Julyu 23, 2008, on this blog: On the line
Homeowners’ associations fascinate me. Marketplace’s Joel Rose reports that there are about 300,000 of these in the U.S., about half of which prohibit clothes lines. How does this prohibition work, exactly? How is it enforced? And by what authority do these Mayberry Mussolinis claim the right to tell others that they’re only allowed to dry their clothes through the operation of energy-intensive, fossil-fuel burning machines (adding chemicals to make them smell almost, but not quite, like they had really been dried the sensible way, out in the sun)?The Wikipedia entry on homeowners’ associations answers some of those questions, but not the larger question of why on earth anyone would voluntarily submit to live in such prefab neighborhoods where, it seems, all that is not expressly permitted is forbidden. One could argue that this intrusive corporate governance of private life is un-American. But then I suppose one could also argue that the voluntary surrender of personal freedom in the hopes of attaining higher “property values” is quintessentially American.