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Publisher's Summary

"Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner....Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory....The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result."
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, dissenting in the Supreme Court case Kelo v. New London

The Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case created a firestorm of interest in protecting property rights. Through real-life stories and solid legal analysis, this book shows why property rights are the cornerstone of liberty and how they are protected in the U.S. Constitution. It critically examines how courts and legislatures have diminished property rights and then lays out an agenda for protecting these rights in the future.

©2006 Cato Institute (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This timely and compelling book will greatly interest anyone seeking a better understanding of the state of property rights in America today. Concerned citizens and activists will find resources and inspiration in each chapter." (Chip Mellor, President, Institute for Justice)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ned D Ferguson
  • 22-10-2007


If one is passionate about the subject of property rights and seeks to understand why they are fundamentally important for a free society then this book is a gold mine. If one is merely seeking to be entertained or is looking for some light or emotionally satisfying listening - please pass this up - for you will be sorely disappointed.

The ability to keep and use the fruit of one's labor is a basic tenet of American existence and of the exercise of the American dream. Unfortunately, the erosion of this basic moral right threatens society as we know it. The nose of despotism is not only under the tent, the entire embodiment of it is in the tent.

The author explains that the forces of tyranny did not emerge with Kelo, but that Kelo and decisions like it are the logical extension of a long history of betrayal of the American ideal of freedom.

The author adroitly describes the difference between the Blackstonian model and the Lockean model of the concept of rights: The Blackstonian model holding the all of our rights extend by government largesse, with the Lockean model asserting that rights are inherent moral imperatives which transcend governmental authority. As to be expected, despots love the Blackstonian model.

This is not "light" listening, but it contains much essential information for a proper understanding of the importance of property rights in American society.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan
  • 03-02-2007


I was hoping to hear interesting stories in which property rights about property rights abuses. Unfortunately the examples aren't that interesting and you have to listen to hours of unqualified assertions in between. It gets very difficult to draw lines between the author and his sources. I'm willing to bet the printed version of this book is littered with footnotes.

Anyhow, I didn't quite make it to the end, which is pretty unique for me.

1 person found this helpful

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