Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A Three Paragraph Corrective On A Recurring Subject

"The groups are requesting re-evaluations and amendments to policies and laws that risk affecting residential rights including the Urban Planning Law, Land Expropriation Act and the Urban Renewal Act."
What gibberish is this?

There is not, nor can there be, any such thing as a "residential right" in distinction to the broader concept of a "property right"; a concept which continually haunts this subject by being subliminally perceived without being recognized, and from which all instinctual outrage at these so-called "expropriation" cases ultimately derives.

The ostensible concern, taken for the value of the rationalizations within which it is couched, is not "rights", but rather permissions. The protesting groups are essentially arguing over the terms and conditions on which people get to live in "their" homes. Yet this approach to defending people already concedes the premise by which certain interests leverage political power to dispossess the affected people. A "right" is the political sanction to exercise authority over the essentials of one's own life; a "permission" is a contractual concession that may be revoked under specified conditions.

The broader importance of this distinction, and the consequent importance in getting it right, is that these cases are not cases of "land" injustice, or "housing" injustice, or "social" injustice, and nor are they instances of the difficulty in "balancing" private interests against the "common good". Rather, they are violations of a root concept and its application in human affairs from which there are omnilateral implications as to the security of all forms of property, and indeed all other claims to "rights". When a government body commits to the legalized theft of private property, it is already committing a gross violation of the common good, since all members of society must in some degree trust and depend upon the integrity of this very basic concept.

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