Eminent Domain

Article by Ben Doolin on May 3, 2016


It’s been used as a reason to explain why The State is necessary.  It sounds good on the surface, something like ‘sometimes individuals need to make sacrifices for the greater good.’

It doesn’t sound quite so ‘clean’ when you dig into the underlying principles… or when you draw parallels from the principle that would have to exist.

Consider the basic principle: If you want something and can’t get it by voluntary means… it’s ok to use force to get it.

That… justifies rape.  Not so pretty now.

“Ok, but it’s not just that I want it, I’ll benefit by having it.”

Still, justifies rape.

“OK, but it’s not just me that will benefit, lots of people will benefit.”

Now, you’re trying to justify… gang rape.

When you get down to it… committing crime (violating person or property) is never justifiable.

That is not to suggest that some people won’t do it… and maybe even for an understandable reason like a starving man stealing bread.  Still, it’s wrong to do… which is to say that even though that man is starving, the baker has no obligation to let him steal… and is perfectly within his right to his property, to block that attempt.

What the argument for eminent domain really represents, is creative laziness.

“Well, after spending two seconds thinking about this… I can’t come up with a voluntary solution… so, I’m just going to shoot the guy and take his stuff.”

If you want to build a road and don’t own all the land… you need to acquire it voluntarily.  If the last person won’t sell, it’s on you to get creative.

Almost everyone has a price.  Option number one, Just Pay It.  You could also look for an alternate route.  You might be able to build a bridge or a tunnel.  If a million people would benefit and there is one person holding out after receiving an offer that is way higher than the property is worth… you could publish that information, suggesting that people not cooperate with the person that is not cooperating with them.

“You don’t want to sell to us, to help us with our commute problem, we don’t want to sell our groceries to you… to help you with your starvation problem.”

Regardless of the solution… even if that means that your project is not viable… crime is not an acceptable answer.

So no, Eminent Domain… does not justify the existence of The State.