Should doing something that some people find inconvenient be a crime in NJ?

State Senate President Steve Sweeney just quashed a bill that would have decriminalized the act of persons pumping their own gas in our state. Sen. Sweeney said ?there is nothing wrong with the current system? and ?it?s a matter of convenience, not safety.?

For years we have been lead to believe that pumping our own gas is ?hazardous? and hence illegal. Now, like magic, it?s really about ?convenience.? I?d laugh if it wasn?t so pathetic.

If the standard by which we criminalize acts is ?convenience,? then why stop with gasoline? There are limitless theoretical ?inconveniences? out there. Why not outlaw self-serve coffee at Wawa? How about laundry mats or cafeteria-style dining? Should you be allowed to cut your own grass, shovel your own snow, or cook your own meals? Ridiculous, of course.

The fact is, one person?s ?inconvenience? is another person?s liberty. If nobody is harmed by an act, then with what moral authority can our elected representatives stop us from enjoying our personal and economic freedoms?

This bill merely legalized self-service and gives the consumer a choice. Many gas stations would likely continue full-service in response to customer demand. Competitive forces would ultimately assure the best outcome. That?s how the free market works.

Unfortunately, Sen. Sweeny has proclaimed that this matter is ?going nowhere? so long as he?s in charge. One wonders: who benefits?

Don?t kill the bill, Senator Sweeney. The people of New Jersey should be empowered to choose how they want to receive their gasoline. They can ?handle? it!

(One of our members?submitted this letter to the Press of Atlantic City for publication by email. ? The email address is: ? ? The Press considers publication of one well-written letter of 150 to 250 words per person each month. ? Please consider writing and submitting your own letter to deliver our message of liberty on a topic that interests you. ? Thanks.)

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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