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Germany: Migrants In, Germans Out – The Death of Property Rights

1263I haven’t confirmed this, but I also have little trouble in believing it. The rule of law run rather shallow lately, not least in Europe where the tradition is not deep anyway. But how many times have we seen it violated in its home(s) in the US and UK lately as well. So be aware, it looks like this is happening, at least to some observers. Can it here? Well I reckon they can (and likely will) try.

  • Hamburg city officials say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.
  • “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg. It amounts to an expropriation by the state [and a] “law of intimidation.” — André Trepoll, Christian Democratic Union.
  • “If a property is confiscated… a lawsuit to determine the legality of the confiscation can only be resolved after the fact. But the accommodation would succeed in any event.” — Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer.
  • Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia seized a private resort in the town of Olpe to provide housing for up to 400 migrants
  • “I find it impossible to understand how the city can treat me like this. I have struggled through life with grief and sorrow and now I get an eviction notice. It is a like a kick in the stomach.” — Bettina Halbey, 51-year-old nurse, after being notified that she must vacate her apartment so that migrants can move in.
  • The landlord is being paid 552 euros ($617) for each migrant he takes in. By cramming as many migrants into his property as possible, he stands to receive payments of more than 2 million euros a year from government.
  • “Considering that migrants cannot afford to rent new properties… moves must be initiated in which higher income households purchase or build more expensive accommodations for themselves in order to free up the less expensive housing for migrants.” — The Berlin Institute for Urban Development, the Housing Industry and Loan Associations
  • “I saw an unbelievable situation: the elderly volunteer lifted the table halfway, looked at the migrant and moved his head asking the migrant to lend a hand. The migrant paused for a moment and then just walked away.” — Firsthand account, refugee shelter.

German authorities are applying heavy-handed tactics to find housing for the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees pouring into the country from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

With existing shelters filled to capacity, federal, state and local authorities are now using legally and morally dubious measures — including the expropriation of private property and the eviction of German citizens from their homes — to make room for the newcomers.

German taxpayers are also being obliged to make colossal economic sacrifices to accommodate the influx of migrants, many of whom have no prospect of ever finding a job in the country. Sustaining the 800,000 migrants and refugees who are expected to arrive in Germany in 2015 will cost taxpayers at least at least 11 billion euros ($12 billion) a year for years to come.

As the migration crisis intensifies, and Germans are waking up to the sheer scale of the economic, financial and social costs they will [be] expected to bear in the years ahead, anger is brewing.

In Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, municipal officials on September 23 introduced an audacious bill in the local parliament (Hamburgische Bürgerschaft) that would allow the city to seize vacant commercial real estate (office buildings and land) and use it to house migrants.

City officials argue the measure is necessary because more than 400 new migrants are arriving in Hamburg each day and all the existing refugee shelters are full. They say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.

The measure, which will be voted upon in the Hamburg parliament within the next two weeks, is being applauded by those on the left of the political spectrum. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that the refugees are not homeless during the coming winter,” Senator Till Steffen of the Green Party said. “For this reason, we need to use vacant commercial properties.”

Others argue that efforts by the state to seize private property is autocratic and reeks of Communism. “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg,” said André Trepoll of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). “It amounts to an expropriation by the state.” He said the proposed measure is a “law of intimidation” that amounts to a “political dam break with far-reaching implications.” He added: “The ends do not justify any and all means.”

Source: Germany: Migrants In, Germans Out – The Death of Property Rights |

Kipling: Norman and Saxon A.D. 1100


The Unit commented the other day that Jess’ influence on me was pretty obvious. He’s right, it is, and its all to the good, I suspect. I also notice that many of you go back into our archives to read her articles. (I do too!). I’ve decided we should share some of those articles, which are favorites of mine (and yours) once again on the front page. Enjoy! (Neo)

Of all the poets who have ever written about England and Englishness, Kipling did it best.  There are many poems one could choose to illustrate the theme that Neo and I are dealing with, but this is one of my favourites. I think it should be on the wall of Congress and Parliament:

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will
be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little
handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes
on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your
Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole
brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained
serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise,
you  will  yield.

“But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs
and songs.
Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale
of their own wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they are saying; let them feel
that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes
you all day.

They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour
of the dark.
It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game
in the park).
Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well
as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-
at-arms you can find.

“Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and
funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you
fellows’  and  ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em
a lie!”

Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham

pic_old-mapSo, today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham. Seems strange, even to me, that a hard-headed old Protestant like me would care. Like many of you, I was raised that the veneration of Saints and such tended very close to idolatry. And it can, Martin Luther, himself, warned of it but, he also venerated Mary, the Theotokos, all his life.

In truth, many of us venerate soldiers, sports heroes, even politicians, in much the same way. In essence, it strikes me as little more than a desire to emulate an exemplary person. The Christian overlay provides an opportunity for us to ask them to intercede with God for us, is all.

But, being raised when and how I was, none of this penetrated my thick skull, and I know I was hardly alone. But if we are wise we learn, and we grow as we age. At least for me this is true.

I was introduced to Our Lady of Walsingham by my coauthor, Jess, not long after we met, she made the pilgrimage to Walsingham a few years ago, not long after we were brought together.

With my love of history, I was fascinated by the history and have written some about it, as has Jess. But that is not the point, today, while she was there, she lit a candle and prayed for me (yes, I know, not the kind of thing we Lutherans, or in truth most Anglicans) do. The thing is, I felt a peace go through me at almost the moment she lit it, and sundry other effects as well.

Today, Jess’ coauthor on her blog is commemorating Jess’ writing on Walsingham (in truth, so am I), with a repeat of her first post on her pilgrimage to Walsingham a few years ago, and links to the rest. We both think it a fine occasion to acquaint some of you newer friends with her writing, and it’s power. The story moved us then, and it moves us now. Jess has a knack for persuasive writing, in truth much of the basis of our friendship, and yes love, will be found in the series of posts, he links. It’s called Our Lady of Walsingham, so go there already, I’ll wait.

It fired our friendship, and it especially did so in three areas, our love of God, a shared passion for history, and my renewed love of poetry. How can one not be moved by Eliot’s

And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.

For here, at Walsingham is one of the places they are made very true.

Jess also tells us about the sprinkling service, and how moved she was, and I’ll add how moved I was by her telling of it. And now I will also always remember that shortly before she received last rites last fall, before her miracle cure, she was again sprinkled with Walsingham water.

There may be other explanations, I suppose, but I haven’t stumbled across them, and it is from that moment that she became my dearest friend, a moment shared across the ocean and half a continent. There are more chapters to tell of this story, but not today, they will have to wait.

An interesting note is that the first Roman Catholic service at the shrine since the Reformation was performed by US Military personnel on 17 may 1945, just after VE day. They certainly had something to commemorate.

But in general, as Jess has always said, as you draw closer to Christ, His Mother has a very great appeal, and why wouldn’t She.

In truth, I think there is definitely simply Something about Maryas the linked article will tell you.

Although not really linked in history, this was the period when we adopted some of Julian of Norwich’s words as related by Eliot as a catchphrase, for me, for Jess, and for our blogs, and our lives:

WhOur_Lady_of_Walsinghamatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us – a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching.

Today is the day that I will merely note and ask Our Lady of Walsingham to continue to watch over us, and those we love.

O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, your divine son, dying on the cross, confided us to your maternal care. You are our mother, we desire ever to remain your devout children. let us therefore feel the effects of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ. make your name again glorious in the shrine once renowned throughout England by your visits, favours, and many miracles.

Pray, O holy mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed.

O blessed Mary, mother of God, our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us.

53 Yogi Berra Quotes: His Funniest One-Liners and Witticisms

w7042So we’ve lost still another national treasure. I was going to do another post today, and sooner or later that one will show up, but this is more important.


Baseball legend Yogi Berra died Tuesday at age 90, and while many will certainly remember him as a 10-time World Series champion, many will also remember him for his brilliant one-liners.

Baseball legend Yogi Berra died Tuesday at age 90, and while many will certainly remember him as a 10-time World Series champion, many will also remember him for his brilliant one-liners.

“When I’m sittin’ down to dinner with the family, stuff just pops out,” Berra insisted during a recent interview, The Associated Press reported. “And they’ll say, ‘Dad, you just said another one.’ And I don’t even know what the heck I said.”

The well-known book “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” lists eight of Berra’s witticisms, but we’ve gathered 53 below attributed to the baseball great.

  1. “I never said most of the things I said.”
  2. “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
  3. “Mickey Mantle was a very good golfer, but we weren’t allowed to play golf during the season; only at spring training.”
  4. “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”
  5. “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
  6. “I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won 25 games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.”
  7. “In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”

Source: 53 Yogi Berra Quotes: His Funniest One-Liners and Witticisms

“Adam Smith, Rationalized,” By David Conway

I’m no scholar of Adam Smith, as much as I admire his work. That’s true even though I’ve read both of the linked works several times, there is a fair amount of nuance in Smith, as well as some pretty dry going. I sometimes have trouble reconciling Wealth of Nations with Theory of Moral Sentiments, as well. I think, judging by David Conway’s report that Jack Russell Weinstein, of the University of North Dakota, does an admirable job.

Here’s a bit of it:

Most importantly, if it turns out that, as Weinstein rightly claims was Smith’s view, free societies depend for their viability on the rationality of their members, and their rationality depends on the preparedness of their societies to ensure that they become such through provision of suitable schooling for all, then those in favor of free societies must also be prepared to countenance, as indeed was Smith, the public provision of schooling to ensure all societal members can and do develop the requisite degree of rationality. As Weinstein carefully explains in what are, perhaps, the most original and valuable chapters of his book:

It is Smith’s argument that education . . . is the security that ensures that students remain virtuous: an inadequate education results in the deprivation of moral capabilities . . . Smith is making the point that a child’s education benefits everyone . . . that education is one of the preconditions for the successful functioning of the invisible hand . . . Thus, Smith argues, the sovereign must . . . subsidize public education to help those who . . . cannot help themselves . . . For him, education provides a benefit to the state for little cost and, therefore, funding of public educational institutions for the young is a well-regarded trade-off.

The sovereign must ensure that all people have access to at least a minimum schooling. Education, is, for Smith, a basic good—a necessity of human life . . . Differing classes are entitled to equal minimal education but not to identical experiences. In this respect Smith’s commitment . . . is like Rawls’ maximin principle: the goal is to raise the bottom rung, not to create an equality of result . . . . Smith’s philosophy of education is both a theory of pluralism and a means to cultivate rationality. It argues that the more one develops rational abilities, the more one can create unity in the face of difference.

To say that Smith favored public provision of education is not to say that he would have condoned, let alone applauded, the present systems of public provision in western liberal democracies where whole populations are subject to effective monopoly supply without any choice or benefits of competition that only effective consumer sovereignty brings.

Source: “Adam Smith, Rationalized,” By David Conway | Nomocracy In Politics

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