Hazle Township, Pennsylvania supervisors have declared war on yard sales. They say too many local residents are holding too many yard sales too often. So they’ve rolled out new limits for budding entrepreneurs who use their own property to freely associate and trade with their fellow human beings.
Those wishing to hold a yard sale must get a government permit. They may not hold a yard sale for more than three consecutive days and never more than twice per month from April thru October. Local government officials promise the theft of $150 or a kidnapping of up to 30 days in prison for anyone who flouts their rules.
But these government gang members are flouting the rules of property and free association. Yard saler Ray Starrick just wants to offer a better product than the big box stores at a better price because “nowadays everything is expensive.” In a stateless society, no one but Ray would make the rules for him and his property. If he could legitimately undercut the competition, his services would be valued, not punished.
“If you have a yard sale every week, we don’t feel like you’re cleaning out your attic. You may be going somewhere else and getting merchandise and bringing it home and selling it at your yard sale. And you’re doing that for profit,” announced an anonymous state functionary. But there is nothing wrong with acting for profit. State functionaries limit others’ freedom in search of greater power. Which is more dangerous, profit or power?
As Ray Starrick points out, these government busybodies are interfering with his private life. They’re subverting his right to use his property as he sees fit and they’re interfering with his ability to associate freely with others. It’s time for the war on yard sales to end, especially as the government economic crisis worsens. Individuals must be allowed to use their property in legitimate ways to sustain their own lives.