Current Events, Uncategorized

A Little Bit of History Repeating

Yesterday, I said this.

Whatever one thinks the proper role of government is, it surely is not this. At a bare minimum, we must demand that the government not force us to be less kind than we already are.

Today, all over my newsfeed, is a story about a 9 year old who was forced by the city government not to lend free books to his neighbors.

Which, you know, makes complete sense.

  • Reading is a gateway drug to libertarianism.

  • le_sighs

    Because at least two busybodies complained to the city that the bookshelf was a code-violating eyesore.

    • Damien S.

      Yeah. While the city’s action is stupid, controlling the free lending of books doesn’t seem to be the stupidity in question.

      • Libertymike

        Control is such an addictive narcotic.

        • Sean II

          …for which the typical user quickly develops tolerance.

      • adrianratnapala

        Libertymike is on the money. It seems to be a question of “we must control”. As a result, they are indeed controlling the free lending of books.

        It’s hard to believe that that regulation is being correctly applied. I get that lots of outbuildings require planing permissions, but do people really go through all that for garden sheds and tree-houses? And this library is actually lawn furniture.

  • Theresa Klein

    Why is it that the two complaining busy-bodies get to veto the preferences of everyone else in the community?

    I think this is a question worth thinking about. Why do we have a system where one anonymous complainer gets to essentially veto activities supported by numerous other people in the community?

    Think about the likely effects that would have on a community’s levels of trust and cohesion. You’d have a community where you basically can’t socialize without someone anonymously tipping off the police for a noise violaton, and you don’t want to because any one of your neighbors could be the jerk that complained about the color you painted your house. Sound familiar?

    This sort of thing is what destroys neighborhoods and turns them into soulless suburbia. In a natural state, complainers wouldn’t be anonymous, there would be a popular consensus, and the people who complained often about trivial things would be ostracized. The society would cohere around a set of norms that encompasses the preferences of the majority, and encourages some degree of tolerance. But in this case, since anyone person’s objection vetos the activity, the “norm” converges towards only those things upon which there is unanimous consent. Anything outside the zone of unanimous agreement has to be hidden, so people withdraw from the community.