Friday, July 22, 2011

An Expanded Reply to a Lengthy Comment Shared in the Previous Post.

Dear gardenvariety-hoosier,

Thank you so much for reading and considering my post, and for taking the time to articulate your point of view so clearly. I really appreciate the value of your input, and your willingness to engage in conversation about it.

I included the story about the woman and her garden in the front yard as just an example of how this kind of thing can slowly but methodically get out of control in the hands of bureaucrats. When people choose to live in established communities that have regulations in place beforehand, that is one thing. They know what they are getting and it is their right to decide if it works for them or not. When regulations are imposed on individuals who are not in private or organized communities (which by the way usually at least have a homeowner's association body of some kind for representation), that's another thing. Where is the equal representation when the government, local or national, has the final say?

As I see it, part of the issue is about regular people and self-responsibility. Folks tend to want immunity from the decisions of life that are sometimes hard. We want someone else to do it for us, because we don’t want to, or we think we’re so small: “I’m just me. How can I make a difference?” So we go to the voting booths and think that will handle the issues, at least until next time. We’ve basically hired a whole bunch of people to make the big decisions for us, and then we don’t watch what they do. We stop paying attention after Election Day. We let them handle it as they see fit and in the meantime unknowingly give away our freedoms.

I’m not talking about conspiracy, though some might call it that while others call it strategizing. What I’m talking about is good intentions potentially turning into instruments that rob us of our freedoms under the guise of words that mean different things to different people. “Sustainable development” is one such term.

“Sustainable development” has begun nationwide. It behooves us all to pay attention, read material from both sides of the fence and make ourselves knowledgeable enough to make intelligent decisions about it in our daily lives and in our own communities.

Part of that intelligence is awareness of who is doing what. You are absolutely right about Monsanto and “the extent to which this company has manipulated government which should be regulating them.” It is also vital to realize that there is sometimes precious little separation between “corporate” and “government.” Government agencies have been riddled with appointees that have ties to the very corporations with vested interests in such things as the “development” part of “sustained development.”  (An example is our Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, known to have close ties to biotech agribusiness and Monsanto in particular. Michael Taylor as a lawyer represented Monsanto, then went to the FDA, then the USDA, returned to Monsanto to become VP, and in 2009 was appointed “food czar,” senior advisor to the FDA commissioner.) Never mind separation of church and state, there is no longer separation between corporations and state, and while it may or may not be conspiratorial, the potential for conflicts of interest is monumental.

All I’m saying is we need to remain informed about what is occurring, and neither be pie-in-the-sky happy about “sustainability” when we hear it because we think “We’re green,” and “We love our planet,” nor be condemning of organizations aimed at fostering “sustainability” unless or until we know what exactly that means to them.  

Local governments may need to implement sustainable development policies but it’s about the controls put in place to enforce them. Expecting government to regulate things for our own good, even “sustainability,” is too much. We can do that ourselves on the smaller scale with communities such as described at the start of this post. We don’t need the government to do what is already being done in smaller ways by "We, the People". While they are setting up sustainability policies to guide the populace away from doing things like pouring crap down drains, who is policing them? What about companies exceeding their pollution discharge limits?

The issues are immense and multidimensional. I’m just saying please be aware that the people we have put in charge are proceeding unchecked right now. We should stay informed, at the very least.

To eliminate any doubt of the reality of this situation, I would invite everyone to simply perform an online search and type in the following:

"Agenda 21 in _______________________" (insert the name of any state here), and then read what the results are from the government sources for each reader's own state. 

gardenvariety-hoosier, again I thank you for your input and I appreciate you stopping by my blog.

Have a great day!
Veggie PAK


  1. Serious stuff - but true. I wonder if you have been following the scandal that has riddled our UK government recently? The inappropriate ties between politicians, the police and the media. Disgraceful, but not really surprising.

  2. Mark Willis, I searched on the internet and found several articles about what has been going on there. Sounds familiar. I don't know what makes people in these positions think that they are beyond reproach.

    Thanks for sharing a comment on this area of concern.

  3. I think that, especially at the local level (and in smaller communities), citizens can have *a lot* of influence over their local ELECTED officials. I think that the issue about the vegetable garden in the front yard isn't as simple as it seems. Apparently, Oak Park has a local ordinance (probably zoning) that requires that front yeards be "suitable." In one of the stories you linked to, the Planner in Oak Park stated that "suitable" is defined as "common." There were pictures of the neighborhood that certainly showed that her yard looked uncommon.

    Lord only knows I'm all about gardening, but if the laws are not applied evenly, that leads to even more problems. For instance, if someone starts parking cars all over their front lawn, that tends to get neighbors in close proximity in a tizzy as well. So, assuming the local government doesn't have an ordinance specifically prohibiting parking cars on the front lawn, the City can then go out to the car parkers and tell them their actions are "uncommon" and take actions to stop front lawn car parking (a thing lots of people prefer not to see in their suburban neighborhoods).

    The Oak Park situation is easily fixable by revising the Ordinance to more clearly define that "suitable" can include vegetable gardens, not just lawns and bushes. If the local community agrees (and many people might not), it shouldn't be a difficult fix.

    One of the problems with saying that only Homeowners or Property Owners associations should self-police their communities and local government should stay out of it is that most communities with Homeowners associations tend to be staunchly middle-class and up. And in some States, restrictive covenants expire after a set number of years. If only people who can afford to live in communities that have homeowners associations can define what their community should look like, it results in only the well-to-do having this ability.

    For better or for worse, property values and saleability of your property are affected by what your neighbor's proerty looks like, especially when you're talking about your typical residential subdivision. I think there's a growing trend in some areas to accept that residential subdivisions don't have to all have front lawns and such, but, like most things, wholesale shifts take time...

    People seems to think that a lot of zoning laws are stupid without ever considering that these laws came to be in the first place because enough people wanted at least some control over uses occuring near them and how those uses look/operate. I have found in life that the people who complain about government overstepping are often the same one to complain when their neighbor wants to put a hog farm next to them and then they embrace zoning and the ability local governments have over land uses.

    It's all a balancing act between the competing interests...

    Just my two cents :)

  4. Due to the length of my reply to the third comment that was shared, my reply will have to follow in a new blog post.
    Thank You.
    Veggie PAK