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An AIDS hospice, a drug addict shelter, a halfway house for felons or welfare housing to your neighborhood - and there may be nothing you can do about it short of an armed uprising.

Indeed, you may be threatened with jail if you even complain about these federal policies that will use your tax dollars to reduce your property values and the security of your neighborhood.If you find this hard to believe, just ask Berkeley, Calif., residents Alexandra White, Joseph Deringer and Richard Graham. When they learned a homeless shelter was about to be plopped down in their neighborhood, they exercised their First Amendment rights of free speech to inform their neighbors and organize a protest.

They soon found the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) threatening them with jail terms and $50,000 fines unless they turned over every document that HUD could twist into an accusation that they had violated the Fair Housing Act by opposing the homeless shelter.

The Fair Housing Act says that you can't refuse to sell your home to a member of a new privileged group known as "protected minorities." It does not say that you cannot protest the location of a halfway house in your back yard. But mere law means nothing to some arrogant bureaucrats. One HUD bureaucrat in the San Francisco office, John J. Phillips, said there is no difference between opposing a homeless shelter and refusing to sell a house to a protected minority.

And local housing activists were threatening to try to bring the full weight of the biggest bully in the world - the U.S. federal government - down on the shoulders and pocketbooks of the hapless Berkeley residents until the national office of HUD backed off amid strong protest.

But HUD hasn't really backed off. The federal agency is pressing charges against the city of Berkeley because the city responded to the citizen uproar about the shelter. It wasn't much of a response, but HUD believes that Berkeley violated the Fair Housing Act by acknowledging the voters' concerns.

Apparently, in HUD's version of democracy in America, only federal regulatory authorities are entitled to any say about who lives where and under what conditions.

In a book published in 1992, New Republic editor Mickey Kaus, a conservative, set out the neo-liberal Clinton game plan of coerced equality. To prevent income segregation, Kaus claimed, the government would decree the mixing of classes in each and every neighborhood.

Socialized health care along Clinton's lines would also help by forcing the rich into the same waiting rooms with the poor.

Kaus goes even further and makes the claim that government will next want to regulate mating in order to prevent intelligent people from pairing off and producing intelligent offspring. This genetic inequality, Kaus says, is the source of social inequality. It therefore follows, at least in his view, that government must regulate marriage in order to make smart people share their genes with the rest of us - just as Actenberg and Cisneros are determined to make successful people share their neighborhoods.

Kaus calls it the new equality. I call it the Mussolini state.