Free Markets, Free People
Witness the story about the DOT proposing a new rule that would require all operators of farm equipment to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). That would also require all the paperwork and cost that goes with it (while small family farms try to comply with rules, costs and regulations designed for semi-truck drivers). Here’s a video to help explain the story:
Of course, saying that the idea is "absurd" has simply lost its impact in this sea of absurdity. Absurd, it seems, is the new normal. Along with the environmental movement’s success in limiting land use, to include land owned privately, as well as the Kelo decision giving much broader eminent domain powers to governments, property rights have never been more in peril. And property rights, whether you want to believe it or not, are fundamental to our other rights.
Now we have another attack on property rights – you’ll no longer have the right to decide who can drive what on your private property. The tradition of family farms – which relies on everyone in the family to succeed – is now about to irrevocably regulated away.
Some more details about what this means:
The proposed change also means ANYONE driving a tractor or operating any piece of motorized farming equipment would be forced to pass the same rigorous tests and fill out the same detailed forms and diaries required of semi-tractor trailer drivers. This reclassification would bury small farms and family farms in regulation and paperwork.
Some of the additional paperwork and regulation required:
-Detailed logs would need to be kept by all drivers – hours worked, miles traveled, etc.
-Vehicles would have to display DOT numbers
-Drivers would need to pass a physical as well as a drug test – every two years.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) is one of many farm organizations not happy about the idea and has sent the DOT a letter expressing this opinion:
“WFBF opposes any change in statue or regulatory authority that would reclassify implements of husbandry or other farm equipment as Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs)”
WFBF Director of Governmental Relations Karen Gefvert continues, explaining the excessive cost to farmers if this allowed to move forward:
“The proposed guidance by the FMCSA would result in an initial increased cost to each Wisconsin farmer and employee of $124 just for the CDL license, permit and test; not to mention the time and cost for the behind-the-wheel training that is several thousand dollars.”
Additionally, Illinois farmers believe this regulation will also force new restrictions on trucks used in crop-share hauling. (One estimate claims more than 30% of Illinois farmers utilize shared land.) These crop-share trucks are typically limited-use vehicles that often travel fewer than 3000 miles each year, mainly hauling crops from the fields to nearby grain elevators. To require them to follow the same rules as semis would also mean a farmer would be forced to purchase substantial insurance.
If you want to find a way to drive individually owned farmers out of business, adding absolutely unnecessary requirements and costs is a great way to start.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do want to point to something that I’ve known about an watched over the years. It’s called “Agenda 21” and it is a UN program first signed on too by George H.W. Bush in 1992. Here’s some of the disturbing verbiage driving that agenda:
Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole. - Source: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I),Vancouver, BC, May 31 – June 11, 1976. Preamble to Agenda Item 10 of the Conference Report.
That has pretty much been a guiding principle in the UN’s agenda for decades, obviously, and now in it’s Agenda 21. We, apparently, along with 177 other world leaders, signed on to this anti-American (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word) agenda. George Soros is a huge backer of the initiative, and I’ve found, over the years, if Soros is for something, freedom is surely going to take a beating. I’m not saying that there’s an active, agenda driven group that is purposely trying to implement this agenda. I am saying though that this agenda can and may be used as a self-justification for various officials at differing levels of government to implement its principles because they believe in them.
You can read a bit about it here. Bottom line, of course, is it is against private ownership and as we saw in Kelo private ownership was indeed “a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.” So instead of upholding individual property rights, the court opted to give governments at all levels broader power to take private property.
This new requirement from DOT is somewhat different. It actually takes power from states and localities and centralizes it. By making farm machinery something which must be regulated by the federal government, it usurps that local and state power in favor of broader federal regulation. Of course the loser here is the farmer who must now face the cost, lost productivity and bureaucratic record keeping and other compliance costs of something which has never been and shouldn’t now be any concern of the Federal government.
This isn’t the only example of these sorts of attacks. You have the EPA attempting to expand beyond its mandate. And other bureaucracies are as well. And it isn’t just limited to the federal level. At every level there’s some government bureaucrat trying to find ways to control your property or tell you how you must live on it. In one of the silliest, but obviously serious attempts (the property owner was threatened with 93 days in jail for non-compliance with some vague city ordnance), we see a city manager going way beyond what most reasonable people would find, well, reasonable:
Thankfully, public pressure made the boob back off, but I have little doubt in my mind he’d have jailed the woman if left to his own devices. “Agenda 21” stuff – eh, probably not. Tin-pot dictator’s syndrome? Probably. But regardless, a threat to property rights.
Our property rights are dying the death of a thousand cuts. We need to push back and push back hard against infringements on a local level (the garden) as well as the national level (DOT and EPA regulatory power grabs).
Otherwise, when they decide they can control the temperature in your house automatically (as they’ve tried in CA), you won’t have a legal leg to stand on. Right now they’re both wooden and government termites are busily at work.