Applied Libertarianism

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The other day, I didn’t call the government for ”help” dealing with an annoying neighbor.

They have one of those small dogs that can bark non-stop for hours at a time. RRRRowwRRRowwRRRowwwRRRowwwRRRowwwRRR …. for absolutely no reason.

The cur just imbecilically barks, barks barks. Sometimes, all night long. Even from a couple hundred yards away, the dog’s high-pitched mindless yapping penetrates the walls of my house.

What’s a Libertarian to do?

I didn’t call the government. Calling the government is like going to the local don with a problem. Maybe he will “help” you. But not for free. You now owe the don. Either cash money or a favor, or obedience.

You are also beholden to the don – in perpetuity. This is a far worse thing than whatever the original problem was that you came to him for “help” with.

And you have legimitated the don.

Whatever happens going forward, it was you who sought him out. The don will never forget this. Neither will the government.

Never, ever call the government. 

It only encourages them.    

So what did I do?

I did the same thing I did a few years back when this same neighbor’s teenaged kid began playing loud rap music into the night. First I tried just asking the kid’s parents about it – making them aware (in a friendly, non-confrontational way) that while maybe they didn’t realize it, the sound carried all the way over to my place and could they please turn it down?

If they’re not assholes or idiots, this approach often bears fruit.

But it entails actually talking to your neighbors, which is something many people are reluctant to do. This is understandable. You never know… they might be belligerent and even dangerous.

But the government is always dangerous.

Also: Siccing the cops on the neighbors will create an insuperable wall of hate between you and them, forever. And at the first opportunity, they will sic the cops on you. They will be looking for excuse to do so. It’ll be tit for tat, for as long as you both are neighbors. You’ll avoid eye contact, feel weird about going outside when they are outside. Etc.

Who benefits?

The government.

So, try approaching the neighbors first, in a neighborly way. Attempt to reason with them. It often works. And if you prefer not to do it in person, leave them a note. A signed one. Don’t be a wimp. No one respects a wimp. Be respectful and write your note on the assumption that the neighbor is unaware of the problem and isn’t being deliberately obnoxious.

This is usually the case.

And, usually, a respectful approach not only solves the problem but establishes some rapport between you and them. You now know one another – and people who know one another on friendly terms usually try to not cause problems for one another. You may even come to be friends. You’ll help one another because you want to – no strings attached.

The government hates this. Peaceful co-existence, mutual assistance, voluntarily given. People resolving their differences without the “help” of the government, always with strings attached.

Of course, sometimes people are not reasonable. Or maybe just dumb. What to do then?

I have found a dose of their own medicine often cures the patient.

When the neighbor kid’s rap music continued to play even after I had a conversation with the kid’s parents and they had agreed to tamp it down, I decided to respond with some “music” of my own. At close to 11 at night – the bass from the kid’s rap reverberating inside my house – put on some clothes, went to my shed and rolled out my diesel tractor.

It has a beat all its own.

I drove the tractor to the edge of my property, as close to the neighbor’s as possible, turned up the throttle and let her sing. I was prepared to let her do so all night long, but this proved unnecessary. The rap stopped within a few minutes – so I stopped the tractor.

I applied the same medicine in the case of the yipping-all-night dog. Not with the tractor. With my own barking. I imitated the dog for maybe 5 minutes before they took him inside.


Maybe. But not as crazy as calling the government for “help”!

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  1. There is one situation where I will call the authorities on a dog, which is if that dog gets loose and attacks me or mine. Like the neighbor down the street’s has, four times so far. The third time, it managed to nick my leg, barely. The fourth time, my dog & I weren’t even near its home when it came racing out the driveway after us and chased us up ours.

    The problem is, the owner isn’t the one letting it off the chain… it’s her equally-badly-behaved kids, and she’s usually not home to watch said kids. If we talk to her, she throws up some mealy-mouthed excuse about how we shouldn’t be standing outside her driveway or something. If we talk to animal control, she lies to them and says I was “taunting” her dog (is not and never has been the case). And in the end, I doubt whatever happens going to filter down to her kids, especially since she seems to think she’s in the right here (and probably tells them so).

  2. I have had BAD neighbors, the very reason my worst neighbors are a mile away. They have barking dogs but not non-stop and I can’t hear them in the house so no harm, no foul. Coyotes cause me more lost hours of sleep than anything. I might sleep through them but CJ can’t which means I can’t. If the damned brush wasn’t so thick and I could see them(another shitty from my now neighbors since it used to be a nice, productive grass patch before them)I’d give them the old brushcutter, 350 grains of sabot from a TC, a .54 cal you can almost see in flight it’s so big and shiny. It may not be traveling that fast but neither was that Mack pulling a tanker I recently saw t-bone a new Lincoln Nav…..hit it twice before he could stop with the woman driver lying between first and second hits and her cell phone was still running the game she was playing(driver picked it up and left it running, good for him).

    When I first got married I had neighbors from hell who killed all but one of our cats while we were gone. I knew I’d have been the first and only suspect, the only reason I didn’t kill the shooter(don’t fuck with me). We moved to another small town with neighbors both sides. One neighbor had a rat terrier that did it’s share of barking but wasn’t an all night barker but “heeled” me every day when I pulled up in front of the house in my harvest truck. I never could connect with that dog, good for him since steel toes hurt like hell. One Sunday my black Persian cat who actually ran the pack of neighborhood dogs off our property had been in a fight with another Tom. He came in real proud but covered in shit and blood and dirt and grassburrs and tomcat piss so it was bath time. Bath time really pissed Merlin off but it was mandatory if he wanted to stay in and chill. It was a long bath and he cut my hand down to the bone on the side just for the hell of it. So I was going out on the front porch to dry him off and the neighbors dog meets me at the screen door, barking and just waiting for me to come out……so in a bit of inspiration I opened the door and dropped Merlin who landed atop said dog. Immediately yaps turned to those sounds of something being killed, which he was. Merlin rode his back and bloodied that dog terribly all the way to the neighbor’s back door where the dog kept screaming and tore the screen off with Merlin still sending fur and blood flying. I had to go with gloves on and rip Merlin off that dog. No doubt the neighbors thought I was somehow responsible for their screen door and their ripped up dog although nobody saw it or at least it didn’t appear anyone did. They had never spoken to us(real friendly high plains a-holes)and that remained the same. The dog on the other hand, never came back on our property nor barked at me and would run and scratch on the screen when he saw Merlin. We didn’t live there long and it was good to get away. Then we moved to another small town. and had some pretty decent neighbors, good people. Once away from there in ’76 it was my last round with living in town or having neighbors. I had some harsh words with one of my neighbors over his sorry fence and then the same with another neighbor. I built a new 2500′ fence for the first neighbor and paid for nearly all of it. The second neighbor realized I had a good fence on the other side of my driveway and finally built his own good fence. If he’d just come asked me I would have split it with him. The old adage about good fences make good neighbors couldn’t be more true. Years later I had to split another fence with another neighbor and we both did so amicably and remained good neighbors. I never called a cop on anybody and cussed those who did. Never had a cop encounter that was to my benefit.

  3. Never, ever call the cops over a stupid neighborhood thing. We had that particular problem when I was a kid back in the 1980’s. When the dust finally settled, it had cost taxpayers over $2.4 million dollars! Yes really, almost two and a half million dollars wasted over what had been a fight between pre-teen kids. And it could have cost even more had we gone for damages from the village (which we could have gotten).

  4. Hi Eric,

    Never call the cops! Hopefully, more people will begin to understand why. A few years back I read an article about a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary in California. The dispensary was a private club that operated in a small office complex. They were completely “legal” under California law. This club was unique in that they didn’t have a storefront, nor did they advertise or have signs indicating what they did. The purpose of the club was to provide marijuana, at low or no cost, to AIDS patients. Anyway, a woman in an office on another floor smelled marijuana and became alarmed. She called the cops and the place was raided and shut down. When she discovered the consequences of her phone call, she was horrified and regretted making the call.

    It is easy to criticize this woman, but I think she was also injured by the State and deserves some sympathy. After all, given the social conditioning pushed at every level of government, she acted rationally. First, she was taught to fear drug users. Second, she was taught that it was potentially dangerous and improper to resolve such a conflict personally. Third, she was taught that the police exist to protect us. Finally, she was taught that it is right and proper to solicit the “help”of the police to resolve any seeming conflict. As hard as it is for us to understand, this woman behaved rationally, given her fears and social conditioning. After all, why risk a potentially dangerous confrontation with criminal “druggies” when “free help” is just a phone call away.

    A little discussed aspect of the “law and order” culture is the disastrous effect it has on basic morality and healthy social cooperation. When crimes are defined by statute, usually without regard to actual harm caused, it blunts the natural human capacity to recognize right from wrong. These distinctions are subsumed by the belief that following the law is the only correct way to act morally. This culture robs humans of the chance to learn and grow morally; replaced with a simple, binary legal or not classification. It encourages mistrust, intolerance, tribalism and social isolation. It discourages empathy, trust, social cooperation, critical thought and risk taking, all of which are necessary for human flourishing. It creates barriers between people and rewards irrational prejudice and petty self righteousness. It is a blight upon humanity.

    We libertarians are accused of being selfish, anti-social, atomistic individuals, unconcerned with either the plight or perspective of others. Yet it is the Statists who actually cultivate these attitudes.


    • Jeremy,

      The ones I “like” are when family members 911 a loved one in trouble and then wonder why the loved one has been “helped.”

      Helped = made ambient.

      The questions asked are simply precious. “Why did you kill my (insert father, son, mother, daughter, friend, or dog)?

      Stupid fucking twits. I guess the age old bumper sticker “Dial 911 and Die” just goes right over their heads.

      In the words of that infamous philosopher Jeremy, “Never call the cops!”

  5. I called my neighbor with the barking dog….got the answering machine….you know because they are at work ALL day long so the dog barks ALL fucking day…..I said “Hey your dog has a message”

    And I set the phone on fence. 10 minutes later I did it again….and again.

    Barking stopped.


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