BRIAN PERRY/Private cameras watching

If a city in Mississippi erected surveillance cameras to monitor every business in town on behalf of law enforcement, folks might make allusions to George Orwell’s “1984” and his warning against Stalinist communism. Instead of government placing those cameras, the City of Madison has ordered businesses to do it themselves. That is not communism, which controls the means of production; that is fascism, which conscripts the means of production into service of the government.

Alright, I am being overly dramatic. The city is not requiring businesses to feed their surveillance into a central network where secret police monitor the comings and goings of citizens.

The Madison County Journal reported last week the city of Madison passed a new ordinance which requires businesses to install and maintain private security cameras. Failing to do so could result in imprisonment….

…But look, if you want to operate a business in Madison, there are certain things you must do: building aesthetics regulations, sign specifications, smoking restrictions, exterior lighting rules, fence limitations and now a requirement to install and upkeep security cameras. It is anyone’s choice to operate or not operate a business in Madison. It is anyone’s choice to be a customer or not be a customer in Madison.

But if the purpose of the Madison ordinance is to protect businesses and citizens, and aide police, then the city has partially shifted the cost burden of law enforcement from itself to those businesses by requiring them to install the cameras: a hidden business tax.

Neshoba Democrat