Is Eminent Domain Ever OK?
I don’t support the use of eminent domain for personal reasons. My father’s family was FORCED to move when a military base in Northern New York expanded. The whole town was taken, not just my father’s family farm. Everything including the cemetery, which is only open to the public on Memorial Day. This took place in the late 30’s or early 40’s; I am not sure of the date. The story goes, as my father told it, that the government came in and made an offer. If you decided not to accept the offer they came back later and forced you off your property and you got nothing. Taking a little land for a road is one thing but taking a whole town is wrong, in my opinion. This military base is now home to the 10th Mountain Division.
Many years ago, my mother was forced to sell her house because the government needed her property for an access road. It was wrong, in that it didn’t uphold the “Liberty” part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we own what is ours, the government has no right to it, nor does anyone else. The needs of the many do NOT outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. We are supposed to be a part of a representative republic, which means that each individual is protected from the 51%, not controlled by them. I want the mass and the government to leave me alone, not “help” me.
Eminent domain is just a way to control people. There should be no need so great as to kick people of their land that they have had in their families for generations. They have paid tax on for all those years and whose families lifeblood has toiled that land. I would be hopping mad if they took my property by eminent domain. I probably would end up in jail before giving it up. My family has had this property since I was around 4 years old. They worked a lumberman’s shack into a cute cozy little home, dug the cellar hole by hand, dug a septic tank and leechfield. I feel as if this home has a little piece of all my family members built into it. No amount of money can replace the feeling of this home.
In my humble opinion, when the government claims “eminent domain,” it must be the burden of the government entity (city, state, or federal) to prove not only that it is undeniably for the greater good that this land be claimed, but they must prove there is no alternative way to accomplish this greater good. Of course, the landowner must be sufficiently compensated. Also, I believe that if the landowner can bring cause why losing this land would bring irreparable harm to them or their livelihood that there should be some avenue of recourse for the landowner. Maybe a public vote or something. Anything to check the dominance of the government.
I can understand all of the arguments for eminent domain, but there is one problem with it that I can’t accept. This country was established to secure INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY. With true individual liberty, you have the rights to life, liberty and property until you choose to risk them by infringing on the rights of another. When you can lose any of those rights, simply because others show greater need, there is no more individual liberty. There is only a brief period of time when the others haven’t taken what remains.
Personally I believe there should not be such a thing as eminent domain. No one should be able to take any of your property for any reason. Even if you are making moonshine, or growing illegal crops.
Unless it passes all objections by the rarely used method of common sense, it should be rejected by the locals.