Deregulation For The Little Guy

Tim Lee applauds Yglesias:

Matt Yglesias has had a series of excellent posts about the anti-competitive effects of regulations on barbers, dental hygienists, tour guides, and various other industries. And each post has been greeted by a chorus of condemnation from his readers, who accuse him of being a libertarian sellout. Now obviously, as a libertarian I think Matt is right on the merits. But I also think Matt’s critics are wrong about the ideological valence of these issues...

If you look back to the work of early liberals who are the common intellectual ancestors of both liberals and libertarians, you’ll find a lot of concern about interest groups using the power of the state to enrich themselves at the expense of the general public. Early European liberals strongly opposed the state practice of selling state-enforced monopolies as a way of raising revenue and rewarding political supporters. The free-market and free-trade arguments of 19th Century liberals often took a populist, anti-business cast precisely because government interventions of the time were often such blatant attempts to benefit entrenched interests at the expense of the general public.