If a man's home is his castle, then his land is his kingdom.
Property boundaries, of course, must be respected, and trespassing across them becomes a legitimate matter of government's concern. So, too, if you build a huge bonfire that rains toxic ash onto your neighbor's land. Or hurl water balloons at his house using a giant, rubber-tubing slingshot that requires three people to operate.
And as old as the law itself are rules governing the use of water from flowing streams and rivers to ensure that landowners downstream are not denied their right to have and use water for their own benefit. These laws have never been designed to deny anyone the use of flowing water, but rather to ensure that everyone owning land along the waterway is able to enjoy reasonable use of the water.
But never in the history of Western thought or English common law have reasonable men been confronted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Andy Johnson, a welder from Wyoming, unfortunately, has.
He and his wife built a small pond on their rural property using the stream flowing through it. They stocked the pond with trout so that their three small children could fish. The pond is an oasis for wildlife such as ducks and geese passing through.
It is precisely the sort of industriousness that reasonable people and zealous stewards of the environment applaud. But the EPA is made up of neither reasonable people nor zealous stewards of the environment.
They are crazed hypocrites greedy for unchecked power and hellbent on destroying the passions that connect people to the nature surrounding them. Like the Food and Drug Administration in the movie "Dallas Buyers Club," the EPA has become the face of absolute power in the hands of blind government bureaucrats.
That is why the faceless henchmen of the EPA have come after Mr. Johnson and his family, charging them with violating federal law and threatening to bankrupt them. These EPA thugs ordered the Johnsons to destroy the pond they built and threatened to fine them $75,000 a day for being in violation of the Clean Water Act.
This alone is enough to choke any freedom-loving American and cause tremors for anyone concerned with tyranny of a sprawling, unanswerable federal government. But what makes this all so much worse is the utter hypocrisy of the EPA and its legion of power-drunk bureaucrats.
With headquarters just off the Mall a few blocks from the White House, the EPA lists on its website how much energy and water its offices use each year. But what the EPA fails to list is exactly how many gallons of completely untreated wastewater the agency's 5,000 employees flush directly into the Potomac River every year.
That is because whenever it rains in your Federal City, the sewage treatment plant cannot handle the flood of storm runoff and sewage at the same time. So it just dumps a couple of billion gallons of completely untreated sewage into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, which flow into the celebrated Chesapeake Bay.
That is right: Whenever any of those bossy bureaucrats at the EPA takes a bowel movement at work on a rainy day, all the excrement floats right out into the Potomac River and on down to the Chesapeake Bay, helping destroy one of the most important and compromised ecosystems in the U.S. today.
How it is that dirty polluters like this are allowed to lecture anyone in this country — especially a small farmer — about proper stewardship of the environment? It just goes to show how corrupt this government has become. Why not charge Gina McCarthy and every one of her EPA employees $75,000 per flush?
Finally, your Federal City has begun drilling giant underground tunnels to store this overflow sewage and storm runoff during rainfalls until the treatment plant can catch up.
It is a massive undertaking that is estimated to cost some $2.6 billion. Which is why the government has to go after innocent American families who live 2,000 miles away and hold them up for $75,000 a day over the beautiful little pond they built.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @charleshurt.