Contact FreedomWorks

400 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870

Press Release

That Pesky Constitution


This piece originally appeared in the Kernersville News.

The recent editorial entitled “An emotional debate” was certainly titled appropriately. Since liberal arguments are always based on emotion and feelings rather than sound and reasoned logic.

The editorial refers to bills being introduced by Rep. Larry Brown and Sen. Fred Smith to protect private property rights.

The annexation issue is a complicated one and I believe these gentlemen are representing constituents well in bringing up the issue. It is time for governments to recognize the rights of the citizens in regards to private property.

The eminent domain issue is not complicated at all. It is a “slam dunk”. Not once in the editorial is it mentioned that we have a constitution that is designed to protect private property rights. That pesky little constitution gets in the way of liberal “do gooders” every time.

Article V…”nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The operative word here is “public” use. The News does not seem to distinguish between the public side and the private side.

You ask if a property owner should be allowed to stand in the way of construction of a thoroughfare to relieve traffic congestion, while at the same time asking if a single owner should be allowed to hold up construction for a factory that will brings jobs to the community. The thoroughfare is a “public use” as are many other things such as schools, government buildings, public parks, public museums, etc. Again, the operative word is “public” or those things owned by the public. The constitution has adequate provisions through eminent domain. That is why we have this “takings” clause.

As to the factory question, the constitution doesn’t guarantee jobs provided by the government but it does guarantee a right to private property. When property is taken from one owner and transferred to another (be that a factory owner or a baseball owner) through the heavy hand of government it is a direct violation of the constitution.

I thought your comment,…”officials must weigh the good of the many against the good of the one,” interesting. This sounds like a close kinfolk of the Karl Marx philosophy, “…from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. It makes no difference what the good of the community is; the constitution was developed to protect the individual citizen.

I guess we should feel grateful that you do acknowledge that property owners should be justly compensated. Why? Wouldn’t it be best for the community at large if the property were “forcibly” donated? If we are going to do away with one portion of the private property “takings” clause, why not all of it? After all, it’s for the “community good”.

Representative Brown and Senator Smith are doing a noble thing in introducing this legislation and returning power to the people.

I thought your argument regarding a “non binding referendum” was absurd. There again that’s liberal doublespeak. What would be the purpose? So liberals could pretend to address the problem while proceeding to promote the agenda of “government knows best” and your property is “ours” for the taking as long as it benefits the community.

I am in the commercial real estate business. I know first hand what it is like to deal with a property owner who doesn’t want to sell. Many times I have negotiated deals that would bring “jobs and economic development” to a community. Many times, I have overpaid for property to entice the owner in order to make the deal work. Never did I think that the government should step in and force that owner to take what I was offering. Many times, deals were not made because of one property owner…but guess what, it’s his property. If it’s more important to him than financial gain, he wins, I lose. That’s America.

In one sentence The News says, “We agree with Rep. Brown and Sen. Smith that the rights of a property owner must be protected.” Then you proceed to tell how the property owner should not have the right to hold up development of anything that’s “for the community.” How exactly do you think the property owner should be protected? You didn’t say. One could argue that almost any new development could be painted as an improvement over many properties in every community.

Liberal ideas are always well meaning and they always have good intentions. But we have seen that good intentions have paved the way to places most of us don’t want to go.

Joyce Krawiec is a political activist in Kernersville. She is NC Grassroots Coordinator for Freedom Works, an organization that advocates for private property rights.