I invite you to read my new essay, Designing a Better Regulatory State.
George Mason University professor Tyler Cowen coined the expression "state-capacity libertarianism" to describe the view that a strong, competent government is more likely to promote ordered liberty than a weak government. Rather than starving the government to bring it down to size, as conservatives and libertarians alike have attempted in recent decades, a state-capacity libertarian would argue that we need a government with the competence, the resources, and yes, the authority, to respond to novel virus outbreaks and reduce the electricity grid's vulnerability. Competent governance during pandemics, power outages, and other emergencies would diminish calls for greater government intervention during times of crisis.
In keeping with this philosophy, conservatives would do well to think less about abolishing the regulatory state and more about how to reform it in ways that enable it to govern effectively while guarding against abuse.
I don’t think that we can do without an administrative state. Do you think Congressmen have the knowhow to take decision-making authority back from the FCC, the SEC, the nuclear regulatory agency, and so on?
But given that an administrative state exists, does it have to be as incompetent as the one we have? Are we stuck with Dr. Fauci and the CDC, with no mechanism for improvement?
In the essay, I propose ways to make the administrative state more operationally effective and more accountable. These proposals are not foolproof. But if you fail to offer constructive criticism and instead only point out flaws, then my comeback will be to ask you to defend the status quo.
I believe that a technocratic elite making regulatory decisions is inevitable in modern society. But it is not inevitable that they lack accountability, as they do in our current system. And I hope that it is not inevitable that they think too highly of themselves and assume powers and responsibilities that are beyond their competence.