Federalizing Local Tyrannies

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Marc A. Thiessen of the Washington Post warns of the latest assault on property rights to emanate from the Obama Administration. (Incidentally, Thomas Sowell alluded to this in a piece I noted a couple of days ago.)

Under Obama's proposed rule, the federal government will collect massive amounts of data on the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of thousands of local communities, looking for signs of "disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets." Then the government will target communities with results it doesn't like and use billions of dollars in federal grant money to bribe or blackmail them into changing their zoning and housing policies.
Actually, Thiessen doesn't call this an assault on property rights, and perhaps that's because he, like so many of us, has grown so used to having numerous small tyrannies telling us what we can and cannot do with our own property. Or perhaps it might be accurate to say that Obama is federalizing numerous small wars against our property rights. In any event, Thiessen's next paragraph suggests another reason:
This is not about blocking housing discrimination, which has been illegal since 1968. It is unlawful for someone to deny you a loan or prevent you from buying a home because of your race, creed or color. Socioeconomic status is -- and ought to be -- another matter. If you want to buy a nice house in the suburbs, you have to be able to afford it. Apparently, Obama thinks that's unfair discrimination by the "holders of capital."
Our past civil rights efforts, which should have ended with making government enforcement of bigotry illegal, unfortunately also rendered moot the right to do business -- or refuse to do so -- with anyone of one's own choosing. This nullification of part of the right of free association has now set the precedent for the government, already derelict in protecting our personal safety, to keep us from pursuing one of the only options left open: Fleeing poorly-governed localities.

-- CAV

P.S. Thiessen seems to agree philosophically with Obama that economic "inequality" is a problem and that the government ought to attempt to "solve" it. I disagree with both of those premises.

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