Free Markets, Free People

Zuccotti Park cleared–enforcement of property rights? Or just the result of political pressure?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally made the decision to evict the OWS protesters from Zuccotti Park last night.  His decision, he claims, had to do with public health and safety.

Some time after 6 a.m., New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a written statement that while he supports the First Amendment rights of the protesters, his greater priority is protecting the public’s health and safety, and he took full responsibility for the “final decision to act.”

“Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest but, rather, to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others,” Bloomberg said, noting that for some residents of the area, noise and unsanitary conditions of the Occupy camp had created “an intolerable situation.”

He added: “The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out — but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others — nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here — the First Amendment protects speech — it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.”

Well there is ambiguity (there’s also a right to peaceful assembly although it is arguable the assembly has been peaceful), but note the thing he doesn’t site – property rights.  Or at least not directly.  He sorta, kinda alludes to it when he talks about the “exclusion of others”.  That’s a privately owned park which has been literally taken over by the OWS group and its owners have been denied the ability to make decisions about its use.  Why not just say the occupiers (because that’s what they call themselves – perhaps squatters is a better description) have been declared trespassers and removed?  To easy?

One of the pernicious problems I see all the time when it comes to government officials is their selective enforcement of property rights.   It seems to me that once the exclusionary tactics were applied where those who owned the park were excluded from using it as they wish, they had every right in the world to demand the eviction of the protesters. 

I obviously don’t know what the company that holds those rights had to say because it seems they weren’t really even given a voice in that sort of decision.  On the other hand, had they decided that it was good use of their property and gone along with the OWS protesters, shouldn’t their decision about their property had some weight?

I guess what I’m getting at is that other than a mention here and there, no one knows much about the owners or their druthers.

I’m actually sympathetic with the city’s reasons for clearing the park.  I think Bloomberg is exactly right.  But my larger point is where are the property owners in all of this.  Why aren’t they an integral part of this process? 

Property rights have been under assault in this country for some time.   The abominable Kelo decision was the cherry on top of the sundae that has all but destroyed those rights.   More and more I see government deciding how private property will be used and only enforcing laws on trespassing and the like when it serves their purpose (in this case I imagine that the pressure from those who lived nearby finally got to the point that Bloomberg was forced to act).

The right to private property (and its exclusive use) is a foundational right from which many other rights spring.  Like so much in this country, government has moved in on that right and while giving it lip service has intruded to such an extent in its execution that it is arguable if the right can be exercised properly anymore.  When that right is subsumed, all of our rights are in jeopardy.

We’ll see how much they’re in jeopardy with the upcoming ObamaCare decision.  It will either give us a new lease on our rights or, it may end up being the final nail in their coffin.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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13 Responses to Zuccotti Park cleared–enforcement of property rights? Or just the result of political pressure?

  • They’re able to clear out and clean the park because of the Commerce Clause, right? Isn’t that the new catch-all?

  • Is it Occupy-Bub-bye…???

    #OWS had their beauty rest disturbed by LEOs last night, but…

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/updates-on-the-clearing-of-zuccotti-park/?src=twt&twt=cityroom#judge-says-protesters-can-return-to-park-for-now

    A Collectivist judge has issued a restraining order, which press reports say permits the reinfestation of the park.

    Just how that works is a complete mystery to me, since restraining orders are supposed to maintain the status quo, pending a hearing or adjudication.

    http://occupywallst.org/ shows the little propagandists of the Revolting Eloi going nuts…

    As one would expect.

    • @Ragspierre That order with the stricken out portions “so called” and “lawful” – I love the hand cross outs.

      I wonder if some other judge would happily issue a restraining order to stop the police from preventing people wandering all over HER property. Eh, I bet, not so much. Funny thing about progressives and THEIR rights.

      Speaking of which, and sorta kinda off topic, but did you notice the allegation that Whoopi Goldberg is a mean landlord? It was interesting to see Whoopi justify her actions (which were, by the way, justified if her story is an accurate relating) that the person she was being maligned by had managed to put herself into the unfortunate position she was in. As I understand it then, when Whoppi’s property is involved, people should be held accountable for their own actions, but in so many other things she talks about, people ought to be supported by the government or whoever else, and shouldn’t be held accountable for their own actions.

      Curious eh, this idea that people should be responsible for themselves, and deucedly convenient for Whoopi I must say.

  • The delicious irony here is that left wing ideology is being used to justify shutting down a left wing protest. Namely that the state knows what is good for you better than you do. Thus the ‘health and safety’ excuse is used as cover to deny 1st Amendment rights.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “If you want social justice then you’ll need a police state.” The OWS crowd just got a front row seat as to why their ideology is so dangerous to freedom and liberty.

    • @tkc Good-FLUCKING-grief… What 1st Amendment right is implicated in a continuing trespass?!?!?

      People sure are confused. These idiots don’t have the “right” to do what they do. There is no “right” for instance to walk down the middle of a street.

      • @Ragspierre @tkc There isn’t? Even if I stomp my feet and point out that other people are richer than me? Are you sure? Let me look at this First Amendment thingie. It says –

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

        Are you sure there isn’t a right to peaceably assemble in the middle of someone’s parlor even if they don’t want me there? Aren’t they violating my First Amendment rights if they tell me I can’t assemble my angry, but peaceful, host there?

        • @looker @tkc Yeah… No.

          It is also not an exercise of your 1st Amendment rights to scream in the face of riot cops manning a barricade. It IS an exercise of your right to leave the planet.

      • @Ragspierre
        I agree that there is not a ‘trespassing clause’ to the 1st Amendment. I just find it ironic that these left wingers got evicted by the government pretending to act in the protesters best interests by citing health and safety concerns.
        There are legitimate arguments for tossing them out but the government didn’t make those arguments. Instead they made ‘social justice’ type excuses. It is a perfect example of how the left loves government intrusion but hates the results. They are their own worst enemy.

    • @tkc NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A judge ruled against the OWS protesters Tuesday, saying they can return to Zuccotti Park but cannot bring sleeping bags, tarps and tents.

      In a four-page ruling, Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman said that the protesters’ First Amendment rights didn’t entitle them to camp out in the plaza indefinitely.

  • Brave Bloomie, waited to see how the other clear out efforts went.

    That park should have been cleared, day 1. The zoning on it required public access, it didn’t require public camping.

    • @Ragspierre “We shall fight them on the streets, and in the subways, on the park benches and outside the women’s safe zone tent, we will never surrender.”