The buzz in favor of using eminent domain to give Justice Souter a taste of his own medicine boils down to 1) street theatre – It’s effective in convincing the masses of the wrongness of blatant government thievery and 2) seductive delerium – It provides a slim, but desperate hope that equally applying oppressive policies to those who create and enforce those policies will make them lift the boot up from our necks – just a little, anyway. As a one commenter puts it, “If space aliens COULD rescue us from this government, I’d support that, too. ”
The street theatre justification for the Lost Liberty Hotel project falls flat from the get go. While it does call attention to the use of eminent domain for private enterprise, it doesn’t go far in convincing the masses of anything beyond simply reinforcing their own existing tendencies.
At best, statists see the Kelo case as a way that big, bad capitalists take advantage of the “little man.” They come away from the Lost Liberty Hotel Show saying, “Right on. It’s wrong for Souter to let Pfizer take property for business use. Government is the only group that should be confiscating property. Power to the people!”
“Confiscate this, Souter!”
Conservatives and libertarians who are enticed by the Lost Liberty Hotel plan believe that wielding the power of government could make government cry uncle and back off. In other words, the space alien rescue. Expansion of government doesn’t make government back off. Even if Congress passed a law limiting the use of eminent domain for private projects, it will still be back in force before the ink is dry, taking your stuff in all manner of other ways.
It’s like making it illegal to pick one pocket, but open season on all the other pockets. That’s how government rescues you.
So what’s the right way to react to the Kelo ruling? Do what you should have been doing all along. Work on a personal freedom strategy, not a collective one. Martyring yourself in order to make a point to the masses is a waste of life, just as expending the slightest energy in street theatre to sway the herd is a wasted effort.