Michigan Brothers Fined for Removing Trees on Their OWN Property; Now, They’re Fighting For Their Speech Rights As Well


The other shoe is dropping on a recent story that got many ethically-minded people quite justifiably angry.

Last year, Canton Township, Michigan residents, Gary and Matt Percy were attacked by the government, slammed with an astronomical $450,000 fine for simply cutting trees on their own land. The government told them they couldn’t cut the trees to start a Christmas tree farm because, of course, the brothers hadn’t gotten the proper “permits.” 

In other words, they hadn’t gone to their feudal lords and received “permission” to control their own land.

The Percys brought the matter to court, citing a farming exemption, and, according to Nate Madden of The Blaze, the case is still pending.

But the brothers are not stopping there.

They are now working with the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) to sue the government for harassment on First Amendment grounds.

The brothers' federal complaint says that, after the brothers went to the press about the fines, the township started sending code enforcement officers to their other businesses to look for possible code infractions not tied to the tree farm. According to that complaint, Canton issued a violation notice on May 30, which said the Percys didn't have occupancy certificates for buildings they've been using for decades.

It sure looks like the Percys are experiencing one of the troubling truisms about government: it has unlimited funds and nearly unlimited power -- power to mess with victims on enough fronts that the average person rarely stands a chance to fight against it.

Madden notes:

TPPF says that the lawsuit is being filed under 42 U.S. Code § 1983, which provides a civil remedy for ‘deprivation of rights’ and is (sic) asks for the harassment to stop so the initial case about the fines can proceed ‘and the brothers can operate their businesses without interference.’

This story is nothing short of amazing.

Imagine working voluntarily with a sibling, investing in land, thinking that you own it, thinking that you have innate rights as individuals to be left alone, and that you will offer the same respect to others.

Then imagine that none of that is real. That other people have a machine to negate all of that, a machine called “the polis,” i.e. “the state,’ i.e. “the government.” Imagine that it functions not through voluntarily offering things to others, but by mandating people pay for it. Then imagine trying to fight it, and being set upon by branches of the machine so that you see even more “infractions” and more expenses.

The image of “Justice” is of a blind woman holding scales. But she’s an employee of the state, she isn’t blind, and the scales aren’t even. Ever.

The polis is revealing its nature once more, as these two brothers are delayed from offering products to others on a voluntary basis, forced to use their own capital to defend their rights and to be left alone, and forced to pay their own nemesis through the tax system.

Madden notes that neither Canton Township nor any individuals to be named in the suit have been served.

We’ll watch this, as will many who believe in the sanctity of individualism and private property.

(Cover Photo: Texas Public Policy Foundation)

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