By Scott Weiser
A bunch of anti-oil-and-gas liberal loonies in the small Boulder County, Colorado town of Lafayette are trying to get a hilariously unconstitutional law on the ballot in order to stop lawful access to privately-owned underground minerals. In their manifesto, drafted by ardent local anti-fracker Cliff Willmeng, who’s previous attempt at banning fracking in Lafayette was tossed out of court on it’s ear by Boulder County District Court Judge D. D. Mallard, the group East Boulder County United is trying this time to declare Lafayette to be a sovereign nation that’s not part of the United States of America or the State of Colorado. In an utterly futile and frankly absurd attempt to legalize illegal “direct action” protests against the owners of mineral estates in Lafayette who might have the temerity to access and extract their wholly-owned private property, the group is planning to present its manifesto to the Lafayette City Council on Tuesday, January 17th.
Engaging in a bit of bald-faced cultural misappropriation they invoke a mish-mash of Native American and liberal fascist ideology as justification, but what they are attempting is pretty much what Marxist dictator Josef Stalin did to Russia and the rest of the Soviet empire and what President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela did when he seized the assets of foreign oil companies and nationalized them. And the result if this Marxist useful idiocy succeeds will be much the same.
In Venezuela, where you can’t buy toilet paper and people are starving because of Maduro’s obsession with Marxim, the economy has crashed and burned, literally. By stealing the assets of companies that were working to extract oil and gas from one of the richest reserves outside of the Middle East, Maduro instantly drove all foreign investment out of Venezuela and there’s nobody to extract the resources upon which Venezuela depended for its economic survival.
In Lafayette, even if this asinine attempt isn’t instantly laughed out of the room, the economic impact would be devastating, and here’s why: In the United States the right to private property is guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, which says “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Could Lafayette impose bans on the extraction of oil and gas? Certainly. Under the power of eminent domain the Lafayette City Council can pretty much seize whatever it wants from private owners and turn it to public use. The fly in the ointment however is the “without just compensation” part of the Constitution.
Maduro was able to simply steal the infrastructure and investments made by oil companies because under Marxism there is no such thing as private property. But that is not the case in the United States, nor in Colorado, whose Constitution says exactly the same thing about government taking private property. Government can do it, but it has to justly compensate the original owner when it does so. And this is as true in what is cynically referred to as “The People’s Republic of Boulder County,” in which the City of Lafayette happens to be, as it is anywhere else.
Willmeng’s mother, Lafayette City Councilperson Merrily Mazza, is quoted in the Boulder Daily Camera as saying “The only way to change the law is to disobey it.” While civil disobedience is a common tactic of last resort in petitioning one’s government for redress of grievances it’s hardly the “only way” to change the law. In fact, that’s not what Mazza and her son are attempting. They aren’t willing to engage in personal civil disobedience and willingly suffer the legal consequences of doing so as a form of protest intended to garner sympathy for legal change.
What she’s trying to do is amend the law to make it legal to interfere with the rights of others to do what they have every legal right to do simply because her son’s previous attempts were rebuffed by the courts. In championing this travesty she is in fact removing the most persuasive component of civil disobedience: the public perception that the person arrested and jailed for violating a purportedly unjust law has been unjustly sanctioned.
What Mazza is supporting is a disgusting display of moral cowardice that demeans and belittles the sacrifices of genuine martyrs to unjust laws like Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King, who broke the law and suffered the consequences in order to show how unjust the law was through personal sacrifice. Mazza wants to remove the very thing that makes her call to civil disobedience disobedient.
Ignoring for the moment the absolutely unconstitutional attempt to legalize unlawful private interference with private property owners in the use and enjoyment of their property through protests, blockades and other physical “direct action,” and the unconstitutional attempt to declare Lafayette as a sovereign nation not subject to U.S. or state law, and the astonishingly arrogant attempt to declare mineral estate owners as non-persons, something Stalin was known for doing right before sending them to Siberia to die, if these Marxist loons succeed, the City of Lafayette will owe the mineral owners potentially hundreds of millions of dollars for the value of the minerals Lafayette seized and must therefore pay for with just compensation.
But Marxism never sleeps and Marxist useful idiots always think that they can take what doesn’t belong to them without paying for it. It’s past time to let them know this isn’t going to be allowed, before it costs everyone in Lafayette everything they own.
Please attend the Lafayette City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 1290 S. Public Road in Lafayette and offer some “direct action” by laughing this Marxist idiocy right out of the room.
Here’s a link to the idiocy: bit.ly/2ilpcTT