Disaster! Government Respecting Individual Rights! Oh No!


by Timothy Sandefur

Eric de Place at the Sightline Institute has a blog post on various property rights matters that is typically Chicken Little about how respecting the rights of people who own property will lead to social ruin, or, in his words "a disaster flick in slow motion." For example, in the town of Avondale, government officials are having to come to grips with the awful fact that they're going to have to let Wal-Mart open a store on land that Wal-Mart fairly bought and paid for with money that it didn't steal from anybody. Some bureaucrats (and, evidently, Mr. de Place) would prefer to force consumers to pay more for products they need, or to travel farther for those goods, in order that society might look the way government planners would prefer it to look. Silly me, thinking that consumers, and not bureaucrats wielding the coercive power of the state, should decide what businesses prevail in a neighborhood and what don't.

And, just to show how on top of things de Place is, he points out an astonsihing SHOCKA! new report…. Guess what? The "secretive" activist Howie Rich helped fund the Prop. 90 campaign. No! Really? Wow, we didn't hear that a billion times a day last year….

Isn't it sad how those who are opposed to property rights don't even much try to come up with good arguments nowadays, but simply use ad hominem charges (and often untrue ones: "PLF is industry funded!") to avoid addressing the fundamental fact that what they're arguing for is a world in which other people tell you how you can use your property?

Well, Sightline has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from giant multinational corporations, millionaire software developers, media tycoons, and even lumber barons. Does that make a difference? Of course not. That's why ad hominem is called a logical fallacy.