You’ve probably heard the old saying that ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite government program.’ I have no idea whether that is true. What I do know is that in any given area of life, if a particular good or service can be provided to the people by the private sector, the same good or service can be provided by the government for ten times the cost, at ten percent of the quality.
Take, for example, your property. You may think you know, better than the government, how to manage your land properly to get the most return from it for the least cost, without damaging your investment. Please try not to be such a gooberhead. The government knows way more about your business than you do. And this doesn’t just apply to business. It applies to everything you do.
Government has lately intruded further than ever before into our private lives. We are told what types of guns we can own, how we are allowed to educate our children, and what we can and cannot say to other people. We are even required to wear seatbelts when we drive our own cars. Soon we will be told what doctors we can visit, and what medical procedures we are allowed to have done on our own bodies.
You may think this is excessive. And you would be right. But I have in my possession a letter that indicates that government now believes it has the right, the obligation even, to tell us where we can go to the bathroom on our own property. And I’m not talking about property in cities and towns, where someone might see us. I’m talking about way out in the country, where no one is around.
My friend, Randy Young, who was until recently the McCulloch County Judge, sent me a copy of a letter written by Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen, of Groesbeck, Texas, to Mr. Tim Blackmon, of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This letter was written in response to a request from TCEQ to investigate allegations made against a landowner in Limestone County. I am including Judge Burkeen’s name here, with his permission, in order to prove I did not make this letter up.
The TCEQ request was in response to a complaint which that august agency received, from a private source, that a landowner in Limestone County had leased land to hunters and was allowing them to ‘defecate in the woods.’ If you can imagine.
Now, I have no idea how this complainer found out about this heinous behavior, unless he was trespassing on private property. And I have no idea why this complainer would have been trespassing, or where he thought the hunters should go besides ‘in the woods.’ But mostly I have no idea what he expected the TCEQ to do about it.
Any sane, rational human being, if one could be found in government service, would have laughed and thrown the complaint in the trash. But we are not talking about sane, rational people. We are talking about the TCEQ. We are talking about a governmental organization that, By George, has to straighten us out, before we ruin our land and pauper ourselves, because we are private citizens and as such are stupid. Without government help we, obviously, can’t even go to the bathroom by ourselves.
The letter Judge Burkeen sent to Blackmon should be regarded as a masterpiece on the order of the Gettysburg Address. In it Judge Burkeen points out that he has had some problems regarding investigation of the allegations, due to a "rash of reports of cows, horses, sheep and goats defecating at will in pastures throughout the county." As if that wasn’t enough, Judge Burkeen says the Limestone County authorities "suspect that wild hogs, deer, and all sorts of other animals are defecating without even trying to find a proper facility." The judge relates a personal encounter with a bird involving his vehicle windshield. He says "The culprit flew away, but I did get a description. It was red."
Judge Burkeen inquires whether he should be investigating defecation only, or whether urination should be included, as both are suspected. His letter also informs Blackmon that "we are collecting samples of these diabolical, defecating reprobates," and asks, "Should we send these to you, or directly to Austin?"
The judge implores that the situation be handled locally, and the federal government not be involved, since "When it comes to matters of excessive defecation, Washington bureaucrats would only add to our misery." He ended the letter with the tagline ‘Don’t Mess In Texas.’
Now, I’m of the mind that the government should butt out, no pun intended, of our business, and that we can handle things ourselves. However, in the matter of defecation, I must admit that we would be hard put to find a more authoritative source of information and expertise than the U.S. Congress. I’m thinking a new branch should be set up to oversee this obviously odiferous problem. In Flushing, New York . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never goes anywhere without Charmin 2 ply. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org