Friday, May 9, 2008

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

The home owners in Southampton and Boulevard Oaks are currently fighting 2 proposed construction projects near their neighborhoods—the Ashby High Rise and the expansion of a medical clinic.

It is sadly ironic that the reason they are fighting the latter is the tactic they are using against the former.

A document on the web site for the Southampton Civic Club states the reason the club is fighting the Methodist Medical Clinic expansion. In part, that document states that Methodist could extinguish existing deed restrictions and acquire property “by ‘taking’ land forcibly through condemnation (a formal court proceeding)”. In other words, Methodist could use legal procedures to force property owners to “sell” their land.

A “sale” under such conditions is a fraud. A legitimate sale involves the voluntary consent of all parties. A “sale” that is forced through government coercion is hardly voluntary. Which means, the rights of such property owners are violated. (The only objective means for violating an individual’s rights is through the initiation of force.)

While the residents of these two communities object to such tactics being used against them, they are more than willing to use the same tactics against the developers of the Ashby High Rise.
Both communities are seeking the help of City Hall to stop the project. The Mayor has declared that the project will not be built. At one point the City was drafting an ordinance aimed specifically at stopping this project. Regardless of the specifics, the home owners are willing to use coercion against the developers to stop the project.

In the case of Methodist, they are fighting the project because they fear that government force will be used to remove them from their homes, i.e., prevent them from using their property as they choose. In the case of the Ashby High Rise, they seek to use government force to prevent the developers from using their property as they choose.

If this weren’t such a serious issue, their hypocrisy would be absolutely hilarious.

Violating property rights is morally reprehensible. It would be wrong for Methodist to do it, and it is wrong for the civic clubs to do it.

© J. Brian Phillips 2008

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