Richman’s law: Freedom is not the problem.

Anarcho-Ichthus-favWhenever the government sees a social or economic problem–real or imagined–it wants to handle it with some new law. 

Whether the problem is drugs or alcohol, child abuse or some trouble with banking and investment, these new laws too often fall short of their promise. They create new problems without eliminating the old. The created problems then require more regulations, and so on, in a downward spiral of government regulation. It’s the “we need more of what’s-not-working-now” solution: If a fifteen-year prison sentence doesn’t end the drug trade, then let’s make it thirty years.

Sheldon Richman

During the last few months, I’ve caught several internet webinars hosted by the Future of Freedom Foundation’s Sheldon Richman. The last one was on THE MYTH OF MARKET FAILURE (worth catching here ). Mr. Richman addressed this cycle of increasing regulation in a way that really exposes the government’s thinking in such matters.

Richman said that no matter how much the government controls things, “any problem will be blamed on whatever little sliver of freedom that remains.” Lawrence Vance–a prolific Christian libertarian himself–calls this insightful formulation, “Richman’s Law.” I intend to use it as often as possible.

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