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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Master and Servant

We've been having a fairly lively go-around in the comments section of a past post ("Non-TEOTWAWKI Comms, Plus Pretend You're A Spy!") that has focused on government encroachment into our lives.

How far can and should the government go?

Is it OK for the government to attempt to exceed its scope of power with the goal to manufacture or ensnare potential law-breakers?

Well, here's another log for the discussion fire:  You may have seen that some guy in Georgia was fined over $5,000 for growing too many vegetables in his own backyard -
His neighbors call it "Cabbagegate." And it cost Steve Miller a lot of green. The Clarkston, Ga., man was fined $5,200 for growing too many vegetables in his backyard.

Miller had been growing legumes for 15 years, selling them at local farmers markets and giving them away to friends, before he was cited by the Dekalb County Code Enforcement office for the first time last September. It's illegal to garden at such a level in the zone where he lives.
This kind of stuff makes my head explode.  Why can't this guy do as he pleases with his own property, whether he makes a profit from his efforts or not?

Was there a complaint?  Or is this just another story of a bankrupt locality looking for ways to raise income in tough economic times?

Will his actions place another citizen in likely danger in the future?

Other than break a previously unenforced bureaucrat-designed zoning law, what did he do that was horrific enough to get so heavily fined?

The most important question should be, Did his actions to anything to infringe upon the rights of another citizen - such as bringing down property values?

If not, then the local government needs to butt the hell out.

Cities and counties are granted the power to set zoning laws.  But they need to be set in such a way as to allow the landowners the greatest possible flexibility in what they can to do with their land.  In this case, he was zoned for agriculture - just not that much agriculture.

Pure insanity.

It seems like I use this quote quite a bit lately -
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

--Ayn Rand
That was one insightful woman, huh?

Accept The Challenge

I salute this guy, and the guy I mentioned in the other post's comment section for standing up for their rights.

Really, this isn't just about land use or privacy.  It is about government reversing the Master/Servant roles.  Take the time to read the Constitution again.  Its original intent is very, very clear - simple, straightforward instructions on how our country is to be run.

There is little ambiguity about who runs the joint.  Yet here we sit, effectively stripped of our powers, or ignorant that those powers even exist.

As preppers, could there be a more frightening prospect than the government having the ability to tell you that you can't grow your own food - in whatever quantities you wish - on your own property?  We need to plan for this.

What if history repeats itself and Great Depression farming laws are reinstated?  What if you were told you had to kill your chickens, hogs or cattle, or destroy your crops "for the greater good?"

As these two guys found out, when you reassert yourself as the Master, government doesn't like it.  We must do this, though. 

We must be willing to be inconvenienced.  We must be willing to go and publicly challenge the politicians at the statehouse and at the local supervisor's meetings.  We must let them know that they will be removed from office if they don't do OUR bidding.  We must be willing to go to court.  We must be willing to draw a line in the sand and say, "No more!"

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Joseph said...

Indeed we must but my hope in my fellow Americans, more specifically libertarian/independent minded bloggers actually doing that when the time comes shrinks daily.

Chief Instructor said...

Joseph, I had a conversation with an old online friend (Hermit, where are ya?) about this.

How many of us would actually say NO when a police officer asked the seemingly innocuous, "Do you mind if I check your car - just for both of our safety?" or other such similar requests.

What is disgusting, is in that example, saying no has now been blessed by the courts as being reasonable cause for suspicion. So they can impound your car and get a search warrant.

If you don't talk to a cop during a DUI checkpoint, you can be arrested.

It's insidious.

MikeH. said...


I realize this thought sounds like something straight out of an Alex Jones conspiracy theory rant fest, hosted by Jesse Ventura, but...

If the government could manage to take and maintained control over food production and distribution, it would be like Russia vs. the Ukraine revisited.

It started out here with the government paying farmers for NOT growing produce. There has been the banning of trans-fats. Then pressure regarding the foods our children eat. Next came replacing machine dispensed junk foods with machine dispensed carrot and celery sticks, and sodas with "natural" fruit drinks.

There have been SWAT style raids on food coops, threats, bans and assorted scare tactics on none pasteurized milk sales and now, sticking it to folks who sell and / or give away homegrown produce. All in the name of what, saving us from ourselves?

I kinda think if we don't take the controls back now, they may hold back our access to foods that will give us the energy for the good fight later on.

Pretty sad, isn't it, when folks reach such a lowly level of trust in their government?


Shy Wolf said...

Interesting question, Chief- and if the cop uses that phraseology, I'm going to ask him why he thinks my safety is at risk that he has to check my car? Any other form of remark from him asking the question will be met with a definite "No, you cannot search my car unless you have a warrant or give me good 'probable cause'."
Was it Washington who said, "Freedom without property rights is slavery."? The home owner who was fined is having his rights trampled by the government regardless their reasoning. Similar to those communities that require compliance to 'yard standards'- infringing upon my right to do as I please with my property.
Eminent Domain laws are also an infringement on our freedoms- not just our rights- and should be abolished, but we've been so cowed by 'laws' and 'social justice' that we toe the line without question because we're afraid of the law regardless how much it infringes on or freedoms.
Well, to my thinking, anyway.

Joseph said...

The question concerning checking the vehicle is interesting but not insurmountable. We could do a scenario discussion but I'd first recommend every person should watch Never Talk to Cops videos that are from a law prof. and include some input for a detective. Watch the assumptions and general attitude of the detective and you'll get a good understanding of why you should default to no always regardless of the consequences. I've had my teenagers watch the video so they understand the stance I'm taking if/when the encounter occurs.

There are many good people that are cops but the older I get the more I realize they have been misled and look to everyone as to potential offenders and now consider themselves law enforcement professionals and do not consider themselves peace officers. This has developed into an adherence to the law instead of an application of common sense in the midst of enforcement of the law. Example: Cop catches guy going 30 over but his wife is bleeding to death. The problem is the bureaucracy has taught them that is unacceptable, wait and call and ambulance and then possibly ticket him instead of put her in his car and let the husband focus on stabilizing her while the cop drives. A cop can tell me in detail how they cannot due to various rules even though they know it is not right. Why is it people think rules cannot be changed? I've worked at the city level at one point in my life and can tell you getting those rules changed is extremely difficult but doable.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe for even a second that the government is trying to "take over food production". This guy in Gerogia has probably run afoul of common simple zoning regulations. The same regulations that keep a strip club from opening up next to a school. Is it right or fair that this guy loses $5k and his ability to run a business on his own property? Maybe. But it sure as hell is NOT the federal government trying to control the production of food so they can starve us to death. I can't even put up a small sattelite antenna on my house because of "zoning laws" but I don't believe it is a conspiracy by the government to starve me from TV. All of these local laws are within the power of the voters to change. Make your voice heard and vote and you can change things.

Shy Wolf said...

Interesting thing about 'zoning' regulations... so what Anon7.41 is saying is that there's no difference between a strip club and a strip garden? Of course, I fully understand how devastating a strip garden would be to children- after all, it'll drive them to a life of thievery and debauchery when they learn to take carrots from the ground, wash them, and have a healthy snack of... ugh!...vegtables!
Anon- if you think the fed is not trying to control food production, you should do a little checking with your google buttons- you'll find tons of federal regulations you'd better not trespass with your home garden. And they're getting worse. Not only the garden, but the animals you raise on a legitimate farm."Maybe" it's ok the man loses $5K and his ability to run a small family business- a biz he grows in his yard? "Maybe" it's fair and right? That kind of statement is disgusting, as is the kind of mind that makes it.
There's no such thing as "a simple zoning regulation".
One last note: if you think you're going to vote to change things, you're dreaming while you sleep at the wheel.

Anonymous said...

A zoning regulation is a zoning regulation. You are the one who is using a personal moral opinion to claim one has a higher authority over the other. Do you really believe that if the Georgia man owned the property in an area zoned for farm use the government would have stopped him? It is likely that the only reason he was fined is for non-compliance after being notified. But regardless of who instigated the problem two things are clear: 1)This has all been blown out of proportion and it is hard to tell who is being honest or what the whole story is. 2)There is no doubt in my mind that the claim the federal government is trying to control food production is incorrect. I Especially believe that the claim that the reason they are trying to control production is so they can starve us is exceptionally paranoid and makes me concerned for your mental state. I think what is going on is you are angry with our government and are nit picking everything that happens and conflating it with what Lenin or Hitler did. When it comes to local matters voting is indeed the way to get things done. It is the constitutional way and the legal way. Why would you want to step outside that framework???

Chief Instructor said...

Mike, I think the SWAT raids by the USDA have been the most shocking to me. WTF? Some guy is selling unpasteurized milk, or unapproved eggs and they send in the black jumpsuit guys? Really?

Shy, I can see eminent domain laws being used when they are the last resort. The Constitution saw the need for them, and I agree. What I can't abide is a bastardization of the laws by decisions such as Kelo v. New London. That seems impossible to me, yet there it is.

Joseph, I've watched the two part deal about not talking to cops - one by the lawyer and one by the cop.

Growing up, my dad was a cop in Oakland during the late 50's thru the early 70's. Very different "vibe" for cops back then.

I have a brother who is a top-ranking LEO and lots of friends in the field, and the cops that "think on the job" are a dying breed.

It's the same with "Zero Tolerance" policies in schools. It seems like those with judgment need not apply.

Anon, I don't know what to tell you. Explain this for me then -

If that's not convincing, just do a search string of "USDA raids" or "Department of Agriculture raids" or similar such strings.

Regarding the GA guy: The land was zoned for Ag, just not THAT MUCH Ag.

Now obviously, his doing this was not a problem, as he had been doing it for 15 years. A decent and subservient government would have said, "Well, let's see. Is anyone being harmed? No. Did anyone complain? No. This seems like a pretty stupid zoning law - probably been on the books for a bunch of years for no good reason. We're going to ask that it be removed at the next Supervisor's meeting. Sorry for the inconvenience."

You're probably rolling on the ground, laughing your butt off, because you know there's not a bureaucrat in America that would act that way.

Oh, and who said anything about the .gov wanting to starve the people? You're the only one who mentioned that. Perhaps it is you who should seek professional help.

They want to CONTROL food so they can control the masses.

Why is this such a foreign concept to you when it has actually happened here in the US in the past. Seriously, read up on the "Hog Reduction Act" (or something like that) during the last Depression.

Read some world history. Really, Google can be your friend. Give it a try.

If you want to be part of the, "It's a law so it must be followed" crowd regardless of Constitutionality, common sense or precedence - go ahead. I certainly hope you voluntarily send in a fine for each time you exceed the speed limit. It would only be right, no?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Manna Storehouse; I know nothing about it. Perhaps you are correct and it is a stupid mistake by the authorities. I know my local news has a segment every night called dirty dining where they highlight a restaurant that failed to pass inspection. Usually rat feces, cockroaches, mice, moldy food, etc. That’s every night. Are you saying these restaurants should stay open and the inspectors get another job? The question should be what did Manna storehouse do wrong and what did they refuse to do to correct their problems. Do you care?

As I said, I don’t know what the guy in Georgia did but I’m happy to hear you confirmed my guess that he failed to comply with zoning laws. So now we know. Are you saying there should be no zoning laws?

Regarding the comment about the government starving us, MikeH said: “If the government could manage to take and maintained control over food production and distribution, it would be like Russia vs. the Ukraine revisited.” Did you miss that or maybe you are unaware of what the reference was. My advice to you is read some history, really, google can be your friend. Give it a try. But be aware that there is far more falsehood then truth on the WEB.

I am part of the obey the law crowd and if the law is bad change it crowd. I am part of the find out the truth and don’t over react because of the hype crowd.

But you missed the point entirely. What this thread was always about is the paranoid idea that the government is after us so we must arm up and be prepared to take it over. That is what I find ludicrous. I don’t buy into the echo chamber paranoia about our government and I don’t think violence is the answer. I do agree we are in for tough economic times. I don’t agree that Obama is another Hitler or that the previous or next president was or will be. I do agree that we need to take responsibility for our lives and that includes surviving whatever disaster might occur.

Joseph said...

Anon @ 7:47 AM
Would you mind answering a couple of questions? If not please provide response to the following:
1. Name at least 3 laws you disagree with at any level of government.
2. Please indicate by each law what have you done to demonstrate to those responsible for enacting or rescinding those laws your preference to change/remove those laws?

Thank you

suek said...

I'd sure like to see that zoning regulation. "Producing edible vegetation on more than 78% of the property is prohibited"? "Lawn and non-edible vegetation is required for more than xx% of the property"?

My guess is that they have zoning inspectors out there looking for any minute violation so that they can fine. Various governing bodies are hurting for funds, and they raise them any way they can. I have local experience with this - not specifically what the Georgia man is dealing with, but similar in nature. There's no question in my mind that it's a dollar raising venture by the local governing body.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, no, I didn't miss the Russian reference. I took it to mean how Russia used natural gas (and oil?) as a hammer to impose its will on Ukraine. The analogy being that the US government has shown time and again that it is doing everything in its power to control our food and food supplies.

You've been provided numerous examples (of which there are hundreds if not thousands of similar examples - look it up yourself) but you continue to choose to believe the government is the huge, benevolent Mama Bear that is looking out for your best interest.

As I said, continue believing that if it makes you happy.

I, on the other hand, have read and studied history, and have seen that there has not been a single government on the face of the earth that did not eventually try to become the Master instead of the servant. Never, ever in the history of the world.

I also said nothing about "arming up." The Founding Fathers did, though.

I look forward to your reply to Joseph.

Chief Instructor said...

Sue, exactly. This was a government fund raiser. It had nothing to do with rights being infringed upon, it was to fill emptied city or county coffers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

To Joseph: I object to all laws that are not constitutional. I think the federal government should be well under half the size it is today with almost all the departments dissolved. I think the federal budget should be closer to $800 billion then it’s present bloated size. I have written my states congressmen and in fact where possible I have delivered the letters in person. I vote in every election.

To Chief Instructor: Since I worked with a Ukrainian who immigrated to this country I am very aware of the intentional starvation by the government. They took the food the peasants produced and when winter came 8 million starved. That was the meaning that I got from the comment. Most of the starvation in the world is politically motivated. The fear of this is certainly justified. But I would disagree that anyone in this country is moving to do such a thing here. I do not think our government is a benevolent Mama Bear, I think it is a stumbling, bumbling mismanaged group of idiots. But I prefer truth to supposition and rumor. I simply do not believe: The government is trying to prevent us from growing gardens or trying to take over the food supply or that they intend to starve us out. I also believe it is much simpler to solve or fix problems if you properly define them and what caused them. As for those “SWAT” raids; it is my understanding that these people had been warned numerous times they were breaking the law and they had openly defied that law. It may be trendy or faddish to drink raw milk but it is illegal to sell it or give it away. Raw milk is dangerous and over the years has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. It is the cow’s body fluids and if you drink it you will be exposed to whatever the cow has. So the real question is does the FDA and the states have the right to regulate it? I think they do. But more importantly we have a system of laws and courts to make that decision. For better or worse that is where this will be decided. As for “arming up”, I’m glad you are opposed to it. I do not intend to try to change my government by any means except those provided by the constitution. I look forward to Nov 2nd even though I realize there is no way any likely outcome will “fix” all the things that are wrong with our country. But it is the only legal and proper way for us to change things.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, FYI, I deleted the double post.

So, the federal government sets a law about what people choose to put into their bodies. I have a problem with that on ANY level - food, drugs, smoke - anything.

Why? Because the Constitution does not grant the federal government the ability to do so. It's that simple.

If a state or even locality choses to do so, that is their legal, Constitutional right, as long as it doesn't infringe on another protected right.

So, food, drugs, alcohol, tobacco have no Constitutional basis for the federal government.

And please don't pull "a Pelosi" and say it is granted under the commerce clause, as that would mean that the framers basically intended to void every other restriction placed on the feds.

Joseph said...

Anon @ 2:43 PM
Re: .gov
Good and thank you for being abnormal. We can agree on needing a smaller but the solution needs to promotes individual rights over group rights. To quote George Carlin, "It's a big club and you ain't in it, you and I are not in the big club."

Re: Food control
We can argue this till the cows come home but it appears you think that a small group's research and decisions are unbiased by mega-corporations and they can decide what is healthy for us better than we can? Do you believe most people are that stupid and unable to think for themselves if presented with proper information? Do you believe in a democratic form of government or a republic?

We can agree on your assessment of government being a group of intellectually challenged individuals but it seems that our government is just a facade for large corporations and wall street which makes their lack of critical thinking even more problematic.

Re: Raw milk
Trendy or faddish? Sorry my fellow blog commenter but pasteurized milk is trendy and faddish when taken in the context of history and also within most current third world countries and some subcultures in first world countries.

Anonymous said...

I lean towards many of the same things that Libertarians believe in but I believe they go too far. They would make all drugs legal and as a parent I think this would only create more drug dependency for our children and all of the sordid things that entails. The basic argument is do the people have the right under the constitution to ban or make illegal something they think is harmful. Should I be able to buy oxycodone over the counter at my local 7-11 in the same way I can buy energy drinks today? If you think that all Americans should have that right then yes indeed we disagree.

You do not believe that there should be an FDA or perhaps for that matter any kind of controls over the quality of any food and drugs. I disagree. I think that the constitution does NOT take away citizens rights to create a safety panel to monitor the safety of our food and drugs. You and I might agree that they have not always done a good job but we clearly disagree about the constitutionality of it.

I like our constitutional republic just fine. I do agree that various influences have distorted the constitution and I would favor a strict return to our constitution in all areas of our life. Your comment about corporations troubles me. If I open a business and form a corporation I do not think that I should lose my constitutional rights. I would retain all the constitutional rights I had before I incorporated. You seem to believe that if I incorporate that I should lose my rights and the government should persecute me.

You cannot be serious about raw milk. Let me paraphrase what you said: Sorry my fellow blog commenter but clean water is trendy and faddish when taken in the context of history and also within most current third world countries and some subcultures in first world countries. Simply because we drank raw milk before pasteurization was available does not make it sacred. I would no more drink raw milk then I would drink from a polluted stream. Yes humans did both of these things once but in light of science and universal education why would you do it now? But as I said, IF you want to drink raw milk today you can. The FDA did not say you can’t what the law says is you cannot sell it or give it away to non-family members. That seems fair to me. I can go buy bottled water that is clean and fit to drink would your Libertarian leanings prefer that bottled water be dirty just so you could apply some utopian interpretation of the constitution?

suek said...

>>Raw milk is dangerous and over the years has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. It is the cow’s body fluids and if you drink it you will be exposed to whatever the cow has.>>

A) this is not true unless the cow has TB, which _is_ carried in the milk. All dairies are required to have their cows TB tested annually.

B) the dairies raided were _goat_ dairies, and goats are not TB carriers.

I'm not a raw milk proponent, although my family drank raw goat's milk for about 3-4 years when we _had_ goats. Nevertheless, the raw milk boogey man is just another government control item. If people buy raw milk, and _know_ it's raw milk, the government needs to get their nose out of it. Requiring annual TB testing of the animals is certainly meeting any obligation the government may justifiably have.

>>and over the years has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.>>

Baloney. Source, please.

Anonymous said...

The comment about raw milk killing hundreds of thousands over the years was in response to another persons statement that throughout history we have consumed raw milk without problems. Your objection to my point seems to be based on 20th century testing and regulation. But as you can see the problems with raw milk go back milleniums. Raw milk has probably killed far more then hundreds of thousands over the thousands of years man has kept cattle. There is far more to fear then TB. Raw milk has been known to spread: typhoid, diphtheria, brucellosis, campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, Yersinia spp., strep throat, scarlet fever, staphylococcus, rabies, Bacillus cereus, Coxiella burnetii, Mycobacterium avium and tuberculosis.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, The basic argument is do the people have the right under the constitution to ban or make illegal something they think is harmful.

Please point out in the Constitution where the federal government is granted this power, say, for food or drugs.

If you can't do that, then the 10th amendment specifically prohibits the feds from doing so.

The states, as I noted, CAN enact laws in all other areas, as long as those laws don't infringe on the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

So, your state may say, "We're the Oxy, Pot, Meth and Raw Milk capital of America - Come On Down!", while my state may be prescription only, and you must pick it up from a state government pharmacy or dairy. Both states and the federal gov would be in line with the Constitution.

At the state and local level, the individual has more power. The founders understood this, and that's why they designed the system as they did.

MikeH. said...


I could very well be wrong in my thinking about the government's intentions. However, the government hasn't done a whole lot in the past fifty years to inspire much trust on my part.

Also, I wrote, "if the government managed to take control..." not WHEN or AFTER they take control. Therefore, I think I had my paranoia in check, albeit at minimum, but in check.

My question for you is this: What makes you feel so sure the government wouldn't use food as a means of control over us?

As for zoning laws; regardless of the number of warnings one may have received, a violation of a zoning law is still a minor misdemeanor. Like a parking violation, it does not require government (city, county, state or federal) ninjas to force men, women and children face down on the ground at gun point, nor the confiscation of private property, or the levying of excessive monetary fines to see that justice is served.

These are the signals of a repressive government at the doorway to becoming a police state.
But, I suppose I could be wrong about that too.


suek said...

>>Raw milk has probably killed far more then hundreds of thousands over the thousands of years man has kept cattle.>>

Have you any idea how many people die in bed?

By the way...once again...the incident mentioned above involved goats, not cattle.