Friday, February 24, 2012


Two Don Boudreaux posts in a row that I agree completely with (here and here)? He would probably take the conclusions of the second link farther than I would, but as it stands it's good. I'm guessing Don would get into areas of fighting against a natural emergence of a social organization that free people construct for themselves that I wouldn't. But it's still quite good as written (of course it is - the Stossel segment he references was written with full knowledge that attacking certain regulations would get a better reaction than others). I liked this point especially:

"One bit of good news is that while there may be so many laws that no one knows if he’s a lawbreaker, it has never been easier to “watch the watchmen.” Tiny cameras in our iPods and cell phones allow citizens to film law enforcement and hold our government accountable."

This, of course, is the whole point of constitutional democracy - watching the watchers and holding them accountable. Unfortunately, some people are suspicious of such democratic feedback loops, and would rather short-circuit the whole democratic process, relying on constitutional restrictions more exclusively to guarantee liberty. I think that's probably unwise. You need both.

1 comment:

  1. "a natural emergence of a social organization that free people construct for themselves"

    I'm assuming you're talking about the state here. While it's true that the state emerged from the decisions of free people, I don't see how you can claim that its evolution is then steered in the same way. It is true that emergent forces of popular movements (whether through elections or more violent processes) constrain the action of statesmen, but they still retain a rather wide degree of latitude to act against the wishes of the population at large. Consider programs such as TARP. The program was widely unpopular and the only reason it could pass was because some members of the small minority that favored it had power greatly disproportionate to their number. It can't be reasonably argued that laws are (in general) the result of an emergent process arising from the actions of those who will be governed by the same laws.

    There are some feedback loops whereby the governed have an opportunity to influence the government, but there are also some people who have disproportionate power.


All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.