No Regulation? No Problem

Intuition leads us to think—wrongly—that without government we'd be victims of fraud.

(Page 2 of 2)

"They traded in coffeehouses. And after a while, they decided: 'Let's enforce rules within this coffeehouse. If you default, you're going to get kicked out of the coffeehouse, and we're going to call you a lame duck.'" (Because you had to waddle out of the coffeehouse. That's actually where the phrase "lame duck" originated.)

Years of consumer reporting have taught me that such private regulation is better for consumers than the piles of rules produced by our bloated government. 

Worse, government's micromanagement stifles innovation. Companies now invest in lawyers and "compliance officers," rather than engineers and creators.

Those that don't may get shut down.

Intrade is an innovative "prediction market" website where people bet about future events—who will win the Oscars, elections, etc. The betting odds are great indicators of what will happen in the future because people think carefully before putting their money on the line.

But a government agency called the Commodity Futures Trading Commission determined that Intrade's bets are "commodity options" and Intrade does not have the right license to trade those options. The agency sued, and Intrade decided it had to close its site to Americans. The result: We lose knowledge—and opportunity.

President Obama is wrong. We don’t need new rules. Government should stop adding regulations—or try following the Stossel Law: For every new rule, repeal two old ones.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Drake||

    I have a proposal for a new law. Every American household should be required to have a complete up-to-date hard copy of every federal law, regulation, and tax code. How else to ensure we are obeying the laws.

    That might damped the enthusiasm for politicians to "do something".

  • Matrix||

    So do we have to pay for that hard copy? If we do, then I'm sure the federal government would have a way of subsidizing it so that poor people would get it free.

    What about lawyers to decipher the legalese found therein?

  • Drake||

    No - it would be the responsibility of every citizen. We voted for the people who created all this shit after all.

  • T o n y||

    So government is good, just not when Government is doing it.

  • Matrix||

    Yes, because when I don't like PayPal, I can use a competing service. If I don't like USG... well, I'm SOL.

  • T o n y||

    Really? I can't find an alternative to PayPal in a lot of instances, no matter how many times they've screwed me over. I imagine we'd be in a lot of similar situations without restrictions on anticompetitive behavior.

    And there are about 196 other countries you can choose from. Can hardly say the same about methods to pay for eBay purchases.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:34PM |#
    "Really? I can't find an alternative to PayPal in a lot of instances, no matter how many times they've screwed me over..."

    What a pathetic excuse for a human being.
    WIH did you do *before* there was paypal, shithead?

  • T o n y||

    Bought my porcelain tea services at brick-and-mortar stores, I suppose?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:38PM |#
    "Bought my porcelain tea services at brick-and-mortar stores, I suppose?"

    So go do so again, shithead.

  • T o n y||

    So move to Somalia, poopy-face. What is your point on this earth?

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:46PM |#
    "So move to Somalia, poopy-face."
    You left out ROADZ!, shithead.

    "What is your point on this earth?"
    To actually live as a moral agent, you sleazy asshole.

  • T o n y||

    Well that's convincing. It is so helpful that we live in a world where evil people are aware of their vileness and announce it when asked rather than think they are as moral as everyone else (or rather, in the case of evil people, think they are more moral than everyone else).

  • Hyperion||

    or rather, in the case of evil people, think they are more moral than everyone else

    That pretty much describes progressives and meddlesome politicians, to a tee.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:56PM |#
    ..."evil people are aware of their vileness and announce it when asked rather than think they are as moral"...

    Yes, you are truly evil and no, you have no idea what morality is, shithead.
    Hint: It's not asking for someone to tell you what to do.

  • Rothbeard||

    Sevo is leading in the "troll feeders cup of 2013" by 30 to 2. There is a cash prize. TBA.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, would you like some more tea, Polly Prissy Pants?

  • Ptah-Hotep||

  • Hyperion||

    Tony Prissy Pants: 'Yes, Eric, I would like some more tea'

  • sarcasmic||

    I've always had good luck with PayPal. Never been screwed over. Not once. Been using their services for years.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Yeah I've never heard of PayPal screwing anyone over, let alone the same person multiple times. Fitting I guess, that the first person I hear about is Tony the Troll.

  • sarcasmic||

    Fitting I guess, that the first person I hear about is Tony the Troll.

    Yep. It is not uncommon for dishonest people to make shit up if it helps their argument.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah I've never heard of PayPal screwing anyone over, let alone the same person multiple times

    Have you ever heard of Peter Thiel? Radical Libertarian extremist, capitalist, and co-founder of PayPal?

    Well, Thiel had it written into PayPals business plan to get Tony, no matter what the costs.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Check out the Consumerist website. They have posted lots of Paypal horror stories over the years.

  • nicole||

    I wouldn't say I was "screwed over" but amusingly I just resolved the only issue I have ever had with PayPal in...oh, who can say how many years of using it. And even now I don't really know if this was PayPal's fault, my bank's fault, or my other bank's fault.

  • Matrix||

    Countries don't just let people in and out at a whim, and there is no guarantee I am outside the jurisdiction of the USG no matter where I go. Because they extend not just to the soil owned by the USG but to its citizens everywhere.

  • T o n y||

    You can renounce your citizenship. At any rate you have at least as much freedom of choice in governments as you do most types of service or good in the market. Not that in either realm you're entitled to maximum freedom of choice.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:48PM |#
    "You can renounce your citizenship."
    And you are charged for doing so at gunpoint, shithead.
    Are you trying to set the annual record for stupidity this earl;y in the year?

  • The Derider||

    I can leave the country, but it's not FREE!!!

    WAAAAAAAAH

  • Jordan||

    At any rate you have at least as much freedom of choice in governments as you do most types of service or good in the market.

    If I want to change orange juice brands, I don't have to pay a shakedown fee to Simply Orange, and apply for a visa from Tropicana.

  • Jordan||

    And I'm free to start my own orange juice company.

  • nicole||

    You're also free to never drink orange juice again.

  • T o n y||

    But there are what, at most 5 or 6 brands of orange juice at your local Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market? You have nearly 200 countries to choose from! That's freedom right there.

  • Matrix||

    okay, Tony, so why don't you move to one of those wonderful socialistopias that you fuckers love instead of trying to drag this country down to those levels? You love socialized medicine, welfare, and all that other shit? Move to fucking Europe.

  • T o n y||

    If I could afford it and they'd let me, I'd move to Paris in a heartbeat.

  • TheAstorian||

    If they LET you? So you're really not free to move anywhere you wish.

  • The Derider||

    We're not the ones comparing government regulations and taxes with theft and rape.

    You have a choice. You can leave.

  • ||

    You really ARE going for the record of most retarded posts in a single day, aren't you sockpuppet?

  • sarcasmic||

    You have nearly 200 countries to choose from! That's freedom right there.

    Golly!

    Which gang with the last word on violence should have license to steal from me?

    Freedom!

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't understand. In Tony's world inaction is action.

    So the non-act of not deciding to leave this country was in fact a positive-act of signing the Social Contract in blood.

    You signed it and agreed to all the terms and conditions. Get used to it.

  • T o n y||

    There is no such thing as inaction, philosophically speaking. If there is, describe to me what a person looks like when he is doing nothing.

    At what age do you suppose should we decide it's appropriate to have human beings positively affirm or renounce their citizenship, and wouldn't we need a uniform law to govern this process? And since you've had the ability to renounce for a long time, why haven't you done so?

  • Hyperion||

    There is no such thing as inaction

    And yet your master has decreed that the government can tax people for it.

  • T o n y||

    Precisely because it's not really inaction.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is no such thing as inaction, philosophically speaking. If there is, describe to me what a person looks like when he is doing nothing.

    You equate not doing A with doing B. You equate not deciding to leave the country with accepting the social contract.

    Philosophically speaking, you're fellating fallacies again.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    At what age do you suppose should we decide it's appropriate to have human beings positively affirm or renounce their citizenship, and wouldn't we need a uniform law to govern this process? And since you've had the ability to renounce for a long time, why haven't you done so?

    Tony, in earlier posts on other articles, you claimed that you assume the consent of newborns, and the future unborn. The problem isn't that you assume the consent or legitimacy when you don't know if you have it. Instead, you assume the consent where having consent is impossible, which is absolutely psychotic. You might as well assume the consent of heads of cabbage and unicorns.

    I think the answer to this question is, you should never assume you have people's consent in the first place, and should act accordingly. Only when you insist on screwing people by assuming they consent to a social contract at an age where actual contracts are illegal and unenforceable, do you run into this dilemma.

    Only when you insist on forcing social contracts on people, are you then forced into the hysterical, illogical, psychotic notions such as babies and future unborn people consenting to your actions.

  • T o n y||

    That's not exactly the process... their consent is handled by their custodians, their parents, who are charged with taking care of pretty much their every decision until they reach maturity.

    I'm not sure what the alternative argument is. That you should be able to mooch off of your taxpayer-funded society until you decide you're good and ready to start contributing?

  • ||

    Tony said:

    That's not exactly the process... their consent is handled by their custodians, their parents...


    Well, I'm glad we've advanced your justification of the status quo beyond assuming the consent of non-existent people and infants. I assume if there's a problem with this one, you'll come up with another.

    Also, your proposing a self-contradiction with this and your earlier claims about morality. If all you care to do is maximize general human well-being regardless of what it takes, why worry about people's consent, and various theories about having it? Do you need consent, or not?

    That you should be able to mooch off of your taxpayer-funded society until you decide you're good and ready to start contributing? We've arbitrarily decided we're taking care you. Now, here's the arbitrary bill that you owe us.


    I'd love to see anyone without the violence of the state behind them try to pull that one off in their personal lives.

  • Unindicted Co-conspirator||

    "That you should be able to mooch off of your taxpayer-funded society until you decide you're good and ready to start contributing?"

    Yes.

    People like you are fond of characterizing the relationship between and among citizens as a social contract. Well, it's an elementary principle of contract law going back to the Roman Empire that mutual assent is an indispensable ingredient of contracting: if you run around conveying unsolicited benefits on people, you don't have a legitimate claim against them for payment. They never entered into any agreement with you, and so they're entitled to treat whatever you gave them as an absolute gift -- and it DOES NOT FUCKING MATTER how valuable those benefits are, or how much you're out of pocket as a result.

    If "taxpayer-funded society" isn't obtaining assent through bargaining and persuasion, then it's not merely accepting "contributions"; it's seizing plunder.

  • ||

    I don't think anyone should have to be a citizen of any country just because he or she happened to be born on planet Earth against his will in a particular place or to particular parents. Any person granted citizenship by any country for any reason should be able to reserve the right to renounce it in full at any time for any reason or just because the feel like it. It's called owning yourself. You're only true requirement on this earth in order to be left alone should be that you likewise leave others alone.

  • sarcasmic||

    Any person granted citizenship by any country for any reason should be able to reserve the right to renounce it in full at any time for any reason or just because the feel like it. It's called owning yourself.

    The problem with that is that wherever you go there will always be an organized gang of men with the last word on violence. Cross them and then tell me you own yourself. Don't pay tribute and then tell me you own yourself or your property.

    Your body is on loan from the prison system, on the condition that you don't get caught breaking rules set forth by the men with the last word in violence.

    It has been and always will be a feudal system. The knights carry pistols instead of swords and the political class wear suits instead of wigs, but it's really no different.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:59PM |#
    "There is no such thing as inaction, philosophically speaking."

    Shithead's got stupid locked up, now for the gold in sophistry.

  • Candle||

    Spacey Tony:
    "There is no such thing as inaction, philosophically speaking. If there is, describe to me what a person looks like when he is doing nothing."

    If I may: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei

    For those who can't be bothered to follow the link:
    Philosophically speaking (as one might say), Wu Wei is a Taoist principle concerned with knowing when to act, or when not to act. Wu Wei approximately translates from Chinese as “Effortless Doing,” or “Action Without Action.” Laozi, an early Chinese philosopher, used the principle of “Action Without Action” to explain to Chinese bureaucrats why they shouldn't regulate everything in sight. Laozi said that those bureaucrats could leave things alone, and then claim credit for things going well, as if it were part of their master plan all along.

    Examples:
    1. Planets orbit the Sun, but not because they consciously try to.
    2. Economies self organize, and coordinate through prices, but not because Obama told them to.
    3. Water tumbles down a hill, but not because I tripped it. At least, that's what I told the cops....
    4. Internet commenters put down trolls, but not because the moderators told them too:
    5. I'm “effortlessly doing” your mom, right now.

    That is all.

  • Hyperion||

    You don't understand. In Tony's world inaction is action.

    Non-action? PENALTAX!

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I can't find an alternative to PayPal in a lot of instances,


    Amazing. To which instances are you referring?

    I imagine we'd be in a lot of similar situations without restrictions on anticompetitive behavior.


    How come? How would that work? I don't understand how such restrictions to which you allude would make the market more competitive. Besides, what is more anti-competition than government? Tariffs, quotas, regulations, taxes... all serve to make the market LESS competitive, not more.

    By the way, it is the seller that sets the parameters of how he or she wants the payment, be it PayPal or money order or gold. You're not obligated at all from accepting his or her terms. Try that with government.

  • tommy0302||

    Wow, boldface lying always helps your cause...for shame.

  • tommy0302||

    above refering to Tony

  • Too_Big_to_Fail||

  • Brandon||

    It's a new year, and Tony is still a fucking idiot.

  • T o n y||

    "Because you had to waddle out of the coffeehouse" is all I have to say on the subject of idiocy.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 1.2.13 @ 12:40PM |#
    ""Because you had to waddle out of the coffeehouse" is all I have to say on the subject of idiocy."

    Wrong, shithead. Every one of your posts is a case study in the subject.

  • SugarFree||

    Don't feed it, yo.

  • califernian||

    This has been one of his more blatant trolling attempts btw.

    he's trying to argue that we need government to enforce monopolies because otherwise we'd be under the thumb of private monopolies? Or something like that? I don't even follow it this time.

  • T o n y||

    It's government's job to have a monopoly on certain things. It's government's job to possess overwhelming power. It is the thing people invented for the purpose of having something with overwhelming power. To check the obvious potential for abuse, people innovated democratic government, which allows us to have the necessary tool of government while making it accountable to the people. Private monopolies are (generally) bad because they undermine the point of the tool of market capitalism, whose main productive mechanism is competition.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It is the thing people invented for the purpose of having something with overwhelming power. To check the obvious potential for abuse, people innovated democratic government, which allows us to have the necessary tool of government while making it accountable to the people.


    I don't see how you can read this and actually believe what you're saying. Sure, absolute power and violence sounds scary, but sprinkle democratic fairy dust on it, and... poof! Something new and wonderful. Please disregard democracy's track record. There's nothing to see there.

  • T o n y||

    It's because you can't wish away power, force, or coercion. Without a repository of all legitimate force able to be deployed in an overwhelming way, then there will simply be pockets of illegitimate force all around you. Libertarians seem to think you can simply wish that reality of the world away.

  • trshmnstr||

    It's because you can't wish away power, force, or coercion.

    However, with freedom of choice, you can choose whether or not to associate with those who misuse power, force, or coercion. In the cases where your rights are being violated, that is where a) a limited government helps and b)the 2nd Amendment (unrestricted by arbitrary gun control) helps.

    "Legitimate" force (governmental) is something that is applied to all people at all times with a heavy hand. "Illegitimate" force (those scary capitalists) can be ignored, subverted, and broken away from, assuming that the "legitimate" force hasn't taken away your rights to the point where you're defenseless to force of any kind.

    TL;DR: You are a statist troll, and I hope that your nanny government chooses you to be the first that it steamrolls on its way to absolute power.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    It's because you can't wish away power, force, or coercion. Without a repository of all legitimate force able to be deployed in an overwhelming way, then there will simply be pockets of illegitimate force all around you. You can't wish away power, force, or coercion, so you might as well give it to a big, overwhelming group, and then pretend it's OK. That's realistic and mature.

    FIFY.

  • Hyperion||

    That might damped the enthusiasm for politicians to "do something"

    Nope. Because 'doing something' to a large chunk of the electorate means more free stuff.

    And for progressives, it somehow always means doing something good, even when they have absolutely no idea what is being done.

    Every progressive I know are always going on with things like 'why don't congress just do something? Can they just pass something?'.

    Really, the cluelessness is beyond exasperating.

  • An0nB0t||

    Imagine how you'll feel in 30 years when the same thing is still happening.

  • Sevo||

    Sort of OT:
    "The food industry has complete license to put any amount of sugar in any food it wants to. That's just not OK,"
    Yep, one more asshole who is willing to tell *you* what you can eat.
    http://www.sfgate.com/health/a.....php#page-2

  • sarcasmic||

    The nerve you libertarians have in actually believing you own your own bodies!
    Incredible!
    Your body and everything else is the property of the government. They can take it from you without consequence, can't they? So it's really theirs, not yours.
    So if the government wants to dictate what you can eat or who you can fuck! It's their business because your body is their property!
    Get it, slave?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    But the vagina is still completely separate from the body, right?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    The State does give you a special dispensation to kill things you find in your uterus - so we've got that going for us (unless you don't have a uterus, then you're fucked).

  • califernian||

    technically it's the womb, not the vagina, that is off limits.

  • ||

    But Lustig doesn't say he wants to use government force to change things. He's just airing his opinion. Sure he's kind of dickish for being so paternalistic, but I don't see him using force.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It is so helpful that we live in a world where evil people are aware of their vileness and announce it when asked rather than think they are as moral as everyone else (or rather, in the case of evil people, think they are more moral than everyone else).


    I suggest you reconsider your contention. Evil people may not be aware of their vileness but that does not mean government gets to tell who is evil and who is not. What happens if the government deems YOU an evil actor and proceed to sanction you accordingly?

    You don't believe that happens? Why do you think so many pot smokers are jailed in this country? That's just for starters. How is the public helped by saying that pot smoking is evil and those that smoke pot are evil-doers, if the case is that pot smokers are not in the business of hurting anyone except themselves?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    There is no such thing as inaction, philosophically speaking.


    There is - it is called reaction. Action follows reason and decision. REaction comes from programming or instinct, which means action =/= reaction.

    If there is, describe to me what a person looks like when he is doing nothing.


    Doing nothing is not the same as inaction. Don't pretend to discuss philosophy when you don't even understand basic concepts.

    A sleeping person is an acting agent that is not performing any actions. There's your example.

  • T o n y||

    Reaction equals inaction, because reaction isn't action?

    How is reaction not action (you can certainly think of reactions that are reasoned through--and if you think about it, aren't all actions also reactions?)?

    If you look up "inaction" in the dictionary you'll realize that it is always contextual. That is, people are only engaging in inaction in situations where action is warranted or expected.

    Which means that taxing people for not owning health insurance isn't taxing "doing nothing." It's taxing the behavior of not buying health insurance.

  • ||

    Tony said:

    Which means that taxing people for not owning health insurance isn't taxing "doing nothing." It's taxing the behavior of not buying health insurance.

    Oh.

    Well, that makes it awesome, then.

  • FreeLibertine||

    My intuition leads me to think about fucking. I have no intuitive ideas about government whatsoever.

  • jeffm8||

    Yea we don't need regulation! We all know that businesses have never done anything malicious in order to make a profit.

  • sasob||

    That's right! They've never used special government connections to get special favors or to be excepted from laws and regulations that remain in force for those without connections. Nah.

  • sasob||

    Intuition leads us to think that without government we'd be victims of fraud,

    Even with government we are victims of fraud - Obozo got elected twice, didn't he? Not to mention all the con artists in Congress.

  • BMFPitt||

    (Because you had to waddle out of the coffeehouse. That's actually where the phrase "lame duck" originated.)

    I think that Congress needs a new rule.

  • bonesteelwarren||

    Glenn Reynolds once wrote a book about something like this...

    I once had an article published from Europe to Thailand about it. Called "Social Singularity." Ccouldn't get anyone in the US to touch it.

    In the US, we still think that freedom is anarchy. ...including a lot of libertarians.

  • دردشة العراق||

    thank you

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