What is it that makes a free country? Is it becuase the country is corruption-free. Nyet. Is it because the free country has taxation below a certain level? Nine. What distinguishes a free country is the right and use of private property. Socialism / Communism says the government owns everything. Facism says it is prvately owned but government controlled. Freedom is defined by the right of a private citizen to own and control his private property. In this country we are moving rapidly from that position to one of "freedom by permit only." This allows government to keep the fascade of freedom. "Of course you own it. Of course you may direct its use -- as long as you get a permit (our permission) to do so." One of the main functions of a legitimate government is to provide protection from others infringing on my rights. When it is doing this it is not likely to violate the private property rights of individuals. When it treats property as a collective ownership and allows others to control property for which they are not footing the bill it becomes a monster. That's why our grandparents knew that if they wanted a privacy buffer they had to buy it. Today's homeowner just calls for some regulation or enforcement that controls another's property without any personal financial investment on their part. What a deal! If each taxpayer had to pony up money for the so-called environmental protections that are being imposed today at the expense of private property owners we would be forced to prioritize those protections that really rise to the level of good and necessary. As long as we attempt to get a public benefit without a public cost we will continue down the road to serfdom.