Elementary Entrepreneurs in Regulationville, U.S.A.

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Just another day in Regulationville, USA, the red-tape capital of the world.  Where you can find a rule for every rule, a water-monitored one-quarter inch lawn at every house and an FDA approved chicken in every pot.  Where even the panhandlers have permits and little girls selling lemonade will be shut down on sight.

And so it went this week in the town of Overton, Texas where two sisters had hatched the nefarious plot to sell lemonade and popcorn in order to provide their dad with a fun Father’s Day at a water park.  They were promptly stopped by the righteous long arm of the law, just doing its civic duty.

Truth and justice prevail yet again.  Good on ya guv’ment!!

(You can read the news story here)

When ask for comment, news outlets were told, “We have to follow by the state health guidelines,” Overton Police Chief Clyde stated.  “They have to have a permit if they’re going to do the lemonade stands.”  And when they tried to get a permit they were told they’d need a license from the health department. A license to get a permit =(

What an age we live in.  The future truly is NOW.

This joke that isn’t presents the first of two fundamental issues that have become the prevailing norm of American society. (I have decided to limit my critique of this ridiculousness to two so as to maintain the brevity that is the foundation of good humor)

ISSUE THE FIRST

While this is sadly not the first, or surely the last, instance of an overbearing bureaucracy, and only one of many Untouchable-like raids upon a lemonade stand, circumstances such as this one expose the lack of clothing on the rampant statist element.

Most notably, there is no level of control by a given populace over the powers of this kind of state interference.  Again, there is no vote, no election, no recall or petition that can effectively limit this kind of insufferable, inscrutable threat to liberty.

Someone, somewhere thought that somehow the public needed to be protected from itself to such an extent that the kids on the corner need a permit to operate a lemonade stand.  Now, albeit, this was undoubtedly not the initial purpose of the regulation, but that makes it all the more grievous and unforgivable.

For there is a level of authority operating amongst us that does not comprehend the extent of its own actions and yet acts all the same, without any oversight or approval from the communities in which its actions will be enforced.  This is the epitome of the “We Must Do Something” and “If It Saves But One Life” mentality that permits rampant emotional appeal to trump legal limitations on government and personal freedom.  And it need not even be consistently implemented.  Which brings us to…

ISSUE THE SECOND

The girls from this story did find, as they were getting their crash course education in bureaucratic buffoonery, that if they were not SELLING the lemonade but GIVING it away, their stand could operate sans Johnny Law.  You see, due to what was described as a “loophole,” the girls may make the same lemonade and the same popcorn and give it to the same citizens of the same community, from the same table in the same corner spot, but ask for a donation instead of charging for the refreshments.  THAT is acceptable under the “law.”

These previously juvenile scofflaws are able to give away the same presumably tainted, pestilent, putrid un-inspected lemonade for free and suddenly the laws meant to secure the safety of the unassuming patrons no longer apply.  Apparently, there is no longer any danger from products offered ‘gratis,’ and the sisters can go about their business.  Or lack thereof, as it were.

And with that, the undeniable truth has been set free: (stick with me)  for it follows that if a bureaucracy can create a regulation that is not meant to but does include lemonade stands run by little girls in its requirement to receive a permit, under the ostensible auspices of “safety,” but it doesn’t include those same requirements if there is no monetary exchange, the primary focus is not safety at all, but only money.

Safety is the Siren’s Song that tells us that something is being done, or most likely has already been done, by some guy (or gal, as I’m sure that red tape is gender blind) from room 6 of sub-level G at the regulatory bureau in Regulationville, for your own good.

Except it hasn’t.

The demonstrable proof is that these types of rules are created to limit your freedom and make you pay to get it back.  They keep us all under a permanent thumb. They know that virtually everyone, by the simple attribute of citizenship, is guilty of some regulation that they had no idea was in existence, couldn’t have known and now must pay for, literally.

And there are not going to be any exceptions.  These girls weren’t told that the rule would be revised, that the permit shouldn’t apply to lemonade stands and that the government was sorry for the inconvenience.  They were told to go to the bureau, get a permit and then a license to get the permit.  And they should be happy to live in a nation that protects its citizens from the surreptitious elements that exist on street corners, like elementary entrepreneurs working to pay for what they want.

They should have just made a cardboard sign instead and begged for money.  But then again, they’d need a permit for that.

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