The most recent sick cow meat recall–the largest in history–reminds me of one aspect of conservatism I’ve long felt was philosophically superior–or at least more accurate than liberalism: its relatively grim view of human nature. I believe in the “audacity of hope”–but only because I also believe in the degeneracy (or if you’re religious, “fallenness”) of human nature. (Sure, you’re not degenerate, dear reader, but look at the genocidal history of the past century).
So why do conservatives make a fetish of de-regulation which essentially does nothing more than hope that profit-motivated, market-obsessed corporations will care more about the health of human beings than, for example, the profits to be had from peddling disease-prone cheap beef?
Yes the disgusting cow-peddlers were violating existing regulations, but regulations mean nothing, zero, nada unless you finance their enforcement with inspectors and frequent inspections, the first casualty of de-regulators. See for icasualty Effective inspection: small price to pay balanced against the human cost of seeing a child die of e. coli. Or last summer’s de-regulation cuase mining disaster.
And if you say, well ‘the market” will compensate by hurting the companies responsible for the sickness and disease they inflict on us in the future, maybe that works for you, but not for the parents of a dead child.
De-regulation: a stupid idea on every level–economic to philosophical–posing as a conservative principle, when it fact it undermines anyone foolish enough to worship the alleged “wisdom of the market.”