The Contrarian

“In the investment markets, what everyone knows is usually not worth knowing.”

Don’t Let Petty Politicians Become Dictators

John Stossel has a great show on Fox. He often goes into the ridiculous laws and regulations that infringe on people’s basic constitutional rights. He once had a lemonade stand in NYC. But he immediately returned the money to the buyers because he wasn’t licensed to sell lemonade. He mentioned how long it would take, how many pages of forms he would have to fill out, and the big fees involved just to sell lemonade on a street corner.

Below is an excerpt from an article by The Daily Bell on this subject. Very interesting.

Brave Police Save Town From Man Selling Veggies

It is the simplest, most basic aspect of life: you need food, so you grow some vegetables. If you have extra you sell them on a street corner to your neighbors, and if you live in California you get arrested for it.

Licensing is when the government takes a right from you, and sells it back. This California man failed to purchase his rights back from the state.

But the poor police had pictures taken of them while arresting the man, and now they are hearing from the public about their unjust actions.

The Sheriff’s Department of Alameda County Florida responded on Facebook to the public outrage, including thousands of criticisms posted to their Facebook page.

Selling food on street corners violates county ordinances and public health codes. Persistent street vending harms local businesses, especially small, start-up food vendors…

There you have it, from the horse’s mouth in plain black and white: the point of licenses is protection. You pay to play, if you don’t pay off the city and county, they will send their hired thugs to rough you up and demand the protection money.

It harms local businesses: apparently it is the government’s job to make sure there is no competition for certain businesses. God forbid the consumer has a choice.

And why isn’t this guy’s produce selling operation considered a small, start-up street vendor?

Simple because he didn’t pay for his rights.

Yet the Ninth Amendment in the Bill of Rights says, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

And the 24th Amendment outlawed the poll tax, saying the right to vote had been abridged by charging citizens money in order to exercise that right.

Both of these amendments suggest that licensing–charging money for doing a normal activity, having to pay just to live your life–is one method of denying a person’s rights.

And two Supreme Court cases affirm this:

In Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943), the Supreme Court stated that a law requiring solicitors to purchase a license was an unconstitutional tax on the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ right to freely exercise their religion. The Court ruled that “The state cannot and does not have the power to license, nor tax, a Right guaranteed to the people,” and “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.”

In another case, the Court ruled similarly, that “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262).

Earning money, engaging in basic trade, selling the excess of your labor all falls under the category of natural rights, the pursuit of happiness, liberty or whatever you want to call it. The government has no business arresting someone for selling vegetables.

So the county has their pieces of paper that say he cannot sell without a license, and he has different pieces of paper that say he can. No one bothers to think about what is right, especially the police “just doing their jobs.”

OUR VIEW: if we let low-lever politicians get away with these methods, they will become ever more dictatorial. Most politicians have never seen a law or regulation they don’t like. It gives them, our alleged ‘public servants,’ power over the people they allegedly serve. They will sell their souls for a few hundred votes. And don’t forget the campaign contributions.