Snow vs. Bureaucracy

I live in the bright, sunny South, so when the skies dump snow on us, it’s kind a big deal. Children (and adults) build snowmen, cityscapes become more beautiful, and people slow down.

But what I love most is snow’s way of putting a wrench into bureaucracy.

State and local governments in the South are particularly skittish around image and risk when snow and ice hit the ground. Naturally, they err on the side of shutting down. And for the vast majority of us, that’s a wonderful thing.

Now, instead of worrying about how the city’s latest occupational licensing rules will bar our family from work, we can go sledding down the nearest snowy hill.

Now, instead of fearing a corrupt city’s plans for eminent domain claims to our land (for the next hipster shopping center or something), we can take out our dogs for romping in the snow.

Now, instead of sitting in mandatory, non-consensual, boring-as-hell government-run schools, we can go out for snowball fights with our friends.

Now, instead of begging city inspectors for the OK to trade goods and services with other people, we can start our pop-up hot cocoa stands in a free market (albeit a cold one).

Now, instead of working our hours away so we can pay taxes to feed a growing bureaucratic class, we can sit down next to our fireplaces with our favorite books and dream about better ways of living together.

The oppression slows down for a bit on snowy days. The bureaucracy stays home and doesn’t bother anyone. Kids and adults go out into a beautiful winter wonderland just a little bit freer.

It will take a long time to make these changes permanent. But until then, it’s comforting to know that nature has our back. I for one will be looking forward eagerly to her next icy blast against the managerial state.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at

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