Thursday, May 19, 2011

Backdoor Forbiddance

One of the ways to know if a government is tyrannical is when the law places demands on the people to not own various goods. Many of these regimes will declare various items to be contraband or forbidden, such as subversive literature or the means of self defense.

There is actually very little in the way of economic interactions in the United States that are actively forbidden for purchase. The list is actually limited to various illegal drugs and, in most states, prostitution. Technically everything else is available for public ownership.

But that is not the whole of the interference in private transactions. There exists a whole second class of goods that can only be acquired with special permits, such as firearms and prescription medication. In order to own any of those goods it is necessary to get special permission from various authorities.

By manipulation of permission various levels of the government have been able to turn de jure legality into de facto forbiddance, such as with the Chicago handgun bans. Anyone in Chicago can own a gun if they have a permit, but nobody can get a permit. It was due to the technicality that guns were not actually forbidden that Chicago tried to defend their ban at the Supreme Court.

The most insidious method by which the United States government says that the people may not own various goods is not through saying that the people may not purchase or own goods, but by forbidding instead the sale or manufacture of those goods.

When the incandescent bulb ban goes into effect, it will be perfectly legal for anyone to own any bulbs already purchased. It will even be legal to buy those bulbs if a store actually has them to sell. What won’t be legal is for the store to sell them. The same is the situation with raw foods, especially raw milk. Anyone can own raw milk, and there are no laws against purchasing raw milk. But nobody can get permission to sell raw milk, and those who do are subject to harsh government action for peaceful, voluntary transactions.

It is even true selling rabbits, or when kids set up lemonade stands, or when people sell rides, flower arrangements, hair care, or interior design services. While it is legal for some people to sell these products, it is not legal for anyone to sell these completely legal products.

It is actually quite clever on the part of the United States government to ban only the production or sale and not the acquisition or ownership. Although the effect is the same in terms of what the people can own, it is not the people who are being restricted and thus the people are not aware of the laws limiting what they can own.

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