The essence of tyranny, journalist Christopher Hitchens writes in his latest dispatch for Vanity Fair magazine, is capricious law….

Mr. Hitchens… came to Manhattan in November determined to participate in “an orgy of lawlessness,” while exploring “the shriveled core of the tiny Bloombergian mind.” He took up two seats on the subway (Fine: $50); fired up a cigarette where one is not allowed to smoke (Fine: $200 to $2,000), and (gasp) engaged in such disorderly conduct as sitting on a milk crate on subway stairs. He rode a bicycle (sans bell) and coasted through Central Park without his feet on the pedals (a double offense)….”Under current New York City law,” [Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter] writes, “it is acceptable to have a loaded handgun in your place of work, but not an empty ashtray.” [NY Sun]

Hitchens may be a leftie but he’s right about this; such laws are unacceptable in a free society.

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