Libertarian Commentary on the News, #13-45D: Prohibition – an afterword, and the “Pope”

Prohibition – An afterword

Just after writing my article on banning of e-cigs, I was queried by a friend regarding information on what seemed to her to be a rash of actions by governments against people for growing vegetable gardens on their property in towns and subdivisions, especially in the front yard.

I have seen stories about specific instances of this in various news sources, including Freedom’s Phoenix.  These incidents date back several years and have been reported, usually by local news sources (mostly TV), from Florida to Ontario and California to Maine.

The “why” is a tough question.  I know some things, and suspect some others.  This is interesting in part because I just wrote an article yesterday about the growing numbers of bans on e-cigarettes, which are NOT cigarettes but which are feared by an incredible number of bureaucrats and politicians for vague and ill-defined “threats” to personal and public health.

First, we have the usual reasons (excuses):

1.  Demand for conformity and fear of impact on property values by neighbors, homeowners associations, Realtors, city and county officials.  Different is BAD.  Fear of drop in property values is directly tied to property taxes and sales taxes (from sales of real estate) and therefore a major cause of panic, resulting in passing regulations (or more harshly enforcing existing regulations).

2.  For the past 15-20 years, more and more local governments have been adopting the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) which is currently in the 2012 edition (many governments will have earlier versions).  This is a very detailed and lengthy code with lots of space for “tailoring” to a given jurisdiction, but also a way to very tightly control EVERYthing you can imagine about a property.  Since this sort of document is adopted by reference and the local governing authorities often don’t bother to read it through – or don’t understand what they are passing, local “code enforcement” employees can tinker with it and use it to gain more power, and more revenue (which the politicians don’t mind, of course).

3.  Legal fear: fear of being sued for failure to enforce the codes and allowing unsafe conditions or unsightly conditions to exist.  This is the case, I think, with the recent incident in South Dakota where the property management company, fearful that USDA would penalize them for allowing a girl’s garden, went way overboard.  Elsie didn’t do this, but it happened on her watch.  (Of course, she is serving one of her purposes being a convenient scapegoat, too, for the career bureaucrats and the Democratic leadership in DC and in SD.)

4.  Increasing UN and Federal attempts to control food production and “ensure” that food is safe and does not pose a threat to international trade and their backer’s profits, nor allow people to function off the grid in any way.  Here we are admittedly into the conspiracy path of thought, but we see enough of what is proposed and has passed and enforced regarding things like whole milk, raising of small food animals (and their butchering, etc.), prohibition on home-grown and prepared foods in schools, etc. to make this more than just paranoia.

Secondly, we have human nature.

1. Once we have set the foundation, as I discuss in my article on prohibiting e-cigs, we have evil human nature working:  prohibition for the sake of prohibition. “We prohibit X because we CAN prohibit X.  Fall down on your knees and obey us!”  Power and greed increase, as the nanny state dictates more and more things.  When combined with the NIMBYs and the Mrs. Grundys and taxation and sales prices and everything else, this becomes an easy fix for those addicted to power and control, and even money.

2.  The other part of human nature is what I call the “hammer syndrome.”  People (in and out of government) use laws as hammers to punish and retaliate against people that they are mad at or want to get revenge on.  (Or for other motives, like cops who are rapists.)  “I don’t like that Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their brats, because they complained about my kids’ loud party in 1995, and now I can use this code enforcement to get back at them, by complaining to the code official because their grass is always 2 inches higher than the code allows.”

Like everything else to do with government and society, we can expect this sort of thing to get worse.  At the same time, we have to remember that things like this have gone on for a LONG time, but when we were limited in our news sources, we never heard about 95% of them, even when they were local events.  Today, virtually EVERY news source is available worldwide, and so we know a lot more about what is going on.

Mama’s Note: Two other things (among many more possibilities) contribute to this situation, as I see it. Most of this is happening in large cities, and I think overcrowding contributes greatly to the problem. People are fearful of losing what little control they have left over their own lives, and can’t seem to recognize that destroying another person’s control over HIS life only makes the situation worse for everyone. This leads to the second part of the problem, which is the ongoing (intentional) degradation of the family, the extended family and the community. Rather than working together to reach mutual goals, they become adversaries working hard to curry favor with the overlords for that tenuous bit of control they might retain over their own lives. If they are “good” and turn in their neighbor for infractions, their own might not be noticed or punished.

Tranzis – Culture wars: Killing babies
Pope Francis: It’s Not ‘Progressive’ To Kill Babies by Abortion


Nathan: For certain definitions of “progressive,” of course.  The use of the term is unwise, because of the connotations, but the Argentine pontiff seems to want to really push.  Killing babies, inside or OUTside the womb, is evil, and worse than barbaric: only “civilized” nations (Azteca, Canaanites, certain ancient Indian cultures) so forget basic morals and their humanity to do this – oh, and of course, the United States, European Union, Russia, and China… in the 20th and 21st Centuries.  Frankly, whenEVER I hear the term “progressive” being used, I think of exactly this:  baby killers (and not just in the womb, but those who would kill babies because their parents are enemies, or because they just can’t be bothered).  Progressives, whether national or international or transnational put ideology over life and liberty, and have been killing children since Moloch’s first idols were built.

This, like a good many other comments and proclamations made by this new pope, lend an ironic twist to that old comeback to a query about whether you are going to do something or react the way you always have, “Is the Pope Catholic?”  Today, is he?

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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