Let's Stop This Silent Killer

Friday, October 15, 2010

My op-ed about government regulation as a "silent killer" afflicting millions of Americans now appears at Pajamas Media.

I'm not quoting from the op-ed here because I took an unorthodox, anecdotal approach with it. What I will do here is describe why I ended up doing that, because I find it intriguing as a writer.

I wrestled with this topic one night, but beyond an intro that I heavily edited later, I remained stuck with a single paragraph. (That dense, impenetrable thicket of facts eventually became the basis for the three paragraphs before the last in the article.) By the time I returned to work on it again, though, something had clicked and the words just flowed. The following, which I cut from an earlier draft, summarizes well what the problem was.

Public awareness campaigns about deadly, but hard-to-detect diseases often vie for attention with clever sound bytes, like "the silent killer." But beyond the novelty, these phrases utterly fail to convey what such a condition can mean to an individual human being. Statistics can be even worse: Data that should be a clarion call instead muffles us behind a layer of abstraction. Double for the staggering costs. Already hard to come to grips with, these figures land on overwhelmed ears.
And triple for the solution, especially when the problem is cultural and political in nature like this one. I'm glad I was able to work in an approach to solving the problem at the end. On top of all that, I was baffled as to how to discuss the annoyance of appliance regulations and the destructive, cumulative effects of regulation in a single article. This approach solved that problem as well.

I'd like to thank Amit Ghate for suggesting I turn this topic into an op-ed and Paul Hsieh for his editorial feedback.

-- CAV


Galileo Blogs said...

Great approach, Gus. I just submitted this comment:

"Superb editorial. Regulations are the “silent killers” because they impose unwanted costs and restrictions on all economic activities. Hiring employees becomes more expensive, products such as appliances or medicines become more expensive, and new ones are prevented outright from coming into existence. This silent killer is stealthy and difficult to see, because it occurs in small increments. Those increments add up and they make our lives so much worse.

Why should regulations exist? People should be free to produce and sell what they wish. It is their right to do what they wish with their property. But what about fraud, one may ask. That is not solved by regulation. Fraud would always be illegal and is best handled through law enforcement. Regulation does nothing to stop it. Observe the Bernie Madoff fiasco. He complied with all regulations, and still committed a massive fraud.

End regulation, and free humans to be productive and prosperous."

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for your support, GB!

Mo said...

Very unsafe regulations Indeed.

BTW here is my sketch entitled:

"One Liberty Indivisible"


the next sketch will be:

"Community: Everyone but Yourself"

Rob said...

Congratulations Gus! It's great to see so many Objectivists on PJM!

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks, Rob.