Pacific Beach is a great town in California but it does not have a movie theater. Most people think that the movie chains considered Pacific Beach but then decided that the town could not support a movie theater. The truth is that the local tyrannical government doesn’t want theaters because they attract teenagers.
Many towns don’t want any establishment that will attract teenagers. To prevent the construction of movie theaters, skate parks, and arcades, the local politicians actually forbid private individuals from starting these types of businesses. The politicians use either “zoning” laws, which dictate the types of businesses that may be built in certain areas, or they use regulations, which simply forbid certain types of businesses.
When Hitler wanted to burn books, he first burned pornography and then Shakespeare. American politicians use the same technique to outlaw businesses that cater to teenagers. First politicians attack free enterprise by outlawing or banishing adult-entertainment businesses. Once the public allows this attack, the politicians are free to outlaw any businesses. The ban on movie theaters in Pacific Beach is no different than bans on strip clubs.
If a town outlaws strip clubs, the usual patrons will drive to another town or settle on watching a video. However, when a town bans practically all businesses that cater to teenagers, then the streets become filled with bored teenagers that have nowhere to go. To deal with the boredom, teenagers start racing cars on deserted streets, getting drunk in parks, or skateboarding in parking lots.
Most politicians refuse to acknowledge that ideas have consequences. Many unjust and unnecessary laws lead to problems that seem to require even more laws. Bans on teen businesses leads to teens hanging out in parks, which then prompts residents to support curfews. If the government had simply allowed the construction of movie theaters and late-night fast food restaurants than few people would think curfews are necessary.
But sometimes politicians actually create problems to ensure that citizens ask for new laws. For example, Ted Kennedy, a congressional representative, wants to socialize healthcare. To get the average citizen to support his plan, he is regulating HMOs and health insurance companies to make healthcare unaffordable to many citizens. These citizens will then support his socialist goal.
Most people understand that attacks on the First-Amendment rights of pornographers can lead to an attack on every individual’s right to free expression. Therefore, many people who dislike pornography will still defend the sale of pornographic magazines to protect their own freedom.
The same tactic can be used to ensure the development of businesses that cater to teenagers. By fighting to protect the free-enterprise and private property rights of strip clubs, tobacco shops, and all other targets of intolerant politicians, you’ll be defending your right to go to a midnight movie in your own town. You’ll also prevent calls for a curfew.