Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where's a snail-darter when you need one?

Read with interest good ol Howie Kurtz "Media Notes" today "Making of a mosque mess."
(We'll skip the "Mr. Obvious" stand that The Teleprompter recited on Friday and his equally obvious "walk-backs" on Saturday and Sunday.)

How short memories are around here! And what strange bedfellows Islamic worship centers make with Liberal views on property rights. Suddenly the champions of Eminent Domain and the Endangered Species Act have become hawkish on laissez-faire property ownership and use.

Return with me now as we go back in time to recent US property rights cases, which are replete with sanctions against what lawful owners may do with their personal property.

  • Take for example the EPA's preference for fringe-toed lizards, kanab ambersnails, and fairy shrimp over land owners. Dare I invoke the dreaded "snail darter" or the muther of all animal rights trumping property rights--the Great Northern Spotted Owl?
  • Then there are those pesky "neighborhood associations" suing flag-waving veterans who want to put out Old Glory out front. And how about the activists complaining about mountain top mining practices messing up the views for, oh, about 10 people in the hollers of West Virginia?
  • Oh, and let's not forget the "preservationists" (Civil War) in Virginia and community organized (anti-capitalists, etc.) against Wal-Marts in Chicago.
  • Does anybody recall the Disney theme park retreat from Northern Virginia back in the 1990s? (The land that was too sacred for a historical theme outside the US Capitol is now a sprawling housing development full of Freddy Mac/Fanny Mae McMansions.)
Granted, some of these examples had to do with law (i.e. Endangered Species and Clean Water acts), which NO ONE is denying they have a right to build if lawfully zoned and legally owned. Yet others have to do with aroused popular opinion or organized community protests (some of which were bussed into the communities they protested).

Where were all the concerns about legal property rights then?

Companies, individuals and private groups withdraw finely laid plans all the time due to unpopular opinion or activism. This is no different.

A larger question has to do with the delay in replacing St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church--the ONLY house of worship actually destroyed by 9/11 attacks. It still has not yet been rebuilt.