Monday, December 26, 2005

The Demonisation of Regulation

The global elites have now made it politically correct to demonise regulation.

All attempts at any kind of regulation are regularly ridiculed by them.

Particular bits of regulation can of course be incompetent or worse.

But the solution to bad bits of regulation is the right political process so that it can turn out the right kind of regulation.

Without government regulation, all business activity would immediately cease.

Why? Because money is itself a product of government regulation, as are the existence of the Internet and the financial agreements which make international trade possible.

The global elites understand this very well.

That is why, alongside demonising regulation in public, they privately spend such vast sums of money in lobbying politicians to try to ensure that regulation benefits themselves!

In a discussion on a private e-mail discussion group, I called for taxation on the development and implementation of a particular technology. A representative of a large multinational company responded that my observation and analysis were entirely correct, but that my solution was not, because "nothing good ever came out of regulation".

I felt like asking (but politely did not, specially as there were more substantial issues at stake) how much his corporation had spent on lobbying every single day in the last 12 months.

Routine demonisation of government regulations started in the USA. Tom Delay, till recently arguably the most powerful man in the US congress, started his very successful political career in the 1980's crusading against environmental regulations he saw as "unfairly" constraining his Texas-based pest control business.

Today, this demonisation has spread worldwide and, to my surprise, I find otherwise good-hearted and publicly-spirited people falling prey to this political correctness.

People who are good-hearted and publicly-spirited should undoubtedly decry all bad legislation and regulation. But we should also try to work toward the right political processes, so that the best kind of regulation and legislation is produced.

Today, what is vitiating the legislative and regulatory process is not only this kind of demonisation of regulation (and indeed of all politics) but also the weakening of politics. That is, in turn, the result of the weakening of the civic impulse in the West (in the rest of the world it was never as strong anyway). And the civic impulse was itself the result, as I have pointed out elsewhere, of the European Reformation with its strong emphasis on duties rather than rights - an emphasis that began to be weakened by the French Revolution, which emphasised rights instead – with results that are plain for all to see.

So we need to kick aside the debilitating effects of the French Revolution and get back to the public spirited sense of duty that was inculcated by the European Reformation.

Of course, we don't all have to be Evangelicals and Protestants if we want our countries to have public-spiritedness, good-heartedness, proper legislation and healthy politics. But it is essential to find ways of inculcating in the masses that sense of duty which alone leads to healthy politics.

Through history, Marxism, Nationalism and various other "isms" have succeeded in inculcating a sense of duty, but none of them have done so as effectively or with such long-lasting effect as the Reformation. Countries which were most influenced by the Reformation remain to this day the countries which have the most extensively-demonstrated sense of duty, public spirit, good-heartedness, clean politics and responsible legislation.

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