Friday, September 2, 2011

Liberty and Lemonade



What do you do when life hands you lemons? If your answer is “make lemonade and sell it," please make sure that you have a permit first or you might get an unpleasant visit from the authorities.

Lemonade stand is an almost legendary American institution. From the early years children are learning how to run a business. This is a character forming experience. By any means, not a trivial matter.

By Robert Fernandes

Not too long ago, I saw a news report about a group of kids who had their lemonade stand shut down by local law enforcement agents because the kids who were operating the stand didn’t have the proper licenses and permits “required” by law. I was shocked to see this and I really though it was just a random case of some overzealous cops who decided to leave their better judgment at home that day. But now I realize that I was wrong. That incident was not a rare case. It is happening all the time. I am now hearing more and more cases of kids’ lemonade stands being shut down by law enforcement and other government officials. You can see just a handful of the many cases on this site alone.

This disgusts me and saddens me to no end. I remember when I was a kid, every summer, the kids in the neighborhood used to open lemonade stands. We would set up shop right in front of our homes. Passers by would stop and support the local lemonade stands. The kids running the stands would make a few bucks and the consumers were treated to a refreshing cup of lemonade. Selling lemonade is a great learning experience for kids. They are being productive members of society. They are learning about money and running a small business. They are learning about supply and demand. The learning opportunities are endless.

Instead of allowing kids to learn valuable lessons by selling lemonade, the officials are shutting them down. There are so many laws on the books that have been written to supposedly protect the children. Are these laws really helping them? Or are they hurting them? Do we want to send the children a message that they cannot be productive members of society? Do we want to tell them that they can’t participate in society? That they should just shut down their dreams and their ambitions and instead they should just go in the house and play video games? IS this the message we want to send to them? The children of today are the future generation. They need to be included in society, and not pushed away from it. They have every right to participate in free and voluntary trade with willing participants.

This is why we have to stand up for them now. We can’t allow these ridiculous laws push our kids away into seclusion. I want to remind everyone this very important message. Just because something is legal it doesn’t mean it is right. And just because something is illegal, it doesn’t make it wrong. Selling lemonade is not a crime.

P.S.

The countless regulations are definitely killing the business instinct and spontaneity in kids. On the other hand, the very regulations are set to protect the young entrepreneurs and their customers, like in any other business. With a little assistance from a parent, children are able to obtain the necessary permit and conduct their business on the safe side of the municipal law. However, the rough crack downs on these little businesses by the local police are rather discouraging if not traumatizing to the young entrepreneurs.

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