Joe the Plumber (Outlaw)

Lew Rockwell has written a new article, Joe the Outlaw.  He points out that in the current presidential campaign:

one interesting point has emerged: the archetype chosen to represent mainstream America turns out to be a thorough-going outlaw in the best sense of that term. In this, he is a symbol of the age. We can look forward to the creation and emergence of ever more people like this in the coming years, as the state tightens its grip over every aspect of American life. We will all soon be outlaws.

Joe the Plumber according to recent news report is not a licensed plumber in a state that requires a license for anyone to be a plumber.  Lew Rockwell makes the excellent point that:

The real goal of licensing is to create a professional cartel. Fewer providers means higher wages for those with licenses. It is all about boosting income by restricting competition. This is of course a violation of human rights because it impinges on the fundamental freedom of association.

Having such guilds or unions by themselves wouldn’t be such a problem if the government didn’t get involved.  The lack of competition is created and the free market abolished when the state gets involved to enforce such restrictions.  Lew Rockwell points out that:

There was a time when entry into these fields was governed by the free market, and the system worked fine (contrary to legend). But the big players in these industries sought and obtained state privileges to officially license service providers. It was an income-boosting tactic and it worked. (emphasis added)

The article goes on to discuss the taxes that Joe the Plumber still owes and how this demonstrates an attack by the state on private property.  I highly recommend that you read the whole article.

He concludes by saying that Joe

is an outlaw in the same sense that our founders were outlaws. He lives outside the regulations of the state because these regulations attack his freedom and property. It was to end systems such as this that the American revolution came to be. And yet we find ourselves back in exactly the same system, and one incredibly worse in every way.

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5 Responses to Joe the Plumber (Outlaw)

  1. Matt says:

    Sorry, while I understand your point, I can’t agree. There is a simpler explanation for the creation of mandatory licensing: protection of consumers. In my case, I am certified as a Forensic Examiner of computers. Currently, SC is (like many states) trying to require me to obtain a Private Investigator’s license before I can perform investigations for anyone other than my boss.

    Sounds like a scam at first glance by the PI industry. If you talk to the gentleman pushing this legislation (and I have), his concern is that of hack jobs performing bad forensic investigations. Apparently there are two problems plaguing the courts. Investigators outside of SC’s jurisdiction so they cannot be forced into court to answer for how the investigation was performed (Not sure I understand how that works legally). Second, there is a problem with people botching the investigation and ruining the evidence.

    Consequently, there is a request to have everyone performing investigations licensed with the state. Personally, I understand the need and probably can agree to it. I just disagree with the requisite licensing being a PI license. Needs to be a GCFA or something at that level.

  2. Joseph says:

    The flaw in that reasoning seems to be that you set up the state as the ultimate overseer. The state “protects the consumer.” Who protects the consumer from the state? For example, who protects the consumer from the inflation and theft that is created by the Fed manipulating the money supply? That’s an example with current relevance because I don’t know any plumbing or forensic examples off the top of my head. I don’t have faith in the state.

  3. Matt says:

    Its not that I set the state up as anything. In this case the state is trying to enable a more reliable court system. You can disagree with the method they are using, but certainly not the sentiment. I’d like to know that justice is being properly rendered, and that’s the point.

    In other situations, I believe licensing often comes after consumers complain to the AG about problems they are having. So, the state regulates via licensing to help control poor companies.

  4. Joseph says:

    The point we obviously disagree on is that you believe the standard story on consumer protection, and I do not. I don’t really want to argue the point at the moment but point to some articles that show otherwise:
    Consumer Protection or Legal Extortion?
    The Truth About the “Robber Barons”
    Anti-trust, Anti-truth
    Credit-Card Conspiracy
    True consumer protection will best occur in a truly free market. A good book to ready would be How Capitalism Saved America by Thomas DiLorenzo.

  5. Joe says:

    Two thoughts. First, it seems to me that the responsibility of the state is to protect the consumer from fraud, lies, stealing, murder, etc., but not from poor quality. Where did the idea come from that the state’s responsibility is to eliminate poor quality goods and services? Certainly not the Constitution. Not also the Bible.

    Second, do civil governments have track records of improving quality? Is the civil government the best insurer of such improvements, better than, say, private enterprises that grow out of a free market? Has a government monopoly in things like education or medical regulation ensured the highest of quality? I think not. I find that when the state regulates things (by, for example, requiring licensing), quality decreases and prices go up. But when markets are free, quality increases and prices go down.

    Matt, I think your point has validity to a certain point. Obviously, I don’t know what you know in that specific field. But I can conceive of situations in which the government is performing an investigation on something within its own (Constitution-, God-given) jurisdiction – say a fraud, or something – and it wants its own people to perform the investigation. In those cases it is government people doing government work. Joseph’s hesitancy (and mine) is keeping the government doing only its own extremely limited work and keeping it out of the markets. Free markets do a pretty good job in weeding out poor quality and rewarding quality.

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