Legitimacy Does Not Come from the State

July 18, 2011

You heard it here first:  On Rush Limbaugh today, Mark Steyn joked that he will soon have a new imminently soon-to-be-imminently-released book.  It will be all about the over-burdening of America with regulations, such as in the case of the lemonade stand shut down by police in Georgia, or the banning of homemade goods at bake sales in Pennsylvania.  (As the Wall Street Journal article’s subtitle puts it, “Inspector Nabs Homemade Desserts At St. Cecilia Church’s Lenten Fish Fry.”  The tag and URL on the first story put it very succinctly: “strange” and “bizarre”.) 

When government gets this big, it sucks up all the oxygen in the room; there’s less and less left for the rest of us to do anything else.  Or, as Steyn put it, it’s very bad for our culture to get the idea that government is the source of all legitimacy—in such a world, people are still allowed to do things outside of government, but only if the government blesses their endeavors with the required permits and licenses.  Even a little lemonade stand cannot be allowed to stand unless it has the blessing of the almighty Leviathan.

It should be possible for Americans to grasp this; Steyn points out that de Tocqueville understood it almost two hundred years ago.

To fight the Leviathan, Steyn (joking but also not joking?) recommends a campaign of widespread civil disobedience, with more and more citizens opening unlicensed lemonade stands on their lawns, until the regulation becomes unenforceable.

6 Responses to “Legitimacy Does Not Come from the State”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    That picture is creeping me out.

    I should point out that these ridiculous regulations come from state governments, proving once and for all that the federal government is indeed the wiser of the two sovereigns.

    P.S. This blog appears to have reached its saturation point.


    • I’m going to start blocking comments (sometimes, at my discretion) that aren’t responsive to the original blog entry, or in which the commenter doesn’t actually offer any thoughts or comments but only a link to something else.

      Consider this fair warning.


  2. […] whether they’ve ever heard of Mark Steyn, but this past weekend a group of people answered his call for lemonade-stand civil disobedience, albeit on the Capitol lawn, not on their own lawns, and with the stand operated entirely by […]


  3. […] Of course the federal government also presumes to be able to dictate what toilets we can use, what showerheads we can use, and what light bulbs we can use, among other things.  Meanwhile various state governments are cracking down on things like children’s lemonade stands and church bake sales. […]


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