Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.orgThe Fifth Amendment of the Constitution reads, in part, as follows:

“No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Meaning if you own property – government can’t arbitrarily take it from you. In whole or in part.

Sadly, taking without compensation is something at which the government is becoming expert:

“Most property rights scholars would probably tell you that property is sort of the redheaded stepchild of constitutional law….(T)he (Supreme) Court says something like, ‘The Government could hardly go on if to some extent the values incident to property couldn’t be diminished without paying for it every time the law changed.’”

Get that? For nearly a century, the Supreme Court has for the most part pretended the Fifth Amendment doesn’t exist – as per it being an impediment to government regulating without compensation property out of private existence.

Which, of course, government has been exceedingly happy to do.

Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights

Protecting Private Property Rights from Regulatory Takings

Net Neutrality’s Fifth Amendment Problem

The EPA’s Assault on Private Property

Did someone say regulatory takings?

“Regulatory taking is a situation in which a government regulation limits the uses of private property to such a degree that the regulation effectively deprives the property owners of economically reasonable use or value of their property to such an extent that it deprives them of utility or value of that property, even though the regulation does not formally divest them of title to it.”

These regulatory takings are nigh always incremental. Government rarely extrudes rules that eviscerate private property all at once. They do it in frog-boiling steps and stages. Nigh always a stride on the way to oblivion – is forcing property owners to let competitors use their property.

Like, say, government forcing McDonald’s, in McDonald’s stores – to sell Burger King Whoppers. Not at all anti-private property and authoritarian.

Which brings us to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB). Which for our nation’s railroad companies is proposing:

“(C)ertain captive shippers located in terminal areas would be granted access to a competing railroad if there is a working interchange within a reasonable distance (30 miles under NITL’s proposal).”

That sounds obnoxious. But to be sure – here’s more:

“The proposed regulations ‘create an avenue for the Board to impose a reciprocal switching arrangement,’ STB said. ‘Generally speaking, reciprocal switching refers to the situation in which a railroad that has physical access to a specific shipper facility switches rail traffic to the facility for another railroad that does not have physical access.’”

Sounds even more obnoxious. But to be really sure, let’s translate from Government-ese:

“(T)he Surface Transportation Board issued a proposed rule that would require (rail) companies like CSX Transportation or Norfolk Southern to open their privately owned and maintained lines to competitors.…”

Confirmed: it is outrageously obnoxious. Whoppers sold at McDonald’s – as mandated by government.

This is certainly not free market. And it is absolutely an assault on the Fifth Amendment.

It’s not private property – if the government can force you to make it public.

The STB should dumpster as rapidly as possible this ridiculous proposal.


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  1. robert barnes

    The lawful gov. of the united states was removed in 1871. Every thing this bull shit phony gov. is and has done is a null & void (a FRAUD). See video YOU KNOW SOME THING IS WRONG WHEN and get the book from Tell every body. The day they come for your guns is the day they started the civil war. Make all your shots count. This piece of shit obama a enemy foreign agent, faggott, communist, illegal alien. Has just threatened the life and rights of every American in our own country. And if the House & the Senate do not remove this threat against us NOW. They are all guilty of TREASON. We must stop all these assholes dead in their tracks.

  2. Lynn Bryant DeSpain

    Sorry Robert Barnes,
    The lawful government of the United States was taken away long before 1871. Even before the Civil War, especially when it comes to the 5th Amendment. It began as early as 1820, if not earlier, as a direct result of ‘POLITICAL PARTYS’ wanting complete control of our federal government.
    Slavery, the mere thought of it, is an evil thing in our times, but it was not so when our Nation was born, nor was it so in the century and a half before it.
    The British government first set a ‘slave’s value’ as that of 3/5ths of a white man’s. This was used in measurement of votes. During Colonial Times, and up to and including our own Civil War, only ‘Property Holders’ could vote, and the more property you had, the more votes you had.
    The ‘First Test’ of the 5th Amendment was the denial of ‘Slave Holders’ to take their slaves to New States, and New Territories. This in and of itself was a form of taking.
    Congress was well made aware of this at the time, but did it anyway.
    This was actually the Direct Cause’ of the Seperation of the South from the Union. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclimation was not until after the War had begun, and only freed the slaves in the Rebel States, but not the Union States.
    We all know the result of that war, but most do not know why Jefferson Davis was not brought to trial for Treason.
    All the Supreme Court Justices of the time responded that “If Mr. Davis were brought to trial, He would be found innocent, as the Southern States were upholding the Constitution, especially the 5th Amendment, and that the Federal Government had gone far beyond their boundaries, in setting limitations of any kind on those going to the New States and Territories. Therefore, if brought to trial and found innocent, the Union would be financially responsible for all reparations, repairs and costs to the Southern States.”
    Lincoln would know about Railroads, for he was one of their best Lawyers.
    Our Constitution is the Law that governs our Governments, not the People. The Government can make laws for or against the people, but they MUST stay within the boundaries of the Constitution.
    Even then, if a person commits a government crime, breaks the Law, it is their Right to have a trial by Jury of that person’s peers, (those who know that person best.). And if that Jury find that the Law, and the crime committed does not fit that person, even though it is a Law, and it was committed, that person can be found innocent!
    It is ‘We, the People’ who rule. We’ve just forgotten.