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Wrong Kind of Relief

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By Gus Van Horn from Gus Van Horn,cross-posted by MetaBlog

Nearly a year ago, I blogged about a longstanding deficiency of Texas property law.

One glaring inconsistency in the state's protection of private property rights extends for the entire length of its coastline. In addition to forbidding structures past the vegetation line on the beach, Texas lays claim to all land seaward of the high tide line, which can shift dramatically due to beach erosion. This state of affairs has existed for quite some time ....

At the time, a news story concerning a lawsuit by Texas to evict a man from his own home after he found himself living on the beachfront had come to my attention.

Now, a moratorium that had kept the state from forcibly removing such homeowners is drawing to a close, and the Texas General Land Office has made an announcement.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is making a stand. He will risk penury and jail, refusing to evict anyone from his home in the name of "ending this gross violation of the property rights of my fellow Texans."

I wish.

Needless to say, no such exemplar of rectitude exists in our political system today. Instead, the few men of principle who do exist are the epitome of evil. dedicated to such noble causes as government confiscation of private property, codifying the tenets of their particular religion into law, and the self-immolation of America for the sake of the cause of Islamic jihad. There are no principled advocates of individual rights on the political scene today.

Most politicians who pass for normal these days -- like the spineless Jerry Patterson -- are anaesthetized to gross injustice by tradition, rudderless in the sea of contradictions that forms their own collection of personal beliefs, completely devoid of imagination, and, besides, deficient in testosterone when crisis arrives. Their answer to the crises brought on by statism is: "More of the same!"

Last year, I wrote:

If the Texas legislature can tackle


, to protect property owners from rapacious local governments, it should also consider some measure of relief for landowners like Royer in the short term -- and reform or repeal of the Submerged Land Law as well as the Open Beaches Act in the long term.

Well, obviously, the Texas legislature failed to come through. And Patterson's idea of relief?

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson announced a $1.3 million initiative today to help reimburse property owners who agree to relocate homes blocking public access to Texas beaches.

Patterson said the plan is a more cost-effective and cooperative option than trying to sue more than 100 property owners to enforce state law guaranteeing public access to beaches.

Not quite what I had in mind. I was thinking more along the lines of letting the homeowners stay; not robbing everyone else of money in order to make the evictions go more smoothly in addition to this mass confiscation of homes.

This great blow for the affected property owners -- delivered by Patterson -- is enough to give almost a third of those affected $40,000, but only after they first finance relocating their homes themselves! In other words, it's a sad joke even by welfare state standards. And this joke is about as funny as it is effective.

The only thing worse than this is what some of my fellow Texans are saying.

"We have those who say that I should probably rent a D-6 bulldozer and roll out at 5:30 (a.m.) next weekend and start knocking down structures," Patterson said.

"On the other hand we have folks who say it's all the government's fault that this erosion has occurred and you need to compensate me at complete full, fair market value."

The first group deserves to be robbed of its tax money, the second, to be evicted from its homes. And it is these two groups of bloodsuckers that Patterson has chosen to represent, while attempting to make himself look good by pointing to them and saying, "Look! I'm not so bad!"

A man's home is his castle, even if that man is a knave. If someone is foolish enough to build his house near a beach known for subsidence and erosion, he has the right to do so, but the risks are his to bear. Too bad nobody in the papers, like -- oh, I don't know -- the Texas Land Commissioner, is saying exactly this.

-- CAV


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