Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Property Rights Are Popular?

According to Veronique de Rugy, in a discussion of the Kelo case, "88 percent of the public now believe that property rights are as important as free speech and freedom of religion."

I'm not sure what to make of this, or even where she gets the number. (It doesn't appear to be in the article to which she links.) If property rights are viewed so favorably, the existence of the culture in America in 2010 becomes completely inexplicable.
    The EPA can do anything to anyone for the flimsiest of excuses — whether that's regulating the carbon dioxide output of a utility or forcing farmers to refrain from draining a pond on their own property. No one on right or left talks about disbanding it.
    Cheery Green propaganda is everywhere, even in such odd places as the home page of Wells Fargo Bank's website and TV ads naming a new car model's distinctive value as "Eco-Boost." Yet, there is no mainstream, popular outrage expressed even in the blogosphere.
    Taxes confiscate roughly half the income of the middle class and the money is spent for massive social welfare programs for both rich and poor, or worse goals. Yet, tax revolts continue to attract only small numbers of protestors.
    Millions of individuals on most points of the political compass cheer when the salaries of executives are illegally capped by arbitrary fiat of an unelected bureaucrat in D.C.
    The Feds illegally violate the rights of auto company bondholders in favor of union cronies. There is no large-scale outcry.
And these horrors are just from the past two years.

I'm glad if most people disapprove of the Kelo decision. It sanctioned governments' arbitrarily confiscating private property to give to 'social good enhancing' businesses and is clearly malicious and anti-constitutional. But, if there's popular support for property rights, one has to wonder what opposition would look like. How close would the U.S. have to come to Cuba for the poll to shift?

Apparently, that number — assuming it's at all accurate — means only that most people would disapprove if Federal Black Shirts invaded a suburban neighborhood en masse and forcibly removed three quarters of the owners, then sold their houses for no reason whatever.

Sadly, at best this is just more evidence — sorry to sound misanthropic here, but I think it's true — that the overwhelming majority are simply too often unable to connect words to reality. And, that, in my view, is much more the basic reason for all of our current ills.

1 comment:

Tim Johnston said...

I think you're quite right, Jeff. I often wonder how people in many European countries were persuaded that paying 45-55% of their income to the government was a good deal.

It looks like a classic case of the boiling frog, the silent majority will allow their freedoms to be ratcheted away until it's too late to do anything about it. That majority is the 'sleeping giant' the Japanese awoke - but they've been slumbering ever since.