by Patrick Appel

Will Wilkinson broadens the debate:

Whenever a libertarian concedes the utility of regulation meant to reduce the negative external effects of economic activity, you can be sure a purer strain of libertarian will arrive on the scene to shout down the idea that regulation ever makes sense. Likewise, whenever a pragmatic progressive such as Mr Yglesias observes that regulation is very often the means by which privilege protects itself, more thoroughly ideological progressives will pop up to defend almost any particular measure, as if admitting that some regulations make things worse is tantamount to conceding that none make things better. 

I suspect that at least part of the resistance to Mr Yglesias' anti-licensing arguments stem from the observation that these arguments have been most often set forth by libertarians as part of a larger agenda to establish the overall illegitimacy of state-imposed limits on economic liberty.

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