Why don’t conservatives embrace capitalism? (February 20, 2016)

Pat Orr did a fairly good job of explaining eminent domain, although quoting Donald Trump on this issue was probably not the best way to bolster his position (How can conservatives embrace eminent domain?, Apple Valley Review, February 18, 2016). He even does a pretty good job of defending private property in the face of unreasonable government demands.

Where he goes off the rails, though, is in juxtaposing the use of eminent domain for bridges and roads, with the use of eminent domain for whatever can be crammed under the rubric of being in the public interest.

There are lots of things that can be said to be in the public interest, and for most of the history of our country, those things have been provided by the private sector. This is not only because our country was founded on the principles of freedom and free-market capitalism, but also because almost without exception, government entities are not as efficient as private enterprise. If you want the best goods or services for the greatest number of persons at the lowest possible price, free-market capitalism is your only choice.

And free-market capitalism is not best by just a little. In fact, it’s the only system we have yet discovered that can do this, while at the same time allowing each of us the opportunity to better himself through voluntary exchange with his fellow man.

I’ll tell you what I think is in the public interest: Keeping your hands off of other persons’ belongings, with the government stepping in when transactions between parties involve force or fraud, and only then. For the government to go beyond this point is a slippery slope. Is food in the public interest? How about housing? How about shoes? A car? These days, we’re told that medical care and smart phones and Wi-fi and much more are in the public interest.

Thus it is, that the fundamental concepts of freedom and individual responsibility are ill-understood these days. Even gray-hairs such as Mr. Orr and myself are not old enough to have experienced America when it was truly free. For more than 100 years, collectivism, socialism, fascism, and even communism have been creeping into our country’s body politic, to the point where some now profess to prefer the yoke of subjugation to the rewards of freedom. Worse yet, they want to make certain everyone else is subjugated, too.

Viewed in this light, the Town of Apple Valley’s proposed hostile takeover of Liberty Apple Valley is seen to be just one battle in a decades-long war. This is a war we dare not lose.

America represents the world’s last hope for freedom. If we don’t fight for our freedom here, we will lose it. If we lose our freedom here in America, the rest of the world loses whatever aspirations it might have had, as well.

Anyone who abhors freedom has a long list of places he can live where he will never be bothered by it again. Conservatives are supposed to prefer freedom, and therefore must reject this use of eminent domain. Our water has been faithfully delivered for more than 70 years by private enterprise. Our country, our states, our counties, and even our towns have been great to the extent that they have remained free. Think globally, and act locally to ensure that we retain private enterprise here in Apple Valley.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.