Virginia to Vote on Property Rights

Question 1 on the ballot for Virginians this Tuesday is whether to adopt a constitutional amendment to protect private property owners from damage or under-fair market taking of their property through eminent domain.

That Virginia even needs a constitutional amendment to protect this most basic of all American notions -- private property rights -- is evidence enough of a more serious problem. 

It turns out that the greatest violators of property rights are our local governments.  While many of us are fixated on the theft of rights and lawbreaking at the federal level, local governments have made an unusual set of allies in the property rights battle:  business cronies and anti-private property groups posing as environmental conservationists. 

Using tactics equivalent to what organized crime might do if it had the power to make law, local governments are property bullies, and right under our noses.

You'd think it would seem boorish and quite un-American that anyone would articulate opposition to Virginia's constitutional amendment.  The Washington Post has, calling it a "thrall to special interests."

You read that right.  Home owners, farmers and just ordinary people are now labeled special interests in this sickening atmosphere of hatred of freedom and property rights.  The Washington Post, of course, is the mouthpiece of many special interests, so when it opposes Virginia's Question 1, it is speaking on behalf special interests too fearful to appear as boorish as The Washington Post.

In the Virginia county of the Pitchfork Protest for farmer Martha Boneta, a new community-based online publication called the Fauquier Free Citizen was created to, among other things, expose the local government's abuses of private property rights.  Coming out in favor of the eminent domain amendment, I write, "Fauquier County government has shown its propensity to use creative ways to trespass on private property rights as well as violate the laws that protect those rights."

There is a war on property rights.  Besides abusing eminent domain, local governments misuse zoning ordinances to act in unlawful combination with business cronies and faux tax-exempt environmental organizations to trespass on individual liberties and property rights.

George Mason authored Virginia's Declaration of Rights.  Section 1 states:

"That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

Private property rights are fundamental to our American heritage.  The most valiant warriors have always been those who defend their property from invaders.  Citizens like those in Fauquier County are exposing and engaging against this property corruption by local government invaders. 

Tuesday we'll see what percentage of Virginia voters still understand what George Mason's generation did.