Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Red Flag Warning: Are We a Free People?

The Watchman serves on the City of Fountain Planing Commission. Tonight we heard a request from a resident who's area recently was annexed into the city involuntarily. It had been in the county and the zoning allowed the existence of "fowl" or chickens on the property. The new city zoning allowed cows but not chickens. So the good citizen was asking for a conditional use to have 24 chickens that was previously allowed by the county. Our commission wisely granted the variance in the conditional use, but what struck me was how this citizen's freedom had been limited by government in the first place. My God, here was a person asking permission to have 24 chickens on his nearly 5 acres of land from his government overseers!

Are we a free people? A hundred years ago a family could move out west, buy a hunk of dirt and basically go about raising a family, planting crops or setting up a shop with out so much as a single "Mother-May-I" from any one in government authority. And for the most part there weren't the avalanche of taxes, permit fees, and licence requirements to do what you thought was best to do with your life. Today you couldn't even be allowed to live in a three room house as it wouldn't meet code. You couldn't operate your corner grocery store without special permits, zoning, and business licences as well as acting as a tax collector for government. Soon every business will be required to provide health insurance for their employees. What's next, car insurance? Life insurance? Business owners (big and small) are some of the most oppressed peoples in America owing to the heavy hand of government.

Are we a free people? How many decisions do we each make daily that isn't some how influenced by a fear of either violating a regulation or being subject to lawsuits. And how many approvals are needed to do something you want to do. If you live in a HOA you have to get the feared architect review committee to approve your house color. If you want to build on to your house you have to get approval not only from the HOA, but the city or county zoning board, a construction permit, and submit information to the assessor to pay the increase property taxes.

Are we a free people? Can you place a sign in your front yard saying the local HOA board is a bunch of nutters? Can you protect yourself or your personal property if necessary with deadly force? In times gone by, the only permit you needed to carry personal protection was the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. Now you have to pay huge fees to receive a permit to do what you constitutionally have the God given right to do! If you need a permit, are you truly "free"?

Are we a free people? In the next few years will you be able to go get shoulder replacement surgery if you are older than 57 and even pay for it yourself? Will you be free to do so if the regional Obamacare health care review committee rules you can not have that surgery? Or will you be discriminated against because of your age and ability to pay and be told to stand at the end of the line?

Are we a free people? When there are so many rules, regulations, and legal requirements that corral us , lemming like, to be treated as just another member of the unwashed collective. Are we a free people when we let those who are suppose to represent us in the halls of congress, ignore our protests and our outrage at a government mandated program that we can not afford.

My friends the answer, sadly, is no. No we are not a free people. And while the view of our current system doesn't look anything like the horrific dictatorships of past ages, the tyranny being foisted off on us today takes many different forms and is just as crushing. The human spirit contains a freedom shaped vacuum to paraphrase Pascal. In every age and culture, eventually the yearning desire for freedom bursts forth into a new age of release where humanity can expand its horizons and live in liberty. The question we have to ask our selves today and certainly on November 2nd, do we wish to follow the lead lemming right over the cliff of collective Marxism or do we desire again to taste the sweetness of freedom and liberty.

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