Boy Meets Local Control Freaks

Awhile back we posted about two girls who ran a lemonade stand who spoke on a Fox news show about what they thought about the President’s assertion, “You didn’t build that.” Leftist critics were pretty angry about young people being asked about national politics.

But for any child who wants to do anything real, it seems like he gets a pretty quick introduction to the pettiness of local politics. It doesn’t seem much better. Consider the case of nine-year-old Spencer Collins of Leawood, Kansas. KNBC News reports,

Collins had to take down his little free library, essentially a communal bookshelf, on Wednesday. The motto of the sharing center had been “take a book, leave a book,” but Collins learned there’s a lot less give and take in city government.

Collins loves reading. He doesn’t just dive into a book — he swims through its pages.

“It’s kind of like I’m in a whole other world and I like that,” he said. “I like adventure stories because I’m in the adventure and it’s fun.”

When he tried to share his love for books, it started a surprisingly frustrating adventure.

“When we got home from vacation, there was a letter from the city of Leawood saying that it was in code violation and it needed to be down by the 19th or we would receive a citation,” said Spencer’s mother, Sarah Collins. 

Leawood said the little house is an accessory structure. The city bans buildings that aren’t attached to someone’s home.

The family moved the little library to the garage, but Spencer Collins said he plans to take the issue up with City Hall.

“I would tell them why it’s good for the community and why they should drop the law,” he said. “I just want to talk to them about how good it is.”

“We empathize with them, but we still have to follow the rules,” said Richard Coleman of the City of Leawood. “We need to treat everybody the same. So we can’t say if somebody files a complaint but we like the little libraries — we think they’re cute — so we ignore it. We can’t do that.”

Leawood said it has received two complaints about Spencer Collins’ library.

I realize that people need structure to live at peace with one another. But I also know that some people are more prone to feel offended or violated than other people.

It seems to me that the local government is always going to be captured by the most easily offended or sensitive people. Those who are content to allow private property to set the bounds of social peace are not going to be driven to be fully engaged in local politics or availing themselves of the complete capacity of local government.

So, local government is inherently biased toward interference and the use of power. It is not a good situation.