The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bludgeoning Economies With Massive Regulation

Attended a briefing with some members of the European Parliament at CEI last week. The topic was the precautionary principle, a logic-defying policy perspective. Whereas historically the creator of a new product has to make reasonably certain that the product won’t harm anyone, and the burden being on someone else to show that the product does cause harm (ie, an innocent until proven guilty system), the precautionary principle turns this on its head. In systems where the precautionary principle governs, now the producer has to prove that his product causes no harm, before that product is released.

It was a fascinating briefing, especially considering the impacts of the precautionary principle on US firms doing business in Europe. But what was more interesting was the discussion of how out-of-control the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Commission is. According to these EP members, in the last three months the system has spawned some twenty five-hundred new regulations.

How does this happen? Well, in the United States, we’ve got multiple checks on regulatory power. Congress creates new laws, and is held accountable in a variety of ways. Once those laws are passed and are turned over to the executive branch, likewise there are multiple checks. The Administrative Procedures Act creates a deliberative regulatory creation process. The Regulatory Flexibility Act and Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act inject burden tests into the process. If the regulation is thought to be arbitrary or capricious, it can be challenged in court.

Our regulatory morass is immense (as discussed here). But what happens when there are no such checks on power? 2500 new regulations in three months.

EU laws are born not from the EP, but from the EC – unelected officials who cannot be removed from office if the public believes that their actions were in error. There is no APA, no RegFlex, no injection of deliberation into the process. Simply put, there’s no accountability, and Europeans suffer as a result.

Listening to radio reports about unrest in France, for instance, I was astounded to learn that the French have a ten percent unemployment rate. Ten percent! That number is significantly higher among their North African populations (two to three times higher). And it’s no wonder. In America, two thirds of all new jobs are created within the small business sector. Small businesses, however, are least able to handle the burden of regulations.

Pass mandate upon mandate upon mandate, and an economy’s source of new job creation sputters, falters, and eventually dies.

If America’s economy has to own up to the truths of globalization, has to adapt, has to recognize that it’s own system of doing things is going to have to change in order to effectively compete, then this is doubly true for the European system. The bureaucrats forging regulatory policy at the EC are doing everything they can to kill Europe’s potential for economic recovery and prosperity. But where the US has it over the Europeans is that we have tools and precedents at hand to make our change and adaptation to change that much easier.

For Europe to solve its problems, their change is going to have to be much more sweeping and much more fundamental. They’ve started down that path by quashing the European Constitution, but far more is going to have to be done.

- Andrew Langer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know some of you remember me because I still get emails. I guess
maybe it is a cosmic coincidence that I am posting this today!

I’m the guy with the delivery company--a couple of my guys parked
near the Dupont Scientology place, and the Scientologists went
crazy when they mentioned blinkers. The Scientologists have been
hassling me ever since then.

Well guess what I did? I went to that Scientology place on Monday

I took the metro as I know parking is a pain around there.

I ignored the people outside, walked in like I had business there.

A young man asked if he could help me. I told him who I was and
that I wanted to talk to someone in charge. His eyes got very big,
but he stayed calm. He asked me to have a seat and wait.

I sat and waited. I have to tell you that they have a very nice
place. I think it used to be a house. Someone obviously spent a
lot of money on it.

Well a woman came out and asked me to come with her. We went into
a little office.

She introduced herself, I won’t give the name though.

By the way, I brought a yellow pad and made it clear I was going
to take notes.

I told her I wanted the harassment to stop. I layed out what had
happened, that they had been calling truck companies and had shown
up when I was doing a pickup and told the people there my company
was a bunch of religious bigots.

I told her as far as I knew the word blinker was the common term
for the flashing lights on a truck.

I told her that hassling a small business over a word is
ridiculous, and that if we could come to some kind of
understanding I’d have to find another solution. I had thought
about taking the two guys with me but then I thought they might
have thought we’d get violent.

She said she’d wished I’d made an appointment. I told her maybe
THEY should have made an appointment instead of just showing up
and hassling me. I also told her that I did look on their website
and it was not clear how to make appointments.

She asked me what I knew about blinkers and I asked her if she
meant not the truck kind and she said yes. I told her I had looked
on the web and it said that they were teleporting cats and that
they were either made from cat dna or that their dna was the basis
of cats. It also said that these cats are part of the invaders
that are part of Scientology religion.

She said that there are many advanced teachings in Scientology.
She asked me what religion I was and I would not tell her. She
asked why and I told her I was there to get to the bottom of this
and not to tell her my life story. She asked if I knew what was
meant by a religion having advanced teachings. I told her not

She said in Scientology people come in at the level of preclear
and move up the bridge. She showed me a picture of this bridge,
there are many steps along the way to something called the OT
levels. She said that OT is Operating Thetan and is the highest

She said along the way you have to learn various things and that
L. Ron Hubbard designed the bridge so you learned things as you
needed to learn them.

I asked her what the harm was in accidentally learning something
early--like learning about the blinkers.

She said and was very serious that there were cases where people
had learned things early and been harmed. She told me there was a
court case where some other things had been leaked and they took
steps to protect the judge who reviewed the leaked papers.

She also said that there are people who stole Scientology
materials and use them in something called the Free Zone. She said
that this violates the Scientology copyright. She told me that I
should have made an appointment with something called the
Religious Technology Center in Los Angeles but that since I was
not a Scientologist I might not have understood the web site. I
told her I did not know what that was and was certainly not going
to go to Los Angeles for no reason.

She said that the Religious Technology Center protects
Scientology’s copyrights and makes sure that the material is used
as it was designed. I asked if it was like quality control and she
said yes. She said that Scientology is very precise and gets
results if it is applied as designed. I told her that made sense
but where was the harm in knowing about these blinker cats. In
fact, I told her, the guys on the truck did not even know that the
word blinker had anything at all to do with Scientology and that
maybe they should use less common words for such sensitive things.

She told me that she had no control over what things were called
that everything was based on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard.

I said well it is a good thing Hubbard didn’t decide that the word
mover is not some other kind of monster or I’d be in even more
trouble. I don’t think she got the joke. She repeated what she
said about Hubbard’s writings.

I said well OK what happens now. I said you are harassing me for
what, because we parked near you, that’s our right and because
someone said blinker? I think that’s legal too.

She said that we did not have a parking permit. I told her we did
not need one. I told her I’d been in the business for quite a
while, I know what permits I need. I also told her that if we had
a permit violation, DC should deal with us and not her and that it
had nothing to do with bigotry or religious secrets.

I told her that they have a special meaning for the word clear, is
it a problem if we say something is not clear or that glass is
clear? She said no as clear is not part of an advanced teaching. I
said that’s nuts, how are people who are not Scientologists
supposed to know all of this? I said you are hassling my business
because someone said blinker. I said Catholics would not get upset
if we said cross or mass outside a church and Jews would not get
upset if you said pass over.

She said, and I’m not kidding, that this was one good reason to
study Scientology. I said why, so people won’t break some odd
rule? I told her that certain things were obviously offensive to
different religions but they were pretty well known. I also told
her I thought it was pretty rare for a religion to hassle someone
over something so minor.

Then she said well you posted this story of yours on the Internet.
She said you mentioned the blinkers. I said well yes I did as the
last time I checked America still had free speech. I told her they
post all kinds of stuff on the Internet and why are they better
than me.

She said well we don’t post other religions’ advanced teachings or
make fun of them. I told her that if I’m making fun of anything at
all I’m making fun of their intolerance of the use of a common
word in its usual meaning. I told her that if there’s any bigotry
going on it is against what seems to be some pretty serious
stupidity. I told her they had hassled me way more than I had
hassled them if I had even hassled them at all. I told her as far
as I knew no one had had any problems from hearing us say
blinkers. I asked her what would happen if a Scientologist went to
the store and someone said they had left their blinkers on and
they happened to hear it.

I asked her why, if this word is so dangerous or whatever that
something hasn’t happened before. I asked her why if these cats
exist why hadn’t the government done something about them.

At this point she said something about governments suppressing
Scientology but I interrupted her and just kept going.

I told her I could have lived the rest of my life and not had a
clue about these flying space cats if this had not happened. I
told her that there are lots of moves and deliveries in her area
and that they should be used to seeing this by now. I told her
that when all of the stuff for this building got moved in that
someone must have parked nearby to move it.

I told her I’d had it. I told her she was costing me money and my
employees did not like being hassled and followed. I reminded her
that I was taking notes and that I was most certainly going to
post about the meeting. I told her if she had anything to say she
had better get with it and say it as I’d heard about enough about
parking permits and dangerous advanced teachings.

She asked if the comment about dangerous advanced teachings was
making fun of Scientology and I said well maybe a little. I told
her I’d been using the word for years and nothing had happened. I
told her that I’d accept that they had advanced teaching but did
not see how they could be dangerous. I asked her if she could give
me any evidence of this danger and she said the danger was there
but she was not allowed to give me an examples.

I said well that’s about it, what are you going to do about this?
I told her I was really upset and since the problem started here
in this building that’s where I’d come back to.

She asked me to wait outside while she made a phone call. I said
maybe a conference call would be best and she said no. She said
she would make a call and that she would have an answer for me at
the end of the call.

So I wandered around the lobby for about twenty minutes. I thought
they would watch me but if they were it was through hidden
cameras. But maybe not, as another woman came up and asked if she
could help me and I told her I was in a meeting with the other
woman, they do not seem to be all that organized, and there were a
lot of people wandering around in there.

Well she came back out and asked me to come back into the office.
She said she had been talking to people at the Religious
Technology Center about me. She said the disclosure of the
advanced teaching about blinkers was recent and a major concern of
theirs. She said it was a policy order that anyone not in good
standing and disseminating data about blinkers was subject to a
suppressive person declaration. That’s pretty much what she said
and yes I did ask her what it meant.

She said that it meant that in order to control the flow of
information about advanced teachings that persons doing so without
authorization were declared as suppressive. I told her I was not
suppressing anything. She said that I was suppressing Scientology.
I said well what happens now.

She said there were various procedures. She said I really should
consider becoming a Scientologist in good standing as that would
be the easiest way to get the suppressive declare revoked. I said
I was not about to convert to her religion over this. She said
then I needed to go ahead and make amends in the form of overts
and withholds although she said it is hard to do this if you are
not a Scientologist.

I told her I was having nothing to do with their rules and
procedures. I said you people are after me because we parked near
your building and used a common word which you think is some
secret religious code word or something. She said that ever since
the first disclosure of the blinker teaching there had been a lot
of calls into Scientology about it.

I told her I had nothing to with the discovery of this teaching. I
said if it is so secret then how did someone find out about it.
She said well sometimes people steal documents and leak them. She
said in this case it seems someone had bought confidential
documents at a garage sale. She said this person posted about the
blinkers and other things.

She said that this person then sold the documents to a known
suppressive person even though they offered her a fair price for
the documents.

Now I will be honest and say that by now I know about that but did
not know about it before. I told her. She said well see that’s the
problem. People talk about these teachings and it causes problems.

I said well you caused this problem. If you had not been taking
pictures of my guys and then having a fit when one of them said
blinker none of this ever would have happened.

She said people come and protest there and expose teachings. She
showed me some pictures of people with picket signs that looked
like aliens. She said the alien signs were making fun of other
advanced teachings. She said she had seen the blinker pictures on
the internet and it was more of the same. I said well I never made
any blinker pictures.

She told me that the Religious Technology Center had told her that
they could arrange a special price if everyone in my company would
at least do some basic processing. I said I am not going to
convert over this and it is illegal for me to even suggest it to
my employees.

Then she started telling me that Scientology is compatible with
all other religions and you really don’t have to convert if you
don’t want to. I told her it would still be illegal for me to even
suggest any kind of religious training or whatever it is to my
employees. She said that the suppressive person declaration
applies to all of you and it is your choice of what to do.

I stood up. I told her well it is my choice to post something
about this meeting to the internet. I told her that if you keep
messing with me I will find some way to deal with it. I told her
that if they want to believe in aliens and flying cats with alien
dna and so on it is fine but when a guy talks about blinkers on a
truck it is no big deal.

I told her that if it did not cost so much to repaint the trucks
I’d rename the company Blinker Van Lines. She had an obvious
nervous reaction to this!

So I’ll keep you good people informed. I’m still not giving out
the the name of the company but I do appreciate all of the good
wishes. But if you see an ad for a blinker special you will know
it is me!

November 16, 2005 7:05 PM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

OK, I'll admit it - I have no idea where the scientology posts are coming from.

Anyone else find this as odd as I do?

- Andrew

November 17, 2005 8:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can think of is that Scientology has had a lot of fights with the German and French governments. But your blog is good all blogs end up with some freaky stuff in them.


November 25, 2005 9:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scientology is hopping mad because the FDA regulated the e-meter. Hubbard discarded it once and then brought it back. When the FDA regulated it, it was too late to get rid of it, it was an integral part of Dianetics and Scientology. They've also had issues with the regulation of their vitamin compounds and therapies.

So it makes sense to me that Scientology would be interested in a regulatory blog. What they will do about it is another story. If the best they can do is post bad science fiction about teleporting Egyptian cats, it is good for a laugh if nothing else.

November 27, 2005 10:35 AM


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