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Someday, maybe, we’ll put freedom on agenda

April 27, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

There are things in our society that we take for granted without ever questioning their relationship to something else we take for granted: our supposed "freedom." Today we turn the spotlight on the city of Fairmont's possible addition of taxi licenses, but this issue could serve as analogy for countless others.

In Fairmont, the city allows just four taxi licenses to be issued in a given year. It's interesting to consider how such authority and how such a provision came about, but we're sure it's not an unusual history here or in other communities. Americans' great flaw has been their simultaneous adoration of "freedom" while they just cannot help themselves from being busybodies. Which is to say too interested and too involved in everybody else's business. In the case of taxi licenses, we mean "business" literally.

We are sure there is some formula or some "reason" among bureaucrats, somewhere, for why Fairmont should only have four taxi licenses. Whatever this "reason" is, it is absolute nonsense. How should taxi licensing work? It shouldn't. Any person with a car should be able to ferry any other person from location to location for a fee. In fact, we know this happens occasionally in today's world without anybody ever stopping at City Hall to pick up a taxi license. Where is the harm?

The City Council seems on board with the notion of increasing the number of taxi licenses available in town. Its goal? Open up the "industry" beyond the one current provider who holds all four licenses. This could reduce the cost of cab fare. Duh.

At the same time, we hope the council turns an eye to the broader issue of reducing and eliminating regulations that do not serve free markets or free people.



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