One of the more commonly reviled elements of the Soviet combination of bloodthirsty dictatorship and soul-less bureauocracy was their habit of charging the families of those executed by the regime for the bullets used by the firing squad.
Equally galling, it seems to me, (though not equally serious, I will admit) is the practice of giving money to a home owners association which will in turn bully you and threaten to fine you if you don't follow some set of "community standards" that was drafted back when your neighborhood was built. It's one thing for people to harass you about your house. But paying them to do so just seems wrong.
I searched pretty hard to find a neighborhood without an HOA when we moved out to Texas, but alas, unless you move out onto land away from the suburbs, they seem to be everywhere here.
All this springs to mind because I had to go to the annual HOA meeting last night. If they don't have at least 10% of the homes represented, they have to hold another meeting. And this was already their second go-around. So I went, and listened to an hour and a half of wrangling where old people (only one other attendee looked under 50) with too much time and bitterness on their hands complained about how there were people with old cars and boats in their driveways.
Call me laissez-faire, but I don't believe any degree of mutual harassment will raise housing values in our neighborhood of ten-year-old 1400-2000 square foot homes when they are building brand new 3000+ square foot houses for under 200k not three miles away.