One of the fun things about being a libertarian is that you really have no problem coming up with really good examples of bad government intervention. It’s almost a given, and I think even the most statist of both my liberal and conservative friends would agree that Sturgeon’s Law applies to government action in spades. (Of course, they’ll illustrate the point by giving different examples showing their own political bias without ever realizing that they’re both right and it is all crap.) Somehow, the best of intentions never seem to end up with sunshine and rainbows, do they?
But sometimes there’s an example of government action that’s so petty that it can be derided by all citizens, no matter what their political affiliation. Action that shows unthinking adherence to the bureaucratic process worthy of a Kafka novel. Action by government drones who are so lacking in self-awareness and common empathy that they act surprised, shocked even, when it is pointed out that they are acting like complete and utter asshats.
I present to you the wonderful town of Caledon, a rural community that according to the National Post:
[M]ay force a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy to give up his miniature pony after a neighbour complained about the smell.
We shall also note that the complaining neighbor also “borders on a cattle farm.” But, of course, we know that a single miniature pony can out-stink a heard of cows any day, right? I mean which would you want to live next to? Really.
But, since the town already gave notice to this scofflaw family, it can’t now admit it was acting solely to defend the sensitivities of a raging asshole whose idea of recreation is probably leaving empty shopping carts in the handicapped parking spaces at the local Wal-Mart. No, the forms must be followed, the Is crossed and the Ts dotted. According to Caledon bylaw enforcement manager Glenn Blakely, a single-acre property is too small to house a miniature pony. To quote the poor sap who has to defend this decision to the press:
Animals need room to graze in and move around and be fair to the animal. If you get smaller lots it really restricts the area that the horse in this case can move around. That’s why we don’t allow livestock on properties such as this.
As an aside, Solon Ohio requires only an acre to support a full-grown standard-size type horse. Obviously those Canadian mini-ponies graze a lot. And note the wonderful bit of transference here, not “we have to slavishly follow all the arbitray zoning records,” or “we have to kowtow to the dipshits that scream a lot at our council meetings,” or even, “yes, we know it’s stupid, but were going to do our best to try to work something out here.” No. They’re doing it to protect the pony. Yeah. Right.
Of course the crowing bit of all of this:
The Spiteris will appear before the Caledon committee of adjustment Dec. 10 to ask for an exception because of Sam’s special circumstances. It costs $800 to appear before the committee. Ms. Spiteri said she received an e-mail from town council Tuesday afternoon about an additional $345 required to circulate their application for an exception to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
Warms the cockles, don’t it?
Oh, did I mention that the kid was prescribed equestrian therapy by his physical therapist and pediatrician to help him strengthen his muscles: i.e. the kid has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and can’t walk or crawl. So this is like taking away a wheelchair and a guide dog with one shot. Way to go, Caledon, demonstrating government of the asshats, by the asshats and (of course) for the asshats.
(Story via Mightygodking.)
Republicans want a corporate-dominated State.
Democrats want State-dominated corporations.
Both polices, in practice, lead to nearly-indistinguishable corporatist political systems that border on Fascism.
Have a nice day.
Joe the Plumber has written a book, or has had a book written for him. Now I have no gripe with the guy, and I bear him no ill will, but I will say that the details of the book “deal” seem sort of, well, odd. First off, I’d think that he’d land a deal with a major publisher just based on the fact that he seems to inspire liberal ire as if he was the love-child of Joe Lieberman and Sarah Palin. But Joe seems to be a do-it-yourself kind of guy, going with a press that has only one other title— a book by the press’ owner, who also is the co-author.
Quoth Joe about the reasons for the small press:
I am not going to a conglomerate that way we actually can get the economy jump started. Like there is five publishing companies in Michigan. There’s a couple down in Texas. They are small ones that can handle like 10 or 15,000 copies. I can go to a big one that could handle a million or two. But they don’t need the help. They are already rich. So that’s spreading the wealth to me.
Uh, ok. This is sort of like having your eight-year old nephew try and fix your transmission because he needs the money more than your mechanic. I think he probably had the bad luck to fall in with a borderline scam. Probably his co-author said, “hey, I’ll write this for you for free, just let me publish it.” Unfortunatly, our old friend Joe didn’t realize that a good contract with a reputable publisher would have paid him something, and they would have found someone with some writing credits to produce the actual book.
Please note, these all come from a country with a chattering class that believes the United States is just this far from a totalitarian fascist state. (They may be right, but that isn’t the point.) All via Weird Universe.
- Bournemouth Council bans 18 Latin terms, including the word “via”, because they’re too “elitist” and were worried about the self esteem of the immigrants who didn’t understand them.
- East Cambridge District Council closed down a tavern poetry-reading session for health and safety grounds meaning the pub had a “music” license, not a “spoken word” license.
- Liverpool City Council has told a small business office it must purchase an environmental disposal contract because sandwiches are apparently industrial waste.
- Salisbury Council has decided that the term color-blind is offensive to blind people and prefers the phrase “colour visual impairment,” other phrases to be avoided: “black,” “British,” “West Indian,” “moving forward” and “singing from the same hymn sheet”.
- Bromsgrove Council ordered gardeners to take down barbed wire because thieves might get hurt.
I’m a pretty conservative/libertarian and I come from a liberal family, live in a liberal area of Ohio, and I work and play in fairly liberal venues. So I have noticed (especially on my recent trip south to my sister’s wedding) that the last few years there seems to be an epidemic of people who seem generally tone-deaf when discussing politics— in ways that range from the annoying to the actively offensive. Now that the election is over, and passions have cooled, I provide some tips to help you avoid alienating your friends, getting sucked into pointless internet flame wars, and generally looking like a condescending twit.
- Note the venue. Some places are appropriate to these kind of discussions, some aren’t. Large gatherings of mixed company, not so much.
- If the person you’re talking to is silent, says “um” a lot, and is glancing around for escape routes, these are not signs of fascination with your devastating analysis.
- Someone being charming, witty, and an intelligent conversationalist does not automatically indicate that they share any of your political opinions.
- Not sharing your political opinions does not automatically make someone ignorant, stupid, or evil.
- Attacking policy based solely on an advocate’s stupidity or moral turpitude is a logical fallacy known as an ad hominem attack and it makes you look like an asshat.
- Understand that moral positions are based on revealed truth and are therefore not subject to logical attack or debate.
Today, thank whatever deity you might fancy, it will be over. At the moment, it looks as if Obama is the favorite. I thought I might list a couple of things I see as possible side effects of an Obama victory. (Sans gnashing teeth or messianic glee.)
- Those who have a vested interest in the racial status quo (on all sides) will largely refrain from referring to Obama as black or African-American, and refer to him as bi-racial or non-white.
- Anti-American rhetoric will start taking on overtly racist overtones especially in the Middle East.
- The Republican party leadership will implode, and it seems likely that over the next four to eight years the economic conservative wing may, in fact, take over from the imperialistic neo-cons and the religious right.
- This election will mark a high water mark for the Democrats, as they will have taken ownership of the mess our economy will become over the next two years.
- Republicans on the national stage will become a lot more diverse as the old guard is purged, and the remaining leadership finds it easier to have someone other than an old white guy critique the administration.
- Everyone running for office will suddenly realize the internet exists. ie. expect more Facebook ads and Twittering candidates.
- Palin 2012.