The War Against Lemonade

summer_lemonade

Stress: n. The confusion caused when ones mind overrides the body’s natural desire to choke the living  out of some  that desperately needs it.

I’ve always tried to keep this blog at a level that all family members will find appropriate. That’s not going to stop, but sometimes the level of stress that arises when I really, really want to say what I think about government stupidity that has risen to the thermonuclear level overwhelms me.

An article at Forbes entitled “The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands” outlines a disturbing trend, driven most likely by the same lack of common sense and blind devotion to rules and procedures found in most school boards, districts and principals’ offices.

Fortunately, there are a few good spots among the bad and the ugly:

Restrictions

Red: Shutdowns or enforcement action
Yellow: Restrictions in place
Green: No restrictions or entrepreneurship encouraged

Click through for a larger map with descriptions.

There’s a clear difference between a licensed food truck or vending operation, appropriately subject to local ordinances and health regulations, and kids’ lemonade stands. Some of the comments from the Forbes article are quite interesting:

Keir in Germany said,

It took a mass public outcry to finally get the authorities to back down. Thank God I live in Germany, a country that knows all too well the dangers inherit in a state where the police overstep their mandate to trample on the well-being and livelihood of the common man. The state looks after its people whilst allowing them to live as they see fit without undue interference. The US seems more and more to be following a fascist route; as its influence diminishes around the world, it seeks to enforce its dominance upon its own people. There doesn’t appear to be any hope given the general decline in its education system and completely ignorant, unqualified people who run for office and are given headlines due to notoriety rather than experience and ability. What a dystopia the US has become, and we in Europe, grateful for the US of three generations ago, can only shake our heads and bemoan the loss of a former model and friend.

Gabby responded,

I remember growing up in an America that looked on with great favor kids who setup lemonade and kool aid stands. I used to do this all the time. I also sold greeting cards door to door, and ran a babysitting service when I was in high school. The idea in our country that anyone could do great entrepreneurial things, starting from the poorest of circumstances, and succeed beyond one’s wildest dreams, is what set our country apart from the rest of the World. In fact, in my state where I live, we have success stories in spades. These success stories though wouldn’t happen today, most likely, because the people who started these businesses weren’t backed by big bank loans, venture capitalists, ect. and they weren’t hindered by draconian regulations, rules, and expensive licenses, permits, and the need for regulation commercial kitchens. One lady whose potato chips are known locally all over the state, started in her kitchen in the 1930′s. A successful furniture retailer here, started selling stuff from his garage, and a lady whose name is on some very well known cookies, started baking and selling her cookies, right from her kitchen. I am hopeful that our citizens are starting to see what is going on, and are becoming involved to stop fascist ideas from ruining our country.

lymanlapstrake also responded,

This is an excellent comment and I agree with you 100%. Upon reflection however, I have concluded that this is not necessarily a law enforcement problem, but rather a people problem. Yes, we the people of the U.S.A. are the worlds most litigious society (Google this phrase). There are about a million lawyers sitting around waiting to litigate. The enforcement takes place because someone complains. If nothing is done idiots will probably sue the parents for unsanitary practices or some such nonsense. We cannot help but meddle in each others business. So I think the enforcement is a defensive measure on the part of the authorities. Nobody wins and to my way of thinking it is the fault of our nation having become a society peopled with an excess of wingnuts.

These are excellent comments, although I would not go so far as to invoke the word fascism. The last comment to me seems to be the most relevant – there are just too many attorneys hungry for billable hours who are willing to sue anyone for anything, and driving the culture of litigation that permeates our society (don’t get me started on the demise of the school playground, I’ve already ranted about that here.)

To conclude, I refer you to the popular obituary of Common Sense, widely attributed to “unknown” or George Carlin, but actually written by Lori Borgman and published in the Indianapolis Star in 1998.

The Death of Common Sense

Lori Borgman | Sunday, March 15, 1998

Three yards of black fabric enshroud my computer terminal. I am mourning the passing of an old friend by the name of Common Sense. His obituary reads as follows: CommonSense, aka C.S., lived a long life, but died from heart failure at the brink of the millennium. No one really knows how old he was, his birth records were long ago entangled in miles and miles of bureaucratic red tape. Known affectionately to close friends as Horse Sense and Sound Thinking, he selflessly devoted himself to a life of service in homes, schools, hospitals and offices, helping folks get jobs done without a lot of fanfare, whooping and hollering.

Rules and regulations and petty, frivolous lawsuits held no power over C.S. A most reliable sage, he was credited with cultivating the ability to know when to come in out of the rain, the discovery that the early bird gets the worm and how to take the bitter with the sweet.

C.S. also developed sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adult is in charge, not the kid) and prudent dietary plans (offset eggs and bacon with a little fiber and orange juice).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, the Technological Revolution and the Smoking Crusades, C.S. survived sundry cultural and educational trends including disco, the men’s movement, body piercing, whole language and new math. C.S.’s health began declining in the late 1960s when he became infected with the If-It-Feels-Good, Do-It virus.

In the following decades, his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of overbearing federal and state rules and regulations and an oppressive tax code. C.S. was sapped of strength and the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, criminals received better treatment than victims and judges stuck their noses in everything from Boy Scouts to professional baseball and golf.

His deterioration accelerated as schools implemented zero-tolerance policies. Reports of 6-year-old boys charged with sexual harassment for kissing classmates, a teen suspended for taking a swig of Scope mouthwash after lunch, girls suspended for possessing Midol and an honor student expelled for having a table knife in her school lunch were more than his heart could endure.

As the end neared, doctors say C.S. drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding regulations on low-flow toilets and mandatory air bags. Finally, upon hearing about a government plan to ban inhalers from 14 million asthmatics due to a trace of a pollutant that may be harmful to the environment, C.S. breathed his last.

Services will be at Whispering Pines Cemetery. C.S. was preceded in death by his wife, Discretion; one daughter, Responsibility; and one son, Reason. He is survived by two step-brothers, Half-Wit and Dim-Wit.

Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Institute for Rational Thought. Farewell, Common Sense. May you rest in peace.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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4 responses to “The War Against Lemonade

  1. On a slightly different note, you might be interested to hear about my upcoming roadside stand.

    My property is zoned A-2, and I determined that that meant I could have a roadside stand. Because it will be visible, and I don’t want a fine, I called up the county to find out what permits I needed, what regs applied, etc.

    Nothing. As long as I grow the stuff I sell, I don’t need a permit! No other regs apply! And I can paint my stand any darned colors I want, of course.

    Such a lovely change from Fairfax County!

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