Friday, June 24, 2005 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

The Politics of Kelo

Adam Thierer and Mr. Property Matters himself Jim DeLong have blogged on Kelo and what it means, and its ironies.

Just a quick note on the politics of this case. The Right, as it has, has ample reason to decry this public taking of private property to give the property to a "worthier" user. The foundational meaning of property rights to the political right traces to Locke, if you are a classical liberal, or Burke, if you are prudential conservative.

The Left here is in a pickle. Though they have no qualms about the public taking of private property for "public purposes," which they not coincidentally get to define and thus have to make a half-hearted defense of Kelo. The facts here belie that defense though, because this taking is for corporate gain and the supposed public gains are all subsidiary to that.

The defenders of Kelo then turn out to be a most unsavory lot: the corporatists, the municipal renewal dreamers and the city council empire-builders. Predictably, it is the Left's weakening of property rights that has given the corporatists space to crush the little guy.

Thanks legal positivists and progressives. You have made taking property for corporate interests respectable .

posted by Ray Gifford @ 10:45 AM | State Policy