Assault on Freedom

Most of us are numb to the daily encroachment of government. If we continue to ignore this slow steady growth, our property and prosperity will eventually belong to someone else.

The letter below was published in the Gwinnett Daily Post on January 5, 2002

Since September 11th we have heard claims from the left and the right about lost freedom and civil liberties. These are important issues to be sure, but the assault on freedom began a long time ago and is well entrenched. Liberty is losing ground and we, and our elected leaders, remain ignorant or indifferent. Two articles in the Saturday December 29th Gwinnett Daily Post prove my point.

The first article is about a Superior court order temporarily suspending the Georgia law banning video poker machines. Assume your neighbor purchased a video poker machine; plugged it up on his front porch, and invited all his friends, family, and neighbors to play the machine. Let’s also assume he agrees to pay cash prizes to any one who wins.

Do you or I, as a neighbor, have the right to destroy or confiscate his video poker machine? This is what our state government is doing. How can the state do this, if we as citizens cannot do it ourselves? Isn’t the government supposed to be an extension of the people?

The second article explains how a Gwinnett citizen is losing his private property to condemnation by the county. When you or I go shopping, we are offered products and services at various prices. If we don’t like these prices, we counter offer or shop somewhere else. We cannot force, or be forced into, a transaction we do not approve of. I don’t care how wealthy Mr. Gates is; he cannot force me to buy Microsoft products.

Unfortunately, this mutually agreeable pricing mechanism is turned on its head whenever government gets involved. Gwinnett County is forcing J. Harold Harrison to sell his land to the county at a price he believes is unfair. He is being forced into binding arbitration with no guarantee of just compensation or recourse.

Obtaining county “greenspace” is not a proper use of eminent domain law. How does this theft, defend the public good? If county ordered greenspace is a defense of public good, why not limit the number of persons that can reside in Gwinnett County? I suspect such a frontal assault on freedom would generate too much heat and would likely fail in a court test.

Gwinnett County Commissioners are guilty of pressing the growth accelerator on the one hand; and then stealing private property on the other, to make up for their zoning failures.