Thomas Sowell

 At one time, courts took seriously the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal rights for all, regardless of where they lived and voted. Courts even enforced the 5th Amendment's guarantee of property rights.

 In other words, local voters and local politicians could not arbitrarily deprive other people of the right to come in and buy and use property as they saw fit, simply because some planning consultants or planning commissions preferred that they do otherwise. But Constitutional protection of property rights is no longer "in the mainstream" of fashionable legal thinking.

 Let's go back to square one. The people who bought homes in a neighborhood 40 years ago did not buy the neighborhood, nor did they pay for a guarantee that the neighborhood would stay the same for 40 years, much less in perpetuity.

 The only way the government can give current residents such a guarantee is to take away other people's property rights, which exist precisely in order to keep politicians at bay.

 Buying a chance and asking the government to turn that chance into a guarantee has become a common occurrence under spoiled brat politics.

 When you buy a home with a great view of the ocean, you do not pay for a guarantee that nothing will ever be built between you and the ocean. You ask politicians to give that to you, at someone else's expense.

 Some people even call that idealism because you are "preserving" something good. But preserving it from whom? And why is what you want more important than what they want?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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