A Political Constraint: There are People Who Get Their Jollies From Ruining Your Fun
By Art Carden
The libertarian corner of the internet is aflutter with news that officials in Leawood, Kansas have shut down nine-year-old Spencer Collins’ “take a book, leave a book” Little Free Library (HT: Brian Doherty from Reason, originally, and Lenore Skenazy’s Twitter feed).
This blows my mind: “Leawood said it has received two complaints about Spencer Collins’ library.” Another report quotes an anonymous neighbor who thinks it is an “eyesore.”
Seriously. People are consuming their valuable (?) time and energy reporting things like this to local authorities. Next thing you know, they’ll be coming for kids’ lemonade stands.
I can’t track down the quote, but I recall Steven Landsburg writing–I believe in Fair Play–that we should never underestimate people’s willingness to ruin others’ fun and their desire to meddle in others’ affairs. It’s a knotty problem, and I wonder which is more important: people who want to free ride on good governance, or people who want to force the rest of us to take a ride on bad governance?
Here’s the website LittleFreeLibrary.org. I was about to buy one, but then I saw that these things are not cheap.