Everything Tim writes here is great, as are Mr. Yglesias’ deregulation posts, by extension. I babble a lot in Tim’s comments, but if you want to read my rambling, badly punctuated inanity here as well, well, you’re in luck:
These types of de-regulation are both libertarian and liberal, and both factions should support them. And I definitely, 100% agree that people who support them should express themselves on liberal principles, because like you said, there are genuinely liberal principles involved.
But I’ve been reading the “is Cato topping off your paycheck??” comments at Yglesias’ site, and there are literally people there who wrote many paragraph treatises on why it would be a terrible blow to humanity if DC tour guides were unlicensed. (or barbers). I think there must be something more at play than just “well, evil right wing people like de-regulation, so it must be bad in all cases” because the “we must make rules to make things better” phenomena is so widespread, even amongst those evil right wingers. As far as I can tell, only a small number of “right wing” people even think about deregulation at all — only the especially crazy policy people.
The average person, right left or otherwise, accepts the idea that laws work as designed; that if a law is on the books to Improve The Quality of DC Tour Guides by X, Y and Z methods, that it does so, and has such a status quo bias towards it that unless there is some personal harm that comes as a result of it, will not support overturning it. I think if you copied the same Yglesias’ post on the average right wing site, saying that “Nasty Liberals Support Unsafe and Unclean Barbers!” most people would agree.
Even say with prohibition, the king of all dumb regulation – that most people are actually against, I absolutely guarantee you that the vast majority does not oppose it because it was a stupid law that caused a great deal of unintended harm, but because it is opposed to the status quo of legal alcohol today. And therefore adopts the opposite stance on pot prohibition.
For almost every single person, every part of their daily life is “regulated.” If you don’t like X at home, you tell your kid its a rule they can’t do it. If your bosses doesn’t want you doing Y, they make a rule about it. Every interaction with a software company or telephone provider or bank comes with multi page contracts outlining the regulatory environment and hoops you must jump through. And the absolutely only time people object is if the rule personally affects them, and even then, they don’t say “there are better ways to achieve the goals of this rule” but rather “change that specific rule so it stops bothering me.”
Is there any surprise that people that people would apply the exact same methods and principles that guide their daily lives to the political sphere?
Seriously, go read the comments at Yglesias’ site. People who don’t live in DC, haven’t ever taken a tour there, and don’t know anything about the situation are confidently explaining their regulatory schemes for that market. I don’t know anything about it either, but I’m not advocating rules for it, either.
Edit: goddamn it, I capitalized the Central Atlantic Treaty Organization in Tim’s comments again. -10 libertarian points.