In one of the most bizarre repressions of free speech – and the free market – we’ve ever seen, the City of Charleston, S.C. has banned rickshaw drivers in Charleston, S.C. from offering “illegal speaking tours” to tourists.

No really … this is happening, according to reporter Schuyler Kropf of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.

Adding insult to injury for taxpayers, the local police department is not only enforcing this ridiculous ordinance, it actively cracking down on these “illegal speaking tours” – going so far as to send undercover officers out into the streets disguised as tourists in an effort to bust unsuspecting rickshaw drivers.

“Violators?” They get a $1,092 fine.

What the hell, Charleston?

Seriously …

This is a damn abomination. If an individual ferrying people from point “A” to point “B” wants to earn a little extra money providing historical context regarding the various points betwixt – then government has no business whatsoever interfering in that process.

In fact we don’t believe government has any business forcing these rickshaw drivers to register with them in the first place – let alone restrict their income-generating potential. ┬áIf someone has the ability and equipment necessary to perform this service, they should be permitted to provide it free from government regulation.

More to the point, we would humbly submit the government of Charleston, S.C. could find far more productive uses of its law enforcement resources than snuffing out this particular brand of old-fashioned entrepreneurship.