This kind of thinking is insane, but it fits neatly into the worldview held
by some that the government should be the source of all things to all people. With that view, it’s easy to see why local government functionaries wouldn’t want “unauthorized” personnel giving out food.
With all the restrictions on selling and marketing food, it’s easy to forget that even sharing food is sometimes still a crime. Despite my own stated optimism last year, it appears that bans on sharing food with the homeless and less fortunate won’t be going away any time soon.
Last week, Scott Keyes, a senior reporter with the progressive news site ThinkProgress, reported on the idiotic outcome of one of the latest of such bans.
In that case, the city of Birmingham, Ala. has barred a local pastor from sharing food with the homeless from a church-owned vehicle because he doesn’t have… a food truck permit.
“Wood was stopped from handing out food by local police because he was in violation of a new city ordinance, passed in December, that regulates food trucks,” writes Keyes. “The new regulation requires food trucks to get a permit, which can cost as much as $500.”
Just like those on the left, conservative critics were aghast.
This issue certainly cuts across the normal left-right divide.
“Serving the needy is something we should reward, not criminalize,” Keyes told me by email this week. “And serving the poor in a manner and location that is convenient for many homeless people is especially laudable. Making it more difficult to feed the hungry ignores the fact that poor people exist, and they get hungry like everyone else.”