Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bad thought - get out

Yesterday I tweeted that, as I was walking my dogs in the evening as I am wont to do, I smelled a fire burning leaves. My first reaction to smelling it wasn't "hmm, somebody is getting rid of the clutter in their yard, kind of late in summer to be burning of last year's leaves but whatever." Instead my first thought ran to: "I wonder if that's against the law here."

Wow. I recoiled at the way my township's autocratic policies have become so commonplace to me that I stopped questioning their validity and instead jumped to enforce them. How could a libertarian, who believes in extreme levels of freedom, have ceded his own thoughts to the will of his extremely liberal local government? I have to say that I'm glad that I caught myself, but I fear how that line of thinking could have evolved if I hadn't.

Some background - I live in Takoma Park (the DC side) which is also known as "the People's Republic of Takoma Park" because it's political figures are so far to the left. Takoma has some very unusual laws, e.g. you cannot trim any trees whether or not it lies entirely on your property or not, the city is forbidden from purchasing any World Bank financial instruments (?!), and is officially considered a "Nuclear Free Zone".