Freedom vs. Liberty

“The high-level state Government has no fucking right to drive down my fucking property values, especially with local authorities opposed.”

-Site Commenter Miles SG

There’s an interesting discussion going on in the comments section at Matthew Yglesias’ site. It concern the establishment of a Tea Party organized group called “The Campaign for Liberty” that was founded in opposition to a state law restricting localities ability to place land use restrictions on private property. What the law says, essentially, is that localities must designate areas where medium-density and mixed use contruction is permitted. Basically what we’re talking about here are apartment buildings and light commecial real-estate, such as a 7-11 or a dentist’s office. But this law has some local residents up in arms, worried that letting another man do what he wants with his own property will negatively affect someone else’s property values. Yglesias notes the odd contradictions in play:

This is a country where the free market position is that for-profit colleges should have a right to unrestricted government subsidies. So why shouldn’t “liberty” mean the liberty of rich suburbanites to ban medium-density construction? Here’s a group of people being forced to do something they don’t like and they don’t like being forced to accept urbanization any more than conservatives like being forced to let gay couples get married or the conservatives of yore liked being forced to integrate the Montgomery bus system. Change feels coercive to people.

Indeed, it’s probably not news to anyone who has paid close attention to the “freedom” and “liberty” rhetoric of conservatives, that their words and their policy positions are often in deep contradiction. As much as some conservatives harp about the “sacrosanct nature of private property rights” what they often seem to actually mean is that their private property rights are sacrosanct. As soon as a developer decides to put land that it owns to use in a manner that would negatively impact area property values, the sacrosanct nature of property rights all too often goes out the window.

This is not to say that I, personally, oppose land use restrictions. Surely one should be able to buy a home safe in the knowledge that the house next door won’t be torn down and replaced with a nightclub a few years down the road. But what is grating is the lack of consistency and intellectual sophistication on the part of conservatives who trot out the phrases “liberty” and “freedom” to justify positions that serve only to advance a narrow personal interest, and clearly have little bearing on a more broad, abstract conception of freedom or liberty.

In other words: “It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.”


Of course it’s always been. Stupid old people sick of change not because it’s change but because THEY have to CHANGE.

Narrow minded selfish dicks.

In the snows of Canada City, I have a simple test to see who they are: whether or not they don’t clear the snow off their part of the sidewalk. It’s a pretty good correlation.

But if property values go up because, for example, the local government builds a new school or park in the neighborhood, do these folks want to share? No? You mean they want to privatize the gains and socialize the losses? Shocking.

@ManchuCandidate: Or, where there is street parking, they clear off the part in front of their parking space and leave everything else untouched.

In right wing world, gun rights trump even property rights. Many jurisdictions have laws under which property owners from landlords to restaurants can post their property as gun-free zones. This valid exercise of property rights is simply unacceptable to some gun rights advocates .

I wonder if Site Commenter Miles SG is aware that the government has a perfect right to drive down his property values by building a road right across it. I would bet this fool also has a mortgage on said land and would find out very quickly who it actually belongs to by stopping payments on the mortgage. If he quits paying property taxes he also has a good chance to find out his “property rights” aren’t nearly as ironclad as he seems to think.

Our city is preparing to build a canal to eliminate flooding every couple of years when we receive a “100 year rain” and this subject is red hot right now.


Would love to see somebody get Rand “private discrimination is A-OK” Paul’s opinion on this, just to watch the head-asplosion as two pillars of teabaggerism collide. :)

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