(My Clovis News Journal column for August 1, 2014.)
One topic being raised in almost all the communities in this area is that of keeping your property to particular standards which other people prefer, under threat of government action.
Maybe it concerns weeds, "junk", prairie dogs, or "public property" you have been assigned responsibility for. People are being told they need to make their property pleasing to others "voluntarily", or it will be forced on them by "law".
The big problem, besides the atrocity of wielding "laws" to violate property rights, is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I have to admit- I don't care for lawns. Never have. Sure, they have their place, and I wouldn't forbid anyone from maintaining one, but I think they are ugly and plain. Around these parts, they are also terribly wasteful and precarious.
If I had my choice I would cultivate a native area around my house, which around here would mean wild grasses, yucca, prickly pear, mesquite, and other interesting, useful (and edible) plants the uninformed might call "weeds". Yes, I know some of those may not be exactly native, but they are historical, and adapted to survive the local conditions without wasting water to keep them clinging to life.
I would also welcome prairie dogs, jackrabbits, cottontails, and whatever else chose to live there. Except mosquitoes.
If I had this yard, and I lived in town, I would be willing to put up a privacy fence to protect my neighbors' delicate sensibilities from having to gaze upon what I consider the most beautiful yard possible for this area.
In this way I also wouldn't have to look at the neighbors' lawns.
On the other hand, I hate junk and litter. Yet, I know what I see as "junk", others might see as treasures, or useful materials for projects. Their stuff is beautiful in their eyes, and it's none of my business. I would never dream of using the blunt instrument of government to force them to make their property look the way I would prefer it to look. My business ends at my property lines.
I can't relate to the withered souls who somehow believe controlling other people's property is their right. It's a sickness in desperate need of a cure.
Once you enshrine the belief that the majority can enforce "community standards" against how others must maintain their property, you give others permission to do the same to you in the future, when the community changes and the standards have become something you dislike.
You are selling your future liberty for immediate gratification, using whatever justification you can invent. It will come back to bite you.