My latest blog post at Mises.org:
In what has to be the most telling example of the desire of government to use violence as its primary means to any end, officials in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Maryland and Ontario, Canada, have destroyed over 20 million ash trees in an attempt to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.
The larvae of this voracious Asian pest – first identified in the US in 2002 – tunnel through the softwood just under the bark, cutting off the tree's supply of water. The result, the tree dies in about five years.
The tree dies. Nothing else happens. The ash borer does not harm humans, nor does it harm other plants or animals. Yet, once the pest is found in the odd tree, all trees within a wide area are marked for destruction. Once more, when government finds an ash borer in any tree, it cuts all trees to the ground. In many cases, mandating the destruction of trees on private property.
An infestation found in some trees near a local mall resulted in the destruction of 16,000 ash trees - 16,000!. I have to assume that the Emerald Ash Borer is envious of it's competing, and more destructive, partner - government.
So, what takes the foreign pest five years to achieve, government performs in a matter of days or weeks. Where the borer may infect certain trees within a radius around the infested tree, slowly robbing them of life, government destroys all ash trees, infected or not.
Does this even make sense? I am to fear the ash borer as it may destroy local ash trees when I should be fearing government since it changes the may destroy into a will destroy. Luckily, the lack of federal funds is currently limiting the wrath of government in Ohio, as local cities have to fund their own tree removal efforts – estimated at $250 per tree.
Keep in mind that trees can be treated as a preventative measure prior to infestation. So, private property owners have the means to decide for themselves whether or not they desire protecting their individual trees. Unless, of course, someone finds the pest in a tree within your area, then your right to decide is pushed aside for a supposed public good.