Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Live Free or Die

On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in a 5 to 4 decision, that the government has the right to condemn private property and transfer title over to other private individuals or private corporations simply to stimulate economic development and/or create a larger tax base.

The city council of New London, Conn., had decided to confiscate some acreage within its boundaries and turn it over to a group of private business owners called the New London Development Corp. whereupon 15 existing private homes would be demolished and replaced with a hotel complex, offices and other structures.

Naturally, the owners of the 15 existing homes were outraged.

The structures were in excellent condition, in a quiet neighborhood, with an ocean view. Some of the homes had been in the family of the residents since 1901.

The four most conservative justices on the Supreme Court (William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas) all sided with the homeowners.

Sandra Day O'Connor wrote a strongly worded dissent, noting that "the specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

While the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution allows government to seize private property and convert it into "public use," Supreme Court Justices David Souter, John Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy believed transferring property to a private individual somehow constituted public usage.

Presently, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, South Carolina and Washington all have laws forbidding the use of eminent domain for economic development. 

Much of the public disagreed with the overreaching of the government in the usage of eminent domain, including a Libertarian named Logan Darrow Clements of Los Angeles.

Clements ran for Governor of California in 2003. His philosophy of a voluntary society and free-will capitalism was based on the 1957 novel ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand.

Clements received 274 votes.

A Libertarian is a person who is concerned with the fundamental protection of individual rights.

Libertarians believe that individuals have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

Therefore, if individuals are not initiating coercion against others, government should leave them alone.

Libertarians oppose the criminalization of victimless acts (drugs, prostitution, censorship, etc.) and believe in reducing the size and scope of control of the government.

Both liberal and conservative ideologies have civil libertarian adherents. Plus the Libertarian Party has become a noticeable national political movement, an alternative to the two-party stranglehold of control.


The Free State Project was a proposal in 2001 by a group of Libertarians whereby 20,000 of them would settle in a localized area within one of 10 states by 2006 and create a society where the role of government is the protection of individual freedom.

The original 10 target states were Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

 New Hampshire was selected (by a vote of participants) as the common destination.

New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die."

1) It has the lowest state and local tax burden in the continental USA

2) It has the second lowest level of dependence on federal spending

3) It has a state house "citizen" legislature where representatives haven't raised their $100 per year salary since 1889

4) It has a culture of individual responsibility -- for example, no seatbelt or helmet regulations for adults

5) It has the lowest crime rates in the country -- less regulation inherently means less crime

The mission statement of the Free State Project: “The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.”

In 2006, Logan Darrow Clements was one of the Free State Project participants, on his way to a better life in New Hampshire.

It also turned out that Supreme Court Justice David Souter owned a 200-year-old farmhouse on eight acres near Weare, New Hampshire.

Thus, a collision was about to occur.

Clements soon declared he wanted to build a hotel, similar to the one Justice Souter voted in favor of allowing private individuals to build after confiscating private homes in the court case, on Justice Souter's New Hampshire property.

Accordingly, Clements notified the local Weare township council, requesting that they initiate eminent domain proceedings against Justice Souter's property thereby promoting economic development for the area.

Eventually, the township of Weare held a town meeting and rejected Clements’ request for eminent domain to acquire Judge Souter’s property.

As of March 14, 2010, there were 10,000 participants in the Free State Project.

Nearly a thousand of them had moved to New Hampshire from elsewhere.

In 2006, a Free State Participant was elected to the New Hampshire General Court.

In 2008, six Free State Participants were elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

In 2010, the so-called Tea Party Movement has blossomed into a national force.

This “grass roots” organism is primarily concerned with today’s excessive government spending and increased control over every aspect of American life, seeking similar solutions to the Libertarians of the Free State Movement.

The national debt is nearly $16 trillion in July of 2012 and expected to rise as far as the eye can see.

Government is becoming larger, more powerful and less manageable.

Yet people continue to vote to obtain self-serving goodies from a government that always over-promises and under-delivers, without any consideration to cost or inevitable unintended consequences.

More government means less individual freedom.

Voting for less individual freedom is a form of insanity.

"The obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people." Ron Paul

I belong to a similar organization of Libertarians called the Get Outta Here Project -- a bunch of grumpy hermits who have settled in northern Arkansas and discourage visitors.

We believe in life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and bathing during full moons.

Live free or die.

Quote for the Day -- "If we must die, we die defending our rights." Sitting Bull

Bret Burquest is the author of 10 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and an imaginary girlfriend named Tequila Mockingbird

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