ERROL CASTENS: Too much regulation versus too little

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

“Tocqueville also foresaw exactly how this regulatory state would suffocate the spirit of free enterprise: ‘It rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces [the] nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.’”
Niall Ferguson, “The Regulated States of America,”
Alcohol laws are to the rural South what gun laws are to the urban Northeast. They are designed as hindrances and traps for law-abiding people by other people who know next to nothing about the product being regulated or its legitimate use and who are convinced their own uninformed fears are the only legitimate lenses through which to view that product.
It’s probably safe to say that few people who would vote to criminalize having a glass of wine or beer in one’s own home have ever been to a tasting of fine wines, and few who would vote for “gotcha” gun laws have ever given more than cursory thought to the utility of disarmament to tyranny or the role of self-defense in public safety.


Some folks seem to see diversity as a good thing in everything except education, thought and belief. President Barack Obama this week made an eloquent-sounding argument against religious schools in Northern Ireland. If this train of thought stopped with the Protestant/Catholic divide in Northern Ireland, one might almost ignore the fact that religious schools nearly always outperform their public counterparts.
Unfortunately, the same argument of division has been used by opponents of charter schools in Mississippi – that they would reinstitute segregation and send us all back to the 1960s. (They conveniently ignore the fact that charter schools would be public, equal-opportunity institutions whose differences would be in methods and emphases, not skin color.)


Oxford has been studying its downtown parking for six years. When it hired Standard Parking last year to manage parking with a high-tech license recognition system, Standard promised it would be revenue-neutral, but it has proven anything but: A much lower-than-normal ticketing rate means the city will eat more than $200,000 in costs.
The Parking Commission recommended paid parking for streetside spaces early on, but the Board of Aldermen rejected the idea. Whether the reason had anything to do with the recent election or not, it’s time to revisit that idea.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford reporter ERROL CASTENS at

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