Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Administrative Law

L’État, C’est Moi | The Weekly Standard:

I'm sure that many find me alarmist on the issue of the extreme loss of rights that has already happened to Americans. A few points:
  1. Seat belts, car seats for kids. wearing a helmet on a bicycle or fire insurance are all things that most do to try to cover risk of things that we nope will not happen at all. 
  2. There is also a human tendency to work rather hard at denying risk or even known eventual outcomes like death. Set belts and car seats were made laws for basically that reason -- some people just DO NOT want to use them, as they DO NOT want to be reminded of the risk! I maintain that the only people that really enjoy riding a motorcycle are those riding without a helmet -- ideally shirtless wearing shorts. They KNOW they are not going to crash! 
  3. We have a hard time picking up slow incremental change, especially when we are being soaked in a media environment intent on us NOT picking up changes. Many will feel a "pang" when say voter ID is defeated even though they have to pull out their ID more and more frequently just to live, or say an old guy loses a basketball team over something he said on what he assumed was a private conversation that was taped -- BUT, the very fact that these things are happening makes the majority of people LESS likely to react (see 1).  
This is why I think this review, although long,  is very worth reading. I may even skip this particular book as too arcane and focused on a single mechanism of tyranny (administrative law), although I'm very aware of the general phenomenon given books like "Liberal Fascism" and "The Forgotten Man", "The Road to Serfdom", etc. BUT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US!!!!

Here is how the column concludes ... I heartily agree!
But there is something even more fundamental about “necessity” and social “complexity.” The administrative state is a poor way to handle the complexity that has justified its existence all along. The administrative state assumes that it has reached answers to questions that ultimately might not have scientific conclusions. Federal agencies, thus, “have difficulty keeping up to date with science,” because their particularized controls for particularized problems are inflexible and cannot adapt to technological change.  
Administrative law depends on epistemological arrogance, assuming that there is one right answer to a given problem. But our entire society (like all free-market societies) presupposes that there exists a diversity of opinions, objectives, and needs. It is precisely in an “increasingly complex” society that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. 
If the tendency of modernized society is toward freedom or at least social fragmentation, then continual direction by the federal government may actually be inconsistent with modernity. 
Maybe humility—and constitutional government—are better after all.

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