I was pretty busy this weekend, so I lost track of Lemonade Freedom Day. Honestly, I didn’t expect anything interesting to happen, just a small group of people bellowing incoherently about government intrusion, Big Brother and bureaucratic oppression on a child’s sense of
Hence my suprise/delight at finding this story from the Ministry of Untruth itself, FOXNews. Three people were arrested for attempting to sell lemonade on U.S. Capitol grounds, which, as the article points out, is illegal. Cue the righteous indignation:
One video taped on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol shows a police officer on a bicycle pulling up to the stand to inform buyers that the stand is illegal. After several minutes of calm debate, another officer notifies the group that they can’t be selling items on federal property. A separate video shows a police officer handcuffing a woman while a person off-camera yells, “Unchain these women.“
In the videos, the activists say they have a right to sell lemonade free of police intrusion because “we own this property, our taxes pay for this property, and your salary.”
“Selling lemonade — that’s not a charge,” U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider told Fox News in an email. “Three people were arrested by USCP for failure to obey a police officer, unlawful conduct, vending without a permit.”
“Lemonade Freedom Day” earned support from thousands of people across the country, including dozens who wrote in on the Facebook page that they created stands for their kids to sell lemonade. The effort to “liberate lemons” was intended as a challenge to a recent string of police actions that have shut down the hallmark childhood entrepreneurism.
All emphasis mine. “Police actions”! Yes, the police arrested people here. That’s what they do when those people break the law. I know, I know, it’s FOX: I shouldn’t expect them to distinguish between this arrest and the other incidents when police or health inspectors shut down lemonade stands operating without a permit without arresting people. I also love how the article makes this event seem like a mass movement. “Thousand of people from across the country” demand liberty for their lemons! “Unchain these women!” (Which just put Ray Charles in my head. So that’s an unexpected bonus.)
So that’s FOX. Meanwhile, The Atlantic is weighing in on this issue, pitting the controversy between Robert Fernandes, Lemonade Stand defender, and public health officials like Jon Kawaguchi, who works for the county I happen to live in, Multnomah.
What They’re Really Fighting About: Government interference versus entrepreneurship. Fernandes believes that by eliminating lemonade stands, the local governments and the United States are stifling the ideas of entrepreneurship and spontaneity. Government officials believe that there are steps to starting your own business and that entrepreneurship has to follow a certain set of rules.
Who’s Winning Now: Lemonade stands. Even though those arrested at The Capitol have a history of rousing authorities, for now Fernandes has the upper hand. We understand the dilemma local governments face and those with fragile constitutions are more than grateful for health-code inspections and food-preparation rules at various grub hubs. It’s just that laying down the law on children operating lemonade stands isn’t going to win fans, especially when officials in cases like 7-year-old Julie Murphy’s are made to apologize.
Anyway, I think my friend Brian McFadden has a more insightful take on how lemonade stands would fair in the “free market” of so many libertarian fantasies.