Liberty, the Nanny State Battle to Draw in Haltom City

The Haltom City Council tabled its proposed animal license ordinance Monday night after almost two hours of debate. A handful of people spoke in opposition to some or all aspects of the proposal during the public hearing. One man, obviously suffering from cognitive dissonance, offered to make the first “donation” for his license. Some of the more controversial points were whether it should be mandatory and should there be an annual or a one-time fee. Meanwhile, Katy delivered a great speech.

She said, “Forcing me to get a license on my property is like using the aggression of the law to take what is rightfully mine.” Quoting from Bastiat’sThe Law , she said, “When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.”

Mayor Bill Lanford then responded to Katy. In one exchange he said, “I want to rebut the idea that your property is yours and we have to leave it all alone. That’s not true; that’s not true. It never has been true.” The mayor also admitted they were committing an act of violence by using force against residents, saying “We forcibly take your tax money; we make you pay taxes.” Calling liberty a “half-truth,” he said aggressive force is necessary to create a sense fear, or what he deemed “responsibility.”

Katy responded, “I do fundamentally disagree because before there were laws, we had rights. Our rights are derived from property; our rights are derived from God. When we keep putting registration on people, when we keep asking people to pay taxes on things they have worked so hard to own, then we are violating people’s rights.”

During a break in the meeting, I interviewed assistant city manager Chuck Barnett. I asked what should happen to someone who refuses to obey or pay the fine. He said it was acceptable to imprison someone who does “challenge the system.”

We’ll try to better organize opposition to the proposal next time. The council did not set a hard date for reintroduction, so we don’t know when it will be heard again. The most frustrating thing for me was to hear little principled opposition, like debating with a pirate how deep the sword should go. That’s election politics. I can only hope that the council members ask themselves what is it about their psychology that they are willing to use force against peaceful people.

I forgive them, of course, for their transgressions, but it is still wrong.