Sand in the Gears

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Put me in a box

October 21st, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized

An organization of which I’ve been a big fan for years is the Institute for Justice, a team of Davids repeatedly taking on Goliaths who use the powers of government to keep small businesspeople from competing with them. IJ’s defense of monks who make and sell cheap, sturdy caskets, against a mortician’s lobby that wants to put them out of business, appeals to me in particular, because I despise the avarice of a death industry that descends upon the grieving to sell them elaborate caskets and funeral services. From IJ’s site:

“Can the government restrict economic liberty just to enrich a group of politically favored insiders?

That’s the question the Institute for Justice and its client, Saint Joseph Abbey of St. Benedict, La., have taken to federal court in challenging the constitutionality of Louisiana’s outrageous requirement that the monks of the Abbey must be licensed as funeral directors and convert their monastery into a licensed funeral home in order to sell their handmade wooden casket.

Under Louisiana law, it is a crime for anyone but a licensed funeral director to sell ‘funeral merchandise,’ which includes caskets. To sell caskets legally, the monks would have to abandon their calling for one full year to apprentice at a licensed funeral home, learn unnecessary skills and take a funeral industry test. They would also have to convert their monastery into a ‘funeral establishment’ by, among other things, installing equipment for embalming human remains.”

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what sorts of restrictions the mortuary industry has imposed in your own state, under the guise of safety and propriety, to insure that you buy their expensive wares. Wife and I have agreed we want to be buried in pine boxes (hopefully not too soon). Is that even allowed in Kansas?

This puts me in mind of something I’ve discussed with friends, which is the need to start a Pine Box Society. Members commit to be buried in pine boxes (at their appointed times), with some kind of public acknowledgement of their choice (a sticker on the box? a logo?). The acknowledgement would serve both to spare their families embarrassment (“Can you believe they’re burying him in a pine box? Oh no dear, he wanted it that way.”), and to spread the idea. Who’s with me?