|Free Enterprise in Amerika
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Lord Jeffrey the Studious recently did some research and discovered that, beginning approximately during the 1990's, local governments throughout Amerika have imposed licensing requirements on such things as yard sales and garage sales. Thus, in this the "land of the free and the home of the brave", supposedly free people don't have a right to sell their own personal property in their own homes to consenting buyers. Instead, they must first get permission from the government.
Of course, a requirement of permission, however benign it might otherwise be, is nevertheless outrageous and obnoxious in and of itself. However, Jeffrey discovered that associated with the permission requirement are a whole plethora of various restrictions, regulations, fees, penalties, and so forth. Local governments regulate when yard sales can be held, how often they can be held, and how long they can last. They regulate what can and cannot be sold. They regulate which part of a person's yard may or may not be used to display items and whether or not such items can be displayed inside of a house. There are restrictions and conditions relating to how many items can be displayed. Local governments regulate where signs may or may not be posted, how big the signs may or may not be, how many signs can be posted for a yard sale, and (in some cases), the content of the signs. They also regulate parking at yard sales. There is a wide range of penalties for disobedience. Jeffrey found fines ranging up to $600, imprisonment for up to 90 days, and one local government that imposed a 2-year prohibition on further yard sales by violators. Application fees noted by Jeffrey range from free to $12. Local governments even claim the power to conduct surprise inspections of the premises of people who are holding yard sales. The regulations prohibit a person from having a yard sale without a permit and then, in typical Amerikan fashion, require that the applicant "voluntarily" agree to all of the terms and conditions of the permit as a condition of receiving it. The tyrants want it to be voluntary. "Voluntary" compliance with repression legitimizes the repression.
The restrictions result from complaints about traffic, noise, and property value reductions that allegedly result from yard sales. Those complaints are nothing more than a special case of the more general attitude of people who want to impose their attitudes and standards upon their neighbors. Such whining Amerikans have promoted every possible sort of restriction. There are even places where you can get ticketed for not mowing your grass1 or because of the color of the paint2 on your house.
The regulation of yard sales is yet another situation in which people are indicted by their own priorities. The whiners think that their comfort zone legitimately extends into their neighbor's activities. Traffic, noise, or property value are more important to them than the right of their neighbors to unregulated behavior on their own property. I say that if people want a quiet environment, then they should go live in the country. High population density situations are noisy. If they want assured property values then they should invest in gold instead of a house in a crowded neighborhood. Bad neighbors don't reduce the value of gold.
I'll admit that an obnoxious neighbor can be a serious problem. I'll even confess that I might not always be able to deal with such a problem. However, I'll insist that giving the police the power to regulate your neighbor's behavior isn't the way to solve the problem, although it's the conventional Amerikan cop-out. When you give the police the power to regulate your neighbor's behavior, then you also give them the power to regulate your own behavior. After all, you're a neighbor, too. If we're going to retain any liberty at all in this country, then we have to find other, more imaginative ways to deal with things like obnoxious neighbors. Part of the problem, of course, is that too many Amerikans are just pathetic whiners. So long as those people pass the buck to authoritarian government and so long as the rest of us sit on our fat backsides and let it happen, then we'll all get exactly the kind of government that we deserve — a repressive police state that regulates each and every aspect of our lives, from the cradle to the grave.
|Regarding My Position
Sam Aurelius Milam III
My efforts to restore liberty on this continent are not based upon a probability of success or of failure. They're based upon the virtue of the principles that guide me. I would rather fail to achieve a virtuous goal than succeed at achieving an evil one.
If I must continue to pursue my goals alone, then I'll fail. If enough people join me, then we'll succeed. I'm already making my maximum effort. I can't do more than I'm presently doing. Therefore, my failure or success is out of my hands. Instead, it depends on you.
A White Man's Notes
Letter to the Editor
I remember seeing a movie about the SL-1 "accident" when I was in the Navy's Nuclear Power Training program (also in Idaho). Very interesting. Of course, if you stick to the pure definitions of the words of their statement, it is indeed true.
— SantaClara Bob
I believe that the intention of the nuclear industry spokesmen was to deceive people. The same cavalier attitudes were prominent at every level of management. As a nuclear engineer, I fought those attitudes and was eventually laid off due to lack of work at a time when excess work was being farmed out to subcontractors. I believe that, more than anything else, it was the arrogant and condescending attitudes of the people who were running the industry, and their deceitful statements, that enabled the anti-nuclear activists to terminate the deployment of nuclear power facilities in this country. Today, the country is very much the worse for the loss. As a nuclear engineer, I feel that I was betrayed by the people who were in charge of the industry. I have not forgiven them, nor will I ever do so.
You cannot change the past. But you can change yourself, and thereby, the future.
— June 13, 1989, Milam's Notes
AcknowledgmentsMy thanks to the following: Sir James the Bold, SantaClara Bob, Lady Jan the Voluptuous, and Sir Donald the Elusive.
I guess maybe I could but I don't know who to write it about.
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor