It saddens me that we have come to a point when neighbors can’t deal with each other in a civilized way. Whenever people have a problem with another person they don’t just solve it like adults, instead they turn to a parental force (government, home owners associations, etc.). The growing paternalism of our governments have numbed us to neighborly interaction, instead of asking our neighbors to turn down the radio or ask to borrow a cup of sugar many people just call the cops or ask government to give them free food. The sense of community dies as government dependency grows, unfortunately dependency on government grows because government power grows with the increase in taxes. It is an ugly cycle.
Just look at the lovely people at Willow Pond.
Orono, ON: Due to an anonymous zoning complaint filed with the local municipality, husband and wife bed-and-breakfast proprietors Marta & Lech Jaworski may be forced to pay as much as $50,000 in fines for permitting their son, Peter, to use his family’s property to host the Liberty Summer Seminar, an annual seminar in support of liberty.
Over the weekend of July 25, the LSS celebrated its tenth anniversary with a two-day event on the Orono property. On Sunday afternoon, as the event was wrapping up, a municipal law enforcement official arrived without notice in the car parking area. He quizzed a passing LSS participant about the event, asking him what had been served for lunch, as well as the cost of the registration fee, and the number of port-a-potties available. After a few minutes, the official left without attempting to speak to the Jaworski family.
On August 12th, Marta and Lech Jaworski were each served with a summons to appear in court on the grounds that they had “allowed the use of land in an agricultural zone for a use other than a permitted residential use; namely for a commercial conference centre,” which is contrary to Clarington by-laws.* A first offence carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 upon conviction.
“The municipality tells me that they work on a complaint basis,” said Peter Jaworski, “although I don’t believe any of our immediate neighbours complained, since we’ve been doing this for nine years without a single complaint or problem, and being very public about it.”
Here is a couple that escaped from communist Poland in search of freedom, and now they may lose everything because a neighbor called the government instead of just acting neighborly. A problem that could have been solved in a mutually agreeable way now may lead to the loss of a family business and farm. There are many economic solutions to this, the Coase Theoram comes to mind due to the low transaction costs, but in reality it is more human than that. People just don’t deal with each other any more. Instead, we opt for the gun. We call upon men with guns and the power to tax to solve our problems and return us to our slumber instead of dealing with our fellow humans. It really is a sad state of affairs.