We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Do not get mad… get even

There is a serious plan being master minded by pro-liberty activists to use powers of ‘eminent domain’ in New Hampshire to take a house belonging to Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter and build a hotel on the site.

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.”

The way the systems works is that you need to make sure at least five of the Selectmen have a nice fat stake in the project personally (and why bother to hide it? That is how this process works). Justification? Easy: it will draw pro-liberty activists and tourists into Weare and thereby increase tax revenues to the town.

This is one of the most splendid ideas I have heard in a while as I have long liked the idea of using the impositions of the state against the very people responsible for imposing them on others. When it comes to such things, there is no ‘public and private sphere’, there is just a private sphere.

31 comments to Do not get mad… get even

  • Johnathan

    Magnificent. I may take the missus there for a weekend break.

  • cato

    Absolutely fantastic. Sounds like Francisco d’Anconia could have done!

  • I have created a pledge at PledgeBank.

    Specifically:

    http://www.pledgebank.com/LostLibHotel

    “I will pay to spend 7 nights in a hotel built on property seized from David H. Souter but only if 10 other people will too.”

    Deadline: 29th August 2005.

    By signing this pledge, you agree to pay for lodging in the “Lost Liberty Hotel”, once it is built at 34 Cilley Hill Road, Weare, NH.

    It is expected that during one’s week of residency in the hotel in Weare, lodgers will contribute significantly to the local economy – not just staying in the hotel, but shopping, buying gas, eating at local restaurants, etc.

    This pledge is important, as it will help to demonstrate

    (a) the large public demand for lodging in a hotel built on what is currently Justice Souter’s property

    (b) the large economic benefit to the citizens of Weare that will occur once the hotel is built.

    Please – and I’m very serious, I really want each and every one of you to do this – please go there and sign the pledge.

    Thank you.

  • Jacob

    “This is not a prank” said Clements

    This IS a prank. A silly one.

    Beside buying the Selectmen of Weare you’d have to buy a lot of other people on a lot of boards that revise and approve the plans, along with a lot of judges of various courts.

    It is the loony lefties who always claim that the whole bourgeois estblishment act as one person to screw the poor proles. Let’s not parrot them. Let’s be more realistic.

    It is also a mark of the loony lefties to claim that people who think different from them are either crazy, or have been bought by “the rich”.

    Those who approve eminent domain takings are not necessarily (all) bribed by the developer, maybe they think it is good for the public. You could bribe officers either way – for or against – bribing isn’t an argument in this debate.

    This story about Souter’s house has been repeted on many sites, but I fail to get the joke.

  • “This story about Souter’s house has been repeted on many sites, but I fail to get the joke.”

    Then you’re clinically devoid of humor.

  • Jacob, you said: “Beside buying the Selectmen of Weare you’d have to buy a lot of other people on a lot of boards that revise and approve the plans, along with a lot of judges of various courts.” I had the exact same thought, but it led me to a conclusion polarly opposed to yours: so much the better!

  • Beside buying the Selectmen of Weare

    Standard practice for this kind of development. Indeed, that’s a large part of the point of the whole exercise.

    you’d have to buy a lot of other people on a lot of boards that revise and approve the plans

    Not really – none of those people have the power to revoke the taking. Besides, many of them report to the Weare city council. Even in a worst case scenario, it wouldn’t be the first time a project on taken property foundered. The property in such cases isn’t returned to the prior owner.

    Point still made. In fact, additional points scored for showing up the planning and zoning process as well.

    along with a lot of judges of various courts.

    Not at all. The Supreme Court has basically taken courts out of the game, unless the New Hampshire Constitution has some extraordinary protections against takings. There is no heightened scrutiny of takings, thus, they are accorded the extraordinary deference given any other political act of an elected body.

    It is the loony lefties who always claim that the whole bourgeois estblishment act as one person to screw the poor proles. Let’s not parrot them.

    This is the opposite of parroting them. This isn’t the establishment screwing the proles, this is the proles screwing the establishment, in the form of Justice Souter his own eminent self.

  • “….I fail to get the joke”

    Its very simple, Jacob – these people have allowed private citizens to be stolen from (in return for what it doesn’t matter) – the joke in this proposal is that it will force them to confront the reality of their own corrupt, sordid, depraved, puerile, harebrained, repulsive, ridiculous impositions on the freedoms of others. Perhaps it is only when legislators like Souter feel the brunt of their own aggression against other citizens they will appreciate the value of the liberty they are trying to quench.

  • I have questions: what makes any you think that Souter will be offended by any of this?

    What if he thinks it’s a swell idea? IOW: what if he really is an integrated commie?

    Then what?

  • Johnathan

    Billy Beck, I dunno the answer to your question but who cares? Let’s light a fire under these creeps. Sooner or later some of them may get the message.

    Jacob, I can understand why you feel that defenders of property rights like Samizdata should fight fair but frankly things are getting to the desperate stage where fighting fair is not working. For far too long we have played by the rules, been good boys, and much bloody good it has done. Sometimes we have to use a bit of ideological judo on these thieving bastards.

    I understand that some of the brighter sparks in the GOP – not a big demographic, admittedly – realise how radioactive this issue is and may try to legislate to correct this monstrous use of Eminent Domain. About time.

  • steve

    Got to agree an absolutely splendid idea, no idea where the place is but must be worth a visit.

    Billy Beck the chances of Souter being please at the idea is slight, his type are quite happy to apply these rules to other people. Doesn’t matter if he is a commie, a fascist, or any other type of statist, he wanst to run the country properly (how he sees it) and the populace will be the ones to pay

  • Jacob

    “…along with a lot of judges of various courts.”

    “Not at all. The Supreme Court has basically taken courts out of the game, unless the New Hampshire Constitution has some extraordinary protections against takings. There is no heightened scrutiny of takings, thus, they are accorded the extraordinary deference given any other political act of an elected body.”

    Totally wrong.

    What the Supreme court has done in Kelo is: it has decided to leave the definiton of “public use” (as stated in the Constitution) to local and State judges. It has decided not to interfere in their ruling.

    Every taking, when challenged in court, still has to be approved by the judges, who are free to determine if it is indeed for “public use” or not.

    Seems to me a wild exageration to claim that all officers and all judges in a State can be bought en masse.

    Whether Judge Souter will be happy with the taking of his home or not depends entirely on the compensation he will be awarded. You’ll have to pay some extra to those Selectmen to make sure that they don’t award too high a compensation, or the joke will be on you!

  • Pete_London

    Jacob

    Those who approve eminent domain takings are not necessarily (all) bribed by the developer, maybe they think it is good for the public.

    Has the penny really not dropped yet? It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks is good for the public, your freedom is perpetually at threat when your property rights are not sacrosanct.

    If a private developer wants my home they can make me an offer, if I ain’t selling, well that’s just tough. You may be aware of the saying ‘an Englishman’s home is his castle’. This isn’t just a throwaway line but represents the fact that under old English law a peasant held the same rights to enjoy life and liberty in his hut as did the Baron in his castle.

    It’s a very simple principle.

  • I love this plan. Thanks Perry.

    It may be that there are all kinds of nitpicky Jacob type things wrong with it, but don’t forget that the point of such stunts is not just the plan itself, but also the media hubbub that it will all generate. This has made it easier for journalists to write this story up, with a “human interest” angle in the form of all the humans involved in this little drama.

    I would not want to be in the Judge’s shoes. Yes, he may get a tidy sum for this particular house, but who says he can’t be chased out of the next house he buys, by similar methods? No, this will definitely piss him off.

    I don’t agree that this is aping the excesses of the left. I think it is the punishment (in a very small way) fitting the (much greater) crime. And all impeccably legal.

    I can feel the pro-free market movement ceasing merely to be a university obscurity with connections direct to people of power but by-passing the general public, and becoming a media hubbub machine, like the left did in the sixties.

    Could this thing have happened without the Internet?

  • Bernie

    Wow this has made my day.

    Brian says,

    I would not want to be in the Judge’s shoes. Yes, he may get a tidy sum for this particular house, but who says he can’t be chased out of the next house he buys, by similar methods? No, this will definitely piss him off.

    Wow again. It means this idea really has legs. I think this will even be carried by MSM. And the other judges will also be at risk of similar schemes.

    I wonder how much the White House would be worth as a hotel :-)

  • Bernie

    Another thought. On the north bank of the Thames on the river front right next to Waterloo Bridge is a magnificent building that I believe belongs to Inland Revenue. That piece of knowledge really puts the dampers on the view as you drive across from the south. It has been a dream of mine for some years to throw them out of there and give them a few portacabins a few miles further east on the Thames, say at Tilbury. I’ve often wondered what the public might think if someone were to publish the value, along with pictures, of buildings currently owned by various branches of the state.

  • Bernie

    Here is some interesting further news taken from here(Link)

    “Am I taking this seriously? But of course,” said Charles Meany, Weare’s code enforcement officer. “In lieu of the recent Supreme Court decision, I would imagine that some people are pretty much upset. If it is their right to pursue this type of end, then by all means, let the process begin.”

    Souter’s two-story colonial farmhouse is assessed at a little more than $100,000 and brought in $2,895 in property taxes last year.

  • JuliaM

    “Could this thing have happened without the Internet?”

    Nope! I don’t think it could….. Isn’t it great?!

  • wf

    If they build it, I will come. Literally.

  • Heather

    I find this to be a marvelous idea. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Let Souter sweat.
    It’s brilliant in its simplicity. Nobody is above the will of the people.

  • rosignol

    I wonder how much the White House would be worth as a hotel :-)

    Hm… do governments pay property taxes on government buildings?

    If not, replacing a government building with a non-government structure (or even just an empty lot owned by a private citizen who will pay property tax on it) is certain to increase the tax base of a community.

  • I’ve always favored: Don’t get even, get ahead.

  • Only $100,000? This could really work!

  • The guy behind this was interviewed by Fox. Alan Combes on Hannity & Combes was rather appalled that the so-called “liberal” judges were the ones who went for this bad judgement and the more conservation ones were the ones who stood up for individual rights.

    He is in talks with a development company for this. Yes it certainly isn’t a joke but it is rather funny.

  • steve

    This is pinched from the Mises Blog, but a good idea

    Now here’s an ideal candidate for condemnation and re-development in New London, CT: 181 State Street, which right now produces no revenue and is therefore “blighted.” The location is ideal and it would be a shining example of what the city’s website touts as a “progressive business environment.” Condemnation and re-development would turn it into a thriving center of commerce.

    Unfortunately I have messed up the link to 181 state street new london

    it’s city hall

  • steve

    This is pinched from the Mises Blog, but a good idea

    Now here’s an ideal candidate for condemnation and re-development in New London, CT: 181 State Street, which right now produces no revenue and is therefore “blighted.” The location is ideal and it would be a shining example of what the city’s website touts as a “progressive business environment.” Condemnation and re-development would turn it into a thriving center of commerce.

    Unfortunately I have messed up the link to 181 state street new london

    it’s city hall

  • Millie Woods

    A lot of your posts display a lack of knowledge of the spirit of the folks of New Hampshire. Rest assured that if the selectmen of Weare suggest this, they know it’s – to use a term dear to the hearts of NH stalwarts – do-able and it’s a done deal
    The live free or die slogan on NH license plates is not just frou frou. People in this state don’t just talk the talk – they walk the walk. I know. I lived in soggy Vermont for 18 years. What a contrast!

  • John K

    I wonder how much the White House would be worth as a hotel :-)

    An excellent idea. I think Slick Willie established the going rate for a night at the White House, although the money went into his campaign fund rather than to the poor taxpaying schmucks who paid for the thing. The White House should be commercially run as an upmarket hotel. The Executive Mansion could just as easily be housed in a couple of rooms at the Holiday Inn. What’s wrong with that?

  • John

    So, the plan here is to engage in cannibalism in order to teach the cannibals a lesson?

  • John K

    Well if you can’t join them, beat them.

  • John, if they are not human, it isn’t cannibalism.

    Besides, this is a case of being eaten out of house and home. Vegetables are not on the menu.

    I think the idea sounds healthy. Come on, exercise your freedom muscles. It’s got to be good for you.

    Or have you bitten off more than you can chew?