The county board elections are behind us now, and an alert electorate defeated an organized attempt by the progressive left to take over the Oneida County board.
Had they gotten their way, the liberals would have raised taxes, smashed property rights, and — we’re just guessing here — erected a statue of Bob Mott on the courthouse grounds. Instead, they are likely wandering around this morning alone, dazed, and confused, you know, just like Joe Biden at the White House reception for Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Rather than emerging from the night triumphant, they organized their way to a spectacular crash and burn. The liberal candidates tried to run under the radar — the only way they win up here is by keeping their true political colors hidden — but they underestimated county voters.
But that doesn’t mean we are done with the progressive threat. It seems like they are always around, burrowing here, infiltrating there, subverting democracy everywhere.
Last week’s zoning committee meeting in Minocqua provides a perfect example. The liberal contingent was there, as usual, and their remarks show both how they operate and how their minds work.
The zoning committee held the meeting to gather input from landscapers, contractors, and the public about how to make the shoreland zoning ordinance more user friendly for businesses and for property owners. The business owners, all of them from Minocqua or the Lakeland area, had a number of useful suggestions that we hope the committee will take to heart.
The liberals, well that was another story. They had ideas, too, all about how to be more restrictive, in other words, how to be less user friendly and less concerned about property rights. Tom Jerow, a former DNR bureaucrat who now devotes much of his time promoting radical policies at the county level, called for more restrictive zoning in viewing-access corridors. Among other things, he hates grass lawns, he wants less development, and he thinks the government needs to be bigger than it is, so the zoning department can regulate and prosecute even more citizens.
Jerow is entitled to his opinion, but here is something that every citizen of unincorporated Oneida County, especially those in the Lakeland area, needs to know: Jerow is a Rhinelander resident, and the city of Rhinelander is not subject to any of the regulations he wants to cram down our throats. 
That’s right, incorporated cities are not subject to state or county shoreland zoning rules, and the city of Rhinelander has not adopted those rules on its own. We could be wrong, but, as far as we know, Jerow hasn’t called for them to do so.
At the meeting, Jerow stressed that he was not speaking on behalf of any group but only offering his own opinion. In other words, he was speaking solely as a resident of Rhinelander, and, as such, he dared to come over here to lecture us on the rules he thinks should be imposed on us — rules he doesn’t have to live by.
What a hypocrite.
Of course, this is not surprising behavior from a progressive. It is in fact the mindset of the modern liberal: They adamantly do not wish to live by the rules they think we should live by, and they think they are so entitled and privileged that they do not have to.
Liberal elites do not believe it is possible for them to pollute, by definition. As for the rest of us, everything we do as humans is a polluting activity, by definition. 
We remember former DNR water specialist Lisa Nesta’s deposition years ago in a Manitowish Waters case in which she described aesthetic beauty as that which is untouched by human hands. In other words, every touch of a human hand despoils beauty, and that’s what Jerow and his crowd still think. So there must be rules for the elites to live by — freedom, because they are superior to humans — and rules for us to live by — regulatory prison.
That’s why we see masked servants serving unmasked elite liberals at Democratic Party galas. That’s why we see unmasked Democratic Party politicians in many areas of the country still seeking to mask toddlers. There are rules for we and rules for thee.
In Oneida County, it’s shoreland zoning. We’ll do what we want in our city, they think, but the rest of the county must be compelled to live by other rules that we get to define because we are, again by definition, morally superior.
Well, our suggestion would be for Tom Jerow to go to the Rhinelander city council with his anti-property rights agenda and take care of his own city. Once he gets the city of Rhinelander to go along, then he can urge the rest of us to do so also. We still will tell him to go jump in Boom Lake, but at least he won’t be a hypocrite.
We might add that this is not just an ideological issue. That is, it’s not just liberals who believe in the exceptionalism of Rhinelander. For years now, on all sorts of issues, including economic development, the county has given short shrift to the Lakeland area — providing little more than snow plowing and a zoning office so that department can harass us better — while we pay 25 percent of the county’s freight.
It’s about time for a reckoning.
Back to the ideological question, though, at the zoning committee meeting last week Jerow gave us a glimpse of just how totalitarian the progressive mindset is. The first goal of course is to pass more restrictive regulations, which they were counting on being able to do after this week’s elections. Oops.
Then, once those were in place, Jerow said last week, the county needs to “educate” people about complying with those regulations: “Sometimes we’re quick to go to the regulatory scheme to solve a problem. People move up here to enjoy the clean water and lakes, and so they have an investment in their property, and appealing to that investment through an educational program to allow more native vegetation, which will support the health of the lake, is one way to achieve that.”
Notice he defines what the education goal must be: native vegetation — in other words, you’re not allowed to touch anything much. The goal is simply the agenda that he and other liberals believe in. Because they are superior beings, liberals never call for more debate to reach consensus, or at least majority. They call for regulation and then “education” to bring the heretics around. Their way is the right way, and it sounds like Jerow’s pleading was just a shout short of calling for reeducation camps, like in the old Soviet Union.
And what if property owners still don’t go along? Well then there’s what he called a “backstop,” also known as the regulatory gulag: Enforcement.
In other words, we’ll ask you to comply and to take our government-run, liberal-defined reeducation courses if you don’t see the need to comply, and, if all that doesn’t work, we’re going to prosecute you and make your life a living hell.
That’s the liberal zoning agenda in a nutshell.
County board candidate Joe Steinhage — he flamed out thankfully on Tuesday — was at the meeting in Minocqua and he too had a typically liberal take on regulation, specifically, on clearcutting in the viewing corridor, which the county ordinance, for better or worse, allows.
In a brilliant execution of bureaucratic logic, Steinhage told the zoning committee to just ban it. Just say no.
Hey, Steinhage said, you don’t even have to change the ordinance to do it, just reinterpret the definition. This is another tactic of the bureaucratic liberal ruling class. If there’s a law they don’t like, they just interpret it to their liking, without going through any democratic process. Just like Gov. Tony Evers tried to do last year when he argued unsuccessfully in court that “and” meant “or.”
And so in Steinhage’s progressive mindset, an ordinance that allows clearcutting suddenly can be made to prohibit it, without any actual amendments, without any public notice or hearing, and without any elected officials getting involved. 
This is their view of liberal democracy.
Fortunately, the residents of our county see through all this nonsense. They know that business owners here — most of them born and raised here — want clean water and pristine land so they can hunt and fish and enjoy the lakes, and we know area property owners know that clean water is central to their property values.
That’s all the incentive we need to be good stewards of the land and water. We don’t need re-education camps to push discredited science that serves a political agenda. We don’t need elite liberals from Rhinelander telling us how to live our lives when they are free to live differently. We don’t need arrogant totalitarians slithering through the courthouse looking to reimagine every clause and phrase of the zoning ordinance to fit their dystopic ways of looking at the universe.
At least the elections are over, and these reptiles can go now and hibernate in the winter of their discontent.