Commentary

Losing by 1,000 Cuts

I missed the story when it came out a couple weeks ago, but the utter ridiculousness of it warrants comment. According to this story, the Michigan Attorney General (Michael Cox, for those keeping score at home) issued a 5-page ruling finding that it was illegal for barbershops to give their adult customers a free beer while they got their haircut. If they want to continue the practice–which where I grew up was simply a common courtesy–the barbershop will have to get a liquor license. Of course, these are subject to numerical limitations and require a few hundred dollars in fees, so most will probably just end the old practice. Yeah, it is a small thing. And true, there are bigger threats to our freedom, i.e. universal health care, expanded surveillance powers, etc. But sometimes, I think it is these small incursions that do the most to upend our freedoms.

Michael Flynn is Director of Government Affairs for the Reason Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank whose mission is to advance a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law.