By John Tamny
“I’m not willing to give up without a fight — I’m just not.” – Annie Rammel, Carlsbad, CA restaurant owner.
It’s been said off and on over the decades that California is a bellwether of sorts. What happens there is a preview of what’s going to happen elsewhere in the U.S.
In the late 1970s the passage of Proposition 13 foretold a national tax revolt. Californians used a referendum to limit the tax power of grasping politicians in the Golden State, and the pushback eventually went national.
A different, more local revolt began last weekend in Carlsbad, CA, a town just north of San Diego. Its restaurant and bar owners decided they’re weren’t going to take it anymore. They’re no longer going to allow witless politicians to destroy what they’ve worked so long to build. They’re going to open their businesses to eager customers.
Some will ask what California legislators right up to Governor Gavin Newsom will say. Ideally the mini-revolt will wake these sick people up to the extraordinary damage they’re doing, but if not it’s worth reminding everyone that the very individuals in government who are presently limiting your right to work, operate your business, and live your life as you desire, used to not be in government. Some even used to have regular jobs in the private sector. The main thing is that they’re not experts on medical matters, nor are they abnormally smart. They just happen to be good at politics. They’re in no position to tell us how to live, or operate our businesses, or whether or not we should have a job to go to. They’re just people who want power, prestige and money, only they want it the easy way.
This is worth remembering as businesses, jobs and life as we know it vanish thanks to politicians imposing their force on us. Why allow them to do that? People should be free to do as they wish with their property. Period. This includes Twitter and Facebook if they choose to censor comments and commenters. If Amazon chooses to not do business with certain people or companies, that’s its right. If bakers choose not to bake cakes for events that offend their personal morality, that’s their right. Business owners who want to meet the needs of willing customers while a virus is spreading should be free to open up as they see fit.
Interesting and happy about scenic, seaside Carlsbad is that in a state that is largely locked down, in a state where most restaurants can’t even serve customers outside, Carlsbad is open. Its restaurants and bars are open outdoors and indoors. Some of the bars are packed. Please learn more about this happy story of protest against what is ridiculous. Please support it.
Of course, the owners of the bars and restaurants in OPEN (!!!!!) Carlsbad are far more diplomatic than yours truly. They’re calling their exercise of their property rights a “peaceful protest.” And peaceful it is. Nothing could be more peaceful than operating a business that can only succeed insofar as its patrons are pleased for having patronized it, only to come back over and over again.
Furthermore, the protest is one lodged under desperate circumstances. These businesses can’t not be open. If they remain shuttered by decree, or limited in their ability to serve their customers by decree, they will close for good. Though some business owners may have political leanings, this is not political. It’s about survival, and it’s something all who consider themselves decent should cheer. This includes those who’ve not been out in public or inside a public venue since March. Freedom is its own virtue.
Arguably the most important supporters of the beautiful story unfolding in Carlsbad would be other business owners. They must open if they feel inclined to re-open. The simple truth is that the power-mad can’t arrest everyone. If restaurants and bars open en masse in California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and every other city and state overseen by authoritarians, what can the authorities do? There aren’t enough jails and handcuffs, and there aren’t enough guns to subdue a mass, nationwide, owner, employee and customer protest against a tragic lapse of reason.
Crucial about what’s happening in Carlsbad, and that should happen everywhere, is that there’s nothing violent about it. It’s much more than just a “peaceful protest.” It’s reasonable. It’s common sense. It’s businesses, workers, and customers exercising their right operate, work, and live as they want. They’re not forcing their values on others. Businesses that choose to stay closed should do just that. Worried employees should stay home. The people fearful of the virus should similarly stay home.
For the rest of us who feel inclined to resume living, it’s time for us to do that. Again, those who are sickeningly intoxicated with power can’t incarcerate us all. As for the businesses terrorized by the political class in Carlsbad, they decided they no longer have any choice. Given the choice between going out of business and defying politicians, they chose the latter. Good for them.
Let’s again support what’s happening in Carslbad, including purchasing gift certificates from its restaurants and bars. Let’s also emulate them. May Carlsbad be a national model!
John Tamny, research fellow of AIER, is editor of RealClearMarkets.
His book on current ideological trends is: They Are Both Wrong (AIER, 2019)
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