In Governor Mitch Daniel's new book, Keeping the Republic, he talks about how government expansion "shrinks" the citizenry by crowding them out of the production of goods and services that were once the purview and responsibility of the private sector. Job training, charity, automobile manufacturing, and college loans for example. Repeated often enough, the citizen learns to cower under threats of new pressures, and more often then not gives up without a fight. In the opinion section of today's Wall Street Journal, William McGurn sites a perfect example in Morristown, New Jersey.
For 26 years, the Morristown Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center has supplied a free Thanksgiving meal to anyone who needs it. Churches, community groups, restaurants, corporate sponsors, and scores of volunteers have all pitched in to make this a special day of giving. Until now. Recently, the Morristown Division of Health ruled that the Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center will be officially designated a "retail" food establishment and thereby fall under the auspices and rules of the State of New Jersey. What does this mean? It means that homemade pies, breads, meals, anything that isn't prepared according to state code will be prohibited from being served. Furthermore, the sterility of latex gloves will replace the warm comfort of Mom's apron, food service volunteers will be kept out of the kitchen, and anything that isn't sanitarily wrapped in corporate plastic will be verboten. Mind you, this offering has never had a history of food poisoning or any instance of uncleanliness. And the real kicker - estimates for compliance will cost an additional $150,000! Happy Holidays from your friendly bureaucrats down at city hall.
Getting back to Governor Daniel's message. Many in Morristown will just ask the volunteers to comply and pony up, but each dollar that goes to cover these new costs will be taken away from some other worthy area of need. For those whose only way to participate may have been to donate a home-cooked meal, well they'll just have to find another way to support their fellow human beings. And the government, they'll eventually take over responsibility for this endeavor because they really don't want us mortals doing the work for ourselves anyway. Or, the Morristown Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center and the scads of volunteers who help put on this annual event can just say no. No to overreaching government meddlers and do-gooders. No to compromising their own standards of humanity and compassion. No to bureaucratic edicts meted without reason or facts. No, no, no. No more.