Zoned Out

Why and how we should seek to restore a free market in land


I once knew a man who was finishing his basement so that his daughter and son-in-law could live there. I spent a lot of hours down there with a nail gun before the city planners nixed the project. My in-laws in Modesto, California, had to move out of their house into a mobile home on their own farm, because their kids needed a place to live. The law, for some reason, allowed them to put a mobile home there if seniors would be living in it, but not to accommodate a young family.

In run-ins with zoning laws, ordinary people encounter the perversity of government firsthand in ways that should make them receptive to the message of freedom and property. [Read more...]

Go to the sources, get answers

Okay. So the Prairie Times Advertisers are the reason I get this political fishwrap in my mailbox free – unrequested – every month, featuring diatribes and screeds from every present and past Elbert County Democrat Party official, Leftist candidate, former Leftist candidate, anti-oil&gas fractivist, and private-property-confiscating communitarian planner.

Fair enough. At least now I know who to talk to about it.

Maybe if each person out there picks just one advertiser to encourage, perhaps this excuse for news can develop into something worth reading some day.
Prairie Times Ads002

customers eat, beneficiaries starve

Human nature is imperfect. It always was, and so long as we remain human, it always will be. The American Founders built a government system adapted to our imperfect human nature. No other system of government contains mechanisms to mitigate the harmful effects of our imperfect human nature.

The free market also resolves human imperfections. Suppliers and demanders imperfectly attempt to maximize their worth by agreeing on a price for a given exchange of goods or services. Price is the flexible point where they voluntarily meet, and price can be moved by either party to a transaction depending on how each deals with their imperfect circumstances.

The market flexibly harmonizes imperfections while providing the necessary incentives for trade to occur. Without trade, without a market, no substantial incentives exist. Without incentives, goods do not get made and trade does not occur. When trade does not exist, buyers don’t have anything to buy, and everyone stays poorer.

Humans are motivated by the opportunity to benefit themselves more than they are motivated by the opportunity to benefit others. The Left use the pejorative of greed when speaking of our human nature of self interest. But this is our nature. It is neither good nor bad. It’s just the way humans generally are.

With equal validity you could say that it’s human nature to have sex and therefore sex is bad. Oh wait a minute; a lot of people do say that. Let’s not kick that sleeping dog just now.

Which makes more sense to advocate – political and economic systems that offend our human nature, or ones that work with our human nature? The question answers itself and the overwhelming evidence affirms the answer.

Where humans have worked out their differences, their disequilibriums, their inequalities, and their variances through objective, constitutional, rule-of-law-based governments and associated free markets, they have done best.

Where humans have had their political and economic incentives removed through command economics and totalitarian governments, they have done worst.

This is the most important lesson of history, and the Left has still not learned it.

I read Jean Ziegler‘s Betting on Famine. Ziegler is a Social Democrat who worked for the UN and answers the question in his book, “Why the World Still Goes Hungry?”

He reasons that global corporate food oligarchies control food and associated supply-chain product markets to maximize profits, that these same markets inhibit subsistence farming around the world because it competes with their control of food, that sufficient food is a basic human right, that there is more than enough food produced to go around so that no one should starve, and that the free market misallocates food and causes starvation.

Aye yai yai.

Ziegler’s solution – “In parliaments, in international regulatory authorities, we can decide that there must be change; we can decide to make the right to food a priority, to remove food from the realm of market speculation, to protect subsistence agriculture in the name of national heritage and invest in improving it worldwide. The solutions exist; the plans and projects are already drafted. What is lacking is the will of governments.”

Ziegler, the Social Democrats, and the Left think we can just decide to change human nature. You might think, “But this has never been done.” And you’d be right. It’s never been done because it can’t be done. Our nature is our nature. Denying it will only result in predictably negative consequences that come from denial.

If you want to see starvation really take off and become much worse than it already is, put government in control of the food supply. Governments have already re-allocated food resources toward energy production. Governments are funding the growth of food, only to turn around and burn it up.

When governments make mistakes, they create invested constituencies who have financial incentives to resist changes to the government policy. Moreover, government programs are funded from taxpayer revenue which continues to flow regardless of the success of the program. There’s no outcome feedback loop to correct a government mistake. And there’s always the shouting constituency narrowly focused on their government benefit to drown out more sober analysis.

When markets make mistakes, they quickly self correct because no one buys the mistake and it quickly becomes unfunded and goes away.

Unsubsidized markets would have abandoned wind, solar, and food-robbing ethanol long ago. And fewer people would be starving today.

Elbert County endorses “fractivist” lawyer

From: The Campaign Goes On: ‘Ban Fracking’ Groups Target New Colorado Task Force

“An activist lawyer

For 12 years – from 1996 to 2008 – Boulder attorney Matt Sura worked for the WCC as a community organizer and, ultimately, the group’s executive director. Now in private practice, Sura has applied for a seat on the new oil and gas task force, and says he’s no longer an anti-energy activist. In March, Sura told The Colorado Observer: “[F]ar from being a fracktivist, I actually work on oil and gas development.”

Sura’s work came under close scrutiny when he was hired by local officials in Brighton, Colo., to help update the city’s oil and gas regulations. He then advised the city to impose a temporary drilling ban. The ban was overturned less than a month later after Brighton residents – many of whom work in the oil and gas industry – learned of Sura’s background in anti-energy activism.

Besides working for the WCC for more than a decade, Sura collaborated with activist groups during last year’s local “ban fracking” campaigns in Northern Colorado. He helped organize an event titled “Tools for Activism on Oil and Gas Development,” which was co-hosted by Frack Free Colorado, Food & Water Watch and several other anti-energy groups. And in November 2013, National Journal reported that Sura was working with activists in Greeley who wanted to impose a moratorium on drilling projects inside the city limits.”

EC activist lawyer Matt Sura

Could Elbert County’s inability to get Agave to perform thus far on all of the elements specified in the standard MOU + Schedule A have something to do with this? Has Elbert County’s CDS  gone down another primrose path of over zealous regulation that effectively precludes – or interminably delays – O&G development?

Paul Ryan’s immigration plan

First, secure the border and enforce the laws we have on the books.

  • Institute an effective visa tracking program.
  • Institute an e-verify system for employers to electronically confirm an individual’s immigration status.
  • Institute a guest worker program for temporary and seasonal workers to perform jobs “not being filled by Americans.”
  • An independent third party must verify that the above border security and enforcement conditions have been successfully implemented.

Next, grant probationary legal status with specified conditions for undocumented immigrants.

  • an admission that they entered the country unlawfully
  • payment of a fine
  • payment of back taxes
  • a criminal background check
  • learn English and civics
  • must stay off any form of public assistance

After all the above have been satisfied, a probationary immigrant may leave probation and receive a non-immigrant work visa.

After another period of time, a holder of a non-immigrant work visa may get in line and apply for a green card.

Exceptions to the above:

  • Illegal immigrants brought here as children and who are now pursuing advanced degrees or serving in the military should have an accelerated path [to be determined] to legal citizenship.
  • Foreign students in STEM fields should be encouraged [to be determined] to remain in the U.S. after they complete their education.

From: The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, Paul Ryan

vn vets002

Thanks to the Viet Nam veterans who came to the Kiowa fairgrounds on Saturday. Joe DiLeonardo set the room to accommodate hundreds of people to witness what the veterans had to say 50 years after the war began. A handful of people showed up, but hopefully many more will take the time to see the video. It is no trivial matter for these veterans to open themselves to the public about the war they experienced, after years of counter-culture political attacks on their characters and the war. They deserve far better than what they got from some Americans. They spoke with a genuine humility despite the magnitude of their accomplishments both in the war and civilian life since. I hope the vets continue to open up. Americans need the benefit of their wisdom. They bring a deep pool of leadership qualities tempered under the most brutal of conditions. Only fools would pass up the opportunity to learn from them.


Hermann Rorschach died on April 1, 1922, of peritonitis, probably resulting from a ruptured appendix.

That he died on April Fools Day could have been taken as a warning that his inkblot test should not have become the modus operandi for much of today’s internet traffic.

We now possess the technology for every human being to globally publish their instant interpretation of every event they observe. Now we’re awash in ready reductive digestions of millions of essential symbolic regurgitations about every little thing. The internet gave us an endless supply of inkblots and psychiatry gave us the license to interpret them all.

The 1st Am. guaranteed that America would keep writers free to write, but it didn’t guarantee they would learn the skill of self editing. So here’s to the self editors of the internet. May they blaze a finely crafted content-rich trail for posterity to follow.

a response to the Aug red-diaper times

“It’s unclear what “unnecessary economic growth” might look like to someone who’s unemployed. It’s also unclear what “energy overuse” looks like to a family living without electricity. What is clear is this: the Sierra Club’s opposition to economic growth-and therefore, energy consumption, employment, and human development-stands in stark contrast to what the people of the planet need right now.

Economic growth is essential if we are to have enough tax dollars to fund our schools and universities, which have long been incubators of innovation. Economic growth allows governments to have more revenue, which can be used to support research in health care, energy, and other sectors. Economic growth means more employment, which leads to more optimism about the future. That optimism, in turn, en­courages investment in new technologies.

The alternative is pessimism. Believing in degrowth means believ­ing in poverty. Believing in degrowth means rejecting technology. It’s time to move past Ehrlich, the Sierra Club, McKibben, Klein, Green­peace, and the rest of the neo-Malthusians.”

Robert Bryce, Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper, 2014.