Everyone Draw Mohammed Day was a brilliant demonstration at the power of what I propose to call “distributed defiance.” Islamofascists, bullies, and busybodies simply lack the resources–so far–to impose the repression they threaten us with if enough of us defy them.
The latest, astonishing case of clueless bureaucratic overreach comes from the bastion of central planning and regulation that is Portland, Oregon, where 7-year-old Julie Murphy’s lemonade stand at a neighborhood art fair was shut down for want of a “temporary restaurant license.” Savor the justification for this crackdown offered by a member of Portland’s Ministry of Oversight Health Department:
“I understand the reason behind what they’re doing and it’s a neighborhood event, and they’re trying to generate revenue,” said Jon Kawaguchi, environmental health supervisor for the Multnomah County Health Department. “But we still need to put the public’s health first.”
This, fellow citizens, is the opinion that regulators, planners, and other publicly employed busybodies truly hold of you: You are so inept at making decisions that you cannot even be relied upon to sample a neighborhood kid’s lemonade.
I thank Mr. Kawaguchi for his pithy explication of the driving force behind the encroachment of government into every aspect of our daily existence. “We’re from the government and we’re here to help” used to be a joke; now it’s the official motto of the nanny state. “You can’t function without us” is its organizing principle.
I call on the self-reliant people of Portland to slap back at Mr. K. and his ilk by organizing an “Everybody Sell Lemonade” day, being sure to have video recorders at hand. I am confident that the libertarian blogosphere would more than cover the fines that the overwhelmed lemonade police could possibly issue.
Update: Distributed defiance there will be: the Lemonade Revolt is coming soon.