I wonder in the "civilized" world if it's possible to really own land. Land that cannot ever be taken away from you by the state. Land that is under an Allodial Title, and can't be confiscated, taxed, subject to easements, or condemned. If the state can take your property, then you really don't own that property.

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

The Fifth Amendment of the Federal Constitution is supposed to take care of the property rights problem that Jeff identified: "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation". Note the use of the word "just"; the Constitution allows "reasonable" searches and seizures" (4th Amendment) because it presumes that anything searched or seized can be restored (this was in the world before drug raids).

But for "takings" the Constitution requires justice. But, this was in the age when lawyers understood the difference between war powers (which are the sole domain of the Commander in Chief after a formal Declaration of War by Congress) and executive responsibilities (under which the President is responsible for carrying out the determinations of Congress).

The whole idea of "police" powers is a modern invention that allows Zoning Authorities to pretend that they are engage in acts of war– which, come to think of it, they are.

One last snark: one of the delicious ironies of the decline and fall of publishing in America is that the victims– the NYT, in particular– are the very people who have undermined their very special Constitutional monopoly property rights. Wal-Mart has no special privileges; but the publishers do under Article I Section 8. ("securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their Respective Writings and Inventions). It took almost a century of support for the judicial fiction of a "living document" to hold sway, but the Sulzies managed it. They huffed and puffed and produced the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and, as Annie Hall once put it, "Oh, well, la-di-dah." At least, their real estate still appears to be worth something– unless, of course, there is further zoning change.


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