Mr. Yankus moved to
However, a nearby service station operator, upon learning of this new competition, jumped in his car and sped to the scene. First, he threatened to set the gasoline truck on fire. When this failed to scare his competitor, he threatened shooting, but the tank trucker stood his ground. Eventually, two other service station operators arrived and the three of them parked their cars to block the access of passing motorists to the tank truck. Finally, the police arrived, and the service station operators were told to vacate the premises.
If all the service station operators had been allowed to vote to pass a law prohibiting the sale of gasoline from tank trucks to retail customers, that law would surely have been passed. Whenever someone has an advantage over us in our means of making a living, there is a particularly strong temptation to squash that competitor’s advantage by force. Thousands of socialistic laws originate in this manner.
Here is a typical example of socialistic laws already in effect.
Doctors who migrate to
Few individuals would personally attempt to stick a pin in another person, or give him a kick or a punch. It is clear that such violence has a way of quickly turning upon its instigator. It is not so easy to see that passing laws to suppress competitors would have the same effect. Suppose you had the police power to impose restrictions on another person. And for every restriction you imposed on him, he was empowered to impose a restriction on you. In such a simple situation, it’s easy to see that the harm done to others by restricting their creative actions will return to those who inflict it. There would be as little appeal in imposing restrictions under such conditions as there would be in cutting off another man’s finger, knowing that your own finger would be cut off the following day. Yet the list of laws suppressing competition is long indeed, simply because few individuals believe there will be a retaliation. The retaliation is often devious and not readily seen or understood. But, it is always there, and eventually will manifest itself one way or another.
A Postscript from
"Our local government officials hired a dog catcher. One of the first dogs to be caught was the Mayor’s kelpie. The Mayor and other dog owners complained that the dog catcher was ‘too efficient.’ He who passes laws for others seldom realizes that the others include his wife, his children, and the friends he cherishes most of all."