FoxNews.com [3/28/14] reports:
In a classic case of life imitating art, Maryland lawmakers made a cutthroat move against the “House of Cards” production team — threatening to seize their property through eminent domain if they stop filming in the state.
The retaliatory step came after the Netflix original series said it might move to another state if Maryland didn’t provide enough tax credits. Lawmakers, in threatening to seize their property, held no illusions about how the move could have come straight out of the playbook of Frank Underwood — the lead character and merciless tactician who claws his way up the political ladder through whatever means necessary.
“I literally thought: What is an appropriate Frank Underwood response to a threat like this?” Delegate William Frick said, according to The Washington Post. “Eminent domain really struck me as the most dramatic response.”
There you have it. The politicians actually think Frank Underwood (the corrupt anti-hero politician in Netflix’s superb drama, House of Cards] is the good guy. He’s their role model for the operation of government in real-life.
Doesn’t anyone else find this frightening and disturbing?
Those who have watched Frank Underwood in action already know that he places no value on private property — or on human life, since (in the series) he’s a cold-blooded killer, in addition to a corrupt politician. That’s why we call him an anti-hero.
It says a lot for the theatrical capabilities of actors like Kevin Spacey (who plays Underwood) as well as the whole series production staff that people become so engaged with the anti-hero that they might — in out-of-context moments — start to mistakenly appreciate him as an actual hero. The Sopranos and Breaking Bad accomplished similar dramatic feats.
But what does it say about legislators in Maryland, and undoubtedly elsewhere, that they actually look to Underwood’s power-at-any-price / collapse-of-the-Roman-empire approach to government to attain what they want?
The story goes on to report that legislators and House of Cards producers will likely reach an agreement. In other words, they might end up getting the tax credits they want anyway.
But this isn’t the point. The government got them to the negotiating table by threatening to take away their private property. By what right do they do so? And since when does this happen in the United States without so much as a murmur of discontent?
The legislators of Maryland essentially have said, “We will compel you to produce your show here, by force.”
Is this what governments at any level should be permitted to do? The House of Cards producers, of course, won’t make a comment. They don’t want to rattle any chains or create any political-legal trouble for themselves.
Is this what the actions of private entities in a free republic look like?
By remaining silent about this, Americans (not just Marylanders) are letting their elected politicians gradually turns themselves into autocratic rulers. The governor and legislature of Maryland may now be accurately called a regime, not a legislative session or executive administration. It sends a clear signal to actual or would-be regimes throughout the rest of the nation, none the least of which the one presently running Washington DC.
Instead of a government answering to the people, while respecting the rights of individual property rights at all times, government is now telling us where we may, or may not, do business. It has gone from, “Hey, you didn’t build that; you don’t own that, ” to, “You can’t build that there. You have to build it here.”
Says who? Says the government, that’s who.
How ironic that House of Cards, of all privately owned and run enterprises, is the one to turn itself into the very illustration of what the television show itself so dramatically portrays.
If you harbor any doubts that “eminent domain” or any other government infringement justified as “the common good” is solely about the good of real-life versions of Frank Underwood, then you had better reconsider now. We’re talking here about the exercise of power for power’s sake.
If you choose to laugh this off just like everything else our governments do, then just remember, when it comes your own time to pay the price for the death of individual freedom and private property in America: You asked for it.
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