01 Jan 2014

New NYC Mayor Not Horsing Around

Big Brother 48 Comments

I saw someone mention this on Facebook, and thought it was satire: New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio wants to completely ban horse-drawn carriages from the Big Apple, saying it’s cruel to animals. From the CNN story:

Horse-drawn carriages could soon be a thing of the past in New York City’s Central Park after Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced plans to outlaw the popular tourist attraction once in office.

“We are going to get rid of horse carriages, period,” de Blasio said at a news conference Monday, saying that the practice is inhumane.

Beyond the specific pros and cons on this issue–such as the fact that horse-drawn carriage rides around Central Park are a staple of the imagery–is the audacious presumption that this is the type of thing a new mayor has the power to do. (Technically de Blasio needs City Council to approve his proposal.) I would be curious at this point to see a poll of Americans asking, “Do you think there is any sphere of human life whatsoever that isn’t in principle under the jurisdiction of some level of government?” Except for religious beliefs, I think a majority would say, “No.”

48 Responses to “New NYC Mayor Not Horsing Around”

  1. Ryan Murphy says:

    I think this is banning them from public roads and public parks. I’m guessing the TRUFREE market wouldn’t have parks with horse poop everywhere, so whatever.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Ryan if they said gay bakers couldn’t get permits to operate in the food services industry, I’m sure you would be just as dismissive of the whole thing, right?

      • Ryan Murphy says:

        The private analog to public parks wouldn’t have horse poop everywhere. The private analog to baking industry regulators would allow bakers to be homosexual.

        I mean, I hope both those statements are true.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          ?? Do you think there would be no horse-drawn carriages around Central Park if everything were privatized?

    • Ben B says:

      Maybe the TRUFREE market would ban horse-carriages, or maybe the owners of the parks and roads would just require horse-carriage owners to clean-up their horse poop.

  2. Steve Horwitz says:

    The only thing cruel to them is feeding them Beefarino. And then you have a legit externality issue. 🙂

    • Yancey Ward says:


      • knoxharrington says:

        Well done guys – I was thinking exactly the same thing.

  3. Yosef says:

    I’m confused as to why this is an audacious presumption (Not saying it is right, but why audacious?). The city government regulates what business can operate (delis yes, brothels no), how they operate (to whom you can sell what, licence you need for certain operations), how much they can charge or pay employees (price gouging laws, minimum wages). Why did you use the word audacious?

    • Tel says:

      From the New Your City Charter:

      § 192. City planning commission.

      d. The city planning commission shall be responsible for the conduct of planning relating to the orderly growth, improvement and future development of the city, including adequate and appropriate resources for the housing, business, industry, transportation, distribution, recreation, culture, comfort, convenience, health and welfare of its population.

      I think that pretty much covers interference in any business or any commerce should they decide it is necessary for the “welfare” of the population.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Yosef suppose they banned Christmas lights. I mean, they can ban people owning laser guns. So same thing, just a matter of degree. Would you think it audacious if a new mayor said no New Yorker was allowed to own a Christmas light?

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        But why is stopping cruelty to animals as egregious as banning Christmas lights?

        • Sean says:

          You are presuming that 1) it is cruelty to animals and 2) that it is the government’s legitimate role to stop it. If so then why not ban oxen powered plowing? We can send over our troops to Vietnam (again), this time to defend animals. We should ban zoos, parrots in cages, ladybug terrariums…heck, why not put kids in juvenile detention for chasing robins and squirrels with sticks? How cruel those little devils are toward our animal brethren!. The crusade potential is practically limitless.

        • RIchard Moss says:


          Bob was responding to Yosef’s argument.

          His argument was the mayor and gov’t had the power put an end to the practice because they have this power elsewhere. Therefore, it wasn’t “audacious”.

          Given this reasoning, banning X-mas lights wouldn’t be “audacious” either.

      • Yosef says:

        Bob, if you can look at banning consensual sex, trans fat, openly displaying salt on tables, freely hiring employees, and banning horse rides, and say “Woah, that last one is audacious! Where did he get the presumption that he could just ban things like that”, then I don’t think we mean the same thing by audacious.

        If a man who has previously counted to 95, now reaches 96, do you jump up and marvel at the audacious leap in counting?

        • Bob Murphy says:

          So Yosef I’m not allowed to flip out with a new, audacious move? Do you think I was cool with the Big Gulp stuff?

          • Yosef says:

            You can flip out, just don’t call it audacious. No, I don’t think you were cool with the Big Gulp stuff (though a nice Big Gulp can cool you down). I think the proposed soda ban, along with the salt shaming and trans fat ban are ridiculous; as ridiculous as the proposed horse ride ban. But that doesn’t make it audacious.

            Call the move wrong, or stupid, or tyrannical, or a demonstration of the salami tactics of government. All those are fine, and accurate (from a point a view). But it’s just not audacious

            • Major_Freedom says:




              adjective: audacious

              1. showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

              “a series of audacious takeovers”

              2. showing an impudent lack of respect.

              “an audacious remark”

              Why can’t Murphy be using that definition, and not the first one you seem to insist Murphy must be using?

              Audacious does not imply something new has occurred. Audaciousness can take place over and over again from the same person.

              • Yosef says:

                Major Freedom, if this is the same action that has been continuously taken and is just another step in a line, how is it impudent?

              • Dan says:

                Yosef, why do you think it isn’t impudent, and how do you define that word?

  4. Tel says:

    … the audacious presumption that this is the type of thing a new mayor has the power to do …

    My understanding (and I’m sure the law is much more complicated than this) is that the city of New York is a charter city, and thus an incorporated entity (same as any private corporation). The parks, etc are property belonging to the corporation and the Mayor is CEO of that corporation.

    The new Mayor is merely exerting his property rights.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      “…same as any private corporation…”


      • Tel says:

        So if a private corporation with a charter and shareholders owned a ranch and the CEO decided that absolutely no horses were to be allowed on that ranch you would be calling it “overreach” ?

        • Major_Freedom says:

          That’s a separate question.

          I was just ummming over your statement that a government is a corporation the same as a private corporation.

          Pretty sure that the same name is being used for both doesn’t mean they’re the same in substance.

          To respond to your question: it’s never an overreach for a legitimate property owner (homesteader and/or free trader) to set ground rules on his own property.

          But that’s not what the Mayor is doing. Neither he nor “the city of New York” are a legitimate owner of the land upon which he is insisting that his rule be followed. Any enforcement of that rule would be an unjustified use of force.

          • Tel says:

            From Wikipedia:

            On February 2, 1653, the town of New Amsterdam, founded on the southern tip of Manhattan Island in 1625, was incorporated as a city under a charter issued by the Dutch West India Company.

            Sounds like homesteading to me. What exactly makes the incorporation under charter of a city any different in principle to the incorporation under charter of IBM or General Motors?

            I would argue that since the charter predates all existing land titles, every land owner in New York must have known and accepted the terms.

  5. JimS says:

    This is a total ban on horse carriages (I follow this as I am a farrier and have worked with carriage horses and i cowboy and manage ranch properties). They feel that the use of animals is abusive and that conditions in the city are inappropriate for horses (Noisy and dirty(If this is true, then why aren’t they concerned with dogs and cats, service animals and the mounted police in the city?)).

    Regardless of whether this is abusive or not, I feel they should have little jurisdiction here. I know this sounds odd, but animals are property and it comes down to the simple dispensation of your property. We get into a whole weird area if animals have rights on par with people, and that is what this is really about. There is a group in PA, I think, who is trying to have a chimp deemed to have the same rights as a person (voting, paying taxes?). Yes, cruelty is wrong, but one person’s cruelty is another’s method. With horse training and shoeing, everyone is an expert. The board that over sees horse racing was chaired by Bobby Rush (Chicago Seven) and Cheryl Tiegs. What these people know about anything is beyond me. Recently a board of vets said that a rider should not be more than 10-15 percent of a horse’s weight (most of my horses are around 800 lbs and I can assure you I am not 80 pounds).

    But again, it is NOT about knowing and intelligent, treatment, it is about power and control. People get upset when Cesar Milan holds down or lifts a dog that is trying to eat him. Many people feel that any sort of restraint on animals is wrong and that there are always kinder and gentler ways. Animals have rights. Wildlife has rights. We impinge on their freedom, so we ought to compensate in some manner.

    Again, this is about how you control your property.

    It is similar as to whether or not you can spank your kids or punish them in anyway. There are all sorts of people, alledgedly non-violent, who have no hesitancy what so ever calling the sources of violence to act on their behalf. I have had the cops called on me for brushing my grandauhter’s hair (she cried) and for speaking sternly to her. I do not hit her, but when she is bad, she runs or does push ups until I am tired. People do not understand consequences because they do not have to deal with them. If the child is bad or the animal misbehaves it is some outside influence, not me, or so the thought seems to go. They do the feel good thnig, ban this or that, call on this or that organization, lecture on this or that, but really don’t do anything. Bottom line, are they your kids or the state’s? Is it your property or the state’s? Is it your life or the state’s. Given the way most people behave and their “There ought to be a law” attitude, and the way they vote, and the agencies they believe ought to exist, and that the government needs to do something about it mentality; no, there is no area, in most people’s minds, that is outside the jurisdiction of the state, no matter what level we are talking about.


  6. Random Guy says:

    You are some corny ish sometimes Bob. Lol.

  7. Yancey Ward says:

    The new mayor may have stepped into……

  8. Some Links says:

    […] Bob Murphy weighs in on the same. […]

  9. JohnB says:

    From a property rights perspective, one could argue that since the roads are government owned and operated that they fall under the jurisdiction of the government. Therefore, banning horses is similar in legal nature to installing and enforcing traffic lights.

    That’s why allowing government to build roads is dangerous in the first place.

  10. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Of all of the government intrusions in our lives, this seems like one of the LEAST egregious…

  11. @ZeevKidron says:

    The Editorial Board of Pravda On The Hudson (Formerly known as the New York Times) yesterday claimed in an Editorial that raising the minimum wage AND indexing it to inflation will CREATE 85,000 jobs.


    So why are you surprised that NYC elected (by default, I believe only 30% actually went to vote?) little Stalin On The Hudson, and that his first executive action is to send 200 or so working horses to the gallows?

    I’m sure de Blasio would have preferred 200 Kulaks, the better to send his inaugural message, but there are precious few of them in NYC these days. Anyone knows any investment bankers?

    Talk about theater of the absurd.

    • Mule Rider says:

      I’m assuming those 85,000 jobs will all be IRS agents and tax experts/attorneys that will be needed for proper implementation and maintenance of a new regulation?

  12. Major_Freedom says:

    It’s the “animal rights” activists who are providing the intellectual justification and political rabble rousing for the new NY mayor to even be in a position of ordering police to threaten violence against anyone who rides a horse drawn carriage.

    The bullies in the animal rights movement are not only hypocrites (most are in favor of protecting individuals from violence due to stepping on bugs, but when the animals are “cute and cuddly”, then it’s the reverse), but they are also putting animal rights above human rights. They spend their days talking about abuses against animals, rather than abuses against humans. Shouldn’t they be putting their energy into researching and exposing human abuse?

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      I think those that would be in favor of stepping on bugs (of which I am not one) would say that bugs’ brains are far less complex, so they don’t have the requisite intelligence to be treated like a conscious being, in contrast to horses which have quite a lot of higher brain function.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        What about what you think? I’d rather not play hearsay.

        What is the cut off for intelligence, and what are the premises used to establish this one but not another?

        Should someone be killed if they intend to kill a rabbit and they defend themselves from aggression against them in the name of saving the rabbit, but not if they intend to kill a worm?

        • Keshav Srinivasan says:

          “What about what you think? I’d rather not play hearsay.” Well, if you want to know what I believe, I oppose stepping on bugs as well. So I don’t draw some sharp line between bugs and horses.

          “Should someone be killed if they intend to kill a rabbit and they defend themselves from aggression against them in the name of saving the rabbit, but not if they intend to kill a worm?” Well, presumably you would agree with that statement if you replaced rabbit with human and worm with plant. So it’s just a matter of where you draw the dividing line between that which can be harmed at will with no moral implication, and that which can’t. You draw it at Homo sapiens, the animal rights activists you criticize draw it at animals with higher brain function, and I draw it at something like animals in general.

  13. JohnB says:

    Unrelated question, does anyone else notice that to grasp the arguments of someone like Sumner or Krugman, you have to completely change the way you think about economic questions? For instance, when I think about a problem, I think about it based on individual action like von Mises taught. When I talk to someone with a Keynesian outlook and I want to “speak their language”, I have to think about aggregates. It can be useful to speak their language to steer them in a more libertarian direction but I find it strange to have to think about things so differently.

  14. Colonel Serfdom says:

    Dr. Murphy and Major Freedom,

    The people have spoken through the democratic process and have chosen to involve the government in almost all aspects of commerce and personal lives literally thousands of times. Get over it. Thank god that we live in a democracy where people can express themselves and get the government that they want. Which, by the way, does not mean the tyranny of the price system and market place.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      “The people have spoken through the democratic process ”

      Just because 99 people have voted to kill a 100th person, doesn’t make it justified.

      The people have not spoken in unison. There are disagreement, and you aren’t even recognizing the rights and freedoms of those in the minority, simply because they are outnumbered, and not because they’re wrong.

      Get over it? That’s what thugs say, and I don’t take it seriously.

      Thank God we live in democracy? Good point, for it is a mystical conception to believe that if 51 people want to rob, rape, or murder the other 49, that it somehow makes it right, because the majority is a God, isn’t it.

      The tyranny of the price system and the marketplace? Yes, it would be “tyrannical” to actual tyrants such as yourself who wants to tyrannically initiate violence against people who are merely outnumbered in terms of desires and wants. Tyrants can’t stand it that other individuals besides them make their own choices for themselves in terms of what they produce, who they work for, and on what terms. Tyranny in freedom is exactly what tyrants should feel, so that they can finally sense and experience what it is like to respect other people’s economic preferences.

      • Peter says:

        @MF: The year is off to a promising start 🙂
        Come on, tell us honestly: Is “Colonel Serfdom” your alter ego, and you are now arguing with yourself?
        Lord “fixprice” Keynes no longer doing it for you?

        I mean, really, “Colonel Serfdom”, what’s next, “General Statist”?

        All kidding aside, to Dr. Murphy and all posters on this small corner of liberty on the interwebs: Have a great New Year!

    • Richie says:

      This HAS to be a trolling comment.

  15. Keith says:

    The mayor is stopping this because he thinks it’s inhumane? It should be, they’re horses. Can you imagine how bad it would be if people had to pull those things?

  16. joe says:

    “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” – John Stuart Mill from On Liberty

    This law does not violate the “harm principle”. Why do libertarians have a problem with it? Seems like a perfectly appropriate use of govt power.

    • Ben B says:

      How are horse-carriages “harming others”? Are you sure you undestand what’s going on here?

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        What about harm to horses?

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