The author of “The Painmaker” (1/13) showed a complete lack of insight into the intent and purpose behind property laws. His emotions were maudlin and misplaced; in fact, I don’t even think that “Ryan Grim” is his real name.
First, the author attempts to gain our sympathies by putting a human face on the evictions; however, he fails in that regard due to the fact that he uses a waiter. I’m pretty sure that I speak for everyone when I say that waiters are so evil that their souls often smolder for days after their bodies die. Then, “Grim” tells us that this waiter was looking forward to buying his apartment someday. And, according to law, the waiter might have been able to purchase his apartment under the circumstances outlined in the article…except for the efforts of one man: lawyer Richard W. Luchs.
But does this make Luchs a bad man? If a good man will help someone get what they deserve, doesn’t it follow that a great man will help someone get more than they deserve? He’s practically a saint as far as I am concerned. The owners’ rights are protected from the tenants preemptively by simply removing the tenants from the owners’ buildings.
The intent of property laws is not that we all have a right to property—that is laughable. The intent is that there is always a subset of the population that has a right to everyone else’s property. Arcane loopholes like the 95/5 ploy only help maintain the original goals of our founding fathers.
Let me give you an example: In the early days of our great nation, we would sign “treaties” with various American Indian nations at the cessation of hostilities. The Native Americans would naively take these treaties literally, little knowing that the intent of the treaties was to keep the tribes from doing anything until the whites were able to steal what they had just ceded to them. Essentially, treaties were a way of putting American Indians on hold.
Another example is the Emancipation Proclamation. If you took it literally, it meant the end of slavery; however, everyone knew that slavery was still a viable economic system in America. The South simply developed “sharecropping,” or “slavery-lite.” Plantation owners went from paying for room and board to paying a dollar a day and letting their workers find their own food and board.
So Luchs is simply keeping with tradition; in fact, his whining to the University of the District of Columbia about the hurtful words of law student Kim Fahrenholz should be seen not as the pathetic, spineless attack of a soulless pragmatist but simply as an attempt to punish a fellow American from straying from the traditions that the powerful in this country have fought so long to keep in place.
It was funny, though, that his concept that selling 99.99 percent of an apartment building isn’t really selling it doesn’t apply to his spat with Fahrenholz. He stated that the woman called his integrity into question. I would imagine, though, that 99.99 percent of what she said in court did not call his integrity into question.
It’s inconsistencies like this one that might bring down our fragile legal heritage.