Edgefield County As It Happens
Edgefield County, South Carolina

July 11, 2005

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Rolling back the clock


web posted July 11, 2005

Remember some of the sayings you heard as a child? Things like, your home is your castle. Or maybe, let sleeping dogs lie. A watched pot never boils was popular, not that it is true, but it was designed to get you working in the kitchen not sitting around watching a pot of water boil.

The wisdom contained in those old sayings of our grandparents was not always obvious, but as life experiences continue to build one begins to see how profound simple everyday logic is being replaced with a call of change for the common good. Not that there is anything wrong with the common good, but when it infringes on the individual it is no long the “common” good.

We have seen the Constitution of this country turned on its head by the Supreme Court for the “common good”. For almost two hundred years the arbiters of what legislation withstood the test of the Constitution did just that. However, we began to see the effects of liberal appointees to the court bring in other sources, some from foreign lands, and public opinion to guide decisions; polls are a dime a dozen and change daily and no other source is needed to judge our Constitution.

Recently we have seen the court make dramatic, and arguably unconstitutional, rulings from the Ten Commandments (a ruling that clouded the waters not cleared them) and the infamous emanate domain ruling giving government the choice to decide who gets to own what property.

Who died and made government king?

Imagine that you have worked your whole life building a small lake on your property. You work each year clearing underbrush, planting fruit trees, grass, and shrubs. On other parts of the large tract you farm several small fields with tree lines between each. The day comes when you get to retire to your little piece of Heaven on Earth. You enjoy your day tending to the hard work you put in all your life and the mailman comes. Your property has been condemned.

It seems someone else, with more money and “bigger and better” plans for your property (not to mention political connectiosn), has informed your local government they think a complex on the property would increase taxes and the wonderful “natural treasure” such as yours should be available to all. With the promise of money, that being more taxes (wink) for the elected officials to spend, they agree and have just given your property to someone else. Of course the government, who never has enough money, will offer you pennies on the dollar for your life’s work.

So says the Supreme Court.

Some polls out right after the decision showed as many as 94% of Americans saying the court missed the call. States are making moves to protect their citizens against such abuses of private property rights. A very wise woman once said, “In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the classical era of American law reigned...Protection of property was a major casualty of the Revolution of 1937…Rights were reordered and property acquired a second class status...It thus became government’s job not to protect property but, rather, to regulate and redistribute it. And, the epic proportions of the disaster which has befallen millions of people during the ensuing decades has not altered our fervent commitment to statism.”

No truer a statement has ever been spoken. However, some who wave around the Constitution as though it is a free pass to demand our Democracy protect them from neighbors seem to forget two things.

First, a Democracy the United States of America is not. We are a Republic. A Democracy, according to James Madison, is “the right of the people to choose their own tyrants.” Secondly, the Constitution was written to limit government, not empower it over the people. The rights belong to the individual, not the community or the “common good” and certainly not government.

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