One Man’s Property Is Another Man’s Property, If That Other Man Is The State and The First Man Is Annoying

Over at Boots and Sabers, Owen applauds the lowering of the threshold at which the government can seize property from individuals: if it’s annoying. Owen says:

This could be a good idea.

Wherein “this” is this:

Frustrated by a weekend cruising ritual that gridlocks intersections and gobbles up officers’ time, some Milwaukee leaders are pushing for new tools to fight the problem, boosting fines and letting police seize cars by declaring them a “nuisance.”

Geez, maybe I’m just a jack, maybe it’s just because I’m young enough to remember engaging in car-seizure yielding nuisance behavior–whether playing my car stereo too loud or getting into a car with friends to ride around on a Friday night– or maybe I just don’t want the government to seize private property based on a subjective call of one of its functionaries, but I think it’s a really, really bad idea to keep lowering the bar for reasons why the government can take your property. And a nuisance crime isn’t it.

Unfortunately, Owen doesn’t elaborate on how high a lawn would have to get before the government could take a house–but it’s a nuisance when neighbors let their lawns go to seed. It’s a matter of degree, not a matter of kind, that prevents the government from doing so once we’ve allowed the State to start stripping property based on arbitrary and subjective judgments of “nuisance.”

To allow this abuse of government power because it punishes that which annoys you leaves you no sympathy and no quarter when the government wants to take something from you because you’ve annoyed someone else.

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