Zoning and Tyranny

by | Aug 2, 2012 | Housing, POLITICS

In 2007, I served as a consultant to a group of citizens opposed to an attempt to bring zoning to Hobbs, New Mexico. During that time, I wrote a series of articles that were published in the local newspaper. This is one of those articles. In a referendum, zoning was defeated by a 2 to […]

In 2007, I served as a consultant to a group of citizens opposed to an attempt to bring zoning to Hobbs, New Mexico. During that time, I wrote a series of articles that were published in the local newspaper. This is one of those articles. In a referendum, zoning was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.

The Maddox Foundation has proposed a generous gift to the City of Hobbs. But that gift comes with strings attached. Those strings require the City to adopt a zoning ordinance, and that ordinance must be acceptable to the Foundation.

In exchange for planting pansies and gardenias the Foundation seeks to control all land use within Hobbs. To grant such power to a group of politically connected private citizens is an invitation for graft and abuse. Citizens of Hobbs will find themselves not only placating zoning officials, but perhaps also the Board of the Maddox Foundation.

That the Foundation proposes to beautify the City in exchange for political power does not change the potential for abuse. That the Zoning Steering Committee is inviting public comments as it develops a zoning plan does not alter the fact that zoning is a violation of individual rights. The number of adherents to an idea (or the number of flowers they plant) does not prove the truth or validity of those ideas.

In previous articles we have argued that zoning is used by the non-owners of property to impose their values upon the rightful owner. This is not mere hyperbole—the efforts of the Maddox Foundation to impose zoning on the City of Hobbs is evidence of that fact. City Commissioner Gary Fonay has stated that he sees no reason for a public vote on the issue (see page 1 of the October 23 Hobbs News-Sun.) Both the Foundation and Commissioner Fonay seek to bypass due process and impose zoning, and thus, their values on the City.

Throughout history tyrants have come to power by making grand promises to the citizenry. Tyrants achieve their power by offering promises of the unearned in exchange for support. The naïve believe such promises. The envious simply lust to destroy the productive and do not care if the promises come true.

When the tyrant takes power he will continue his charade of benevolence so long as it serves his purposes. He will spend lavishly on displays of his power. He may build statues in his own honor, or plant flowers to placate the citizenry. But most of all, he will demand that others obey his decrees or be crushed.

When someone offers a gift with strings attached, those strings may turn out to be a noose.

 

Zoning and Tyranny

 

The Maddox Foundation has proposed a generous gift to the City of Hobbs. But that gift comes with strings attached. Those strings require the City to adopt a zoning ordinance, and that ordinance must be acceptable to the Foundation.

 

The Politically Connected

In exchange for planting pansies and gardenias the Foundation seeks to control all land use within Hobbs. To grant such power to a group of politically connected private citizens is an invitation for graft and abuse. Citizens of Hobbs will find themselves not only placating zoning officials, but perhaps also the Board of the Maddox Foundation.

That the Foundation proposes to beautify the City in exchange for political power does not change the potential for abuse. That the Zoning Steering Committee is inviting public comments as it develops a zoning plan does not alter the fact that zoning is a violation of individual rights. The number of adherents to an idea (or the number of flowers they plant) does not prove the truth or validity of those ideas.

In previous articles we have argued that zoning is used by the non-owners of property to impose their values upon the rightful owner. This is not mere hyperbole—the efforts of the Maddox Foundation to impose zoning on the City of Hobbs is evidence of that fact. City Commissioner Gary Fonay has stated that he sees no reason for a public vote on the issue (see page 1 of the October 23 Hobbs News-Sun.) Both the Foundation and Commissioner Fonay seek to bypass due process and impose zoning, and thus, their values on the City.

 

The Path to Tyranny

Throughout history tyrants have come to power by making grand promises to the citizenry. Tyrants achieve their power by offering promises of the unearned in exchange for support. The naïve believe such promises. The envious simply lust to destroy the productive and do not care if the promises come true.

When the tyrant takes power he will continue his charade of benevolence so long as it serves his purposes. He will spend lavishly on displays of his power. He may build statues in his own honor, or plant flowers to placate the citizenry. But most of all, he will demand that others obey his decrees or be crushed.

When someone offers a gift with strings attached, those strings may turn out to be a noose.

Brian Phillips has been actively defending individual rights for the past twenty-five years. He has successfully helped defeat attempts to implement zoning in Houston, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico. His writing has appeared in The Freeman, Reason, The Orange County Register, The Houston Chronicle, The Objective Standard, Capitalism Magazine, and dozens of other publications. He is the author of Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

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