Vermont Meddlers vs. Guite: Update

Since I first wrote last year about the plight of Michel Guite -- a man in Vermont who wants to move a small cemetery on his property, with the blessing of the only known distant relative -- I have noticed a fairly consistent amount of search traffic coming to the blog as people obviously are still curious about the story. When I wrote about it just under a year ago, Guite had been taken to court and he won -- despite the petty and snarling statements of the judge. Now it turns out that there is a new development, and his plans are being blocked by the Vermont District 3 Environmental Commission, who is stupidly applying an environmental statute to deny his permit just because they feel like it, which is how the EPA and all other jack-booted environmental thugs operate.

I learned of this because last night, someone coyly named "Anonymous" made two new comments on my July 2008 post. He (assuming it's a 'he') said he is waiting for my reply "with baited breath," so I thought I'd compose a new post to address his comments. Anon said:
The other side of the coin.

I am writing on behalf of all of those who have been active in protesting Mr. Guite's plans to disinter the Aldrich-Kendall Cemetery in Hartland, Vermont.

I am not against landowner rights at all....
Interesting start. He's been protesting what Guite does with his own private property, and yet claims to not be against "landowner rights" at all. Let's deal in fundamentals here, and call them property rights, shall we?

The rest of what he writes is but a long, drawn out invective against the very property rights he claims to have nothing against, as well as sniping personal attacks against Guite himself. He makes snide remarks about well-paid lawyers finding loopholes, obviously meaning that being wealthy enough to pay lawyers is bad, and that any attempt to avoid onerous and burdensome government legislation is to be frowned upon. Anon appeals to authority, saying that many newspapers -- champions of individual rights that they are -- are reporting Guite's obviously terrible exploits "truthfully... to a fault," whatever that means. Anon even tries to show that Guite isn't a real American because he was born in Canada, and states that "as an American, I am feeling very used."

Finally, in his second comment, Anon aims his criticism at Guite's attempt to circumvent Act 250, and then calls on the private property rights he spent a few hundred words contradicting to say, in reference to his actions to get the cemetery moved, "Also, he has removed private property from those families that he has no permission to have removed."

So, are property rights inviolable or not? And didn't Guite get the blessing from the ancestor of the family in question? Well, yes, he did, but Anon then claims that Guite bought her off.

Finally, Anon, after having edified us all, asks whether I "don't find a little of this just a bit unpalatable." Well, yes sir, I do.

I find your entire meddling stance, your view that your opinions matter when a man wants to dispose of his property as he sees fit, and your incessant and unsubstantiated claims of legal knowledge unpalatable. You have shown yourself to be a small-minded pest, reveling in the use of government force against someone you don't like, whether it's because he's richer than you, or because he's Canadian, or because you don't like his smile.

As I said at the beginning, we're dealing in fundamentals here, and zoning laws, Act 250, the wishes of the community, and your own myopic and irrelevant opinions all fall flat in the face of the inviolable individual rights of life, liberty and property. Your needs and wants do not constitute a claim on the life or property of Michel Guite or anyone else. It matters not if he is the most moral man in the world, or a degenerate philanderer.

This undoubtedly will fall on deaf ears with you, Anon, and you'll cling to the supposed illegality of violating this or that Vermont law. But because a law was passed and is being enforced does not, by necessity, make it right. Remember... fundamentals. The Founding Fathers -- men from the same era as the purported war vet buried in the cemetery -- would have understood this implicitly, immediately.

The opponents, most more articulate than our fair commenter, follow in the mold of the judge who ruled on the initial court case, who said, "Perhaps, it is time for the Vermont Legislature to consider protecting the sanctity of old cemeteries because of the strong community sentiment expressed so eloquently by so many Vermonters who continue to have that strong sense of community, faith, and tradition."

The man (mentioned above) buried in the cemetery is Noah Aldrich, who whether or not he served in the war, was alive in the early years of our nation, and this is what I had to say about him and the Vermeddlers' appeal to community and tradition:
Yes, they have a strong sense of tradition. Unfortunately, it's the wrong one. They instead should refer to ideas from the time of Noah Aldrich and the War of 1812 that they have apparently abandoned; they would then be able to see that property rights trump all their whining about "lust" and "greed" and "heartfelt opposition." In fact, I'd bet that if Aldrich were able to speak up on the matter (and if he were a good old obstinate and no nonsense Yankee) he'd say "Leave the man alone! It's his land; let him do with it as he sees fit."

Instead, we're left with meddling gnats who believe that their wants, emotions and "strong community sentiment" are a necessary claim on the property of others.
See, Anon? None of your muddled information and confused argumentation has changed my tune. If the man owns the land, the man owns the land. That's all there is to it. Now mind your damn business.


Anonymous said...

On this Independence Day Eve I had to post. BRAVO!!! You do not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed your babbling tirade. I had promised myself that I would belittle myself one time, and one time only to respond to any literary garbage that you might spew out, so here it goes.

I have never blogged before. You have the dubious distinction to have the only subject that I felt worth the effort. I find it interesting, but had a hard time with the mechanisms to get the darn thing to work. Hence, the two posts (they were written as one) and the “Anon” moniker. There is nothing “coy” about the posting. I had originally posted with my name, but it was erased upon multiple attempts to make my statement heard. I find that since, in itself, “Anon” drives you absolutely nuts, I have decided to continue it with absolute delight.

I am not against landowners rights in the state of Vermont. I live here. I know the schtick When I bought my land, I knew that neither I, nor my neighbors, could put a Quickie Mart next door (not even in Springfield) because of the zoning and ACT 250 laws. I knew that there were liens and encumbrances with regards to the local telephone and power lines and also the highway rights-of-way. I am not a lawyer, but it does not take a brain surgeon to figure this out, or does it???

Mr. Guite also knew when he bought the property in Hartland that it held restrictions to be abided by. He knew that the ACT 250 was and encumbrance and what it entailed. He has made a mistaken comment that ACT250 laws are for farms. Every McDonald’s or mall that has ever been built in the state of Vermont since 1970 has had to be approved according to this law. Vermont did not just make this up last night. It is not flexing it muscles just to be a meanie to the poor, little rich man who bought a 300-acre farm, but somehow can’t bear to live with a 22’ x 40‘ cemetery on it. What makes Mr Guite think he is above this law, when all of the rest of humankind are not???

This undoubtedly will fall on deaf ears with you, Anon, and you'll cling to the supposed illegality of violating this or that Vermont law. But because a law was passed and is being enforced does not, by necessity, make it right. Remember... fundamentals. The Founding Fathers -- men from the same era as the purported war vet buried in the cemetery -- would have understood this implicitly, immediately.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no it hasn’t, my poor simpering thing. What you are suggesting, sir (loosely used), is anarchy, which is not what Vermont is about. The reason that there were deeds in the 1840’s and 1850’s in Vermont is just what the men of the same era understood, not what you are spewing. It is law and therefore it does make it right and enforceable. I do understand that Austrailia is no longer a penal colony and now has laws. You cannot go there either to spread your self-centered point of view. Deal with it.

Mr. Guite has chosen to take the position that it is easier to apologize than get permission and to suck in as many as he can on the way to that apology. Congratulations!!! You are there. He has since let the grass grow, removed the headstones, the fence, and all other conveyances of a cemetery, probably so he can tell the media that he didn’t realize the he was digging his cellar hole on the very spot that the cemetery stood. No one will touch his “archeology removal” and feigned ignorance will once again will be initiated. Only a dolt would believe such a tale, or try to produce one. We shall see. He has also poise himself so that ye who can be bought, will be bought. It would not shock me if you were there, too.

Sorry….the media are still in hysterics about Mr. Guite’s antics. The rest of us are just in awe of his audacity and arrogance. There is no way on this whole wide, green planet that Marcia Neal is the ONLY living descendant of Noah Aldrich and his family. Who are you kidding??? That would be true only if 99.9% of his prodigy had died early, most were infertile and the rest gay. I somehow find a flaw in this whole delivery. I somehow feel that we will find that Mr. Guite scrapes up at least 10 or 12 others up just to look like he tried to find all of them, and then digs into those illustrious pockets to see if he can seduce them into acceptance. Time will tell who is right here.

I almost lost my lunch with your own post of “degenerate philanderer.” I find this a very interesting and provocative phrase of your own making. I hadn’t even considered this. I never mentioned anything about his escapes. Seems that has nothing to do with cemeteries, either, but, it truly seems to ignite another interest, now doesn’t it??? SICKO.

The opponents, most more articulate than our fair commenter….

So, how far behind the pack does that leave our lugubrious moderator???

See, Anon? None of your muddled information and confused argumentation has changed my tune. If the man owns the land, the man owns the land. That's all there is to it. Now mind your damn business.

Your passion outweighs your logic you poor addle-pated thing. My information doesn’t come from tainted source such as yours, and I have never used profanity. If you can’t express yourself properly, you are lost and so is your cause. I would much rather be a meddling gnat than plague-infested, blood-sucking lice such as Mr. Guite and his advocates.

For you see, your own caveat was correct. He (assuming it's a 'he') said he is waiting for my reply. I am not a “he”, but I have fully enjoyed your response with titillating glee, because sometimes fellas, no really does mean “NO!”

C. August said...

Impressive rant, Ms. Anon. Impressive in its near total lack of a solid, clear, rational line of thought.

I asked you earlier to stick to fundamentals and principles, and you appear to be incapable of that. So let me say it again, rephrasing slightly:

When you say that you are "not against landowners rights in the state of Vermont" and then proceed to discuss all the intrusive laws and other government restrictions that you put up with because you "knew what you were getting into going in", you show that you do not have a clue what property rights actually are.

You suggest that, because I am referring back to what the Founders saw as inalienable rights, including the right to property, I am somehow advocating anarchy. This again shows how muddled your thinking is on the topic.

The proper role of government -- and the one that the Founders came very close to implementing -- is based on Locke's view of individual rights and their relation to the state. Namely, the state's sole purpose is to protect the rights and liberties of individuals, not to interfere in their voluntary associations, businesses, property, or thought.

I suggested that my words would fall on deaf ears when I said that "because a law was passed and is being enforced does not, by necessity, make it right." You replied stating the opposite, an argument that amounts to "if a majority of people think a thing, then it must be true," even though I asked you to think in fundamentals.

If the country, say, passed a law stating that soldiers could be quartered in private residences and that private citizens must feed and shelter them, would that be right simply because it was a law? I seem to remember some New Englanders and Virginians who had a problem with laws like that awhile back, and even called them tyrannical.

I'm afraid, ultimately, that you have proven yourself incapable of thinking in principle, and instead are focused on the surface particulars of Mr. Guite's case and your own misunderstanding of the rights of man and the what the Founders were attempting to accomplish when they birthed the Republic. I have been trying to tell you that this is more fundamental than your like or dislike of the man, and that we are discussing the core liberties of a free nation.

My concern is not with Mr. Guite so much as with the presumption by the media and people like you that you have a right to dictate what he can or can't do with his property. As I said, he could be a great guy or an awful one... it doesn't matter. The point is that by building on his own land, he is not violating anyone's rights. In principle, unless and until he does, the government has no cause to step in.

Sadly, as evidenced by your nearly nonsensical blathering, we live in a country that has largely abandoned the ideas of the Founders, and now meddlers can complain to the bureaucrats and have someone they dislike harassed and fined, based on petty whims.

Anonymous said...

Mr. August,

I have never responded to a blog before, but your prose forces me to respond.

If a cemetery in Massachusetts was being disinterred, your own state would create an investigation as why it was necessary. Since you do not live in Vermont, perhaps you should leave your rantings to Massachusetts and let Vermonters deal with Vermont issues.

If your mother, father or grandparents were being disinterred for development, I am sure you would have an issue with it. Sad that you think that people who died in the 1800s do not have the same rights or considerations.

C. August said...

It seems I am being plagued by those who are unable to see beyond the trappings of particulars.

This is not a Vermont issue, nor is it a Massachusetts issue. This is a fundamental property rights issue. And I am doing nothing akin to ranting. Instead, I am defending man's right to property, to his life, to his liberty.

Now, to Anon's (8:14pm) claim that I am not recognizing the rights of someone who died in 1800. Strangely, you are correct, but not for the reason you might suspect. You see, someone who is dead has no rights. Rights apply only to living, rational humans, not inanimate matter buried in the ground.

Now, if you're talking property rights, and I owned the land on which my ancestor was buried, then I obviously would have sole claim to dictate how the grave was handled. Or, accepting as valid the Vermont law -- and I'm going based just on what I've read -- that if a living relative can be identified, even if the family no longer owns the land, then that family member must give consent to moving a grave... if that were my circumstance, then it would be just that I be consulted first by the new property owner.

In Guite's case, it appears that this has been satisfied in a court of law.

So... what's your point? Are you simply making an emotionalist appeal to guilt me into agreeing with you?

I ask again... please, if you wish to comment on this issue, try to understand what property rights are. To help you, here is a handy resource:

Read Atlas Shrugged.

Or, if you'd like something shorter, specifically about property rights, take a look at what Ayn Rand wrote about it here.

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