“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Note on Editorial Schizophrenia

For years now the Amarillo Globe-News has gone to great lengths to condemn any anti-smoking ordinance as government infringement of private property rights, championing the right of business owners to run their establishments as they see fit.

On the other hand, the Amarillo Globe-News has been quick to champion the intervention of government against private property owners when their property is an unsightly overgrown pile of

This is a curious double-standard. The editorship acknowledges health hazards are involved in both, but in the first case business owners are treated as sovereign, without an admission that local, state and federal regulations apply to business practices. In the second case the private citizen is not only held accountable to every conceivable law, but even subject to aesthetic values.

Just recently it has
dawned on the editorship that forcing the clean up of someone’s yard involves private property rights. With the long dispute about to conclude in imminent government intrusion only now does the editorship hesitate, discovering some discord between its opposing principles. This dissonance cannot be left unresolved.

If private property rights are as sovereign as the Amarillo Globe-News editorship posits, then the editorship must defend the junkyard as hallowed ground whatever its risks to public health. Just as patrons to smoke-filled restaurants and bars make the choice to expose themselves to hazard, so must junkyard neighbors choose to remain exposed to risk and eyesore by not moving away.

Or the Amarillo Globe-News editorship must recognize there is a place for government intervention; that citizens may expect their government to insure their safety; that the government will protect the public health by law, and that citizens have a right to insist that businesses they patronize do not put them in unnecessary jeopardy.

Nah . . .

Post script June 13, 2007

Dag nab it, them big city folk jest got no right, I tell ya, jest got no right movin’ out to dah country, tellin’ country folk what dah do wit der land. Mr. McKillip kin do what he wants on his land, and iffin that means a nuculure waste dump then he’s got a right to. He’s old and feeble, but iffin he has to beat you big city folk wit his cane then it’s all yur fault. It’s in the Bible you gall durn nosy busybodies.