eminent domain

wikipedia: Eminent domain

The doctrine of eminent domain, which allows governmental entities to force the sale to itself of private properties that it desires to possess, makes it a prime generator of spaces in which corruption may take root.

One of the primary justifications for government is the protection of private property. People are too often covetous of each other’s possessions. Therefore Pax Romana, or Pax Anything is not totally an unmitigated disaster. It is sort of a mitigated disaster, or else to say its unmitigated disaster quality is not total. People will acquiesce to higher level control if such is perceived to obviate lower level problems. Since people in society often exist as lower level problems to each other, authoritarian control is sometimes conceived as the better choice.

But. There are limits. How to talk about the limits?

Jefferson and others I won’t mention were influenced by John Locke, who rationalized the departure away from monarchical concepts of just governance, toward democratic concepts of the same.

I strongly suggest that we not imagine that any system of government will replace the need for us to keep our eyes open to what is actually going on, to the degree we are able. This is especially true of the functioning of governmental entities. We need to keep an eye on them. As the power of the socially interested human being serving some office increases, the power of the self interested human being serving the same office also increases.

Complexification of systems is much overrated as a problem-solving technique, in my view.

Corruption in office is a signal to a democracy that citizen involvement in government must increase.

The powerful, particularly – they are most the inheritors of the fruits of American ideals – we must insist that they not turn their backs on those ideals.

The developers who buy-off city hall are not patriotic Americans. They make believe that they are, may even think that they are, but we can do better with our use of language than that, certainly. I don’t want to quibble about the meaning of patriotism, but be assured that I do not endorse the too often utilized socio-pathological sense of “patriotism” that is jingoistic. Simply put, people who corrupt our hard won political institutions are not our friends.

But, corrupted by money and power, scoundrels do turn their backs on those ideals. It happens at all levels. This is a country rife with corruption at all levels. When you encounter honesty and transparency in government at any level support it, defend it. Just like any endangered species that you may care about. The hypocritical juxtaposition of patriotic symbols with conniving back room political dealing must be called out for what it is. We can’t let those jerks steal any credit for “love” of country whatsoever. They don’t love us, and they don’t love our political institutions. Their true function within our system is as a parasite. Do parasites love us? (Maybe, if we avoid much garlic.) The form of this political parasitism is roughly the same, regardless of the scale on which it occurs. I don’t know if the bigger lies are really harder to detect – maybe just more challenging to talk about. But I dare anyone to walk into any public venue and boldly claim that [pick your favorite governmental entity] operates transparently, without cronyism, favoritism, graft or other forms of corruption. Try it, anyway. I can almost promise that some rays of new light will be shed upon the subject from the infinite resources of the Tao, or its secular equivalent.

Human failing in such a manner is itself always a sad story, and some, for humanistic reasons, may be sympathetic to official crooks and liars. Granted, acknowledged, even promoted. Sympathy is a wonderful phenomenon, and possibly among the constellation of our better traits that may save us, if any may. That said, my sympathy for small corrupt officials is similar to my sympathy for the war criminals hiding in plain sight in the executive branch, and it is scheduled to receive more of my consideration directly after they are removed from office.

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