Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Eminent Domain of Caesar

The feature front page story in the Los Angeles Times today was "States Acting to Protect Private Property." Ever since the Supreme Court ruled last year that eminent domain, the power of government to take property for public use, could extend into allowing developers to take such property if it increases a community's tax revenue, many have been concerned that this could be an undue extension of government power.

Thank goodness government is now boldly stepping up to use its power to, um, well um, ahem, fix the problem of too much power.

How insidiously clever for government to hock such a ruse upon us, but it is nothing new in a heavily Catholicized nation. They've been doing it for centuries and centuries, convincing the people that the management of their sin requires such activity. And regrettably, they're right. If you're a sinner, you need it.

In fact, the very writers of the Constitution must've known this fact, because it's all written in there, too. Look at the Fifth Amendment very carefully. It doesn't say the government can take property by eminent domain, it says the government can't take property unless it is for public use. See, public use only! Nothing else, you overly abusive government people!

The idea the writers of the Constitution had was that government in a quasi-democracy must be operated by sinners, and as such they need a bit of reminding about what precisely should be protected from them and from other sinners who'd just as soon mess with others--and their property. In fact that's what the entirety of the Bill of Rights was about.

Here's the really twisted thing in all of this. Think about it. Why wouldn't we want smart developers to take out even the slightest "blight," build wonderful new residential or commercial edifices, and in the process provide municipalities with the money for the very best parks, schools, streets, and recreation centers? Furthermore, if you were one of the subjects of confiscation, you could easily find out what your property was worth to the developer and ask for the commensurate value in just compensation. That is, in any other assessment your home may be worth a mere $50,000, but to the developer and the municipality it may be worth $20 million. So ask for $16 million! If the government is so supportive of the "little guy" as the states are claiming they are here, why wouldn't you get that, or something very close to that?

The problem is in the ruse. It is in convincing us that all of this is good because the government does it-- whether it is Founding Fathers or courts or state legislatures. Don't get me wrong. Spectacular new development is a great thing. But when the preeminent city-builder Cain does it, all he's doing is drawing people into further devotion to him.

People just don't see that if they actually gave their devotion to God, He would do it, they would not only have much more bountiful provision but they would see their names written in heaven. The critical difference between Cain and Christ is that with Cain, you'll get all the stuff, but you'll still have the bitterness, the animosity, the incessant covetousness that comes with living life immersed in the wide deceit that drives the Catholicist Nation. With Christ, you get more of the stuff and you get genuine community of people who have given up the oppression of the law for authentic expression of Truth and Grace among one another.

With the states now taking the charge of administering "protection from eminant domain," as it were, it is as if the right weren't a right unless the states can make it so in light of the Supreme Court's interpretation. It is all nothing less than government presumptively dispersing rights. And in that, you're being faked out, because government will still confiscate your property for whatever reason the city-builders contrive.

But again, it's what God had given Cain the authority to do for people who refuse to live in His Kingdom. It's what Caesar does on behalf of those living fully in the World.

For them, eminent domain under their lord is precisely what they ask for.

There is another option to the World. Check it out here.

For exposition about the awarded dominion of Cain, read this passage from the book of Genesis.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Let's Go Bonds Bashing - Wheeee!

Today a top news story (note: news, not sports) on my drive-time radio was essentially this:

"Yesterday Barry Bonds started the season with the Giants on the road and he really, really got booed."

Thuh end.

Nothing about how he did, what the final score was, or even really what he got booed for. I presume by now we're all supposed to know what an ugly stinking Nazi Communist bunny-licker baby-rapist Satan-worshipper he is.

Since the release of the tell-all tome "Game of Shadows," describing every private injectatory moment of the greatest ballplayer of our day, Bonds has been excoriated, and if I'm to believe the reasons why this is the case, they are far from compelling.

Oh, but he clearly used steroids.

Now I'll say right up front that I don't necessarily condone the use of steroids. But then I don't condone drinking alcohol or coffee. So on my take all athletes who get juiced in any of these ways should get whupped, too.

But they don't. Only Bonds does.

The reason the sports press skewers him so mercilessly is actually has nothing to do with the steroids, though it makes a spiffy excuse.

It has everything to do with Bonds (a) making a fine case for being the greatest player ever and (b) his being particularly surly and boorish.

These two things going together are critical. Sports media guys want their heroes to have some redeeming values, even if they have to tweak them a bit. Ruth and Mantle were never mistaken for choirboys (I know, I know, quite the cliche, but whatever), but at least they smiled every once in a while. Bonds is seen as having no such virtue, and when a steroids rap whacks him across the broadside, it's open season.

I could bring up all kinds of issues here, but the best take on it all is at my friend's terrific Giants blog, EEEEEE! (He's written some awesome stuff on the Bonds issue, peek around a bit there and on his site and you'll find it.)

All I want to say here how utterly silly it is for anyone to even remotely think about putting asterisks next to any of Bonds records. First of all, what are they going to say with the asterisk? "We think the player attaining these records was on steroids, so, ummmm, yeah."

Secondly of all, why stop with Bonds? Why not go into the books and look at all the players who were thought to have been on steroids? And not just steroids, what about other stuff that enhances one's play? Protein drinks? Laser eye surgery? Full performance state-of-the-art workout regiment? Frequent use of pot? Which player is guiltless?

I generally don't like using the "Everyone does it" argument because it makes it seem like I'm making an apologetic for doing x or y "bad" thing. But at what point do we say this or that record must receive extra scrutiny because of the possibility--even certainty that some player or players did something unusual to give them an "unfair" advantage?

Really, if that were the case, really, we'd have to put asterisks by every single world championship in history because there certainly were things done by some players during the course of each season that got them some edge that got them that key play that got them that key win that got them that pennant on the way to the title. For cryin' out loud you could even point to some plainly obvious ones. Were Ty Cobb's spikes just not filed sharply enough-- a practice not so much for the dirt on the basepaths but the flesh of the opponents-- to earn an asterisk next to the Tigers' pennants from '07 to '09?

So every time I read or hear about some offended sports writer or baseball pundit decry Bonds' steroid use I only think of what a hypocrite he is because he flatly won't say why he's so steamed. He just hates the guy, again because he's so damn good, and Bonds doesn't particularly like him, plain and simple.

Sadly there are just as many hypocritical, sycophantic fans who go right along with the foolishness.

The brazen sports media/average fan hypocrisy is not merely because of their duplicity, but it is for their abjectly willful failure to address and renounce the real problem in major league baseball. For that, look here.

To see why I have such a passion for baseball and the Giants, take a peek here.