"Lost Principles Hotel"
Published 01 August 2005
(word count: 750)
The ongoing account of the Lost Liberty Hotel may be the ultimate definition of comeuppance. Take your choice of these choice clichés:
Turnabout is fair play
Your chickens have come home to roost
He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword
What goes around comes around
Or, as the Advocates for Self-Government's Liberator Online labeled it, "Talk about poetic justice."
It all began when Supreme Court adjudicator David Souter cahooted with the majority in the Kelo case, which essentially said that any gang of low level lowlife liberty-loathing government-huggers can heist anybody's home and hand it over to business bigwigs because they'll pay more taxes than humble homeowners.
The last "i" had barely been dotted on the document when real estate magnate wannabe Logan Darrow Clements disclosed his designs on the prime piece of property currently occupied by the Souter home. Since economic development will garner greater tax rates than a residence, Clements wants Souter's hometowners to invoke eminent domain and tear down the arbitrator's abode so Clements can construct the Lost Liberty Hotel in the homestead's stead.
The name of Clements' hostelry honors Hizzonor's decision. It will feature the aptly appelled "Just Desserts Cafe" and a museum memorializing lost liberties. Instead of Gideon Bibles, overnight guests can cop a copy of Ayn Rand's bible, "Atlas Shrugged."
The hotel has hogged the headlines from coast to coast to coast (Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, where Executive Editor JR Ball has cast Clements into "the pantheon of my personal heroes") as well as well away from our coasts (Taipei Times).
On its face, the Lost Liberty Hotel has the scent of delicious retribution – the enabler of eminent domain abuse hoisted by his own petard. Serves him right! The "reap what ye sow" morality (another cliché) sends a powerful message that resonates with many.
But it’s not a libertarian message.
In his Liberator Online article, "Talk about poetic justice," James W. Harris concluded with this rhetorical remark: "Will future Advocates events be held at The Lost Liberty Hotel? Could be. Stay tuned!"
It's likely impossible to find a meeting hall in this country that wasn't put together with some sort of politically poisonous real estate skullduggery. Eminent domain. Seizures. Confiscations. Annexations. Urban renewal. Zoning. Land use planning. Tax abatements and rebates. Kickbacks. Claim jumping. Sustainable development. "Treaties" with Native Americans. There's little we can do about any of that now. But how can a league of libertarians like the Advocates justify picking a meeting place specifically because the land on which it's built had been stolen from its previous owner?
But if that sounds a tad unlibertarian, it's nothing compared to Clements.
Clements' web site (freestarmedia.com) proclaims him a media mogul wannabe with a TV show "in development" that will feature anti-government David and Goliath stories. One of the no-kidding suggested scenarios for his show: "Perhaps a government has threatened to use its eminent domain power to take someone's home and sell it to a shopping mall developer. Viewers can deluge the city council with mail, faxes and e-mail asking for repeal of the decision or show up to stop the bulldozers."
What? Doesn't Goliath Clements himself want to use government eminent domain power to take David (yes, "David") Souter's home and sell it to a developer? Guess Clements wants to be both David and Goliath simultaneously. Is that the lesson this hypocritical huckster learned from reading Ayn Rand?
Libertarians should never succumb to the egalitarian idea of justice that says everyone should get screwed equally. That's a concept of collectivism. Libertarians demand that everyone’s rights be protected equally. Thievery through eminent domain is still thievery whether it’s your house or David Souter’s that’s being stolen. Logan Darrow Clements belongs in nobody’s Hall of Fame for going after Souter’s house. He’s just like every other eminent domain whore; only his target is different.
Libertarians should be the first on the ramparts, standing between Souter’s entry hall and the wrecking ball, brandishing placards that proclaim "Eminent domain is theft" and "Don’t tread on anybody." The legitimate libertarian message is this: Even if Supreme Court Justice David Souter won’t protect our property rights, we’ll damn well protect his.
If Clements really wants his Lost Liberty Hotel to stand for something, he should purchase the property, not steal it like any commonplace political punk. To quote yet another cliché: two wrongs don't make a right.
It's time for alleged libertarians to relearn the lessons of liberty.
- by Garry Reed