The Nanny State’s Next Frontier

Many libertarian economists and commentators have long criticized professional licensing as a protectionist scheme that restricts competition to the benefit of some (licensed) producers and to the detriment of their (excluded, unlicensed) competitors — as well as to the detriment of consumers, who face fewer choices. That’s bad enough. But now nanny state nags are trying to use licensing laws for another pernicious aim: To control individual behavior. At the great libertarian blog, We The People, Baylen Linnekin highlights this phenomenon in Alexandria, Virginia, where some politicians would like to withhold licenses from restaurants unless they ban smoking.