Friday, August 27, 2010

Tea Party "Don't Tread on Me" flag roils HOA politics

Tea Party "Don't Tread on Me" flag roils HOA politics

An HOA attorney contacted by 9NEWS said Smith's case fell into a gray area because the flag could be considered a "political sign," which would be protected under state law, or it could be considered a "decoration," which would not be protected but would require the HOA to strictly enforce a policy forbidding all homeowners from displaying any kinds of decorative flags.

The most recent letter sent to Smith from HOA lawyer Elina Hindley states: "Please be advised, we have discussed this situation with the board of directors and the board has decided to allow the Tea Party flag to remain displayed on your property. Thus, you may disregard the request contained in the original letter."

"The board was told to back down, at which point they promptly all resigned," Smith said. He was once the HOA board of directors' president and has now volunteered to serve on the board again, along with his neighbor across the street who also displays the Gadsden flag.

Perhaps HOA boards are getting a bit media savvy after years of PR gaffes over flag flying that generate lots of bad publicity for Privatopia. Had the board not retreated in this case, the story would have likely been spotlighted on Fox News.


Anonymous said...

The only recourse homeowners have is publicity that is embarrassing to the HOA.

Otherwise, as the good professor recently put it:

(00:22:48) It's like something you would see in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. People think these things don't go on. But we know they go on every day in condo and homeowners associations. These people who have no idea how to use power at all. They won't even accept limits on their power. They don't even know what the law requires of them, these directors. They go by what some lawyer tells them to do, which the lawyer tells them to do only because he or she knows they can get away with it. Because the only recourse you have is some civil suit. Here in Illinois, we don't have an Ombudsman. Most states don't. There's nowhere for owners to turn. If the lawyer tells them "Oh, just jack 'em around. Who cares what the rules are? Who cares what the law says? It' doesn't make any difference. The transaction costs of enforcing an owners rights are so great that they are hardly ever able to do it. (00:23:40)

And these abuses of homeowners occur with the approval of Libertarians, Republicans, Tea Partiers, and Ayn Randians, who are advocates of

"repressive libertarianism," where certain people who call themselves libertarians invariably side with property owners who want to limit other people's liberties through the use of contract law. Property rights (usually held by somebody with a whole lot of economic clout) trump every other liberty.

Anonymous said...

Oops. The link to "repressive libertarianism" should point to, not back to this page.

gnut said...

> Perhaps HOA boards are getting a bit media savvy after years of PR gaffes over
> flag flying that generate lots of bad publicity for Privatopia.
> Had the board not retreated in this case, the story would have
> likely been spotlighted on Fox News.

I'm not so sure that Fox News is willing to criticize HOA corporations.

This is a follow-up to a story that was posted here ten days earlier, so Fox News has had plenty of time to report on it.

There is also another "Don't Tread On Me" flag dispute with the HOA in Arizona. Has this appeared on Fox News Channel?

While the Fox News demographic believes that mandatory membership in a labor union should be prohibited as a condition of employment, hence support for "right-to-work" laws, mandatory membership in an HOA union as a condition of home ownership is a wonderful manifestation of free market capitalism and voluntary contracts at work.

Like the useful idiots who had romantic notions of Communism during the 20th century, conservatives, libertarians, Tea Partiers, and Ayn Randians are blind to the real-world results of their theories regarding privatized corporate government. And like the naive apologists for Communism, a common retort to criticisms of HOA corporate governance is that it can work if only the right people are put in charge (eg, "why don't you run for the Board of Directors?").

Don't ever forget that the "support the troops" and the "property rights" punditocracy ignored the story of Michael Clauer, leaving the left-wing Mother Jones and liberal "NPR: All Things Considered" as the only national media outlets to report the theft of a soldier's home while he was deployed to Iraq. And this was story that broke just before the Memorial Day weekend!

And while Fox Business Channel is more than willing to devote an episode of John Stossel's show to parasitic tort lawyers, they remain silent about the parasitic tort lawyers who work for HOA corporations. So does Walter Olson, editor of

There is something about HOA unions that make conservatives and libertarians abandon their alleged support of individual private property owners in favor of the corporatist collective communisty.

Personally, I would love to see Shu Bartholomew have people like John Stossel, Walter Olson, Jon Caldera, Glen Beck, Glenn Reynolds, anyone from Reason, Cato, etc., and all of the other privatopian Walter Durantys appear on her radio program to defend their support for (or at least silence about) the Stalinist abuses of American homeowners along The Privatized Toll Road To Serfdom.

Anonymous said...

Repressive libertarianism? Isn't that a contradiction? Aren't you really talking about feudalism?