Writing and then Tilting at Regulations

I’m going to tie two posts from last week together with my personal experience, an anecdote on yet another inconsistent statist.

On the one hand we have the tiny house movement as Brian Tomlinson blogged about over here. It is a wonderful plan for living within your means, not contributing or contributing very little to the central bank by usury and has even more appeal for the motivated and do-it-yourself types. Having a custom home, economic freedom from mortgages and optionally the ability to roll which allows for voting with your feet without selling your home. Tiny houses are a wonderful movement.

The other hand is turned to Jeffrey Tucker’s page on crappy regulations. Both topics happened by chance to collide a couple of years ago when I attended a Tumbleweed seminar. This company has established a good lead in the field of supplying tiny home plans, advice and what looks like a good foundation; purpose made trailers. For any novices planning to build a class like that is almost essential.

The seminar was well done, two presenters covered all the topics. One was Ella a young woman who built her own home on wheels and now lives overlooking the ocean by cleaning horse stalls for the landowner and otherwise only needs to work one week per month to cover her other bills. The other was Ross. Ross lives in the smallest of homes and made a point in his introduction to proudly proclaim having been a key member of establishing the water regulation that myself, Mr. Tucker and probably you, find so very annoying. The one that has reduced most of us to having stripes of waste on our porcelain with little benefit.


Understandably places like California and Arizona which are deserts might need water conservation but much of the greater population has great rivers flowing past with millions of gallons of fresh water. Each city taking some in and then discharging it back since water is not used up like coal or oil. Ross and his pals didn’t seek to focus on places that needed low flow toilets they formed a broad regulation that affected all toilets regardless of local water supply. This type of activity was buried in the yearly waves of proposals that flood into state houses, local districts and the federal halls. By the time one ugly wave gets attention it is almost a done deal. No one rallied around toilet freedom because it sounded agreeable but once in place you can see the ugly results as you reach for that brush to clean what didn’t need cleaning much for the last 50 years.

the award for unintended consequences

the award for unintended consequences


Rather than allow for choice of water saving toilets the whole nation is stuck with a crappy product. Rather than innovate and educate they sought the sloppy and easy path of dictates. Never mind that marketed inventions already existed for this very issue.

Ironically now Ross, with his good intentions, is helping promote living small but Mr. Regulation himself is now up against long established regulations. You see most every incorporated area does not allow a person to live in less than 400 square feet. By doing so many single people are required to heat and cool and rent more space than necessary. Ross now wants to be innovative and creative but finds that tiny home owners must deal with regulators who like one-size-fits-all and do not seem flexible. Shocking.

To skirt the law tiny homes are mostly built on trailers and thus deemed portable rather than a codes regulated permanent building. While this can be a desired feature for many situations it is a wasted cost. Environmentally it means steel and tires are bought instead of a foundation made from replenishble wood resting on a few concrete blocks. Tires that may rot before they are put to use.

In a freer society people would have house freedom. Want to be environmentally and fiscally sound – go all out! But adaptation would not be forced nor techniques be stifled. Want to save water, simply put a brick in your existing toilet tank, buy a low flow or be innovative. Since the early 1970s the market has seen dual-flush toilets where the flush can use more water for the big tasks or save water by just a partial flush for the yellow.

The idea of freedom may be wasted on some but I hope this helps others see more clearly. Will the Ross’ of the world seek to force people to live in tiny homes or will they learn that choice is best because every situation is not alike?