Ron Rosenbaum

Clarence Thomas Agrees with Liberals on Regulation

I note that one of the commenters on my previous peanut butter post took issue with my shot against de-regulation. Opponents of regulations he said are not against all regulation, but only feel it should be used “as a last resort.” Too bad for the people who died from salmonella poisoning from lax inspection of peanut butter: last resort was too late for them. Last rites, more like it. Regulations only kicked in after they’d kicked the bucket.

My point was that regulation shouldn’t be demonized but that it protects an individual’s right to life, liberty and freedom from death by bad peanuts. That depending on “market forces”–“oh, lets not buy from the peanut company that killed six people with sewage infested nuts”–to self-regulate greedy private enterprises after their depredations have killed and maimed, doesn’t help the dead, and that a rational system of regulation is good for capitalism.

Well guess who weighed in with a pro-regulatory Supreme Court decision just last week: conservative icon Clarence Thomas.

Thomas, in opposition to pro-business conservative Justices Roberts, Scalia and Alito, took a longer, wiser pro-federalist, rational pro-capitalist view that the federal government shouldn’t have the right to interfere with states’ consumer protection regulatory laws. Such laws were not violations of Constitutional liberty but protectors of life.

Okay, pro-deregulation conservatives: what ya got to say to that? De-regulation did its part in destroying the economy by allowing banks to become “investment supermarkets”. De-regulation killed the salmonella victims. Do you want conservatism to be known as the pro-food poisoning philosophy? Although I consider myself a liberal, I have a lot of problems with conventional liberalism, particularly its naivete in foreign affairs, its tendency toward cultural relativism (it’s what I have in common with Roger L. Simon), but when even Clarence Thomas recognizes the value of preserving regulatory law, I think it’s time to throw in the towel and admit liberals are right on this issue.