Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Government is Evil, er, Stupid

DOB and I have different generic words of disgust. I usually describe things I despise as "evil" or possibly "gross," depending on their nature. DOB, on the other hand, uses "stupid" across the board. I have to admit, though, the anti-government thoughts running through my head today fit "stupid" better than "evil."

1) My good friend Marsha, whose only threat to civil society is her borderline anarcho-libertarian views, is being forced to pay a significant fine for the "offense" of owning up to a forgotten handgun in her purse after the airport security failed to catch it. She is the most conscientious person I know, and so of course she must be fined for her honesty. What, exactly, does this accomplish for national security? Obviously the logical thing for her to do next time she forgets her gun is to keep her mouth shut and hope all the remaining security screeners are equally inattentive.

2) My father has owned a small farm for over 30 years, kept more for the purpose of relieving stress and occupying children than out of any attempt at monetary gain. Now he wishes to divide the farm so that my brother can build on a portion of it. As expected, this involves incomprehensible complexity and expense in surveying, satisfying wetlands concerns, zoning issues, etc. The icing on the cake, though, is that he has now discovered he is supposed to have a "farm plan." Not only that, but the "farm plan" is being developed by some bureaucrats who came out and briefly surveyed the farm. (Fortunately Dad got the manure shed cleaned out before they came.) How soviet can you get? A brief survey of the county website indicates that this plan is tied in to getting the tax break for having agricultural land, but why is it not sufficient to prove that you have, in fact, used the land as a farm? Do the bureaucrats really think we can't farm without their all-wise guidance?

Then again, maybe "evil" is the better term.

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