Or, what created the Vermont Good Neighbor Project?
It all started some years ago. My youngest brought home a book from school (Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac) about the experiences of the Abenakis in New York and Vermont in the 1930s. The take away for me was this thought: “Vermonters wouldn’t do that! Would they!?!?” This led me to conduct some fairly lengthy research. The results? Yes, they did.
In short, some elected and “highly educated” neighbors got together and came to the conclusion that; spaying, neutering and otherwise ostacizing the less than desirable, would create a more perfect Vermont for the better people to inhabit. Seriously! This actually happened. Go see for yourself.
These actions occurred through the authority and direction of the Vermont Commission on Country Life and the Eugenics Survey of Vermont. The last documented sterilization occurred in 1957. By the end of the state’s scientific endeavor over 250 neighbors had been sterilized. However, the law is still on the books. (https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/fullchapter/18/204)
Assault on Property Rights
Just as the assault on our bodies was subsiding, the assault on our property rights began in earnest. The PRIVATE, non-profit Vermont Natural Resources Council was formed in 1963. Five years later, zoning and planning laws governing the use of our properties was enacted. The legislature, deciding that local municipalities were not enacting these new laws effectively, then passed Act 250, two years later.
Yet again, some elected and “highly educated” neighbors got together. This time they came to the conclusion that they would create a more perfect Vermont for the better people to inhabit by regulating and controlling their neighbor’s private property rights.
What followed was fifty years of economic decline; more intrusive zoning and planning regulations, failed businesses, stalled and abandoned development, failed farms, declining population and stagnant income – for the citizens; the private business owners and their employees. Oddly, state government and its supporting bureaucracy grew, in size and cost, by leaps and bounds. Relatedly, the Vermont Natural Resources Council listed $3,232,909 in assets in June of 2017 (http://vnrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/VNRC-6-30-17-990-PUBLIC-INSPECTION.pdf – they appear to be doing rather well too).
Son of Assault on Property Rights
Elected and expert neighbors have been attacking our bodies and our private property rights for ninety years. Now, the state (with the assistance of the VNRC) has decided to further tighten their rules and regulation in 2019/2020 with a “New and Enhanced!” Act 250 for ANOTHER 50 YEARS!!!
Unbelievably for one more time, some elected and “highly educated” neighbors got together. They came to the conclusion that they would need additional and greater regulation and control of their neighbor’s private property, occupations and pastimes in order to save humanity and the planet from anthropogenic climate change,.
Is the eugenics movement directly related to centralized planning? Not that I’ve found. But the decline in the eugenics movement oddly coincided with the rise of the centralized planning movement. Both are forms of planning for, and control of, other people’s futures, hopes and dreams. These rules have proved to be destructive in their execution. They involve a select group of neighbors believing that they can, and should, seek to control the rest of their neighbors lives. That’s not very neighborly.
This is where the Vermont Good Neighbor Project came from. What creates that thought? The compulsion to control another neighbor’s life, property, hopes or dreams. When does a neighbor have a right to control another? How many neighbors does it take to make sterilizing an “undesirable” a lawful act? 1, 2, 20? Isn’t it the job of our elected neighbors to protect us from the gang of neighbors who seek to control us?