The compliance regime is the frightening thing.

The City of Woonsocket’s closing down a home-made haunted house that raises charitable donations is a pretty good emblem of why the state’s economy is failing and where government is going wrong more generally.

The cease-and-desist order presented to the Dens-mores says their Halloween house is considered a “special amusement building” and requires a sprinkler system. David Densmore says they could not afford that. He used old fences, palettes and tarp and donations of gently used ghouls to make hellish scenes both kitschy and creepy.

The city told the Densmores  they must close or have their utilities shut off.

When we accept that the role of the government is to proactively keep people safe — rather than imposing penalties when things go wrong and allowing both producers and consumers to assess their own risks — we’ve entered into a society in which freedom is on the wane and innovation is chained by the inelastic limits of government functionaries.  People lose the ability to try and to fail because, even if they accept the risks associated with what they’re doing, they can’t afford the requirements that government has imposed as it’s tried to imagine every possible outcome of every situation.

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