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable had ordained how everyone had his fixed place and should stay in it, and because He had ordained it, it must be perfect. The recognition that such a God was an indefensible authoritarian, a whim-driven cosmic dictator, an unjust and arrogant tyrant, came – perhaps unconsciously – to the choosers of Anglican hymns only after a few of the earth’s dictators had been trounced in a prolonged and terrible blood-letting.
But then Socialists took over from God. They decided what was best for humanity. They established the Welfare State. No rich men in castles, no poor men at gates. The State would provide every citizen with depressing accommodation, dull food, health care if he were judged worthy of being kept alive, indoctrination in schools. Though the Socialist State is a slave society, the citizens are not called slaves but Social Security Recipients, National Health Patients, Students, Workers. The belief of their rulers is that they’ll be content because the State provides them with “everything”; they’ll be grateful for the food however poor, the unit in the tower block however depressing, the bed in the hospital however filthy, the indoctrination however boring. The great thing about it, to the collectivist mind, is they won’t have to strive to keep alive. And no one will have cause to pity or envy anyone else, since no one will have less or worse, or more or better – except of course the rulers up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable who ordain that everyone else has his fixed place. They reserve plenty, choice, comfort, luxury, information, and power to themselves.
The recognition that such a State is counter to the human instinct for freedom – call it “selfishness “ if you will – should have come to every sane adult the world over when the Soviet Empire crashed. The idea of Socialism should have died then. But if it did, it was only for a short time. Like the Christian God, it rose again, and lives now in the White House, an administration indefensibly authoritarian, whim-driven, unjust, and arrogant.
Selfish human nature with its instinct for liberty, its impelling desire to possess what is good for it materially and mentally, is the force that can and must defeat it.
Bernie Sanders thinks “millionaires and billionaires” are rich at the expense of the poor. And should have their wealth taken away from them and shared out equally among the rest of America’s 320 million people?
Milton Friedman enlightens a questioner who asks why there are “so many millionaires” in America at the same time as there are so many people in poverty:
Bernie Sanders wants government to look after everyone like a parent.
Milton Friedman deplores the ruler who sincerely believes he knows better than you do what’s good for you:
Bernie Sanders describes himself as a Democratic Socialist.
Here Milton Friedman cogently answers a Democratic Socialist:
Among the many still unanswered question about the tragedy of Benghazi, these stand out above all others:
Why were “more than 600” requests from Ambassador Stevens for better security for the US mission in Benghazi not granted?
Whether or not they “reached” Hillary Clinton’s desk – and she denies that any of them did – the question why better security was not granted has never been answered.
What could the reason be?
And why was Ambassador Stephens then sent to the insecure mission in Benghazi on the specially dangerous anniversary day of 9/11/12?
On the face of it, it looks as if the State Department was party to a planned assassination of its own ambassador.
But why would it want that?
Al-Qaeda’s hackers of Hillary Clinton’s easily-hacked emails would have known what Hillary Clinton’s game in Benghazi was. But the American people she was paid to serve do not.
Everyone outside of the Obama conspiracy can only conjecture.
So possible answers to the questions are invited.
The times they are a-changing.
A new sort of politics is arising: populist, passionate, inconsistent, pragmatic, loud, muscular, energetic, boastful – and gloriously capitalist.
It’s case is put in exclamations rather than arguments. Policy statements abrupt as a tweet.
Donald Trump invented it, heralds it, personifies it.
The conservative National Review got a bunch of conservatives – some of them greatly and justly respected as thinkers of the Right – to explain that Trump doesn’t belong with them.
They’re right. He doesn’t.
But it is they who must catch up.
Mark Steyn puts it this way:
I’ve received a ton of emails today asking me what I make of the National Review hit. I used to contribute to NR, and I generally make it a rule not to comment on publications for which I once wrote. … Nevertheless, notwithstanding some contributors I admire, the whole feels like a rather obvious trolling exercise. …
I don’t think Trump supporters care that he’s not a fully paid-up member in good standing of “the conservative movement” – in part because, as they see it, the conservative movement barely moves anything.
If you want the gist of NR’s argument, here it is:
I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan…
A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance…
My old boss, Ronald Reagan, once said…
Ronald Reagan was famous for…
When Reagan first ran for governor of California…
Reagan showed respect for…
Reagan kept the Eleventh Commandment…
Far cry from Ronald Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone” line…
Trump is Dan Quayle, and everyone and his auntie are Lloyd Bentsen (see here): “I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan, I filled in Ronald Reagan’s subscription-renewal form for National Review. And you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.”
You have to be over 50 to have voted for Reagan, and a supposed “movement” can’t dine out on one guy forever, can it? What else you got?
Well, there are two references to Bush, both of them following the words “Reagan and”. But no mention of Dole, one psephological citation of Romney, and one passing sneer at McCain as a “cynical charlatan” – and that’s it for the last three decades of presidential candidates approved by National Review, at least to the extent that they never ran entire issues trashing them.
Will the more or less official disdain of “the conservative movement” make any difference to Trump’s supporters? Matt Welch in Reason:
Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment.
I’d put that contrast slightly differently. The movement conservatives at National Review make a pretty nice living out of “ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth”. The voters can’t afford that luxury: They live in a world where, in large part due to the incompetence of the national Republican Party post-Reagan, Democrat ideas are in the ascendant. And they feel that this is maybe the last chance to change that.
Go back to that line “When Reagan first ran for governor of California…” Gosh, those were the days, weren’t they? But Reagan couldn’t get elected Governor of California now, could he? Because the Golden State has been demographically transformed. …
The past is another country, and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans gave it away. Reagan’s California no longer exists. And, if America as a whole takes on the demographics of California, then “the conservative movement” will no longer exist. That’s why, for many voters, re-asserting America’s borders is the first, necessary condition for anything else – and it took Trump to put that on the table.
Dr. Brad Lyles writes at Canada Free Press:
It is discouraging to find the National Review, home to a profundity of prominent pundits, attacking the frontrunner, Donald Trump, on the very eve of the first primary contest. “Conservatives against Trump?” Really? …
Conservatives against Trump misses the point entirely. None of us regular guy and gal Conservatives out here in flyover-land … are encumbered by the ridiculous ages-old insistence upon purity in Conservative candidates.
Most people in the real world understand life is composed of incessant demands we make “trade-off” decisions. Traditionally, the only political class denying the reality of trade-offs has been the Left. It is certainly no longer helpful, if ever it was, for our Conservative literati to parse candidates’ strict allegiance to Conservative doctrine (and I write this as a life-long staunch Conservative).
How can National Review be so wrong? How can so many Conservative luminaries be so wrong?
It is easy. They can adopt the timeworn requirement that a Republican candidate, especially one who self-identifies as a Conservative, be a purist Conservative. In the current circumstance, however, the literati actually do possess the option of a purist Conservative, Ted Cruz. For the first time in history (well, aside from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan), Conservative purists can realistically expect to run a purist Conservative candidate.
And it is true Ted Cruz is a proven Constitutional Conservative, his dedication to the cause attested to by his education, training, practice, office, and nearly every single word he’s ever uttered.
But now (or at least since June 16, 2015), a quasi-Conservative has entered stage left, pirouetting far beyond every other diva on the stage and stealing the limelight every single damned day since.
How can this be? How has Trump been able to polarize the debate so deliciously — among Conservatives? Easy answer: The self-immolating wing of the Conservative Movement, including the bright lights at National Review, again, insist upon purity.
Is this prudent? In particular, does Ted Cruz’ Conservative purity predict he will/would be superior to Trump as President? Reflexively, we Conservatives would answer, “of course”.
Life doesn’t always work that way, however. We are constrained by trade-offs not of our own choosing. For example, Cruz will endeavor to reinstate Constitutional principles. But, striving against the hydra of the Administrative State and the Crony-Capitalist Establishment, Cruz will likely make no more headway than even Ronald Reagan when merely trying to close the infant Department of Education.
Furthermore, Cruz’s legal/Constitutional expertise just simply is no match for Trump’s likely success in his emblematic asymmetric approach to diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military endeavors. Moreover, Trump’s personal history of success in most every endeavor, cannot be underestimated as a boon to the Presidency.
There is one more spectacular element which makes Trump likely to be a natural-born comprehensively successful President — and for Constitutionalists as well. He has declared himself, and then doubled down, on his intention to destroy radical Islam — declaring the need for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country — how incendiary! And he declared to “build a wall”, and shut down illegal immigration. Whoa! And he not only survived the media conflagration following both pronouncements, he destroyed the media in the process.
These two issues, illegal immigration and radical Islam, are the two pivotal issues of our time, the “existential” issues that are truly existential. If we do not prevail in these two arenas, we will prevail in none.
But wait … the citizen can also win a guy who emphasized the necessity of a “huge” military (and huge support of Vets). But there’s more. … The citizen can also win draconian tax cuts, slashed regulations, with the jobs and prosperity inevitably to follow (Ex. Presidents Harding, JFK, and Reagan). …
In particular, Trump has accomplished what no politician, ever, has accomplished. He owns the media. He defeats the media and gets his message out no matter the forum and in every forum.
In fact, some would argue the media and its sibling Political Correctness Movement are the true“existential” threats facing this country. Both facilitate nearly all dangerous things we contend with. Trump’s conquest of these malign forces, as President, may be the most pivotal accomplishment of any President in history. Imagine four more years of this tour de force! Fabulous!
Trump can bring us successes on the political battlefield — and for Conservatives — unmatched even by Ronald Reagan. And it will be fun! National Review and its peerless contributors should be ashamed of their lackluster vision.
It seems possible that Bernie Sanders could actually be the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency if Hillary Clinton were to be indicted for the obvious felonies she has committed.
He calls himself a “democratic socialist”. From all that we can discover about him, we’d say that “Communist” would fit him perfectly.
But okay, “democratic socialist” will do for now.
“Democratic”? Leftist dictatorships like to call themselves “democratic”. It means nothing there. Sanders points to Scandinavian examples of “democratic socialism”. Denmark, Sweden, Norway are welfare states which hold democratic elections. They’re often held up – rightly or wrongly – as proof that socialism can be a workable system, even though it has failed everywhere else.
So how well can socialism work?
John Hinderaker writes at PowerLine:
Over the last 200 years, free enterprise has led to an unprecedented explosion of wealth, individual liberty and creativity. Nothing in human history … has enriched the human race to anything like the same degree. If human history has conclusively established any fact, it is that free enterprise is fantastically successful, while socialism is a pitiful failure. Think of North Korea, the USSR, Maoist China, Albania, East Germany, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, India until it wised up. The list goes on and on.
And yet…the siren song of socialism still lures suckers. Currently, Venezuela is learning the age-old lesson the hard way. But we can’t laugh at Venezuelans, when Bernie Sanders is a serious contender for our presidency and is far and away the campus favorite. How is it that socialism (or the urge toward socialism, anyway) can survive? It is the cockroach of ideologies, seemingly impervious to all efforts to kill it.
It may be helpful to think of socialism as a species of fraud. There are many types of fraud, but nothing new under the Sun. … The same con games that flourished hundreds of years ago still work. Charles Ponzi’s financial empire collapsed in 1920, and he was arrested and sent to prison. Yet hardly a month goes by without another Ponzi scheme being revealed. There is only one way in which a Ponzi scheme can end: in disaster. This is a mathematical fact. Yet people fall for them, over and over. …
Socialism is fraud writ large. …
Only under socialism could Fidel Castro become the richest warlord, relative to his subjects’ wealth, in recorded history. (And that was the least of his sins.) Only under socialism could Maria Gabriela Chavez, daughter of socialist tribune of the people Hugo Chavez, beloved by the American left, waltz off with a $4 billion fortune. But then, she was a piker: Chavez’s Minister of the Treasury stashed $11 billion in Swiss bank accounts.
Charles Ponzi’s mistake was that he should have gone into politics. He could have gone far as a socialist politician, and could have avoided prison. … A fraudster like Bernie Madoff will only take your money. A socialist will take your money, but that is just the beginning. When you give power to the power-mad, your freedom and human dignity, and perhaps your life, are soon forfeit.
Bernie Sanders’s economic theory is very simple, superficial and childish. He thinks there is a fixed amount of wealth (he calls it “the wealth” as if it exists in nature independent of human activity) and it is unfairly distributed. Too much over here, too little over there. Government must come along and spread it nice and evenly.
We doubt that Hillary Clinton has a better understanding. She insists that businesses do not create jobs. Obama is also unaffected by economic realities.
Perhaps what America needs is a successful businessman to take charge. In which case voters might cast a considering eye on Donald Trump.
As, in fact, they are.
We are to a large extent libertarian conservatives.
We agree with Libertarians on many issues.
Where we part company with them is chiefly over foreign policy. A realistic understanding of what is happening in the world cannot but be pessimistic. War is raging in the Middle East as a horrifying army of Islamic savages – ISIS – spreads its tyranny and commits atrocities. The war sends millions of Muslim “refugees” into Europe, which will before long become a continent dominated by Muslims and subjected to the cruelties of Islamic law.
The evil tentacles of ISIS stretch far and reach America. The worst terrorist attack in America since 9/11 was carried out by ISIS affiliates late this year at San Bernardino in California. Islam is a growing menace to the Western world, to America, to liberty.
Deliberately to ignore this reality is obviously and astonishingly foolish.
Yet Libertarians do ignore it. Or, if they have to notice it, they play it down and brush it aside. They prefer to look on the bright side of current events.
John Stossel, a cheerful Libertarian, writes at Townhall:
Terrorism! Crime! Deadly storms! Hillary Clinton!
We like the inclusion of Hillary Clinton among the horrors.
We reporters focus on bad news, but at year’s end, let’s remember what went right. 2015 was a better time to be alive than most any prior point in history.
He means, of course, to be alive in America.
The rich got richer. Some people think that’s a problem, but why? Do rich people sit on their piles of money and cackle about how rich they are? Do they build giant houses that damage the environment? Well, they sometimes do.
But mostly they invest, hoping to get richer still. Those investments create jobs and better products and make most everyone else richer. Even if the rich leave money in banks, banks lend it to people who put it to productive use.
Sure, income inequality has grown – but so what? The rich don’t get richer at the expense of the poor. Poor people’s income grew 48 percent over the past 35 years. Bernie Sanders says that “the middle class is disappearing”. But that’s mainly because many middle-class people moved into the upper class. Middle class incomes grew 40 percent over the past 30 years.
We receive all that with nods and smiles.
This year we heard more horror stories about bad schools and students who don’t learn. But take heart: Seven more states passed education choice legislation.
That means more students can opt out of bad schools and pick better ones, and over the long haul competing schools will have to get better at what they do. That will lead to a brighter future for all students – and for society, which will benefit from their improved skills.
That too is good news.
In 2015, two more states and Washington, D.C., legalized marijuana. Authorities are always reluctant to give up control, but gradually the end of the expensive, destructive and futile drug war will come.
We have no quarrel with him there.
Meanwhile, real crime – violence and thefts – continue to fall. We cover horrible mass shootings and spikes in crime in cities like Baltimore and St. Louis, but overall, crime is down – over the past 20 years, down by about half.
And that is very good news.
He comes back to terrorism:
Unfortunately, terrorism has increased – mainly because of ISIS in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, there are far fewer deaths from war and terror than there were 30 years ago, and in America, the odds of you or your family being killed by a terrorist are infinitesimal compared to disease, accidents and a thousand more-ordinary threats.
And that is where our nodding stops and our smiles vanish.
In our experience – not inconsiderable – of dealing with terrorism, we have all too often heard glib apologists, mainly spokesmen of the Left but also Libertarians, bring up the statistics of deaths in accidents outnumbering deaths in terrorist attacks. To do so is not just stupid, not just irrelevant, but bad. Accidents are by definition events that nobody is responsible for. To compare the danger of accidents with the danger of terrorism – to treat terrorism as just another hazard in contemporary living – is to remove the moral dimension from the frightful business of deliberately terrifying, killing, maiming, and shattering lives which is what terrorists do.
To disregard the immorality of terrorism is tantamount to condoning it.
Nothing ensures the triumph of evil as effectively as the abandonment of moral judgment.
Of course John Stossel does not mean to abandon moral judgment. He, like most Libertarians, has simply not given enough thought to the matter.
So on that point his optimism lapses into sheer insouciance.
But he moves on to other topics:
Marriage is good for civilization. This year the Supreme Court declared that gay people may get married. Government shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all, since marriage is a contract between individuals, but if it’s going to wade into that issue, it’s better to have one clear rule instead of ugly ongoing fights about it.
Ending the political squabble means we can all go back to minding our own business and worrying about our own marriages.
We won’t quarrel with him over that either, although we think the word “marriage”, with its age-long connotations, is unsuitable to describe a contractual union between two people of the same sex.
In 2015, women in Saudi Arabia got to vote.
But a woman in Saudi Arabia still may not drive. Or walk abroad without a male relative escorting her. Or inherit as much her brothers. Or be fully believed in court unless a second woman backs up her testimony.
More countries elected leaders, rather than inheriting them.
But some may not be able to replace them in another election.
With what he says next, we heartily agree:
The picture isn’t all rosy. As I mentioned, terrorism is up. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on track to lead America into bankruptcy. We have eternal problems like hunger and disease.
But even those “eternal” problems are closer to being solved than they used to be.
Thanks to better vaccines, 6 million fewer children under the age of 5 die each year compared to 30 years ago.
Twenty-five years ago, 2 billion people lived in extreme poverty – that meant surviving on about a dollar a day, often with little access to basic needs like water and food. “Experts” predicted that number would rise as the population grew. Happily, thanks to the power of free markets, they were wrong. In the space of a generation, half the people most in need in the world were rescued.
Ten percent of the world’s people still live in dire poverty, but the trend is clear: Where there is rule of law and individual freedom, humanity is better off.
But then again, he makes a recommendation we cannot like:
As Marian Tupy of HumanProgress.org puts it, “Away from the front pages of our newspapers and television, billions of people go about their lives unmolested, enjoying incremental improvements that make each year better than the last.”
So enjoy it.
Away from the sources of news about what’s going on in the world? There again is the misguided aspect of the Libertarian outlook. See, hear, speak no evil and it will be just as if there is none? Dangerous nonsense!
But with his last words we cordially join in:
Happy New Year!
Bernie Sanders’s and Hilary Clinton’s model socialist society is feeling the pinch:
From Online Post – a Danish site, in English.
A new analysis by Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (AE), an economic policy institute and think-tank working to promote social justice, indicates that an increasing number of Danes can be considered poor.
Our emphasis – to draw attention to it’s being a leftist organization.
The analysis, which looked at poverty numbers from 2002-2010, conveys that nearly a quarter of a million Danes live below the poverty line, as per the definition used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
According to Berlingske newspaper, that definition translates to a monthly income of 8,788 kroner [$1,338] a month for a single person or 5,047 kroner [$768] per person for a family with four children.
And it is especially the areas around the capital of Copenhagen that things look dire. Brøndby, Albertslund, Ishøj, Copenhagen and Høje-Taastrup Councils experienced the greatest increase in poverty.
From 2002 to 2010, the number of poor in Brøndby Council rose by 3.7 percent, while it rose by 3.4 and 3.3 in Albertslund and Ishøj, respectively.
In Brøndby, the challenge comes from many residents being poorly educated. According to the council’s mayor, Ib Terp (Socialdemokraterne), the council is meeting that problems by urging youths to get an education. …
But it’s not only blue-collar areas that have experienced a rise in the number of people living under the poverty line. Traditional wealthy areas such as Frederiksberg Council and Holbæk Council have also been struggling. In fact, there is no single council in Denmark that has experienced a decrease of the number of people living in poverty. Struer Council in central Jutland performed the best, with the number of poor increasing by only 0.4 percent over the eight year period.
Overall, Copenhagen has the most cases of poverty in the nation by far. There were 41,419 in 2010, up from 25,170 in 2002. Aarhus Council has 14,166, Odense Council has 9,428 and Aalborg council has 7,696. …
OECD’s definition of poverty has been criticised for being too rigid, but AE has used the definition for a number of years because it is an internationally-approved definition used throughout the EU. …
Karen Hækkerup, the integration and social minister, is awaiting the new Danish definition of poverty, which is expected in the spring of 2013, but indicated that the government has already initiated a number of schemes that are designed to tackle the issue.
The issue of poverty? Or of re-defining the word?
Plain fact: Socialism makes people poor. The fatter the government, the thinner the people.
Capitalism makes ever more people rich. A billion people have been made richer by markets over the last 20 years. The evidence is writ so large over the whole world that it is simply amazing how it can be missed.
As for Denmark – now it must somehow extend its welfare to tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants. Good luck, Denmark, with that!
(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter, Jeff Leeper)
Eminent domain: The compulsory purchase of private property by government “for public use”.
Eminent domain: Sheer robbery.
From Truth Revolt:
The Sheahan family has owned a 400-acre mine in the Nevada desert town of Groom, 83 miles northwest of Las Vegas, since 1889. This was long before the construction of a secret United States Air Force military base in 1950s commonly known as Area 51. But the family is suddenly facing eviction if they refuse to comply with the military’s demands. …
The Sheahan’s may have just spent their last Labor Day on the property. They [had] until [last] Thursday to accept the payment offer from the Air Force or be evicted from their property through eminent domain. However, the Sheahans say the $5 million offer would be shared by 20 people and is “woefully inadequate” to cover 400 valuable acres that includes a silver mine, and all of the mineral, water, and timber rights.
“We want them to leave us alone,” mine co-owner Joe Sheahan said. “This is our property. It’s legal. These are patents that were signed by Ulysses S. Grant. This is not new stuff.”
Co-owner Barbara Manning added, “And we are not their threat. We have been trying to be really good neighbors for all of our lives and so have our grandparents and our parents.”
The mine has been unable to be worked since 1954 when the on-site mill was blown up and destroyed, believed to be caused by a jettisoned engine from an Air Force Jet. But at least once a month, family members take turns visiting the property to carry out maintenance, or just to simply get away.
Though the family has been allowed to stay on the property for nearly 60 years alongside the military testing base, it is now considered a security risk. From the report:
The Air Force now says that private land ownership in the testing area is incompatible with security and safety concerns.
This is a different line than the family was given back in 1984 when the Air Force sent them the following in a letter:
The Air Force could only terminate your rights through condemnation or purchase of the property. We have no intention of initiating such actions.
The Las Vegas news outlet states that the Sheahans [were] hoping for Congress to step in to help them avoid eviction … But none of Nevada’s Republican or Democrat congressmen would respond to statement requests. The same goes for Senator Harry Reid and Republican Senator Dean Heller.
The use of eminent domain to confiscate this property may arguably be justified on the grounds that national security takes precedence over property rights.
But eminent domain is too often used to assist powerful commercial interests. The government seizes property and then sells it to private developers, claiming that the new owner will be serving “the public good”.
One entrepeneur who has taken advantage of eminent domain through such a process is Donald Trump.
From the Washington Times, by David Keene:
Conservatives are by their nature a fractious bunch, but through time they have consistently rallied around certain shared values. At times, national defense questions have dominated the national debate and the debate within the movement while at other times, social or economic issues have seemed to define the movement. In fact, however, while the public focus has changed based on circumstances, the basic views of all these hyphenated conservatives have never varied. The organizers of CPAC have for two decades polled attendees as to their core beliefs and have found a consistent belief in free markets and limited government as the dominant definer of the movement.
It’s time for conservatives who share these values to begin questioning the wisdom of the current fascination with Donald Trump. It is true that the man is successfully channeling the conservative frustration with our elected leaders and the media elite. Applauding his willingness to stand up to the false gods of political correctness is understandable as is the outrage at the way the oh-so-comfortable establishment has reacted to him and his rhetoric, but none of that can possibly justify elevating the man to the presidency of the United States. In fact, based on his public statements he is far more philosophically inconsistent or, dare we say it, “liberal” than any of the “establishment” candidates that so frustrate us.
More important perhaps is the matter of temperament. There is always a lot of talk about the “judicial temperament” required of judicial nominees, but the temperament of those we consider elevating to the presidency is even more important. A president’s inclination to abide by the constraints imposed on the office by the Founders is, as we have learned in recent years, directly related to his own concept of his place in the world. The current occupant of the Oval Office finds constitutional limits roadblocks to be bypassed or ignored. Listening to the Donald, one cannot escape the conclusion that he, too, sees himself as too important to be constrained by the scribblings of a bunch of dead white men. That alone is a reason to be skeptical about the man.
One only need go back to his reaction to the Supreme Court decision in the 2005 Kelo case giving government the power to expand the eminent domain power to allow the taking of private property not to build highways, but to give it to others so they can make money and the government can collect more tax money. … It didn’t trouble Mr. Trump, one of the few public figures in the country to publicly praise it. “I happen to agree with it 100 percent,” he said while conservatives around the country were tearing their hair out to find ways to restore the balance between individual property rights, government power and the public good.
Mr. Trump’s position then was predictable. He often entered into “partnerships” with local governments and got them to use their power to go after homeowners standing in the way of yet another Trump Tower, park or monument, and he couldn’t understand why private citizens should be able to stand in his way. A man who thought that way then and continues to think that way, regardless of whether he deserves applause for his positions on this or that issue is not one to be trusted with the awesome power of the presidency.
But it looks more than possible that Donald Trump could be the next president.
And he has some very good ideas. Just to start with, he wants to build a wall on the border with Mexico; hit ISIS hard; and make everybody richer (except hedge fund managers).
We think he would build the wall.
We hope he would destroy ISIS.
And wouldn’t it be luvverly if he made us all richer?
(Hat-tip for the Washington Times article to our highly valued commenter liz.)