Libertarian Commentary #16-18A By Nathan Barton
When we hear about the state “taking something,” most people do NOT put together the reality: it is stealing. Let’s talk about that a bit.
I don’t particularly care for most of Timothy J. Taylor’s writing. No it is NOT because he is an attorney (although that does give me pause), nor because of that neat beard of his, nor his excellent command of English. It is because all too often he goes to extremes and he jumps to conclusions regarding the motives of people, and puts people into pigeonholes: makes us into “groups” instead of the individuals we are, and which most libertarians understand. But in his most recent posting in Authority!, Statists Take and Don’t Compensate, besides his usual lumping together of people in groups, he has another error. He doesn’t take the matter FAR enough. (But I do give him credit for taking up the matter at all (pun intended).)
Squire Taylor writes about how people are not being allowed (by the statists, natch) to rent out their property – as if that were something new, and as if it were restricted to just a few locales (but growing in popularity as a form of tyranny). Specifically, many jurisdictions are not allowing people to rent their homes to someone for less than 30 days, and many others are limiting the total number of rentals which can be done in a given district to a certain percentage. With, of course, the weapons of the cops to enforce their edicts.
But this sort of nonsense has been around for decades, if not centuries. Landlords (or wannabe landlords) have been abused by the “state” (usually municipalities or counties acting as municipalities) for a very long time, as more and more regulations are imposed upon them AND as existing regulations are interpreted more and more broadly. That is important to keep in mind. A regulation usually has to be presented to the public and adopted by a process which allows for public feedback and which makes the victims at least aware of what is coming down the pike. Changing the way a regulation is interpreted, on the other hand, can be done at the sole discretion of (often) a single bureaucrat or elected official, with no warning. You CAN’T, for example, refuse to rent to a very long list of “protected” persons, including various sorts of felons, people whose life style (ranging from what they smoke or drink or listen to (at the highest possible volumes or what their living standards are to virtually everything under the sun) you object to, and much more. And in some cases (such as convicted child molesters), the landlord is PROHIBITED from contracting with them. Each of these prohibitions on who can be denied a rental, and each of these mandates on who MUST be allowed to rent, are both a taking under the Fifth Amendment AND a denial of rights “protected” by the First Amendment on association, free speech, and assembly.
Often, the excuse for this taking, and this denial of liberty, is that the “rights” of others are “being protected,” which literally adds insult to injury. Even while the state steals away our rights, it claims that we are violating the rights of others.
But there is more: The interpretation of regulations, and the regulations themselves, deny a landowner the right to use their land for any long list of activities, which must be individually approved subject to what is almost ALWAYS a very long list of “conditions” (hence the name, “conditional use permits”) UNLESS the landowner submits to a hideous bureaucracy and a torturous process of review, public comments, hearings, legal actions, and degrading (and expensive) actions. This is just as much a taking as the rental prohibitions and limits. When coupled with such evils as occupational licenses and permits for virtually every profession from taxi driver and hairdresser to engineer, architect, dentist, doctor and security guard, the statist has much to be able to offer as sacrifices to their idol, the state.
Sadly, too many people do not understand how bad it has gotten, or that this process has been developing for decades. And they have grown to accept things that no peasant in England, no burger or guildsman in the Germanies, no Jewish merchant in Medieval Spain or the Italies, would have put up with.
Even if the current system is all wiped away, I fear that many parts would be recreated almost overnight, because people have become so accustomed to the “security” which the system offers.
Mama’s Note: And yet these folks are upset because there is no “affordable housing,” no jobs for their children (or themselves), and their money becomes ever more worthless. So sad that they can’t see the connection.