A while ago, a group of libertarians and like-minded people set up something they call the “Free State Project.” Their idea was that they would all move to a smallish state and try to (peacefully and legally) take it over politically, then put their ideas to the test. We here in New Hampshire were the chosen state, and a bunch of them moved here.
So far, the results have been pretty indifferent. We’ve had exactly one election since they started coming, and in that one we didn’t turn libertarian, but turned profoundly blue as a bunch of Democrats, nanny-staters, and moonbats damn near swept the state.
Oh, well. Live and learn.
One of their beliefs is that government intrudes too much into people’s private and commercial lives. One way that is represented is in the whole concept of the state licensing and regulating a lot of trades — and it’s one place I agree with them.
Certain professions do require a level of government oversight. Food preparation and service, for example — health codes are a necessary evil. Toss in law and medicine — we depend on those people for our very lives and freedom, so I want them to have shown at least a minimum level of competence, and want the power of the state behind me when I demand they perform their duties properly.
But in some cases, it’s downright silly. Plumbers? Beauticians? Massage therapists? I think not. I have no problem with the state offering licensing and certification, but it should be optional. If people want to get their hair cut by some guy or gal down the street, or if they insist that the person show their credentials, that should be their business.
Part of the Free State Project’s publicity blitz was to stage certain illegal actions in a way to highlight just how absurd some regulations are, in such a way as to demand the state enforce their laws. I recall chuckling when two Free Staters met on the green in front of our State House and one of them — completely unlicensed, unauthorized, and uncertified — performed a pedicure on the other.
That is a long, roundabout way of bringing up this story from today’s Boston Globe. The state agency in charge of licensing professionals makes a bit of money by selling its lists of licensed professionals to marketers, and recently sold CDs of data about them — including the Social Security numbers of almost half a million people.
Just for giggles, I meandered over to the agency in question’s web site, and perused the list of professions they regulate. These are the people who can not conduct business without the state’s permission in Massachusetts:
Allied Health Professionals
Athletic Trainer, Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapist Assistant, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Physical Therapy Facility
Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals
Mental Health Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, Rehabilitation Counselor, Educational Psychologist
Barbers (Apprentice, Master, Instructor), Barber Shop, Barber School
Certified Health Officer
Certified Health Officer
Chiropractor, Chiropractic Facility
Advanced Training Institute, Aesthetician, Aesthetician Instructor, Aesthetician School, Cosmetologist (Hairdresser), Cosmetology Instructor, Cosmetology School, Demonstrator, Manicuring School, Manicurist, Operator, Salon, Shop
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Electricians and Alarm System Installers
Alarm System Business, Alarm System Installer and Technician, Journeyman Electrician, Electrical Corporation or Partnership, Fire Alarm System Business, Fire Alarm System Installer and Technician, Master Electrician
Electrologist, Electrology Instructor, Electrology School
Funeral Directors, Embalmers and Establishments
Embalmer, Embalmer Apprentice, Funeral Director, Funeral Establishment
Hearing Instrument Specialists
Hearing Instrument (Hearing Aid) Specialist
Associate Home Inspector, Home Inspector
Massage Therapist/Practitioner, Massage Therapy Salon, Massage Therapy School
Operators of Drinking Water Supply Facilities
Drinking Water Supply Facility Operator
Plumbers and Gas Fitters
Gas Fitter (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master) , Gasfitting Corporation or Partnership, Gasfitting Inspector (Journeyman, Master), LP Gas Installer, Limited LP Gas Installer, Plumber (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master), Plumbing Corporation or Partnership, Plumbing Inspector (Journeyman, Master)
Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors
Aeronautical, Aeronautical/Aerospace, Agricultural, Architectural, Architectural Marine, Astronautical, Ceramic, Chemical, Civil, Construction, Control Systems, Corrosion, Electrical, Electronic, Engineering Physics, Environmental, Fire Protection, Geotechnical, Heating & Ventilation, Highway, Industrial, Land Surveyor, Manufacturing, Marine, Materials, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Mining and Mineral, Naval Architecture, Nuclear, Petroleum, Plumbing, Quality, Railroad, Safety, Sanitary, Structural, Systems, Traffic, Transportation
Business Corporation, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), CPA Corporation, CPA LLC, CPA LLP, CPA Partnership
Radio and Television Technicians
Registered Technician, Registered Master Technician
Real Estate Appraisers
Certified General, Certified Residential, State Licensed, Trainee
Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons
Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Corporation or Partnership, Real Estate LLC or LLP, Real Estate Salesperson
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Certified Social Worker, Licensed Social Worker, Licensed Social Worker Associate
Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
Audiologist, Audiologist Assistant, Speech Pathologist, Speech Pathologist Assistant
Veterinarian, Limited Practitioner
Those are the professions that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts think are so essential to our everyday lives that the state has not only the right, but the duty to license and regulate and control.
Or, if you’re of a more cynical bent, the professions that the state believes it can hold up regularly for money, as well as extend the state’s power to control its
And if the deliberate abuse and exploitation isn’t enough, this incident also shows the sheer greed and ineptitude of the bureaucrats that are “entrusted” with this power and responsibility.
And let’s remember that Massachusetts is the bluest of blue states, the most solidly Democratic state the nation has ever seen. Both US senators, all ten US representatives, every single statewide office (including governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, and secretary of state), and 85% of both houses of the legislature. It is far, far more Democratic than any state has ever been Republican.
Massachusetts represents the ultimate expression of Democratic policies and ideals, a living and breathing testament to the dangers of a one-party system.
And they’re more than welcome to it.