Radical Laissez-Faire Capitalism
July 6, 2009 Classical Liberalism

What you see below you is a comparison of the size of the federal government that our Founders intended (see that tiny pamphlet on the right, it includes both the Declaration of Independence AND the Constitution) and the one we have today. That ridiculous pile on the left is all the pages of the Federal Register stacked high. From bottom to top, the stack is over 8 feet tall. All of the covers are thin paper, and the pages in these documents are no than what you would see in a telephone book. But hey, they are printed on 99% recycled paper. “The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.” I’d have you note that this says nothing about the size of your state and local governments and governmental agencies. My suspicion is that this stack would double in size, in each state, if I were able to track down the various state registers.

So I ask, my dear friends, if this qualifies as deregulated cowboy free-enterprise, what would a properly regulated economy look like?


"7" Comments
  1. I like a good strawman myself, but you might want to pile up for comparison the printed form of the hundreds of rolls of microfilm containing the work of the Continental Congress, the numerous Constitutional broadsides, extracts, treaties, journals and reports from the fledgling U.S. government. It’s a mistake to think nostalgically that the early nation was an unregulated eden and the founders its first people before the fall. It does not detract from their achievement at state-building that they couched their personal opinions and crass material interests in high ideals and lofty goals.

    It would be interesting to know how much of that pile is law, how much is administrative (even if it’s lumped with rule-making posing as law) and how much is bureaucratic chaff.

  2. I don’t think this includes any of the admin stuff like EPA requirements. Could be wrong, but I’ve heard that the EPA can easily fill a semi (I like rumors, sometimes).

  3. We all hate straw man arguments, and resist them whenever we can, especially on Wintercow’s famous blog.

    Back when Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin were publishing, they took care with paper and ink, and tried not to pay a horde of people to print what they had to say, but they all would be mad as the dickens if King George, who was felling all of the great trees for his royal use would tell them the reason he was doing it was to protect the consumers in Rhode Island.

    The members of the continental congress were not worried about paper expense or use. They were trying to build a place where they could live free. You try to take a shot, but miss the point.

    To answer Wintercow’s question, I think it would be a great season if every member of every legislative body said they were taking six months off to go fishing or loll on Malibu Beach with Henry Waxman. Use as much paper as you can afford.

  4. “I like a good strawman myself, but you might want to pile up for comparison the printed form of the hundreds of rolls of microfilm containing the work of the Continental Congress, the numerous Constitutional broadsides, extracts, treaties, journals and reports from the fledgling U.S. government.”

    Apples to oranges. If I piled up even a week’s worth of Daily Congressional Records (akin to the broadsides, extracts, etc.) it would make the comparison even more stark. Long time readers of this site would recognize that I believe strongly that if the US was as technologically advanced and as large in 1776 as it was today … that the founders might have designed something very similar to what we have today. What is worth noting is that though people scorn the founders for doing things that worked in their own interest, many of them staked (and lost) considerable fortunes and livelihoods by being public with their high minded ideals. They did not enjoy the comforts of an anonymous blog – there were severe repurcussions for merely speaking out against the crown in those days – and by signing the Declaration they all but sealed their sentences as death if the colonies happened to lose the war.
    In any case, the point I am making, which I have rarely seen anyone try to refute, is that we are as planned and mixed an economy as there is in the world – and the real straw man arguments are those that attack what is going on as capitalism or crass commercialism. It is anything but – we are living in a pure corporatist system.

  5. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.
    If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one’s own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes.
    *George Owell’s Notes ring so true to the ear in this matter of a Democratic business of lies that we are being spoon fed by the nation of our birth.

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