Since the 1950s, the United States Supreme Court has unfortunately held that basic constitutional liberties should yield to the government's self-proclaimed interest in tailoring local aesthetics.
In the eyes of government officials—for whom bright colors and unlicensed protest signs are intolerable symbols of urban blight—liberty will never be as attractive or aesthetically pleasing as conformity, writes Skip Oliva.
This conformity was at work in the city of Clermont, Florida, where city officials battled a local auto shop owner's attempts to expand his own property. Instead of seeking a permit, Wayne Weatherbee posted a dozen signs on his lot criticizing city officials, including the city manager and chief of police.
The city's next move was to take away Weatherbee's freedom of speech.