I've been doing considerable thinking these past few days about the ways that various forms of democratically elected governments manage to (often rudely) interject themselves in to our respective lives. While I understand that some laws are necessary to maintain a modicum of societal control, and while I also understand and respect the need for police and court systems to enforce necessary laws, I think it's fair to say that as a society we've gone way, way beyond what was originally intended on nearly every front.
I'd like to cite an example from my past to illustrate my point. As all my longtime readers know, I and my first wife bought our family farm which is located in a rural part of Ontario. As part of our purchase and sales agreement with my mother, we agreed to sever her house and about an acre off of the farm so that she would still own our family home place outright in the (we thought then) unlikely event that something happened which would force me to liquidate the farm. Since this transaction was between consenting family members on land that our family had owned since well before Canada became a country, we naively assumed this would be easy to achieve. How wrong we were.
Thanks to overzealous township and county level municipal by-laws and provincial regulations governing land transfer and severely restricting (with the intent of eliminating) rural severances of all types, our simple land transaction nearly never happened. As it was, I hired a farm land lawyer and paid him thousands of dollars to attend multiple on-going meetings with county and provincial officials of all types which went on for over eighteen months before we were granted our severance. Thank God I got it done when I did because a few years later our farm was added to the Ministry of the Environments protection plan for the Oak Ridges Moraine which made what I wanted to accomplish virtually impossible to do.
Shortly after the sale was completed, I foolishly decided I wanted to build a home on my land. I say foolishly because by then I had come to realize that our local township/municipality and county municipality planning commission had absolutely draconian regulations on building *anything*, even relative to the counties immediately adjacent to it. By the time we got done with engineered drawings, site plans, square footage regulations, electrical inspections, well inspections, septic tank inspections, etc., etc., etc., plus the nearly $ 15,000 in fees, another eighteen months had gone by. It would have literally been smarter, easier and cheaper to buy a piece of land a mile down the road in the neighbouring county and build my house there. I swore up, down and sideways that I would never, ever repeat that experience again.
I won't even mention what it would have taken to build out or enlarge a livestock facility, except to say that I have grave doubts that it could be done at all in that particular place today.
Fast forward ten years.
Our new farm is located in an unincorporated portion of Giles County, TN, and as such, there is no planning commission to fool with and no zoning restrictions on us at all. For the time being, we could literally build our home and buildings out of papier mache if we chose to do so, provided we could pass the wiring inspection and a perk test. Given the level of regulation where I came from, this entire experience has been heaven to me. Of course as we speak Giles County is considering adopting a building code and they are looking for public input. Sisters and brothers, they are fixin' to get some ! That is one county commission meeting that I will definitely be attending. And this leads me to my last thought.
On the eve of Thanksgiving what I am most thankful for is the freedom to choose my own way.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the gist of my post, I hope you'll agree that the time to speak up when someone threatens to take any of our freedoms away is *right now*, and the time to become complacent about this is *never*.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
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