Governments Must Never Perform Services That Free Markets Can Do

It was never my intention to be a land developer. I thought people could buy farmland and move onto it. Utah County has so many utility requirements that I had to develop and sell off lots to pay for them. For example, I could have used geothermal, solar and/or wind energy instead of having more than a half mile of trench dug and cable installed for Rocky Mountain Power.

Most people can only imagine there’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

The difficulty is fighting tyrannical governments and their hundreds of pages of stale, corrupted, inflexible laws, and dealing with their employee’s unrighteous dominion and animosity towards We the People.

If you’ve ever had to buy a service from the government or get their permission to do something, you know that they are usually awful to deal with. No service that private markets can render should be monopolized by governments.

I’ve attended dozens of county and planning meetings and have never heard the word liberty used outside of the Pledge of Allegiance. Some employees feel it is the proper role of government to provide for the safety, welfare and health of the people; they forget that Founding Fathers knew the property role of government was to protect liberty–your right to do whatever you please without government intervention as long as you don’t hurt your neighbors. There is a huge difference.

— Robert John Stevens, February 6, 2018

Appeal to Utah County Health Department for their Unfair Practice

by Robert Stevens, December 8, 2016

Letter to the Utah County Health Department:

Dear … (names removed),

Because the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) claims the below-surface water depth of my 5.25-acre parcel measured 32 inches vs 34 inches, the future homeowner must pay an additional $5k for his sewage system according to excavator Brian Sorensen’s estimate.

This policy is not consistent with fairness. Please consider my appeal:

1. Would a better policy be to take the average of all four measurements?

Notice the attached UCHD measurements were 54″ in October, 44″ in March, 32″ in July, 59″ in September and 51″in December. UCHD chose the 32″ measurement that penalizes.

2. Should measurements be avoided during flood irrigation months?

In July Strawberry Water discharged tens of thousands of gallons of water onto that parcel. Suppose UCHD purposely measured ground-water levels the same or next day after parcels are flood irrigated, wouldn’t they all fail?

3. Notice in September, near the end of the previous irrigation season, the water level dropped to 59″ — What can we conclude from that steep drop?

4. Because the PVC test pipe was not encased in gravel, its holes eventually became clogged–perhaps with mud, debris, dead animals and/or by a youth prank. We then dug a trench next to it and confirmed the water level was far below the surface as expected.

5. At the time of these measurements, UCHD measured underground water levels four times a year. Now they measure monthly, increased fees by $250 and increased their odds of penalizing the landowner.

6. To re-test and monitor for another year puts landowners another year closer to their water rights expiring.

7. Human waste on farms and gardens is desirable. In fact, neighbor Bill Robinson fertilizes his entire 35-acre farm with human waste from Orem.

8. There is no evidence that sewage will contaminate the underground water that is 145-feet below the surface and constantly flowing.

9. UCHD’s measurements did not match my measurements. As much as we trust and admire Brian who took the measurement, we have no proof it was done correctly.

10. Government-run tasks are not accountable. UCHD has nothing to lose by decreeing their verdict. Since there were no checks in place to verify the accuracy of the measurements, should we accept UCHD’s policy or give the landowner the benefit of the doubt?

11. Governments want to protect us from ourselves and everything but most religions teach that God wants us to suffer and address pains or needs—perhaps so we think and create solutions of value.

12. UCHD regulations and Utah County’s 270 pages of land-use ordinances have resulted in almost no new farms in decades. They do successfully use the force of government to shut out new, emerging farm competitors.

Please average your water depth measurements, lower your fees, return to measuring less frequently, and establish fair checks and balances.

A better approach is to get out entirely of the business of policing the lives of landowners with ever-increasing regulations and honor inalienable rights and free markets.

Let us remember the golden rule and hope God doesn’t embrace UCHD’s approach for Judgment Day or he may damn us all according to the worst thing we do in our lives.

Thank you again for visiting with me yesterday. We had a good discussion.

Best Regards,

Robert Stevens

To Utah Government Employees

by Robert John Stevens, January 29, 2016

You work hard doing your jobs and enforcing ordinances. It isn’t your fault elected and unelected bureaucrats turned Utah into a regulatory state.

Property rights were never delegated to the government: They were usurped by people with good intentions but lacked an understanding of free agency and the proper role of government.

Who among us feels comfortable telling our neighbor they can’t move onto their property without restrictions as did their pioneer ancestors?

Or whether or not they can build a home and accessory buildings?

Or whether or not they can filter and drink their own well water or import it from Costco, Culligan or Mount Olympus?

Or mandate they must use Rocky Mountain or Strawberry Power while forbidding solar or geothermal energy or living without power?

Or require them to laser level their fields?

Or require them to pay for weed abatement when God Almighty is the author of obnoxious weeds that were placed here for His own reasons?

Or require them to build expensive irrigation canals when pressurized irrigation uses 1/3 less water?

Or deny them a building permit if they don’t have enough water shares and just want to dry farm or not farm at all?

Or mandate they must pave their driveway with naturally deteriorating asphalt or cement when they are happy to use dirt or gravel?

Nobody. Then who in good conscience feels justified using the force of government to make neighbors do what they will not voluntarily agree to do, and penalize them when they refuse to comply?

For now you must do your job and enforce the laws and ordinances in your jurisdiction but when you serve citizens ask yourself, “If these laws weren’t established could I in good conscience force this person to comply?”

As you ponder these things you’ll discover we can no longer elect and uphold officials who enforce the regulatory state1 because whenever we try and do anything outside of normal living, including developing land or starting a business, we come in contact with unconstitutional laws that hinder our progress to the point where most of us cannot afford the time, money and stress required to proceed.

To make progress necessitates overcoming numerous roadblocks and barriers. These must be eliminated for our free society to endure and for our nation to return to prosperity.

1 Attached to every ordinance and law is a penalty for non compliance.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary and LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson taught repeatedly this principle to judge laws: A good rule of thumb is if I can’t persuade my neighbor to do something against his will then I can’t in good conscience use the force of government to make him.

Government is force. It is used primarily to force people to do things they would not do voluntarily and to penalize them when they disobey.

I better rethink my summary. Short, clear and concise is best but is the most difficult to create. Here’s the extended version:

God so adamantly favors free agency that he cast out 1/3 of the spirits in heaven for siding with Satan whose plan was to deny free agency and save everyone in their sins, and provided mankind with a Savior, prophets and apostles who declare His word which consists mainly of commandments, laws and remarkably short precepts that when obeyed brings blessings.

God later raised up wise men who became the Founding Fathers of the United States. Under His guidance they gave us the shortest but most complete Constitution and Bill of Rights ever devised under heaven which was “for all flesh” and has been used as a model for constitutions all over the world, limits the intrusion of government and grants unto citizens their free agency to worship God and prosper.

Jesus later declared “I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80).

Knowing the Founders’ great compromise over slavery was wrong, He declared, “Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.”

Because of the Constitution, the gospel was restored in America at the soonest time possible.

Since the Constitution was ratified, rather than focus on its simple truths, hundreds of thousands of laws have been created to deny citizens their free agency in cities, counties, states and at the Federal level. I call this the regulatory state. The IRS tax code alone in 2015 was 74,608 pages.

Jesus foresaw this and warned in 1833, “Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.”

Why is more or less evil? Because fewer or more laws deny mankind their free agency. Affixed to each law is a penalty for non-compliance: Government will fine, imprison, or even confiscate your property if you do not comply to unjust laws in which you did not give your consent.

Most of us surrender to and support these laws through taxation.

Related Talks