Watch "No Vans Land," Great Doc About Idiotic Licensing Laws, Etc.

 

This is an excellent documentary from a new platform called Honest Enterprise, which will be showcasing stories of how rules and regulations hurt not just small business owners, but many of the poorest Americans. From the makers' writeup:

No Vans Land tells the inspiring story of a small business owner taking on City Hall. Hector [Ricketts], like many other Americans, came here from Jamaica for opportunity. But like too many others, he has been forced to constantly defend himself against government attempts to restrict his business and protect powerful interests.

The van service operated by Ricketts takes health-care workers to work, transports other commuters, and more. Yet he and his workers is constantly harassed via a legal and regulatory structure that is designed to make their jobs as tough as possible. The folks at Honest Enterprise were hipped to Ricketts by the good guys at the Institute for Justice, the leading libertarian-leaning public-interest law firm. IJ's work on reducing licensing restrictions and other bullshit ways of keeping people down is legendary and hugely important.

As stirring as the documentary itself is (which is plenty), I'm actually even more jazzed about the larger project of Honest Enterprise. The folks behind the platform (which is supported by the Charles Koch Institute - oooo, scary!) plan to relase new long-form documentaries on a regular basis (every coupla/few months), supplementing the main film with relevant video and print materials.

This is a form of the partisan or advocacy journalism recently celebrated by Jack Shafer at Reuters. This is journalism that is serious even though its creators take a side in a given issue. The goal is to persuade, not to dogmatize people into agreement. Though a somewhat doctrinaire libertarian who got his start at the Koch-funded Inquiry magazine back in the day (...worlds are colliding!...), Shafer's pantheon of partisan journos runs the gamut from Glenn Greenwald to Rachel Carson to Ralph Nader and more. He doesn't necessarily agree with all the people he name-checks but he respects their impact and their flagrant departure from the phony objectivity of characters such as Aaron Sorkin and David Gregory. Instead, Shafer suggests:

My paean to activist and partisan journalism does not include the output of the columnists and other hacks who arrange their copy to please their Democratic or Republican Party patrons. (You know who you are.) Nor do I favor the partisan journalists who insult reader intelligence by cherry-picking the evidence, debate-club style, to win the day for their comrades. Click and read a few of the articles I cite above and then ask yourself: Where would we be without our partisan journalists?

Read the full Shafer and watch No Vans Land, too. It's good stuff, we need more of it, and I'm psyched that Honest Enterprise will be putting out more material.

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    Yet he and his workers is constantly

    Really?

  • Fluffy||

    The new progressive argument in favor of all this abuse (coming to us via Jaron Lanier, but soon to be picked up by progressives everywhere) is that it's NECESSARY for this guy's disruptive activity to be stopped, because government bureaucrats and taxi cab medallion owners and mass public transportation utility employees NEED to make a living, and it's not fair to force them to compete all the time because that doesn't acknowledge the biological reality that people want to be lazy sacks of shit when they aren't young and healthy any more.

    They should only face a little mild competition, and nothing more serious than that.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    This sounds pretty interesting, like a lot of other Reason TV videos, but I can read much faster than I can watch. I'd rather spend 5 minutes reading a transcript than getting half-bored by the slowness of videos and not pay attention for 20 minutes.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    +1 billion.

    I can't believe they can't bother to find the couple of bucks it would take to make a transcript of each video.

  • KevinP||

    While I agree in principle with Shafer's piece, almost 80% of the partisan heroes that he cites are from the left.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    I was hoping it was about Van Jones. But this works, too.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    What pieces of shits are in office. And the cops...such heroes.

    Unbelievable. Same garbage here in Quebec. The West Island is a wealthy but far off part of the city has had to struggle with bad bus services for ages. It was neglected, I'm pretty sure, because it's largely English-speaking. Yet, good luck trying what these folks pulled off. It would be a major battle against the unions. Apparently, only their families matter.

    Fucking sickening.

    Ricketts and the people in the video are EXACTLY what a civilized and thriving society needs.

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