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September 18, 2006

Comments

Bruce Matthias

Jubal, your posting is spot on. I spend my days (and some nights) defending private property rights and they are fundamental to a free society and the pursuit of happiness. There must be something in the water up in Brea that blinds their elected officials to these rights.

Sick of it all in San Clemente

Same holds true for San Clemente - Anderson, Eggleston, and Donchak (she city on the planning commission) have consistently voted against property rights. Jeisy is the only republican who is pro-property rights and Prop 90. That's why we had to collect almost 6,000 signatures to protect our property because they won't! In fact, they are the one's leading the attack!!

redperegrine

"Property rights are a natural right, not a political one."

Yes, Jubal, but where in nature are property rights recognized? Bruce has it right:

"I spend my days (and some nights) defending private property rights and they are fundamental to a free society"

Property rights are an invention of human beings living in society with one another. This in no way diminshes the importance of property rights. To the extent that people (or collectives) can seize your property arbitrarily or by force, that society is not free.

Jubal is right again!

Yes..Jubal is right that Garcia must be rejected tonight. Please join me in voting no on Garcia!

Keith Carlson

Red p., slight disagreement for you: some rights and truths are self-evident, endowed by the Creator, and unalienable. I think property rights would fit in those categories. As such, property rights are not mere human inventions.

(But the guys in Brea might know something the Founders didn't know.)

redperegrine

Keith, we may be arguing a semantical point, but for me property rights and other "inalienable" rights are templates applied as ideals by an enlightened human society. It's hard for me to imagine a Creator intentionally establishing a human condition with property rights, but not attainable, alas, until those of us lucky enough to be born after the Enlightenment came along.

But hey, that's just me.

"man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains,"

Rousseau and Garcia would have gotten along grandly -- everything was going great until other people showed up. Now we have to have "private" property. Keith, you are correct, what is ours has been endowed by our Creator and the right to what is ours is an unalienable human right.

Just to be totally clear, Mr. Hayashi has never indicated that he wants to "build a vast amount of homes" on his property. What he wants is the right and the ability to create a realistic plan that conforms to city and state standards while realizing the worth of his investment.

Jubal

RP:

Property rights aren't an Enlightenment invention. For example, this passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

ARTICLE 7 - THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT

You shall not steal.[185]

2401 The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one's neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men's labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property.

I think it is safe to say the 10 Commandments pre-date the Enlightenment.

Pedroza Has Been Dauchered

Art used to be Lynn Daucher's mortal enemy. Now he can't find enough good things to say about her and other Daucherites from Brea like Ron Garcia. He's even adopted her "let them eat cake" attitude toward property rights.

What gives?

redperegrine

Whoa, there Jubal. I didn't say property rights was an Enlightenment idea - it's as old as human society. Our conception of it - and its universal applicability as a principle - is pretty recent though. Biblical property rights include slavery and concubinage! I also notice that the Hebrews had very little compuction about killing or enslaving the Canaanites and stealing their land - Jehovah said it was okay. In fact, our conceptions of freedom and property rights fare pretty badly in the OT. We owe a greater debt to the Teutonic and Graeco/Roman (darn pagans)traditions that linked property to representative government.

(The Catholic Church may very well find theological support for property rights because it owns so much! But really I don't remember much indoctrination on the subject in my CCD days.)

That reference to Rousseau by 3:34 is misleading. In his state of nature man may be free - free to rob, rape, and pillage to his heart's content, if he wants. What is ours is ours precisely because we earned it and society agrees that freedom rests on that point. We can thank our Creator that we have Founding Fathers who recognized the connection through the study of history (not theology) and did something about it - whether they called it a natural right or not.

When somebody can violate that precept, especially under the cover of law, then things aren't going well at all. So badly in fact that some may be caused to question the validity of the social contract Rousseau as wrote about it.

Jubal

RP:

But the Founding Fathers believed property rights to be a natural right. Hence the Declaration of Independence states how man is endowed his Creator with certain unalienable rights ("pursuit of happiness" can be read as property rights).

And even your OT examples do not debunk the ancient notion that the right to own property is bound up in the nature of man as created by God. That is what makes it unaleinable -- because man cannot take that right away from other men, because man did not endow it in the first place.

Art Pedroza

Jubal,

I agree with you, for the most part, but I honestly don't know all the details about the Hayashi proposal - and you did not talk about the traffic concerns voiced by Garcia. Are they made up?

If indeed the Brea Planning Commission overstepped their bounds by voting as they did re the Hayashi property - it was wrong - but has that been determined?

Property rights are very important - but we should not be able to build whatever we want without caring about the affects on our neighbors. Didn't Jesus ask us to be good to one another and to live by the Golden Rule? (He also said that sooner would a camel fit through the eye of a needle than would a rich man enter into Heaven, but that is a topic for another day).

What if a fellow wanted to build a strip joint next to a preschool? Is that OK? What if a developer wanted to build an obscene tower in Santa Ana, providing thousands of offices that nobody wants? Oh wait, that already happened.

Also, why did the OC GOP endorsement committee back Steven Vargas even though he also voted with Garcia re the Hayashi proposal? Did one of them vote in a less affirmative manner?

BTW, I am a fan of both Vargas and Garcia - so I hope they both get endorsed.

Jubal

Art:

If you "honestly don't know all the details" then why did you assert Hayashi "wanted to build a vast amount of homes on his lot."?

And traffic? The overused, elastic weapon of choice for every NIMBY.

And Steve Vargas has been off the Brea Council since 2002. Garcia voted for the taking this summer

Art, stop making excuses for the guy. He thinks it is OK to do a regulatory taking of Mr. Hayashi and other landowners property without just compensation or due process!

Somehow, if Garcia had voted for a PLA instead, I think you'd be singing a different tune.

redperegrine

Here's where I believe the discussion dissolves into semantics - or worse, philosophical (not political) debate.

Of the numerous critics of the idea of natural rights (including such different thinkers as Rousseau and Edmund Burke) I think it was Jeremy Bentham who had the most entertaining description: "nonsense on stilts."

Invoking the Deity or belief in something "self-evident" is great PR, but poor logic - and not at all necessary to embrace and practice the virtues codified in the founding documents of the nation.

I just read the observation "We hold these truths to be self evident" is just a fancy way of saying "because we say so." But that doesn't make the truths any less true.

redperegrine

Watchit Art. Next you'll be telling us that Jesus and his disciples were a wandering commune of socialists!

Art Pedroza

Jubal,

If he voted for a PLA I'd have to give him the Maddox treatment!

I wonder if there has been more than one vote on this Hayashi deal? Garcia said that he and Vargas voted the same way at least once on this project.

As for traffic issues - they are for real - but yes the NIMBY's often resort to crying about them. Look, traffic in SoCal pretty much sucks - who wants to make it worse, at this point?

John Mardahl

I won't support the guy (Garcia)not, because of his land use plans but because of his poor judgement.

Any politico in 2006, whether Republican or Democrat, who puts an endorsement from someone like Lou Sheldon is in my view, pretty stupid.

Simply put, even the Jesus Freaks in Brea shy away from that maniac.

Jubal

Invoking the Deity or belief in something "self-evident" is great PR, but poor logic - and not at all necessary to embrace and practice the virtues codified in the founding documents of the nation.

RP:

You've just reduced the Declaration to "great PR"

redperegrine

You've just reduced the Declaration to "great PR"

Not at all, Jubal. To us it is a great historical document. But it was a political document, too; and as such exercised an appropriate 18th Century rhetorical flourish to promote the values and principles within. There's no doubt that Jefferson was thinking about good "PR" - all of Europe was watching and he knew it!

Whether Jefferson genuinely believed in the philosophy of Locke I couldn't say. To me it doesn't matter one iota.

The founding documents were a codification of ideas learned from classical history, English common law, and relatively recent history of Seventeenth Century England.

My point in this exchange is obviously not to denigrate the meaning or import of these documents - simply to point out that the reliance on natural, or "self-evident" rights (or truths) as an objective concept is not supported by logic or experience. The Founders described self-evident truths - presumably these were valid for well-to-do whites males only - half of them owned slaves; property restrictions were frequently tied to suffrage in the early Republic, and women didn't get it until the 20th century. Clearly our ideas of what's self-evident is much more expansive than theirs. Some people think of it as progress (some don't).

Jubal

RP:

It may not matter to you, but it matters immensely if we are to retain a correct understanding of the Founding and the nature of unalienable rights. It matters that we know what the Founders thought and believed -- and they believed those fundamental rights were endowed by a Supreme Being. That is why those rights, while government can suppress them, it cannot take them away because they reside in the individual person.

If you de-couple the rights from the "unalienable" part, then they exist only at the sufferance of the majority -- to be granted or taken away by whoever has more votes -- or in a worst case, by whoever has more guns.

You are saying our fundamental rights are man-made fictions that man can just as easily unmake. And that is a very dangerous road to travel.

It seems to me that Rights are an agreed upon basis for society and are created, interpreted and destroyed by humans. Whether or not we are "endowed" with Rights by our Creator is completely irrevelant to the conversation of human rights. Every person can have a different idea of endowed Rights, but there is a limited scope as to what may be considered a manmade Right. It seems that that is how Martyrs are made -- by people who follow the Rights they believe have been endowed to them. On Earth -- the rights you have are determined by your Citizenship.

Jubal, thank you for keeping the record straight. Garcia voted to bankrupt Leo Hayashi's property because he wanted open space for free and to suck up to Bev Perry and Claire's Hills for Everyone for his election. He may (or may not) get away with it in Brea, but at least the Party rightfully took him to task and kept this issue honest. Thank you for being diligent. GO VARGAS!

redperegrine

Jubal, I still reassert my main point: that the Founders' believed certain rights to be "natural" or immutable is beside the point. Understanding how they came to adopt these ideas - and how they wanted them applied - is the point. The beauty of the Founders idea of rights is not in the claim of Divine endowment, but rather because the structure they created to protect those rights has worked so admirably well. Those with a theological bent can say the latter is because of the former. That's okay with me - so long as they stick to the rhetoric and don't make me go to their church.

Understanding all this is extremely important to us as citizens in a democracy. There's nothing dangerous in my saying that nobody has ever proved to me the existence of objective absolute values or rights somewhere on a sublime Platonic plane.

About inalienable rights you wrote: "That is why those rights, while government can suppress them, it cannot take them away because they reside in the individual person."

I would submit that whether or not an opressive government is merely "supressing" rather than "taking away" his rights is an academic point to the man hauled away at night to a concentration camp.

The principal purpose of human society is to protect the rights of its members, implicit and explicit. When those rights are trampled on the social contract needs to be reconsidered - whether the rights are considered natural or self-evident by anybody or not.


And to reiterate on a point already made is that the social contract is validated by the majority. Since there is no actual social contract that one physically signs, the implied contract is as Professor Roscoe Pound expressed more than eighty years ago: "Hence all thinking about law has struggled to reconcile the conflicting demands of the need of stability and of the need of change. Law must be stable and yet it cannot stand still." And so the social contract is constantly changing yet fundamentally stable and is only binding as long as it is validated by the majority.

I hope this makes sense!

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