AKA Political Landscaping
Tree pruning is an art, and when it's done properly you'd be amazed at what a difference it can make in how a tree grows and responds to it's environment. Good pruning can make fruit and nut trees far more productive, while poor or no pruning can ruin a tree, even kill it. I've seen some weird things while trimming trees, including some trees being smothered and pulled down by vines, and even a few with other trees growing from knotholes and crotches where rot allowed the invader to take root. I'm sure that you see the analogy coming, O gentle reader!
Branches can grow in odd ways from an otherwise healthy trunk, sometimes in ways that can severely damage or destroy a tree. I've dealt with situations where because of physical constraints (growing close to a building, or in between utility lines, the closeness of other trees, or bad pruning) that a single branch has grown so strongly, and so far from the trunk, that the weight of that branch threatens the stability of the whole tree, threatening to uproot it. It's a tricky business; not only do you have to be careful of the potential energy contained in huge limbs high in the air, and their potential to damage things under and around them, but the removal of the limb can harm the tree itself. A rule of thumb is not to remove more than 1/4 of the foliage from a tree at one time; sometimes a large branch is a significant portion of the tree's leaves.
My days of climbing trees are long past; these days I am happy to still be able to climb out of bed, but I am more interested now in political pruning than I ever was in sawing off tree limbs and stacking brush, and I am alarmed at what I see. Today, the Tree of Liberty is in pretty sorry shape. Many of those who shelter beneath it have thrown rubbish on top of it, have hacked at the branches which shade and feed them, and they have dumped poisonous chemicals on the ground under it. Those who are sworn to protect it have seemingly forgotten their duty, and spent their time fertilizing the hedge of Government. Jefferson said " The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." The hedge of Government is rather like walnut, it tends to kill other growth near it, and it's fertilizer is the sweat of the governed. The less shade from the Tree, the more sweat from the governed.
The hedge of Government has been allowed to intertwine with the Tree of Liberty, and both have gotten wrapped up in the thorny vines of tyranny, root and branch; the roots of that tyranny have been discussed, here and elsewhere, and while it's best to strike at the roots of tyranny, sometimes the branches require some attention before one can get at the roots. You also need to be sure which roots you are cutting, and sometimes overgrown and bramble-infested branches make it hard to see exactly where to trim. While the hedge of Government desperately needs trimming and all the branches of the Tree need attention, there is one in particular that is a problem.
Much has been made lately of the problems caused by the so-called "Fourth Branch" of government. Just as a huge single horizontal branch can topple a tree, so the unelected bureaucracy here in these presently united States threatens to split or topple the trunk. The Fourth Branch of government was not originally part of the Tree of Liberty, it was grafted on or planted into the Tree or maybe the hedge, when our elected representatives, spurred by the Progressive call to legislate America to their idea of perfection rather than simply leaving us to find and define our own happiness, decided to delegate to the unelected bureaucracy some of their legislative powers. It wasn't possible for Congress to pass enough laws fast enough to suit the Progressive agenda; our representatives forfeited their responsibilities and gave their hired help the power to create 'rules' and 'regulations.' Spurred by Pournelle's Iron Law, the "Fourth Branch" has grown tremendously and become a threat to the Tree itself, to the hedge of Government, and to those who live underneath it.
One difference between actual legislation and these administrative laws is that the administrative laws are administered without due process, and are not part of the justice system, such as it is. But they are enforced. Brutally. "Rabbit Emergency Plans" are funny, until *you* get caught by them. I've read various estimates of how bad this situation really is. I've heard that thousands of regulations are enacted monthly, or even that hundreds of regulations are enacted daily, but this seemed hard for me to believe.
While researching this article, I went to the Federal Register website and looked at what they have 'in the pipeline' for July 20th. There were 217 pages of proposed rules, new rules and notices of proposed rules. To be precise, there were 117 notices of proposed rulemaking, 6 proposed 'rules', and 20 actual 'rules.' There were 35 new articles and 25 comment periods ending soon. Assuming standard 8 1/2" by 11" pages with 400 words per page, an average educated person, reading at around 250 words per minute, would need just under 6 hours to read all of that material. If it weren't legalese, that is. And if that were all there is to it, but wait, there's more.
I looked at the daily public inspection document list, which shows all the documents published on July 19th. There were 153 documents published, ranging in size from a few pages to small book sized. One item I found particularly intriguing revolved around "Test Procedures for Showerheads, Faucets, Water Closets, Urinals, and Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves: Public Meeting." Apparently the Energy Department is planning further revisions of the present rules governing toilets and showers, and wants all concerned to know about their meeting. (yes, I am being sarcastic...) Then there were the notices from ATF regarding registration of firearms manufacturing.
The bottom line is that there is no possible way for one person to read, let alone assimilate, this much non-information in one day. I read much faster than 250 words per minute, and I would need a month or more to read and then assess and comprehend the impact of this single day's worth of regulation and publication. And here we come to my point.
The Fourth Branch is completely out of control, and the weight of millions of pages of regulations are a lethal threat to the freedoms of the people of these presently united States. The question that I asked myself, as I reviewed this mass of regulation, is "where did the Federal government get the authority to DO these things?" Where in the Constitution does it say that the Federal Government can regulate toilet fixtures and faucets? Why do we, in a nation with a Second amendment, have an executive department which regulates firearms? Take a step back from that, where did Congress get the right to delegate their lawmaking power? *I* haven't seen that in the Constitution.
What have you done today to outwit the unelected criminally insane psychopaths who want to regulate how you dispose of your bowel movements?
We began as a nation comprised of a confederation of sovereign independent nations, which grudgingly authorized the delegation of certain specific, limited powers to the Federal authority under the Constitution. Any literate person can read the Constitution in an hour. Now look at what has mutated from that humble beginning, fueled in large part by the income tax, central banking, and deliberate promotion of ignorance. We have a government that churns out more regulation in a week than an average person could read and understand in four years.
Why do you tolerate such infringements on your rights?
I've heard that every American commits, unknowingly, three felonies a day, almost all of them unintended violations of 'regulations' about all of which no human being could possibly know. The Gibson guitar raids, which were blatant politically motivated persecution, were enabled by exactly this sort of regulation promulgated by the Fourth Branch.
What are you doing about this kind of outrage?
History shows that when government interventions in free trade become oppressive, they are ignored or broken. That is part of what started the American Revolution, colonists ignoring English trade constraints and taxes, and smuggling, and local juries, knowing their historical right to judge both the facts AND the law, refusing to convict smugglers who were caught red-handed. That led the King to revoke trial by jury and ship the offenders to England for secret trials. Today, the man who would be King declares that he can unilaterally declare you an enemy combatant and imprison or kill you without a trial and sends agents to foment racial hatred, among dozens of other outrages.
Why do you consent to such outrageous violations of your freedoms?
The parallels are alarming; already in this country there is widespread disdain for Federal regulation in all sorts of fields. In colonial times, agents of the King who meddled in colonial business were often tarred, feathered and ridden out of town on a rail (ruining their expensive high status clothes), and tax collectors often had their windows ( glass being an expensive status symbol) smashed. I don't know what the modern equivalent is going to be, but I suspect that Federal agents who attempt to enforce these unConstitutional 'laws' are soon going to find out.
What are you doing to stand up for your rights?
Those who would rule us had better pay close attention to the lessons of history; my guess is that they won't like the rhymes that I hear on the wind. Nobody in authority saw the reorganization of the Soviet Union coming, either. The Fourth Branch may indeed be too big to prune, but it is certain that without significant pruning, it WILL destroy the Tree. What will grow from that, nobody knows. It is up to you, gentle reader, to decide what will happen.
Do you consent to being a subject, or not?
With regard to all who serve the Light,