“If something is not permitted it is prohibited”

Proposed garden restrictions in Columbiana [OH] rile resident:

Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell said the garden issue came about as a result of the chicken issue.

He explained that people were asking why chickens couldn’t be allowed in the community while gardens were.

The city had no laws pertaining to residential gardens, which means they were technically not allowed.

According to the city’s laws, if something is not permitted it is prohibited.

“Right now, if there is not something expressly in this code that says that you can have one, you technically can’t,” [Columbiana, OH Mayor Bryan] Blakeman confirmed.

So, I hope that anyone reading this can see why some people would have a problem with this.

If not, though, here’s the problem: If everything not permitted is prohibited, then the government has no limits to its power. A free man does not have to consult with the government every time he wishes to put a shovel into the ground that he owns.

“But,” a hypothetical questioner might ask, “aren’t there benefits to regulating what can and can’t be done on private property?” I suppose you could argue that. But benefits to whom? Not the property owner. Unless there is something that the property owner wants to do, and is also allowed to do it, then there’s only two situations: Either he will be prohibited by the government from doing something that he wishes to do, or even worse, he will be forced to spend his time and resources to do something that he does not want to do.

I suppose the neighbors won’t have to look at something they consider unsightly, but then again, what is considered unsightly varies widely among different people.

I suppose the city government would benefit from nicely maintained yards without unsightly gardens messing up the view. This benefit is most pronounced if they are submitting their city for a “City of the Year” award to accrue accolades to themselves.

And I suppose people who take five seconds to drive by the house will think briefly to themselves, “hey, this yard looks nice.”

Ultimately, though, I don’t think that any of these “benefits” outweigh the cost to the property owner, either in being prohibited from doing something that they wish to do, or from being required to do something that they do not wish to do. Cities should concern themselves with administering the public areas in their domain, such as roads, parks, government buildings, and the like, and leave private property alone.

To sum up, I’ll leave you with this quote from a well-known leader:

All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.