A humble moment of pride

As I said in another post, I recommend using New Year’s Eve as a time to review and write down your accomplishments over the year. When I did that, I realized that I wanted to take public note of the fact that in my OCON 2021 talk, I made a sizeable contribution to the cause of freedom.

My talk identified, defended, and applied what I believe to be a new point in political philosophy: all government regulation is wrong. The title of the talk was “All Regulation Is Over-Regulation”—playing off the lame conservative desire to “cut the red tape” and pare back “unnecessary regulations.”

You may object: “Wait, lots of people for a long time have said that government shouldn’t intervene in the economy.” Yes, but my talk was much wider than that. It didn’t cover just economic interventionism, and it defined the whole issue in terms of what is force, what is the threat of force, and what makes for an objective threat. Consequently, I see the same principle in far-flung issues: gun control, immigration control, building codes, food and drug regulations.

I stressed that evidence of potential harm has to be about specific individuals, drawing upon this passage in OPAR:

information about the capacities of a species is not evidence supporting a hypothesis about one of its members. From “Man is capable of murder” one cannot infer “Maybe Mr. X is the killer we are seeking.”

However, it was the following statement of hers that inspired me, and it was in my notes to quote in the talk, but somehow I overlooked it.I don’t think you can find anything in Ayn Rand dealing with all regulation, regulation per se, rather than just economic controls.

the legal hallmark of a dictatorship [is] preventive law–the concept that a man is guilty until he is proved innocent by the permissive rubber stamp of a commissar or a Gauleiter.


“Who Will Protect Us from our Protectors?” The Objectivist Newsletter, May 1962

Looking at issues from the standpoint of whether or not they constitute preventive law is immensely clarifying.

I will check on whether ARI is selling the recording of “All Regulation Is Over-Regulation.”