One of the fun things about being a libertarian is that you really have no problem coming up with really good examples of bad government intervention. It’s almost a given, and I think even the most statist of both my liberal and conservative friends would agree that Sturgeon’s Law applies to government action in spades. (Of course, they’ll illustrate the point by giving different examples showing their own political bias without ever realizing that they’re both right and it is all crap.) Somehow, the best of intentions never seem to end up with sunshine and rainbows, do they?
But sometimes there’s an example of government action that’s so petty that it can be derided by all citizens, no matter what their political affiliation. Action that shows unthinking adherence to the bureaucratic process worthy of a Kafka novel. Action by government drones who are so lacking in self-awareness and common empathy that they act surprised, shocked even, when it is pointed out that they are acting like complete and utter asshats.
I present to you the wonderful town of Caledon, a rural community that according to the National Post:
[M]ay force a three-year-old boy with cerebral palsy to give up his miniature pony after a neighbour complained about the smell.
We shall also note that the complaining neighbor also “borders on a cattle farm.” But, of course, we know that a single miniature pony can out-stink a heard of cows any day, right? I mean which would you want to live next to? Really.
But, since the town already gave notice to this scofflaw family, it can’t now admit it was acting solely to defend the sensitivities of a raging asshole whose idea of recreation is probably leaving empty shopping carts in the handicapped parking spaces at the local Wal-Mart. No, the forms must be followed, the Is crossed and the Ts dotted. According to Caledon bylaw enforcement manager Glenn Blakely, a single-acre property is too small to house a miniature pony. To quote the poor sap who has to defend this decision to the press:
Animals need room to graze in and move around and be fair to the animal. If you get smaller lots it really restricts the area that the horse in this case can move around. That’s why we don’t allow livestock on properties such as this.
As an aside, Solon Ohio requires only an acre to support a full-grown standard-size type horse. Obviously those Canadian mini-ponies graze a lot. And note the wonderful bit of transference here, not “we have to slavishly follow all the arbitray zoning records,” or “we have to kowtow to the dipshits that scream a lot at our council meetings,” or even, “yes, we know it’s stupid, but were going to do our best to try to work something out here.” No. They’re doing it to protect the pony. Yeah. Right.
Of course the crowing bit of all of this:
The Spiteris will appear before the Caledon committee of adjustment Dec. 10 to ask for an exception because of Sam’s special circumstances. It costs $800 to appear before the committee. Ms. Spiteri said she received an e-mail from town council Tuesday afternoon about an additional $345 required to circulate their application for an exception to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
Warms the cockles, don’t it?
Oh, did I mention that the kid was prescribed equestrian therapy by his physical therapist and pediatrician to help him strengthen his muscles: i.e. the kid has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and can’t walk or crawl. So this is like taking away a wheelchair and a guide dog with one shot. Way to go, Caledon, demonstrating government of the asshats, by the asshats and (of course) for the asshats.
(Story via Mightygodking.)