Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gov't Prohibits Private "Regulation"

Hey it's a new week so I am allowed to link to Free Advice! In the "Legalize Murder!" thread, John Goes pooh-poohed my private alternatives to government handling of violent criminals (and what a fine job they've been doing on that front). John argued that my proposed private mechanisms could exist today, and so their absence shows that they really aren't a workable solution to the problem of violent people.

I confess I don't know all the specifics, but I think there are government measures that prohibit competing, private sector agencies that perform traditional government services. I discuss a beautiful illustration over at Free Advice today. A meat packer wanted to test all of its beef for mad cow disease, and the government said it can't. An excerpt from the WSJ article on the story:

A federal appeals court said the government can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad-cow disease.

Because the Agriculture Department tests only a small percentage of cows for the rare but deadly disease, Kansas meatpacker Creekstone Farms Premium Beef of Arkansas City, Kan., wants to test all of its cows. The government says it can't.

Larger meat companies worry that if Creekstone is allowed to perform the test and advertise its meat as safe, they could be forced to do the expensive test, too.

What more evidence do you people need? Every single thing the government touches, it makes worse. We all* know that if the government expanded into areas that it currently leaves alone, that those areas would be worse, even from the point of view of the alleged reason for the intervention. So the same holds in reverse: If you started hacking away at the government's interventions, things would get better.

* Except for two obvious libertarian counterexamples, who think the politicians will side with Bengalis against huge corporations.


  1. A few things to keep in mind:

    The government having an imperfect (ok, far from perfect) system of justice is not enough, by itself, to justify the legalization of murder. Even if I were to concede that it might work, given an extensive privatization of other functions of government (and I'm no longer willing to concede even that much.

    There is a substantial difference between government's incursion into food safety and its age-old practice of keeping the peace.

  2. Nice cheap shot there Bob. Have you come up with any examples of genuine private attempts to define property rights in the atmosphere yet? Reasons why it would be good for government firefighters to one day just quit putting out fires?

    No? Okay then.

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