The Battle of Fauquier County
Martha the farmer has gained national attention because she has fought attempts by Fauquier County, Virginia to fine her for selling farm produce and hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls. The reality is that Martha isn't breaking any laws. On the other hand, Fauquier County is breaking its own zoning ordinance, the Virginia Right to Farm Act, and the Virginia and United States Constitutions.
Her cause has shed light on the corrupt practices and actual lawbreaking of this so-called agricultural county, which is located about an hour west of Washington, D.C. It is further evidence that government -- from federal down to local -- is America's biggest and most pervasive lawbreaker, and with no close second.
This particular hero's plight has drawn the attention of property rights, civil liberties, farm freedom, and food freedom activists across the country. The laser-like focus on Martha's fight for what's right has helped expose the corrupt and illegal practices not only of Fauquier County, but of a much larger movement of statists and faux environmentalists who wield power of the police state to serve their corrupt agendas.
The selective abuse of government force in Martha's case has developed a new term: crony farming. Martha is being fined and harassed for what members of the local faux environmental group do at their own farms. It's Orwell's Animal Farm comes to life for a real farm of over 160 animals, most of which are rescued. Some farmers in Fauquier are more equal than others.
That this is occurring in Republican-controlled Fauquier only highlights the need to hose off the county for the corruption and lawbreaking that is making the county notorious.
County government officials have been silent in addressing the situation -- to the point where one may easily conclude that they're ill-equipped to deal with the spotlight or, on advice of counsel, will be taking the Fifth. In lieu of statements from the county, surrogates are making the case for them. The surrogates, however, are further exposing the corrupt agenda, and doing the county no favors.
An editorial in the county's fourth estate, the Fauquier Times Democrat, responds to the American Thinker piece "Pitchfork Protest Farmer Confronts Government Corruption and Retribution" by defending the corruption and lawbreaking by the county and its zoning administrator, Kimberley Johnson.
"The days of doing whatever you felt like doing with your land have been over since zoning came into existence nearly 100 years ago," the editorial states. That timing coincides with the rise of the progressive movement in America. "There's no going back now, nor are there any particularly compelling reasons why we should want to," it concludes.
Yes, we who believe in property rights, who wish to mind our own business and do no harm to others, and who object to government's trespassing on our property rights and individual liberties are backwards-thinking relics. We're extremists, according to some. Let's "only give thanks that there are unelected bureaucrats to referee the disputes that always seem to arise between landowners," as the editorial tells us.
Phew. Where would we be without bureaucrats to save us from ourselves? How could we ever protect our rights without them?
Americans, of course, are angry with the sentiments expressed by the Fauquier know-betters. However, many Americans believe that they can do little to change the lawbreaking and corruption at the federal government level. Martha the farmer is taking her battle to one local government, where she and the community can expose the corruption, call out the lawbreakers by name, and effect change.
Thomas Jefferson wrote after his presidency about what he called a "gradation of authorities":
The way to have a good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to do[.] ... It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man's farm by himself ... that all will be done for the best[.] ... What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and power into one body[.]
Laser-like focus on causes such as Martha's may allow Americans to reclaim their freedoms from the local government level upwards. Martha the farmer and her allies may be creating a model that will help save America, if it's not already too late.