(Published in the Farwell, TX/Texico, NM State Line Tribune)
[Background- recently the local police chief, apparently under direction of the mayor, has been focusing on "building permits". A woman had a carport installed in front of her house without a "permit" and the cop showed up as it was being completed and threw his weight around. The carport was found to be a half inch "too close" (according to the "legal" distance of 15') to the curb. The builders moved the carport right up against the house and cut it a little shorter to comply. Now the "authorities" whine it is "too close" to her house. The city council is having a meeting to determine whether she will be forced to take it down. Then she built a fence. The mayor stopped by and threw a hissy fit. This time she had the "permit", even though the mayor said he hadn't seen her name on one- it was in the contractor's name.)
I am so glad I don't suffer from the lust to control other people's property. Judging by the people who find this an important "responsibility", it must be quite a burden.
It doesn't hurt me in any way if my neighbor puts a carport in front of their house, and in fact I am happy for them if they do, knowing it will improve their life.
That doesn't mean I would remain silent if they tried to build on my property, or violated my property in some other way, but I know my property ends at my property lines, and things that happen, and stay, on the other side of the line are not my business. "Law" or no "law".
I oppose silly and destructive laws requiring "permits" (more honestly called bribes) for remodeling your house or adding a deck.
As unpopular as it may be, I stand with those who exercise their American right- actually, their fundamental human right- to use their own property as they see fit without asking permission from anyone, as long as they don't harm the private property of anyone else.
Any law that seeks to violate private property is a counterfeit "law"; it is wrong and shouldn't be passed, and if it somehow gets passed anyway, it shouldn't be enforced. Ever. Those laws should be eliminated, and ignored until they are.
Of course, that would eliminate almost every law currently financing the growing US police state, so those who profit from it would never take such a radical notion- to respect private property- lying down.
A common objection is "property values", but think about that for a minute. The biggest consequence of "property values" is how much the local government will decide to ransom your property for each and every year. Lower property value means you get robbed a little less, and I see that as a good thing. But how can you really know a modification to your neighbor's property will lower your property's market value? Regardless of the opinion of those who make up the rules, people's tastes vary. Many people might value your house even more with the neighbor's modification next door.
I would rather live where people are happy and free to do with their property as they wish, without being molested by anyone, than in some postcard illustration of an imaginary "perfect neighborhood".
Update: Here is a letter to the editor in response to this column: link
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