I have a friend that I am going to call Sally for the sake of this post.
I would best describe Sally as a left leaning progressive. She believes strongly in using the strong arm of government to facilitate “social justice.”
Today Sally found the thumb of regulation on the other hand. And it pressed firmly down on her vision for America.
Sally tenaciously advocates for organic food, and involves herself heavily in urban farming. On Friday, she learned that city officials in a Detroit suburb charged a woman with a misdemeanor for growing a garden in her front yard. Seems that runs afoul of the authorities’ vision of “suitable” front yard vegetation.
“If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster’s dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what’s common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers,” Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski told WJBK Fox 2 in Detroit.
So basically, Kevin gets to use his power as a city planner to legislate his vision of a nice front yard on every Oak Park Citizen.
I suppose we should be thankful he doesn’t live in some of the Florida neighborhoods I’ve driven through, where pink flamingos are as common as fire ants.
I happen to agree with Sally. This goes beyond dumb, deep into the realm of idiotic.
But Sally needs to understand; her own view of government creates an environment ripe for idiots like Rulkowski to run around and make moronic rules for all of us.
As I told her, this is what you get when you fail to respect private property rights.
You see, Sally would not bat an eye at city officials imposing a “green” agenda on property owners. She views preserving green space, mandating energy conservation and wealth redistribution as perfectly legitimates uses of government power. Why? Because those regulations seek to achieve an end she believes in.
Therein lies the problem with ends driven political agendas. Somebody else can utilize the power you grant to get things done to undo everything you want to do. When you give some pinhead like Rulowski the power to mandate energy efficiency in the name of making the community “green”, you also give him the power to tell some poor woman she can’t grow tomatoes in her own front yard.
As a result every debate about policy devolves into a matter of opinion. You know, whose stupid idea is less stupid. Without a principle to stand on, nothing can really ever stand.
The same concept applies at the national level. If we allow the federal government to overstep its power and run a health care system simply because we happen to believe in that particular policy, we lose any standing to protest when that same federal government oversteps its power and enforces unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act. After all, some people value security over freedom.
That’s why we stand on a principle at the Tenth Amendment Center. Follow the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses.
People like Sally may well have ideas that would benefit society – or not. But they need to learn to use their power of persuasion to convince others to follow along, instead of relying on the Kevin Rulowskis of the world to force their agenda down everybody else’s throat.
Because we clearly cannot trust Kevin Rulowski with that kind of power.