Thursday, July 01, 2010

In the past several years, the arrival of fireworks season in Clark County has been accompanied by new restrictions. Several years ago, it became illegal to sell or use fireworks during New Years. This year, it is illegal to sell or use fireworks on July 5th, the day when retailers usually mark down their prices by fifty percent or more. But there is something unique about this latest infringement on our freedoms. On April 21st 2009, when the changes to the laws were passed, Tom Mielke was on the Board of Commissioners. This was the Tom Mielke who campaigned on a platform of small government. And yet, he sat in the hearing room and joined Marc Boldt and Steve Stuart in passing this measure unanimously. The minutes from that meeting only record a few short lines from Mielke, in which he implies that we are fortunate that they did not decide to abolish the entire season. This is how tyranny happens. When even the good guys take the side of big government on issues that seem too small to matter.

Now, you may be wondering why I am getting so upset by the elimination of one day in the fireworks season. I am disturbed precisely because this issue appears so trivial. It is true that there are many bigger problems in the world, with abortion and euthanasia claiming innocent lives daily. But this is a problem because it is a slow removal of one of the little joys that makes life worth living. When you read the accounts of people who lived in Nazi slave camps or Soviet countries, you read about many evils. You can discover a life lived behind barbed wire, with barely enough food to survive. But the victims of these barbarities did not long for freedom of movement as much as they longed for that swing under the big oak at home. The food doled out to a Russian child might have been sufficient, but it could never match the pink cake with white frosting which Momma made before the shortages began. When you remove silly little pleasures from someone's life, you actively destroy their joy.

Dog-stealer, horse-stealer, man-stealer--can you think of anything so base as a toy-stealer? -- GK Chesterton


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