Saturday, May 17, 2014

Freedom or tyranny?

Freedom is: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.  It is the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. It is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved physically, mentally or emotionally.

A stark but trivial reminder of our loss of freedom is our willingness to buy into the notion that governments know best and are good stewards of those lauded inalienable right.  One seemingly innocuous event transformed my opinion of what real freedom is and how easy we are letting it slip through our fingers, occurred yesterday.

I’ve been working on restoring an old house near Cleveland, Ohio.  One of the surrounding cities has some fairly stringent policies toward home ownership and makes it a point of sale to outline infractions that must be repaired in order for the owner of the property to get a refund of a sizable fee placed with the city to ensure compliance.  I do understand the need for oversight but this level of bureaucracy was staggering in its micromanagement.

In order to set the stage for a clearer understanding of the situation let me outline that the amount of work needed to get this house looking nice was staggering. I don’t want to get into the details of what had to be done other than to say this was not a weekend project by any means so when a guy shows up to the house and asks for the owner, my first thought was that he was there to sell me something.

The exterior is getting ready to be painted and has already received its primer coat. The windows and doors are all covered with plastic, the gutters have all been removed for later replacement and the large construction bin in the driveway makes this house a clear candidate as a remodel with very clear intentions of making the once dilapidated eyesore into a jewel of the neighborhood.  So when the guy shows and blatantly demands that we cut the grass, I thought it was a joke.

First off, I’m not from around here so random people telling me to do something is probably not the best way to gain my confidence.   Second the obviousness of the situation was staggering in its simplicity yet this guy failed to see the scope of project and was singularly focused on his bureaucratic task, telling us that we were out of compliance with a city ordinance and needed to cut the lawn.  Third, it’s been raining cats and dogs for over a week and little or no mention of that reality came across in the man’s demands…

I also reminded him of the amount of work progressing in trying to make this house more presentable and that getting the grass cut was not that high on my list of priorities at the moment but we would get to it soon.  “It needs to be cut by Saturday” was his stringent and curt reply.

So like any good red blooded American I questioned his position and asked him “is this what are taxes are paying for, sending a guy like you to tell me to cut my grass?”  I know this is not a hugely important issue but it does illustrate the level of control that we have all allowed. 

We have succumbed to the tyrannical level of servitude when we allow others to tell us what we can and cannot do, especially in such trivial matters as maintaining the lawn.  This point of slavery is a real reminder of how far we’ve come in order to attempt to maintain a civil and acceptable level of supposed freedom.  More and more often people are literally buying into tyranny.  How many of you live in an association?

In this particular area the city is the association and has enacted rules that everyone has to live by and on top of those rules is a usurious property tax base that boggles the mind.  Home ownership is no longer a constitutional right and I suspect this city and virtually every city and town has the power to impose penalties in the form of liens if we refused to abide by their laws, putting the right of ownership in jeopardy over something as trivial as not cutting the lawn, if that’s not tyranny than what is?

What’s most sad is the willingness most have to willfully accept those conditions and the powers that oversee the minutia that we so often take for granted.  We are selling our souls to the devil with each blade of uncut grass the gentle slope of our enslavement is exacerbated each time we allow others to tell us what to do with what is rightfully ours.

Are we property owners or are we simply leasing our homes and our possessions?  Look, we all understand that we need taxes, society has to move forward and we need basic services in order to function.  We need streets and power and water, trash removal and maybe even parks and libraries but do we really need a guy to tell us to cut our lawns?  Do we really need property taxes that equal the cost or our home every 15 years?  Do we really need a local, state and national governments telling us which doctor to see or what kind of coverage we are allowed or what size soft drink we can buy or how much salt to eat?

What we need is less of everything and more individual responsibility.  More of the inalienable and God given rights to act according to our own desires and conscience, realizing that we are responsible for what we do and we will conversely suffer or benefit from the decisions we make.   

I for one have always been responsible for what I’ve done; I just think it’s time for everyone to be just like me…

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