it means to be free
when the people can speak;
democracy is when the government listens.” — Alistair Farrugia
is defined in many ways but most of the definitions fall into one of two
= without cost
= without undue restraint or obstruction
of us are wise enough to know that nothing in life is free of cost. However, a dangerous myth
has been set loose in our community that somehow a large outside corporation is going
to bring some wonderful machines into our midst that are going to gather money
out of the wind in our sky at no cost to us. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the
fact, the price that is being asked is some of our own freedom and that of our
itself is actually very costly. People work hard for their freedom and often are
willing to pay a high price to preserve it, sometimes even risking or
sacrificing their lives in struggles to overcome oppression, manipulation, and
abuse. The very freedom we enjoy as a nation today was birthed in a War of
Independence that started in 1776 with these words:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are
instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
kind of liberty doesn't come from industrial developers who manipulate the truth
with clever sales techniques, money, and power politics, but from a vigilant
citizenry that is open to public debate and has learned to manage its affairs
a plan is put forward that proposes erecting enormous machines, reaching over
400' into the sky, to gather power from the wind, a basic underlying question needs to be asked: who owns
the sky and wind, and therefore who is authorized to
owns the water that flows in a river? Can an owner use the river that runs
through his land for his own profit without being responsive to the expressed
concerns of those who live downstream?
answer is that all of these have been given to everyone in trust and that no one
has the unrestricted authority to sell them. It is a community's responsibility
to monitor and maintain the purity of its air and water and scenery on behalf of
all who live in and visit the area.
freedom to use the land we own must be tempered by respect for the effect our
activities will have on those who live nearby.
Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
consists of 3 parts: work (also known as industry), rest, and recreation. We
work to earn a living for ourselves and our families and to contribute to the
welfare of the community. When our work is done at the end of the day or week,
we look forward to resting, settling back, and enjoying some peace and quiet. We
may sit and chat, eat, read a book, or sleep. In the midst of our times of rest,
we look for ways to be active that differ from our work, ways in which we can be
"recreated" as other than workers. We may play a game, watch a show,
take a trip, or get out in nature. One thing none of us wants is to be in the
midst of an industrial environment while we're involved in rest or recreation.
have chosen to be landowners in Cohocton for several reasons. Some work on their
land and live elsewhere. Others work on one part of their land and live on
another part when the work day is over. Many work elsewhere and come home to
Cohocton afterwards to rest and enjoy time with their families. And then there
are those who work and live elsewhere but have purchased land in Cohocton for
personal rest and recreation. We're all really very industrious folks, but as valuable as work may be, we need to be very
careful to preserve the aspects of rest and recreation that are so essential to
our well-being and not willingly sacrifice them to industry.
Threat of Eminent Domain
the past year or
so there were very few people who ever thought about the legal principle known
as “eminent domain.” But when the US Supreme Court handed down its Kelo
vs. New Hartford decision in June 2005, some of us began to pay closer
attention. Simply stated, eminent domain is
the lawful power of the state to expropriate private property without the
owner's consent, either for its own use or on behalf of a third party. Most
commonly, private property is taken over for public works projects, like
highways, public transportation, and utilities.
a wind farm has been established, whether it is owned and operated by a
private company or not, it may be considered a public utility for legal
purposes and exercise portions of the eminent domain law. This is an
ultimate threat to personal freedom.
appears that the only safeguard a community may have against this kind
of corporate encroachment is to design local laws regulating wind power
development that specifically address this problem. Are we protected in
Cohocton? Ask your local leaders. Think it can't happen here? Listen to
Sheldon Hansel's story about what happened on his farm by clicking
on this link.
Things that keep company together: truth, freedom, beauty, peace, honesty, trust,
faithfulness, reliability, love, and purity. Let's keep the list growing!