Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This is how fascism works

Found this little gem linked on The author of the article describes in breathless language, "a bedroom door bangs open and two men in black bulletproof vests storm shouting into the kitchen. 'Broward Sheriff's Office!'" as swat-clad officers take down a major menace to society... (dun, dun, DUNNNN): the unlicensed contractor.

Here's the reason that deploying paramilitary cops against people who perform construction work without a license from government is justified: ""We try to stick to people doing work that could cause safety issues. If you improperly install exterior doors, they could blow in during a hurricane," said Det. Daniel Belyeu, of BSO's economic crimes unit." That is very serious. Why are we relying on the local sheriff to take care of this problem? We should really bring in the national guard, or even better, the 20,000 US soldiers permanently deployed within the US, or even better yet, we should call in Delta force or one of the other black-ops units whose names none of us know. People could die, this is serious stuff... and there's been lots of complaints:

"Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach county residents filed 603 complaints with the state about unlicensed construction professionals last year, and 141 complaints about electrical professionals. Regulators expect more as South Florida's slumping economy leaves more construction workers unemployed and looking for odd jobs - and more homeowners looking for cut-rate work." Now wait a minute, who is doing this complaining? I'm sure customers also register complaints for licensed contractors... why is there any reason to believe the complaints about unlicensed contractors constitute a greater proportion of the jobs performed by unlicensed contractors than the proportion of jobs performed by licensed contractors which result in complaints? And, even if it is higher, what's the big deal, they hired the cheaper guy in order to save money, if he doesn't do as good a job, what were you expecting??

Obviously, it's not the customers who are doing the complaining. It's the other licensed contractors who went through all the expense of obtaining and maintaining that state license. "Belyeu, also a certified electrical contractor, played the father and was wired to record his conversations with the contractors." The guy running the sting is a licensed contractor! Surprise! Welcome to fascism, people. This is what fascism is: "Get permission to do anything - just like the rest of us did - or expect paramilitary psychos wielding fully automatic weapons to kick down your door, hog-tie you and drag you to jail."

Think about this: While every action you take, as a member of society, must be justifiable, not every action must be justified. That is, while it is true that you should be able to defend your actions in a court of law if someone brings a complaint against you, that doesn't imply that you must always seek permission before acting. We have become a permit/license society where you must beg the state's permission to engage in any economic production on the grounds that you could engage in shoddy business practices. Well, so do licensed people (where else do the majority of civil cases come from?)... seeking permission does not guarantee justifiable behavior, nor does it increase the likelihood that someone will not do shoddy work. The very concept of begging someone's permission to be allowed to engage in production of a good or service that a customer is willing to pay you to produce is an offense against reason. And the logic of permits and licenses, which seems on the surface to be innocuous, leads straight to the situation described in Florida, with the State kicking in people's doors and hauling them to jail for what? For trying to do things people need done at a lower price by avoiding the State's red tape games. How dare they! Lock them up and throw away the key!!

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