Your Property Is Your Kingdom ? Literally
I am going to defer to his boss on the question posed in the title of Dave’s post on the Village Law, and just succinctly get to the heart of the issue. Liberty is not the issue in the village law. Dave is correct to point out that politics was one of the major reasons for objections to the law, and I hope he would agree with me that policy should not be created in the manner used for the village law. Major changes should be debated and voted on in the open, not attached at the last minute in a manner that means nobody will see. (Which could lead me to a rant about why the legislature does not allow computers that would display automatic black-lined changes for amendments on everyone’s desk in the capitol, but I shall save that for another time.) So, yes, the process was flawed and changes to Missouri’s incorporation procedures should have been reconsidered the proper way before the legislature this year, where they would not have come close to passing hence, repealing it was the right thing to do.
The above applies even if the Village Law was a good law, and even more so considering it was a terrible law. The idea that a nuisance lawsuit is a reasonable way to for a neighbor of Mr. Plasters in the Ozarks to defend against a new casino (believed to be the ultimate goal) is not realistic. So, after a casino is built right next to you, you should go to small claims court and try to have it torn down? Or go up against the casino’s law firm to try to get some money from them? There is an enormous difference between the pettiness of a planning process that prevents one from having a strangely colored house or a front yard fence and a process that prevents a hog factory or a casino from locating wherever someone wants.
As for the person in Franklin County who wants to develop his property into 102 homes, Franklin County has legitimate concerns about that proposed development. Somebody has to build the roads, sewers, telephone wires, electricity, etc., to serve the new homes. Many of those new services would be paid for by other taxpayers, and even the ones that aren’t will certainly go through others’ properties. For things of this nature, it is not a violation of your natural rights to have to go through a process established by the people of the county in a democratic fashion.
The fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness do not and has never entailed the idea that anyone can form their own city, state, or country if they don’t like the democratic decisions of the majority of Americans. I believe we actually fought a war about this issue. There are many ways to fight for your desire to do what you want with your property other than forming your own political entity. And if sometimes you don’t get it to do what you want … hey, life isn’t always fair.