Friday, September 20, 2013

I Retract My Apology

Hello occupational licensing, my old friend. From Reason TV, via the Girl Poet:

I won't rehash arguments about how licensing has morphed from a consumer protection initiative into the institutionalized banditry you see above. That road is well-trod. Instead, I want to draw your attention to the point the video makes about CA state officials posting video on YouTube.

You can imagine the steam rising from HL Mencken's ears, can't you?

Put on your libertarian shoes for a moment and think about this. Step 1) Otherwise honest people want to make a (as far as I can tell) purely euvoluntary deal about landscaping or housepainting or something. Step 2) State enforcement agents step in and turn these people into criminals. Step 3) These same state officials, under the belief that they act in the public interest, share with the public footage of their activity. Step 5) From the public, crickets. There is no step four.

You don't have to be a staunch Nozickian to find this appalling. Indeed, I suspect you'd have to be well-blinkered to fail to characterize this as anything but above-board thuggery. And they're proud of it. I... I don't even have the words, people. Didn't the radical left of the 60's rail against The Man? This is The Man, on full display, grinningly showcasing its TheMannery for the wide world to see.

I'm not even sure whom to be ashamed of.

Okay, with this story, I now have to grudgingly admit that the looking-glass threshold has been well and crossed. The snout of the state has well and truly snuffled into the trough of euvoluntary exchange and there it browses, proudly showcasing its bedswerving flanks. I was wrong to apologize. Things really are as crazy as they seem.

Here are highlights from the original video:

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?