In a suburb of Houston, Texas, an elderly couple is being driven from their home. No, not by BLM or the taxman or local “government” but by their local Homeowners Association (HOA).
Why? They committed a crime. What? Enslaving someone to clean their place? Attacking their neighbors? Failure to pay fees and taxes? No.
For feeding ducks. That’s right. They feed ducks, and their neighbors don’t like it. Okay! So their neighbors exercised their power as a claimed majority to take action in their HOA.
As reported here, they have been sued by the HOA which is planning to fine them a cool $250,000. For a retired couple, the only way they can pay that sort of judgment is by selling the house first. (And finding a place to park their car so they can live in it without triggering more violations, fines, and worse.)
Tyranny comes in many forms. Generally, local tyranny – from a town or city, county or special district – is less onerous than tyranny coming down from the Statehouse (or the hundreds of State office buildings) or the multi-tenacled, demon-headed machinery of the FedGov. But not always. Special districts (and that really is what an HOA usually is) have incredible power and virtually no oversight by our corrupt court systems or legislatures. Once their bylaws and regulations are produced and adopted, changing them is about as likely throwing a lasso around the moon.
So what can lovers of liberty do? Besides voting with our feet and getting out of these HOA-dominated subdivisions? And also, of course, avoiding the tyranny more and more common for almost all incorporated towns and cities with “Code Enforcement” – and too many counties? Of course, we should all avoid those little petty tyrants as much as possible.
Build networks – not just with other lovers of liberty but with our neighbors and local business owners and workers. Especially those who are opposed to us politically – not necessarily to win them over but to let them see that we are not monsters who will let poisonous snakes live in our “too-tall” grass or train wild ducks and geese to poop on their cars and lawns.
As much as possible: build fences. Good fences make good neighbors – if they don’t see you directly, they are less likely to get ticked off and whinge and file complaints. And help them find people to elect to HOA boards (and for that matter, local governments) which are less likely to be Mrs. Grundy and Karen all rolled up into one.
And help other people who get in hot water with those Mrs. Grundies and Karens. Too many times, those of us who want to mind our own business don’t want to get involved and become part of a corrupted, biased, and vengeful system. But five minutes to write someone a letter of support and get other like-minded people to do so – and send them to the board or commission to outweigh all the nasty comments, complaints, and objections CAN make a big difference. Especially when the decisionmakers claim to be “doing the will of the people.”