The war on lemonade stands

Chances are that it was made of the usual dangerous cocktail of lemon juice, sugar, and water. If children — or their parents — aren’t to be trusted to prepare lemonade, presumably people lured by the prospect of a cool drink on a hot day can calculate the risks on their own and take their pocket change elsewhere if they feel safe only with professional-quality product.

Invariably, the parents of illicit lemonade-stand vendors protest to the authorities, “But they’re just kids.” That should be a clinching, self-evident argument. But not when an unbending legalism is ascendant, and there’s a law for everything. It’s in this spirit that we pat down children in the security lines of airports. People in authority are afraid ever to be caught rendering commonsense judgments.