April 17, 1860

On April 17, 1860, New Yorkers learned that a new law went into effect. It required all tenement houses to have adequate fire escapes. Libertarians of that time protested and shouted that the City of New York should allow the ‘market’ to decide if fire escapes were needed. They said that if you allowed the ‘market’ to decide, then people would only rent from places that had fire escapes, if that was important to them. The libertarians were then asked what could poor people do, those who could only afford to rent run-down, rat-infested buildings that didn’t have fire escapes. The libertarians replied that they should either move out of New York to places where they could afford a better apartment to live, or get another job, or have less children, or just not be so freaking poor and uneducated. They said it’s the poor people and their parents’ faults for being so poor in the first place.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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