Liberty is a fickled mistress. Everyone claims to desire her, but no one really wants the baggage and challenges she brings.
There is a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin. “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.”
This quote is most often used when we consider issues like the TSA or domestic drones, but if we really believe this then it must permeate every area of political thought.
I have been considering this the last few days because of an issue that my state representative is taking on in the county for some of his constituents. I have a great representative that I highly respect and I can’t wait to work with him, but like all people there will be areas of disagreement and this happens to be one of them.
My representative and some constituents are trying to stop a liqueur store from being built near a residential area and a high school from my understanding. This small town has become a magnet for liqueur stores over the last couple years due to some ordinance changes.
I’m sure most readers can understand the concern these residents have over such a business opening in this area. While I admit to picking up some spirits from time to time at such places, many have a reputation for bringing in unsavory characters and bringing down the value of local homes.
But the question is, should the people have the right to stop such a business from being opened in their neighborhood? That is not a simple answer.
Any neighborhood has the right to create it’s own covenant to decide what will and will not be allowed in it’s borders as long as the majority does not hinder the rights of the minority. I may not always agree with them, but I this local rule is of great benefit to all citizens because it allows us to create diverse communities. If you don’t want to live in one area then you can simply move to another one. It also allows the citizens to have the most influence because those shaping the standards are easily accessible. One may not be able to speak to their U.S. Senator easily, but they should have no challenge contacting their home owners association.
The challenge this community faces is that there is no local covenant in place and when the issue was brought to a vote a few years ago only two percent of the citizens bothered to vote. So now they are trying to decide this on a case by case basis. This can be very dangerous.
While I do not personal know the citizens trying to stop this liqueur store from opening I would bet we have a lot in common philosophically. We are both probably conservatives, we’re both more likely from a religious moral background, and we’re both interested in the safety and investments of our communities.
The great challenge that we face is that when we allow for such zoning and personal desires to effect businesses we do not like then we also must realize we open the door for it to be used against us as well.
I can think of two prominent examples that made national news and had conservative Christians up in arms.
The first was a man in Arizona that was supposedly arrested for holding a Bible study in his home. The reason for this arrest though was that he was violating zoning regulations. The same type of zoning regulations that are used to keep out strip clubs and liqueur stores are resulted in this man’s arrest. Can we really be furious about such laws if we are so quick to use them for own desires?
The second example that should be clear in our minds is what happened to ever conservative Christian’s favorite chicken spot, Chick-fil-A.Both the mayor’s of Boston and Chicago came out and attacked the restaurant chain because the founder had given money to traditional marriage organizations. These mayors claimed that Chick-fil-A did not represent the cities values and were not welcomed in the city. This is the same line of logic that is being used against this liqueur store.
While I will quickly admit that a small church and a fast food chain are not the same as a liqueur store I strongly believe that the principle is still the same. If we truly believe in liberty then we must be willing to tolerate businesses to which we are in opposition.
Citizens have the full right to boycott or even peacefully picket such an establishment and it would probably be wise for a business owner to win the local citizens to their side, but it should not be the government that decides not to allow the free market to work.
Either we believe in freedom or we do not, but it should never be decided on the concerns of a few. To be a truly free people we must suffer the inconveniences of that freedom.