Better that people live off government subsidies, which are famous in Iowa, than raise their own chickens without government help and by popular will, it seems. Or, better yet, people should grovel before the city council as the ordinance says so the political leaders can dish out the chickens to those who kowtow.
Leo Hendrick has earned the right to have his say about liberty.
An Army veteran of the war in Afghanistan, he served from 2003 to 2006, and was recalled in 2009. Now he's back home trying to raise a family. The forces against liberty are making it difficult for him.
The City of Northwood, Iowa censored Mr. Hendrick in a trial with potential criminal implications -- over a dozen chickens.
This past summer Leo decided to raise chickens on his property to help feed his family of four. He believes in the health benefits of chemical-free food, and thought it important to teach his two children lessons of responsibility.
Northwood is city in northern Iowa of about 2,000 residents. It has an ordinance that prohibits livestock within the city limits "except by written consent of the council or except in compliance with the city's zoning regulations."
Hendrick had asked the city council to change the ordinance, but received a cold reception. By the bye, Hendrick flies the Gadsden flag in front of his home. Hendrick also owns the Spartan Arms gun shop, and last spring he and others fought and defeated a proposed ordinance to ban guns on city-owned property.
Northwood's attorney John Greve prosecuted Mr. Hendrick over the chickens. He told me it's nothing personal against Leo, but he did, however, sound agitated that Hendrick wanted to argue his constitutional rights. "The Constitution doesn't mention chickens," Greve told me.
Greve is right, obviously. No chickens mentioned in the Constitution. But the Constitution also doesn't mention Greve's car, watch or other individual items of property.
Greve is typical of lawyers for the government: Power must be served, and the Constitution must be read as narrowly as possible when that fits the government's interests. And, government critics need to be kept in their place, even at the local level.
The Constitution does, of course, protect speech. Greve filed a motion in limine -- a motion to limit what Hendick could say before the jury.
Hendrick served his country to protect property rights and other liberties that Greve and all of us exercise -- and the very justice system that prosecuted him.
Leo, however, was censored before a jury of his peers. He was prohibited from raising facts about other jurisdictions with no such limits on chickens, and "asking questions about or making comments or arguments about:
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