Patterico's Pontifications


Houston, Houston

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 8:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Sometimes I think Houstonites are the most libertarian urban population in America, and one reason is because Houston doesn’t have comprehensive zoning laws. It’s not regulation-free but Houston is one of only two cities with a population over 100,000 that doesn’t have such zoning. The other one is a Houston suburb, Pasadena.

How far does this libertarian streak extend? Even Houston-area veterinarians rebel against Big Brother:

For more than two decades, many Houston veterinarians have engaged in a quiet mutiny of sorts.

They have refused to follow a law requiring them to essentially name names — to turn over the identities and addresses of pet owners whose dogs and cats received rabies shots.

The city of Houston wants these names to identify some of the hundreds of thousands of pet owners who have failed to obtain the required city license for their dog or cat — and which could result in a citation. Only 4 percent of Houston’s estimated 1 million pets are registered today, according to city officials.”

The City wants the additional revenue estimated to be $1M a year. However, 87% of the members of the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association oppose the law, saying they didn’t sign up to be tax collectors.

Nevertheless, compliance with regulations like this increases vaccinations that protect humans and animals. I assume libertarians believe people should be able to choose between vaccinating their pets without having their names added to a government roster, or choosing not vaccinate and bearing the financial and legal consequences.

As for libertarian Americans, who would you nominate as the most libertarian urban population in America … and why?


24 Responses to “Houston, Houston”

  1. I would have to include New Mexico in the list, because many (most?) counties do not have strong building restrictions at the county level. This means you can pretty much do whatever you want with your property.

    Of course, if you’re *buying* a property in New Mexico, then caveat emptor!

    Chris M (9f4006)

  2. Chris M, don’t you know that New Mexico isn’t in America?

    DRJ (7fbae6)

  3. You reminded me you know what I hate about California? This gay law where all traffic has to stop if you’re crossing the street. You can’t just cross the street like a normal person. I think they have that law in Houston too at least downtown and it’s gay there too but mostly in Texas you’re credited with the ability to cross the street using only your own wits and skills. Sometimes here I forget like I’ll be going to my breakfast place on the other side of Ventura and everyone stops and it’s kind of embarrassing cause I was right in the middle of showing off my killer street-crossing skills and then they ruin it and make it like I’m some sort of special child what needs special help and with my new rectangle glasses I really do look kind of special so it’s really sort of a scene when that happens.

    As far as the vaccinations go I say fight the power. Just go out of town to get your vaccinations. Houston just wants money so they can make more better pension plans for their loser employees. Just like everywhere else. Don’t be an enabler.

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  4. I love your comments, happyfeet.

    DRJ (7fbae6)

  5. that was where I entered this benighted dirty socialist country. Houston, Texas. Things were different then. This was a hopeful little country and things were changing for the better right before your eyes and you could go to Astroworld and ride the Greezed Lightnin’ and not get ganked. Now you can’t go there at all cause of the ganking got so bad.

    The Greezed Lightnin’ they was gonna move to Lubbock but somehow that didn’t transpire how they wanted. Nothing gold can stay.

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  6. oh. Thank you.

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  7. I assume libertarians believe people should be able to choose between vaccinating their pets without having their names added to a government roster, or choosing not vaccinate and bearing the financial and legal consequences.

    The state (this time the city) really bears the burden of making laws and regulations they alone can enforce. I’m not sure libertarians have any responsibility to justify their non-compliance under the structure the state put in place but obviously cannot enforce.

    spongeworthy (c2e8fe)

  8. “Nevertheless, compliance with regulations like this increases vaccinations that protect humans and animals.”
    The logic of this statement escapes me particularly in the context of the other themes of this post. I believe, if anything, these regulations would decrease vacinations.

    A Houston dog owner.

    Thomas Wren (5b49de)

  9. I nominate Detroit. People there hardly obey any laws.

    Of course, that might not be an exact definition of libertarianism.

    Gesundheit (254807)

  10. How irresponsible of the veteranarians of Houston to allow people to ignore their civic responsibility requiring them to register their pets to allow the authorities to combat the great rabies epidemic destroying the comm….
    Oh, wait…there have been no reported outbreaks of rabies in Harris County.
    My Bad!

    Now, I need to talk to my old HS buddy who keeps trying to talk me into moving to Houston…

    AD - RtR/OS! (bb3066)

  11. I vote for Houston and Texas. Take renewable energy.

    1/3 of Houston’s electricity comes from wind:

    This is possible because Texas is a leader in wind power. By a wide margin.

    Why is Texas the leader in wind power? because we have our own power grid and approvals come from only a single state regulation board. There is currently a push to create a nationwide power grid. Curently Texas remains a holdout. I hope it stays that way.

    LoneStarJeffe (728204)

  12. I nominate Detroit. People there hardly obey any laws

    That would make it Ann Archy. Kind of like Ann Arbor, but with fewer university students in the bars. Or behind them. Let’s see what Greg Packer thinks.

    political agnostic (8af623)

  13. “That would make it Ann Archy” !!!!!

    This is one of those rare instances when LOL is literally true. Thanks for that one. I live in A2 and I’m definitely going to find a way to use that one. I would have nominated Ann Arbor, but their rebel cred has been seriously damaged. You hardly ever smell the odor of cannabis anymore, and the annual Naked Run isn’t even naked anymore. Is it antinomian to paint “war” under the word “stop” on a stop sign if you have to searching for a sign that hasn’t already been painted?

    Of course, I’m equating lawlessnes with libertarianism, but most of the libertarians I know only use their philosophy to justify how they drive.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  14. Yep. Crack down on those vets for breaking a crappy little ordinance that really is all about revenue from dog licenses. Meanwhile our erstwhile mayor who wants to be the next Texas senator won’t allow the HPD to participate in the 287 g program. And after a Houston cop was shot by an illegal a couple of months ago. Oh, yeah. Another headline in today’s Chronicle is Mexican drug cartel murders are moving to Houston. But don’t check for citizenship when you arrest anyone. I’m thinking White is trying to build his liberal creds.

    olguy (f00173)

  15. While contemplating nominees for most libertarian locales, contemplate at the federal level how many items on this list are in the process of coming to fruition with the current administration, legislature, and judiciary. All in the name of credit and economic crises intervention…that they mostly created. How this list got past the Wiki minders does give pause…

    10 Conditions For Transition To Communism

    [According to the Communist Manifesto, all these were prior conditions for a transition from capitalism to communism, but Marx and Engels later expressed a desire to modernize this passage.]

    1. Abolition of [private] property [rights] in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

    Makes finding libertarian sanctuaries a might futile in the larger scheme.

    political agnostic (8af623)

  16. This is possible because Texas is a leader in wind power. By a wide margin…

    It’s not hard to do when every windmill has a couple thousand Texans standing in front of it!

    AD - RtR/OS! (bb3066)

  17. “Nevertheless, compliance with regulations like this increases vaccinations that protect humans and animals.”

    The logic of this statement escapes me particularly in the context of the other themes of this post.

    The logic is that by the vets not complying, there are less vaccinations. Less vaccinations result in more animals susceptible to getting rabies. But AD – RtR/OS points out in #10 there have been no reports of rabies in the area, so the danger seems remote.
    And if you have animals that are always indoors, then the vaccination is obviously pointless.

    liontooth (15a295)

  18. D.C. is THE leader in wind power. It just hasn’t been harnessed to good use yet.

    tmac (5559f7)

  19. liontooth, of course the converse view is that fewer people will go to the vet if they are reported to the pet gestapo and taxed. And thus, there are more rabies vaccines with the vets refusing to narc on customers than if they comply. I know that’s a reason I take my pets to vets outside Austin rather than in.

    Also, if you have an indoor pet, please go ahead and get it that rabies vaccine. indoor pets become outdoor pets in the blink of an eye sometimes, and when they so, they are often in some other animal’s territory and aren’t socially savvy enough to avoid a bite. I learned this the hard way, friend.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  20. Thomas Wren,

    I think the theory is that more people will get their pets vaccinated when vets are aggressive about enforcing vaccine regulations, and my belief is supported by my experience as a pet owner in a community where vets do just that. It’s similar to communities where pediatricians are aggressive about vaccinating kids vs communities where the pediatricians are more ambivalent. Kids living in the former communities are much more likely to get vaccinated than the latter.

    But if the existence of the regulation makes you less willing to comply, you could be one of those classic Houston libertarians!

    DRJ (f462b4)

  21. AD,

    I know this is preaching to the choir but in this case I’m not sure that less vet participation in registrations equals less vaccinations. I think it’s also possible the vets encourage pet owners to vaccinate at-risk pets but they draw the line at reporting the pet owners’ names to authorities. To me, that’s also a libertarian response.

    DRJ (f462b4)

  22. Oh, I was certainly born and raised a Houstonian, so maybe it rubbed off on me.

    I was a fan of whoever was playing against the Cowboys before it was cool to be a fan of whoever was playing the Cowboys, and before it was very uncool to even pay attention to the quasi-fascist NFL.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  23. The most libertarian Americans?

    Today: Houston
    Tomorrow: Ex-pats

    Hope and change are portable attributes.

    ras (20bd5b)

  24. I think it’s perfectly outrageous that Houston is persecuting our vets. AND AFTER ALL THEY HAVE SACRIFICED FOR OUR COUNTRY!! If Vets shoot dogs and don’t tell the government… well… maybe the dog had it coming! I for one am going to trust my boys in camoflage before I would trust the boys in the pinstripes.

    Rohrschach (254807)

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