Hassinger: Ahh, yes, those “right-wing conspiracy theorists” like Rosa Koire, the self-described “pro-choice Democrat” and “extreme social liberal” with 30 years in the property appraisal business. She may be just another kook, but she’s at least stable enough to have written a book about the topic, which grew out of her experience fighting eminent domain abuse in California. So when you dismiss the whole notion with an ad hominem on the right wing, please be sure to include her.
But before you do, ask where those folks got their crazy ideas. A single drip? Not exactly. The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives was founded in 1990 (at the UN) and now calls itself ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. “ICLEI is a powerful movement of 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities as well as 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries.” Whoa, that’s crazy, right? No, that’s how the organization describes itself on its own website. And it’s not like they’re in our backyards or anything, except for the ICLEI members Athens-Clarke County, Chatham County, Fulton County, and the cities of Atlanta, Savannah, Decatur (of course!) and Tybee Island.
The real problem with the anti-Agenda 21 people is that it’s impossible to go only halfway down a slippery slope, and some of those involved in shrieking about this are as crazy as Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove. (Substitute “fluoridation of our water” for “Delphi mind control” and you’ll see what I mean.)
I’ve seen nothing in Agenda 21 that “forces” local governments to adopt UN-approved zoning and housing regulations. And while I have seen public-private partnerships, (conservatives call that “privatization”) and regional governance (T-SPLOST, anyone?) being touted as good things, (they often are) I think American property rights were damaged far more by the Kelo vs. New London decision by the US Supreme Court than they will ever be by the blue-helmeted eco-warriors at the UN.
Turkheimer: It’s not about the left or right wing (the 9/11 truthers and voting machine folks are primarily left wing), it’s about extremism. It’s about discrediting ideas that disagree with your own, not on the merits, but by ascribing them to a shadow society with mind control tactics (the Delphi principle) with a plot to take over the world.
ICLEI provides research information and programs to cities that would be too expensive for them to get on their own. I’d say they should be burned at the stake, except I’m worried about the carbon emissions.
It becomes impossible to debate Kelo if one side believes it is part of a global plot to deprive suburbanites of their property rights, rather than a discussion of where the line should be drawn on the use of eminent domain by the government. You are correct about Kelo, though, and I feel for those folks. Mostly because that case seems to have the same plot as the opening to the movie Goonies, and like the Goonies, I never say die so I will debate it anyway.
Kelo stands for the proposition that the government can take your land (for which they have to pay fair market value) purely for the economic benefit of the whole community. In Kelo, the local government made an ill-informed real estate decision, but since the nation as a whole did the same thing right about that time, I won’t excoriate them for it. The 5th amendment takings clause is supposed to limit eminent domain use, and it sort of does, but just compensation doesn’t go a long way when you start thinking that your property ownership as an inviolate right.
I hope everyone is sitting down: Sometimes the government has a right to take your land for the betterment of everybody. This is what Dworkin called a “social goal” and sometimes it outweighs a “right”. The gist is, with few exceptions, placing desired and useful assets each within the exclusive ownership of a single person or firm, who or which is then free to exchange with others, is the best way to ensure that those assets are either consumed by the persons who value their consumption most highly or put to the use that will eventually yield the highest possible total social sum of consumer satisfaction (or willingness to pay). A point to keep in mind is that utilitarian and economic theories are both consequentialist and (social) goal-based.
That’s how market economies work. Resources must flow to the most efficient use. So what Kelo stands for is the triumph of the “free” market.
But none of that matters, because everyone agrees we have to have telephone lines, roads, cable and internet, etc, and none of those are possible without eminent domain used on behalf of non-governmental entities, but the Agenda 21 crusaders don’t really have a problem with any of that. It’s when it involves rapid rail, or a park, or stream buffers, or green energy projects, now it’s a global FEMA camping, fluoride injecting, climate change hoaxing plot to steal your children and force them to join a Halal Sharia Brigade.
And so you can’t discuss it rationally. And a small, vocal minority get to tell the rest of us we can’t have nice things. Like sidewalks.