Saturday, September 04, 2010

Bureaucratic Tyranny

I pay property taxes to the county in which I live. This is a good thing. The taxes paid by residents are used to provide services, one of which is the use of the county dump sites.

But now we have a problem. Only county residents have paid taxes which provide for the dump. Each county has its own dump(s). Residents of other counties should not be using the dump in my county. For this reason, as well as many others including the orderly management of personnel, land, and waste, we suddenly need to provide for the management of these facilities. And this also has a cost that must be borne by taxpayers.

But as is typical, the policing of the use of the county dump is done preventively rather than punitively. That is, rather than penalize those who misuse the dump, provision is made to prevent the misuse of the dump. In some cases, this approach is appropriate. It may be in this case, in which the goal is to prevent non-county residents from using the dump. The way this is pursued (though not achieved) in my county is through the issuance of decals that can be applied to the vehicle window belonging to county residents and must be displayed when discarding waste at the dump site. Naturally, these decals also cost money.

This approach does not prevent non-county residents from using the dump. Obviously, through a variety of methods, a non-county resident might obtain a decal that will allow him to illegally use the county dump. This is actually a little humorous to me because a much more effective method is so easily available. Any proof of residency like a driver's license could easily be used to authorize use of the county dump. And such a method would save money to the taxpayer and the county.

However, what bureaucrat could conceive of such an elegant solution? Bureaucrats tend to be 'little kings' running their own fiefdoms and enjoying the opportunity to enforce upon the unwashed peasants the rules which they majestically devise. Examples abound, most notably and frighteningly at the Federal level. I won't cite them here. Be on the lookout.

In addition, bureaucrats provide never ending excuses to add tax after tax in order to pay for their endless and typically needless, poorly designed, and inefficiently managed programs. Quite obviously, these endeavors are designed to generate revenue in many cases, not merely to pay for themselves.

As for me, when traveling to the dump I place the decal, still stuck to its original backing, on the dashboard of my vehicle so that it can be seen by the dump attendant. This has always been acceptable. I find repugnant the idea that I should drive around my whole life displaying a decal that I only use a few minutes every other week or so. That's just silly. Also, I sometimes borrow a pickup truck from a family member or a friend, who may or may not be a resident of my county, in order to deliver refuse too large or too numerous to fit in my sedan.

So, as one might expect, the 'little kings' have decided the dump can no longer be used except by professed residents of the county who are driving vehicles with decals actually affixed. I will no longer be permitted to use the dump if I simply temporarily lay the decal on my dash for the very few minutes that I need it. The poor soul who lives across the road from the dump will not be permitted to simply walk across the street with his garbage.

What purpose does this serve? First, additional decals must be purchased for those residents who may use a variety of vehicles to deliver waste to the dump. It might also be assumed by some pencil pusher who lives in the city, has his garbage collected, and never actually uses the dump he oversees that requiring the decals to be affixed might prevent the loan of decals to non-residents. To any rational person with the most rudimentary experience in the real world, such a notion is laughable. But what rational person in touch with real life would aspire to the position of bureaucrat?

Prevention may be preferable to punishment in some cases when the consequences are life-threatening. But it has become the norm in every situation and it offers no exceptions to a sacrifice of our liberty. Most obvious and egregious is the case of our 2nd amendment.

When exposed to any discussion of regulation, certification, licensing, or qualification, consider the legal requirement in question and whether the approach is preventive or punitive. A preventive methodology will nearly always be observed. Then consider to what extent the preventive measures have curtailed your rights. Finally, decide whether the security gained by such prevention is worth the price you pay in the currency of your liberty.
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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