“Anonymous” postings are akin to profane graffiti. Spray it on and then go and hide.
I am particularly incensed by “Anonymous 3:10” posting following my comment on Jim Bacons “BB&T Ahead of the Curve” posting of yesterday. His/her suggestion that I would feel differently about balancing private rights and public responsibilities if the property in question was my house is below the belt.

In 1951 my mother and father bought a small parcel inside the Clear Edge around West Glacier / Belton, Montana. Over the next six years we built a three bedroom home, storage area, garage, septic system and cistern and landscaping on the property. The home incorporated a 1909 cedar log structure originally constructed in Apgar and then moved log by log on a stone boat over the snow to the site two miles away.

In 1970 the house and land were condemned for public use by the State of Montana. I know exactly how it feels to drive down a road on a trip back to ones home town to show ones children were you lived when you grew up and see only an empty field with a service station beyond.

In my professional practice I have also seen the collective best interests of the citizens of dooryards, clusters, neighborhoods, villages, communities and even regions thwarted by the selfish private interests.

An overzealous protection of private “rights” is exactly the sort of “traditional value” that Jared Diamond examines in “Collapse.” As we point out in “Collapse, an Appreciation,” 8 August 2005 at Diamond believes that the failure to reexamine these traditional values is one of the two root causes of a society to fail. Our posting of this AM (“Who Really Profits”) places the need to create functional human settlement patterns in context.

Note to readers of “Who Really Profits”: If anyone has seen in that post (or any other place) a suggestion by us that a private owner should not be compensated for the full value of property taken for public use or that the new, imporved system we advocte to deterim the value that meets the Federal Constitution’s private property right guarantee be less than fair and equitable please let us know where such a statement can be found in our work.


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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    The lesson in this, from another “Anonymous,” is that the laws of economics and preachings of economists both assume a perfection of rationality. That is a condition that does not exist in humanity.

    Your Anonymous 3:10 may have reasons as valid as mine for remaining so. You have put your thoughts into the public square for debate under terms that do not require a commenter to disclose her or his identity. Anonymous 3:10 made an erroneous assumption that you called him on; he did not defame you.

    Your emotion in response is equal to that he displayed. Had you noted in your (already) lengthy piece that your family had suffered from condemnation, it would have increased the weight of your argument and obviated his.

    I do think that the blog medium has a downside in that there are not editors to challenge, cajole and test, and the speed of the medium only increases the risk.

    The risk to those who post, and to those who, like me, comment.

    All that said, I agree with you that despite the understandable (if overplayed) emotions attached to property, sometimes we as a society need to get over/beyond that. Not always, but sometimes. And I don’t profess to know when to draw the line.

  2. Ray Hyde Avatar

    How is private selfish interest any different from collective selfish interest?

    Private interest is selfish by definition, but collective selfish interest is just a mob. It might be a democratic mob, but it is a mob just the same. If we learned anything from the civil rights movement, it is that government has a duty to protect the minority.

    Your arguments for public benefit and collective good don’t hold any weight with me.

    Just because you put “rights” in quotes doesn’t mean that they are not still rights. I think you treat them entirely too lightly. Without fundamental rights we have no basis for law or government. Fundamental rights seem to be a popular topic right now, and if you recall, Benjamin Franklin wrote quite a bit on that subject -anonymously.

    As for taking private property for public use, didn’t you suggest that we use the profits from the entertainment industry to fund our schools? I don’t recall any suggestion that the entertainment industry be paid for their property.

    I really don’t understand why you seem to think profit is a bad thing, especially short term profit. I don’t see how you get to long term profit without short term profits.

    Apparently profit is OK if it is collective profit especially if you can demonize some individual in the process. If that kind of mob mentality is what you call re-assessing traditional values, I’ll put my money on the old dying society, thank you.

    I can’t imagine going through the work you describe only to lose the home, especially if it was in town. What was the state purpose in doing this?

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    “The presentation of cooperation as superior to competition is attractive on the surface because of the emotions the words elicit. “Competition” triggers images of dog-eat-dog selfishness and conflict, where very disagreeable things might easily occur. “Cooperation” more soothingly suggests communal harmony and benevolence, as well as organization and predictability. As a result, cooperation–“pulling together” for the joint interests of the group–usually wins when it comes to verbal comparisons. In reality, however, a competitive market economy is characterized by more extensive and effective cooperation, because of the form that competition takes, than an economy controlled by the state, which is the means of achieving supposed “cooperation” by way of coercion. “

    “The competition of a market economy, based on a legal framework reflecting people’s “natural” rights to life, liberty and property (most notably including “thou shalt not steal”, as John Adams and many others, especially in America’s founding generation, noted long ago), outclasses that in a command economy because it is permeated by voluntary cooperation across the almost uncountable margins where individual choices interact, rather than far more limited “cooperation” imposed on some against their will. “

  4. E M Risse Avatar

    Here is a final thought on the takings issue and the New London Hotel case:

    Much of the negative response to the idea of awarding compensation for real estate takings that serve the greater public good is that some believe that it is not possible to:

    One, establish what is a legitimate overarching public interest, and

    Two, what is the fair and equitable compensation for “unique” property.

    We have already stated that noone in their right mind would argue that the current governance structure can be relied on to always make sound decisions on this issue.

    However, if society can establish laws, regulations and processes to determine when it is in the public interest to:

    Dissolve a marriage or wipe out contracted debt, or

    Put an individual or a group of individuals in an institution, in jail or go to war, or

    Take ones life for an act against the public, or

    Remove a child from their home for the benefit of the child, then surely

    It is possible to determine when there is a legitimate public interest in acquiring private property, and to establish fair compensation.

    Economic competition is the default setting of contemporary civilization and real estate ownership by an single individual can thwart not just public purpose but beneficial economic competition.

    We suspect a root cause of some differing over the “taking” of privately held real estate is the failure to understand the organic structure of human settlement patterns. This causes some to not believe that in fact functional patterns and densities can be determined based on the Natural Laws of human settlement pattern.

    Recall that Jared Diamond cites TWO core overarching cause for Collapse of societies: One is the failure to reconsider traditional values when circumstances change (things like climate change, new technology, etc.) but the second is the failure to do comprehensive future planning.

    Let us focus on planning for a sustainable future.

    We will be addressing this issue when our columns return to Bacons Rebellion after the Devils Dance.


  5. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    Anonymous posters are cowards, pure and simple.

    If you can’t put your name on it, it shouldn’t be said.

  6. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I don’t disagree it is possible to determine when there is a legitimate public interest in acquiring private property, and to establish fair compensation.

    The problem in the New London case and others that have been rightly condemned is when the “public interest” is really private.

    Whoever the small owner was, he got there first, and therefore holds a competitive position. That position can probably be bought out at a competitive price. Causing cooperation by coercion is never in the public’s true interest, but we won’t discover that until it is too late – again.

    The rules we have are that anonymous posting is allowed, discourged maybe, but allowed. Anonymous writing has a long and rich history. I don’t see that name calling is justified in this case or at this time. Change the rules if you like, but you may lose some useful dialog in the process – anonymous or not.

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