Some People Do Grow Up

I love the word “maturity” in this profile of Tom Stoppard by William Langley:

For all this, it might be fairer to call Stoppard a libertarian than a Conservative. In the 1970s, when the big names of British theatre – all of predictably uniform Leftist sympathies – reserved their denunciations for the United States and its supposedly nefarious doings in places like Nicaragua, Stoppard was quietly active among the dissident groups of the Eastern Bloc. In part this was attributable to his roots, but it speaks, equally, to the maturity of his thinking.

If you outlaw uranium

If you outlaw uranium, then only outlaws will have uranium. And they’ll use it to make bombs. That’s just a matter of time no matter what we do, unless we achieve complete long-term technological stagnation.

If you let ordinary law-abiding folk have it, they’ll find much better uses for it. Especially after a few of them have experimented with it for a while. Some of those uses will end up making it much easier to survive the inevitable advent of nutcases with nuclear weapons. (Not to mention plagues, natural disasters, and global climate change). And, of course, all of them will add up to lots more liberty and wealth for everyone, which is always worth a certain amount of risk.

Quote of the Day

. . . And you can hear the lament – how did we let Bush and these conservative idiots take control of the beautiful [governmental] machine we built? My answer is that you shouldn’t have built the machine in the first place – it always falls into the wrong hands. Maybe its time for me to again invite the left to reconsider school choice.

Today, via Instapundit, comes this story about the GAO audit of the decision by the FDA to not allow the plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter. And, knock me over with a feather, it appears that the decision was political, based on a conservative administration’s opposition to abortion. And again the technocrats on the left are freaked. Well, what did you expect? You applauded the Clinton FDA’s politically motivated ban on breast implants as a sop to NOW and the trial lawyers. In establishing the FDA, it was you on the left that established the principal, contradictory to the left’s own stand on abortion, that the government does indeed trump the individual on decision making for their own body (other thoughts here). Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these conservative yahoos took over. No, it wasn’t. It was unjust to scheme to control other people’s lives, and just plain stupid to expect that the machinery of control you created would never fall into your political enemy’s hands.

Warren Meyer

Eminent Domain Stunt?

Recently, a report has been circulating all over the blogosphere that Justice David H. Souter, one of the Justices that voted in the majority in Kelo vs. New London, may soon fall victim to the ruling. The press release from Freestar Media seems tongue-in-cheek:

Press Release

For Release Monday, June 27 to New Hampshire media
For Release Tuesday, June 28 to all other media

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter’s land.

Justice Souter’s vote in the “Kelo vs. City of New London” decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter’s home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

“This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”

Clements’ plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.

# # #

Logan Darrow Clements
Freestar Media, LLC

Phone 310-593-4843

The fax request to Chip Meany reads as follows:

day, June 27, 2005

Mr. Chip Meany
Code Enforcement Officer
Town of Weare, New Hampshire
Fax 603-529-4554

Dear Mr. Meany,

I am proposing to build a hotel at 34 Cilley Hill Road in the Town of Weare. I would like to know the process your town has for allowing such a development.

hough this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, “Kelo vs. City of New London” clears the way for this land to be taken by the Government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare.

I understand it your town has five people serving on the Board of Selectmen. Therefore, since it will require only three people to vote in favor of the use of eminent domain I am quite confident that this hotel development is a viable project. I am currently seeking investors and hotel plans from an architect. Please let me know the proper steps to follow to proceed in accordance with the law in your town.

Thank you.


Logan Darrow Clements
Freestar Media, LLC

Something seems out of sorts here, so I decided to investigate a little bit. First of all, what is Justice Souter’s relationship to the Town of Weare?

DAVID HACKETT SOUTER was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, September 17, 1939, the only child of Joseph A. Souter and Helen Hackett Souter. Although he lived with his parents in Massachusetts, Souter spent much of his youth, including most summers, at his maternal grandparents’ farmhouse in Weare, a small New Hampshire town twenty miles southwest of Concord, the state capital.

After his grandparents had passed away, Souter, age eleven, and his family moved to the farmhouse. His father was a banker with the New Hampshire Savings Bank in Concord. He died in 1976, but Souter’s mother still lives near the family farmhouse in a retirement community.

Souter has called Weare, which borders Hopkinton Lake, “a town large in geography [and] small in population,” where everybody “knew everybody else’s business or at least thought they did. And we were, in a very true sense, intimately aware of other lives. We were aware of lives that were easy and lives that were very hard.” It is, indeed, a typical small town in rural New England, still governed by a town meeting. Souter learned many “lessons in practical government” by sitting in the back bench of the Weare Town Hall and watching the town meetings.

A quick Google map of the given address shows, indeed, that such an address exists. Moreover, once you zoom out a bit on the map, you’ll see that it is indeed not far from Hopkinton Lake.

Returning to the press release, I was intrigued by this Logan Darrow Clements character. Who is he? A Google search revealed that he was a candidate for California Governor in the 2003 recall race which catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger to the forefront of state politics. A report by Hank Willow for Hollywood Investigator describes Clements as “a self-described Objectivist and admirer of philosopher Ayn Rand”, whose Atlas Shrugged figures not only on his campaign site, but as part of his request to Chip Meany.

Who is Chip Meany? A reference to him was made in meeting minutes of the Weare Board of Selectmen on 21 June 2004. He is also the current Building Inspector of the Town of Weare’s Building Department. The information given by Freestar Media as Mr. Meany’s fax number is, indeed, correct.

All of this, so far, is publicly available information. Given all this, as well as the fact that the instigator is located in California, across the continent from New Hampshire, I would conclude that the press release is probably a publicity stunt by Logan Darrow Clements, designed to bring attention to what many feel is an egregious ruling on the part of Justice Souter in Kelo vs. New London.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]

Libertarians and Political Reality

TM Lutas links to this thoughtful post on “Neolibertarian Practicality,” which takes radical libertarians to task for confusing faithfulness to libertarian values, which is good, with rigidity about political methods, which is counterproductive:

Practicality in lieu of principle seems to be anathema to Rothbard as it should be, but practicality joined with principle shouldn’t be, although he appears to make no difference between the two. He equates any nod to practicality as a compromise of principle. Compromising principle, in the case above would be to be satisfied with a 2% reduction of taxes as a goal. Attempting to achieve your goal of abolishing taxation by using 2% incremental cuts is not a compromising of principle, its simply a different and more practical way of achieving the same goal.

There is nothing noble or admirable about having good political ideas if you are too inflexible to get them enacted. I think that most intelligent people realize the validity of this assertion, which may be one reason why they have been leaving the Libertarian Party for years. Those who remain active in the LP seem increasingly to be strange people who are oblivious or indifferent to the empirical failure of their uncompromising political style.

As an aside, cursory comparison of the personal styles of some prominent libertarians and many utopian leftists reveals some commonality. Members of both groups tend to accuse anyone who agrees on goals, but not on methods, of being opposed to the goals. Perhaps certain kinds of people tend to be drawn to fringe political movements, and the Libertarian Party has its share of such people. Perhaps this is why the LP leadership often comes across as a bunch of cranks. It’s not easy to recruit ordinary voters who hate politics, when your leadership comes across as bitter, fractious, ideologically rigid and utopian. The LP could learn a thing or two from the Republicans in this regard, and maybe also from the Lubavitcher hassidim, who are doctrinally rigid but have recruited many Jews to their movement by being positive and open to dealing with different kinds of people, and by not insisting on compliance with all religious principles as a precondition of involvement. For ordinary voters to become engaged by a political movement there has to be something in it for them, and not just for the minority that enjoys struggle and politics for their own sake. The Republicans understand this, more or less, the Democrats are forgetting it, and the LP doesn’t have a clue.