I lecture on political economics and ethics, and I write novels and television scripts that incorporate lessons about freedom. But if I told students this tale without showing them evidence, or if I slipped this into the plot of a story, many people wouldn’t believe it.
Or, perhaps because so many summertime entrepreneurs of the non-adult ilk have been busted by cops for selling lemonade, they just might...
In fact, the more often this occurs, the more accustomed to the insanity people will become, and the less they will protest, as the normalcy bias of accepting oppressive government marches onward.
Indeed, this is a true story, not one of my own, and it comes to us from Castle Shannon, PA (ya know, the state where the US Constitution was debated)…
Matt Agorist reports for The Free Thought Project that eleven year-old Andrew Donaldson learned an early lesson about busy-bodies and the state when, earlier this month, he did what he’s done many times in the past.
He had the temerity to set up a little stand outside his house and offer hot cocoa to willing customers.
I was kind of bored, so I was like, I can just come out and do something, so I came out and sold hot cocoa.
But before he even got his terrible black market sales rolling, some nosy neighbors called the cops.
As Matt Agorist aptly puts it:
The two officers told Andrew’s parents that a neighbor called police because Andrew was outside in the cold selling hot chocolate and were allegedly concerned about the temperatures. Apparently, these neighbors were too busy to visit Andrew themselves, so they had armed agents of the state do it for them.
And since Andrew has made, as he says, upwards of $50.00 a session when he sells his sugary-sweet, caffeine-laden, unlicensed concoction, many area politicians might not approve. Heck, even the feds might come snooping if he makes enough throughout the year, and everyone knows it’s just not right to make money without giving a cut to politicians…
So the cops showed up to question a boy sitting in front of his home selling cocoa.
Now, it turns out that the police officers weren’t too mean or overbearing to Andrew. In fact, they ended up buying cocoa from him.
But, as I noted last year, many kids selling lemonade haven’t been so lucky. In fact, so many children were getting set upon by police around the US that Country Time Lemonade Mix offered to pay the fees and give legal advice to lemonade-selling children put through legal hassles.
Whether the police are kind to Andrew is not the important part of this tale. It’s the dual problem that neighbors are willing to call police on a little kid selling something to drink, and that, in many of the lemonade cases, state licensing laws are used by professional competitors to shut down the unlicensed child competitors.
Competition is a good thing. It lowers prices and gives people more choices. When children compete to offer simple things like hot chocolate or lemonade to willing customers, they are doing good.
They shouldn’t be fearful that the police or neighbors will say otherwise.