Monday, February 26, 2007

Property

Amy Ridenour notes that Peyton Knight is nonplussed by a Loudoun County Virginia “smart-growth,” “environmentalist” - one Andrea McGimsey. McGimsey favors a massive Federal initiative to rescind property rights, the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground.” Aside from "slow bleed," the Left always seems to have nice labels.

McGimsey’s puzzling question, “Whose taxes are paying for your property rights?”, she purports to answer in the same breath, “Mine are.” To rational beings, this is indeed bizarre. Unless McGimsey thinks she has some ownership interest in your property, how can her property taxes be relevant? I will suggest some possible translations.

McGimsey could say this because she believes property rights are rights granted by the government, not rights the government cannot take away. In this scenario, when the government takes your money, it grants you provisionary property rights. Property taxes are tribute. McGimsey thinks she has an ownership interest in your property, ipso facto, because a government exists. I favor this explanation, but there are others.

McGimsey could mean that without government to enforce contract law, private property would be a meaningless phrase. This has some merit. However, we suspect this is not her meaning because she says it in order to counter arguments favoring limited government. She argues that her property taxes enable, and therefore circumscribe, your property rights. This can only be an argument from privilege.

A bald statement of her position leads us to a third interpretation, related to the meaning of the term "rights." Ms. McGimsey may be convinced that her enjoyment of the rural character of Loudoun County trumps the rights of other property owners. She expects that paying taxes justifies total control of her environmental ambience. This might be summarized as - "I pay property taxes, in part, to protect the value of my property. My property will be worth more if I restrict how you use yours."

In passing we should note that the Center for Public Policy Research...”disapproved of the proposed management entity that would control the JTHG because taxpayers would have no say in determining its leadership.” And well they should disapprove: This is Confiscation without Representation.

Statists believe they have the right to constrain your pursuit of life, liberty and happiness in favor of their definition of greater good. As voters, this makes them troubling. As bureaucrats it makes them dangerous. Ms. McGimsey appears to qualify twice. She favors eminent domain by stealth.

No comments: