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Re: [at-l] Losing land to AT

Kurtis Kirsch wrote:

> Do you consider that your (and society's) convenience to be worth the pain
> and suffering of someone you don't know. 

Most people would gladly push the button on the box for a million
bucks, even if it kills "someone they don't even know."

In large part, that's what happens every election day. Even people
who consider themselves strict followers of the Golden Rule will
prostitute their morals in the voting booth; inflict suffering on
others and take something without paying for it. The recent
clearcutting referendum in Maine is a classic example.

>                                           A society that doesn't protect
> the rights of all of it's members, is an unjust society that considers that
> the rights of the many, outweigh the rights of the few or the one.  I would
> rather deal with a permit system or just bushwack than have any
> individual's rights taken away.  Our gov't can spend astronomical amouts
> for hammers and toilet seats for the military.  Why can't it compensate
> citizens, whose land is needed for the "greater good," for the sentimental
> value of their land, 

Because they can get away with it. That is the whole point of
modern democratic government. Why, nothing would get done if 
citizens actually have to *pay* for what they want; better to
just take it by a show of hands. As as added bonus, folks will
get that fuzzy glow after the vote knowing that they did their
"civic duty" by participating in the glorious democracy.

Bah! I'm finding it hard to vote at all these days. It just
legitimizes the process.

>                      and if someone thinks their land is priceless,
> negotiate for use rights, or reroute the trail, it's been done before, and
> it will be rerouted in the future.  

Although I'm more of a consumption tax-only kind of guy, I kind of
like the system described by Robert Heinlein in a couple of his
books. In it, there are no zoning or eminent domain laws, and the
government is financed solely through property taxes which are set
as a fixed percentage of assessed value. Furthermore, and this is
the cool part, the property owners themselves assess their own

But there's one catch: all land is considered always for sale at
its assessed value. If someone offers to buy your land and you
don't want to sell, you'll have to immediately reassess the land
at a value greater than what the buyer is willing to pay *and*
cough up three year's back taxes.

This system isn't without flaws, and a lot of the details are left
unexplained (e.g. what if someone only wants to buy a portion
of a particular parcel?). But it would certainly frappe the real
estate market and force everyone -- developers, land owners,
conservationists and the government -- to put their money where
their mouths are for a change.

> Another option is to get rid of the private ownership of the earth
> altogether, stop reproducing, and build a society that is totally equitable
> to everyone.

Oh yeah? See you at the revolution, sonny. I'll be the guy with
the mimeograph machine in the troglodyte camp.

> "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
> that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
> that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

We do?

mfuller@somtel.com, Northern Franklin County, Maine
The Constitution is the white man's ghost shirt. }>:-/> --->
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